Rival Assaults on IS Stronghold Deepen Libya’s Chaos
Maggie Michael writing for the AP points out that a new civil war is erupting between Misrata and Hiftar, both of whom are cloaking their efforts to control Libya’s oil crescent resources as a race to liberate Sirte from the Islamic State.
“It’s now clear Misrata and Hifter will compete over Sirte in order to establish who rules really in Libya,” Mattia Toaldo, a Libya specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told The Associated Press in an email interview.The moves on Sirte threaten to further undermine Fayez Serraj, head of what is meant to be a national unity government envisaged under a U.N.-brokered deal reached after months of negotiations. So far, with only patchy support from some factions, Serraj has been ensconced in a naval base in Tripoli since his return to the country in March, unable to exercise much power beyond his office walls — much like his predecessors…
On Tuesday, warplanes from Misrata struck fighters loyal to Hifter who were guarding oil installations in the Zallah area, 300 kilometers (180 miles) south of Sirte. Hifter sent reinforcements that battled with fighters allied to Misrata and drove them out.
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