Political Instability in Libya

Political Instability in Libya

Continuing political instability and growing militancy in Libya


Libya’s government is struggling to maintain order and rebuild state institutions amid rising violence since the ouster of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi in October 2011. Since mid-May 2014, at least one hundred people have died in numerous clashes. Secessionist tendencies have also been growing, with the Cyrenaica part of eastern Libya electing its own federalist government in October 2013.

Ahmed Maiteeq—Libya’s eighth prime minister following the 2011 revolution—was sworn into office on June 3, 2014, but resigned on June 10, 2014. Libya’s supreme court ruled that the May election had been unconstitutional. The former prime minister, Ali Zeidan, fled the country in March 2014 after a vote of no confidence by the Libya’s parliament, and his replacement, Abdullah al-Thanay, resigned one month later. Libya’s upcoming parliamentary elections are set for June 25, 2014.

Since May 2014 Khalifa Haftar, an early al-Qaddafi loyalist who spent decades exiled in the United States, has led rogue attacks against groups he identifies as Islamist militants around Benghazi. Haftar’s campaign, which does not have the backing of the Tripoli government, has won him the loyalty of militias and regular Libyan military forces as he carves out a power base in light of disintegrating governmental control across the country.

The 2011 uprising exacerbated divisions among Libya’s many political and tribal groups and has led to a proliferation of armed militias. Approximately 1,700 armed groups are now estimated to exist. These groups threaten to disrupt Libya’s oil and gas production—oil output has already dropped from 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in April 2013 to 200,000 bpd in April 2014—and may lead to a spike in the global price of oil.

In order to help rebuild and refocus Libya’s security infrastructure, the United States will train 5,000 to 8,000 security forces, as it is increasingly concerned about the regulation of terrorist activities and weapons transfers across the country’s unmonitored borders.

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