Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Mohamed Eljarh writes for Foreign Policy on the violence in Libya led by an alliance of Islamist militias:
In Libya, regional players have been battling for influence, reportedly supplying militias with weapons and even conducting secret military operations in the country. An alliance of Islamists militias reportedly took over Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on Aug. 23; soon after, they stormed and “secured” a U.S. embassy compound in the city. The freshly reelected Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni — who was appointed on Sept. 1 — faces a daunting mandate as the escalating crisis threatens the complete disintegration of the state and collapse of the country’s democratic process, just three years after the Qaddafi’s ouster in 2011.
Libya’s Islamist militias launched their campaign of violence in Tripoli after they suffered a devastating defeat in the recent parliamentary elections on June 25. Both moderate and extremist Islamist groups are attempting to block the new government from convening and becoming fully operational, fearing a legislative backlash. The Islamists have enjoyed undue influence over the political process since the overthrow of Qaddafi despite the fact that they’ve never won a single election; now they worry that the new government will undo their work to take control of the nascent institutions of post-revolution Libya.