Rafik Hariri Center Senior Fellow Karim Mezran writes for the New York Times on why representatives of the international community should not abandon Libya:
At a time when Libya urgently needs help from its allies, most countries, including the United States, are evacuating their embassies or drastically downsizing. Weeks of inter-militia fighting have killed hundreds in Tripoli and Benghazi while disrupting food, water and fuel supplies to civilians.
While diplomatic security is understandably a top priority, representatives of the international community must not leave the country. Instead, they must maintain contact with Libya’s major political actors — the Muslim Brotherhood and the National Forces Alliance, and the leaders of the warring militias from Misurata and Zintan — if they wish to mediate a solution to the conflict.
The violence gripping Libya is due to a political struggle between groups that could broadly be characterized as Islamists and anti-Islamists. Since their collaboration in toppling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011, these factions have been squabbling over the spoils of victory, rendering Libya’s economy and politics dysfunctional.