Voice of America‘s Barbara Slavin, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, quotes Karim Mezran, a resident senior fellow at the Raik Hariri Center for the Middle East on the possible strategy of Libya’s General Khalifa Hifter:
When the revolution against Gadhafi began in 2011, it put together an impressive group of exiles, the National Transitional Council. The council attracted support from the Arab League, NATO and eventually the U.N. Security Council to establish a no-fly zone protecting Libyans from Gadhafi’s forces.
But after Gadhafi was defeated and assassinated by the rebels, the new government in Tripoli embraced what a recent Atlantic Council report calls a policy of “appeasement,” which entailed paying off local militias rather than attempting to knit them together into a coherent national army.
The result has been a kaleidoscope of militant groups; some quarter-million armed men are on the government payroll.
Libya’s cities and regions, never that well integrated, have gone off on their own tangents, with Islamists dominating in the east and more secular forces in the west. In the middle of the Mediterranean coast, the city of Misrata has its own administration and security forces. It has so far stayed out of Hifter’s offensive, according to Karim Mezran, a North Africa expert at the Atlantic Council.