With rival militias battling to gain control in different parts of country, Libya is in a state of perpetual civil war, which we doubt would end any tim soon. It is hard to imagine what Libya looked like before it was crashed and burned by the occidental and Islamic forces, who behind the veil of peace establishment are fighting for supremacy and authoritarian control.

Peace talks between Libyan political factions have failed repeatedly and it is looking more and more difficult to forge a unity government in the country, which now stands crippled by anarchy. Once Libya was an upcoming nation with the largest proven oil reserves in Africa and an important contributor to the global supply of light, sweet crude. The World Bank defined Libya as an ‘upper middle income economy’. Today, Libya is at war with itself, taking the count of civil wars to two in this decade.

It is split between a government in Beida in the east of the country, which is aligned with the military, and another in Tripoli in the west, which is dominated by Islamists and militia from western coastal cities. Bengharzi is a battlefield and the countrymen are having to do without running water and electricity. The black plumes of burning oil terminals are stretched out over the Mediterranean and the people are constantly in a tryst to escape through poorly patrolled coastline in the hopes of seeking asylum at neighbouring countries.

The event that initiated the chain reaction which led to this gruesome state was undeniably the civil war of 2011 that oversaw the fall of Libya’s long time monarch Muammar Gadaffi. The unexpected civil war was not just a democratic upheaval against tyranny and the suppression of freedom but a resistance against the unfair distribution of political and economic interests within the context of a “tribal war”. The US Special Envoy to Libya, Jonathan Winer, wrote an article which appeared on the US state department’s official blog that the overthrow of Gaddafi was a “moment of pride for Libyans and those who supported them”. By “those who supported them”, Winer must have meant the US and its European allies, responsible for the NATO intervention without which the aforesaid Libyan rebels would not have succeeded, since their revolt did not have the mass support of the Libyan people. As astounding as it may seem, but prior to Gadaffi’s overthrow the West was involved in lucrative business with the Libyan leader and referred to him in the most convivial terms.

The Libyan war was started under the banner of UN Resolution 1973, but whether NATO’s air strike at that time exceeded the power guaranteed by the resolution has been repeatedly questioned. The war was a conflict between Libyan rebels and governmental forces, but was manipulated by the Western forces. It is said that without NATO’s large-scale long-lasting air strike, the war would not have lasted more than five months.

At present the country is awash with heavy weapons and militias are reluctant to give up power. Ali Zeidan, then Prime Minister of Libya, in his first official visit to Washington requested American Officials to help the country build a new military force that can solidify the depleting government’s legitimacy and buy them time to get their country back on track. US officials spent more than a year trying to develop military training but they could not come up with an effective way to find, train and equip recruits. As the country became increasingly consumed by anarchy, the US government quietly abandoned the plan. It is tragic how the US and its allies after a seven-month air campaign is doing its best to neglect post-conflict reconstruction.

The only word that comes close to defining the international community’s attitude is opportunistic. The foreign powers competed with one another to promote their local allies in the post-Gadaffi Libya. The US and France though preferred to work behind the scenes, attending more on the possibilities of business deals, their two Arab allies, Qatar and UAE were deeply involved in the political processes.

The presence of Washington and Europe have never been a source of stability in the Middle East or North Africa, but their double dealings and opportunistic attitude has caused despair and, in case of Libya, anarchy. As NATO used the term “catastrophic success” to describe the victory against Gadaffi’s regime, one wonders whether splitting a country, killing of thousands and turning cities in quagmire is NATOS’s idea of success. Greater attention could have been paid to political and peaceful resolution of the conflict as many countries had suggested before and during the NATO attack.

– Aayush Anand, Correspondent (Our World)

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