Monday, August 25, 2014
Two governements in Libya, after islamist rebels capture Tripoli
Damaged aircraft at Tripoli aiport. Fighting has been raging since July at the airport, fuel reserves have been burning for weeks an several aircraft have been destroyed. But on Sunday the aiport terminal has burnt down as well. (Photo Reuters).
The former Libyan parliament replaced in national elections in June reconvened on Monday to elect an Islamist-backed deputy as prime minister, challenging the authority of the turbulent country's new legislature.
The old General National Congress (GNC), where Islamists had a strong voice, has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of its successor assembly, the House of Representatives, which is dominated by liberals and federalists.
The GNC reconvened after armed factions from the western city of Misrata forced a rival faction from Zintan out of Tripoli's main airport on Saturday after a month of fighting. The Islamist-led militias seized the airport in the capital, Tripoli, proclaimed their own government, and presented the world with yet another crisis.
Operation Dawn, a coalition of Islamist and Misrata forces, captured the airport on Saturday in fierce fighting against pro-government militias after a five-week siege that battered parts of the capital. On Sunday, they set airport buildings ablaze, apparently intending to destroy rather than hold the site. The victory, which secures Islamist control over Tripoli, was a culmination of weeks of fighting triggered by elections in July, lost by Islamist parties.
Rather than accept the elections result Islamist leaders in Libya accused the new parliament of being dominated by supporters of the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and have sought to restore the old national congress.
The move leaves Libya with two governments, one in Tripoli, and one in the east of the country, each battling for the hearts and minds of the country's myriad militias. Libya's official parliament, the house of representatives, in the eastern city of Tobruk, denounced the attack as illegal, branding Dawn a "terrorist organisation" and announcing a state of war against the group.