How a Libyan city joined the Islamic State group

Nov 9, 12:24 PM EST
AP Photo
AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

 CAIRO (AP) — On a chilly night, bearded militants  gathered at a stage strung with colorful lights in Darna, a Mediterranean coastal city long notorious as Libya‘s center for jihadi radicals. With a roaring chant, they pledged their allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group.

With that meeting 10 days ago, the militants dragged Darna into becoming the first city outside of Iraq and Syria to join the “caliphate” announced by the extremist group. Already, the city has seen religious courts ordering killings in public, floggings of residents accused of violating Shariah law, as well as enforced segregation of male and female students. Opponents of the militants have gone into hiding or fled, terrorized by a string of slayings aimed at silencing them. Continue reading

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Is It Too Late For Libya?

Interviewee: Mary Fitzgerald, The Irish Times
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor
October 3, 2014

Three years after the fall of Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya is unraveling at a pace and scale few analysts expected, says Mary Fitzgerald, a Tripoli-based journalist. She says the violence which teeters on the brink of civil war, is rooted more in regional, economic, and social cleavages than religious differences. “Libya’s crisis is too often reduced to a narrative of Islamist versus non-Islamist,” she explains. “It’s less an ideological battle than a scramble for power and resources.” Meanwhile, she says that international efforts to stem the crisis, which are often viewed suspiciously in Libya, have achieved little.

Tripoli ProtestersSupporters of Operation Dawn wave Libyan flags in Tripoli as they demonstrate against the new Libyan parliament, September 2014. (Photo: Ismail Zitouny/Courtesy Reuters)

There are constant reports of violence in Libya. How bad is it?

Libyans talk of their country being at its most serious juncture since the uprising against Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011. The scale and speed of the unraveling this summer has taken many by surprise. The ensuing power struggle has deepened polarization not just in the political sphere but also on the street, and even within families. Many Libyans fear their country could tip into civil war. Continue reading

Libya-Egypt Border Suspicions Hit Port’s Trade

March 04, 2014  By MarEx

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The port of Tobruk prior to the Libyan civil war

Mutual suspicion with neighbor Egypt threatens to halt a revival in the fortunes of Libya‘s eastern port of Tobruk, officials there said.

New restrictions on travelers and goods passing the nearby land border are hitting container volumes, said Nasser Zgogo, operations manager at the port.

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