The mercury level of the national violence continues to rise in Libya, with a constantly growing number of significant armed political groups coming to prominence. Two rival national governments continue to claim legitimacy: one in Tobruk (the duly elected Council of Deputies) and one in Tripoli (the non-elected New General Congress, a self-proclaimed continuation of the previous General Congress elected in 2012 that agreed to dissolve itself after the June 2014 elections).
The murder of twenty-one Christians in Libya by an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) has brought the sad decline of that country back to international attention. A few months ago, I noted that the ongoing collapse of Libya was not random chaos, nor was it just the result of “militancy” or a lack of governance; rather there was purposeful action by al-Qaeda (AQ)-linked groups pushing the country in a direction that favors violent extremism.
The Islamic State (IS) released a video showing the beheading the 21 Egyptian Christians it kidnapped in Libya in January 2015. The video showed fighters beheading the prisoners in line on the beach and, after statements from the fighter, showed red-stained waves crashing into the beach.
As the world focuses most of its attention on the Middle East, most specifically on Syria and Iraq, another nation in the region is also threatened by the grim specter of anarchy: Libya.