LIBYAN COMMANDER’S REBEL FORCES LAUNCH STRIKE ON TRIPOLI
08, Apr 2019
Prelims level : International Mains level : GS II (Important aspects of governance, transparency and IR)
why in news?
- Libya has erupted into civil war as the rebel army commander Khalifa Hafter launched airstrikes on the southern suburbs of Tripoli in defiance of a UN truce.
- It is the latest stage of a four-day offensive by Haftar’s force, which backs a rival administration in the east, against the home of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). It has so far claimed 21 lives.
- The airstrikes have prompted a ‘Volcano of Rage’ counter-offensive by the GNA, with a spokesman claiming advancing government forces had already captured several of Hafter’s armoured vehicles.
- Reports say clashes between Gen Khalifa Haftar’s rebels and pro-government groups are taking place in three suburbs to the south of the city.
- Tripoli is the base of the UN-backed, internationally recognised government.
- The UN’s Libya envoy has insisted that a planned conference on possible new elections will still go ahead.
What’s happening on the ground?
- General Haftar – who was appointed chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA) under an earlier UN-backed administration – ordered his forces to advance on Tripoli on Thursday, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was in the city to discuss the ongoing crisis.
- The Libyan air force, which is nominally under government control, targeted an area 50km (30 miles) south of the capital on Saturday morning.
- It is unclear if there were casualties but the LNA has vowed to retaliate.
- Fighting has taken place in several areas, including near the disused international airport south of Tripoli.
What’s been the reaction?
- The G7 group of major industrial nations has urged all parties “to immediately halt all military activity”. The UN Security council has issued a similar call.
- Russia has also called on parties in the escalating conflict to find an agreement.
- Satellite view is showing Tripoli, largest city and chief seaport and the national capital of Libya, located in north western Libya on the North African coast of the Mediterranean Sea, 500 km (310 mi) south of Sicily/Italy. The capital’s Arabic name is Tarabulus Al-Gharb.
- since Tripoli is in Libya, Libya is bordered by Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Egypt and Mediterranean Sea.