Tripoli Siege Ends, But Libya’s Security Fears Grow

Government Clearly Vulnerable After Deal With Militias

by Jason Ditz, May 12, 2013

A multi-week siege of government ministries in Tripoli has come to an end this weekend, after an agreement which reportedly included a promise by Prime Minister Zeidan to reshuffle the cabinet in the coming days.

Militia forces had surrounded the foreign and justice ministries, initially demanding a law barring Gadhafi era officials from office and, when that was met, demanding Zeidan step down.

But while it may be back to work for employees at those ministries, the siege underscores the Libyan government’s weakness, and its inability to resolve situations even in the capital city, let alone elsewhere nationwide. Multiple attacks on police stations in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, further the narrative that the post-revolution government simply can’t get a handle on the situation.

Much of the violence stems from the revolution itself, and the hodge-podge collection of militias which joined forces tentatively to oust Gadhafi. After the regime change, the militias didn’t really go anywhere, and the ones who didn’t join the national government have been engaging in factional fighting virtually from the beginning.

Random villages going to war with one another was bad enough, but now the larger militias have discovered that they can essentially march into Tripoli and issue demands when the mood strikes them. With so many militia leaders disillusioned by the post-Gadhafi government, this may be just the first of many such sieges.

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