Over the weekend, US ground troops marched into the Libyan capital city of Tripoli and carried off a captive Libyan citizen at gunpoint. No prior notice was given to the Libyan government.
This reflects the Obama Administration’s appetite for unilateral operations and military-run renditions, but inside Libya the much, much bigger concern is the increased instability and vulnerability of the post-Gadhafi state.
Having been installed in the wake of NATO’s war of regime change against Gadhafi, the new Libyan government has faced growing internal strife, and myriad problems, including months of fights with different factions over oil revenue that have ground materially the country’s whole economy to a halt.
The new Libyan military has suffered several internal defeats, deployed to send troops to break up tribal fighting and often routed by better armed tribal factions. They ability to control anything outside of a few major cities was already in serious doubt, and security even in those cities has been a huge problem.
Internal perceptions of the government were crumbling fast, and the US operation just underscores their impotence, and may well set the stage for the government’s collapse and new rounds of battles for autonomy in different Libyan provinces.
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