Kidnapped and Freed, Libya PM’s Predicament Underscores Security Breakdown

Zeidan Calls for Calm After Being Kidnapped by Militia

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan is calling for calm tonight after his bizarre kidnapping by a government-allied militia and multi-hour detention at his own government’s Interior Ministry.

The militia that kidnapped Zeidan claimed to be acting lawfully in carrying out an arrest warrant against the prime minister for “corruption,” but was released after the admission that no such warrant existed.

A truly bizarre state of affairs, compounded by the fact that Zeidan’s capture wasn’t even the most high profile kidnapping in the capital city of Tripoli in the last week, after US ground troops briefly invaded the city and captured a “suspect” named Abu Anas al-Liby.

If the weekend capture of Liby was a sign of growing instability, the capture of the sitting prime minister just days later reflects the reality that Libya is on the verge of a total security breakdown.

Since NATO attacked Libya in 2011 to impose regime change, the rebels-turned-government had struggled to consolidate power, coping with growing city-versus-city fighting and unrest that has ground materially the nation’s only industry, oil exports, to a virtual halt. Those are long-term problems, but the reality is that the short term problems dwarf them now, and the Zeidan government’s days may well be numbered.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of