The next Libyan civil war looks set to begin at any time now, and as with the 2011 version, it looks like Benghazi will be the first battleground, as NTC chairman Mustafa Jalil today announced his determination to unite the country “with force.”
Jalil’s announcement is a harsh response to yesterday’s announcement by a number of local leaders that they are planning to make Benghazi and the surrounding area a “semi-autonomous region” within Libya.
The move to create the region reflects growing annoyance at the NTC, NATO’s chosen rulers for the country after the 2011 war, both over the large number of Gadhafi loyalists integrated into the NTC and their apparent disinterest in holding elections.
Already Ahmed al-Zubair has been named as the head of the Benghazi region, and has promised to see it governed internally, deferring to the NTC only on matters of foreign policy. With Benghazi the center of Libya’s oil wealth, control once again will be hotly contested.