Libyan General Khalifa Hifter’s hold on Tripoli, mostly solid since he seized parliament on Sunday, looks to be facing some major opposition tonight, as the first Islamist militias aligned with parliament set up positions in southern Tripoli.
The Islamist militias include the powerful force from Misrata, which played a major role in the 2011 ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. They are being coordinated by Libya’s Chief of Military Staff, and aim to restore parliament.
All of this adds up to a recipe for civil war, as Hifter’s faction has couched his anti-Islamist purge as a “war on terror,” and the Islamists don’t take kindly to the ouster of a pro-Islamist cabinet just hours after it was established on Sunday morning.
As both sides line up, there is also growing speculation about foreign intervention, particularly from Egypt’s military junta, which has long objected to the Muslim Brotherhood’s position in Libyan politics.
Libya’s cabinet, to the extent it still exists, is urging the Hifter forces to leave the capital city and “steer clear of politics,” saying they should allow the June 25 elections to take place and decide the next government.