Fighting in Libya Threatens Security in Entire Northern Africa Region
In Libya, the news is not about progress in the country – it’s about instability there which helped push American troops out, albeit temporarily. It’s not clear where the U.S. troops, escaping the intense fighting in Tripoli, are relocating to.
Eight years after former Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi was killed in a “NATO-backed uprising” there is renewed fighting there for control of the country.
Gadhafi, long gone, now makes the way for others of his type, to attempt control of the country. There has been a United Nations (UN) backed peace plan, with an interim government in the country, the Government of National Accord (GNA), since December 2015.
A new offensive on Tripoli led by General Khalifa Haftar threatens the unity of the country.
Ryan Browne of CNN.com writes on April 19: “As a result of Haftar’s offensive, in April the US military withdrew a small number of troops from Libya that had been performing diplomatic and counter-terrorism missions against ISIS, citing “increased unrest in Libya.”
The fighting has resulted in an estimated 220 deaths, 1000 wounded, and many fleeing the area, according to Deutche Welle (DW News), citing the World Health organization (WHO).
Earlier, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres who traveled to Tripoli, left empty handed and unable to broker a ceasefire he hoped would pave the way for elections in the country. Guterres expressed regret as he left Tripoli, April 5.
This report from Vox explains the genesis of the current fighting, as well as the competing groups hoping to control the country.
Amanda Skuna writes:
“The battle began when the Libyan National Army (LNA), a force in control of most of Eastern Libya, launched a surprise offensive on Tripoli. That attack threatens to reinvigorate the armed conflict in a country marred by instability since former dictator Muammar Qaddafi was deposed in 2011.”
Haley Blitzky, writing for Task and Purpose says, “Forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter have been fighting with the U.N.-backed government over the last few days, the Washington Post reports, as Hifter advanced on Tripoli, the country’s financial hub.”
In a riveting account of the geo-political risks that the Libyan situation poses for the entire region, OZY’s Neil Munshi paints a rather grim picture of what is taking place.
“A surge in violence over the past six months has left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced across one of the poorest regions of the world. Now, some in Niamey fear that renewed fighting in Libya could lead some of the nearly 1M migrants stranded there to flood across its border.”
The writer adds: “With the disappearance of the Libyan state, Niger is now the border with the West,” Moutari says. “If Niger falls, there is nothing.”
With a tense situation in Libya, another fragile African nation, Niger, holds the balance of peace between the Northern African region and many nations in Europe.
Rwandan Genocide Remembrance Brings Memories Filled with Pain
With a march, a torch lighting ceremony, and silence, the world remembers the Rwandan Genocide, 25 years since the massacre occurred. The commemoration events made headlines on TV, as well as on newspapers around the world.
The genocide took place in a 100-day period between April 7 to July 15, 2004 and left more than 800, 000 civilians, mostly tutsis killed in Rwanda.
Conversation on the subject was not so much about progress which Rwandan has made since then– it was more about our human tendencies, some of which fueled accusations, tensions that led to the killings. Even while Rwanda is hailed as an exemplary Africa nation today – a leader, Paul Kagame, despite his imperfections, and a nation that aspires towards middle income status by 2035– many looked back and wondered why brothers and sisters decided to kill the other so mercilessly.
Photos of the anniversary events embedded in new reports, could be seen all over the media, including this one, with leaders holding hands, and lighting a torch to demonstrate peace between individuals as well as between nations.
Meanwhile Rwanda accused Uganda, a neighboring country, of supporting groups opposed to the Rwandan government in Kigali, according to the Voice of America. The Ugandan government denied the accusations. Also French president, Emmanuel Macron, noticeable absent from the ceremonies in Kigali, sent a junior minister to represent him, according to Christina Okello with Radio France International.
In her report Okello alluded to differences between the government of President Paul Kagame of Rwandan and the French government on responsibilities and ties between the two countries which may have fueled tensions in Rwanda leading to the 1994 genocide.
The Voice of America characterized the discord taking place this way:
“Notably absent from the commemoration was French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country stands accused of aiding the genocide. Macron proposed an annual day of commemoration for the Rwanda genocide on Sunday, according to AFP.
The French delegation was led by Herve Berville, a Rwanda-born member of Parliament who was orphaned in the genocide.
Belgium, which colonized Rwanda, was represented by Prime Minister Charles Michel, who admitted the country’s partial responsibility in the genocide.”