Libyan socio economic spectrum continues to be in shambles with people running from post to pillar in search of food and shelter
In March 2011, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) launched its military campaign in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. The move was aimed to implement United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1973 in response to events occurring during the Libyan civil war. UN aimed to have an immediate ceasefire, imposing a no fly zone and sanctions on the Libyan regime.
The invasion of Libya spearheaded by France came to be known as Operation Harmattan which saw France launch a massive air assault on military installations joined by the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).
Around five thousand Libyan soldiers loyal to Gaddafi were killed in the fierce combat. The military campaign finally concluded with the killing of Gaddafi on October 2011 in the Battle of Sirte.
Death of Gaddafi marked a change in socio-political structure of Libya. The National Transitional Council (NTC) claimed that Libya was liberated from dictatorship and it began a process to form government and to make ground for peaceful conduct of election.
During this time, with no organised military at place, powerful armed militias asserted their dominance as ‘guardians of revolution’. Although, elections were held in November 2012 which saw Ali Zeidan being sworn in as prime minister, the political chaos followed as Zeidan was ousted amid rising political tension in the country.
In 2014, Libyan General National Congress (GNC) was replaced by House of Representatives. On the other hand, GNC claimed they have choosen Omar Al Hassi as their Prime Minister, leaving Libya as a country with two governments, one in Tobruk and other in Tripoli claimed by GNC.
While country was struggling with political uncertainty, militia groups were engaged in savage fighting amongst themselves for the control of Tripoli.
Since 2015, the Middle Eastern powers like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been at odds in the Libyan conflict. On March 2015, Egypt-Saudi backed Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar was appointed as Commander of Libyan Armed Forces loyal to Libyan House of Representatives.
As a secular man, General Haftar vows to completely dismantle Hizb al Adala, the Libyan branch of Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party. Haftar aims to take total control of the entire country for which his troops have launched multiple attacks onto major cities and installations, some of which are under the control of Government of National accord (GNA).
Amidst the political chaos, socio economic spectrum of this oil rich nation continues to be in shambles with people running from post to pillar in search of food and shelter.
In January this year, Turkey launched its military offensive into Libya backing the UN recognised GNA. With Turkish support, GNA forces have made rapid advances against General Haftar. The series of GNA victories are turning point in six years of Libyan civil war with Turkey emerging as the dominant player.
Here, Turkey’s main motive has been to counter the rising influence of UAE-Egypt and Saudi Arabia in Libyan affairs. The streets and highways of Libya once abuzz with people’s daily activities of economic and cultural sphere nowadays have turned to abandoned roadways with buildings razed to ground by bomber jets giving the look of ghost towns.
In 1969, when Gaddafi overthrew Senussi dynasty, Libya was a poor nation with large scale illiteracy. Gaddafi’s rule spanned over 40 years leading Libya to new heights in socio-economic and political fields; which was admired by many Arab and the Western nations.
Throughout Gaddafi’s rule, many programmes were launched for poor people in the areas of health, education, sanitation etc which included subsidies on electricity and food items.
Nine years down the line, since Gaddafi was overthrown, Libya continues to be hotbed of political and ethnic violence in which regional powers are engaged in proxy warfare.
Life has turned into misery for its people who seem to be living under violence and hunger due to the effects of west backed regime change.