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Libya: Benghazi Burns as Clashes Intensify in Tripoli

Bottom Line: Benghazi is heading toward a conflict climax, while myriad clashes in Tripoli are of a less cohesive nature, they are still indicative of the government’s inability to handle the security situation.

Analysis: Protests in Benghazi have taken a critical turn, with the burning and ransacking of several parts of the city as calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan intensify. At the same time, clashes are ongoing among various militia groups in Tripoli. The eastern districts of the city are of particular concern here, and we are closely monitoring clashes that have taken place between security forces, the Misratan militia and militia from the district of Souq al-Jumaa.  

Clashes of this nature in Tripoli are common, but have shown an increase in intensity in the past weeks. Of greater concern at this time is the situation in Benghazi, where protests are intensifying along with calls for the government’s resignation—an indication of popular disillusionment with a government that cannot handle the security chaos. While the government is attempting to reopen blocked export terminals and ports in Benghazi, eastern tribes are fighting them back—vying for a greater share of the region’s oil wealth—and gaining momentum. Security in Benghazi is becoming impossible, with a series of assassinations targeting security and military personnel. The security situation is bringing protesters to the streets in much…

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