Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The war over Benghazi is actually happening in Benghazi

By Ishaan Tharoor, WashPost
June 4 at 12:39 PM

If you just listened to the political conversation in the United States, you'd be hard-pressed to know where or what Benghazi is. In the U.S., Benghazi is not a picturesque port on the Mediterranean with a rich, fascinating history. It's not, more importantly, Libya's second city and a site of deadly political battles. Instead, it's an arena attached to Washington where the Beltway's pugilists strut and fume. My colleagues over at the Fix made that point yesterday, at least implicitly, when they declared that "Bowe Bergdahl is the new Benghazi."

But the war over Benghazi remains hottest in Benghazi itself.

That was made clear today with reports that a suicide bomber had targeted the Benghazi residence of the renegade former general Khalifa Hifter. He was unscathed, but at least four others died, according to the BBC. Hifter, who was a top commander during the dictatorship of Moammar Gaddafi before defecting and living in shadowy circumstances in the U.S., has in the past month launched an offensive against Islamist factions throughout the country.

The worst of the battles have taken place in Benghazi, the crucible of the 2011 uprising that eventually toppled Gaddafi's regime. On Monday, clashes between forces loyal to Hifter and Islamist brigades led to 20 deaths.

(More here.)

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