Libyan ‘Unity Govt’ Sneaks Into Tripoli, Spurned by Locals

Faction Is Third Would-Be Government in Complex Situation

Further complicating Libya’s status as an ungovernable desert full of warring factions, the UN-backed “unity government,” which was established in January, has finally managed to sneak into Libya, landing in the capital of Tripoli and setting up shop at a naval base.

LibyaThe “unity government” was the result of tentative agreements between the two existing Libyan governments, though both ultimately rejected the unity cabinet, and the group was quickly relegated to third-place status among governments with little real control.

Local officials blasted the “infiltration” of this new faction into the capital, but the group managed to get to a naval base, and is now one of three governments, two of which are officially “UN-backed,” and which don’t like one another.

The US loudly endorsed the arrival of this new government, and condemned the other governments as “obstructionists” for opposing the group, which itself was formed in Tunis with neither elections nor any real imprimatur from the Libyan people.

The only real backing this new government has, beyond the UN itself, is that many NATO nations believe they can parlay a “unity government” into an endorsement to invade Libya, while the UN is dangling the possibility of freeing the nation’s massive sovereign wealth fund from sanctions if the unity government is in charge of it.

by Jason Ditz

US Sending 600 Ground Troops to Eastern Europe

The Pentagon has announced initial deployments of 600 US ground troops to Eastern Europe, a presence which officials say will be sustained “until further notice.”

The troops will be split evenly, roughly 150 per country, among Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, and is aimed at reassuring them over what the Pentagon dubbed “Russian aggression.”

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Libyan Navy Captures Rebel Oil Tanker

Parliament Orders Creation of New Military Force to Attack Ports

The stand-off at the Es-Sidra port is over, and Libya’s Navy has captured the North Korea-flagged oil tanker Morning Glory, and has taken it to Misrata, a city held by a harsh, pro-government militia.

The ship docked at a rebel-held oil port and loaded some $36 million in oil. The Libyan military dubbed the move “piracy” and initially ordered the Air Force to attack the ship, though they refused.

LibyaThough North Korea-flagged, the ship is owned by Sea Pride Shipping, a United Arab Emirates-based company. The company confirmed ownership, but insists that it had lost contact with the operators and had no control over them when they docked in Libya.

Libya is traditionally a massive producer of oil for Europe, but since the NATO-imposed regime change production has dwindled to a tiny fraction of even its Gadhafi-era lows. With different cities disputing revenue-sharing, several different factions have seized valuable oil ports.

Though the Libyan military has been unable to wrest control over the ports back, parliament has ordered the creation of an entire separate branch of military forces just to attack ports, in the hopes that more specialized fighters can oust the rebels.

by Jason Ditz

US Air Strike Killed Woman, Seven Kids in Central Afghanistan

Karzai Reiterates Demand to End Air Strikes Against Villages

Another US air strike against an Afghan village has ended in tragedy last night, with reports that the attack destroyed a home, killing a woman and seven children, and injuring at least one other civilian.

parwAfghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed the incident, reiterating his long-standing demands to stop launching strikes in residential areas, and saying the incident further harmed US-Afghan relations.

The Obama Administration has yet to respond to the killings, while NATO said they are “aware” of the civilian deaths, though they also claimed the strike was aimed at “an enemy force.”

NATO went on to issue a statement expressing “regret” for the civilian deaths, but touting the operation as having “disrupted” Taliban fighters in the area.

by Jason Ditz

Libya PM Threatens to Sink Oil Tankers Near Coast

Navy Fired on Maltese-Flagged Tanker in International Waters

With rising prices of Brent crude oil fueling concerns about the European markets, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has added even more reason for pessimism, openly threatening to sink oil tankers in the Mediterranean.

LibyaLibya has been facing months of unrest, with Cyrenaica aiming for more autonomy and protesters effectively moving several eastern ports from government control.

Instead of figuring that just leaves that oil forever ungettable, tankers are keen to just go to the east coast and deal with whoever the de facto controllers of the ports are at any given time, but Zeidan says any ships getting too close will be attacked and sunk.

Underscoring that threat, a Maltese-flagged tanker was reportedly attacked in international waters by the Libyan Navy. The ship was said to be trying to go to Es-Sider, one of the ports in question.

The current Libyan government is a product of the NATO-imposed regime change, and retains only tentative control over much of the country. The government is dominated by Gadhafi-era defectors, and a number of the militias involved in the initial ousted of Gadhafi have gone their separate ways, clashing with one another over spheres of influence.

by Jason Ditz

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