Libyans miss life under Gaddafi
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Five years after an uprising killed Libyas Muammar Gaddafi, residents in
the chaos-wracked countrys capital joke they have grown to miss the
longtime dictator as the frustrations of daily life mount.
Those living in the capital say they are exhausted by power cuts, price
increases and a lack of cash flow as rival authorities and militias battle
for control of the fragmented oil-rich country.
I hate to say it but our life was better under the previous regime, says
Fayza al-Naas, a 42-year-old pharmacist, referring to Gaddafis more than
four decades of rule.
Today, we wait for hours outside banks to beg cashiers to give us some of
our own money. Everything is three times more expensive.
A UN-backed unity government has struggled to assert its authority
nationwide since arriving in Tripoli in March, with a rival parliament in
the countrys far east refusing to cede power to it.
On Friday it suffered a new blow when a rival seized key offices in the
capital and proclaimed the reinstatement of a third administration
previously based in Tripoli.
The turmoil after Gaddafis 2011 fall has allowed the Islamic State jihadist
group to gain a foothold on Europes doorstep after seizing the strongmans
hometown of Sirte in June last year.
Forces loyal to the unity government have for five months been fighting to
expel the last jihadists from the former IS stronghold, with support from US
air strikes since early August.
With the loyalists weakened by the anti-IS battle, forces led by a
controversial field marshal last month seized key oil terminals to its east,
allowing the National Oil Company to resume crude exports.
The eastern parliament has thrown its support behind Khalifa Haftar, who
presents himself as Libyas saviour in the face of a growing jihadist threat
but is a hugely divisive figure.
While his army has ousted most jihadists from Benghazi, the birthplace of
the 2011 uprising, his detractors accuse him of working towards the single
goal of seizing power to establish a new military dictatorship.
Libyans are forced to choose between two extremes: either chaos with
militias and Islamist extremists as the dominant forces, or military rule,
said Libya analyst Mohamed Eljarh.
No other convincing options are on offer, added Eljarh, of the Rafik
Hariri Centre for the Middle East.
Haftars forces have fought for more than two years to expel jihadists from
second city Benghazi, while pro-GNA forces are caught up in fighting IS in
According to Libya expert Mattia Toaldo, these rival forces might then want
to extend their influence in other areas of the country and be met with
tough local resistance.
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