Libya crisis: Parliament votes for foreign intervention

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‘Libya’s parliament has called for foreign intervention to protect civilians from deadly clashes between rival militia groups.

MPs were meeting in Tobruk in the east because of violence in the capital Tripoli and the second city Benghazi, and 111 out of 124 voted for the call.

Neither the UN nor any foreign power has any current plans to intervene.

Libya has been gripped by violence involving militias that spearheaded the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.

More than three years after the uprising, Libya’s police and army remain weak in comparison to the militias who control large parts of the country.

Shortly after the decree on intervention, the parliament also voted to disband all militias, but the state has no means to enforce this measure.

The BBC’s Rana Jawad, in Tripoli, says the first decree appears to be a bold move by the parliament but is ultimately symbolic.

“The international community must intervene immediately to ensure that civilians are protected,” said MP Abu Bakr Biira, quoting from the decree.

It is not clear whether the parliament is seeking a peacekeeping mission or some other form of help.

But the international community has so far stopped short of any intervention, instead demanding an end to violence and encouraging dialogue.

The vote comes a day after Tripoli police chief Col Muhammad Suwaysi was shot dead in an ambush by unknown gunmen.

Several hundred people are believed to have died in July and August in an upsurge of unrest.

The fighting has been centred around the international airport in Tripoli and in the eastern city of Benghazi.’


Niamh Harris
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