Seeds: Muammar el-Qaddafi was the military dictator of Libya for forty years until his citizens began protesting his rule in February of 2011. Many Middle Eastern and northern African nations also began uprising against stringent regimes during this time, earning it the title the “Arab Spring.” Libyans wanted freedom from Qaddafi’s rule, given that he was known for imprisoning anyone who disagreed, torturing people, “forcing disappearances” and sentencing hundreds to death. However, the Libyans protested they were quickly met with water cannons and rubber bullets.
Core: When demonstrators took control of Benghazi in February of 2011, and the protests were spreading to Tripoli, the government started to use deadly force, firing live ammunition into the crowds. They were attacked with tanks, warplanes, and helicopters as well. Both the internet and telephone were quickly banned. This use of force sparked international outrage, but the incursions continued. Even as anti-Qaddafi groups began taking control of parts of Libya, conditions worsened. When NATO troops began to intervene, the civil war reached a stalemate for months. During these months, the rebels created the Transitional National Council, and eventually Qaddafi was found dead in October of 2011, ending the worst of the conflict.
Skin: One specific Libyan city remains ever-present in the United States presidential elections: Benghazi. This is the city where on September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed, for which many blamed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (who was the then Secretary of State). Clinton’s involvement (or lack thereof) in these attacks remains a large component to many arguments against the legitimacy of her candidacy.
Leaves: Libya is in shambles. The Government of National Accords was just created after years of having two separate governments ruling the nation. There are entire cities controlled by ISIS. Violence is prevalent. Hopefully this new U.N.-backed government will stabilize the nation, but right now, the situation is not good.
Food For Thought: Do you think there is any thing that the international community should have done in Libya? Do you think that Clinton is to blame for the Benghazi attacks?