Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood seen gaining influence amid country’s disarray
The regional unrest blocking Libyan oil ports is a microcosm of the disarray plaguing the country and sapping the authority of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s shaky central government, Libyan and foreign analysts say.
While local autonomy activists have been holding ports in the east, the legislature in the capital Tripoli in western Libya has been full of talk of voting no confidence in Zeidan.
The Muslim Brotherhood seems to be gaining influence amid the crises shaking the country, the analysts say, and the army ousting of Egypt’s Islamist government may have prompted some Libyan radicals to step up violence against secular critics.
The Brotherhood and more radical Islamists active in several countries across the region bring a politicised form of Islam that is foreign to the area’s traditional religious practices.
But Libya is so split along political, regional and tribal lines two years after the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi that no one group can effectively take control, they said.
Even factors as visible as the state of security in Tripoli are so fluid that residents cannot agree about them. “It’s improved,” one told Reuters by telephone. “It was pretty bad last week, with lots of attacks,” another reported.
“Libya is essentially beholden to local and regional interest groups,” said Henry Smith of the Control Risks consultancy group. “The government doesn’t really have the coercive capacity to be able to stop them.”