When asked about the situation in his country today, Hassan said, “It is not promising, and many of us [former rebels] regret what happened because we never expected it to be this bad.” Without a doubt, Libya today is a fractured country without any central government. Instead, it has two quarreling governments — one in Tripoli recognized by no other state, and another in the city of El Bayada, which enjoys useless international recognition. At the same time, different terror groups are making gains in Libya. The most dangerous of them is the Islamic State (IS), which has so far expanded into three cities: Derna in the east, Sirte in the middle and Subratha in the west.
So many Libyans share such beliefs nowadays, as they compare their country and indeed their lives today to how they were under Gadhafi’s rule.
Less than two weeks ago, IS launched its most daring attack in Libya on a prison compound at Mitiga air base, a secure location in Tripoli. At the same time, various militias still operate outside any government control with the judiciary hardly functioning. Arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, and murders still occur, albeit on a lesser scale than three years ago. Sporadic gunfire, roadblocks and power shortages have become routine.
Benghazi, the second major city in Libya where the revolution started in February 2011, has been almost completely destroyed in the ongoing war between the Libyan army of the internationally recognized government, based in El Bayada, and different Islamist factions concentrating mainly near the seafront north of the city. The capital city of Tripoli is under the control of a government recognized by no other state; it was established after a bloody war that ended with the destruction of the airport and the capture of the city in August 2014 that forced the internationally recognized government to flee to eastern Libya.