Libya: Storm Clouds Gather

Source:  www.hub.xc.org

Date:  April 21, 2016


by Elizabeth Kendal 

Libya has multiple 'governments'. There is the General National Congress 
(GNC), which is based in the western city of Tripoli, Libya's capital. The 
GNC is backed by Libya Dawn (a jihadist coalition which includes many 
al-Qaeda-affiliated militias) and is committed to establishing an Islamic 
State. Then there is the ousted House of Representatives (HoR) or 'Tobruk 
Government', which is based in the eastern city of Tobruk and backed by the 
anti-Islamist, anti-jihadist Libyan National Army (LNA) under the command of 
Gen. Khalifa Haftar. In between them, al-Baghdadi's Islamic State / Caliphate 
(IS) controls at least 150km of coastline around Sirte. The 'international 
community' has entertained hopes that the Tripoli government might 
voluntarily integrate with the Tobruk government in a Government of National 
Accord (GNA) to form a unified front against IS. Though a UN-backed deal was 
brokered in December 2015, hardliners on both sides rejected the deal, with 
Islamists refusing to co-operate with nationalists and vice versa. Despite 
Western-UN backing, the GNA has neither 'legs' nor legitimacy. Nevertheless, 
it seems the GNA will soon invite Western powers to launch an anti-IS 
military intervention in Libya.   

While the UN was busy forming a 'unity government', senior leaders of Libya's 
Muslim Brotherhood and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighters Group 
(who were part of the Tripoli-based government) were busy reaching out to 
senior leaders of other al-Qaeda affiliates and to IS, proposing the creation 
of a unified Majlis Shura (Islamic consultative council / parliament). The 
Islamists know that unity is essential if they are to seize and hold Libya's 
oil infrastructure while resisting the Libyan National Army and any Western 
intervention. According to Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, the 
official magazine of the International Strategic Studies Association, (Issue 
3, 2016), efforts to forge jihadist unity have been phenomenally successful. 
The desire for unity is driven by the realisation that Libya would be the 
perfect launching place for Islamic jihad into Egypt and all North Africa, 
the Maghreb and the Sahel, as well as into Italy and all Europe. [Tripoli is 
only 300km from the Italian island of Lampedusa, complete with harbour and 
airstrip.] To that end, IS head al-Baghdadi has deployed some of his most 
senior, experienced and widely respected commanders to Libya. He has also 
confirmed he is willing to work in unity with Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda 
affiliates without requiring them to pledge allegiance to the Caliphate. IS 
already has some 6500 fighters in Libya, of whom around 1000 are women (who 
will doubtless be used in suicide operations). Plans are already afoot to 
create an IS 'navy' (for ferrying migrants, piracy, and use as boat-bombs) 
and to acquire anti-ship missiles from Hamas.  

It is highly probable that Libya will soon be aflame. The threat to the 
remnant Church is extreme. Furthermore, if the jihadists (led by IS) have 
success in Libya then Egypt will be in their sights, as will Italy and Rome 
(the goal). As a vulnerable, persecuted minority, Egypt's indigenous 
Christian Copts would be gravely and existentially imperilled, as would the 
vulnerable, largely Berber Church in Tunisia and Algeria. These minority 
Christians do not have state power or an army to protect them. Indeed - 
everything is better when the jihadists are divided and at war with each 
other. We must not sit idly by as evil advances, 'for we are not ignorant of 
[Satan's] designs' (2 Corinthians 2:11).  

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT 

* Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, will intervene to 'throw [the jihadists] 
into great confusion, until they are destroyed' (from Deuteronomy 7). May 
they 'fade like the grass'; may their 'arms' (means of action) 'be broken'; 
may they 'vanish' like 'smoke'; may they be 'cut off' (from Psalm 37). May 
the LORD contend with them (from Isaiah 49:24-26)!  

* Jesus Christ, having already bound the strongman [Satan] through the cross, 
will continue to 'plunder his house': i.e. liberate his captives and slaves; 
rescue the lost, including Muslims - even jihadists and persecutors of the 
Church. (See Matthew 12:22-32)  

* Christ will pour out his Spirit in great abundance on the remnant Church in 
Libya and across North Africa so that believers will have all the wisdom, 
faith, courage and grace they need to navigate the troubled days ahead. 'The 
Lord is my shepherd ...' (Psalm 23)  

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