US Now Ready to Evacuate Embassy in Tripoli

Country may be poised for civil war: Washington Post
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 20, 2014 9:09 AM CDT
US ambassador to Libya Gene A. Cretz, right, stands at the podium during a flag raising ceremony for the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.   (AP Photo Abdel Magid al-Fargany)

(Newser) – Amid new violence in Libya, the US is considering evacuating its embassy in Tripoli, with the decision being made "minute by minute," an official tells CNN. Eight Osprey aircraft are now in place at a US naval base in Italy, ready to evacuate the embassy if needed; 200 Marines arrived at the base last week. Saudi Arabia has already closed its embassy in Tripoli, while Turkey has shut its consulate in Benghazi. Islamist militias are poised to enter Tripoli, where opposing militias are adding support for former general Khalifa Haftar; the Washington Post sees Libya as potentially "sliding into civil war."

Haftar, sources tell the Post, has spent months planning his effort to wipe out the Islamist militias, which he says have used violence to keep a hold on political power. The paper profiles the ex-general, who, an acquaintance says, lived "a very good life" in Northern Virginia for years after turning his back on Moammar Gadhafi, who he helped bring to power, in the late '80s. Haftar apparently became a US citizen, the Post notes, and voted in 2008 and 2009. He returned to Libya in 2011 (selling a DC-area home for $612,000 the year prior), helping lead the push against Gadhafi. Now, some allies are raising doubts. "I’m not sure of his goals. He doesn’t seem to have a clear vision of what he’s really doing."

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