(Bloomberg) – A rogue general in Libya who’s confronting Islamist militias and seeking to shut down the country’s parliament gained support in the east of the country among both soldiers and some separatist groups.
Rebels who hold ports in eastern Libya, where they’ve been blocking oil exports since July, expressed support for Khalifa Haftar, the retired military leader who heads a self-proclaimed National Army. Haftar’s stated goal of crushing armed Islamist groups also won backing from a key army commander in the east.
As Libya’s government accuses Haftar of attempting a coup, his forces put on a show of strength at both ends of the country, attacking Islamist groups in Benghazi and storming the parliament in Tripoli. The fighting is the latest evidence of the breakdown of authority in the oil-rich north African nation three years after the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.