Just a few months ago, it appeared that Libya's long nightmare of chaos that the U.S.-led "humanitarian" intervention unleashed in 2011 might finally be coming to an end. A ceasefire among the contending political factions and armed militias was at least partially effective, diminishing the level of violence. The massive exodus of refugees, many on small, overcrowded boats trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, had slowed as well. Elections were scheduled for early December to choose a new government that would then exercise jurisdiction over the entire country.
Once again, though, optimism is fading. Elections will not take place now until early spring—if they are held at all. Even as UN mediators were getting leaders of the main factions to sign a new election agreement, armed skirmishes between rival militias erupted in the capital, Tripoli.