Libyan revolutionaries kick Islamist militia out of Benghazi


Demonstrators celebrate clearing out Islamist Ansar al-Sharia militia

An Islamist militia was driven out of the city of Benghazi early on Saturday in a surge of anger against the armed groups that control large parts of Libya…

A spokesman for Ansar al-Sharia, which some U.S. and Libya officials blame for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, said it had evacuated its bases “to preserve security in the city”…

The invasion of Ansar al-Sharia’s compounds, which met little resistance, appeared to be part of a sweep of militia bases by police, troops and activists following a large demonstration against militia units in Benghazi on Friday.

Demonstrators pulled down militia flags and set a vehicle on fire inside what was once the base of Gaddafi’s security forces.

Hundreds of men waving swords and even a meat cleaver chanted “Libya, Libya”, “No more al Qaeda!” and “The blood we shed for freedom shall not go in vain!”

“After what happened at the American consulate, the people of Benghazi had enough of the extremists,” demonstrator Hassan Ahmed said. “They did not give allegiance to the army. So the people broke in and they fled.

“This place is like the Bastille. This is where Gaddafi controlled Libya from, and then Ansar al-Sharia took it over. This is a turning point for the people of Benghazi…”

Libya’s government had promised Washington it would find the perpetrators of what appeared to be a well planned attack on the U.S. consulate, which coincided with protests against an anti-Islam video and the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks…

Although Ansar al-Sharia denies any role in the consulate attack, the latest events in the cradle of Libya’s revolution appeared at least in part to vindicate Obama’s faith in Libya’s nascent democracy.

RTFA for a great deal of detail, chronology of events.

This revolutionary period still runs the risk of being subverted by thugs loyal to Gaddafi’s tribe and ideology. There is the danger of pro-government militias run by Islamists and even al Qaeda attaining positions of political power.

A period of immediate post-revolutionary turmoil is rife with opportunities for agents provocateur as well as the standard flavor of political opportunists who flock to a moment of critical change like greed-driven lemmings.

I wish those folks truly dedicated to building a better Libya nothing but the best.

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