The 2011 uprisings against Muammar Gaddafi have returned Libya to its traditional state of fragmentation. Now with the almost total collapse of state structures, the Libyan political and militia environment is roughly divided into two blocs, each of which represent a coalition of temporarily-aligned interests. Though often represented in the media as a civil war between Islamists and anti-Islamists, the reality is closer to a form of 'armed politics' pitting supporters of the controversial Political Isolation Law against its opponents. Adding a further layer of complexity, outside actors are driving the conflict by providing military support to the opposing blocs.
1The ‘Islamist’ bloc is not united by a particular vision for Islamic governance, but rather by an opposition to remnants of the Gaddafi regime remaining in power; it ranges moderate Muslim Brotherhood members to extremist Salafi-Jihadis such as Ansar al-Sharia.
2The ‘anti-Islamist’ bloc does not share any theological outlook, and is certainly not secularist. Aligned to the internationally-recognised government in Tobruk, its main shared ideology is opposition to the Political Isolation Law which currently excludes former Gaddafi officials from public office.