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Islamic State tightens grip on Libya

An Al-Monitor correspondent recently visited Libya and found his homeland sinking deeper into despair and dysfunction and possibly sliding toward disintegration.
Members of the Libyan pro-government forces stand on a tank during their deployment in the Lamluda area, southwest of the city of Derna, Libya, June 16, 2015. Picture taken June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer - RTX1GY57

During a June-July visit to Libya, I arrived to find that daily life in my home country has become even more depressing than it had been the year before. Tripoli no longer has an airport. It was destroyed in August 2014 during the battle for control of the capital between Islamist-backed Misrata militias and fighters from Zintan militias.

An alternative airport, Mitiga, carved out of a former military base, serves direct flights from Algeria, Jordan and Turkey, but their unreliability makes the better option to fly into Djerba, the tourist resort in southern Tunisia, and then continue the journey overland. During this most recent visit, unlike previously, there were few tourists in Tunis because of this year's terror attacks in Tunis at the Bardo National Museum and Sousse, a beach town. In the past, the drive from Djerba to Tripoli usually took less than three hours, including the time wasted at the notorious security checkpoints inside Tunisia. Now, it can take up to 10 hours, so I was lucky to have made it in only seven. 

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