UPDATE: MORE? — COUP? State Department warns ALL American citizens to GET OUT OF LIBYA IMMEDIATELY

The State Department is warning all US citizens to leave Libya immediately:

Why? I did a little checking and it looks like Libya is about to undergo another coup attempt in order to wipe out the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists groups, especially in Benghazi:

NY TIMES – The United States has another large problem on its hands right now in Libya. Khalifa Hifter, a former Libyan general who is now an American citizen, is mounting what could be a de facto coup, with far-reaching consequences for Libya and the United States.

When the indigenous 2011 rebellion broke out and NATO intervened, General Hifter returned to Libya expecting to command the rebel forces, but lost out to Abdul Fattah Younes, Colonel Qaddafi’s former interior minister. Mr. Younes was later assassinated, with suspicion falling on an Islamist militia then emerging in Benghazi.

This month, General Hifter re-emerged as the leader of an assault, backed by jet fighters and artillery, on Islamist camps in Benghazi; simultaneously, his partisans terminated a session of Parliament in Libya’s capital, Tripoli. He claims to have been planning this maneuver by shuttling among Libyan military figures in Libya’s major cities — a scenario reminiscent of Colonel Qaddafi’s preparations for his own 1969 coup.

General Hifter calls his program Operation Karama — Arabic for “dignity.” In interviews, he styles himself a fierce patriot with a “civic duty” to deliver Libyans from the Muslim Brotherhood. He speaks of “cleansing” Libya of Islamists, especially in Benghazi, where he blames them for daily assassinations and kidnappings.

He has not stated an end-goal, but has said he would not refuse a leadership role — if the people should will it. He rules out compromising with Islamists, who, he says, only respond to force.

In recent days, General Hifter has gained backing from key Libyan army and air force units, important militias and senior members of the regional security forces, as well as oblique endorsements from some leaders of the 2011 revolution.

But the United States government has not expressed a judgment. It seems to be avoiding endorsement or rejection of General Hifter, limiting itself to expressions of concern about a situation it calls “extremely fluid” and joining an international call for all parties to refrain from violent acts. Secretary of State John Kerry has asked a senior diplomat, David Satterfield, to go to Libya as an envoy, but has not indicated a direct connection with General Hifter’s action.


UPDATE: This may also have something to do with it:

DEFENSE NEWSMilitia fighters stole hundreds of American-supplied automatic weapons and other equipment in a raid on a Libyan base where the US was training local forces, bringing an abrupt end to the secretive program, a report said Tuesday.

Elite US troops have been tasked since last year with covertly forming local counterterrorism units in Libya, Mauritania, Niger and Mali, part of US efforts to widen the war against al-Qaida affiliates in Africa, The New York Times reported, citing American officials.

It has been financed in part with millions of dollars in classified Pentagon spending, the Times said, and involves instructing and equipping “handpicked” commandos in the four countries, with the hope the teams will eventually be able to take on fighters like Boko Haram.

But the initiative has endured several setbacks, notably in Libya, where the training was suddenly cut short in August last year when a group of armed militia fighters overpowered a small Libyan guard force at a training camp outside the capital Tripoli, the newspaper said.

As well as automatic weapons, the fighters seized night-vision goggles and vehicles, it added, saying that American instructors were promptly sent home. US officials are now looking for a more secure site to get the program going again.

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