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Libya

In July 2013, the Cyrenaica Political Bureau, a militia led by Ibrahim Jathran, began a blockade of Libya"s major oil ports and demanded expanded autonomy for Cyrenaica, a province in eastern Libya, and a greater share in oil revenues. The government did little to end the blockade, despite the loss of oil revenue—the lifeblood of Libya"s economy. In March 2014, the group loaded a tanker with 234,000 barrels of crude oil (valued at about $30 million) to sell on the black market. Prime Minister Zeidan said the move was an act of piracy and threatened to blow up the ship. The militants, however, defied the threats and the tanker left the port. Parliament voted to dismiss Zeidan, citing his weakness and inability to control the militia. Abdullah al-Thinni was named interim prime minister. U.S. Navy SEALS raided the ship days later and captured three Libyans said by crew members to be hijackers. The ship was set to return to Libya. The raid was a major setback to Jathran"s militia.

In May, former general Khalifa Heftar organized a group of anti-Islamist nationalists, calling it the Libyan National Army, and led a campaign against a coalition of Islamic militias, Libya Dawn, in eastern Libya that he said had thrown Libya into disarray. Fighting continued for several weeks, and Heftar gained the support of the country"s military. Heftar served under Qaddafi but split from him in the 1980s. He also accused Prime Minister Maiteg of being under the sway of the Islamic militias.

Libya"s transitional Parliament elected Ahmed Maitiq, a prominent businessman from Misurata, as prime minister in May 2014. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the election was unconstitutional, and he resigned. Thinni remained in office as interim prime minister.

Parliamentary elections were held in late June 2014, and because the populace had largely lost confidence in government as militias continued to yield tremendous power, turnout and interest in the race were low. In light of the violence between rival militias in Tripoli, the new

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