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Libyan General Declares a Coup

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CAIRO — Stealing a page from neighboring Egypt, a senior army officer in Libya on Friday announced a military takeover, the suspension of Parliament and a new “road map” for the future.

Then nothing happened. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan called the supposed coup “ridiculous.” A military spokesman called it “a lie.” None of the Libyan Army’s few tanks or soldiers made any visible moves. The empty Parliament was quiet.

It was the latest evidence of the long shadow cast across the region by the military takeover in Cairo last summer that was announced by Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, then an army general. In this case, though, the attempted imitation in Libya demonstrated the limits of the Egyptian example.

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A prerequisite for a 'coup' is the actual existence of a 'state', a central authority of some kind, or an army for that matter! With both maintaining a shadowy minimal existence, and with Haftar being a retired or inactive general, it becomes very difficult to understand what really happened in Libya.

David Kirkpatrick's insistence on the use of 'military takeover' in Egypt is an example of the media's selective blindness and its insistence on ignoring the millions who demonstrated in 2011 and 2013; this has gone from irritating, to annoying, to dead boring for (the apparently invisible) Egyptians in general. Haftar copied Sisi's words, but the contexts in which these words were said are radically different.

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