Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government arrive in Tajura, a suburb of Tripoli. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images

Forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, the warlord who already controls eastern Libya, are nearing the country's capital of Tripoli.

The latest: At least 51 soldiers and civilians have been killed in clashes between Haftar's Libyan National Army and militias loyal to the U.N.-backed government. Thousands have fled. Thousands more are now trapped, and Haftar's forces today hit the airport with an airstrike.

The backdrop: Libya has been plagued by violence and power struggles since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Haftar was at one point a top general under Gaddafi but later worked to topple him. He "is expected to face stiff resistance from powerful militias from the western cities of Misrata and Zawiya," per the AP.

  • "Both the U.N. and the U.S. insist that a political process — not a military clash — is the only solution that will give Libya a lasting peace and functioning government," per NPR.
  • "Many foreign powers involved in Libya have tolerated or encouraged the general’s machinations," the Economist notes. "France hopes he can bring other militias to heel. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) share his anti-Islamist politics. Russia has also sold weapons to General Haftar. All mistakenly thought they could control him, not least by threatening to restrict oil exports, and prevent the opening of a western front in Libya’s long-running conflict."

Go deeper

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,778,331 — Total deaths: 974,436 — Total recoveries: 21,876,025Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,943,078 — Total deaths: 201,930 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response

Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

Trump refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses

President Trump repeatedly refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election to Joe Biden, saying at a press briefing: "We're going to have to see what happens."

The big picture: Trump has baselessly claimed on a number of occasions that the only way he will lose the election is if it's "rigged," claiming — without evidence — that mail-in ballots will result in widespread fraud. Earlier on Wednesday, the president said he wants to quickly confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the election.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!