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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 15 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

17 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

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