By Ulf Laessing
CAIRO, – Islamic State’s executions of Christians show the group is exploiting Libya’s lawlessness but tribal and political loyalties and the absence of a sectarian divide mean it is unlikely to grow as rapidly there as in Iraq or Syria.
On Sunday, the militant group published a video purportedly showing the execution of 30 Ethiopian Christians in two locations in eastern and southern Libya, two months after it beheaded 21 Egyptian Copts there.
The video suggests Islamic State, which controls much of Syria and Iraq, has managed to further expand in the North African country after establishing a limited presence in the eastern town of Derna as well as in western and central Libya.
It is benefiting from chaos in oil-producing Libya, where two governments allied to armed factions are fighting each other on several fronts four years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. With neither side able to dominate, a security vacuum exists.
The militant group also lacks strong ties to large Libyan tribes, and must compete with former anti-Gaddafi rebel groups that have carved out their own fiefdoms based on regional, tribal, ethnic and political ties.