Libya’s Islamist Rebels Have Their Own Air Forces

Civil wars are usually asymmetric affairs — the government has large numbers and modern weapons while the opposition has what it can capture on the battlefield or buy on the black market.

In most cases, rebels don’t find or buy supersonic fighter jets.

Libya is different. The country’s complex civil war is a direct result of the 2011 revolution against Muammar Gaddafi. Rebels, aided by NATO aerial support, killed the dictator on Oct. 20, 2011.

After his death, both rebel and loyalist forces fractured. Gaddafi’s vast and modern weapon stockpiles were suddenly available to anyone. Soldiers from all sides of the conflict scooped up the remains of the Libyan air force.

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