In the past few days the simmering cauldron of the farcical inoperative facade of a 'government' and the deadly rivalries for power between multiple heavily armed often foreign-backed militias which is Libya today has boiled over.
The heaviest fighting in Libya since the Arab spring revolution broke out in the eastern capital of Benghazi on Friday as forces led by a retired general attacked militias on the ground and with jets.
Air strikes pounded militia bases at dawn and 6,000 troops converged on the city, storming a series of bases and checkpoints.
Eyewitnesses described a city in chaos, with jets streaking low over rooftops, tanks on the streets, heavy detonations and aggressive fighting.
The Libyan government has insisted that it remains in control of the country despite a series of heavy attacks and clashes over the weekend.
The parliament building in the capital Tripoli was overrun by a militia group, and two people were killed.
Later a militia spokesman demanded that the assembly hand over power to a body drawing up a new constitution.
Gunmen first stormed then suspended Libya's parliament on Sunday in an anti-government rebellion that is spreading across the country.
Members of a militia allied to the renegade general, Khalifa Hiftar, hit the building with anti-aircraft guns and rockets, causing MPs to flee in panic as parts of the complex caught fire.
They then suspended parliament and said it would operate on an emergency basis.
A commander in the military police in Libya read a statement announcing the suspension on behalf of a group led by Hiftar, a one-time rebel commander who said the US backed his efforts to topple Muammar Gaddafi in the 1990s.
A spokesman for a rogue Libyan general says his forces have attacked the parliament to arrest Islamists there, and have been met with resistance.
A security official said the attackers also shelled a nearby military base controlled by an Islamist militia.
The attack on parliament followed an assault on Friday by Hifter's forces on Islamist militias in the restive eastern city of Benghazi, which authorities said had killed 70 people.
Since Gaddafi's overthrow, Libya's army and police have relied on the country's myriad of militias, the heavily armed groups formed around ethnic identity, home towns and religion that emerged from the rebel factions that toppled the dictator.
Bringing the militias under control has been one of the greatest challenges for Libya's successive interim governments, one they have largely failed at as militias have seized oil terminals and even kidnapped a former prime minister, seemingly at will.
Libya's legislature is divided between Islamist and non-Islamist factions, with rival militias lining up behind them. Recently, Islamists backed the naming of a new prime minister amid walkouts from non-Islamists, who said the new government would not be legitimate.
Libya's government has insisted it is still in control of the worsening security situation, even as an al-Qaeda-inspired group vowed to fight troops loyal to a renegade general behind an attack on the country's parliament.
Gunmen launched an attack on the parliament in the capital Tripoli on Sunday and demanded its suspension and an airport in the Eastern city of Benghazi came under rocket attack early on Monday.
Later on Monday the al-Qaeda-inspired Lions of Monotheism Group said it would fight forces apparently loyal to a renegade Libyan general, Khalifa Hifter, after they attacked parliament and suspended its activities.
Haftar says his campaign against the Islamists aimed to purge the restive city of "terrorist" groups, but he has been denounced by the authorities in Tripoli of trying to stage a coup - a charge he denies.
The North African nation's regular army, still not properly operational nearly three years after the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi has denied any involvement in the Benghazi clashes.
Haftar lived in exile in the United States for nearly two decades before returning home to lead ground forces in the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya's army chief ordered the deployment of Islamist-led militias to the capital Tripoli on Monday in response to the storming of parliament by forces loyal to a renegade ex-general, paving the way for a possible showdown between rival militia fighters.
In the other camp, parliament chief Nouri Abu Sahmein - an Islamist-leaning politician - ordered a powerful umbrella group of mainly Islamist militias known as “Libya's Central Shield'' to mobilize on Monday to defend against Haftar's forces. The umbrella group is dominated by a militia from Libya's third largest city, Misrata.
Further raising the potential for chaos, one of Libya's many al-Qaida-inspired extremist groups on Monday vowed to fight Haftar's forces, the Associated Press reported.
Links to articles about Ukraine that I read last week which you might find interesting: