Since the attack that took the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in September 2012, Benghazi has taken on a life of its own, serving as everything from a rallying cry against the Obama administration to a derisive hashtag poking fun at administration critics. But for all the talk about the year-and-a-half-old scandal, what's happening in the real Benghazi, Libya, today has received little attention. As limited military aid and training flow into Iraq and Syria, Libya is slipping closer and closer to outright civil war.
After the end of the 2011 NATO military campaign in Libya that ousted Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the transitional government that was set up seemed to be poised for a peaceful transition of power. But before long, former rebels and militia groups, unhappy with the slow pace of change after Qaddafi's government was toppled, began to clash with government forces.
The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi prompted many Western governments to close up their diplomatic missions in Libya, and the situation there continued to unravel. In October 2013, then-Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was briefly abducted from a hotel in Tripoli by an armed militia; three months later, the country's deputy industry minister was assassinated.