Muammar al-Qaddafi is dead, and in his absence rival militias have turned Libya into a violent playground for heavily-armed men jockeying for control of the country. That conflict now breaks down, roughly, as a stand-off between more anti-Islamist, tribal-oriented militias and their Islamist opponents. In recent days, the Islamist militias have been ascendant, seizing control of Tripoli, the capital, and while the anarchy gripping Libya is nothing to make light of, a sure indication of its lawlessness comes to us in the form of this rather amazing footage: a jihadi pool party at a residential compound of the U.S. embassy.
American facilities in Tripoli have stood mostly empty since embassy staff were evacuated in July amid increased fighting, which has in recent weeks begun to resemble a regional proxy war. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have begun carrying out airstrikes in support of their anti-Islamist allies, threatening to escalate the conflict.
But at least for now, the symbolism of Libyan anarchy is slightly more innocent. In the video below, which was first posted Sunday, militants execute clumsy swan dives off a balcony and exclaim in wonder that they are partying at the U.S. embassy.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones, who is currently working out of Malta, has confirmed that she believes the footage is from a residential annex.
@AmCo15 The YouTube appears to be a residential annex of the US mission but cannot say definitively since not there.
— Safira Deborah (@SafiraDeborah) August 31, 2014
American diplomatic facilities in Libya have of course been the focus of intense scrutiny after the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed in an assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012.