Tripolo — Coffee and a pastry covered in chocolate, honey and almonds — or a savoury bean stew sandwich with juice or a fizzy drink? What you have for breakfast has come to symbolise the divisions in Libya where regions, tribes, armed groups and towns with different traditions have been vying for power since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. An assault by eastern forces allied to Khalifa Haftar on Tripoli last month has all but wrecked UN-backed efforts for a peace deal between the rival factions. And the breakfast choice has become part of the language of the conflict and such an inflammatory subject that several cafés in Tripoli would not allow Reuters to discuss it with clients. The capital’s urban elites love a pastry called baryoush — some people say the word is related to brioche which the Italian colonial rulers introduced with coffee and cappuccinos. The cosmopolitan crowd looks down on the bean dish called fasouliyah, favoured by easterners. It is sometimes served with e...

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