Tag Archive | "LIBYA"

General Haftar Is Trying to Trick Turkey into Overextending Itself in Libya


NOVANEWS
 

Libyan National Army leader General Haftar ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and companies that he accused of helping the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, as well as to arrest Turkish citizens in the country, which is nothing short of an effort to trick Turkey into overextending itself by provoking it into “mission creep” so that it ends up trapped in the Libyan quagmire.

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The Libyan Civil War might be entering a new phase if the forces led by Libyan National Army (LNA) leader General  Haftar do good on their leader’s threats to attack Turkish ships and companies that he accused of helping the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), a well as to arrest Turkish citizens in the country. The popular warlord has already succeeded in capturing most of the country with the notable exception being the capital of Tripoli, which has only held out as long as it has supposedly because of Turkish support.

The Libyan Civil War was directly caused by NATO’s 2011 War on Libya and the subsequent scramble for influence in the energy-rich and geostrategically positioned North African state, with Turkey playing a leading role in the latter because the de-facto Muslim Brotherhood-led country envisions restoring its Ottoman-era empire through the establishment of ideologically allied governments in this vast trans-continental space. The GNA is comprised of Muslim Brotherhood fighters and their offshoots who came to power after 2011, which is why Erdogan supports them so strongly and has a stake in their continued leadership of the country, something that Haftar is adamantly opposed to because he sees his countrymen’s collaboration with Turkey as treasonous.

The LNA leader is now threatening to impose serious physical costs to Turkey’s unofficial intervention in the Libyan Civil War, hoping that this will either compel it to retreat or counterproductively dig in through “mission creep” and risk overextending itself in what has become a regional proxy war between secular and Islamist forces backed by the UAE/Egypt/France and Turkey/Qatar/Libya respectively. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s ego, his ambition for regional influence, and the domestic political pressure that he’s under after the latest mayoral election rerun in Istanbul are responsible for Turkey’s vow to retaliate against the Libyan warlord.

Should Turkey suffer highly publicized losses at the hands of Haftar’s forces, then it might embolden the country’s Cypriot, Greek, Kurdish separatist, and Syrian enemies in its immediate neighborhood if they interpret those developments as a sign of weakness proving that the Turkish military is just a “paper tiger” incapable of properly defending its interests and/or defeating its first conventional military adversary in decades. Erdogan is therefore in a classic dilemma since he’s damned if he retreats but equally damned if he doesn’t and ends up being humiliated by Haftar. It’ll remain to be seen what ultimately happens, but Turkey is in a very tricky position nowadays and needs to be careful that it doesn’t get trapped in the Libyan quagmire.

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Libya: Haftar Calls for the People to Rebel in Tripoli


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  • Militia forces in Ain Zara, Tripoli, Libya April 28, 2019.
    Militia forces in Ain Zara, Tripoli, Libya April 28, 2019. | Photo: Reuters
  • Militia from the U.N.-backed National Accord Government (GNA) continue to try to hold the city against Haftar forces. 

The Libyan National Army (LNA) commander, Khalifa Haftar, is trying to incite a revolt in Tripoli amid signs of popular agitation against the Tripoli-based National Accord Government (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Serraj and backed by the United Nations.

RELATED: Macron Seeks Meeting with Haftar to Reach Ceasefire in Libya

The LNA says pro-GNA militias, which came from the city of Misrata, arrested about 180 Haftar supporters in Tripoli and held them captive.

After this event, the LNA called on Tripoli’s inhabitants “whose children are held captive by the militia, to get up and get rid of the outlaws.”

Militias are trying to hold the city from an LNA takeover that has been making its way to the capital under Haftar since early April. GNA forces killed at least 15 LNA members Saturday May 18, reports EFE, as the two sides are trying to control strategic areas of the city, including the now defunct airport.

From 2014 and on, Libya has had two political power centers: a United Nations-backed government in Tripoli, that is having a hard time governing the capital city and some western areas; and another government in Tobruk, an eastern city which has remained under the Haftar’s control.

On April 4, the LNA commander launched a military offensive against Tripoli that is already engaged in long-lasting conflict that has left 454 dead, 2,154 wounded and over 63,000 displaced, according to local media 218TV net.

RELATED: Macron: No Bet on Both Sides, France Supports Sarraj in Libya

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met with the LNA commander in Rome Thursday, urging him to end his offensive on Tripoli. “We spoke with Hafter for a long time and I have expressed Italy’s concern about the situation in Libya, we want a ceasefire and we trust in the political path as a solution to the conflict,” said the Italian leader.

Haftar will hold talks with the French President Emmanuel Macron next week to discuss peace talks in the country, a Macron source said last week.

“They will discuss the situation in Libya, the conditions for a return to political dialogue after the visit of the leader of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, and in coordination with the United Nations and its partners,” the source told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, requested an end to the armed confrontation in Tripoli and to establish a national dialogue between Libyans.

During a previous meeting with the French special envoy to Libya, Frederic Dessano, Bogdanov stressed his country’s commitment to strengthen the Libyan political process in order to establish unified institutions. He also reiterated Moscow’s support to the United Nations envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame.

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Is Haftar right in claiming there are terrorists and militias in Tripoli?


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People attend a protest against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar's offensive to seize Tripoli, on 12 April 2019. [Hazem Turkia - Anadolu Agency]

People attend a protest against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s offensive to seize Tripoli, on 12 April 2019. [Hazem Turkia – Anadolu Agency].

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), has long claimed that terrorists and rogue militias are controlling the capital Tripoli, placing his campaign as part of the international “war on terror”. In launching his attack on 4 April, his spokesperson repeatedly said that “terrorists” are fighting LNA on the outskirts of the capital.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, vehemently denies that any criminals, terrorists, sanctioned individuals or militia leaders are involved in the fight. Claiming full control over forces confronting the LNA.

Whose claims are true?

The situation on the ground stems from when the newly formed GNA was transferred, under Italian protection, to Tripoli three months after the Libyan Political Accord was signed in Skhirat Morocco, on 17 December 2015

READ: We are witnessing a tsunami of Arab crises 

Having neither army nor police force on the ground, the GNA, with the help of the UN, had to rely on the support of dominant militias including the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB), Special Deterrence Force and Nawasi Brigade. Between them they control most of the capital including Mitiga airport.

Libyan National Accord Government troops clash with eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar's troops in Wadi al-Rabie area located at south of Tripoli, Libya on April 10, 2019. [Hazem Turkia - Anadolu Agency]

Libyan National Accord Government troops clash with eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s troops in Wadi al-Rabie area located at south of Tripoli, Libya on 10 April, 2019 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

Once in the capital, the GNA found itself under the mercy of militias. I remember, in April 2016 Hashem Beshr, a TRB leader told me how he spent days negotiating with other militias to allow the GNA to come to Tripoli.

As a result, the GNA has become a political vehicle, enjoying international support, but in reality driven by a coalition of militias. It failed to implement a clause in the political accord that calls for disbanding and disarming militias in Tripoli.

READ: Haftar has clearly been given the green light to conquer Tripoli 

One of the well-known terrorist in the capital was Mahdi Al-Harati who served as Tripoli mayor in 2014. An Irish citizen of Libyan descent and member of the former terrorist group Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) led by the famous Abdelhakim Belhaj, Al-Harati returned to Libya in 2011 to join the fight against the Gaddafi regime. After the regime was deposed he served as commander of the TRB before leaving to Syria where he founded Liwaa Al-Umma, a Salafist armed group which later merged with Al-Nusra Front. There was a time when Al-Harati was recruiting fighters from Libya in broad day light in the middle of Tripoli. It is not clear if he is now in Tripoli but his supporters and former comrades are.

TRB itself became well entrenched in Tripoli and its military leadership went to the younger Haitham Al-Tajuri, famous for wearing Dolce and Gabbana T-shirts on the frontlines. Under his command TRB became more efficient in how to make money through a series of private companies, mainly import-export businesses, heavily subsidised by the GNA. At the same time all its members, mostly unemployed school dropouts, are on the GNA’s payroll. TRB is loyal to the GNA as long as it gives them a free hand to operate in the city.

General Khalifa Haftar taking over Libya - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

General Khalifa Haftar taking over Libya – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Another famous former terrorist, who used to be a dominant shadowy figure in Tripoli, is Khalid AlSharif. He once served as deputy emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in Afghanistan under Belhaj. After the 2011 civil war Al-Sharif became director general of the defence ministry in successive governments from 2011 until 2016

At the same time, he was director of the notorious Hadba prison in southern Tripoli where former regime officials used to be tortured including Abdalla Sanousi, Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief. AlSharif was chased out of Tripoli by TRB in 2017 and found safety in Misrata from where he later appeared on video vowing to come back. His whereabouts are now unknown but LIFG elements are involved in the current violence.

Since 2014, Tripoli’s central square has been the scene of small weekly demonstrations calling for Haftar’s death and claiming his LNA is destroying Benghazi. Most Islamist leaders fled Benghazi to Tripoli where they continue mobilising supporters in western Libya. Among them is Benghazi Defence Brigades’ leader Mustapha Al-Sharkasi who recently compared the fight against the LNA to that against Gaddafi’s government in 2011

Each Friday, for nearly three months in 2015, I would go to the square to watch and listen as speaker after speaker took to the podium venting a barrage of hate against Haftar while calling for young people to join the “jihad” against the LNA in Benghazi. Defeated at the hands of the LNA in Benghazi, many top leaders moved to Tripoli and are now involved in the fight against their old enemy.

Some of them are believed to be linked to the now defunct Ansar Al-Sharia jihadist group. Ansar Al-Sharia is sanctioned as a terrorist group by the UN Security Council and accused of murdering the US ambassador in Benghazi in 2012

It is unlikely that any known Daesh operatives are present in Tripoli but sleeper cells linked to the group have carried out three attacks last year alone.

People shout slogans near flag-draped coffins of those who lost their lives in rocket attacks by East Libya-based forces led by commander Khalifa Haftar at the Abu Salim neighborhood, during a funeral ceremony at Martyrs' Square in Tripoli, Libya on 17 April 2019 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

People shout slogans near flag-draped coffins of those who lost their lives in rocket attacks by East Libya-based forces led by commander Khalifa Haftar at the Abu Salim neighborhood, during a funeral ceremony at Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli, Libya on 17 April 2019
[Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

Then there are various – mainly Misratan – militia leaders. People like the notorious Salah Badi, commander of Al-Somood Brigade, who has also mobilised his forces to counter the LNA’s march on Tripoli. Badi is on the UN, US, and EU sanctions lists including asset freezes and travel bans. Badi is famous for the so called Libya Dawn attack on Tripoli in 2014 in which its international airport was destroyed. He personally appeared on video to cheer the destruction! The current GNA Minister of Interior, Fathi Bashaga, is also implicated in that war and in the 2012 invasion of Bani Walid in the southwest of Tripoli.

Libya’s self-styled Mufti has always issued fatwas for his followers to be involved in “jihad” against the LNA because it is led by “infidel” Haftar.

READ: The two most dangerous Arab governments 

Another less famous supporter of jihad against the LNA, but frequent guest on religious talk shows is Abdulbasit Ghwilah; a Libyan Canadian former member of LIFG. Some commentators link him to the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi on May 2017. Until recently Ghwilah was living in Tripoli.

The notorious migrant trafficker, Abdul Rahman Al-Milad, sanctioned by the UN, has also joined forces with groups in Tripoli to counter the LNA’s attack.

Does the GNA really know about those people? Certainly they do but at this point they need them. Undoubtedly Haftar’s claims are, at least partially, true but his offensive is likely to encourage even more jihadists and criminals to join the battle.

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Libyan Strongman Meets with UN Chief after Advancing on Tripoli


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  • Libyan Strongman Meets with UN Chief after Advancing on Tripoli
    Photo: Reuters

    The commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, met with U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in Benghazi on Friday as the Libyan general´s forces push towards Tripoli.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi on Friday in a bid to avert renewed civil war as his forces advanced on the capital Tripoli to challenge the internationally recognized government.

RELATED: Libyan Commander Haftar Orders Forces to Move on Tripoli

The military thrust by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a parallel administration based in the east, marked a dangerous escalation of a power struggle that has dragged on since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

LNA forces on Thursday took Gharyan, about 80 km (50 miles) south of Tripoli after skirmishes with forces allied to Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.

But they failed to take a checkpoint about 30 km west of the capital in a bid to close the coastal road to Tunisia. An LNA-allied militia withdrew overnight from so-called Gate 27, leaving it abandoned in the morning, a Reuters reporter said.

In another setback, forces allied to Tripoli took 145 LNA fighters prisoner in Zawiya, west of Tripoli, a western commander, Mohamed Alhudair, told Reuters. An LNA source confirmed 128 had been captured.

Sixty vehicles had also been seized, Alhudairi said.

Meanwhile armed groups allied to the U.N.-backed Tripoli government moved more machinegun-mounted pickups from the coastal city of Misrata to Tripoli to defend it against Haftar’s forces.

The escalation surprised the United Nations, whose Secretary-General Guterres had been in Tripoli this week to help organize a national reconciliation conference planned for later this month.

Guterres, who spent Thursday night in the heavily fortified U.N. compound in a Tripoli suburb, flew to Benghazi and drove to Haftar’s base, witnesses said.

He earlier went to Tobruk, another eastern city, to meet Aguila Saleh, president of the House of Representatives, which is also allied to Haftar.

“My aim remains the same: avoid a military confrontation. I reiterate that there is no military solution for the Libyan crisis, only a political one,” Guterres said on Twitter.

On Thursday, Saleh welcomed the offensive. After the meeting with Guterres, his spokesman said they had discussed ways to end the crisis and the planned conference, without giving details.

INTERNATIONAL CONCERN

Haftar enjoys the backing of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which see him as bulwark against Islamists and have supported him militarily, according to U.N. reports.

The UAE, however, joined Western countries in expressing its deep concern about the fighting.

Germany called an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council due to the military escalation.

Russia said it was not helping Haftar’s forces and it supported a negotiated political settlement that ruled out any new bloodshed.

Former colonial power Italy, which lies across the Mediterranean from Libya, was very worried by the turn of events, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said.

“We need to throw water on the fire, not petrol on the fire. I hope that people, acting out of economic or business self-interest, is not looking for a military solution, which would be devastating,” Salvini said.

Tunisia has tightened control on its border with Libya in response to the renewed conflict, the defense ministry said.

The United Nations and Western countries were already trying to mediate between Serraj and Haftar, who met in Abu Dhabi last month to discuss a power-sharing deal.

The conference the United Nations is helping to organize is aimed at forging agreement on a road map for elections to resolve the prolonged instability in Libya, an oil producer and transit point for refugees and migrants trekking across the Sahara with the aim of reaching Europe.

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Libya – A Prime Example of Secularism Versus Extremist Islam


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For years I and other commentators on MENA developments, have consistently written that Field Marshall Haftar is the only solution for Libya. And yet again the latest ridiculous Italian attempt to broker a solution after dozens of similar conferences took place. In the words of the former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi it was as “a resounding flop”.

Its been 7 years since the ‘unnatural’ revolution causing disgracefully regime change, brought about by the imperialist land and oil grab by the ‘great powers’ using unashamedly NATO.

If this chaos continues, Libya will inevitably split into two countries and very soon.

When the hell are the fools that inhabit the UN, EU and even Russia going to ‘get out’ of Libya?

To repeat the obvious; the only key figure in Libya is Khalifa Haftar.

For the record, he arrived in Palermo on Monday evening, but was not going to play their game; he barely participated in the conference.

The Italian government press office said Haftar was not having dinner with the other participants nor joining them for talks, though some of them heads of state or government. Haftar specifically opposed the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood champion, Qatar at the event .

Haftar clearly only attended because he had a few days before visited Moscow, who sent to Sicily, Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev and because also of Egyptian President Sisi’s presence.

To repeat what has been stated countless times by serious commentators as opposed to mostly American corrupt, bought think tanks, the Libyan people reject Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood – secularism must prevail. If it succeeded in Libya, it could catch on in other Islamic countries and reverse the extremist Islamic trends that produced ISIS, Al Qaeda and the repulsive murderess and despicable Wahhabi regime in Saudi.

After all it was the great Kamal Ataturk, before WW11, in Turkey that despatched and banished mullahs from political life, as by the way did Shah Reza Pahlavi of Persia.

Libya is but a symptom of the real issue and problem; the clash of civilisations.

Its time to send these Islamic fanatics back a thousand some years. Why are people afraid to state the bleeding obvious? Because our so called leaders are moral and physical cowards, unable to call a spade a spade, in an Orwellian age of political correctness.

If only we could send these savages in a time machine back to around the 8th century, when admittedly the Islamic empire extended from Iberia, modern Spain, in the west to the Indus river in the east, we could then get on with dealing with the complex problems of over population, global warming and the consequences of the technological age, artificial intelligence being the most worrisome.

A man called Phillip Husband expressed it, (partly paraphrasing his words) very well:

“Any form of dogmatism is incompatible with the modern world. The literal meaning of the word Islam is submission: submission, in this case, to a set of dogmas that were established 1400 years ago by an Arab who is considered by most Muslims to be al-Insaan al-Kaamil, the Perfect Man, whose example is to be followed in every possible way, even in the 21st century.

This being the case, it might be apparent that rigid followers of Islam will not feel quite at home in modern societies which tolerate things that Islam, pretends, hypocritically, to forbid: homosexuality, polytheism, atheism, blasphemy, alcohol, drugs, premarital sex, et al.

On the other hand, it is unfortunate that many Muslims come to the West with a sense of innate superiority. They’re happy to take advantage of the benefits of living in our societies which offer incomparably greater opportunities and living standards than their own Muslim countries, yet profess to despise the boozing, half-dressed fornicators who let them in. Not forgetting their absolutely unacceptable attitudes and treatment of women.

Further if they advocate overthrowing our societies in order to impose Sharia law: the fact that some Muslims actually support this position is what makes people in the West not wish further Muslim immigration into their countries, not to mention the terrorist attacks that have been carried out by people of this faith in recent years.”

Important to mention since the previous paragraph refers to terrorism, lest we forget, the greatest terrorists exists courtesy of States like America, Saudi and Israel, to mention but a few, not by these small band of die hard revolutionary terrorists groups.

Get real people. See the truth, say the truth which is more profound than our pathetic ‘big brother security call’ in the West ”See something, say something”.  All right then, we say this; we the people, see gross injustice and corruption, domestically and internationally by politicians and bureaucrats, and so what are we going to do about it?

Ballot or bullet..maybe we need both.

Enough is enough. Let’s decide and move forward, not be paralysed into non action.

Be done with political correctness and call a spade a spade, would be a start.

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Gaddafi’s Son, Saif al Islam Welcomes Sarkozy Arrest, Offers Evidence


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Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of fallen Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has welcomed the detention of former French president Nicholas Sarkozy and reiterated his offer of evidence showing that Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign was funded by illicit funds.

Saif al-Islam alluded to the evidence he gave to European media channel, Euronews in Tripoli in 2011, and lamented that it had taken the French justice system seven years to act on the matter.

An official of the French Judiciary told journalists on Tuesday that Sarkozy was being held in police custody for questioning by magistrates looking into allegations of Libyan funding for his 2007 election campaign.

A judiciary inquiry into the matter had been opened by France in 2013, while in January this year, Britain arrested and charged a French businessman suspected by investigators of funneling money from Gaddafi to finance Sarkozy’s campaign.

Speaking to Africanews, Saif al-Islam mentioned that there are several witnesses willing to testify against Sarkozy, including Abdallah Snoussi, the former director of the Libyan intelligence services and also Bashir Saleh Bashir, the former CEO of Libya Investment.

According to Saif al Islam, Snoussi has a recording of the first meeting between Sarkozy and Gaddafi held in Tripoli before his 2007 election campaign.

Saif al Islam adds that he too can testify, having witnessed the delivery of the first portion of the money to Sarkozy’s former chief of staff, Claude Guant in Tripoli.

He goes on to accuse Sarkozy of being a war criminal who is responsible for the spread of terrorism and illegal immigration in Libya. He urges French president Emmanuel Macron to right the wrongs of his predecessor and prosecute Sarkozy for crimes committed against Libya.

Back in January, UK police arrested French businessman Alexandre Djouhri in the corruption probe involving ex-French President Sarkozy and funding from Libya.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2GKnJPI  pic.twitter.com/UvL5Rvqvnb

WATCH: During an exclusive interview with Euronews in 2011, Colonel Gaddafi’s son demanded Sarkozy to repay Libya the money he took for his 2007 campaign election that helped him become French president.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2pquZsJ  pic.twitter.com/Mo3SHK2D1V

Saif al Islam who has expressed interest in the Mlibyan presidency also told Africanews that he supports an expeditious organisation of presidential elections in the North African country.

He warned that there are parties in Libya and abroad that seek to maintain the current chaotic situation in Libya, saying an endless war is imminent if elections are not held quickly.

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Another Reason Why Imperialism Wanted Libya Overthrown


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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy detained for questioning over Gaddafi loan

 

Featured image: Libya leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi along with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (Source: the author)

Seven years ago this month, beginning on March 19, 2011, the United States Pentagon and NATO began a massive bombing campaign against the North African state of Libya.

For seven months the warplanes flew tens of thousands of sorties over Libya, at the time the most prosperous state in Africa. Nearly ten thousand bombs were reportedly dropped inside the country resulting in an estimated 50,000-100,000 dead, many more injuries and the dislocation of several million people.

On October 20, longtime Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, was driving in a convoy leaving his home area of Sirte when the vehicles were struck. Gaddafi was later captured and brutally executed by counter-revolutionary forces which were led, armed and financed by the U.S., NATO and its allies.

France played an instrumental role in the destruction of Libya as a nation-state. The then President Nicolas Sarkozy praised the overthrow of the Jamahiriya political system and the execution of Gaddafi.

All of the imperialist states and their cohorts told the international community that the counter-revolution in Libya would lead to an era of democracy and prosperity. These proclamations could not have been further from the truth.

Sarkozy wanted the Libyan state eviscerated and Gaddafi assassinated because he had borrowed millions of dollars from the African leader in 2007 to finance his presidential campaign. Rumors and later documented proof surfaced to substantiate these claims.

On March 20, people around the globe awoke to news reports that Sarkozy was in custody and being questioned over financial irregularities involving the Libyan state under Gaddafi. During the period in question, Libya was a leading country within the African Union (AU) where the basis for the revitalized Organization of African Unity (OAU) founded in May 1963, realized its birth. The Sirte Declarations of 1999 led to the creation of the AU in 2002, shifting the focus of the continental body mandating deliberations on the development of viable institutions encompassing more meaningful objectives such as economic integration and regional security.

The spotlight turned on Sarkozy raises again the question of the genocidal war against Libya during 2011 and the subsequent underdevelopment, instability and impoverishment of the country and its implications for North and West Africa along with the continent as a whole. Today Libya is a source of terrorism, enslavement and internecine conflict where there are at least three sources of purported authority.

Despite the efforts of the United Nations Security Council to form a Government of National Accord (GNA), the unity of the country has remained elusive. The UNSC bears responsibility for the Libyan crisis due to the fact that Resolutions 1970 and 1973 provided a pseudo-legal rationale for the blanket bombing and ground operations in the 2011 imperialist war and its brutal aftermath.

According to an article published by France24:

“Agents of France’s office for anticorruption and fiscal and financial infractions are questioning Sarkozy in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, where he has been detained since Tuesday (March 20) morning. It is the first time authorities have questioned Sarkozy in connection with this dossier. They can keep the 63-year-old conservative former head of state in custody for up to 48 hours, after which he could be released without charge, placed under formal investigation or asked to reappear at a later date.”

The Imperialist Camp and Neo-Colonial Rule in Africa

Whether Sarkozy is placed under formal investigation, indicted or imprisoned for his financial crimes, broader issues remain over the outcomes of the war against Libya. The overthrow of a legitimate African government and the targeted assassination of its leader constitute crimes against humanity stemming from the desire to maintain the neo-colonial domination by imperialism over the continent.

The Jamahiriya state prior to the Pentagon-NATO led war represented the aspirations of not only people in Libya notwithstanding the AU member-states as well. Libya was politically stable, owed no money to global financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and provided assistance to other African nations in the areas of social, technological, monetary and religious affairs.

While serving as chairperson of the AU in 2009, Gaddafi traveled to the UN General Assembly where he presented his vision of continental imperatives and international relations. During this period a campaign of slander and defamation was launched with the assistance of the corporate media in the U.S.

Even though Libya under the Jamahiriya had modified its stance on a number of issues related to its dealing with the U.S. and other imperialist states, the West wanted to overthrow the government to seize its oil fields and foreign reserves amounting to well over $160 billion. A pretext of impending genocide against western-funded rebels whom had sought to remove the Gaddafi government was utilized to justify a war of regime-change.

The rebels could have never overthrown the Libyan government on their own. Therefore, they called in their paymasters in Washington, London, Paris and Brussels to ensure a victory for neo-colonialism. However, this scheme has failed to bring into existence the compliant regime sought in the post-war period.

This crisis extends beyond the legal issues facing Sarkozy. Moreover, it is a problem of modern-day imperialism which is seeking new avenues of conquest for purposes of exploitation and profit-making.

France is a leading capitalist state yet it is in perpetual economic stagnation. Joblessness remains high while a burgeoning population of African, Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants is fueling racial hatred. Notions of egalitarianism and bourgeois democracy must be selectively implemented so that the white ruling class maintains it power at the expense of a darker and growing minority seeking civil and human rights.

Abroad France still maintains its interests throughout Africa and other parts of the world. Paris is in fierce competition with London and Washington for its status within the imperialist matrix related to the control of oil, strategic minerals and essential trade routes.

The Meaning of African Unity

Therefore on the seventh anniversary of the imperialist war against Libya, the need for unity among AU member-states is more important in this period than ever before. African economic growth, development and integration cannot however be looked at separately from the indispensable need for independent security structures to safeguard resources and the sovereignty of the people.

The war against Libya represented the first full-blown campaign of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) which was established under the administration of President George W. Bush in 2008. AFRICOM was strengthened and enhanced under Bush’s successor President Barack Obama.

Three African states, Gabon, Nigeria and South Africa, voting in favor of the UNSC Resolution 1973 was the worse error of the post-independence period. Although the AU sought to bring about a ceasefire after the bombs began to fall, it was to no avail. This proves conclusively that imperialism should never be trusted and peace and security in Africa can only be won with its destruction.

Many Africans both on the continent and in the Diaspora felt that since Obama was a partial descendant of its people that he would develop a more favorable policy towards the continent and Black people inside the U.S. This was a gross miscalculation because the social and economic conditions worsened for Africans all over the world under his leadership on behalf of the imperialist world.

Consequently, it is not the individual which shapes domestic and foreign policy. Imperialism is an exploitative system which arose from the exigencies of slavery and colonialism. In the modern period neo-colonialism is the last stage of imperialism which Dr. Kwame Nkrumah documented as early as 1965, a prediction which cost him his presidency in the First Republic of Ghana at the aegis of Washington, serving as a major setback for the African Revolution as a whole.

Nevertheless, African people must learn from these historical events in order to move forward with a sober mood of determination and fortitude. Self-reliance and an independent national and global policy is the only solution to the crises facing the continent and its people in contemporary times.

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Media Erase NATO Role in Bringing Slave Markets to Libya


NOVANEWS

Twenty-first century slave markets. Human beings sold for a few hundred dollars. Massive protests throughout the world.

The American and British media have awakened to the grim reality in Libya, where African refugees are for sale in open-air slave markets. Yet a crucial detail in this scandal has been downplayed or even ignored in many corporate media reports: the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in bringing slavery to the North African nation.

In March 2011, NATO launched a war in Libya expressly aimed at toppling the government of longtime leader Muammar Qadhafi. The US and its allies flew some 26,000 sorties over Libya and launched hundreds of cruise missiles, destroying the government’s ability to resist rebel forces.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with their European counterparts, insisted the military intervention was being carried out for humanitarian reasons. But political scientist Micah Zenko (Foreign Policy3/22/16) used NATO’s own materials to show how “the Libyan intervention was about regime change from the very start.”

NATO supported an array of rebel groups fighting on the ground in Libya, many of which were dominated by Islamist extremists and harbored violently racist views. Militants in the NATO-backed rebel stronghold of Misrata even referred to themselves in 2011 as “the brigade for purging slaves, black skin”—an eerie foreshadowing of the horrors that were to come.

The war ended in October 2011. US and European aircraft attacked Qadhafi’s convoy, and he was brutally murdered by extremist rebels—sodomized with a bayonet. Secretary Clinton, who played a decisive role in the war, declared live on CBS News (10/20/11), “We came, we saw, he died!” The Libyan government dissolved soon after.

In the six years since, Libya has been roiled by chaos and bloodshed. Multiple would-be governments are competing for control of the oil-rich country, and in some areas there is still no functioning central authority. Many thousands of people have died, although the true numbers are impossible to verify. Millions of Libyans have been displaced—a staggering number, nearly one-third of the population, had fled to neighboring Tunisia by 2014.

Corporate media, however, have largely forgotten about the key role NATO played in destroying Libya’s government, destabilizing the country and empowering human traffickers.

Moreover, even the few news reports that do acknowledge NATO’s complicity in the chaos in Libya do not go a step further and detail the well-documented, violent racism of the NATO-backed Libyan rebels who ushered in slavery after ethnically cleansing and committing brutal crimes against black Libyans.

O NATO, Where Art Thou?

CNN (11/14/17) published an explosive story in mid-November that offered a firsthand look at the slave trade in Libya. The media network obtained terrifying video that shows young African refugees being auctioned, “big strong boys for farm work,” sold for as little as $400.

CNN: People for Sale

CNN (11/14/17) does not bring up the US role in allowing people to be sold.

The flashy CNN multimedia report included bonuses galore: two videos, two animated gifs, two photos and a chart. But something was missing: The 1,000-word story made no mention of NATO, or the 2011 war that destroyed Libya’s government, or Muammar Qadhafi, or any kind of historical and political context whatsoever.

Despite these huge flaws, the CNN report was widely celebrated, and made an impact in a corporate media apparatus that otherwise cares little about North Africa. A flurry of media reports followed. These stories overwhelmingly spoke of slavery in Libya as an apolitical and timeless human rights issue, not as a political problem rooted in very recent history.

In subsequent stories, when Libyan and United Nations officials announced they would launch an investigation into the slave auctions, CNN (11/17/1711/20/17) again failed to mention the 2011 war, let alone NATO’s role in it.

One CNN report (11/21/17) on a UN Security Council meeting noted, “Ambassadors from Senegal to Sweden also blamed trafficking’s root causes: unstable countries, poverty, profits from slave trading and lack of legal enforcement.” But it failed to explain why Libya is unstable.

Another 1,200-word CNN follow-up article (11/23/17) was just as obfuscatory. It was only in the 35th paragraph of this 36-graf story that a Human Rights Watch researcher noted, “Libyan interim authorities have been dragging their feet on virtually all investigations they supposedly started, yet never concluded, since the 2011 uprising.” NATO’s leadership in this 2011 uprising was, however, ignored.

An Agence France-Presse news wire that was published by Voice of America (11/17/17) and other websites similarly failed to provide any historical context for the political situation in Libya. “Testimony collected by AFP in recent years has revealed a litany of rights abuses at the hands of gang leaders, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces,” the article said, but it did not recount anything that happened before 2017.

Reports by the BBC (11/18/17), the New York Times (11/20/17), Deutsche Welle (reprinted by USA Today11/23/17) and the Associated Press (reprinted by theWashington Post11/23/17) also failed to mention the 2011 war, let alone NATO’s role in it.

NYT: Sale of Migrants as Slaves in Libya Causes Outrage in Africa and Paris

New York Times story (11/19/17) was exceptional in connecting the rise in Libyan slavery to Muammar Qadhafi’s overthrow–yet it failed to mention the US’s leading role in that overthrow.

Another New York Times story (11/19/17) did provide a bit of context:

Since the Arab Spring uprising of 2011 ended the brutal rule of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Libya’s coast has became a hub for human trafficking and smuggling. That has fueled the illegal migration crisis that Europe has been scrambling to contain since 2014. Libya, which slid into chaos and civil war after the revolt, is now divided among three main factions.

Yet the Times still erased NATO’s key place in this uprising of 2011.

In an account of the large protests that erupted outside Libyan embassies in Europe and Africa in response to reports of slave auctions, Reuters (11/20/17) indicated, “Six years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is still a lawless state where armed groups compete for land and resources and people-smuggling networks operate with impunity.” But it did not provide any more information about how Qadhafi was toppled.

A report in the Huffington Post (11/22/17), later republished by AOL (11/27/17), did concede that Libya is “one of the world’s most unstable [sic], mired in conflict since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in 2011.” It made no mention of NATO’s leadership in that ousting and killing.

Part of the problem has been the unwillingness of international organizations to point out the responsibility of powerful Western governments. In his statement on the reports of slavery in Libya, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres (11/20/17) did not mention anything about what has happened politically inside the North African nation in the past six years. The UN News Centre report (11/20/17) on Guterres’ comments was just as contextless and uninformative, as was the press release (11/21/17) on the issue from the International Organization for Migration.

Al Jazeera (11/26/17) did cite an IOM official who suggested, in Al Jazeera‘s words, that “the international community should pay more attention to post-Gaddafi Libya.” But the media outlet provided no context as to how Libya became post-Qadhafi in the first place. In fact, Al Jazeera‘s source went out of his way to make the issue apolitical: “Modern-day slavery is widespread around the world and Libya is by no means unique.”

While it is true that slavery and human trafficking happen in other countries, this widespread media narrative depoliticizes the problem in Libya, which has its roots in explicit political decisions made by governments and their leaders: namely, the choice to overthrow Libya’s stable government, turning the oil-rich North African nation into a failed state ruled by competing warlords and militias, some of which are involved in and profit from slavery and trafficking.

Selective Attention to NATO’s Aftermath in Libya

Corporate media reporting on Libya largely mirrors reporting on Yemen (FAIR.org11/20/178/31/172/27/17), Syria (FAIR.org4/7/179/5/15) and beyond: The role of the US government and its allies in creating chaos abroad is minimized, if not outright ignored.

Strikingly, one of the only exceptions to this overwhelming media trend came back in April from, of all places, the New York Times editorial board. The Times editorial (4/14/17) did not mince words, directly linking the US-backed military operation to the ongoing catastrophe:

None of this would be possible if not for the political chaos in Libya since the civil war in 2011, when — with the involvement of a NATO coalition that included the United States — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was toppled. Migrants have become the gold that finances Libya’s warring factions.

This is a significant reversal. Immediately after NATO launched its war in Libya in March 2011, the Times editorial board (3/21/11) cheered on the bombing, effusing, “Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has long been a thug and a murderer who has never paid for his many crimes.” It waxed poetic on the “extraordinary,” “astonishing” military intervention, and hoped for Qadhafi’s imminent downfall.

The April 2017 Times editorial stopped far short of a being a mea culpa, yet it was still a rare admission of truth.

At the time this surprisingly honest editorial was written, there had briefly been a bit of media attention to Libya. The International Organization for Migration had just conducted an investigation into slavery in post–regime change Libya, leading to a string of news reports in the Guardian (4/10/17) and elsewhere. Practically as soon as this appalling story got the interest of corporate media, however, it quickly died out. Attention shifted back to Russia, North Korea and the bogeymen of the day.

Guardian: Migrants from west Africa being ‘sold in Libyan slave markets’

This Guardian piece (4/10/17) cites “the overthrow of autocratic leader Muammar Qadhafi,” but does not say that the US (or Britain) was instrumental in overthrowing him.

When Western governments were hoping to militarily intervene in the country in the lead-up to March 19, 2011, there was a constant torrent of media reports on the evils of Qadhafi and his government—including a healthy dose of fake news (Salon9/16/16). Major newspapers staunchly supported the NATO intervention, and made no secret of their pro-war editorial lines.

When the US government and its allies were preparing for war, the corporate media apparatus did what it does best, and helped sell yet another military intervention to the public.

In the years since, on the other hand, there has been exponentially less interest in the disastrous aftermath of that NATO war. There will be short spikes of interest, as there was in early 2017. The most recent spurt of press coverage was inspired by the publication of CNN‘s shocking video footage. But the coverage invariably rapidly peaks and goes away.

The Extreme Racism of Libyan Rebels

The catastrophe Libya might endure after the collapse of its state had been predictable at the time. Qadhafi himself had warned NATO member states, while they were waging war against him, that they were going to unleash chaos throughout the region. Yet Western leaders—Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the US, David Cameron in the UK, Nicolas Sarkozy in France, Stephen Harper in Canada—ignored Qadhafi’s admonition and violently toppled his government.

Even from the small number of media reports on slavery in Libya that do manage to acknowledge NATO’s responsibility for destabilizing the country, nevertheless, something is still missing.

Looking back at Libya’s anti-Qadhafi rebels, both during and after the 2011 war, it is very clear that hardline anti-black racism was widespread in the NATO-backed opposition. A 2016 investigation by the British House of Common’s Foreign Affairs Committee (Salon9/16/16) acknowledged that “militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards.” But many rebels were not just fundamentalist; they were also violently racist.

It is unfortunately no surprise that these extremist Libyan militants later enslaved African refugees and migrants: They were hinting at it from the very beginning.

Most American and European media coverage at the time of NATO’s military intervention was decidedly pro-rebel. When reporters got on the ground, however, they began publishing a few more nuanced pieces that hinted at the reality of the opposition. These were insignificant in number, but they are enlightening and worth revisiting.

Three months into the NATO war, in June 2011, the Wall Street Journal‘s Sam Dagher (6/21/11) reported from Misrata, Libya’s third-largest city and a major hub for the opposition, where he noted he saw rebel slogans like “the brigade for purging slaves, black skin.”

Dahger indicated that the rebel stronghold of Misrata was dominated by “tightly knit white merchant families,” whereas “the south of the country, which is predominantly black, mainly backs Col. Gadhafi.”

Other graffiti in Misrata read “Traitors keep out.” By “traitors,” rebels were referring to Libyans from the town of Tawergha, which the Journal explained is “inhabited mostly by black Libyans, a legacy of its 19th-century origins as a transit town in the slave trade.”

Dagher reported that some Libyan rebel leaders were “calling for the expulsion of Tawerghans from the area” and “banning Tawergha natives from ever working, living or sending their children to schools in Misrata.” He added that predominately Tawergha neighborhoods in Misrata had already been emptied. Black Libyans were “gone or in hiding, fearing revenge attacks by Misratans, amid reports of bounties for their capture.”

The rebel commander Ibrahim al-Halbous told the Journal, “Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata.”

Al-Halbous would later reappear in a report by the Sunday Telegraph (9/11/11), reiterating to the British newspaper, “Tawarga no longer exists.” (When Halbous was injured in September, the New York Times9/20/11—portrayed him sympathetically as a martyr in the heroic fight against Qadhafi. The Halbous brigade has in the years since become an influential militia in Libya.)

Like Dagher, the Telegraph‘s Andrew Gilligan drew attention to the slogan painted on the road between Misrata and Tawergha: “the brigade for purging slaves [and] black skin.”

Gilligan reported from Tawergha, or rather from the remnants of the majority-black town, which he noted had “been emptied of its people, vandalized and partly burned by rebel forces.” A rebel leader said of the dark-skinned residents, “We said if they didn’t go, they would be conquered and imprisoned. Every single one of them has left, and we will never allow them to come back.”

Gilligan noted “a racist undercurrent. Many Tawargas, though neither immigrants nor Gaddafi’s much-ballyhooed African mercenaries, are descended from slaves, and are darker than most Libyans.”

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization assisted these virulently racist rebels in Misrata. NATO forces frequently launched air attacks on the city. French fighter jets shot down Libyan planes over Misrata. The US and UK fired cruise missiles at Libyan government targets, and the US launched Predator drone strikes. The Canadian air force also attacked Libyan forces, pushing them out of Misrata.

In a public relations video NATO published in May 2011, early in the Libya war, the Western military alliance openly admitted that it intentionally allowed “Libyan rebels to transport arms from Benghazi to Misrata.” Political scientist Micah Zenko (Foreign Policy3/22/16) pointed out the implications of this video: “A NATO surface vessel stationed in the Mediterranean to enforce an arms embargo did exactly the opposite, and NATO was comfortable posting a video demonstrating its hypocrisy.”

Throughout the war and after, Libyan rebels continued carrying out racist sectarian attacks against their black compatriots. These attacks have been well documented by mainstream human rights organizations.

HRW: Libya: Stop Arbitrary Arrests of Black Africans

Human Rights Watch (9/4/11) documented racist persecution in post-Qadhafi Libya.

Human Rights Watch’s longtime executive director Kenneth Roth cheered on NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, calling the UN Security Council’s unanimous endorsement of a no-fly zone a “remarkable” confirmation of the so-called “responsibility to protect” doctrine.

Roth’s organization, however, could not ignore the crimes anti-Qadhafi militants committed against dark-skinned Libyans and migrants.

In September 2011, when the war was still ongoing, Human Rights Watch reported on Libyan rebels’ “arbitrary arrests and abuse of African migrant workers and black Libyans assumed to be [pro-Qadhafi] mercenaries.”

Then in October, the top US human rights organization noted that Libyan militias were “terrorizing the displaced residents of the nearby town of Tawergha,” the majority-black community that had been a stronghold of support for Qadhafi. “The entire town of 30,000 people is abandoned—some of it ransacked and burned—and Misrata brigade commanders say the residents of Tawergha should never return,” HRW added. Witnesses “gave credible accounts of some Misrata militias shooting unarmed Tawerghans, and of arbitrary arrests and beatings of Tawerghan detainees, in a few cases leading to death.”

In 2013, HRW reported further on the ethnic cleansing of the black community of Tawergha. The human rights organization, whose chief had so effusively supported the military intervention, wrote: “The forced displacement of roughly 40,000 people, arbitrary detentions, torture and killings are widespread, systematic and sufficiently organized to be crimes against humanity.”

These atrocities are undeniable, and they lead a path straight to the enslavement of African refugees and migrants. But to acknowledge NATO’s complicity in empowering these racist extremist militants, corporate media would have to acknowledge NATO’s role in the 2011 regime change war in Libya in the first place.

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Libya: Ten Things About Gaddafi They Don’t Want You to Know


This article was first published by Global Research in November 2014. Today Libya as a Nation State has been destroyed by US-NATO.

What do you think of when you hear the name Colonel Gaddafi? Tyrant? Dictator? Terrorist? Well, a national citizen of Libya may disagree but we want you to decide.

For 41 years until his demise in October 2011, Muammar Gaddafi did some truly amazing things for his country and repeatedly tried to unite and empower the whole of Africa.

So despite what you’ve heard on the radio, seen in the media or on the TV, Gaddafi did some powerful things that are not characteristic of a “vicious dictator” as portrayed by the western media.

Here are ten things Gaddafi did for Libya that you may not know about…

Muammar Gaddafi Libya

1. In Libya a home is considered a natural human right

In Gaddafi’s Green Book it states: ”The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others”. Gaddafi’s Green Book is the formal leader’s political philosophy, it was first published in 1975 and was intended reading for all Libyans even being included in the national curriculum.

2. Education and medical treatment were all free

Under Gaddafi, Libya could boast one of the best healthcare services in the Middle East and Africa.  Also if a Libyan citizen could not access the desired educational course or correct medical treatment in Libya they were funded to go abroad.

3. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project

The largest irrigation system in the world also known as the great manmade river was designed to make water readily available to all Libyan’s across the entire country. It was funded by the Gaddafi government and it said that Gaddafi himself called it ”the eighth wonder of the world”.

4. It was free to start a farming business

If any Libyan wanted to start a farm they were given a house, farm land and live stock and seeds all free of charge.

5. A bursary was given to mothers with newborn babies

When a Libyan woman gave birth she was given 5000 (US dollars) for herself and the child.

6. Electricity was free

Electricity was free in Libya meaning absolutely no electric bills!

7.  Cheap petrol

During Gaddafi’s reign the price of petrol in Libya was as low as 0.14 (US dollars) per litre.

8. Gaddafi raised the level of education

Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans were literate. This figure was brought up to 87% with 25% earning university degrees.

9. Libya had It’s own state bank

Libya had its own State bank, which provided loans to citizens at zero percent interest by law and they had no external debt.

10. The gold dinar

Before the fall of Tripoli and his untimely demise, Gaddafi was trying to introduce a single African currency linked to gold. Following in the foot steps of the late great pioneer Marcus Garvey who first coined the term ”United States of Africa”. Gaddafi wanted to introduce and only trade in the African gold Dinar  – a move which would have thrown the world economy into chaos.

The Dinar was widely opposed by the ‘elite’ of today’s society and who could blame them. African nations would have finally had the power to bring itself out of debt and poverty and only trade in this precious commodity. They would have been able to finally say ‘no’ to external exploitation and charge whatever they felt suitable for precious resources. It has been said that the gold Dinar was the real reason for the NATO led rebellion, in a bid to oust the outspoken leader.

So, was Muammar Gaddafi a Terrorist?

Few can answer this question fairly, but if anyone can, it’s a Libyan citizen who has lived under his reign? Whatever the case, it seems rather apparent that he did some positive things for his country despite the infamous notoriety surrounding his name. And that’s something you should try to remember when judging in future.

This quirky video documentary spells out an interesting, if rather different, story from the one we think we know.

 

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Libya: A New False Dawn


NOVANEWS
 

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. That quote is worth bearing in mind when assessing the chances of the latest United Nations peace plan for Libya.

Every autumn, along with the falling leaves, comes a new UN plan for ending Libya’s civil war, now into its fourth year.

Like the plans before it, the current version of the United Nations Support Mission for Libya has superficial attractions.

It proposes a new slimmed-down version of the government the UN itself installed in Tripoli two years ago, cutting the number of its presidency from nine members to three, one chosen from each of the country’s three regions.

The elected parliament in Tobruk voted yes to it this week, and there were encouraging signs from its rival, unelected, parliament, the State Council in Tripoli. Cue optimistic words from the new UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, to the United Nations Security Council – his boss – earlier this month about how the peace process is advancing.

But the reality is, it ain’t going to work.

And it ain’t going to work for the same reason that all the previous UN peace plans didn’t work.

The most obvious reason why it will not work is right there in the UN plan: The three-strong presidency needs to be agreed by a grand council of all Libya’s factions, expected to be called by the UN in February, which will also decide a date for new elections. But if all Libya’s factions could agree a way forward, there would never have been a civil war in the first place.

That is reality behind the superficial optimism that greeted the yes-vote to the new presidency by Tobruk – Libya’s only governing group that was actually elected.

The UN’s powerlessness was exposed two weeks ago, when Tobruk refused to let a UN plane, bringing western Libyan MPs to the parliament, was refused permission to land. The UN greeted this with a meek protest, and nothing more. Outside powers have other things to think about, and there was no Big Power heft to push Tobruk to change its mind.

The reality is that the country remains in political turmoil.

In the east, supporters of Tobruk’s army commander, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, have begun a petition for him to be declared Libyan President. This likely will not work and the Field Marshall himself knows it is not necessary. After his successful operations against Islamists, clearing them from Benghazi, Libya’s second city, he has a fair chance of walking it to victory if Libya held a Presidential election.

With Benghazi free, the city is shrugging off three years of battle. Flights and shipping are being transferred from Tobruk, at Libya’s eastern extremity, back to Benghazi. Oil is flowing from the Sirte Basin, where the country’s oil wealth is concentrated.

Tripoli, meanwhile, is undergoing more and more deportations: The militias who control the streets fight each other, kidnappings are endemic, and citizens are humiliated by having to line up for hours to withdraw paltry sums of money from state banks just to survive. All of which is an indictment on the Tripoli government which, despite UN backing, has failed to impose itself.

In other words, eastern Libya is humming, and will not bend its knee to any UN plan not to its liking.​​​ Outside powers are also disunited. France and Italy both had strategies, Italy backing the Tripoli rulers, France Tobruk. Russia has also signaled support for Tobruk, enjoying warm relations with Haftar, though formally all three states endorse the “UN process.”

The wild card is the United States. The Trump administration has kept its distance from Libya, with Trump himself declaring the US has “no interest” in the country.

That may be changing. This month Libya’s oil chief Mustafa Sanallah and, reportedly, a member of Haftar’s entourage, were both in Houston to meet Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. The location of the meetings was important: Tillerson is an oil man, the former chief executive of Exxon, and Houston is also the HQ of American oil companies who have a presence in eastern Libya. The companies are keen to see production get going again, and Haftar’s advisors are keen to remind them that, since capturing the Sirte Basin from assorted militias a year back, the general has allowed the oil to flow unlike the militias who held it to ransom.​

In the end, Libya’s war is likely to be settled by old fashioned great-powers moves, not the illusionary plans of the disrespected UN.

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