2 Killed, 29 Injured in Clashes in Libya's Capital
09 November 2013
Deadly clashes erupted in the Libyan capital of Tripoli overnight Friday between local militia and a brigade from Misrata city, leaving two people killed and 29 injured, a security officer told Xinhua.
The clashes broke out in the eastern area of Suq al-Juma in Tripoli following unconfirmed reports that Nuri Friwan, the commander of the Misrata Nosoor Battalion, who was wounded during a shootout at a Tripoli's checkpoint on Tuesday, died in a hospital in Malta.
There were negotiations between the elders from the cities of Misrata, Suq al-Juma and Tajoura, which aimed to put an end to the fighting, Libya Herald reported online, adding that the Misrata Military Council closed the Dafniya checkpoint to prevent any armed force from heading to Tripoli.
The clashes spread across the eastern part of Tripoli. In the areas of Fashloom and Zawiyat Dahamani, the two sides shot with anti-aircraft artilleries. (read more)
15 Libyan soldiers killed in attack on military post -- reports
At least 15 Libyan soldiers were killed and five others wounded in an attack on a military post Saturday morning on a road between Bani Walid and Tarhuna, Libya's state news agency, LANA, reported.
Military forces completely blocked off the area following the attack, which was carried out by a group of unidentified gunmen, LANA said. (read more)
Libya argues it should be allowed to put Gadhafi-era spy chief on trial instead of ICC
April 3 2013
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Libya has formally applied to the International Criminal Court to be allowed to put Moammar Gadhafi’s former spy chief on trial in Tripoli instead of sending him to The Hague to face justice, according to documents published Wednesday.
In a lengthy written submission, lawyers representing Libya argued that Abdullah al-Senoussi’s home country is willing and able to prosecute him and therefore has precedence over the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.
The International Criminal Court indicted Al-Senoussi in June 2011 for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the Gadhafi regime’s brutal attempts to put down the rebellion that ousted the dictator after four decades in power.
Al-Senoussi is jailed in Libya. His lawyers argue he will not get a fair trial at home and should be sent to The Hague. His case runs parallel to that of one of Gadhafi’s sons, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, who also was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2011 but is being held in Libya amid legal wrangling over the trial venue. (read more)
Libyan state TV staff suspends work over security row after alleged assault by militia guard
April 2 2013
TRIPOLI, Libya — Staff members at Libya’s state TV news channel have suspended work indefinitely.
After an employee was allegedly assaulted by a member of a militia guarding their building.Live shows were cancelled, and Libya al-Wataniya was airing only archive video on Tuesday.
An employee at the channel, who spoke anonymously because he feared retribution from militiamen, said that staff wants the army or police to secure the building. The TV building, like most of Libya, is secured by militias aligned with the government. The channel’s top managers declined to comment. Two years after the country’s civil war, Libya is struggling to build a national security force and reign in militias that were formed when rebels fought to oust the country’s longtime dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, in 2011. (article)
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Rights group to Libya: Stop destroying town
March 20, 2013
TRIPOLI, Libya — An international rights group on Wednesday urged the Libyan government to halt the "systematic destruction" of a town whose residents backed ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi during the country's civil war.
The town of Tawergha was used as a staging ground by Gadhafi's forces to launch attacks on nearby Misrata, Libya's third largest city. After rebels broke the siege of Misrata and overran Tawergha, the town's 40,000 residents fled or were driven out by vengeful rebels. Scores were held in prisons under militias' command in Misrata and Tripoli, where rights groups recorded cases of torture and abuse. (read more)
Libya’s Copts under attack?
By Mohamed Eljarh
March 19, 2013
You'd think that Libyans wouldn't have much in the way of objections to Coptic Christians. There aren't really enough of them in the country to cause any problems: Only about 1 percent of the population consists of Copts, and more or less all of them are immigrants. Unfortunately, their low profile hasn't protected them from the forces of intolerance.
The new Coptic Church in Benghazi was ransacked and burnt on Thursday, March 14. Protesters broke into the church and set furniture on fire. This was ostensibly an act of retaliation against Egyptian Copts who recently attacked the Libyan embassy in Cairo, raising a cross over the entrance and burning the Libyan flag. In turn, the Egyptian protests came after an Egyptian Christian by the name of Ezzat Atallah died while in Libyan custody: He had been arrested on charges of proselytizing. (read more)
Top aide of Libya’s Gadhafi arrested in Egypt after siege at his Cairo home.
By Associated Press
March 19 2013
CAIRO — Egyptian security forces arrested a close aide of ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi on Tuesday following a siege at his Cairo home, a security official and witnesses said. Ahmed Qaddaf al-Dam surrendered to Egyptian security forces after shots were fired, they said. An intelligence official under Gadhafi, Qaddaf al-Dam is among dozens wanted for their role in Libya’s 2011 civil war that ended with Gadhafi’s capture and killing. Police surrounded his home in the Cairo neighborhood of Zamalek before dawn Tuesday. Gunshots were heard during the siege, but it was unclear who fired at whom.
The official said three policemen were wounded. The official spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. Tens of pro-Gadhafi Libyans living in Cairo converged on the scene to denounce the arrest, chanting, “God, Moammar, Libya!”
Libya interim leader’s car comes under fire
06 Mar 2013
The car of Libya's interim leader has come under fire in Tripoli as he left a chaotic session of the national assembly disrupted by protesters, without causing casualties.
The interior minister said on Wednesday that gunmen in a crowd of Libyans demanding that legislators pass a bill barring former associates of ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power shot at the car of the General National Congress (GNC) speaker.
"The car of the General National Congress speaker (Mohammed Magarief) came under fire as assembly members left in a state of total confusion" on Tuesday night, Ashur Shwayel told a press conference. (read more)
Egyptian Copts in Libya allegedly detained, tortured following 'missionising' claims.
28 Feb 2013
The activists asserted that the images would also be sent to the United Nations, the Egyptian embassy in Libya, the Egyptian foreign affairs ministry, the Libyan Observatory for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, in hopes that "action would be taken to secure their release."
According to a source from Egypt's Coptic Church, a group of Salafist Muslims attacked a church in Benghazi this week and detained roughly 100 Egyptian Copts working in the country.
The detained Copts had been tortured by their captors, who had also shaved their heads and used acid to burn off the crosses tattooed on their wrists, the source – who preferred anonymity – told Ahram Online.
The source added: "The Coptic Church has sent an official request to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which in response has begun negotiations with its Libyan counterpart to resolve the issue and release the detained Christians." (read more)
Libya to ask U.N. to lift arms embargo: state media.
Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian
Feb 27, 2013
(Reuters) - Libya will soon ask the U.N. Security Council to lift an embargo on arms imports to the North African state, the official news agency quoted Prime Minister Ali Zeidan as saying, despite the armed turmoil plaguing the country.
The Security Council imposed the embargo at the start of the 2011 uprising to protect civilians during a conflict that later ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
"I will discuss the question of lifting the embargo when I meet with the head of the U.N. Security Council in the next few days," LANA news agency quoted Zeidan as saying after a meeting with Libya's defense minister and army chief. (read more)
Libyan militia brings protest to minister
February 25 2013
A group of unarmed militiamen demanding better pay for guarding Libya's borders barged into the prime minister's headquarters on Monday, but the man they'd come to see was away, an official said.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was in Geneva to address the United Nations Human Rights Council when about 30 men forced their way into the government compound in central Tripoli, in the latest example of volatility plaguing the North African country.
“The group went upstairs and spoke to one official there but they wanted to see Zeidan who is not in the country today,” a government official, who declined to be named, said, adding painting was damaged in the process.
He said the group staged a peaceful sit-in outside the main building but still within the compound.
It was not immediately clear who the men were but the official said they belonged to border security forces - mainly made up of militias aligned with the defence ministry.
With a weak state army and police, Libya's government relies on militias for security in the North African country. (read more)
Qaddafi terror bombers caught in Bani Walid following explosion
By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 23 February 2103
A Qaddafi terrorist cell has apparently been discovered in Bani Walid following an explosion there, that killed its leader on Thursday. The cell was believed to be planning a bombing campaign in the town as well as in Tripoli.
According to local council media office spokesman Saad Mohamed Al-Daba, the group was preparing explosive devices in a house in the town, when one of them exploded killing Yousef Musbah Abdul Rahim Dabia, a member of one of Qaddafi’s Revolutionary Committees.
From Benghazi , Dabia, who was an explosives expert, had belonged to the 32nd Brigade (“the Khamis Brigade”), said the spokesman yesterday, Friday. The dead man had also been part of a team involved in the assassination of members of the opposition both inside Libya and abroad. (read more)
Libya needs international assistance, not drone attacks
By Jason Pack, Noman Benotman and Haley Cook
February 15th, 2013
Two years to the day after the anti-Gadhafi uprisings began in Benghazi, the populace has again taken to the streets. This time they are protesting the new authorities failures to bring economic development and its prerequisite, security. Over the last two years, wide swathes of Libyan territory have been transformed into a non-governed space has indirectly facilitated the Islamist takeover in Mali and the attack by Al-Qaeda affiliates on Algeria’s In Amenas gas facility. If Libya is the fabled ‘gateway to Africa’, then the gate has been left wide open.
In today's Libya, heavy artillery and extremist militants flow across the country's porous borders with ease. Since the killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, Libya's extreme east is currently being monitored by American drones in search of jihadist training camps. (read more)
Al Qaeda’s Top Recruiting Tool: The CIA
by Jamie Dettmer
The Daily Beast
Feb 20, 2013
What makes someone join Al Qaeda? In the case of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the Al Qaeda luminary killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan last June, his older brother has no doubt. Americans are culpable for his sibling’s embrace of terrorism. He draws a direct line between al-Libi’s recruitment by al Qaeda and the suffering he endured at the hands of American interrogators using techniques similar to those portrayed in the movie Zero Dark Thirty.
Al-Libi’s slaying may have been one of the reasons Libyan jihadists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September, an assault that led to the death of ambassador Christopher Stevens. In the days leading up to the attack, Al Qaeda’s amir, Ayman al-Zawahiri, focused his annual 9/11 message on the drone war, eulogized al-Libi and called on “Libyan brothers” to avenge the loss. (read more)
Two Years After Revolt, Libya Faces a Host of Problem
Published: February 12, 2013
The New York Times.
PARIS — Nearly two years after a revolt that ousted and killed the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Libya' s weak government is struggling to control its borders, stop the smuggling of weapons and manage regional militias that have refused to disarm, according to the conclusions of an international meeting on Libyan security here on Tuesday. (read more)
Christians in Libya Face Safety Concerns
by Jamie Dettmer, Voices of America
February 18, 2013
Questions of safety for Christians are being raised in Libya. Three communities of Roman Catholic nuns are leaving the country because of threats from radical Islamists. And four missionaries were arrested over the weekend for distributing religious literature.
Ash Wednesday at St. Francis, a Roman Catholic church in central Tripoli, was somber as usual.
The Apostolic Vicar, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, concluded the service by urging the congregation of 23 mainly Filipino worshippers to “be faithful to the Gospel.”
Beyond the whitewashed church, though, there is no spreading of the good news by Martinelli or the parish priest, Father Dominique - that would be dangerous. (read more)
Four Missionaries Arrested in Benghazi May Face Libya Death Penalty
Jeremy Weber February 18, 2013.
Four foreign missionaries were arrested in Benghazi, Libya, last week on charges of printing and distributing materials that promote Christianity. One is an American citizen.
The Associated Press, which broke the news, reports that Benghazi police claim to have "found 45,000 books in [the missionaries'] possession and that another 25,000 have already been distributed."
"They were arrested on Tuesday at a publishing house where they were printing thousands of books that called for conversion to Christianity," Hussein Bin Hmeid, spokesman for Libya's Preventative Security, told Reuters. "Proselytizing is forbidden in Libya. We are a 100 percent Muslim country and this kind of action affects our national security."
The arrests were announced as Libyans celebrated the second anniversary of their revolution against former ruler Muammar Gaddafi. However, a holdover law from Gaddafi's reign makes proselytizing for any religion other than Islam potentially punishable by death.
The missionaries are from South Africa, Egypt, South Korea, and Sweden. (The Swedish missionary has dual American citizenship and was traveling on a U.S. passport.)
Most Christians in Libya are foreigners, some of whom have been pressured to leave by extremists.
Copyright Christianity Today 2013
Revolution redux: Libya to celebrate 2 years post-Gaddafi
By Aleksandr Antonov
14 February, 2013
Libya is set to celebrate two years since the start of the uprising that ended with the death of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi. But this anticipation is marred by an expectation of mass protests, a lack of reform and a resurging secessionist mood.
While no official commemoration is planned, many cities in Libya are raising flags and colored lights. In some places, festivities will begin on Friday and culminate on Sunday, February 17.
As the date of the celebration approaches, the government in Tripoli is stepping up security in the parts of the country that are under its control. The eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the anti-Gaddafi revolution, recently saw an influx of troops and military vehicles. The government also ordered restrictions on international flights and closure of borders. (read more)
Libyan Leader Opposes Foreign Aid to Syrian Rebels
ABC News, Associated Press 22 November, 2012
TUNIS, Tunisia The interim president of Libya, who came to power following a NATO-supported rebellion against former leader Moammar Gadhafi, said Thursday he opposed foreign intervention in Syria. Speaking at press conference with his Tunisian counterpart, Mohammed al-Megarif said he also opposed arming the Syrian opposition which has been battling the regime of President Bashar Assad for the last year and a half, with thousands of lives lost. The two leaders, both products of the wave of uprisings that swept the Middle East in 2011, did call for Assad to step down. Like the conflict in Syria, the uprising that overthrew former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi turned into a civil war and the rebels only triumphed with the aid of a NATO campaign of airstrikes and the supply of sophisticated weapons. Syria's rebels have repeatedly called for greater material international support, but little has been forthcoming, in part because of international concerns over the lack of unity in the opposition. Al-Megarif also said that he and Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki were withholding recognition of the new Syrian opposition coalition until they could evaluate how representative it was. Al-Megarif's visit to Tunisia comes with a $200 million offer of aid to the Tunisian economy to "support its development." The Tunisian economy, which relies heavily on tourism and exports to Europe, has been severely battered by the unrest that accompanied the overthrow of its long-ruling dictator in January 2011. "It is the first financial interaction which will be followed by others as we solidify the excellent relations linking the two countries," said Marzouki.
Islamists Hold Sway In Eastern Libyan City By Abigail Hauslohner Washington Post 27 October 2012
Militants' violent grip on area underscores post-Gaddafi challenges
DARNA, Libya — Operating from the shadows, armed Islamist extremists are terrorizing the eastern Libyan city of Darna, six weeks after the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi threw a spotlight on Libya's growing religious extremism.
A campaign of bombings and death threats aimed at Libyan government targets is being blamed on armed Islamist extremists, including the city’s most powerful militia, the Abu Slim Martyrs Brigade, whose ideology residents say is akin to al-Qaeda’s.
What is unfolding here may be the most extreme example of the confrontation underway across Libya, underscoring just how deeply the fundamentalists have sown their seeds in the security vacuum that has defined Libya since the fall of Moammar Gaddafi last September. (read more)
Former Libyan prime minister to be tried
Al Jazeera 12 November 2012
Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi accused of crimes committed under Muammar Gadaffi, according to public prosecutor's spokesman. Libya's former prime minister will be put on trial for crimes he allegedly committed during the rule of Muammar Gaddafi. Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi was extradited from Tunisia, which he fled to in September 2011 after the fall of Tripoli to rebel forces. "Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi will appear tomorrow [Monday] on the occasion of a first case" against him, Taha Baara, the public prosecutor's spokesman, said in Tripoli on Sunday, adding that Mahmoudi faces charges of "prejudicial acts against the security of the state". Baara said on Sunday that al-Mahmoudi is facing charges regarding his role in a number of cases during the civil war, as well as undermining the country's security. (read more)
Tunisia: Libya consulate attack suspect arrested
CBS News 24 October 2012
TUNIS, TunisiaA Tunisian man who was arrested in Turkey earlier this month with reported links to the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya has been returned to Tunisia and is facing terrorism charges, his lawyer said Wednesday. Ali Harzi was repatriated to Tunisia on Oct. 11 by authorities in Turkey, and a judge issued his arrest warrant, lawyer Ouled Ali Anwar told The Associated Press. He said his client was told by a judge Tuesday that he has been charged with "membership of a terrorist organization in a time of peace in another country." A person who saw Harzi's court dossier told The Associated Press that prosecutors are linking him to the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead. He said Harzi is one of two Tunisians arrested Oct. 3 in Turkey when they tried to enter the country with false passports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. Harzi's alleged role in the attacks is not clear. (read more)
Libya’s pro-government militias clash with fighters in stronghold of Gadhafi regime loyalists
Associated Press, The Washington Post 19 October, 2012
TRIPOLI, Libya — Pro-government militias clashed Friday with fighters in a former stronghold of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi for the third consecutive day, the spokesman for the Libyan military’s chief of staff said, after talks to end the standoff broke down. Violence has flared periodically over the last year in Bani Walid, the most significant town in Libya still resisting the country’s new authorities since the end of the country’s civil war last year. Fighters of the pro-government Libya Shield militia have besieged the town, some 140 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Tripoli, for te past several weeks, blaming residents for the death of a well-known anti-Gadhafi rebel. On Wednesday, they attacked the town with mortar and artillery, then launched a ground assault after saying that negotiations to hand over the suspects in the killing had failed. (read more)
Libya: War Crimes Committed At Gaddafi Death Site, Says Human Rights Watch
AllAfrica 18 October 2012
Arusha — Opposition militias in Libya carried out mass killings on October 20, 2011 in Sirte, where former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was also executed, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. "The evidence suggests that opposition militias summarily executed at least 66 captured members of Gaddafi's convoy,"says the US-based NGO. "Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture." The 50-page report entitled Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte, details the final hours of Gaddafi's life and the circumstances under which he was killed. It presents evidence indicating, according to Human Rights Watch, that Misrata-based militias captured and disarmed members of Gaddafi's convoy and subjected them to brutal beatings. They then executed at least 66 of the captured members at the nearby Mahari hotel. The evidence also indicates that opposition militias took Gaddafi's wounded son Moutassim from Sirte to Misrata and killed him there. "Under the laws of war, the killing of captured combatants is a war crime, and Libyan civil and military authorities have an obligation to investigate war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law," writes Human Rights Watch. HRW says that despite initial pledges by top Libyan officials that the events would be investigated, it has not seen any evidence that an inquiry is under way or has been carried out. The International Criminal Court was given jurisdiction by the UN Security Council to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed by all sides in Libya after February 15, 2011, if the Libyan authorities are not able or willing to investigate or prosecute. (article)
Ex-rebels allied to Libya's government launch deadly attack on former stronghold of deceased leader Muammar Gaddafi. Former rebels allied to Libya's army have attacked the town of Bani Walid leaving 11 dead and dozens wounded, local medical officials have said. The deputy director of Bani Walid's hospital, Abdullah al-Mansuri, said on Thursday that his facility had received "seven dead people and 75 wounded, including a 14-year-old girl". The commander of the ex-rebel group, Libya Shield, said four of his men had been killed and 19 wounded in the fighting for the hilltop town, which is a known bastion of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi. "Bani Walid was shelled from three fronts today," said Massud al-Waer, a town official. He said dozens of residents were wounded in the assault on the town, which has been under siege for weeks. The ongoing clashes between rival armed groups underline the challenges facing the new Libyan government. (read more)
Evidence of mass murder after Gaddafi's death
Al Jazeera 17 October, 2012
A new report suggests anti-Gaddafi militias carried out massacres during Libyan conflict New evidence implicates Libyan militias in an apparent execution of dozens of detainees in rebel custody following the capture and death of Muammar Gaddafi last year, a watchdog has said. In a report released on Wednesday detailing Gaddafi's final hours on October 20, 2011, Human Rights Watch said it had gathered evidence that Misrata-based militias captured and disarmed members of the dictator's convoy and subjected them to brutal beatings. (read more)
Libya: UN Urges Protection of Civilians Following Deadly Clashes in Bani Walid
AllAfrica 12 October 2012
New evidence collected by Human Rights Watch implicates Misrata-based militias in the apparent execution of dozens of detainees following the ... ( Resource: Libya: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte The United Nations today voiced concern over the impact of recent security developments, including loss of life and injury, amid deadly clashes between armed groups in the Libyan town of Bani Walid. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the North African nation, Georg Charpentier, reminded all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and meet their basic needs. (read more)
Political chaos in Libya hampers U.S. probe of deadly Benghazi attacks
Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post 12 October, 2012
TRIPOLI, Libya — More than a month after attacks in Libya left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead, the United States is struggling to bring the killers to justice. But when American officials try to speak to Libyan leaders, there’s often no one on the other end of the line. Moammar Gaddafi’s death almost a year ago left a country with few political institutions, and Libya’s new political class is still trying to put together a democratically elected government. Infighting has grown even more bitter since the Sept. 11 attack on U.S. outposts in the eastern city of Benghazi. Many ministries, including those that would take the lead in an investigation, are on autopilot as the new lawmakers plot alliances and betrayals over endless cups of coffee in Tripoli, the capital.
Why Libya—and Not The Hague—Will Try Gaddafi’s Son
Vivienne Walt, TIME 10 October, 2012
With Libyans in political turmoil at home, and still reeling from last month’s Benghazi attack against U.S. diplomats, Libyan officials this week seem nearer to winning at least one key battle, right in the heart of Europe: The right to conduct its own trial of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi rather than surrender him to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. (read more)
Libya promises ICC Gaddafi's son will get a fair trial
Thomas Escritt, Reuters 9 October, 2012
Saif al-Islam is seen after his capture, in the custody of revolutionary fighters in Obari, Libya (Stringer . Reuters, REUTERS / November 21, 2011) THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Libya can guarantee the son of its former dictator a fair trial, Libyan government lawyers said on Tuesday at a hearing on whether Saif al-Islam Gaddafi should face justice at home or at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. ICC judges will rule whether Libya is capable of properly trying the man once seen as Gaddafi's heir-apparent or whether it should extradite him to the Hague. If ICC judges rule Libya is unable to give Saif al-Islam a fair trial, the court has no power to force Libya to comply. But Libya would then be in violation of international law and the will of the United Nations Security Council. (read more)
U.S. withdraws all its official government personnel out of Benghazi, Libya
Anne Gearan and Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post 1 October, 2012
The Obama administration has withdrawn all official government personnel from Benghazi, the Libyan city where the country’s revolution was born and where the U.S. ambassador was killed last month, U.S. officials and local residents said Monday.
The State Department said that it has pulled its personnel from Benghazi and that any
diplomatic outreach to Libya’s second-largest city is being done remotely. The U.S. post where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in an attack by militants has been closed. (read more)
Libya - Country Profile
By Genocide Watch - Stage 6 Polarization
11 July 2012
Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi served as Libya’s dictator for a term that lasted over 40 years. In August 2011 he was forced out of power, bringing an end to his regime after decades of oppression. His overthrow resulted after pro-democracy protests quickly escalated and became violent, leading to a six month armed struggle by Libyan rebels supported by NATO airstrikes.
Peaceful protests against the Qadhafi regime began in February 2011 and were met with violent resistance from the government. Ordinary citizens began taking up arms in hopes of freeing themselves from the oppressive regime. The resistance quickly turned into an armed rebellion with numerous Libyan diplomats and military personnel defecting due to increasingly violent reactions by the regime. Qadhafi was killed in October 2011 following an ambush of his convoy while he was attempting to escape.
Although the brutal hand that held the country together has been removed, a post Qadhafi Libya now finds itself in a state of disarray, as tribal rivalries suppressed under Qadhafi have erupted and resulted in violent killings. In March 2012 tribal clashes in the southern city of Sabha caused the deaths of 147 people. In the western town of Tawergha, an entire population of black Libyans was evicted by fighters from a neighboring city. Violence against Black Libyans has continued as hundreds have been arrested and charged with being former Qadhafi supporters. Some leaders in the eastern part of the country, which contains the majority of the oil, sought to remain autonomous from the central government, leading to violent clashes in Benghazi.
Tribal tensions date back to the days before Qadhafi, and were exploited by his divide and rule policies. Fighting continues between the Zintan and the Mashashya, whose tensions originated when Qadhafi gave tribal land that was expropriated from one tribe to the other. 30,000 civilians from the town of Misrata were evicted due to allegations of rape, murder, torture and working against the rebel army. The Tawerghans, descendants of slaves, make up a small minority in Misrata and previously received some protection under the Qadhafi regime. They claim to be innocent of charges of rape, murder and torture but have suffered brutal revenge at the hands of the rebels. Their recent eviction is said to be in retaliation for supporting the regime and also because the rebels want their land. They remain a displaced people in “liberated” Libya. Supporters of Qaddafi have fled into Mali, where they have now taken over the northern half of that country, and are imposing brutal Islamist rule.
The militia who overthrew Qadhafi’s regime, have refused to disarm and now hinder the nation’s progress. Deadly street shootings and the recent kidnapping of two members of the ruling Transitional National Council, made it difficult for elections to go forward. Weeks before the scheduled elections, the headquarters of Libya’s interim prime minster- Abdel Rahim el-Keeb, was attacked by armed militants. This political tension was in response to a recent decision made by tribal leaders to reinstate the federal government structure which would create three states; Tripolitania in the west, Fezzan in the south and Barqa in the east. This decision was met with dissatisfaction, predominately by Tripoli, due to fears of the dismemberment of Libya and the loss of oil wealth.
Tribal militias have continued to oppose formation of a central governmental system. On June 7th a local militia, Seif el-Islam, located in the city of Zintan detained four staff members of theInternational Criminal Court, who have since been released.
National elections were finally held on July 7th 2012, and were generally free. They are a hopeful step forward toward a democratic new Libya. The coming years will reveal whether the country will be able to unify itself and put aside ethnic tensions. Failure to unify will result in a failed state and a continuation of ethnic clashes. Libya remains divided by tribe and ethnicity.
Genocide Watch classifies Libya at stage 6: Polarization.
US reduces embassy staff in Libya
Al Jazeera 27 September, 2012
Washington says it is temporarily withdrawing more staff from its embassy in Libya's capital for security reasons. The United States is temporarily withdrawing more staff from its embassy in Libya's capital for security reasons, but hopes to send them back early next week, the US State Department has said. "This is a temporary further drawdown of staff for security reasons. We will review our posture again early next week with the goal of restoring staff as soon as conditions allow," a State Department official said in New York on Thursday, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attending the U.N. General Assembly. (read more)
Libya's new leader apologizes at U.N. for Gaddafi crimes
Michelle Nichols, Reuters27 September, 2012
UNITED NATIONS | (Reuters) - Libya's newly appointed leader apologized at the United Nations on Thursday for the crimes of ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi and told critics that supporting the Arab Spring was worth it. During his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Mohammed Magarief, leader of Libya's ruling national congress, said the Libyan people were moderate and the country would never be home to extremist groups. "I stand before you today, before the entire world, to apologize for all the harm, all the crimes committed by that despot against so many innocents, to apologize for the extortion and terrorism he meted out on so many states," Magarief said. (read more)
05 Mar 2012
Libyan rebels force black Africans to eat Qadhafi's flags in cage Read More
Libyans celebrate in Martyrsí Square in Tripoli, the capital, after hearing that deposed leader Moammar Kadafi had been killed. Kadafi was the third leader to fall since the outbreak of the so-called Arab Spring protests, but he became the first to lose his life. (Ismail Zitouni, Reuters / October 20, 2011)
Libya tribal leaders break away from interim government
Libya's National Transitional Council, the interim central government based in the capital Tripoli, has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the creation of a partly autonomous oil-rich eastern region, warning it could eventually lead to the breakup of the North African nation.Thousands of representatives of major tribal leaders, militia commanders and politicians made the declaration in a ceremony held in the eastern city of Benghazi.
They vowed to end decades of marginalization under Gaddafi and named a council to run the affairs of the newly created region, extending from the central coastal city of Sirte to the Egyptian border in the east. The gathering appointed Ahmed al-Zubair, Libya's longest serving political prisoner under Gaddafi, as leader of its governing council. Al-Zubair is also a member of the National Transitional Council. Al-Zubair pledged to protect the rights of the region but also said his council recognizes NTC to run Libya's international affairs. (Read More)