The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

[For] Libya’s new governors, the turbulent south—home to Libya’s wells of water and oil—is unnerving. Since Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the NTC chairman, declared an end to the civil war last October, the violence in the south is worse than it was during the struggle to oust Qaddafi. Hundreds have been killed, thousands injured, and, according to UN figures, tens of thousands displaced in ethnic feuding. Without its dictator to keep the lid on, the country, it seems, is boiling over the sides. Is Libya Cracking Up? | Nicolas Pelham

Libya's ruling council fires Cabinet | Daily Star

TRIPOLI, Libya: Libya’s interim ruling council has fired the nation’s Cabinet just five months after it took office, citing incompetence, two senior officials said Thursday, just two months before the country’s first national election.

National Transitional Council official Fathi Baja told The Associated Press that 65 of the NTC’s 72-members approved a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib in a meeting Wednesday.

It’s the latest blow to Libya, struggling to reorganize after the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The move throws into question the country’s ability to hold the election in June, where Libyans are supposed to elect a 200-member assembly to form a government and prepare for writing the country’s new constitution.

Libya's militia problem revisited | Paul Mutter

IHS’ Richard Cochrane reports that despite some success the interim government has had ahead of the planned June 2012 national elections in bringing militias to heel — 8,000 militiamen are now “pledged” to become border guards — several obstacles remain to the NTC’s efforts to establish a secure state. A plan to distribute payments to militiamen and their families — essentially, a plan to secure legitimacy for the NTC in the fighters’ eyes — has been undermined by the NTC’s reliance on militias to manage the payments. The result of which, unfortunately but unsurprisingly, has been an uneven, unaccountable distribution of the money:

Names have been omitted from payment lists and others erroneously added, sparking angry protests, some of which have descended into violence. Local media has reported several incidences of militia groups plundering payment centres located in rival neighbourhoods, or in areas deemed to be insufficiently loyal to the spirit of the revolution.

This is the least of the government’s militia problems, though. Only in March did militia leaders agree to “turn over to the interim govenrment strategic sites, such as airports and border crossings,” to the NTC (the AFP’s correspondent for Libya, Dominique Soguel, hinted that given Libya’s size and limited infrastructure, official control of airports is a much—needed objective for the NTC to accomplish). While separatist stirrings in eastern Libya received substantial attention from the government — and a relatively swift political response that has somewhat dimmed the prospects of federal autonomy — ongoing fighting in southern Libya has reportedly left dozens dead in the past few months. Although the non-Arab minority population in the region supported the NTC, tribal rivalries — and, in the International Crisis Group’s view, a lack of a functioning judicial system or police force — have flared up. To the north, on Libya’s western coast, Berber and Arab militias continue to clash. In both the south and west, the NTC’s armed forces have had a difficult time imposing cease fires. One reason for this is that “even when government security forces are dispatched to resolve crises, there is no guarantee that they will be the strongest force in the area,” an IHS report noted, though the main hindrance is still the NTC’s difficulties in co—opting the new armed groups and the old state machinery.

A guide to Libya's new political landscape | Ghaffar Hussain

The ousting of the Gaddafi clan and the collapse of their jamahiriya system, has left many feeling unsure about Libya’s political future. After all, the National Transitional Council (NTC) is not a political party and won’t exist beyond the first elections. Many of its members, being having been officials in Gaddafi’s regime, are unlikely to seek executive political positions.

The systematic suppression of civil society and all forms of opposition by Gaddafi has also left the country weak and fragile. So who will dominate Libya’s political scene in the coming years?

The political scene in Libya today comprises four broad camps: nationalists, liberals, Islamists and secularists, according to Noman Benotman, an analyst at the Quilliam Foundation who is also a former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. [read on]

thepoliticalnotebook:

Libya: The International Response
This is the list of countries that currently recognizes the NTC: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Portugal, Qatar, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States. /Al Jazeera Live Feed
China has not recognized the NTC, but essentially sends its best wishes, saying: “We have always attached significance to the important role of the National Transitional Council in solving Libya’s problems, and maintain contact with it.”/BBC Live Feed
Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev has said that they would consider formal relations if the NTC proves that they can provide a “new democratic start.”/Reuters
The European Union is working to unfreeze Libyan assets and remove sanctions, and is pursuing a UN resolution in the initial stages to do so./Al Jazeera Live Feed
The US is also working to unfreeze the Libyan assets they hold./US Dept of State
NATO’s Admiral Giampaola di Paolo says that “ the game is not over yet. Therefore we will continue the mission to uphold the UN resolution”  And also that ”there may be other boots on the ground, but not Nato.” /BBC Live Feed
NATO, which has been striking in and around Tripoli today, also says that it is not their job to find Gaddhafi. /BBC Live Feed
Photo: Libyan children celebrate in Janzour. Photo Credit: Ismail Zitouny/Reuters

thepoliticalnotebook:

Libya: The International Response

  • This is the list of countries that currently recognizes the NTC: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Portugal, Qatar, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States. /Al Jazeera Live Feed
  • China has not recognized the NTC, but essentially sends its best wishes, saying: “We have always attached significance to the important role of the National Transitional Council in solving Libya’s problems, and maintain contact with it.”/BBC Live Feed
  • Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev has said that they would consider formal relations if the NTC proves that they can provide a “new democratic start.”/Reuters
  • The European Union is working to unfreeze Libyan assets and remove sanctions, and is pursuing a UN resolution in the initial stages to do so./Al Jazeera Live Feed
  • The US is also working to unfreeze the Libyan assets they hold./US Dept of State
  • NATO’s Admiral Giampaola di Paolo says that “ the game is not over yet. Therefore we will continue the mission to uphold the UN resolution”  And also that ”there may be other boots on the ground, but not Nato.” /BBC Live Feed
  • NATO, which has been striking in and around Tripoli today, also says that it is not their job to find Gaddhafi. /BBC Live Feed

Photo: Libyan children celebrate in Janzour. Photo Credit: Ismail Zitouny/Reuters

Too Soon to Declare Victory | Phyllis Bennis

The success of Libya’s uprising will have a great deal to do with the willingness of its leadership to break its dependency on the United States and NATO. In what might or might not be a positive sign in that direction, TNC officials have said they intend to call for United Nations assistance in holding new elections within eight months of taking power. But more immediately, if the United States and European countries turn over the billions in frozen Libyan assets directly to the TNC, the question of the breadth of its representation and its legitimacy become even more crucial. Will the TNC, eager to claim the billions of oil money being held by European and U.S. banks, demand that NATO and the United States pull back and allow Libya to sort out its own problems and develop its own trajectory for an independent future? During a Monday press conference, the president of the TNC, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, thanked the international community as a whole but singled out those countries that had been especially supportive of the TNC; the implication was unmistakable that those countries, presumably the United States, other NATO members, and Qatar (whose special forces had trained the TNC’s “Tripoli Brigade”) could expect closer ties and privileged access to Libyan resources in the future.

That, more than anything else, will determine whether a “new Libya” has a chance of becoming a truly new, unified and sovereign Libya, or whether it just moves from control by a small family-based autocracy to control by outside Western forces more interested in maintaining privileged access to Libya’s oil and strategic location than in the human and national rights of Libya’s people.

The Libyan uprising began as part of the Arab Spring, with an effort to depose one more Arab dictator. Current developments are moving towards that goal. But the complications of the Libyan Summer, and the consequences of the militarization of its struggle, leave unanswered the question of whether events so far are ultimately a victory for the Libyan people, or for NATO. Given recent models of U.S. and NATO involvement in overthrowing dictatorships, we don’t have a lot of examples of how it can be both.