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Libya In Transition

Issue 11, March 13, 2011

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Libya is certainly now in transition from the dictatorship to the people’s inclusive democracy. Libyans have sufficiently lived under the shadow of the dictator losing everything: from the fundamental human rights to a share in the national wealth. Nature has gifted Libya a huge natural resources of oil and gas but a single man called Gaddafi and his family have been enjoying the nation’s wealth. He has stashed away billions of dollars in foreign banks and has held many assets abroad keeping the people poor. Now, the time has come that Libyans will no more tolerate such discrimination against them and bring the culprits to justice no matter what price they will need to pay.

The Gaddafi forces have been hitting the rebel held regions mercilessly. Gaddafi has been the supporter of the international terrorists. Now, he has been terrorizing his own people because they simply want the fundamental human rights and a share in the national wealth to enjoy. They don’t want to live under the boot of a dictator any more. They have been shedding their blood to depose Gaddafi and his family and then live like humans. Surely, Libyans will win the battle against the dictator and his family and bring them to justice.

The international community has already imposed sanctions on Gaddafi, his family and the people of his inner circle aiming at deterring them from abusing the firepower, and money they have possessed. Following the resolution of the UN Security Council, member countries have been obliged to freeze the bank deposits and assets of Gaddafi, his family members and people of his inner circle, and impose travel ban on them. Most of the member countries have already frozen their assets and bank accounts.

The International Criminal Court based in The Hague has already initiated inquiry into the crimes committed against humanity. After the investigation into the crimes committed by Gaddafi and his cronies, the judges will issue arrest warrants. Consequently, no matter where Gaddafi, his family members and people of his inner circle go they are subject to arrest for bringing them to justice at the International Criminal Court. All these things are the victory for the Libyan people over the dictator and his cronies.

Time is still there for Gaddafi and his family to make a peace with the people and return their fundamental human rights and their wealth to them and get away from the punishment for the 42-year dictatorial rule and misuse of the nature-gifted natural resources. Let the Libyans have it what the nature has given to them otherwise they will forcibly take those things away from Gaddafi and his cronies bringing them to justice even at the cost of losing many lives and shedding blood.

Gaddafi and his sons have falsely claimed that Libyans love them and they have the support of Libyan people; in case of the departure of Gaddafi and his sons, Libya will plunge into a monstrous civil war as none other than Gaddafi can keep various tribal groups together and under control. They wrongly believe that they have been keeping the tribal leaders and the people under their control because they love Gaddafi and his rule.

Gaddafi has been running the administration for 42 years through the word of his mouth. He has not even crafted a constitution for him and his sons to follow. So, nobody can expect the rule of law from him because they have not made even the basic law. In such a case, anybody can imagine how the Libyans so rich in the natural resource have been living in poverty because most of the wealth Gaddafi and his sons stolen from the Libyans have stashed away in foreign banks. They have been living the lives of the unimaginable style using the resources the nature has gifted to the people. Gaddafi has been sure to continue his authoritarian rule. He has already made one of the sons as an heir to his power. However, a rift between the sons has surfaced but how serious it is not known, yet.

The rebels have successfully removed the authority of Gaddafi in the eastern region and some parts of western region of Libya but they have to build a new authority. They have set up Provisional Transitional National Council of Libya comprising 31 representatives. Former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil heads it. They have also formed a local administrative authority. Their representatives might form a central assembly and a government.

Currently, much of the attention of the rebels has been focused on protecting the areas they have captured from Gaddafi’s rule. The forces loyal to Gaddafi have been using every possible means to recapture the rebel-held areas. They have sent the air force planes to strike at Ras Lanuf in the east and Zawiya in the west. However, the rebels have held on to those areas. The rebels have been fighting in Bin Jawad.

Gaddafi and his cronies have been so nervous of the foreign media. They have not spared even the most impartial media such as BBC. They have captured three reporters of the BBC Arabic service and have roughed them up on March 09, 2011. A BBC Arabic team of three people has been on the way to Zawiya where the fighting between the rebel and the Gaddafi forces has been going on. The security force has captured them and then has forced them to stand facing on the wall and then the army men have fired them in a mock execution. They have been almost dead. The three men have left Libya.

Gaddafi and his army have been nervous of the rebels ill-equipped, badly trained and fighting with outmoded machine guns and not well-organized have been able to keep the areas they have captured so long. The well-equipped and well-fed army has not been able to retake the captured areas despite the Gaddafi army outnumbered and outmatched the rebels. One of the rebel leaders has said that the high morale of the rebels has been decisive equipment to fight against the army of the despotic Gaddafi.

According to the media reports, a delegation of the Gaddafi’s government has gone to Europe for meeting the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) and conveying the message of Gaddafi to them on Thursday, March 10, 2011 but NATO defense ministers and EU foreign ministers and leaders have refused to see the delegation. The message is Gaddafi wants to resolve the current crisis peacefully but the possible massacre of the people if the rebels attempt on taking Tripoli; the Gaddafi government is ready to talk to anybody representing the rebels; however, enforcement of a no-fly zone and freezing of assets will not help to resolve the crisis.

Speaking to the interviewer of the Turkish television on Wednesday, March 09, 2011, Gaddafi has said that even in case of a no-fly zone enforced by the western nations, Libyans would not keep silent but fight back. He has also said that the western nations’ intention to impose restrictions on Libya is to seize the oil wealth of his country. In this case, all Libyans will fight against it.

The Gaddafi government has already felt the credit crunch. The revenue from the sale of oil has fallen drastically, as the fighting has been going on in the oil field areas. The assets of Gaddafi, his family members and of his government frozen following the resolution of the UN Security Council has stop the central bank of Libya receiving foreign currencies. So, the central bank has imposed the restriction on using the foreign currencies without its approval.

The Gaddafi administration has announced a large bounty of $ 400,000 on the head of former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul-Jalil. After the people’s uprising against Gaddafi started off on February 15, 2011, he has been one of the top officials of the Gaddafi government that has defected to the opposition. He now heads the provisional opposition government in Benghazi: the stronghold of rebels. has reported on March 09, 2011 that Britain and France have pushed for the U.N. to create a no-fly zone over Libya hoping the U.S. will follow them but they are not sure of having the backing of veto-wielding Security Council members such as Russia and China for such a move. Traditionally, they have objected to such steps saying such actions are infringements on national sovereignty.

According to the of March 09, 2011, the rebels have been gradually organizing their army with the help of the army men defected from the Gaddafi army. The rebel army is not well trained but sufficient enough to fight against the Gaddafi army. The high morale of the rebels has been keeping them resisting the out-numbered and outgunned Gaddafi army from entering the areas they have captured.

The Gaddafi’s army has been distributing the weapons to the tribal people hoping that they will fight against the rebels. They have encouraged the tribal people to fight against the anti-Gaddafi forces but the Gaddafi’s army has not thought of the arms distributed to the tribal people might end up in the hands of the rebels.

The army men have confiscated cell phones and cameras from the fleeing migrant workers to stop them from relaying the pictures of the unrest in Libya and from talking to anybody outside Libya. However, some of the migrant workers stranded on the border with Tunisia have said that the army men have not only taken the cell phones and cameras but money and other valuables they have possessed.

Former Libyan Prime Minister Jadallah Azous al-Talhi has appeared on the state television and called on the opposition leaders in Benghazi for having a peace dialogue for saving the country from falling into the hands of foreigners. However, the opposition has outright rejected such overtures.

In the rebel-held towns and cities, people have held prepared Molotov cocktails made out of soft drink bottles. They have kept constant watch of the Gaddafi forces coming to take over those towns and cities. They have been ready to fight with their Molotov cocktails and ready to die if necessary while fighting against the forces loyal to Gaddafi.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference representing Muslim countries has joined the calls for imposing a no-fly zone on Libya according to the BBC NEWS. Gulf Arab states have their backing to the idea, and have condemned the Libyan government forces using violence against civilians and have called for an urgent meeting of the Arab League to discuss this matter.

On Monday, March 07, 2011, RIA Novosti has reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov has been against any form of foreign intervention in Libya, making it impossible to impose the United Nations-backed no-fly zone on Libya. Russia has the power to veto any UN Security Council resolution. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has clearly stated on Thursday, March 10, 2011 that any military intervention in Libya is unacceptable, and talk of a no-flight zone is premature.

According to the BBC NEWS of March 07, 2011, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Jordan's Former Foreign Minister Abdelilah al-Khatib as his special envoy to Libya, and has said, "that civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence, and calls for an immediate halt to the government's disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets". The UN is launching an appeal for $162m (£99m) to help 600,000 people within Libya expected to need humanitarian aid, in addition to a projected total of 400,000 leaving the country in the short term.

Some US congresspersons have been putting pressure on President Barack Obama to impose a no-fly zone on Libya. Some of the European countries also have been for imposing a no-fly zone on Libya. The rebels in Libya have also been asking the international community for imposing a no-fly zone to protect them from the Gaddafi’s air force. However, defense people responsible for actually imposing a no-fly zone has been saying that imposing a no-fly zones means first destroying the air force of Gaddafi and destroying the landing strips in Libya but all these things don’t mean stopping Gaddafi using his land forces for killing the people indiscriminately.

Speaking at the House Appropriations Committee, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told that the past no-fly zones had had mixed results, as the one over Iraq did not prevent Saddam Hussein from slaughtering people on the ground and it did not get him out of office, nor did a no-fly zone in Bosnia weaken the Bosnian Serbs or drive the Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, from power “until we had troops on the ground.” In view of the mixed results of the past no-fly zones, and in absence of the international authorization, she has said that the United States acting alone would be stepping into a situation the consequences of which would be unforeseeable. Meanwhile, she told the House Appropriations Committee that the Obama administration is suspending its ties to the Libyan Embassy in Washington and reaching out to opposition leaders inside and outside of Libya. She plans to meet with some of the opposition leaders in Egypt and Tunisia.

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, March 10, 2011, U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper has said that under current conditions, Libyan leader Gaddafi is likely to survive the revolt against him because of superior equipment, according to the news posted on the

In response to the Clapper’s comment, spokesman for rebels Mustaffa Gheriani has said that someone of such a position to come out and say such a thing is disgusting, and must have forgotten his history that tells people always win, not tyrants with machines according to the news posted on on March 11, 2011.

The rebel leaders have accused Gaddafi of recruiting mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa to fight the rebel forces. A spokesman for the rebel in Misurata in western Libya has said that the rebels have captured several fighters from Mali and Chad. In Benghazi, the rebels have confirmed that some mercenaries are Algerian and the pilot of a downed plane is a Syrian.

Gaddafi has tens of billions in cash secretly stashed away at the Libyan Central Bank and other banks around the Libyan capital in recent years making him able to hire mercenaries even at the cost of one thousand dollars a day according to the international intelligence officials. Such huge cash reserves have offset the impact of economic sanctions on Gaddafi and his government, at least temporarily making the possibility of Gaddafi resisting the rebellion for a sustained period consequently warranting the actions of the Obama administration and European leaders on forcing him out of power quickly.

Gaddafi has been using the cash for buying political supporters for retaining their loyalty in Tripoli, and also the services of African mercenaries. The person close to Gaddafi has estimated that the Libyan government has hired 3,000 to 4,000 mercenaries from Mali, Niger and a rebel group operating in Darfur, Sudan, at $1,000 a day per person. However, United States intelligence officials have said that they could neither confirm those numbers nor amount of payments according to the news reports.

Formally recognizing the Libyan National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people on March 10, 2011, the French government has given the rebels urgently needed support for consolidating the power in the liberated areas. France is also sending an ambassador to Benghazi: de-facto capital of the rebels. The French Government’s recognition of the rebel provisional government is the biggest victory for the opposition. Some reports have it that President Nicolas Sarkozy is even prepared for proposing the launching of air strikes against Gaddafi command headquarters but support of other European nations for such an action is not known, yet. President Nicolas Sarkozy has met with Mahmoud Jibril and Ali Al-Esawi: representatives of the Libyan National Council in Paris on Thursday, March 10, 2011.

After the recognition of the Libyan National Council, it can certainly claim for the assets of the Libyan government deposited in France and even of the assets of Gaddafi and his family, as the money they have deposited in their names surely belong to the Libyan people. The Libyan National Council can use those resources for fighting against the mercenaries Gaddafi have bought and used them for killing the Libyans.

In response to the recognition of the rebel government, the Gaddafi government has announced the suspension of its diplomatic relations with France on March 11, 2011. Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim has told journalists in Tripoli that the French government is focusing on dividing Libya.

Gaddafi and his family members have suffered a series of diplomatic setbacks. First, the UN Security Council has imposed sanctions against him and his family members freezing their assets and imposing travel ban on them. Second, the International Criminal Court has started off investigation into the killing of the unarmed civilians protesting against the Gaddafi regime in Benghazi from February 15 to 20. Now, the France has recognized the Libyan National Council as the legitimate representative of Libyans. Fourth, the EU has refused to meet with the delegation sent by Gaddafi not to mention listening to the message he has sent. Fifth, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is talking to the representatives of the rebels in Egypt and Tunisia when she visits there for conveying the Obama administration’s support for the transition to a genuine democracy in those countries, and the US is suspending the relations with the Libyan embassy in Washington. Finally, on March 11, 2011, the EU has imposed an embargo on the arms sale to the Gaddafi government.

Democrat from Massachusetts, and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John F. Kerry has written in the on March 11, 2011: “So far, Gaddafi's forces have relied on airpower selectively. But Gaddafi is shrewd. My fear is that he is either choosing to bleed the opposition to death, rather than invite global action with a broad massacre, or waiting for the world to prove itself unwilling to act. Then he may well begin killing civilians in large numbers.

We cannot wait for that to happen. We need to take concrete steps now so that we are prepared to implement a no-fly zone immediately if Gaddafi starts using his airpower to kill large numbers of civilians. Diplomacy is urgently needed to build broad support for a no-fly zone.

Gaddafi cannot be allowed to think that he can massacre his people with impunity. And he cannot be free to make those attacks more lethal by using his airpower. If the United Nations cannot approve a resolution for implementing a no-fly zone, then the United States and its allies in NATO and the Arab world must be prepared to prevent a massacre like the one that occurred in Srebrenica in 1995, when more than 8,000 men and boys were slaughtered.”

On Saturday, March 12, 2011, foreign ministers of the Arab League nations excluding the minister from Tripoli are sitting for a meeting in Cairo, Egypt to discuss a possible no-fly zone over Libya to stop Gaddafi from bombing the rebel-held areas and for ending the violence against the rebels. In an interview given to the German weekly Der Spiegel, Secretary General of the League Amr Mussa has said that he wants the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union, the Europeans everyone participate in assisting the Libyan people with a no-fly zone in their struggle for freedom against an increasingly inhuman regime. Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa is responding to the call of the Libyan rebels for help from the Arab League after the Gaddafi forces have mercilessly bombed the rebel-held areas and forced them to leave Ras Lanuf.

A special meeting of the Arab League held in Cairo on March 12, 2011 has voted to ask the UN Security Council for imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, diplomats have told the news agencies.

Obviously, the Europeans and Americans doing nothing in the field and talking too much have been watching what Gaddafi can do to his people, and possibly also waiting him to wear down after the UN sanctions against him but Gaddafi has successfully bombed the rebel-held areas and damaged every house in Zawiya and burn the oil refinery in Ras Lanuf. Gaddafi might inflict serious damages on the rebels if the international community lets him to do what he has been doing now.

March 12, 2011

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