The force of laughter: Graffiti on a wall in Tripoli represents the Libyan leader, Colonel Qadaffi, as a fleeing rat. After weeks of skirmishes in the Nafusa Mountains southwest of Tripoli, Sifaw Twawa and his brigade of freedom fighters are at a standstill. It’s a mid-April night in 2011, and Twawa’s men are frightened. Lightly armed and hidden only by trees, they are a stone’s throw from one of four Grad 122-millimeter multiple-rocket launchers laying down a barrage on Yefren, their besieged hometown. These weapons can fire up to 40 unguided rockets in 20 seconds. Each round carries a high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 40 pounds.
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space CAMBRIDGE – Last month, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, died in his home in Tripoli. With his burial, the engrained mistrust between Libya and the West, epitomized by Lockerbie’s enduring political potency, should be interred as well. It is time to move on.
While Libyans are quietly proving that they can forgive, forget and move forward together, the current political and military powers in Libya seem intent on proving the opposite to the rest of the world. Last weekend a few friends and I decided to make the most of the hot June weather by heading to the beach for sand, sea and barbeque. We drove to a beach an hour east of Tripoli and when we arrived we found the summer weather had enticed half of Libya to the coast. After picking our way through picnicking families and excited children, we eventually found an empty bamboo beach hut which we took over for the day.
<img alt="Photo: Michael Christopher Brown" src="/threatlevel/wp-content/gallery/20-06/ff_libya_f.jpg" title="Feature" width="660"/> The Internet enabled surveillance on a scale that would have been unimaginable with the old tools of phone taps and informants. Photo: Michael Christopher Brown He once was known as al-Jamil—the Handsome One—for his chiseled features and dark curls.
Has El-Sebsi’s interim government hijacked Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution? Security and the economy are the most pressing issues for Tunisians today, yet the interim government appears to be prioritizing political reform at the expense of structural reform. As unemployment continues to rise and the security situation falters, the fact that Tunisians are three, possibly four, elections away from a representative government does little to ease their feelings of insecurity and uncertainty about the future of their country. Tunisian youths sit on the steps of a theatre as they pass time while awaiting employment opportunities The residents of Mohammed Bouazizi’s hometown, Sidi Bouzid, are not pleased. Located in one of the poorest parts of Tunisia, they are raising their voices in almost daily demonstrations against what has become—for them—another disappointing government that ignores their ongoing socio-economic challenges while pursuing its own elitist political agenda.
on : Tuesday, 8 May, 2012 Hearts and Minds Libya has enacted a new law that effectively grants impunity to war crimes committed during the civil war. Though it is intended as a measure that will at the same time force the country to deal with its other numerous challenges, it appears to be a tactical move to appease the worries of militias who are concerned that they will lose everything they have gained if they lay down their weapons. Zuwarah fighters inspect their ammunitions on April 4, 2012 The transitional government in Libya has faced a number of gargantuan challenges since it took power last year.
Snapshot Speculation is swirling as to why Wadah Khanfar, the director general of the Arab world's most powerful satellite news broadcaster, resigned his post last week. But the real question is whether the network can survive the challenges it now faces. Among the many countries that supported Libya's rebels in their fight to unseat Muammar al-Qaddafi , Qatar was a particularly enthusiastic partner. The Arab emirate of just 1.6 million people, rich in oil and gas , was the first Arab country to recognize the rebel government, the Transitional National Council. It sold Libyan oil on behalf of the rebels to avoid sanctions and supplied them with gas, diesel, and millions of dollars in aid.
Though he sold himself as either a costumed buffoon, a wild-eyed terrorist, or a wary reformer, Qaddafi's rule from his unlikely rise to his inevitable fall was one of the most cunning and improbable feats of modern dictatorships Qaddafi speaks to the summit meeting of the nonaligned nations in Sri Lanka, August 1976 / AP In the first few months of 1969, Libya was so filled with rumors that the country's senior military leadership would oust the king in a bloodless coup that, when the coup actually happened on September 1, nobody bothered to check who had led it. A handful of military vehicles had rolled up to government offices and communication centers, quietly shutting down the monarchy in what was widely seen as a necessary and overdue transition. King Idris's government had become so incapable and despised that neither his own personal guard nor the massive U.S. military force then stationed outside Tripoli intervened.
Letter From Arriving in Tripoli just after it fell to the rebels, the author witnessed several similarities between the Libyan capital in 2011 and revolutionary Afghanistan in 1992. They offer valuable lessons on how to avoid catastrophe. In March 2008, Muammar al-Qaddafi took the podium at an Arab League summit in Damascus to deliver one of his famously long-winded and rambling speeches.
Snapshot Although the Libya mission has been effective in averting a humanitarian debacle so far, it has been ugly in some ways. But as Ivo Daalder and I argued about the Kosovo war a dozen years ago, an ugly operation is not the same as a failed operation. This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt .
One morning in late September, as Libyan rebels launched their final advance on Sirte, Muammar Qaddafi's hometown, Hisham Matar explained to a small, rapt audience at the century-old Chicago Club why the removal of repressive long-time dictators, though great, had not been the most meaningful achievement of the Arab Spring. "Our collective imagination - a whole array of expectations about our governments, our institutions, our dreams - has just shifted," he said. "The horizon has moved much further than even the most audacious of us would have suggested." Matar speaks softly, but with confidence and precision.
Weapons circulate easily and militias refuse to disarm. Is the new government doing enough to improve security in Libya? The newfound freedom of which Libyans are justly proud is gradually giving way to insecurity and disorder. The inability of the new government to disarm militias and stem the circulation of weapons, including missiles and other heavy arms, is causing alarm in Libya and abroad.
Hearts and Minds Following the extrajudicial killing of Muammar Qadhafi, his son and once heir apparent to the Colonel, has established indirect contact with the International Criminal Court suggesting he is willing to surrender to the UN body only. However, Libyan officials are contesting these attempts arguing that Saif al Islam, who is wanted for crimes against humanity, must face justice in Libya. Rumors are circulating that Saif Al-Islam has made contact with the ICC
Postscript The International Criminal Court took a risk in issuing arrest warrants for Muammar al-Qaddafi and other Libyan officials: it remains unclear whether the warrants will ever be enforced and, beyond that, what effect they will have on the conflict in Libya. A moment of sudden, bloody vengeance ensured that Muammar al-Qaddafi, Libya’s longtime dictator, would never face justice in a court. But his son Saif al-Islam has been captured, and will face trial.
Libya After the Liberation: The Wounded Are Everywhere Muammar Qadhafi’s authoritarian rule of Libya ended amidst catastrophic civil war, leaving grief and destruction in its wake. However, there is some comfort for the Libyan people in the fact that—as well as being rid of their long-standing and malignant leader—the aftermath of the recent battles will carry a different tone to the violence of years gone by. Children have not been spared the physical and emotional trauma of civil war in Libya To read the article in the original Arabic, please click here During the former regime, Libyans used to retell stories of soldiers who were physically wounded during the Chadian-Libyan conflict and who were not allowed to return to their families. It is said that those soldiers were disposed of in the sea, because the Qadhafi regime did not want the people to be reminded of the conflict.