News / Africa

    New Libya More Arab, Less African?

    Libyan rebels patrol to try to find any of Moammar Gadhafi's relatives in Tripoli, Libya, August 24, 2011
    Libyan rebels patrol to try to find any of Moammar Gadhafi's relatives in Tripoli, Libya, August 24, 2011
    Joe DeCapua

    The Arab League Thursday recognized Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) as the country’s legitimate government. It said it’s time Libya once again had a permanent seat on the league’s council.

    Libya’s representative to the Arab League said the country would take part in a ministers meeting on Saturday.

    Too much, too soon?

    “I think that it’s premature. The government of Libya under Gadhafi is not completely overthrown as yet. Gadhafi is still at large. And the United Nations has not officially recognized a new government for Libya. And I think it’s premature for individual states or even groupings like the Arab League to take that step,” said Na’eem Jeenah, executive director of the Afro Middle East Center in Johannesburg.

    He said the question remains as to exactly whom the Transitional National Council represents.

    “It’s a council that was formed in the east in Benghazi. When it was formed and up to recently, and I would say up to now, it still represents groupings of people in the east. Even the so-called rebels in the west, like the people who rose up in Tripoli, etc., are not necessarily accountable to or within the constituency of the Transitional National Council,” said Jeenah.

    So long and goodbye

    The Arab League’s recognition of the TNC may simply be a signal that it’s glad to see Gadhafi go.

    “I think that’s a big part of it,” he said, “Remember that they were very quick to come out against Gadhafi when the uprising began. There’s no real love lost between Gadhafi and almost all the heads of state in the Arab League.”

    Jeenah said Gadhafi had two main problems with the league.

    “One was his kind of policy of, as far as they were concerned anyway, turning his back on the Arab world and turning towards the rest of Africa. He was kind of regarded either as something of a traitor or as a maverick, who just looked to where his bread was buttered politically,” he said.

    The other problem was the Libyan leader’s personal style.

    “It’s very difficult to expect the Emir of Qatar, for example, to like you very much when in a public forum you loudly call him a fat man and things like that. Or call the king of Saudi Arabia stupid. It was that kind of interpersonal relations that he really messed up,” he said.

    African Union

    Gadhafi once proposed that countries on the continent form a United States of Africa. Now that his days appear to be numbered, Libya’s relationship with the AU may never be the same.

    “I think that the relationship will change quite significantly. I think that the importance that Gadhafi had given to the African Union and to the African continent will be reduced. And in general there will be much more of an emphasis on being part of the Arab League and the Arab world and developing stronger relations with other Arab states and with Europe,” he said.

    The AU’s response to the Libyan situation may have sealed its fate.

    “With the Arab League having come out so strongly against Gadhafi in favor the rebels,” he said, “there’s been a kind of stronger relationship and camaraderie that’s developed with other Arab states. The African Union, on the other hand, as far as the rebels are concerned, were not very helpful and didn’t come out in clear support of the rebel groups as many Arab states did,” he said.

    Under Gadhafi, Libya was a major financial backer of the AU. Jeenah expects that to change.

    “I think it’s going to be a problem, at least financially. Libya itself had been contributing about 15 percent of the AU’s budget. And it has also been paying the dues of a number of other countries that had defaulted. Well, it won’t stop completely because I think that Libya will remain a member of the AU and will continue paying its dues. But those dues will be much smaller than 15 percent of the budget,” he said.

    Jeenah thinks it will be difficult for the AU to make up for the expected shortfall.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora