News / Middle East

Despite Military Struggles, Rebels Plan for Post-Gadhafi Libya

Drivers talk as they wait for fuel in a queue stretching for some hundreds of meters, in central Tripoli, Libya, (File)
Drivers talk as they wait for fuel in a queue stretching for some hundreds of meters, in central Tripoli, Libya, (File)

Libyan rebels have been bogged down in their military fight to unseat Moammar Gadhafi, but that hasn't kept them from planning for a country without the long-time leader. 

Libya - post Gadhafi

The rebel efforts have been somewhat disorganized, starting with the name of their opposition government. They have played around with the order of the adjectives in Transitional National Council, but the main point they want to stress is that the group is both national and transitional: something temporary, and encompassing all of Libya.

The eastern-based council has said from the start it wants a united nation, with Tripoli as its capital. Some in the west and abroad have expressed fears about an eastern dominance in any new government. Libya already has a geographical divide - a vast stretch of desert splits the cities that dot the northern coast.

More significant perhaps is the political division, with the east long feeling slighted by Gadhafi's government and his allies in the west.

But even as fighting cuts the rebels off from anti-government forces in the west, rebel officials in Benghazi say they are doing their best to work together.

Opposition Interior Minister Ahmed al-Darrat, who is part of the council's executive committee, says he believes some rebels in the west have been able to establish councils of their own, and they've been coordinating with opposition officials in Benghazi. He is convinced that will ensure a smooth transition after what he expects to be Gadhafi's fall.

Balancing transitions

The eastern-based rebels are planning for that day with a provisional constitution, though the details are still fluid. They want to expand the council to make sure the entire country is represented, a bid to show they have no interest in a power grab.  They also hope to hold legislative, then presidential elections within a year, with some council members pledging not to take part as a demonstration of their neutrality.  

How effective has the transitional council been so far?  It's uneven, with some basic services still not sorted out.

At a local bank, Benghazi native Tariq stands in frustration before the teller.  Once again, there's a shortage of cash.

He says there are difficulties these days with money, with the bank limiting how much one can withdraw. He feels that even with cash infusions from abroad, the situation is getting worse.

There are also power shortages.  The local council has organized rolling blackouts that can last up to a third of the day. But given the circumstances in which the opposition started, it could perhaps have been worse. Towns in the east were under siege, making military protection the immediate concern.

But simultaneously they began to organize, with volunteers coming out to help with everything from administration to street cleaning.  It was no small task for a people who, for most of their lives, had been largely limited to carrying out Gadhafi's instructions.

Building a political infrastructure

Council spokesman Jalal elGalal argues that Libyans will continue to overcome the lack of political infrastructure and a tradition of democratic decision-making. He argues that a sense of freedom, and the responsibilities that come with it is inherent.

"Same with justice. We all have a sense of justice. So although the institutions have been unavailable for 40 years, people understand the concept of justice. They understand the concept of tolerance. They understand the concept of freedom. And I think it will be very easy for them to fall within the [democratic] institutions' guidelines once they're set up," elGalal said.

It's a hopeful start, but they still have a long way to go. Even successful uprisings, such as in Egypt, have seen the struggle for a more representative government falter.  And with Gadhafi declaring he will not give up power, the foundation of the rebels' plan has yet to be laid.  

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs