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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.