News / Middle East

Libyan Islamists Call for Independent Inquiry into American Raid

FILE - Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan places his hand on his forehead as he addresses a news conference after his release and arrival at the headquarters of the Prime Minister's Office in Tripoli, Oct. 10, 2013.
FILE - Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan places his hand on his forehead as he addresses a news conference after his release and arrival at the headquarters of the Prime Minister's Office in Tripoli, Oct. 10, 2013.
Islamist opponents of Libya’s hard-pressed prime minister are calling for an independent investigation into whether he gave approval for a U.S. Special Forces team to snatch an al-Qaida suspect from the streets of Tripoli. The demand for the probe is just the latest addition to Ali Zeidan’s many political woes.
 
Influential Islamist leader Sami al-Saadi says the government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan should shoulder some of the responsibility for the seizure earlier this month of the al-Qaida suspect by American commandos.
 
“I cannot for certain pin any evidence or say that Zeidan was complicit in this. But I will let you know what I quoted in the media, ‘if you did know, then it is a problem, and if you didn’t know it is a bigger problem,’” said al-Saadi.
 
Al-Saadi insists the suspect, Abu Anas al-Libi, is innocent of the terrorism charges he was arraigned on last week in a New York court, where he was transferred after several days of interrogation aboard a U.S. warship.
 
The Obama administration accuses al-Libi of involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 civilians. However, al-Libi’s family is claiming he broke ties with al-Qaida years before the bombings.
 
Islamist opponents of Libyan Prime Minister Zeidan seized on remarks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that appeared to imply the Libyan government gave permission for the American counter-terrorism operation. Kerry has backtracked on his comments, and now insists the U.S. government never asked for permission.
 
Nevertheless, Zeidan’s foes are not placated. Al-Saadi says the American raid was a breach of Libya’s national sovereignty.
 
“The only way forward is for an independent committee… to investigate what took place, investigate which parties were involved. According to Libyan law obviously it is illegal to hand over a citizen to a foreign entity,” said al-Saadi.
 
The political row over the U.S. raid is just one of the challenges besieging Prime Minister Zeidan in what many observers believe could be a make-or-break month for him.
 
An assassination over the weekend in Benghazi of a top military commander has triggered even wider violence in eastern Libya, while the Prime Minister has been unable to end a months-long blockade by militias of the country’s oilfields and seaports. The authority of his government doesn’t stretch much further than the luxury hotel in Tripoli that he resides in, and 12 days ago it wasn't evident even there when militiamen briefly abducted him partly in retaliation for the snatching of al-Libi.
 
Zeidan insists he won’t resign and is urging ordinary Libyans to support him. He has held several press conferences since his abduction to name and denounce political opponents he accuses of being behind his kidnapping.
 
For civil society activist Nisreen, the press conferences are reassuring. She argues that behind the scenes, Prime Minister Zeidan’s government is working hard.
 
“When I see Zeidan speaking, I feel very optimistic,” said Nisreen. “Because I work with different people from the government, I know that they are doing an awful lot on many different levels and it takes time for things to show.”
 
Time, though, might prove to be in short supply for Zeidan, the country’s third prime minister in the two years since the ousting of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More