News / Middle East

Rival Militias Still Fighting in Libya

Libya’s first election in more than 40 years is scheduled in two weeks.  But, some worry that the country's instability may mar the election or dim the hopes from last year’s successful revolution.  

Fadi Tarapolsi was at the White House the night Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s reign came to an end.  “I’m on cloud nine right now, you know,” he said.

Tarapolsi returned to Libya with his ailing father to celebrate his country’s liberty.

“There’s some frustration there and they want to see some movement, but, at the same time, we are basically building everything from scratch," he said. "So it’s very important to do it right the first time.”

In two weeks, Libyans will elect a 200-member assembly to write a constitution and select a cabinet - but the elections may be delayed.  This week, Libyan authorities regained control of the country's main airport after it was briefly seized by militiamen armed with heavy machine guns. 

Last month, several people died during a militia protest outside the prime minister’s office. Several militias refuse to lay down their guns or join Libya's security force.

"A lot of the violence we've seen in the past six months has been the result of pre-existing tensions just boiling over," said Spencer Butts, with the Institute for the Study of War. "It's not necessarily violence that's directed at the authorities. A lot of it is tit-for-tat kidnappings or revenge killings that have spiralled out of control."

“It’s almost at a tipping point now as far as with the small, little factions.  It could develop into something more dangerous,” said Tarapolsi.

Libyan American activist Ismail Suayah just returned from Libya, where he addressed several hundred people in Martyrs Square. He told Libyans to be patient and to support the national army as it establishes security and rebuilds the country.

“Young people are still in the militia?  Yeah, for the lack of other things to do.  The struggle for power? Sure, that’s expected," Suayah stated. "The transitional government is not doing what people want?  Sure, that’s anticipated.  These things are going to take time.”

Suayah says when he visited Libya in years past, he’d see tears of joy, tempered with despair.  Now he sees tears of joy, enhanced with hope, as Libyans await the election.

Four out of five eligible voters in Libya have registered to cast a vote.  It will be the country’s first democratic election after more than 40 years under the rule of Moammar Gadhafi.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Optimist from: Everywhere
June 06, 2012 4:37 PM
Libyans are marching ahead, advancing toward a democratic state where the future of their nation is shared and guarded by all. This is their first revolution and they are handling it as best as they can, given the previous regime and political culture, there shall be no stone throwing at them. US's revolution took over ten years before it calmed, Russia's revolution went on for many years before it settled, France's revolution was not a one year occurrence.

Recent glitches here and there were expected to take place. There is no country that got its democratic institutions immediately after claiming their freedom? Libyans have several years and several elections before they filter out which politician belongs in parliament and what party should govern them. No one has the right to criticize them, if anything they are doing it faster than many of us anticipated they would. They need to be commended that they are doing everything without the guidance of any institution.

by: Truth Seeker from: USA
June 06, 2012 10:29 AM
Has anyone ever stopped to ask how this supposed "Arab Spring" sprouted in the hearts of Arabs. None of the fruit appears worth harvesting. The Plot to Overthrow explains so much that it will stagger your world political thinking forever. Mohammad Goldstein bluntly tells the world who is a Jew and what a Muslim really is. Obama has a copy you can get it for nuttin on the net. This guy is red hot and tells more truth than most can digest. The arab spring comes from wormwood and is not a people movement.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs