News / Middle East

Tribal Leaders Unveil 'Save Libya' Plan

Libyans run for cover after fighting broke out outside the office of Libya Shield pro-government militia in Benghazi, Libya. June 8, 2013 (AP/APTV)
Libyans run for cover after fighting broke out outside the office of Libya Shield pro-government militia in Benghazi, Libya. June 8, 2013 (AP/APTV)
The slaying of a Libyan government minister – the first killing of a top official since the ouster two years ago of dictator Moammar Gadhafi—is adding to alarms about Libya’s future. Three days of ethnic clashes in the south of the country and a prolonged standoff between Libya’s parliament and Prime Minister have prompted tribal leaders to unveil a “Save Libya” plan but some observers question whether they have any authority left to impose order. 
 
The assassination of Hassan al-Darouei, a deputy industry minister, as he drove home from a shopping trip in the Mediterranean port city of Sirte, 450 Kilometers east of the capital Tripoli, capped two days of violence that saw an assassination attempt on a separatist leader in the eastern town of Beida and the killing of a Special Forces officer who was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in the town of Derna.
 
The government minister’s killing came amid rising tensions in the south of Libya where African-origin Tabu tribesmen battled Arabs in the desert city of Sabha in running battles that left 31 dead and 65 injured, according to the country’s health ministry. Ethnic violence has been endemic in Libya’s south but has worsened since Gadhafi’s ouster with flare-ups becoming more intense.
 
This latest episode has so far proven difficult to mediate by tribal elders drawn from across Tripoli, Misrata and Zintan. Mediation teams of elders have managed in the past to bring ethnic fighting quickly to a halt.
 
Sabha isn’t the only place tribal elders are trying to defuse conflict. With politics increasingly paralyzed in the capital between Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who is under pressure to resign and has been weakened by political infighting and the refusal of wayward militias spawned from the uprising against Gadhafi to disband, tribal leaders are now trying to craft a “Save Libya” plan.
 
They have been holding behind-the-scenes talks with party leaders to try to find a way out of the political impasse. But whether they can make a difference remains in question and some analysts doubt they will be able to exert much pressure on politicians and militia leaders alike. “No one under the age of 40 listens to the tribal leaders,” says North Africa expert Bill Lawrence, a visiting professor at George Washington University. “They just don’t have the influence people think they do.”
 
Tribal leaders are not the only ones with initiatives to help Libya overcome multiple challenges. Libya’s former deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushugar recently launched a ‘’Restoring Hope Initiative for Libya’’. He argues the government has failed “to “realize a minimum of achievements’’ especially in the security realm and has exacerbated the crises roiling the country without any signs of any breakthrough.
 
He places a lot of blame for this less on the Prime Minister and more on the GNC, which he says is ‘’split’’ and is ‘’incapable of lifting the country out of the current crises’’. He wants early elections for a new national parliament.
 
Anther elder statesman of the initial political leadership of the uprising, Mahmoud Jibril, who heads a party alliance of centrist groups, launched late last month the “National Salvation Initiative.” His checklist includes persuading militias to disband by offering a buy-back system for weapons with a pricelist for light and medium weapons and a deadline set for arms collection. Also, he wants towns that hand over heavy arms such as tanks and rockets to be rewarded their equivalent value in construction and development money.
 
Under Jibril’s plan former militia members would enjoy priority for state jobs. Sami Zaptia, the co-founder of the English-language Libya Herald newspaper, argues Jibril’s initiative is more a “shopping list of proposals being put on offer” for an impasse-breaking deal with Islamists in the GNC.
 
A majority of Libya’s fractious parliamentarians want to dismiss Prime Minister Zeidan but have been unable to agree on a replacement, say GNC members. The push to replace Zeidan coincides with a worsening standoff between his government and federalist militias in the East over control of Libyan oil. Since July they have controlled three key oil ports and Zeidan’s inability to engineer an end to the standoff has weakened his political standing.
 
Tribal leader efforts to end the standoff between the federalist militias and the central government over the oil ports have so far also failed, raising questions about whether Libya has reached the point where mediation efforts can succeed in stopping the country’s slide into chaos.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid