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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid