Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Libya is now set to be a scene of multiple battles

NATO's Man, The Libyan Karzai.

A growing rift between the National Transitional Council and local leaders exposes conflicting visions for Libya's future


Soumaya Ghannoushi
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 6 September 2011

"....The vacuum created by Gaddafi's departure is now filled by two polarised camps. The first is the National Transitional Council (NTC), made up largely of ex-ministers and prominent senior Gaddafi officials who jumped from his ship as it began to sink. These enjoy the support of Nato and derive their current power and influence from the backing of western capitals. The second is composed of political and military local leaders who have played a decisive role in the liberation of the various Libyan cities from the Gaddafi brigades.

The thousands of fighters and activists these command are now convened within local military councils, such as the Tripoli council, which was founded following the liberation of the capital and which recently elected Abdul Hakim Belhaj as its head. Ironically, this hero of the liberation of Tripoli is the same man who, a few years back had been deported, along with other Libyan dissidents, by MI6 and the CIA to Gaddafi, their close ally at the time.....

Many fighters, such as Sallabi, are insisting that they played the key role in toppling Gaddafi. Some go further, saying that their swift capture of Tripoli had taken the NTC by surprise and that they had defeated what they claim was Nato's real plan for the country: its partition into east and west. Nato's strategy, they maintain, was to freeze the conflict in the west, effectively turning Brega into the dividing line between the liberated east and Gaddafi's west.

Two sources of legitimacy now confront each other in Libya: a legitimacy derived from armed struggle on the one hand, and the de facto legitimacy of a self-appointed leadership with western support on the other. The two are locked in a cold (and potentially hot) conflict over Libya's future, the nature of its political order and its foreign policy.....

Gaddafi has gone, but Libya is now set to be a scene of multiple battles: not only conflicts between Nato's men and the fighters on the ground, but also between the foreign forces that have invested in the war – the French, who are determined to have the upper hand politically and economically; the Italians, who regard Libya as their backyard; the British, who want to safeguard their contracts; the Turks, who are keen to revive their influence in the old Ottoman hemisphere; and of course the losing players in the emerging order, the Chinese and the Russians."

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