Libya - Revolution and AftermathLIBYA - REVOLUTION AND AFTERMATHNY Times Article January 27 2012Libya, an oil-rich nation in North Africa, spent more than 40 years under the erraticleadership of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi before a revolt pushed him from power in August2011 after a six-month struggle. On Oct. 20, Colonel Qaddafi was killed as fighters battlingthe vestiges of his fallen regime finally wrested control of his hometown of Surt.The country was formally declared liberated three days later, setting in motion the process ofcreating a new constitution and an elected government.By early November, many of the local militia leaders who helped topple Colonel Qaddafiabandoned a pledge to give up their weapons. They said that they intended to preserve theirautonomy and influence political decisions as ―guardians of the revolution.‖The issue of the militias is one of the most urgent facing Libya‘s new provisionalgovernment, the Transitional National Council.Noting reports of sporadic clashes between militias as well as vigilante revenge killings,many civilian leaders, along with some fighters, say the militias‘ shift from merely draggingtheir feet about surrendering weapons to actively asserting a continuing political role poses astark challenge to the council‘s fragile authority.The council has pledged in a ―constitutional declaration‖ that within eight months after theselection of a new government, it will hold elections for a national assembly, which willoversee the writing of a constitution. Members voted to name as prime ministerAbdel Rahimel-Keeb, an electronics engineer and Qaddafi critic, who spent most of his career abroad.Plans for a Constitutional AssemblyIn early January 2012, the interim government posted on its Web site a draft law laying outprocedures for electing a planned constitutional assembly, taking a first step toward theestablishment of a new government.The law would bar former officials of the Qaddafi government from serving on the panel. Butit would not remove them from the current interim administration or from future government
jobs. The presence of former Qaddafi government personnel is a common complaint with thetransitional administration.The law would allocate 20 of the 200 seats in the assembly to women. The assembly isexpected to be chosen by June 2012 and empowered to form a government while it writes anew constitution.Accusations of Torture in Libyan JailsTorture and death in detention have become widespread problemsin postwar Libya. In lateJanuary 2012 international humanitarian groups said a troubling indication that someQaddafi-era abuses continue under the fractured rule of the country‘s interim government andregionally organized militias.A majority of victims were Libyans believed to have remained loyal to the government ofColonel Qaddafi during the nine-month conflict that led to his ouster, but some were sub-Saharan Africans. Africans from outside Libya were often accused of being Qaddafimercenaries during the revolution.Amnesty International said in a statement that ―several‖ people had been tortured to death indetention ―by officially recognized military and security entities,‖ as well as by ―a multitudeof armed militias.‖The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, told the SecurityCouncil that she was concerned about torture and other ills in Libya‘s freelance prisons.Ms. Pillay urged the transitional government to put all prisons under the control of thejudicial authorities and that detainees be given a fair trial or released.OverviewIn February 2011, the unrest sweeping through much of the Arab world had erupted inseveral Libyan cities. Though it began with a relatively organized core of anti-governmentopponents in Benghazi, its spread to the capital of Tripoli was swift and spontaneous. ColonelQaddafi lashed out with extreme violence. Soon, though, an inchoate opposition managed tocobble together the semblance of a transitional government, field a makeshift rebel army andportray itself to the West and Libyans as an alternative to Colonel Qaddafi‘s corrupt andrepressive rule.Momentum shifted quickly, however, and the rebels faced the possibility of being outgunnedand outnumbered in what increasingly looked like a mismatched civil war. Then as ColonelQaddafi‘s troops advanced to within 100 miles of Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in the west,the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action, a risky foreignintervention aimed at averting a bloody rout of the rebels by loyalist forces. On March 19,American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against Colonel Qaddafiand his government, unleashing warplanes and missiles in a military intervention on a scalenot seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war.Prior to the bombing campaign, the Obama administrationintensely debated whether to openthe mission with a new kind of warfare: a cyberoffensive to disrupt and even disable the
Qaddafi government‘s air-defense system, which threatened allied warplanes. Butadministration officials and some military officers balked, fearing that it might set aprecedent for other nations, in particular Russia or China, to carry out such offensives of theirown. They were also unable to resolve whether the president had the power to proceed withsuch an attack without informing Congress. In the end, American officials rejectedcyberwarfare and used conventional aircraft, cruise missiles and drones.By late May, the weeks of NATO bombing seemed to put the momentum back on the side ofthe rebels, who broke a bloody siege of the western city of Misurata. By August, they weremaking territorial gains in the country‘s east and west. Colonel Qaddafi rejected calls to leavepower in spite of defections by subordinates, increased economic and political isolation andNATO air assaults. The rebels themselves suffered from internal dissension and lack oftraining.Six months of inconclusive fighting gave way within a matter of days to an assault onTripoli that unfolded at a breakneck pace. By the night of Aug. 21, rebels surged into the city,meeting only sporadic resistance and setting off raucous street celebrations. Expectationsgrew that Colonel Qaddafi‘s hold on power was crumbling as rebels overran his heavilyfortified compound on Aug. 23 and finally established control after days of bloody urbanstreet fighting. The rebels struggled in the days that followed to restore order and services toTripoli, while the fighting to subdue the last of the Qaddafi stronghold proceeded slowly.Rifts between tribes and the growing influence of Islamists in Libyaraised hard questionsabout the ultimate character of the government and society that will rise in place of Qaddafi‘sautocracy. The Transitional National Council, which has promised to assemble a newcabinet, has thus far been unable to overcome regional disputes over the composition of thegroup or to persuade the militias that seized Tripoli to give up their arms.BackgroundColonel Qaddafi took power in a bloodless coup in September 1969 and ruled with an ironfist, seeking to spread Libya‘s influence in Africa. He built his rule on a cult of personalityand a network of family and tribal alliances supported by largess from Libya‘s oil revenues.The United States withdrew its ambassador from Libya in 1972 after Colonel Qaddafirenounced agreements with the West and repeatedly inveighed against the United States inspeeches and public statements.After a mob sacked and burned the American Embassy in 1979, the United States cut offrelations. The relationship continued to spiral downward and, in 1986, the Reaganadministration accused Libya of ordering the bombing of a German discothèque that killedthree people, including two American servicemen. In response, the United States bombedtargets in Tripoli and Benghazi.The most notorious of Libya‘s actions was the bombing in 1988 of Pan Am Flight 103 overLockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. Libya later accepted responsibility, turned oversuspects and paid families of victims more than $2 billion.After a surprise decision to renounce terrorism in 2003, Colonel Qaddafi re-establisheddiplomatic and economic ties throughout Europe. He had also changed with regard to Israel.
The man who once called for pushing the ‗Zionists‘ into the sea advocated the forming ofone nation where Jews and Palestinians would live together in peace.Rather than trying to destabilize his Arab neighbors, he founded a pan-African confederationmodeled along the lines of the European Union. On Feb. 2, 2009, Colonel Qaddafi wasnamed chairman of the African Union. His election, however, caused some unease amongsome of the group‘s 53-member nations as well as among diplomats and analysts. Thecolonel, who had ruled Libya with an iron hand, was a stark change from the succession ofrecent leaders from democratic countries like Tanzania, Ghana and Nigeria.The most significant changes had been the overtures Colonel Qaddafi made toward theUnited States. He was among the first Arab leaders to denounce the Sept. 11 attacks, and helent tacit approval to the American-led invasion of Afghanistan. To the astonishment of otherArab leaders, he reportedly shared his intelligence files on Al Qaeda with the United States toaid in the hunt for its international operatives. He also cooperated with the United States andEurope on other terrorism issues, as well as on nuclear weapons and immigration.In August 2009, Colonel Qaddafi embarrassed the British government and drew criticismfrom President Obama with his triumphant reaction to the release from prison oncompassionate grounds of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in thebombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Mr. Megrahi was given a hero‘s welcome when he arrived inLibya, and Colonel Qaddafi thanked British and Scottish officials for releasing Mr. Megrahiat a time when both governments were trying to distance themselves from the action.Colonel Qaddafi‘s son, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, who was educated in Britain, for yearsserved as a bridge between the Libya power centers and the West.Prior to the 2011 unrest, the only hint of potential change in Libya came from SeifQaddafi, who spoke of dismantling a legacy of Socialism and authoritarianism introduced byhis father 40 years ago. Seif Qaddafi proposed far-reaching ideas: tax-free investment zones,a tax haven for foreigners, the abolition of visa requirements and the development of luxuryhotels. He liked to boast that his country could be ―the Dubai of North Africa,‖ pointing toLibya‘s proximity to Europe (the flight from London to Tripoli is under three hours), itsabundant energy reserves and 1,200 miles of mostly unspoiled Mediterranean coastline.But the reality of daily life in Tripoli remained far removed from those lofty notions. Thestreets were strewn with garbage; there were gaping holes in the sidewalks, and tourist-friendly hotels and restaurants were few and far between. And while a number of seasidehotels were being built, the city largely ignored its most spectacular asset, the Mediterranean.Unemployment is estimated as high as 30 percent and much of the potential work force isinsufficiently trained.Uprising in LibyaIn February 2011, protests broke out in several parts of Libya on a so-called Day of Rage tochallenge Colonel Qaddafi‘s iron rule. Thousands turned out in Benghazi, Tripoli and threeother locations, according to Human Rights Watch. The state media, though, showed Libyanswaving green flags and shouting in support of Colonel Qaddafi.
Trying to demonstrate that he was still in control, Colonel Qaddafi appeared on television onFeb. 22, 2011, speaking from his residence on the grounds of an army barracks in Tripoli thatstill showed scars from when the United States bombed it in 1986.Colonel Qaddafi, who took power in a military coup, had always kept the Libyan military tooweak and divided to rebel against him. About half of Libya‘s relatively small 50,000-memberarmy was made up of poorly trained and unreliable conscripts, according to the Center forStrategic and International Studies. Many of its battalions were organized along tribal lines,ensuring their loyalty to their own clan rather than to top military commanders — a patternevident in the defection of portions of the army to help protesters take the eastern city ofBenghazi.Distrustful of his own generals, Colonel Qaddafi built up an elaborate paramilitary force —accompanied by special segments of the regular army that reported primarily to his family. Itwas designed to check the army and to subdue his own population. At the top of that structurewas his roughly 3,000-member revolutionary guard corps, which guarded him personally.But perhaps the most significant force that Colonel Qaddafi deployed against the insurrectionwas a group of about 2,500 ruthless mercenaries from countries like Chad, Sudan and Nigerthat he called his Islamic Pan African Brigade.Air power proved to be Colonel Qaddafi‘s biggest advantage, and rebels were unable to usebases and planes they captured in the east. Planes and helicopters gave the Qaddafi forces anadditional advantage in moving ammunition and supplies, a crucial factor given the length ofthe Libyan coast between the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and Tripoli.As Colonel Qaddafi‘s forces tried to retake a series of strategic oil towns on the east coast ofthe country, which fell early in the rebellion to antigovernment rebels, the West continued todebate what actions to take.Western InvolvementAfter days of often acrimonious debate played out against a desperate clock, the SecurityCouncil authorized member nations to take ―all necessary measures‖ to protect civilians,diplomatic code words calling for military action. Benghazi erupted in celebration at news ofthe resolution‘s passage.A military campaign against Colonel Qaddafi, under British and French leadership, waslaunched less than 48 hours later. American forces mounted a campaign to knock out Libya‘sair defense systems, firing volley after volley of Tomahawk missiles from nearby shipsagainst missile, radar and communications centers. Within a week allied air strikes hadaverted a rout by Colonel Qaddafi of Benghazi and established a no-fly zone over Libya.The campaign, however, was dogged by friction over who should command the operation,with the United States eventually handing off its lead role to NATO, and by uncertainty overits ultimate goal. Western leaders acknowledged that there was no endgame beyond theimmediate United Nations authorization to protect Libyan civilians, and it was uncertainwhether even military strikes would force Colonel Qaddafi from power.
In a nationally televised speech March 28, President Obamadefended the American-ledmilitary assault, emphasizing that it would be limited and insisting that America had theresponsibility and the international backing to stop what he characterized as a loominggenocide. At the same time, he said, directing American troops to forcibly remove ColonelQaddafi from power would be a step too far, and would ―splinter‖ the international coalitionthat had moved against the Libyan government.The EndgameSix months of inconclusive fighting gave way within a matter of days to an assault onTripoli that unfolded at a breakneck pace. By the night of Aug. 21, rebels surged into the city,meeting only sporadic resistance and setting off raucous street celebrations. Expectationsgrew that Colonel Qaddafi‘s hold on power was crumbling as rebels overran his heavilyfortified compound on Aug. 23 and finally established control after days of bloody urbanstreet fighting.While they struggled to restore order and services to Tripoli, rebels made further militarygains, surrounding Colonel Qadaffi‘s hometown of Surt, regarded as a last bastion of supportfor the dictator.The report of Colonel Qaddafi‘s death by the highest ranking military officer in Libya‘sinterim government on Oct. 20 appeared to put an end to the fierce manhunt for the formerleader who remained on the lam in Libya for weeks after the fall of his government.Libya‘s interim leaders had said they believed that some Qaddafi family members —possibly including Colonel Qaddafi and several of his sons — were hiding in the coastal townof Surt or in Bani Walid, another loyalist bastion that the anti-Qaddafi forces captured.As rumor of his death spread in Tripoli, car horns blared as many celebrated in the streets.Colonel Qaddafi’s DeathColonel Qaddafi‘s final moments were as violent as the uprising that overthrew him.In a cellphone video that went viral on the Internet, the deposed Libyan leader was seensplayed on the hood of a truck and then stumbling amid a frenzied crowd, seemingly beggingfor mercy. He is next seen on the ground, with fighters grabbing his hair. Blood pours downhis head, drenching his brown khakis, as the crowd shouts, ―God is great!‖Colonel Qaddafi‘s body was shown in later photographs, with bullet holes apparently firedinto his head at what forensic experts said was close range, raising the possibility that he wasexecuted by anti-Qaddafi fighters.The official version of events offered by Libya‘s new leaders — that Colonel Qaddafi waskilled in a cross-fire — did not appear to be supported by the photographs and videos thatstreamed over the Internet all day long, raising questions about the government‘s control ofthe militias in a country that has been divided into competing regions and factions.Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, the head of the Transitional National Council,announced the creation ofa formal committee of inquiry to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of
Colonel Qaddafi while in the custody of his captors, but days later, no one from Libya‘s newgovernment was investigating evidence of one of the worst massacres of the eight-monthconflict, in Surt.Oil Production RestoredBy mid-November, oil production was quickly being restored in Zawiyah and around thecountry, in large part because both the Qaddafi regime and the former rebels, now the interimleaders of Libya, took pains to avoid crippling the country‘s most important industry duringthe civil war.The bullet holes in the oil tanks were patched, the damaged backup generator was beingrepaired, and most important, the pipeline that feeds the giant oil refinery was reopened.Libya‘s oil production remains at about 40 percent of the level that it was before therevolution began. But none of the country‘s 40 critical oil and gas fields were seriouslydamaged in the war, according to Libyan officials and international oil experts. Now, most ofthe important oil ports and refineries, idled by international sanctions and months of fighting,are ramping back up.Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi CapturedOn Nov. 19, Libyan militia fighters captured Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the last fugitive sonand onetime heir apparent of Colonel Qaddafi, in Zintan, a western mountain town, settingoff nationwide celebrations but also exposing a potential power struggle over his handling.On Nov. 22, bowing to pressure from the local militia holding Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi as aprisoner, Prime Minister Abdel Rahim el-Keeb appointed the militia‘s commander to be thenew defense minister.The appointment came as the prime minister named a new cabinet after weeks of bargainingamong the competing cities, tribes and militias that formed the loose coalition that overthrewthe Qaddafi government but now are struggling to share power.The new cabinet will govern until an election for a new national assembly scheduled for mid-2012.padm shree 2012Padma Shri Awards 2012Shri Vanraj Bhatia (Art – Music Maharashtra)
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