Libya: Greed And Guns


April 4, 2012:  The NTC (National Transitional Council) is still scrambling to rebuild the government. Oil production is up to nearly 1.5 million barrels a day and billions in Kaddafi assets are being recovered overseas, so the cash crisis has passed. The big problem now is getting competent people to work for the government. That means keeping the corruption under control, which has so far proved very difficult. Meanwhile, the people are getting angry over the delays in restoring the basic government services they enjoyed under Kaddafi. What most Libyans miss is the fact that decades of dictatorship tends to weaken initiative, honesty, and a sense of responsibility. Most Libyans are unaware of how irresponsible and larcenous they have become and how critical it is to change those attitudes.

Deceased Libyan dictator Moamar Kaddafi hired thousands of mercenaries from countries to the south last year. Most of these men made it home with cash, weapons, and a sense of empowerment. Kaddafi had long supported rebellious tribes to the south, as a way to weaken the governments of his neighbors. Kaddafi-backed rebels rarely took over, and this made Kaddafi hated by the governments of his southern neighbors. In the wake of Kaddafis' final defeat there is a final round of Kaddafi financed unrest in Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Nigeria.

April 3, 2012: Some 120 kilometers west of the capital Berber and Arab militias battled over long-standing differences. The violence has been going on for several days and there are over a hundred casualties. The NTC has sent negotiators, along with 200 police, to try and arrange a peace. The town of Ragdalein was largely Arab and pro-Kaddafi, while the nearby town of Zuwarah was largely Berber and anti-Kaddafi. The Berbers want revenge for decades of Kaddafi sponsored discrimination and abuse. This includes looting by Berbers and killing those who try to stop the stealing. There are twice as many Arabs in the area but the Berbers are more aggressive. The current fighting began when Arab hunters accidently shot a Berber. The two towns are on the coast road from Tripoli to Tunisia.

April 1, 2012: The NTC has appointed a military governor for the south as part of an effort to halt tribal friction and violence 600-900 kilometers south of the coast. The main violence is in two different locations, in the southeast and southwest. Over a week of fighting in the south, mainly near the town of Sabah, has left 150 dead and several hundred wounded. NTC officials have negotiated a ceasefire but it's unclear how long this will last. The NTC moved over 1,500 soldiers and police into the south to try and maintain the peace. The fighting is largely ethnic, with an African (black) tribe fighting two Arab tribes over resources. These conflicts are centuries old. But the current violence is largely because Kaddafi long supported the Arab tribes against the black Africans. Out here in the southern desert Kaddafi is gone but not forgotten and considered a hero to the Arab tribes. But now the African tribes expect some benefits for their opposition to Kaddafi, and that includes punishing their Arab antagonists. But since the NTC is largely Arab, the African tribes fear the government is backing the pro-Kaddafi Arab tribes in the south.

March 25, 2012: Tribesmen along the Egyptian border (at Musaid, the main crossing on the coastal road) have closed the border to reduce the smuggling of weapons and drugs. The increase in this activity has brought with it an increase in crime.





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