Libya: Delta Force Comes To Visit


October 7, 2013: Oil production is slowly resuming and is believed at 40 percent of full (1.6 million barrels a day) production. There are still many armed groups determined to interrupt oil production in order to obtain one concession or another from the government. The inability of the government to control all these armed groups has left the country generally lawless and suffering from a high crime rate. Vigilante groups are becoming more common. This has resulted in more private jails and summary punishment of those accused of crimes. The UN is complaining about illegal prisoners held by militias and being mistreated. There are 8,000 prisoners in government prisons. Illegal prisons are a minor problem compared to the general lack of law and order in most of the country. There is general support for this informal justice system, but Libyans would prefer government control of the streets and a proper judicial system.

There is no quick solution to the warlord problem. The government has to build its military and police forces as quickly as it can and then take down the hundreds of armed gangs one at a time. At the current rate this could take 5 years or more. There is also the risk that many of these groups will unite to halt the pacification efforts and that would create another civil war.

An example of the rampant crime is the recent admission that dozens of American armored vehicles and hundreds of weapons brought in as part of a training operation have been stolen. Most Libyans just want peace and safety so they can enjoy their oil wealth. That simple goal is proving harder to achieve than originally thought.

Libya still has not destroyed all the chemical weapons it began getting rid of 9 years ago. At least these weapons are now guarded, and many of them are so old and decrepit that any terrorists trying to move them would probably die while doing so (as the corroded containers broke and released the poisonous substances).

About 600 people a day are illegally crossing the southern border in an effort to make it to Europe. This is more of a problem for Europeans than Libyans, who see the largely black African illegals as a nuisance, mainly because the migrants are just passing through. These travelers don’t want to stay in Libya, which is generally very hostile to these unwanted visitors. The illegals are easy to spot and the locals will sometimes murder migrants who cause any problems.

October 5, 2013: In Tripoli American Delta Force commandos covertly came ashore and arrested an al Qaeda leader (Nazih Abdul Hamed al Ruqai) long sought for his role in planning two terrorist attacks on American embassies in East Africa in 1998. Ruqai is a Libyan who returned in 2011, to take part in the revolution and has since lived openly, but quietly, in Tripoli. The Libyan government complained to the United States about this “kidnapping,” but the U.S. did not believe the Libyan government would, or even could, extradite Ruqai for his terrorist crimes. Ruqai is believed to have hidden out in Iran for over a decade. He is one of the few senior al Qaeda people still on the loose. Ruqai was noted for his technical skills (especially with computers) and ability to plan major terrorist operations. He is being interrogated aboard a U.S. Navy ship off the Libyan coast and will eventually be sent back to the United States for trial. He was indicted for mass murder and other crimes over a decade ago. Since then more unfavorable evidence against him has appeared. Many Libyans are glad to see men like Ruqai taken away, but the government is making a show of anger in an effort to appease Islamic radical groups angry over the inability of the Libyan government to prevent American commandos from just coming in and taking wanted (in the West) terrorists. The Libyan government hopes there are not more of these visits because many Islamic radicals are calling for attacks on government officials, if only to encourage the government to keep the Americans out.

Southeast of Tripoli (Bani Walid) gunmen attacked a checkpoint and killed 16 soldiers. The next day police arrested two men and accused them of participating in the attack.

October 3, 2013: Russian embassy staff left the country.

October 2, 2013: An armed mob attacked the Russian embassy. At least one of the attackers were killed but all embassy staff got away safely. The mob attacked because a Russian woman (a 26 year old professional weight lifter who came to Libya in 2011, to help defend the dictatorship) had murdered a Libyan pilot and his mother. The mob believed she was hiding out in the embassy. She wasn’t. The Libyan government apologized for the attack and promised to improve security around all embassies.

September 30, 2013: In the west armed Berbers shut down a major natural gas pipeline to publicize Berber fears that they would remain a persecuted minority when the new constitution goes into force. Specifically, the protestors wanted Berber included as one of the official languages.

September 29, 2013: In Benghazi three soldiers and three policemen were killed in separate incidents.


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