Libya’s Deepening Power Struggle

Editorial Comment:
It is clear that the November 9th Movement and the National Working Group are regressive initiatives that offer no solution to the present crisis, merely an opportunity for the general public to vent their discontent in a manner that is non-threatening to the occupation authorities, since like the regime, these movements are counter-revolutionary in nature.

That there are calls to return to the 1951 constitution and that this is presented as “reform” is astonishing. The author of the following article states that these demands will prevent Libya from falling into dictatorship, yet that is precisely what the present regime is.

The current regime is one in which only Islamists (al Qaeda, LIFG, NFSL, Muslim Brotherhood) are represented.

Anyone with a divergent political or religious perspective is excluded through the mechanism of the fascist political isolation law.

The foreign-backed regime and congress are irrelevant to the majority who come from diverse, unique ethnic, tribal and regional groups. They will forever be excluded under the present unjust system, which was created to serve the commercial, military and strategic interests of the imperial powers that waged war against Libya.

The government seems incompetent in its apparent inability to resolve the nation’s crisis, but the truth is that this regime is a military partner with NATO and is continuing its campaign through a Gladio B-style strategy of chaos and tension.

This regime was hostile towards the people since its illegitimate conception in European and American corridors of power.

NATO did not attack the former government, despite the “regime change” mandate.

It was an assault upon the Libyan people who were the government.

Libya was Africa’s most prosperous and democratic nation.

Libya’s sovereign wealth and resources belonged to the people.

Where is the wealth now?

Last week, Ahmed Muhareb Gaddafi disclosed that at least 1 trillion 200 billion in total was stolen from the people.

He said,

The first who spoke about that was Hasan Siegel, Libya’s Minister of Finance, who has already left his post. In 2012 he stated that $ 50 billion were taken by Qatari companies to cover the costs of militants in Libya. This can be proved by the documents that show funds transferring from the foreign Libyan accounts to the Qatar oil companies, who at that time worked in our country.”

Who is currently receiving the profits from oil exports?

Workers wages have been withheld. There has been no progress in rebuilding critical infrastructure destroyed by NATO.

The government has not provided food or shelter for over 1.5 million impoverished, homeless citizens.

They have currently over 20,000 civilians detained in prisons throughout the country. They live in deplorable conditions where they are subjected to torture, face mock tribunals and certain execution.

Thousands of civilians are detained simply because they are black. They are so numerous, the authorities have utilized pens that once housed zoo animals as living quarters for “African migrants”.

The current regime has sanctioned genocide against black-skinned Africans.

Over 2 million Libyans have been displaced by the war and remain in exile.

The client regime continues in acts of collective punishment, targeting any tribe that will not submit to their tyranny.

There are authentic, creative options available that will lead the entire nation forward, sweeping away the occupation forces, along with their corruption and criminal gangs destroying and terrorizing the country.

The November 9th Movement and the National Working Group are not among them.

Alexandra Valiente
Libya 360° and Jamahiriya News Agency

By Mohamed Eljarh

Each day, Libya’s General National Congress (GNC), the highest political authority in the country, draws closer to a looming existential crisis that could lead to a total power vacuum and the collapse of Libya’s transition. The GNC, the interim legislature elected in August 2012, faces mounting pressure from the public, civil society groups, political activists, and some blocs within the GNC itself to complete its mandate and hand over its power to a new body early next year.

The groups are demanding that the legislative body end its mandate on Feb. 7, 2014 — a date calculated according to the deadlines set by the country’s constitutional declaration (the transitional roadmap), which was drafted by the National Transitional Council in May 2011. But despite the relatively wide consensus on ending the GNC’s mandate, there is no clear agreement on how to replace the congress or what the GNC’s successor should look like.

The country has yet to elect the Constituent Assembly in charge of drafting the constitution, though it has set an ambitious deadline for its election: Dec. 24. Technically and logistically, the Higher Elections Commission, which is in charge of running the electoral process, is capable of conducting the vote, but the growing chaos makes it look increasingly unlikely the election will actually be held.

Anti-GNC sentiment is growing because of ebbing public trust in the GNC and the political parties, which have been mired in a political struggle for power. Many blame the various factions within the GNC for the trouble. Indeed, polarization has deepened since the GNC elections in July 2012. Different political groups are pursuing their own agendas with complete disregard for the interests of the nation and its people. The intensifying struggle for power means that the current government is unable to make decisions even over matters of huge importance to national security. These issues include the rebuilding of the national police and army forces. More immediately, deciding which currently existing armed groups should be deployed to improve security often prompts clashes of interest, since the factions are usually keen on approving the use of forces that are loyal to them.

A new campaign called the “November 9th Movement” emerged a few weeks ago with the express mission of addressing the GNC’s failings. It has been gaining momentum in its quest to re-elect a new GNC on Dec. 24, the same date set for the Constituent Assembly elections. The movement is calling for the new GNC elections to be based on independent lists (rather than closed party lists, where candidates are elected based on what party they belong to). The movement blames the continuing political infighting on closed party lists, despite the fact that 120 out of the 200 GNC members were elected the first time around using independent lists. What’s more, the movement does not have a clear vision or framework to guarantee progress after the election of a new GNC. Re-electing another GNC using only individual lists would only reproduce the problems of the current political arrangement in a new form. There are no guarantees that the new GNC will automatically start to form new political blocs on regional, tribal, or ideological bases.

Another initiative called the “National Working Group,” led by ex-government officials and known figures and activists from Benghazi, is also urging the GNC to end its mandate on Feb. 7, 2014. This movement does not, however, support new elections for the GNC. Instead it is calling for the creation of a presidential council led by the head of the Constituent Assembly (to be elected in December), the head of the Higher Judicial Council, and the head of the Supreme Court. The initiative also stresses that Libya should adopt the 1951 constitution as the basis for the country’s new constitution. This proposal makes a fundamental change to the current political arrangement in the country, and could minimize political feuds and struggles for power between different political factions as the country drafts its permanent constitution. This initiative seems to answer more questions and offer better prospects for change than the November 9th Movement’s plan. Nonetheless, the National Working Group seems to lack the youthful enthusiasm, the drive, and the favorable media coverage that the November 9th Movement has.

Not surprisingly, GNC members are divided even on the issue of the legislature’s own existence. The National Forces Alliance supports ending the GNC’s mandate on Feb. 7. On the other hand, the Islamists within the GNC oppose the idea and say the GNC’s mandate only ends when it completes its required tasks, not when the time limit passes. They say that it shouldn’t be dissolved until a new constitution is ratified by the people.

Libya is now confronted by a significant failing: the inability of civil society activists and organizations to work together as a unified front to wrest the country from the grip of polarization. Any change in the current political roadmap must ensure a democratic process. Abandoning or breaking that process will leave Libya with only two options: to remain mired in an indefinite transition or to fall into a dictatorship.

© Copyright 2013 by Libya 360° and Jamahiriya News Agency. This page may be republished for non-commercial purposes as long as reprints include a verbatim copy of the article in its entirety, respecting its integrity and cite the author and source including a live link to the article. Thank you.