Despite sanctimonious NATO calls for the nearly four dozen militia, with more forming every month, to turn in their weapons, most of which NATO indirectly supplied, Libya's armed gangs are rearming, increasing their rank and file numbers and expanding the scope and the variety of their "security parameters", all designed for maximizing their political power in the continuing turbulent period which will likely witness serial new and weak governments rising and collapsing here.
Key militias groups like the Zintanis, who captured Seif, or the Misratans, who killed Muammar and the most organized groups, which are Islamist, have organizational networks that are supporting their demands for major posts in the new government. Todays expected announcement by interim Prime Minister Abdul Rahim al-Keib, of a new interim government, is considered a mere starting point by these stronger militias in the process of maneuvering themselves into essentially full control.
This absence of control over the militias is only too evident in the treatment of less than high profile captured former regime officials and towns. Reports of score settling are heard everywhere. Ignoring the claimed authority of the NTC, militias continue to ransack towns formally loyal to Gadhafi as they mete out bloody reprisals even on rival militia opposed to the former regime. Instead of handing over weapons from captured government arsenals to the authorities, militias are taking them back to their hometowns. So far the interim government has been unable to exert any significant authority over a country awash with weapons and armed men.
This observer was approached last week in the lobby of a five-star Tripoli hotel by an Israeli business man who was jokingly complaining, "Why don't these people speak Hebrew? Maybe I should open a school." Like many of his countrymen and hundreds from NATO countries, Israelis are having no trouble getting visas here. It is not the same for black Africans and Arabs who are being held in herds at the borders with Egypt or Tunisia, or in Cairo, Alexandria, or Tunis, until groups of hundreds can be assembled and processed by well-paid construction and domestic worker employment agents who will likely continue Lebanese and Saudi Arabian style "keep their passports and pay them pittance" slave labor practices. The droves arriving in Libya to do business, some of whom this observer has spoken with, will pretty much accept any kind of business if the bottom line is attractive. "God willing we can make this country into another Dubai", one fellow opined as he asked if I knew any real estate agents who could help him buy up Mediterranean beach frontage cheap for a tourist resort.
On the lighter side, but to this observer's chagrin, even my Chadian princess friends, who work with the traditional Saharan medicine specialist Dr. Fatma, and who more or less cured my leg in late August, and whose staff still administers my necessary outpatient physical therapies, are getting into the weapons business.
Today the picture of Libya is that of a country split into deadly rival factions. Cambridge University's Tarak Barkawi, accurately describes Libya as a country "shot through with rivalries, jealousies and blood debts." The NTC is itself is a disparate collection of defected regime elements, Islamists, secular expatriates and Berbers, many deeply suspicious of NTC leader Jalil who has never adequately explained his role in the July assassination of his rival, former Interior Minister General Younis after the latter joined the rebels.
An international legal team is working on a brief for the UN Security Council, the International Criminal Court and the Libya National Transitional Council, laying out arguments to be used on behalf of former Gadhafi regime loyalists in an effort to convince these bodies that the facts and law of this case warrant moving their trials from Libya to The Hague.
The brief is expected to be made available publicly on December 15, 2011. Meanwhile the UN Security Council must support the ICC and assure that Libyan show trials for former regime loyalist that have been indicted are avoided by conducting their trials in The Hague.
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