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Daily Archives: December 27, 2011
By: Bradley Hope
The combination of widespread destruction across Libya and the largest proven oil reserves in Africa would ordinarily presage a building boom.
Looking back: Libya’s 2011
A year ago, friends met to toast a birthday, little realizing the revolt against Qaddafi was about to strike, dividing them into rebels or servants of the regime.
But the biggest obstacle for the Libyan economy, which is also bolstered by about US$200 billion (Dh735bn) in savings, is its capacity to step up production and construction.
Only in the last few years did Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s ruler until his death in October in the custody of the National Transitional Council (NTC) forces, begin to open up the economy to investment from the outside world.
Now, it needs to dramatically expand everything from banking to infrastructure to prepare for its rise as a North African economic power.
“There aren’t even enough cranes in the country to start anything near the level of construction needed,” said Alaa El Huni, an investment banker and a former financial consultant to the NTC. “On every level, from ability to construct, labour, the capacity of the ports, to the amount of machinery, we are not able to absorb the amount of investment we’d like to.”… Read More
By: John Thorne
TRIPOLI – A year ago, a Libyan design student named Redwan El Ejlase threw a birthday party in a chic Tripoli café for his close friend, Mohamed Kattaf.
How the interim government handles the reconciliation and delicate negotiations between tribes and factions will set the tone for the transition to democracy through to elections planned for 2013.
They welcomed guests and ate chocolate cake. Neither could have imagined their imminent separation by a war to overthrow a dictator who called himself, perversely, “Brother Leader”.
The swirl of events, which saw Muammar Qaddafi’s keen sense of political theatre fail him after 43 years in power, pulled apart Mr El Ejlase, Mr Kattaf and others who attended the birthday party.… Read More
By: Dan Murphy
A new poll of eastern Libyan public opinion released last week indicates that political Islam is set to play a major role in the country’s future if institutions emerge that take into accout the will of the general public.
The poll sponsored by the International Republican Institute (a US-government funded non-profit) found a high degree of optimism about the future, concerns about the security situation in the country, and conservative (and somewhat contradictory) attitudes when it comes to faith and politics.
In Eastern Libya, 83 percent said freedom of the press was “important,” and 71 percent said it was important to have laws giving equal rights to “religious and tribal groups,” which would seem to indicate concern for protecting minority rights. But 94 percent agreed with the proposition that “people should be prohibited from offending” religions and 85 percent agreed that “religion should be part of government” (68 percent of those “strongly agreed.”) Asked about whether a “secular” state was a good idea, 69 percent of Libyans dissaproved against 14 percent that approved.
None of this means that a Saudi Arabian style regime is in the offing. Many Arab’s take the word “secular” to mean something like “Godless,” so the notion of secularism is offensive. But there’s a long continuum from there to religious rule. But over time, it would be natural for groups like the Libyan version of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has emerged as the dominant power in Egypt‘s ongoing parliamentary elections, to develop a major voice in politics (Qaddafi suppressed Islamist political activism as ruthlessly as he did all other challenges to his rule).… Read More
IRI released its survey of public opinion in eastern Libya (PDF), conducted October 12-25, 2011 and its analysis (PDF). This poll marks IRI’s first public opinion survey in Libya, and is designed to provide information to stakeholders to improve accountability and transparency in the political process as Libya makes its transition from authoritarianism to democracy.
In late October fighting was continuing throughout much of Libya between Qaddafi regime loyalists and the opposition, precluding any scientific survey research on a national level. In partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy, IRI polled those relatively peaceful parts of eastern Libya not controlled by regime loyalists.
Although not representative of a nationwide sentiment, this sub-national poll nonetheless serves to inform policy makers of opinions and concerns of Libyans first freed from the Qaddafi regime. This survey identifies high levels of optimism for the political and economic future among Libyans, and very high support for the National Transitional Council. The vast majority of Libyans wish to see a democratic system emerge after Qaddafi, and wished to see elections held within a year.… Read More
For Misrata resident Ali Bufanas, photographs are all that remain of his four young children who were killed in March when an explosion hit the family’s vehicle.
What happened to Ali affected his whole community, but his story is… Read More
Imam Musa Sadr – who went missing during a visit to Libya in 1978 – died 20 years later in a prison in Tripoli, a source from the Libyan National Transitional Council has revealed.
“Imam Musa Sadr died in his prison cell where he was being held since his disappearance at the hands of [security] members of the Gadhafi regime in 1978,” the source told local Al-Liwaa newspaper in an interview published Tuesday.
The source said Sadr died from natural causes in the summer of 1998. He was being detained in an underground cell at Tripoli’s central prison, the source added.
His body was kept at the prison’s morgue until the early days of the outbreak of the Libyan revolution, according to the source.… Read More
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika renewed his country’s keenness on Monday to improve ties with neighboring countries, in particular with Libya, asserting commitments to bolster bilateral relations.
In a cable sent to Libyan President of the Transitional National Council (TNC) Mustapha Abduljalil, the Algerian leader, marking the occasion of Libya’s Independence Day celebration, greeted and expressed best wishes… Read More
Libya’s former revolutionaries, who battled the forces of dead dictator Moamer Kadhafi, are demanding greater representation in the National Transitional Council, a commander from Misrata said on Monday.
The “thwars” (revolutionaries) demand that 40 percent of the NTC be composed of former rebels “because they are the symbol of this revolution,” said Fraj al-Soueili from Misrata, the port city east of Tripoli that was besieged by Kadhafi’s men.
He was reading the final communique after a conference of the “Union of Thwars in Libya,” which says it represents up to 70 percent of the revolutionaries.
On Wednesday, NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil called on the former revolutionaries at the conference in Tripoli to come up with a list of potential candidates to join the interim body.… Read More