27 May 2013

Libyan Bloggers Accuse Government of Inaction

Photo: Essam Mohamed/Magharebia

Tunis — With Libya's security crisis and political turmoil deepening, local bloggers say the government needs to be more effective in restoring stability and reining in rogue Libyan militias.

This month, a series of bombings rocked Tripoli and Benghazi. Another security crisis emerged in the capital, where militias and supporters besieged key ministry buildings to pressure the General National Congress to ratify the political isolation law barring former Kadhafi regime members from serving in government.

Commenting on these developments via his blog, Ahmed Kamai says the weakness of state bodies and an absence of laws in Libya have helped revive tribalism and provincial quotas, which strengthen armed militias.

"Because of the state of worry and fear created by security chaos, citizens started to resort to tribe, city, religious and political groups rather than resort to [the] state and [the] law," he writes.

"This has forced most areas, tribes and cities, including those that didn't have militias during the war, to purchase weapons, recruit young people and fortify themselves behind armed tribal formations."

Kamai criticises the weakness of Libya's new government, noting that it still faces major difficulties in establishing authority over a country where militias can access large quantities of arms and behave as they like.

"In the Libyan case, the state has also turned into a weak ceiling or cover for armed groups and forces, whether tribal, provincial, or partisan militias that have become stronger and more capable than the state itself," he writes.

"Those militias became the engines that lead the Libyan state at the direction each one of them wants. More importantly, the Libyan state, which is basically weak, has become the main financier and the obedient servant of what these armed groups and formations dictate," Kamai adds.

Libya can only emerge from this crisis, he says, by pursuing comprehensive national reconciliation, enacting a transitional justice law as soon as possible, and rejecting violence and a policy of revenge and exclusion.

Meanwhile, on his Wissamyat blog, Wissam Salem, a 19-year-old photographer, voices deep pessimism over the passage of the political isolation law. The decision will only serve the interests of powerful people, he says. He argues that it will expose Libya to tyranny and dictatorship anew, and undermine peace efforts.

"How similar 1969 is to February 17th!" Salem writes. "They said they were isolating some people to avoid a reproduction of past years, but by approving such a law, they reproduced the past when the 'popular revolution' isolated all those who had something to do with the royal era, discrediting such people as much as they could, and banishing opposition figures all over the world."

"Today, we're isolating those who were not with us, and we're forcing them to leave our country, and letting history repeat itself," he continues. "History will write that a land known as Libya once staged a revolution against the injustice of a certain group only to do justice against it, recreate repression, and prefer revenge over peace."

Elsewhere online, blogger "Political Politician" criticises what he calls the laxity of the Libyan security services and the performance of Prime Minister Ali Zidan's government in its response to the May 13th car bombing in Benghazi, which killed three people and injured 14 others.

"How can the Libyan intelligence chief know nothing about what's going on in the country and know only after incidents take place?" he asks. "How come that he doesn't know what's happening in the country? What kind of intelligence is that? This horrible incident has shown that the government and General National Congress aren't really fit for ruling this country as long as this country is going backwards with desperate steps," Political Politician writes.

The blogger urges the government and GNC members to admit that they cannot establish peace and calm for the people who elected them.

"What is the role of the foreign and defence ministries? Aren't they ... where this country's power lies?" the blogger continues.

"Good governance only needs a sage, discreet mind that doesn't sleep, a brave heart that doesn't fear, and iron-fist control that sows fear at the hearts of vicious, evil entities," he writes.

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