Is a N. African security bloc in the making?

Tripoli, Libya at Night (NASA, International S...

Tripoli, Libya at Night (NASA, International Space Station, 04/18/13) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)

Linda S. Heard

Published — Tuesday 3 June 2014

SO-called freedom activists are beating their chests over the landslide victory of Field Marshall Abdel-Fatah El-Sissi, set to be inaugurated as Egypt’s new president next week. And they perceive the Libyan people’s backing of Gen. Khalifa Hiftar’s anti-militia onslaught as a step back from their revolutionary goals. The idea of strongmen prioritizing stability over individual freedoms is anathema to many, but the stark truth is that western-style democracy cannot flourish amid a climate of violence.
The misbehavior of the few has had a negative impact on the majority and now ordinary people in Libya and Egypt just want to get on with their lives. Many who sought democracy now equate it with anarchy, a sad truth that is incontestable among ordinary working people and owners of small businesses, experiencing pain in their pockets. They’ve rightly or wrongly concluded that there’s no democracy without stability.
That’s glaringly true in Libya that’s become awash with heavy weapons, feuding militias and foreign militants. Almost every household has a gun for self-defense. That was not how Libyans imagined their country post-revolution. They didn’t go to the streets calling for the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi in order to get a lawless land reminiscent of the Wild West or an impotent government unable to keep them safe or even to gain control over Libya’s main economic resource — oil and gas. And Egyptians didn’t topple Mubarak to get serial protests, growing joblessness or unsafe streets prompting the flight of investors and tourists.
Continue reading

North Africa and the Persian Gulf: Lingering Tensions, Different Stakes | STRATFOR

English: An effigy of Moammar Gadhafi hangs fr...

Image via Wikipedia

Despite its proximity to Europe and its status as a major African oil producer, Libya‘s sparse population and relative isolation from its neighbors make the stakes of civil unrest much lower than in other regions of the Arab world

Libya returned to the headlines Saturday when a protest in front of the headquarters of the National Transitional Council (NTC) turned violent. A group of demonstrators in Benghazi broke into the building, vandalized and looted the property and reportedly drove NTC head Mustafa Abdel-Jalil to flee through a back exit. A leading member of the council has since resigned, and Abdel-Jalil has warned that the country risks heading toward civil war if protests continue to intensify. The euphoria many Libyans felt at the death of former leader Moammar Gadhafi last October has faded, and though elections for a constituent assembly are scheduled for June, it is hard to see a stable, democratic government on the horizon in Libya. Continue reading

Libyan rebel commander: French military contractor killed in accidental shooting in Benghazi

BENGHAZI, Libya — The head and founder of a French military contracting company was killed in an accidental discharge of a weapon in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi as he was arguing about his team getting arrested, a rebel commander said Friday.

In Paris, the private military company SECOPEX Conseil said Pierre Marziali died Thursday at a Benghazi hospital after being wounded at a checkpoint as he and colleagues were leaving a restaurant overnight.

Marziali, 48, died hours before a planned meeting with the transitional government of rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi‘s forces. He was in Libya to set up a security guard service and a “secure corridor” on the road to Cairo, the company said. Continue reading

More shelling in rebel-held Misrata in Libya; ‘NATO airstrikes are not enough’

Clip_image001

Libyan rebel fighters load a truck with ammunition on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Libya, Saturday, April 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Ben Curtiss

By Sebastian Abbot

Associated Press 7:45 a.m., Saturday, April 16, 2011

AJDABIYA, Libya (AP) — Moammar Gadhafi’s forces poured rocket fire after dawn Saturday into Misrata, the only western city still in rebel hands, and weary residents who have endured more than a month of fighting angrily lashed out at NATO for failing to halt the deadly assault. Continue reading