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

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

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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 women rally to demand help for rape victims

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) – Dozens of women have rallied in the Libyan capital to pressure the new government to do more to help women raped during the country’s civil war.

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By Abdel Magid al-Fergany, AP

Women gather Saturday in Tripoli, Libya. They said the government is failing to help women raped during the civil war.

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Gadhafi’s son captured: reports

Ronald D. Orol

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi sits in an airplane in Zintan, LIbya, on Saturday after being captured in the southern desert and flown to the northern city.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Moammar Gadhafi’s son has been captured in the desert by fighters who plan to hold him until there is a Libyan administration to which they can hand him over, according to media reports Saturday.

Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, 39, had been accused of crimes against humanity.

Saif al-Islam was captured near the southern desert city of Obari and flown to the fighters’ base in Zintan, in northern Libya, the BBC reported.

It was unclear Saturday whether al-Islam will face trial in Libya or whether he will be transferred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, for a trial there for his alleged involvement in the killings of civilian protesters.

Prior to the uprising in Libya, al-Islam appeared set to take over from his father to rule the country. His father, who ruled Libya for almost 42 years, was captured and killed by rebels on Oct. 20. Another son, Mutassim, was killed the same day and a third son, Khamis, was killed earlier in the civil war.

Al-Islam had been in hiding since the National Transitional Council, the current government of Libya, had pushed his father from Libya’s capital Tripoli in August.

Protests in Egypt

Thousands take part in Friday prayers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as they demand an end to military rule and a new constitution in Egypt. Video and image: Reuters

The council was established by anti-Gadhafi forces during the civil war in Libya. It seeks to set up a constitutional democracy with an elected government, according to reports. Continue reading

Dumped in the desert … Gaddafi’s yellowcake stockpile

Sitting in row after row, each 15 long by four high, the blue barrels are as frightening as any remnant of the Gaddafi regime.

Radioactive material found in a Gadaffi military base near Sabah

A rebel fighter among the yellowcake drums in the warehouse near the city of Sabha. The stockpile was abandoned and unguarded Photo: DAVID ROSE

By

, Sabha

9:00PM BST 25 Sep 2011

Some are marked radioactive, as were the open plastic bags alongside.

The powder they contain appears to be yellowcake uranium from neighbouring Niger. Yet when they were discovered by advancing rebel forces last week, they were abandoned, in tumbledown warehouses protected only by a low wall.

Niger mines yellowcake under a strict security regime designed to ensure none of it falls into the hands of illicit networks. But post-Gaddafi Libya affords little or no protection to this vast haul of material, which if refined to high levels of purity is the essential element of a nuclear bomb.

The Daily Telegraph reported last week that Iran, which is pursuing underground nuclear programmes, had joined in the looting of Libyan weaponry.

It is not clear how long the material has been there. Mohammed Othman, whose family owns a farm five miles further up the track away from Sabha, says soldiers were seen unloading trucks in the area a year ago. Mr Mangoush, on the other hand, links the find to what he claims is a high level of miscarriage and deformity in babies in the area, suggesting a longer term presence.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the president of the provisional government, the National Transitional Council, said at a press conference on Sunday that a second find of illegal material had been made near the town of Waddan — believed to be mustard gas. “There are weapons believed to be internationally forbidden, and they are under our control,” he said.

The United States previously said that Gaddafi’s yellowcake stocks were held at the town of Tajoura east of Tripoli and were “secure”.

The real site is now guarded by half a dozen rebel troops.

Fighting has moved on to the border town of Ghat, leaving virtually all the south of Libya, with its important oilfields, in the hands of the rebels.

Of Gaddafi himself, there is now no sign.

“Tell us if you find him,” is the commonest response to questions concerning his whereabouts.

‘Moderate Muslim’ slits three daughters’ throats… for being raped

A Muslim father in Misrata, Libya slit his 15, 17 and 18-year old daughters’ throats due to his ‘humiliation’ that they were raped by Gadhafi loyalists (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

The horrific story was one of a number to emerge from Misrata after the group sent in a team of interviewers in June to catalogue human rights abuses just after Libyan forces expelled Gaddafi loyalists. Continue reading

Flying Qaddafi Air

TRIPOLI, Libya — My interpreter, Ahmed, is flooring it down an airport runway, giddy with enthusiasm. He keeps talking about how he’s always wanted to push this hard on the gas, how he never thought he’d be driving his car on this vast flat asphalt. But in Free Libya anything is possible. Including a visit to Muammar al-Qaddafi‘s personal plane.

Our car accelerates toward the Afriqiyah Airways airplane standing apart from a cluster of others like a giant white turkey in the recently secured international airport. We’ve been lucky enough to be offered a tour of the runways from Mohammed Saad, a 24-year-old engineering student now part of the Zintan Brigade, a western mountain rebel unit that has set up shop in the airport. Continue reading

Libya: Gaddafi regime could unleash chemical weapons stockpile

Desperate members of the collapsing Gaddafi regime could try to unleash Libya’s stocks of chemical weapons, William Hague has warned.

Gaddafi should face justice in Libya if captured alive - Try Gaddafi in Libya

Gaddafi should face justice in Libya if captured alive Photo: REUTERS