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.
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Libya detains ICC investigators

Sunday, June 10, 2012

clip_image001The International Criminal Court in the Hague says four of its staffers have been detained in Libya, where they are part of an official mission to meet with Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the imprisoned son of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Court President Sang-Hyun Song requested their immediate release and urged Tripoli to ensure their safety.  His statement issued Saturday said “these four international civil servants have immunity when on an official ICC mission.”

The four, including Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, were detained Thursday as they were trying to meet with Saif al-Islam Gadhafi in Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, where he has been held by revolutionary fighters since his capture in November.  The delegation has been assigned by the court to discuss his defense arrangements.

Sources in Libya say Taylor was trying to pass documents to Saif during the visit. They said police also found a camera and a recording device on another female member of the delegation during a search after the visit.

Libya’s representative to the ICC, Ahmed al-Jahani, said Taylor was “not in prison but under house arrest in Zintan” where she was being questioned.

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Libya’s spy chief was lured by French-Mauritanian intelligence trap

March 23, 2012 by Joseph Fitsanakis

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
The arrest of Muammar al-Gaddafi’s spy chief in Mauritania last week was the culmination of a carefully planned French intelligence operation, which was secretly aided by the Mauritanian government, according to informed insiders. Abdullah al-Senussi, Colonel Gaddafi’s brother-in-law, who used to head the Mukhabarat el-Jamahiriya, Libya’s intelligence agency, was captured at the Nouakchott International Airport in the Mauritanian capital on March 17. He was detained as soon as he arrived there on a chartered flight from Mali. He had previously entered Mali from Niger, and was reportedly under the government’s protection. Continue reading

Review – Inside story of the UK’s secret mission to beat Gaddafi

By Mark Urban Diplomatic and defence editor, Newsnight

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British efforts to help topple Colonel Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground – and on the quiet – special forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters. This is the previously untold account of the crucial part they played.

The British campaign to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s regime had its public face – with aircraft dropping bombs, or Royal Navy ships appearing in Libyan waters, but it also had a secret aspect.

My investigations into that covert effort reveal a story of practically minded people trying to get on with the job, while all the time facing political and legal constraints imposed from London.

In the end, though, British special forces were deployed on the ground in order to help the UK’s allies – the Libyan revolutionaries often called the National Transitional Council or NTC. Those with a knowledge of the programme insist “they did a tremendous job” and contributed to the final collapse of the Gaddafi regime.

clip_image002Multiple radios indicate sophisticated co-ordination of forces

The UK’s policy for intervention evolved in a series of fits and starts, being changed at key points by events on the ground. The arguments about how far the UK should go were thrashed out in a series of meetings of the National Security Council at Downing Street. Under the chairmanship of Prime Minister David Cameron, its key members were:

Mr Cameron’s chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, was a key voice in urging action following start of the Libyan revolution last February, say Whitehall insiders.

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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