Libia se enfrenta al reto de desarmar a miles de rebeldes
El nuevo Gobierno da un plazo de ocho meses para retirar fusiles y lanzagranadas repartidos para derrocar a Gadafi
JUAN MIGUEL MUÑOZ - Trípoli – 02/09/2011
El proceso político diseñado por el Consejo Nacional de Transición -el organismo que lleva las riendas de la Libia pos-Gadafi- prevé la elección popular de una conferencia nacional que tendrá la misión de redactar una Constitución y elegir un Gobierno interino que debería estar al frente de Libia alrededor del comienzo del próximo verano. Ese será el momento de retirar las armas de las calles. A largo plazo, semejante despliegue de fusiles, lanzagranadas y demás armamento sería un riesgo intolerable para la estabilidad social y económica que ahora parece imponerse.
La Unión Europea ha cancelado las sanciones impuestas a bancos, compañías petroleras y levantado el bloqueo a puertos y a las líneas aéreas. Las autoridades anuncian que las escuelas abrirán sus puertas a mediados de este mes, y los esfuerzos por restablecer el suministro de agua y electricidad son ímprobos, aunque los tripolitanos tampoco conceden a esas carencias demasiada importancia. Pero Libia estaba habituada a la presencia de dos millones de inmigrantes (1,2 millones de egipcios), que en gran medida abandonaron hace meses su país de acogida. El puerto de Trípoli podría funcionar ya con normalidad, pero faltan los trabajadores extranjeros. Se fueron despavoridos y es difícil que regresen en masa en poco tiempo. Sin seguridad -las redadas masivas de negros no ayudan a restablecer la confianza- no volverán.
“Nuestra prioridad es unificar los cuerpos de seguridad en un solo comité. En Trípoli hay cuatro batallones bajo mando de cuatro comandantes. Pero también hay 5.000 shabab [jóvenes] de Misrata, 2.000 de las montañas de Nafusa [al suroeste de la capital] y 3.000 tripolitanos armados. Además tenemos la policía, que está regresando a las comisarías, y estamos formando la Guardia de Seguridad Nacional, recién creada por el Consejo Nacional Transitorio”, asegura Ali, el coordinador -no le agrada que le llamen jefe- del grupo a cargo de la seguridad en el llamado Equipo de Estabilización, el organismo que trata de resolver los enormes problemas energéticos, sanitarios, educativos, alimentarios y judiciales que afronta Libia.
El hermetismo del régimen impedía conocer datos básicos como la población de Libia, calculada en unos seis millones de habitantes. Y, en el caos desatado por la rebelión nacida en febrero en Bengasi, nadie acierta a ofrecer cifras. En esta ciudad oriental, ya más estable tras haberse liberado de los uniformados del régimen en pocos días, patrullan alrededor de 6.000 policías pobremente pertrechados. De Trípoli y otras ciudades se carece de datos. No obstante, decenas de miles de milicianos han participado en la revuelta después de que en los cuarteles del Ejército se repartiera armamento a la población para hacer frente a la brutal represión de las tropas de Gadafi.
Mohamed Ali explica el plan para que los milicianos se transformen en estudiantes, obreros o funcionarios. “Hasta que se elija el Gobierno interino, los shabab conservarán sus armas porque esto no ha terminado todavía”, afirma sonriente este hombre de Misrata, la ciudad que ha sufrido como ninguna la crueldad del régimen de Gadafi. “Entonces se les ofrecerán empleos, dinero o cursos educativos para que entreguen el armamento. Quien quiera conservar un fusil, podrá hacerlo, pero tendrá que ser incluido en un registro. En ningún caso podrán mantener en su poder armas más potentes”, concluye Ali. Puede que no resulte tan sencillo.
La gran mayoría de los jóvenes y adultos que han derrocado a Gadafi nunca habían disparado. Muchos se lanzaron al combate sin experiencia alguna y otros, ya avanzada la guerra, entrenaron en granjas durante unos días. Casi todos los consultados están ansiosos por regresar a su vida civil. “No” es la respuesta cuando se les pregunta si les gustaría convertirse en militares. Pero desprenderse del Kaláshnikov requerirá la desaparición definitiva de las calles del temor a una reacción del régimen. Aunque ahora casi nadie se dice gadafista, el dictador tejió una red de intereses que no puede desaparecer de la noche a la mañana.
30-8-2011 – Los líderes rebeldes de Libia rechazaron a fines de agosto cualquier despliegue de fuerzas internacionales u observadores en el país. Así lo aseguró el 30 de agosto el enviado especial de Naciones Unidas para la planificación de la posguerra en el país, Ian Martin. “Está claro que los libios quieren evitar cualquier tipo de despliegue militar, sea de Naciones Unidas o de otros”, dijo Martin. El asesor reconoció que una fuerza de paz para el país norteafricano había sido estudiada “para un contexto que no es el actual” y señaló que, tras hablar con el Consejo de Transición CNT libio, “ya no esperamos que las autoridades libias pidan observadores militares”. Las autoridades libias, según Ian Martin, están “muy interesados en que se les ayude en materia policial para tener la situación de la seguridad bajo control y gradualmente contar con unas fuerzas de seguridad responsables y democráticas”, una labor que tampoco sería llevada a cabo por cascos azules. El comité de sanciones del Consejo de Seguridad ya desbloqueó 950 millones de libras en bienes libios depositados en bancos del Reino Unido y la semana pasada hizo lo mismo con los 1.500 millones de dólares que había en Estados Unidos, medidas que también fueron aplaudidas en la reunión por el secretario general. Unos fondos para los rebeldes que se suman a la petición realizada por parte de la Liga Árabe.
- Los rebeldes llegan al centro de Trípoli y combaten en torno a la residencia de Gadafi
- Gadafi, el tirano más cínico
Rebel Rivalries in Libya
Division and Disorder Undermine Libya’s Opposition
August 18, 2011. Dirk Vandewalle (Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College).
As Libya’s rebels push forward in their fight to unseat Muammar al-Qaddafi, factional rivalries and a climate of general disorder threaten to upend their military and diplomatic victories.
Sign-up for free weekly updates from ForeignAffairs.com.In mid-July, when I visited Benghazi, the stronghold of the Libyan rebels who are fighting to unseat Muammar al-Qaddafi, the brigade headquarters from where Qaddafi’s forces once ruled the eastern part of the country had been reduced to a graffiti-encrusted, burned-out wreck. It was a sight I could never have imagined in the 25 years I have studied Libya.
But despite the recent rebel advances at Zawiyah, any expectation that the collapse of the Qaddafi regime is imminent — a statement made regularly by all of the NATO militaries now contributing resources to the anti-Qaddafi campaign — remains wishful thinking at this time. The Libyan uprising against the Qaddafi regime is now six months old, and there is no immediate end in sight. Long gone is U.S. President Barack Obama’s insistence that multilateral military action against Libya would be a matter “of days, not weeks.”
For now, the scenarios most likely to bring the conflict to an end revolve around what many close observers refer to as “catastrophic success” — the sudden removal of Qaddafi by internal revolt or other means, which would leave a profound political and security vacuum — or extended negotiations between Tripoli and Benghazi led by a neutral interlocutor.
The first seems unlikely for now, given the security measures that surround Qaddafi and the fierce loyalty of his immediate supporters. As for the second, although many sides have proposed road maps for talks between the rebels and the Qaddafi government, the prospect of direct negotiations remains distant. After all, road maps are of little value where roads are nonexistent. The two sides in Libya have put forward baseline demands that make a diplomatic solution unlikely: The rebels refuse to consider any negotiation that involves Qaddafi or anyone representing him, while Tripoli rejects any talks that would question Qaddafi’s legitimacy.
The rebel government is in danger of losing strategic control over its campaign. Thus, it seems likely that conditions will have to get much worse before either side will blink. This leaves open the possibility that Libya’s civil war will be decided by a grinding, prolonged military conflict in which Qaddafi’s regime is gradually exhausted by NATO-supported rebel attacks. Conditions in Tripoli have already become uncomfortable for the Qaddafi government: supplies of food, gasoline, and even ordinary household items are in increasingly short supply. The regime might not have the resources to continue to buy loyalty for much longer.
Although this may suggest that time favors the rebels, the killing of their rebel military commander, Abdul Fattah Younes, last month and the disarray that followed his death have shown that the rebels are plagued by their own internal divisions, which will only get worse as the conflict drags on. Put simply, the rebel government is in danger of losing strategic control over its campaign, with the climate of lawlessness and lack of control in eastern Libya threatening to upend whatever gains the rebels may make on the battlefield or in diplomatic circles.
The press conference held by Mustapha Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council, in the wake of Younes’ death is just one example of the continuing weaknesses of the rebel government. As it fights to reunify the country, the NTC itself remains far from a truly integrated, unified movement. As Jalil spoke at the Tibesti Hotel, angry supporters of Younes emptied their guns into the hotel’s windows. For his part, rather than using the loss of Younes as a rallying call for greater unity, Jalil predictably blamed loyalist forces for the military commander’s death. The NTC was soon forced to recant this statement, however, when it became clear that an out-of-control militia on its own side was likely responsible.
The fact that at the conference only members from Younes’ powerful tribe, the Obeidi, were seated around Jalil further belied the illusion that the NTC could function as neutral powerbroker and arbiter, not privileging one group or faction at the expense of others. Fearing retaliation, no top NTC members were present at the press conference or at Younes’ funeral the next morning. Although this does not necessarily mean that the rebels’ revolt will inevitably lead to inter-tribal fighting, as articles in The New York Times and elsewhere have suggested, it does illuminate one of the important fault lines: Powerful players in the country, in this case, a tribal group, need to be placated for fear of provoking unrest.
The most problematic part of Jalil’s statement was his call to eliminate what he described as “fifth columns,” Qaddafi loyalists still active in eastern Libya. Such talk is dangerous and irresponsible in a place as lawless as eastern Libya, where retaliations, violence, and score settling remain common. Worst of all, as in all rebellions, trying to identify so-called fifth columns only antagonizes and alienates those people who are content to remain neutral but are forced willy-nilly to align themselves with the NTC and its policies for fear of being identified as traitors. Jalil’s speech was indicative of the unawareness and inexperience that the NTC continues to exhibit.
In the aftermath of the killing, the picture in eastern Libya became both darker and more revealing. The temporary appointment of Suleiman Mahmoud al-Obeidi as the NTC’s new military commander and the dismissal of several individuals from the NTC’s executive committee were widely interpreted as a way to meet charges by the Obeidi tribe that part of the NTC had been complicit in Younes’ killing. For now, the changes have kept the peace, but the larger issue — that NTC structures and policies can be kept hostage to different groups’ interests — has been left unresolved.
Although the focus on tribal rivalries took prominence after Younes’ death, several other fault lines are becoming increasingly visible: between those fighting on the front versus those staying behind in Benghazi, Libyans inside the country who have taken part in the uprising versus those outside the country, and rapidly organizing Islamists versus those with a more secular vision for Libya’s future. (Many rebels are also uneasy over the absence of Mahmoud Jibril, the NTC’s political leader, from the country; he apparently has his own fears of assassination.)
In all of this turmoil, the essential question for Libya’s future remains whether the NTC will continue to function as a credible, unified political movement, or whether its credibility will further decline as the civil war continues and other incidents inevitably reveal more internal cleavages?
In terms of organization and diplomacy, the NTC has made undeniable progress over the last two months. It has established offices in a number of major cities around the globe, and in July the International Contact Group for Libya (consisting of all the countries participating in the NATO-led campaign against Qaddafi) recognized it as the legitimate representative of Libya. Despite these successes, there are two almost contradictory sets of feelings palpable in Benghazi today. The first is one of invincibility and unwillingness to compromise, expressed by the soldiers doing the fighting and seen in the intransigence many NTC representatives have toward negotiations. The second is a lingering sense of uncertainty about the future; no one will acknowledge this fear publicly, however, for fear of being considered disloyal.
This uncertainty is caused by the sense that the NTC has so far spent much its time on procedural issues related to a new constitution and to other practical military, security, and social arrangements for a post-Qaddafi Libya. But many people in eastern Libya are afraid that these proto-state institutions will be increasingly undercut by spreading chaos and disagreements before their roots are allowed to take hold.
One way the NTC could prevent the growing disarray that further civil war will bring would be to forge a compromise among its supporters for negotiations with Tripoli. In July, I took part in a workshop on negotiations in Benghazi, during which some NTC members, particularly those representing Tripoli, proved immovable. But ultimately they must remember that reconstructing Libya is not simply about creating the institutions of a future state, which, admittedly, the NTC has made good progress on.
Instead, it is ultimately also about nation-building: instilling in Libyans a sense of unity and consensus, creating a common vision of what Libya should look like in the future, and of providing a sense of leadership to which most citizens can subscribe. And here the rebel leadership has faltered for a number of reasons: disagreements and suspicions rooted in the country’s history, the everyday constraints of waging a civil war, and the contradictory signals coming from the international community. Negotiating a way out of the current impasse before the civil war establishes a fait accompli would go a long way toward convincing many Libyans and the international community that the NTC has the courage and vision to compromise with its adversary. No matter how repugnant and seemingly unfair such a compromise would be — for example, that Qaddafi and those close to him are provided with immunity and are allowed to leave Libya — such a move would add to the NTC’s leadership credentials. It would also serve as one small but symbolically important step in setting Libya on its way toward the kind of national reconciliation that will need to follow any resolution of the conflict.
The NTC should also realize that its current impasse over negotiations pales in comparison to its most difficult challenges in forging a united Libya, bringing the eastern and western parts of the country back together. Starting serious negotiations with Tripoli would be a significant step in creating a greater consensus — a step the United States and the international community should encourage, preferably through the UN special envoy to Libya, Abdul Ilah al-Khatib. If the rebels fail to overcome their growing fault lines and their reluctance to compromise, they may well win the war but lose the larger battle: the true unification of Libya as a modern state and nation, in which both former loyalists and former rebels can co-exist.
Libya – A Tribal Insurrection
The “western” media is reporting the crisis in Libya as something similar to what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. But this is not a modern youth movement protesting against a dictatorship, this is a developing civil war between tribal entities – not exactly a novelty in Libya.
A bigger version of the map can be found at the Public Intelligence Blog
From a 2002 piece on Tribal Rivalries in Libya which explains why some army units are now with the rebels:
Such rivalries are most pronounced in the armed forces. Each of the main tribes is represented in the military establishment and the various popular and revolutionary committees. For instance, Qadhafi’s Qadhadfa tribe has an ongoing rivalry with the Magariha tribe of Abdel Sallam Jalloud, the man who was second-in-command in the country for decades until he fell out of favour.
The Warfalla tribe, which turned against Qadhafi during the coup attempt in 1993, is numerous and is closest to Jalloud’s Magariha tribe. The Al Zintan tribe backed the Warfalla as well. The coup attempt was spearheaded by Warfalla officers in the Bani Walid region, 120 km south-east of Tripoli. The main reason for the coup attempt was that, despite its size, this tribe was poorly represented in the regime and only occupied second-echelon posts in the officers’ corps.
Moreover, Warfalla tribal officers have been excluded from the air force. The air force is reserved almost exclusively to the Qadhadfa tribe, to which Qadhafi belongs. It was the air force which crushed the coup attempt in October 1993.
It is possible that it, again, will be the air force that will put down this insurrection. But that end may also depend on one major tribe which so far has not taken a definite position:
The leadership of the Magariha tribe acknowledges a debt of gratitude to Gaddafi and his regime for securing the return of one of the tribe’s members, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, from prison in Britain after he was convicted of being behind the Lockerbie bombing. However sources also told Asharq Al-Awsat that this has not prevented a number of youths of the Magariha tribe from participating – with members from other tribes – in the demonstrations and protests against Gaddafi’s rule, especially in cities in eastern and southern Libya.
Experts say that the Magariha tribe is in the best position to carry out a coup against the Libyan leader, as many members of this tribe are in sensitive and senior positions of the Libyan government and security services.
There is more on the allegiances of the major 30 tribes and clans in Libya in the above piece. Additional information is here.
The misrepresentation of this conflict in the media may well lead to military intervention by “western” forces. These would then have to fight those tribes which for whatever reason support Ghadaffi. With “western” intervention the situation on the ground would quickly deteriorate. This would cost a lot more lives than any situation in which the Libyan people fight this out by and for themselves.