Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Flag of Libya – Wikipedia

The flag of Libya was originally introduced in 1951, following the creation of the Kingdom of Libya. It was designed by Omar Faiek Shennib and approved by King Idris Al Senussi who comprised the UN delegation representing the regions of Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania at UN unification discussions.

The flag fell out of use in 1969, but was subsequently adopted by the National Transitional Council and anti-Gaddafi forces and effectively reinstated as the countrys national flag in article three of the Libyan Draft Constitutional Charter for the TransitionalStage issued on 3 August 2011.[1][2]

The flag of the Kingdom of Libya was adopted when Libya gained full independence in 1951. It consisted of a white star and crescent on a triband red-black-green design, with the central black band being twice the width of the outer bands. The design was based on the banner of the Senussi dynasty from Cyrenaica, which consisted of a black field and star and crescent design, and was later used as the flag of the region.

Omar Faiek Shennib, Chief of the Royal Diwans, Vice President of the National Assembly and Minister of Defense under King Idris Al Senussi is credited in the memoirs of Adrian Pelt, UN commissioner for Libya (1949 to 1951) for the design of the original flag of Libya.[citation needed]According to Pelt:”during deliberations of the Libyan National Constitutional Convention, a paper drawing of a proposed national flag was presented to the convention by Omar Faiek Shennib [distinguished member of the delegation from Cyrenaica]. The design was composed of three colors; red, black and green, with a white Crescent and Star centered in the middle black stripe. Mr. Shennib informed the delegates that this design had met the approval of His Highness Emir of Cyrenaica, King Idris Al Senussi [later to become King of Libya]. The assembly subsequently approved that design.”[3][yearneeded][pageneeded]

This flag represented Libya from its independence in 1951 until the 1969 Libyan coup d’tat. The symbolism of the star and crescent in the flag of the Kingdom of Libya was explained in an English language booklet, The Libyan Flag & The National Anthem, issued by the Ministry of Information and Guidance of the Kingdom of Libya (year unknown) as follows: “The crescent is symbolic of the beginning of the lunar month according to the Muslim calendar. It brings back to our minds the story of Hijra [migration] of our Prophet Mohammed from his home in order to spread Islam and teach the principles of right and virtue. The Star represents our smiling hope, the beauty of aim and object and the light of our belief in God, in our country, its dignity and honour which illuminate our way and puts an end to darkness.”[4]

In 2011, interviews with Ibtisam Shennib and Amal Omar Shennib, Omar Faeik Shennib’s only two remaining children, were cited as confirming Pelt’s account of the origin of the flag.[5] Ibtisam Shennib recalled the morning her father brought a draft of the flag to the breakfast table and showed it to her and her siblings, explaining the original intent behind the selection of the flag’s colours and symbols. According to Omar Faiek Shennib, “red was selected for the blood sacrificed for the freedom of Libya, black to remember the dark days that Libyans lived under the occupation of the Italians and green to represent its primary wealth, agriculture, [Libya once being referred to as the ‘agricultural basket’ or ‘breadbasket’ of the Ottoman Empire] and the future prosperity of the country. The star and crescent were placed within the black central strip of the flag as a reference to the Senussi flag and the role of King Idris in leading the country to independence”.[3]

During the Libyan Civil War against the rule of Muammar Gaddafi, the 195169 flag as well as various makeshift versions without the crescent and star symbol, or without the green stripe came back into use in areas held by the Libyan opposition and by protesters at several Libyan diplomatic missions abroad.[6][7][8]The National Transitional Council, formed on 27 February 2011, adopted the flag previously used in the Kingdom of Libya between 1951 and 1969 as the “emblem of the Libyan Republic”.[9][10] The flag was officially defined in article three of the Libyan Draft Constitutional Charter for the TransitionalStage:

The national flag shall have the following shape and dimensions:

Its length shall be double its width, its shall be divided into three parallel coloured stripes, the uppermost being red, the centre black and lowest green, the black stripe shall be equal in area to the other two stripes together and shall bear in its centre a white crescent, between the two extremities of which there shall be a fivepointed white star.

On 10 March 2011, France was the first country to recognise the council as the official government of Libya, as well as the first to allow the Libyan embassy staff to raise the flag.[11] On 21 March, the flag was flown by the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations and appeared on their official website,[12][13] and thereafter in late August by the Arab League[14] and by Libya’s own telecommunications authority,[15] the Libya Telecom & Technology, on its own website. In the following months many other Libyan embassies replaced the green flag of Gaddafi with the tricolour flag.

This original flag of Libya is now the only flag used by the United Nations to represent Libya, according to the following UN statement: “Following the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 66/1, the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations formally notified the United Nations of a Declaration by the National Transitional Council of 3 August 2011 changing the official name of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to ‘Libya’ as well as a decision to change Libya’s national flag to the original.”[16] All Libyan diplomatic posts, such as embassies and consulates, use the original flag of Libya.

The flag of Libya is described in Article 7 of the Constitution of 7 October 1951. It was officially adopted on 24 December 1951. The passage from the constitution reads:

Chapter 1, Article 7: The national flag shall have the following dimensions: Its length shall be twice its breadth, it shall be divided into three parallel coloured stripes, the uppermost being red, the centre black and the lowest green, the black stripe shall be equal in area to the two other stripes combined and shall bear in its centre a white crescent, between the two extremities of which there shall be a five-pointed white star.

Both the precise shade and legal construction is described in a booklet issued by the Ministry of Information and Guidance of the Kingdom of Libya in 1951.[17] The passage reads:

The exact particulars of the Libyan National Flag prescribed by Article 7 of the Constitution shall be as follows: The red shall be sign red, and the green permanent green. The Crescent shall be on the hoistward side of the star, and the centre of the circle of which the crescent forms a part shall be in the centre of the flag. The star shall be in the open end of the crescent and one point of the star shall point to the centre of the circle. The maximum width of the 270 crescent shall equal 16 of its outside diameter which is 14 of the width of the flag. The distance between the tips of the crescent shall equal that between the uppermost and lowermost point of the star measured along a perpendicular forming the hoistward sides of these two points. The perpendicular shall form a tangent to the outside circumference of the crescent at a point equidistant from the top and bottom of the flag.

The name “Libya” was introduced during colonisation by Italy in 1934.Before 1911, the Ottoman vilayet of Tripolitania (the “kingdom of Tripoli”) included much of the same territory as modern Libya.

The short-lived Tripolitanian Republic in western Libya had its own flag, which had a light blue field and a green palm tree in the center, with a white star on top of it.[18] It was unilaterally declared in 1918 and claimed sovereignty over the entire former vilayet, but never had full de facto governance.

From 1934 to 1943, Libya was an Italian colony and adopted the flag of the Kingdom of Italy.

The areas of Libya under British military administration (Cyrenaica 19421949 and Tripolitania 19431951) did not have their own flag and thus, used the Union flag of the United Kingdom.

During the French Administration of the former Southern Military Territory, Fezzan-Ghadames had a red flag with a crescent and star, very similar to the flag of Turkey.

During World War II, Italian Libya was occupied by France and the United Kingdom. The Cyrenaica Emirate was declared in British-occupied Cyrenaica in 1949 with the backing of the British authorities. The “Emir of Cyrenaica”, Idris of Libya, kept the emirate’s flag which derives from flag of Turkey (a white crescent and star on a black background) as his personal flag after he became king of Libya in 1951.

Following the coup d’tat of 1969, the flag was replaced by the Pan-Arab red-white-black tricolour of the Arab Liberation Flag, first flown after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 (which also formed the basis of the flags of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen).

In 1972 when Libya joined the Federation of Arab Republics its flag was adopted by the country, linking it to Egypt and Syria. It featured a golden hawk (the “Hawk of Qureish”), holding a scroll with the Arabic name of the Federation.[19]

The flag of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was adopted on 11 November 1977 and consisted of a green field. It was the only national flag in the world with just one colour and no design, insignia, or other details.[20] It was chosen by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to symbolise his political philosophy (after his Green Book).[21]

The green colour traditionally symbolises Islam, reflecting the historical green banners of the Fatimid Caliphate. In Libya, green was also a colour traditionally used to represent the Tripolitania region.

British Military Administration (19421951)

Kingdom of Libya (19511969)

Libyan Arab Republic (19691972)

Federation of Arab Republics (19721977)

Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (19772011)

State of Libya (2011present)

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Libya Home – World Bank

The cost of the political conflict has taken a severe toll on the Libyan economy, which has remained in recession for the third consecutive year in 2015. Political strife, weak security conditions, and blockaded oil infrastructures continue to constrain the supply side of the economy. Production of crude oil fell to around 0.4 million barrels per day (bpd) or the fourth of potential. The non-hydrocarb…

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Libya Overview – World Bank

Improved political and security arrangements reached during the second half of 2017 allowed Libya to more than double its production of oil and to register record growth last year (up 26.7 percent) after four years of recession. But this dynamic has not been sustained over the first half of 2018. In fact, oil production stagnated around 1 million barrels per day (bpd) over the first 5 months before abruptly dropping to only 0.7 million bpd in June following the attack and temporary control of the oil fields and terminals in the East by militias who badly damaged oil infrastructure and oil reservoirs. Assuming the authorities can fix the damaged oil infrastructure over the second half of the year, it is expected that GDP will grow at 7.2 percent in 2018, driven on the supply side by higher oil output that could recover to around 1 million bpd by end 2018, and on the demand side by higher government expenditures and investment.

Although declining, inflation remains high reflecting market disruptions due to supply shortages of goods and services along with still very active parallel currency exchange market. The consumer price index increased by 17.6 percent over the first 4 months of 2018 (vs. 26.9 percent, the same period last year). Thanks to the relative improvement of the exchange rate in the parallel market induced by increased supply of foreign currency through the official rate, inflation is expected to slow to around 15 percent for the whole year 2018. But the cumulative inflation over the last four years has adversely affected Libyan households who lost almost 80 percent of their purchasing power. This has almost certainly pushed more Libyans into poverty and hardship and worsened inequality.

Public finances are expected to improve slightly but the inflexibility of current expenditures and volatile oil revenues keep the overall fiscal stance under severe stress. Oil revenues are expected to significantly improve this year (47 percent of GDP), yet they will barely suffice to cover the high and increasing wage bill, which will hit 48 percent of GDP. The rising wage bill reflects both salary increases and additional hiring, which in turn are linked to pressure on the public payroll as a stabilizing instrument in a context of multi-factional conflict. Subsidies will remain high (10.6 percent of GDP) given the complex political economy that delays the needed reform of the system in a context of resource competition. The budget deficit, while slightly improving, will remain high at around 26 percent of GDP in 2018 (34.5 percent of GDP in 2017). The deficit is expected to be financed through cash advances from the Tripoli Central Bank and issuing government bonds in the East.

Although there is no systematic study on poverty and very little evidence on the current well-being of Libyan households, conditions are inimical to poverty reduction. The sharp decline in oil exports starting in 2011 has severely impacted public services. Worsening conditions also contribute to the erratic power supply and the recurrent food shortages. The parallel currency premium is already reflected in the prices of many products, including essential food and medicine. In contrast, vast rents created by access to dollars at the official rate and to petroleum products at official prices are contributing to inequality and incentives for conflict, while the associated economic distortions spill over to Tunisia.

Improvement of the economic outlook depends crucially on the endorsement by the House of Representatives of the Government of National Accord (GNA) formed under the auspices of the UN. The economic and social outlook assumes that the GNA is eventually empowered to restore security and launch a comprehensive program to rebuild the economic and social infrastructures. In this context, GDP is projected to increase strongly in 2018-2019. However, the twin deficits will prevail as oil revenues will not be sufficient to cover the high budget expenditures and consumption-driven imports. Over the medium term, as oil production returns to full capacity, growth is projected to rebound at two digit growth rates in 2018 and 2019.

Libya Public Finance

Figure 1 below provides a snapshot ofLibyas public financeswith projections through 2021. During the 2010-2013 period, the executed budget did not typically exceed the overall amount authorized by parliament, but its composition substantially differed from that of the approved budget. The overall rate of budget execution was around 80 percent in 2010 and 2012 and was about 93 percent in 2013. There has been no approved (official) budget over the past several years (2014-2018). The GNA has recently approved a unified national budget, however the HOR has failed to adopt/approve this budget legislation. Of note, over the past several years, development spending (capital investment) in Libya has virtually collapsed, comprising an estimated 1o% of total government spending in FY2018, down from a budgeted 52% of total budget spending in FY2012.

FIGURE 1 Libya Public finances, in % of GDP

Immediate challenges with respect to fiscal planning include how to manage fiscal spending pressures while restoring and improving basic public services. A longer term goal is to help develop the framework and institutions for a more diversified market-based economy, broadening the economic base beyond the oil and gas sector. Although the Banks post-conflict engagement was initially expected to accompany only Libyas short term economic recovery efforts, the transition program will lay the foundation for longer term goals. This includes creating a more vibrant and competitive economy with a level playing field for the private sector to create sustainable jobs and wealth. It also includes transforming the management of oil revenues to ensure they are used in the best interests of the country and to the benefit of all citizens equally. This will also ensure that citizens have a role in defining and voicing their communities best interests.

Last Updated:Oct 01, 2018

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Libya Research – World Bank

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October 31, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Doing Business in Libya – World Bank Group

Note:

If the duration and frequency of outages is 100 or less, the economy is eligible to score on the Reliability of supply and transparency of tariff index.

If the duration and frequency of outages is not available, or is over 100, the economy is not eligible to score on the index.

If the minimum outage time considered for SAIDI/SAIFI is over 5 minutes, the economy is not eligible to score on the index.

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Geography,Government,History,Libya – InfoPlease

Geography

Libya stretches along the northeast coast of Africa between Tunisia and Algeria on the west and Egypt on the east; to the south are the Sudan, Chad, and Niger. It is one-sixth larger than Alaska. Much of the country lies within the Sahara. Along the Mediterranean coast and farther inland is arable plateau land.

Military dictatorship.

The first inhabitants of Libya were Berber tribes. In the 7th century B.C., Phoenicians colonized the eastern section of Libya, called Cyrenaica, and Greeks colonized the western portion, called Tripolitania. Tripolitania was for a time under Carthaginian control. It became part of the Roman Empire from 46 B.C. to A.D. 436, after which it was sacked by the Vandals. Cyrenaica belonged to the Roman Empire from the 1st century B.C. until its decline, after which it was invaded by Arab forces in 642. Beginning in the 16th century, both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica nominally became part of the Ottoman Empire.

Tripolitania was one of the outposts for the Barbary pirates who raided Mediterranean merchant ships or required them to pay tribute. In 1801, the pasha of Tripoli raised the price of tribute, which led to the Tripolitan war with the United States. When the peace treaty was signed on June 4, 1805, U.S. ships no longer had to pay tribute to Tripoli.

Following the outbreak of hostilities between Italy and Turkey in 1911, Italian troops occupied Tripoli. Libyans continued to fight the Italians until 1914, by which time Italy controlled most of the land. Italy formally united Tripolitania and Cyrenaica in 1934 as the colony of Libya.

Libya was the scene of much desert fighting during World War II. After the fall of Tripoli on Jan. 23, 1943, it came under Allied administration. In 1949, the UN voted that Libya should become independent, and in 1951 it became the United Kingdom of Libya. Oil was discovered in the impoverished country in 1958 and eventually transformed its economy.

On Sept. 1, 1969, 27-year-old Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi deposed the king and revolutionized the country, making it a pro-Arabic, anti-Western, Islamic republic with socialist leanings. It was also rabidly anti-Israeli. A notorious firebrand, Qaddafi aligned himself with dictators, such as Uganda’s Idi Amin, and fostered anti-Western terrorism.

On Aug. 19, 1981, two U.S. Navy F-14s shot down two Soviet-made SU-22s of the Libyan air force that had attacked them in air space above the Gulf of Sidra. On March 24, 1986, U.S. and Libyan forces skirmished in the Gulf of Sidra, and two Libyan patrol boats were sunk. Qaddafi’s troops also supported rebels in Chad but suffered major military reverses in 1987. A two-year-old U.S. covert policy to destabilize the Libyan government ended in failure in Dec. 1990.

On Dec. 21, 1988, a Boeing 747 exploded in flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, the result of a terrorist bomb, killing all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground. This and other acts of terrorism, including the bombing of a Berlin discotheque in 1986 and the downing of a French UTA airliner in 1989 that killed 170, turned Libya into a pariah in the eyes of the West. Two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted in the Lockerbie bombing, but Qaddafi refused to hand them over, leading to UN-approved trade and air traffic embargoes in 1992. In 1999, Libya finally surrendered the two men, who were tried in the Netherlands in 20002001. One was found guilty of mass murder; the other defendant was found innocent. Libya had hoped its fainthearted cooperation would lead to suspended sanctions, which had severely affected the Libyan economy. The UN did suspend its sanctions, but they were not formally removed for another four years, not until Sept. 2003, when Libya finally admitted its guilt in the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the victims’ families. In 2004, Libya also agreed to compensate the families of the victims of the UTA airliner bombing ($170 million) and the Berlin disco bombing ($35 million).

After months of secret talks with the U.S. and Britain, Qaddafi surprised the world in Dec. 2003 by announcing he would give up the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and submit to full UN weapons inspections. After inspections at four secret sites, the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that Libya’s progress on a nuclear bomb had been in the very nascent stages. In May 2006, the U.S. announced it would restore full diplomatic relations with Libya after a 25-year hiatus.

In Dec. 2006, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor working in Libya were sentenced to death after being convicted of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with AIDS. The evidence used to convict the medical workers is considered highly specious, and many believe that Libya is attempting to deflect the blame for the 1998 outbreak of AIDS in a Libyan hospital. In July 2007, Libya’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentences. Days later, however, the country’s High Judicial Council commuted the sentences. On the same day as the commutations, the government agreed to pay $1 million to the families of each of the 460 victims.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, was freed from prison on compassionate grounds by Scotland in August 2009. (He is suffering from terminal prostate cancer.) His return to a hero’s welcome provoked outrage from victims’ families, and the White House opposed this decision, stating that Megrahi should finish his sentence in Scotland.

Anti-government demonstrations gripped several countries in the Middle East in early 2011, and protests in Libya followed those in Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain. The crackdown by the government in Libya, however, was the most vicious. The protesters took to the streets on Feb. 16 in Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city, demanding that Qaddafi step down. The next day, declared the Day of Rage, saw the number of demonstrations burgeon throughout the country. Security forces began firing on protesters, and by Feb. 20 Human Rights Watch estimated that as many as 200 people had been killed by troops. Several government officials and diplomats defected, and members of the military joined the ranks of the opposition as the government attacks on civilians grew increasingly brutal. Some reports had fatalities numbering near 1,000 or more. Qaddafi refused to resign, but offered to double the salaries of public workers and freed some Islamic militants from jail. Protesters dismissed the move as a hollow gesture and continued their actions throughout the country. Qaddafi enlisted the help of mercenaries as the number of defections by troops swelled. He cast blame for the uprising on the West, which he claimed wants to assume control of Libya’s oil, and Islamic radicals who want to expand their base.

On Feb. 27, the UN Security Council voted to impose sanctions on Qaddafi and several of his close advisers. The sanctions included an arms embargo on Libya, a travel ban on Qaddafi and other leaders, and the freezing of Qaddafi’s assets. The Security Council also requested that the International Criminal Court investigate reports of “widespread and systemic attacks” on citizens. The UN sanctions followed unilateral action by the U.S., and the European Union also sanctioned Libya. By Feb. 28, rebels had taken control of Benghazi and Misurata and were closing in on Tripoli. The rebels organized a military and formed an executive committee, the Transitional National Council, illustrating that they could establish a transitional government if given the opportunity. The Libyan Air Force and security forces, however, attacked the rebels from both the air and the ground, weakening the rebellion and wresting control of rebel-held towns, including Zawiya and Zuwara, cities west of Tripoli, and Ajdabiya in the east. The rebels fought on, clinging to the rebel strongholdand capitalof Benghazi, but Qaddafi’s forces continued their march toward the city, attacking from both the ground and the air. The rebels, outnumbered, poorly armed, and inexperienced, seemed on the brink of defeat.

As the assault on rebel areas by Qaddafi’s troops intensified, the Arab League turned to the international community for assistance. On March 17, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that authorized military action against Libya, including air strikes, missile attacks, and a no-fly zone, and two days later, Britain and France led a military action against Libya, launching attacks from the air and sea on Libya’s air defenses. The U.S. participated in the action, but did not initiate it. Qaddafi railed against the intervention, calling it “a colonial crusader aggression that may ignite another large-scale crusader war.” By March 21, the mission to implement a no-fly zone over Libya and cripple its air defenses was considered a success. In early April, two of Qaddafi’s sons, Seif and Saadi, put forth a proposal in which their father would step down and allow the country to transition toward a constitutional democracy. The move would be managed by Seif. The rebels rejected the offer, and Qaddafi never fully endorsed the plan.

NATO took over control of the air strikes, which continued for weeks, and by May the rebels gained ground and momentum in cities in both the east and west of the country. Qaddafi refused to participate in talks mediated by South African president Jacob Zuma. In June, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Qaddafi, his son, Saif al-Islam, and his intelligence chief, Abdulla al-Senussi. They were charged crimes against humanity for the attacks on civilians in the first two weeks of the revolt.

In July, the U.S. and 30 other countries officially recognized the Transitional National Council (TNC) as Libya’s government and gave the council access to the $30 billion in Libyan assests that had been frozen by the U.S. Later in the month, the council’s military leader, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, was killed by fellow rebel soldiers. Younes, a former interior minister under Qaddafi, never gained the trust of the rebel movement and some questioned his loyalty.

In August 2011, rebel fighters opposing Qaddafi made progress on several fronts. They seized Zawiyah and gained control of the city’s oil refinery. Zawiyah, a port city just 31 miles west of Tripoli, was a key gain. Rebel forces soon advanced into Tripoli and foreigners tried to flee the city. On August 21, with the rebels meeting little resistance from loyalists, residents in Tripoli took to the streets to celebrate the end of Qaddafi’s 42 years in power. Two days later, rebels seized Qaddafi’s compound. Qaddafi and his family fled and remained at large. Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the TNC and Qaddafi’s former justice minister, became the country’s leader and the rebels began transferring their administration from Benghazi to Tripoli.

Rebels continued to make gains in loyalist strongholds throughout the country into the fall. By October, they had advanced on Surt, Qaddafi’s hometown, and captured Bani Walid. The fight for Surt proved to be more challenging for the rebels, with loyalist forces fiercely committed to maintaining control of the city. Both sides suffered significant casualties. On October 20, 2011, the interim government of Libya announced that Qaddafi had been killed by rebel troops in Surt. Initial reports were unclear on the cause of death.

With Qaddafi dead, the interim government could turn its attention to rebuilding the country and setting the stage for elections. The role and influence of Islamists in government and day-to-day life were unknowns for the future of Libya. During the turmoil in Libya, the Islamists became a powerful force in the country. At the very least, they are poised to form a political party, and Islamist leaders signaled that they would participate in the democratic process. In addition, it remained unclear how the many rivalaries in the countryIslamists vs secularist, geographic, inter-tribe, and between the educated elite and tribal populationwill affect the political climate in the country. At the same time, there was growing concern about the increased activity of militant groups.

At the end of October 2011, the Transitional National Council elected Abdurrahim al-Keeb, an engineer and opponent of Qaddafi, as interim prime minister. In July 2012, Libyans voted in its first national election since Col. Muammar Qaddafi was ousted. The National Forces Alliance, a secular party led by Mahmoud Jibril, a Western-educated political scientist, prevailed over Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in the election to form a national congress. The win by the National Forces Alliance is a sign that Libya, unlike Egypt and Tunisia, is not trending toward Islamist rule. Turnout was over 60%, and international observers declared the election largely fair, despite reports of election-related violence. In August, the Transitional National Council handed power to the newly elected General National Congress, a 200-seat body. Mohammed Magarief, a longtime opposition leader and head of the National Front Party, was elected chairman of the Congress and thus Libya’s head of state. In September, Mustafa Abu Shagur, deputy prime minister, prevailed over Jibril in the second round of voting by the Congress to become prime minister.

On Sept. 11, 2012, militants armed with anti-aircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades fired on the American consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other embassy officials. Stevens was a widely praised diplomat and an advocate for the opposition in Libya, and had helped the new government in its transition to power. He was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979.

The attack coincided with protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo over the release of a crude YouTube film, Innocence of Muslims, that insulted the Prophet Muhammad and criticized Islam. U.S. officials initially said the attack was also in response to the video, but later said they believed that the militant group Ansar al-Shariah orchestrated the attack. The Obama administration was criticized for the lack of security at the consulate that left diplomats vulnerable and for not immediately acknowledging it was a premeditated terrorist attack. During the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign, Republican nominee Mitt Romney repeatedly accused Obama of releasing misleading statements to downplay the role terrorists played in the attack. Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, was also drawn into the controversy. After the presidential election Republicans in the U.S. Senate threatened to derail her potential nomination as secretary of state because, they claimed, in the days following the attack Rice said it was a spontaneous reaction to the release of Innocence of Muslims, rather than a terrorist attack. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, defended Rice, saying she was relaying the notes she received from the CIA. However, Rice withdrew herself for consideration in December.

Clinton appointed an independent panel to investigate the attack, and in its highly critical report, the panel said the U.S. State Department failed to provide adequate security at the American Embassy in Tripoli and the consulate in Benghazi, overly relied on local militias for security, and did not fulfill requests for safety improvements at the compounds. It also cited “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels.” The report listed 29 recommended actions and improvements, and Clinton said she would act on all of them. Several State Department officials resigned after the release of the report.

The Libyan government condemned the attack and vowed to track down the perpetrators, though it proved too weak and ineffectual to do so. Indeed, the attack proved how little control the government has over the country’s disparate militias, which act as the country’s police yet operate independently of each other and the government. Ten days after the attack, several thousand Libyan citizens descended upon several militia headquarters and demanded that the government break up the groups. President Mohamed Magariaf rejected the demandan acknowledgement of the important role the militias play in the country’s security. In mid-October the Libyan government said Ansar al-Sharia leader Ahmed Abu Khattala organized the attack. However, it did not detain the suspect.

In October 2012, the National Congress fired recently elected prime minister Mustafa Abushagur, citing its disapproval with the government he assembled. Ali Zeidan, a career diplomat who served under Qaddafi before going into exile, was then elected prime minister. Zeidan prevailed over an Islamist candidate. The political upheaval further illustrated the weakness of the fledgling government.

The New York Times reported in December that the Obama administration privately approved to transfer of weapons from Qatar to Libyan rebels in 2011, but later expressed concern that the arms ended up in the hands of Islamic militants. The concern gained urgency as the civil war intensified in Syria and the Obama administration mulled arming rebels in that country.

The National Congress passed a broad law in May 2013 that bans from taking public office anyone who served in a senior position under Qaddafi between 1969 and 2011. As written, the law threatens the standing of several current elected officials, including congress chairman Mohammed Magarief and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Secular opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril is also vulnerable under the new law. Magarief resigned weeks after the law passed, and his deputy, Giuma Attaiga, became acting chairman of the General National Congress. In June Congress elected Nouri Abusahmen as chairman. An independent member of Parliament, Abusahmen is a Berber, a minority group that suffered discrimination under Qaddafi.

By September 2013, Libya had deteriorated economically and politically. Oil production dropped from about 1.6 million barrels per day before the civil war to 150,000, costing the country about $5 billion in revenue from exports. Strikes were mainly responsible for the reduction. Prime Minister Zeidan came under fire for failing to stem tribal fighting. In addition, the government lacked a reliable armed force, making Zeidan dependent on militias for security. These militias exploited the situation for their own gain. The country’s top cleric, Mufti al-Sadiq al-Ghiryani, called on Zeidan to resign.

U.S. commandoes captured Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a high-ranking al-Qaeda operative who is known as Abu Anas al-Libi, in Tripol in early October 2013. He was indicted in New York in 2000 for helping to plan the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. U.S. authorities had been pursuing Abu Anas for about 15 years. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “the Libyan government was aware of the operation.” However, Prime Minister Zeidan denied that he had any prior knowledge of the raid. Days after the abduction of Abu Anas, members of a militia that has served as a government security force kidnapped Zeidan, presumably in retaliation for allowing the U.S. operation. He was held for several hours before being released. The incident revealed the increasing fragility of the country.

In July 2013, the Cyrenaica Political Bureau, a militia led by Ibrahim Jathran, began a blockade of Libya’s major oil ports and demanded expanded autonomy for Cyrenaica, a province in eastern Libya, and a greater share in oil revenues. The government did little to end the blockade, despite the loss of oil revenuethe lifeblood of Libya’s economy. In March 2014, the group loaded a tanker with 234,000 barrels of crude oil (valued at about $30 million) to sell on the black market. Prime Minister Zeidan said the move was an act of piracy and threatened to blow up the ship. The militants, however, defied the threats and the tanker left the port. Parliament voted to dismiss Zeidan, citing his weakness and inability to control the militia. Abdullah al-Thinni was named interim prime minister. U.S. Navy SEALS raided the ship days later and captured three Libyans said by crew members to be hijackers. The ship was set to return to Libya. The raid was a major setback to Jathran’s militia.

In May, former general Khalifa Heftar organized a group of anti-Islamist nationalists, calling it the Libyan National Army, and led a campaign against a coalition of Islamic militias, Libya Dawn, in eastern Libya that he said had thrown Libya into disarray. Fighting continued for several weeks, and Heftar gained the support of the country’s military. Heftar served under Qaddafi but split from him in the 1980s. He also accused Prime Minister Maiteg of being under the sway of the Islamic militias.

Libya’s transitional Parliament elected Ahmed Maitiq, a prominent businessman from Misurata, as prime minister in May 2014. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the election was unconstitutional, and he resigned. Thinni remained in office as interim prime minister.

Parliamentary elections were held in late June 2014, and because the populace had largely lost confidence in government as militias continued to yield tremendous power, turnout and interest in the race were low. In light of the violence between rival militias in Tripoli, the new Parliament convened in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is controlled by Heftar. However, many of the Islamist MPs refused to attend. Members of the former Parliament, which is the preferred body of the Islamists, reconvened in Tripoli and on Aug. 25 appointed Omar al-Hassi as prime minister, further complicating the political landscape. Heftar’s government is recognized by the majority of the international community.

Violence between Libya Dawn and Heftar’s fighters intensified in Tripoli during the summer of 2014. In July, they battled for control of the city’s international airport, and the barrage of shelling threatened the U.S. embassy, forcing the U.S. to evacuate embassy staff. Most other nations also withdrew their embassy personnel. After a month of fighting, Libya Dawn won control of the airport, and Heftar’s troops fled Tripoli. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes on the Islamic militias in Tripoli several times in late August. Neither nation informed the U.S. about the attacks, and U.S. officials were reportedly irate that they were kept in the dark. The ongoing violence illustrated that any hope of stability in Libya was quickly fading, and the threat of civil war loomed. In early September, the government acknowledged that Libay Dawn controlled government ministries in Tripoli. By October, some 100,000 people fled the Tripoli area. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a surprise visit to Libya in October to try to broker peace between the groups. His efforts bore little fruit. The fighting escalated at end of 2014, with the government launching airstrikes on Misrata, which is under the control of Libya Dawn.

The instability was blamed for an influx of refugees into Italy from Libya. More than 5,300 Libyans arrived in Italy during the first six weeks of 2015, a 60% increase over 2014.

The rival militias agreed to a UN-brokered cease-fire in January 2015. The vaguely worded truce left ample room for interpretation and doubts that it would hold.

U.S. special operations troops captured Ahmed Abu Khattala in a secret raid in Benghazi on June 15, 2014. He is believed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate that killed four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. In July 2014, the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia charged Abu Khattala and several others with the felony counts of “killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving use of a firearm,” providing “material support to terrorists resulting in a death,” and possessing a firearm during a crime. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in July.

As Libya’s stability continued to deteriorate, at least three militant groups, one in each of Libya’s three regions, pledged allegiance to ISIS. In February 2015, a group of the militants aligned with ISIS beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who had been kidnapped from Sirte. Egypt responded by launching airstrikes on weapons depots in Derna, a militant stronghold in eastern Libya. In May, ISIS militants shot or beheaded at least 20 Ethiopian migrant workers, most of whom are believed to be Christian.

About 1,800 migrants fleeing countries in North Africa died in the Mediterranean Sea, many off the coast of Libya, during the summer of 2015. The migrants were hoping to reach Europe. European countries struggled to deal with the influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants during the crisis.

A court in Tripoli sentenced Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, a son of the former dictator, in absentia to death for his role in the violence against protesters during the 2011 uprising. Eight others, including former head of intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, received the same sentence. The sentence will not be carried out because the officials are being held by a militia in the town of Zintan. The militia has refused to release them into government custody.

See also Encyclopedia: Libya .U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Libya

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Libya: Week of chaos a reminder that the country’s still …

This has been much of Libya’s curse since the 2011 unseating of Moammar Gadhafi, but the past week has been a particularly ghastly episode. Militias holding parts of the capital, Tripoli — who are technically loyal to the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) — have been attacked by another armed group known as the 7th Brigade, from Tarhouna, to the capital’s southeast. All sides accuse the other of corruption, and maintain their grip will restore order.

Yet the opposite is obviously proving the case. Militias have been fighting or squabbling, often at a slow-burn rate, for control of parts of the city for years. The distant thump of explosions or intermittent gunfire is far from abnormal across the city’s skyline. But this uptick has led the GNA to denounce the fighting — among militias that are technically loyal to it — and declare a state of emergency.

Ongoing clashes have left at least 47 people dead and more than 140 wounded, a Libyan ambulance official told CNN. Prisoners broke out of a jail during the unrest on Sunday, with local media reporting 400 had escaped, although a GNA official claimed it was just dozens.

Yet this is a smaller part of the wider problem. Nationwide, Libya is split yet again. In the east, General Khalifa Haftar, who decades ago helped Gadhafi’s original coup, has consolidated control around the city of Benghazi. Another militia, the Misrata Brigades, dominate a port to Benghazi’s west.

There are further fiefdoms around the oil-rich nation — Libya has been reduced by the ongoing violence to an economic slump, and people queue for hours outside banks for the most basic of services.

To add to that, ISIS fighters — who gained substantial control around the town of Sirte and along Libya’s massive Mediterranean coastline until a 2015 offensive against them — remain a threat. Only last week, a US airstrike killed an ISIS militant near Bani Walid, the US military said.

In Tripoli, the GNA’s path has been far from straightforward. It first arrived as something of a UN and Western-backed implant, and found itself often restricted to its base in the port. It has since grown in power, and the Libya Dawn faction that formerly controlled much of the capital has stepped back. Yet some of Dawn’s loyalists are said to be assisting the 7th Brigade’s offensive. That old rivalry, too, persists.

If you have kept up, then you may understand the scale of the challenge ahead for UN negotiators as they seek calm, or even a short-term peace. None of this complexity softens the agony for Libya’s people, who have seen their oil-rich dictatorship flounder as the revolution brought the warring rule of the gun rather than a simple switch to elected leaders. Or the plight of the thousands of migrants, who risked all in Africa’s deserts to reach the coastline, but now languish in Libya’s jails.

Nor does it improve the confidence of European leaders who depend upon Libya’s government — and its coastguard — to stop the migrant trade across the Mediterranean.

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World Report 2018: Libya | Human Rights Watch

Political divisions and armed strife continued to plague Libya as two governments vied for legitimacy and control of the country, and United Nations efforts to unify the feuding parties flagged. The UN backs the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, in the west, but not the rival Interim Government based in the eastern cities of al-Bayda and Benghazi.

Clashes between militias and forces loyal to these governments decimated the economy and public services, including the public health system, law enforcement, and the judiciary, and caused the internal displacement of over 200,000 people.

Armed groups throughout the country, some of them affiliated with one or the other of the competing governments, executed persons extrajudicially, attacked civilians and civilian properties, abducted and disappeared people, and imposed sieges on civilians in the eastern cities of Derna and Benghazi.

The extremist armed group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) lost control of its Libya capital Sirte in December 2016. In January 2017, remaining ISIS forces in Benghazi fled the city. ISIS-affiliated fighters remained present in areas south of Sirte and Bani Walid.

Most of the more than 200,000 migrants and asylum seekers who reached Europe by sea in 2017 departed in boats from Libya. Migrants and asylum seekers who ended up in detention in Libya faced beatings, extortion, sexual violence, and forced labor in unofficial and quasi state-run detention centers, at the hands of guards, militias, and smugglers. Coast guard forces also beat migrants they intercepted at sea and forced them back to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Between January and November, 2,772 migrants died during perilous boat journeys in the central Mediterranean Sea, most having departed from the Libyan shore.

The GNA struggled to gain authority and control over territory and institutions. Between February and May, militias aligned with it overran positions in Tripoli held by militias that supported a third authority, the Government of National Salvation (GNS).

In the east, Libyan National Army forces (LNA), under the command of General Khalifa Hiftar and allied with the Interim Government, continued to expand control over territory in the east and south. Libyas legislative body, the House of Representatives, remained allied with the LNA and Interim Government, and failed to approve a slate of ministers for the GNA.

In March, the LNA ended its siege of nearly two years on the Benghazi neighborhood of Ganfouda, which fighters of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) had controlled. When LNA forces entered, they committed what appeared to be war crimes, killing civilians and summarily executing and desecrating the bodies of opposition fighters.

On May 18, forces aligned with the GNA, including the Third Force from Misrata, the Benghazi Defense Brigades, and other local units from the south, attacked an LNA airbase at Brak Al-Shati, in the south of the country, summarily executing as many as 51 individuals, most of them LNA fighters captured during the attack.

Clashes between pro- and anti-GNA militias for the control of Tripoli lasted between March and May. Hostilities left many injured and resulted in the deaths of scores of fighters, and some civilians before militias and security forces aligned with the GNA took control of the capital.

Several videos recorded between June 2016 and July 2017 emerged on social media seemingly implicating LNA fighters in summary executions and the desecration of bodies of captured enemy fighters in eastern Libya. On August 15, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Mahmoud al-Werfalli, an LNA commander implicated in these recordings. On August 18, the LNA announced they had arrested al-Werfalli for questioning. As of September, the LNA had not provided any update on the status of the alleged investigation against him.

On August 23, unidentified gunmen beheaded nine LNA fighters and two civilians in an attack on a LNA-controlled checkpoint in al-Jufra region. According to the LNA, ISIS carried out the attack.

In August, the LNA intensified a 14-month siege against the eastern city of Derna, which remained controlled by the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC), an alliance of armed groups that opposed Khalifa Hiftar and the LNA. Local council members, activists, and journalists reported on an impending humanitarian crisis in the city, where the LNA intermittently imposed strict measures that included cutting delivery of cooking gas, food items, and fuel.

On October 4, unidentified armed men including a suicide bomber, attacked a courthouse in Misrata where regular criminal proceedings were taking place, killing at least four and injuring several people. ISIS claimed it carried out the attack.

In October, unidentified forces conducted air strikes in Derna killing 16 civilians, including 12 children. There was no claim for responsibility.

Also in October, armed groups loyal to the LNA appear to have summarily executed 36 men in the LNA-controlled eastern town of al-Abyar.

The criminal justice system has all but collapsed since 2014. Civilian and military courts in the east and south remained mostly shut, while elsewhere they operated at reduced capacity.

Prison authorities, often only nominally under the authority of the ministries of interior, defense, and justice of the two rival governments, continued to hold thousands of detainees in long-term arbitrary detention without charges. Militias that operated their own informal and often-secret detention facilities also held detainees in similar circumstances.

According to the Tripoli-based Judicial Police, the body responsible for managing prisons under the GNA Justice Ministry, 6,400 detainees were held in prisons managed by it in the east, west, and south of the country, of whom only 25 percent had been sentenced for a crime. The rest were held in pre-charge or pretrial detention. The Defense and Interior Ministries of both governments in Libya held an unknown number of detainees, in addition to militia-run secret detention facilities.

Hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children and including non-Libyan nationals, remain held without charge in two prisons in Tripoli and Misrata and in a camp run by the Libyan Red Crescent in Misrata for their apparent link to alleged ISIS fighters, without prospect for release due to their uncertain citizenship status and lack of coordination with countries of origin.

On May 26, The Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, a militia allied with the GNA Interior Ministry, overran the al-Hadba Correctional Facility in Tripoli and transferred from there to another location in Tripoli Gaddafi-era officials detained there, including former intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi, former Prime Minister Abuzaid Dorda, and al-Saadi Gaddafi, a son of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The ICC prosecutor has a mandate to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed in Libya since February 15, 2011, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1970.

In April, the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant for Mohamed Khaled al-Tuhamy, a former chief of the Internal Security Agency under Gaddafi, for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 2011 uprising. His whereabouts were unknown at time of writing.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of Gaddafi, continued to be subject to an arrest warrant issued by the ICC to face charges of crimes against humanity. In 2015, the Tripoli Court of Assize sentenced Gaddafi to death in absentia for crimes committed during the 2011 uprising. The Abu Baker al-Siddiq militia in Zintan, which had held him since 2011, reported it released him on June 9, 2017, citing an amnesty law issued passed by Libyas parliament. His release could not be confirmed; independent international observers have not seen or heard from Gaddafi since June 2014.

The death penalty is stipulated in over 30 articles in Libyas penal code, including for acts of speech and association that are protected activities under international human rights law. Civil and military courts around the country have imposed the death penalty since the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011, often after trials marred by due process violations. An unknown number of people were sentenced to death by Libyan civil and military courts since 2011, yet no death sentences have been carried out since 2010.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated that 217,000 people were internally displaced in Libya as of September. According to the IOM, most displaced people originated from Benghazi, Sirte, Misrata, and Ubari.

Militias and authorities in Misrata continued to prevent 35,000 residents of Tawergha from returning to their homes, despite the announcement on June 19 by the GNA that it had ratified a UN-brokered agreement between them and Tawerghans to end their disputes and allow Tawerghans to return to their homes. Misrata representatives, who accused Tawerghans of having committed serious crimes as supporters of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 uprising that ousted him, demanded, as stipulated in the agreement, that the GNA establish a fund to compensate persons who had been detained and the families of victims who went missing or were killed, between February and August 2011. At time of writing, the GNA had yet to establish such a fund, and Misrata forces continued to block displaced families from returning to their homes in Tawergha.

According to the Benghazi municipal council based in exile in Tripoli, approximately 3,700 Benghazi families have been forcibly displaced since 2014 and have sought shelter in the western cities of Tripoli, Misrata, Khoms, and Zliten, after militias affiliated with the LNA threatened them, attacked, burnt or appropriated their homes, and accused them of being terrorists. Authorities in Misrata and Tripoli have detained a number of people displaced from Benghazi, often on dubious terrorism allegations. An additional 9,200 families from Benghazi were internally displaced in western Libya due to the conflict in the east.

Armed groups intimidated, threatened, and physically attacked activists, journalists, bloggers, and media professsionals.

Security forces affiliated with the LNA in Benghazi arrested AFP photographer Abdullah Doma twice within one weekon March 28 and April 2for a day each time. According to Domas family, the arrests were for his coverage of Earth Hour, a global event that took place on March 25 to raise awareness of climate change. Security forces also briefly arrested four of the organizers of the event, slamming it as offensive to Islam for allowing men and women to mix.

In August, members of militias and armed groups in both east and west Libya threatened in phone calls and on social media the contributors and editors of Sun on Closed Windows, a book of essays and fiction, accusing them of immoral content. Militias briefly arrested two participants in the book launch in the city of Zawiyah.

In November, a force affiliated with the GNA Interior Ministry, reportedly arrested participants of a comic book convention in Tripoli under the pretext that it breached the country’s “morals and modesty.”

Since 2011, militias and forces affiliated with several interim authorities, as well as ISIS fighters, have attacked religious minorities, including Sufis and Christians, and destroyed religious sites in Libya with impunity.

In July 2017, the Supreme Fatwa Committee under the General Authority for Endowments and Islamic Affairs, the religious authority of the Interim Government, issued a religious edict calling the minority Ibadi sect of Islam a misguided and aberrant group, and infidels without dignity. The Ibadi faith is practiced by many Amazighs, mostly in western Libya. Amazighs number between 300,000 and 400,000 of Libyas total population of 6.5 million. The GNA responded by condemning the religious edict.

In August, unidentified armed groups in Benghazi reportedly kidnapped or arrested 21 Sufi adherents, a minority Muslim group, at different times and different locations. As of September, none of the 21 had been released.

Libyan law does not specifically criminalize domestic violence. Personal status laws continue to discriminate against women, particularly with respect to marriage, divorce, and inheritance. The penal code allows for a reduced sentence for a man who kills or injures his wife or another female relative because he suspects her of extramarital sexual relations. It also allows rapists to escape prosecution if they marry their victim under article 424.

On February 16, Abdelrazeq al-Nadhouri, chief of staff of the LNA, issued an order requiring women who wished to travel abroad by land, air, or sea to be accompanied by a male guardian. Al-Nadhouri rescinded the order on February 23 after public pressure, and replaced it with another order requiring all men and women ages 18 to 45 to acquire clearance by relevant security agencies ahead of any international travel from east Libya.

The penal code prohibits all sexual acts outside marriage, including same-sex relations, and punishes them with up to five years in prison.

Militias linked with various government authorities in east and west of the country and criminal gangs kidnapped or forcibly disappeared scores of people for political gain, ransom, and extortion. Tripoli-based activist, Jabir Zain, remained missing after an armed group linked to the GNA Interior Ministery abducted him in Tripoli on September 25, 2016. Civil society activist Abdelmoez Banoon and Benghazi prosecutor Abdel-Nasser Al-Jeroushi, both abducted by unidentified groups in 2014, remained missing.

In August, an armed group affiliated with the GNA kidnapped former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan during a visit to Tripoli and released him nine days later.

Libya remained a major hub for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants on their way to Europe. As of November, the IOM recorded over 161,010 arrivals to Europe by sea since January, most of whom departed from Libya. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), at least 2,772 died or went missing while crossing the central Mediterranean route to Europe. As of November, the IOM reported that 348,372 migrants and asylum seekers were present in Libya.

Since 2014, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have filled a deadly gap in maritime rescue operations, patrolling in international waters close to the 12-nautical-mile line that marks Libyan territorial waters the area where over-crowded, unseaworthy boats are most likely to be in need.

Italy and the EU provided training and material support to Libyan coast guard forces to boost their capacity to intercept boats in territorial and international waters and return migrants and asylum seekers to Libyan territory, where many were exposed to physical abuse including beatings, sexual violence, extortion, abduction, harsh detention conditions, and forced labor.

In November, after revelations of alleged slave auctions, Rwanda offered to resettle 30,000 African slaves from Libya.

The Department for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM), which is part of the GNA-aligned Interior Ministry, managed the formal migrant detention centers, while smugglers and traffickers ran informal ones.

The United States announced in September 2016 that it had ended its military campaign against ISIS targets in Libya. In September 2017, the US conducted what it called precision airstrikes against purported ISIS targets south of Sirte. There were no reports of civilian casualties.

In June, the UN Security Council extended an arms embargo on Libya, effective since 2011, for another 12 months. On June 1, the UN Panel of Experts of the Libya Sanctions Committee, established pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1973 (2011), issued its report on human rights abuses, violations of the arms embargo, and misappropriation of funds.

In February, the UN Support Mission to Libya published a report on the 2014 and 2015 trial proceedings against 37 former members of the Gaddafi government who were accused of crimes during the 2011 uprising, concluding that proceedings violated both international fair trial norms and Libyan law.

Members of the European Council met in Malta in February, and pledged to train, equip, and support Libyan coast guard forces, and, together with UNHCR and the IOM, improve reception capacities and conditions for migrants in Libya. The EU pledged a total of 200 million for migration-related projects in Libya to support migrant detention centers and coast guard forces, despite evidence of abuse.

In July, the EU Council extended the mandate of its anti-smuggling naval operation in the central Mediterranean, Operation Sophia, until December 2018. Operation Sophias mandate is to disrupt migrant smugglers and human traffickers, including training Libyan Coastguard and Navy forces, and contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo in international waters off Libyas coast.

On July 25, Frances President Emmanuel Macron hosted a meeting between Libyan leaders Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and General Hiftar in a bid to break the stalemate between them. The meeting resulted in a declaration of principles, mainly to a conditional ceasefire, and plans for future elections.

In September, the EU renewed sanctions for six months against three Libyans seen as threatening the peace, security, and stability of Libya, and obstructive to the implementation of the LPA: Agila Saleh, president of the House of Representatives; Khalifa Ghweil, prime minister of the National Salvation Government; and Nuri Abu Sahmain, president of the self-declared General National Congress.

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World Report 2018: Libya | Human Rights Watch

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Libyas Economic Outlook- April 2017 – World Bank

The lengthy conflict is taking a heavy toll on the Libyan economy and the well-being of the population. Obstructed by the conflict, production of oil, the main source of income in Libya, has been steadily declining over the last 4 years to reach around 0.38 million barrel per day (bpd) in 2016, which is less than 1/4 of pre-revolution levels. As a result, the Libyan economy shrank by an estimated 2.5% in 2016, with estimated real GDP falling to less than half of its pre-revolution level.

The economic outlook assumes that a new functioning government is endorsed this year. In this context, the dynamics in the hydrocarbon sector triggered during the last quarter of 2016 is expected to continue, translating into higher production of oil, which is projected to progressively reach 1 million bpd by end-2017, still rep-resenting only two thirds of potential. On this basis, GDP is projected to increase by 40%. Although improving, the twin deficits will remain, as revenues from oil will not be sufficient to cover high budget expenditures and consumption-driven imports. This should keep the budget deficit at about 18.8% of GDP and the current account deficit at 15.3% of GDP in 2017.

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Flag of Libya – Wikipedia

The flag of Libya was originally introduced in 1951, following the creation of the Kingdom of Libya. It was designed by Omar Faiek Shennib and approved by King Idris Al Senussi who comprised the UN delegation representing the regions of Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania at UN unification discussions. The flag fell out of use in 1969, but was subsequently adopted by the National Transitional Council and anti-Gaddafi forces and effectively reinstated as the countrys national flag in article three of the Libyan Draft Constitutional Charter for the TransitionalStage issued on 3 August 2011.[1][2] The flag of the Kingdom of Libya was adopted when Libya gained full independence in 1951. It consisted of a white star and crescent on a triband red-black-green design, with the central black band being twice the width of the outer bands. The design was based on the banner of the Senussi dynasty from Cyrenaica, which consisted of a black field and star and crescent design, and was later used as the flag of the region. Omar Faiek Shennib, Chief of the Royal Diwans, Vice President of the National Assembly and Minister of Defense under King Idris Al Senussi is credited in the memoirs of Adrian Pelt, UN commissioner for Libya (1949 to 1951) for the design of the original flag of Libya.[citation needed]According to Pelt:”during deliberations of the Libyan National Constitutional Convention, a paper drawing of a proposed national flag was presented to the convention by Omar Faiek Shennib [distinguished member of the delegation from Cyrenaica]. The design was composed of three colors; red, black and green, with a white Crescent and Star centered in the middle black stripe. Mr. Shennib informed the delegates that this design had met the approval of His Highness Emir of Cyrenaica, King Idris Al Senussi [later to become King of Libya]. The assembly subsequently approved that design.”[3][yearneeded][pageneeded] This flag represented Libya from its independence in 1951 until the 1969 Libyan coup d’tat. The symbolism of the star and crescent in the flag of the Kingdom of Libya was explained in an English language booklet, The Libyan Flag & The National Anthem, issued by the Ministry of Information and Guidance of the Kingdom of Libya (year unknown) as follows: “The crescent is symbolic of the beginning of the lunar month according to the Muslim calendar. It brings back to our minds the story of Hijra [migration] of our Prophet Mohammed from his home in order to spread Islam and teach the principles of right and virtue. The Star represents our smiling hope, the beauty of aim and object and the light of our belief in God, in our country, its dignity and honour which illuminate our way and puts an end to darkness.”[4] In 2011, interviews with Ibtisam Shennib and Amal Omar Shennib, Omar Faeik Shennib’s only two remaining children, were cited as confirming Pelt’s account of the origin of the flag.[5] Ibtisam Shennib recalled the morning her father brought a draft of the flag to the breakfast table and showed it to her and her siblings, explaining the original intent behind the selection of the flag’s colours and symbols. According to Omar Faiek Shennib, “red was selected for the blood sacrificed for the freedom of Libya, black to remember the dark days that Libyans lived under the occupation of the Italians and green to represent its primary wealth, agriculture, [Libya once being referred to as the ‘agricultural basket’ or ‘breadbasket’ of the Ottoman Empire] and the future prosperity of the country. The star and crescent were placed within the black central strip of the flag as a reference to the Senussi flag and the role of King Idris in leading the country to independence”.[3] During the Libyan Civil War against the rule of Muammar Gaddafi, the 195169 flag as well as various makeshift versions without the crescent and star symbol, or without the green stripe came back into use in areas held by the Libyan opposition and by protesters at several Libyan diplomatic missions abroad.[6][7][8]The National Transitional Council, formed on 27 February 2011, adopted the flag previously used in the Kingdom of Libya between 1951 and 1969 as the “emblem of the Libyan Republic”.[9][10] The flag was officially defined in article three of the Libyan Draft Constitutional Charter for the TransitionalStage: The national flag shall have the following shape and dimensions: Its length shall be double its width, its shall be divided into three parallel coloured stripes, the uppermost being red, the centre black and lowest green, the black stripe shall be equal in area to the other two stripes together and shall bear in its centre a white crescent, between the two extremities of which there shall be a fivepointed white star. On 10 March 2011, France was the first country to recognise the council as the official government of Libya, as well as the first to allow the Libyan embassy staff to raise the flag.[11] On 21 March, the flag was flown by the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations and appeared on their official website,[12][13] and thereafter in late August by the Arab League[14] and by Libya’s own telecommunications authority,[15] the Libya Telecom & Technology, on its own website. In the following months many other Libyan embassies replaced the green flag of Gaddafi with the tricolour flag. This original flag of Libya is now the only flag used by the United Nations to represent Libya, according to the following UN statement: “Following the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 66/1, the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations formally notified the United Nations of a Declaration by the National Transitional Council of 3 August 2011 changing the official name of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to ‘Libya’ as well as a decision to change Libya’s national flag to the original.”[16] All Libyan diplomatic posts, such as embassies and consulates, use the original flag of Libya. The flag of Libya is described in Article 7 of the Constitution of 7 October 1951. It was officially adopted on 24 December 1951. The passage from the constitution reads: Chapter 1, Article 7: The national flag shall have the following dimensions: Its length shall be twice its breadth, it shall be divided into three parallel coloured stripes, the uppermost being red, the centre black and the lowest green, the black stripe shall be equal in area to the two other stripes combined and shall bear in its centre a white crescent, between the two extremities of which there shall be a five-pointed white star. Both the precise shade and legal construction is described in a booklet issued by the Ministry of Information and Guidance of the Kingdom of Libya in 1951.[17] The passage reads: The exact particulars of the Libyan National Flag prescribed by Article 7 of the Constitution shall be as follows: The red shall be sign red, and the green permanent green. The Crescent shall be on the hoistward side of the star, and the centre of the circle of which the crescent forms a part shall be in the centre of the flag. The star shall be in the open end of the crescent and one point of the star shall point to the centre of the circle. The maximum width of the 270 crescent shall equal 16 of its outside diameter which is 14 of the width of the flag. The distance between the tips of the crescent shall equal that between the uppermost and lowermost point of the star measured along a perpendicular forming the hoistward sides of these two points. The perpendicular shall form a tangent to the outside circumference of the crescent at a point equidistant from the top and bottom of the flag. The name “Libya” was introduced during colonisation by Italy in 1934.Before 1911, the Ottoman vilayet of Tripolitania (the “kingdom of Tripoli”) included much of the same territory as modern Libya. The short-lived Tripolitanian Republic in western Libya had its own flag, which had a light blue field and a green palm tree in the center, with a white star on top of it.[18] It was unilaterally declared in 1918 and claimed sovereignty over the entire former vilayet, but never had full de facto governance. From 1934 to 1943, Libya was an Italian colony and adopted the flag of the Kingdom of Italy. The areas of Libya under British military administration (Cyrenaica 19421949 and Tripolitania 19431951) did not have their own flag and thus, used the Union flag of the United Kingdom. During the French Administration of the former Southern Military Territory, Fezzan-Ghadames had a red flag with a crescent and star, very similar to the flag of Turkey. During World War II, Italian Libya was occupied by France and the United Kingdom. The Cyrenaica Emirate was declared in British-occupied Cyrenaica in 1949 with the backing of the British authorities. The “Emir of Cyrenaica”, Idris of Libya, kept the emirate’s flag which derives from flag of Turkey (a white crescent and star on a black background) as his personal flag after he became king of Libya in 1951. Following the coup d’tat of 1969, the flag was replaced by the Pan-Arab red-white-black tricolour of the Arab Liberation Flag, first flown after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 (which also formed the basis of the flags of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen). In 1972 when Libya joined the Federation of Arab Republics its flag was adopted by the country, linking it to Egypt and Syria. It featured a golden hawk (the “Hawk of Qureish”), holding a scroll with the Arabic name of the Federation.[19] The flag of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was adopted on 11 November 1977 and consisted of a green field. It was the only national flag in the world with just one colour and no design, insignia, or other details.[20] It was chosen by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to symbolise his political philosophy (after his Green Book).[21] The green colour traditionally symbolises Islam, reflecting the historical green banners of the Fatimid Caliphate. In Libya, green was also a colour traditionally used to represent the Tripolitania region. British Military Administration (19421951) Kingdom of Libya (19511969) Libyan Arab Republic (19691972) Federation of Arab Republics (19721977) Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (19772011) State of Libya (2011present)

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November 6, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya Home – World Bank

The cost of the political conflict has taken a severe toll on the Libyan economy, which has remained in recession for the third consecutive year in 2015. Political strife, weak security conditions, and blockaded oil infrastructures continue to constrain the supply side of the economy. Production of crude oil fell to around 0.4 million barrels per day (bpd) or the fourth of potential. The non-hydrocarb…

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November 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya Overview – World Bank

Improved political and security arrangements reached during the second half of 2017 allowed Libya to more than double its production of oil and to register record growth last year (up 26.7 percent) after four years of recession. But this dynamic has not been sustained over the first half of 2018. In fact, oil production stagnated around 1 million barrels per day (bpd) over the first 5 months before abruptly dropping to only 0.7 million bpd in June following the attack and temporary control of the oil fields and terminals in the East by militias who badly damaged oil infrastructure and oil reservoirs. Assuming the authorities can fix the damaged oil infrastructure over the second half of the year, it is expected that GDP will grow at 7.2 percent in 2018, driven on the supply side by higher oil output that could recover to around 1 million bpd by end 2018, and on the demand side by higher government expenditures and investment. Although declining, inflation remains high reflecting market disruptions due to supply shortages of goods and services along with still very active parallel currency exchange market. The consumer price index increased by 17.6 percent over the first 4 months of 2018 (vs. 26.9 percent, the same period last year). Thanks to the relative improvement of the exchange rate in the parallel market induced by increased supply of foreign currency through the official rate, inflation is expected to slow to around 15 percent for the whole year 2018. But the cumulative inflation over the last four years has adversely affected Libyan households who lost almost 80 percent of their purchasing power. This has almost certainly pushed more Libyans into poverty and hardship and worsened inequality. Public finances are expected to improve slightly but the inflexibility of current expenditures and volatile oil revenues keep the overall fiscal stance under severe stress. Oil revenues are expected to significantly improve this year (47 percent of GDP), yet they will barely suffice to cover the high and increasing wage bill, which will hit 48 percent of GDP. The rising wage bill reflects both salary increases and additional hiring, which in turn are linked to pressure on the public payroll as a stabilizing instrument in a context of multi-factional conflict. Subsidies will remain high (10.6 percent of GDP) given the complex political economy that delays the needed reform of the system in a context of resource competition. The budget deficit, while slightly improving, will remain high at around 26 percent of GDP in 2018 (34.5 percent of GDP in 2017). The deficit is expected to be financed through cash advances from the Tripoli Central Bank and issuing government bonds in the East. Although there is no systematic study on poverty and very little evidence on the current well-being of Libyan households, conditions are inimical to poverty reduction. The sharp decline in oil exports starting in 2011 has severely impacted public services. Worsening conditions also contribute to the erratic power supply and the recurrent food shortages. The parallel currency premium is already reflected in the prices of many products, including essential food and medicine. In contrast, vast rents created by access to dollars at the official rate and to petroleum products at official prices are contributing to inequality and incentives for conflict, while the associated economic distortions spill over to Tunisia. Improvement of the economic outlook depends crucially on the endorsement by the House of Representatives of the Government of National Accord (GNA) formed under the auspices of the UN. The economic and social outlook assumes that the GNA is eventually empowered to restore security and launch a comprehensive program to rebuild the economic and social infrastructures. In this context, GDP is projected to increase strongly in 2018-2019. However, the twin deficits will prevail as oil revenues will not be sufficient to cover the high budget expenditures and consumption-driven imports. Over the medium term, as oil production returns to full capacity, growth is projected to rebound at two digit growth rates in 2018 and 2019. Libya Public Finance Figure 1 below provides a snapshot ofLibyas public financeswith projections through 2021. During the 2010-2013 period, the executed budget did not typically exceed the overall amount authorized by parliament, but its composition substantially differed from that of the approved budget. The overall rate of budget execution was around 80 percent in 2010 and 2012 and was about 93 percent in 2013. There has been no approved (official) budget over the past several years (2014-2018). The GNA has recently approved a unified national budget, however the HOR has failed to adopt/approve this budget legislation. Of note, over the past several years, development spending (capital investment) in Libya has virtually collapsed, comprising an estimated 1o% of total government spending in FY2018, down from a budgeted 52% of total budget spending in FY2012. FIGURE 1 Libya Public finances, in % of GDP Immediate challenges with respect to fiscal planning include how to manage fiscal spending pressures while restoring and improving basic public services. A longer term goal is to help develop the framework and institutions for a more diversified market-based economy, broadening the economic base beyond the oil and gas sector. Although the Banks post-conflict engagement was initially expected to accompany only Libyas short term economic recovery efforts, the transition program will lay the foundation for longer term goals. This includes creating a more vibrant and competitive economy with a level playing field for the private sector to create sustainable jobs and wealth. It also includes transforming the management of oil revenues to ensure they are used in the best interests of the country and to the benefit of all citizens equally. This will also ensure that citizens have a role in defining and voicing their communities best interests. Last Updated:Oct 01, 2018

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November 1, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya Research – World Bank

Thank you for agreeing to provide feedback on the new version of worldbank.org; your response will help us to improve our website. What was the purpose of your visit to worldbank.org today? Did the layout and navigation of the new site help you locate what you were looking for? Yes No Do you have any other feedback on the new version of our website? (Optional) If you are willing to be contacted in the future to help us improve our website, please leave your email address below. Which of the following best describes your career field or organization? Student Academic/Professor Government Employee Media Organization Multilateral Organization NGO or Nonprofit Private Sector Firm World Bank Group Other How often do you visit the World Bank website? This is my first time Daily About once a week About once a month Every six months or less often

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October 31, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Doing Business in Libya – World Bank Group

Note: If the duration and frequency of outages is 100 or less, the economy is eligible to score on the Reliability of supply and transparency of tariff index. If the duration and frequency of outages is not available, or is over 100, the economy is not eligible to score on the index. If the minimum outage time considered for SAIDI/SAIFI is over 5 minutes, the economy is not eligible to score on the index.

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October 31, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Geography,Government,History,Libya – InfoPlease

Geography Libya stretches along the northeast coast of Africa between Tunisia and Algeria on the west and Egypt on the east; to the south are the Sudan, Chad, and Niger. It is one-sixth larger than Alaska. Much of the country lies within the Sahara. Along the Mediterranean coast and farther inland is arable plateau land. Military dictatorship. The first inhabitants of Libya were Berber tribes. In the 7th century B.C., Phoenicians colonized the eastern section of Libya, called Cyrenaica, and Greeks colonized the western portion, called Tripolitania. Tripolitania was for a time under Carthaginian control. It became part of the Roman Empire from 46 B.C. to A.D. 436, after which it was sacked by the Vandals. Cyrenaica belonged to the Roman Empire from the 1st century B.C. until its decline, after which it was invaded by Arab forces in 642. Beginning in the 16th century, both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica nominally became part of the Ottoman Empire. Tripolitania was one of the outposts for the Barbary pirates who raided Mediterranean merchant ships or required them to pay tribute. In 1801, the pasha of Tripoli raised the price of tribute, which led to the Tripolitan war with the United States. When the peace treaty was signed on June 4, 1805, U.S. ships no longer had to pay tribute to Tripoli. Following the outbreak of hostilities between Italy and Turkey in 1911, Italian troops occupied Tripoli. Libyans continued to fight the Italians until 1914, by which time Italy controlled most of the land. Italy formally united Tripolitania and Cyrenaica in 1934 as the colony of Libya. Libya was the scene of much desert fighting during World War II. After the fall of Tripoli on Jan. 23, 1943, it came under Allied administration. In 1949, the UN voted that Libya should become independent, and in 1951 it became the United Kingdom of Libya. Oil was discovered in the impoverished country in 1958 and eventually transformed its economy. On Sept. 1, 1969, 27-year-old Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi deposed the king and revolutionized the country, making it a pro-Arabic, anti-Western, Islamic republic with socialist leanings. It was also rabidly anti-Israeli. A notorious firebrand, Qaddafi aligned himself with dictators, such as Uganda’s Idi Amin, and fostered anti-Western terrorism. On Aug. 19, 1981, two U.S. Navy F-14s shot down two Soviet-made SU-22s of the Libyan air force that had attacked them in air space above the Gulf of Sidra. On March 24, 1986, U.S. and Libyan forces skirmished in the Gulf of Sidra, and two Libyan patrol boats were sunk. Qaddafi’s troops also supported rebels in Chad but suffered major military reverses in 1987. A two-year-old U.S. covert policy to destabilize the Libyan government ended in failure in Dec. 1990. On Dec. 21, 1988, a Boeing 747 exploded in flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, the result of a terrorist bomb, killing all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground. This and other acts of terrorism, including the bombing of a Berlin discotheque in 1986 and the downing of a French UTA airliner in 1989 that killed 170, turned Libya into a pariah in the eyes of the West. Two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted in the Lockerbie bombing, but Qaddafi refused to hand them over, leading to UN-approved trade and air traffic embargoes in 1992. In 1999, Libya finally surrendered the two men, who were tried in the Netherlands in 20002001. One was found guilty of mass murder; the other defendant was found innocent. Libya had hoped its fainthearted cooperation would lead to suspended sanctions, which had severely affected the Libyan economy. The UN did suspend its sanctions, but they were not formally removed for another four years, not until Sept. 2003, when Libya finally admitted its guilt in the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the victims’ families. In 2004, Libya also agreed to compensate the families of the victims of the UTA airliner bombing ($170 million) and the Berlin disco bombing ($35 million). After months of secret talks with the U.S. and Britain, Qaddafi surprised the world in Dec. 2003 by announcing he would give up the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and submit to full UN weapons inspections. After inspections at four secret sites, the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that Libya’s progress on a nuclear bomb had been in the very nascent stages. In May 2006, the U.S. announced it would restore full diplomatic relations with Libya after a 25-year hiatus. In Dec. 2006, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor working in Libya were sentenced to death after being convicted of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with AIDS. The evidence used to convict the medical workers is considered highly specious, and many believe that Libya is attempting to deflect the blame for the 1998 outbreak of AIDS in a Libyan hospital. In July 2007, Libya’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentences. Days later, however, the country’s High Judicial Council commuted the sentences. On the same day as the commutations, the government agreed to pay $1 million to the families of each of the 460 victims. Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, was freed from prison on compassionate grounds by Scotland in August 2009. (He is suffering from terminal prostate cancer.) His return to a hero’s welcome provoked outrage from victims’ families, and the White House opposed this decision, stating that Megrahi should finish his sentence in Scotland. Anti-government demonstrations gripped several countries in the Middle East in early 2011, and protests in Libya followed those in Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain. The crackdown by the government in Libya, however, was the most vicious. The protesters took to the streets on Feb. 16 in Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city, demanding that Qaddafi step down. The next day, declared the Day of Rage, saw the number of demonstrations burgeon throughout the country. Security forces began firing on protesters, and by Feb. 20 Human Rights Watch estimated that as many as 200 people had been killed by troops. Several government officials and diplomats defected, and members of the military joined the ranks of the opposition as the government attacks on civilians grew increasingly brutal. Some reports had fatalities numbering near 1,000 or more. Qaddafi refused to resign, but offered to double the salaries of public workers and freed some Islamic militants from jail. Protesters dismissed the move as a hollow gesture and continued their actions throughout the country. Qaddafi enlisted the help of mercenaries as the number of defections by troops swelled. He cast blame for the uprising on the West, which he claimed wants to assume control of Libya’s oil, and Islamic radicals who want to expand their base. On Feb. 27, the UN Security Council voted to impose sanctions on Qaddafi and several of his close advisers. The sanctions included an arms embargo on Libya, a travel ban on Qaddafi and other leaders, and the freezing of Qaddafi’s assets. The Security Council also requested that the International Criminal Court investigate reports of “widespread and systemic attacks” on citizens. The UN sanctions followed unilateral action by the U.S., and the European Union also sanctioned Libya. By Feb. 28, rebels had taken control of Benghazi and Misurata and were closing in on Tripoli. The rebels organized a military and formed an executive committee, the Transitional National Council, illustrating that they could establish a transitional government if given the opportunity. The Libyan Air Force and security forces, however, attacked the rebels from both the air and the ground, weakening the rebellion and wresting control of rebel-held towns, including Zawiya and Zuwara, cities west of Tripoli, and Ajdabiya in the east. The rebels fought on, clinging to the rebel strongholdand capitalof Benghazi, but Qaddafi’s forces continued their march toward the city, attacking from both the ground and the air. The rebels, outnumbered, poorly armed, and inexperienced, seemed on the brink of defeat. As the assault on rebel areas by Qaddafi’s troops intensified, the Arab League turned to the international community for assistance. On March 17, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that authorized military action against Libya, including air strikes, missile attacks, and a no-fly zone, and two days later, Britain and France led a military action against Libya, launching attacks from the air and sea on Libya’s air defenses. The U.S. participated in the action, but did not initiate it. Qaddafi railed against the intervention, calling it “a colonial crusader aggression that may ignite another large-scale crusader war.” By March 21, the mission to implement a no-fly zone over Libya and cripple its air defenses was considered a success. In early April, two of Qaddafi’s sons, Seif and Saadi, put forth a proposal in which their father would step down and allow the country to transition toward a constitutional democracy. The move would be managed by Seif. The rebels rejected the offer, and Qaddafi never fully endorsed the plan. NATO took over control of the air strikes, which continued for weeks, and by May the rebels gained ground and momentum in cities in both the east and west of the country. Qaddafi refused to participate in talks mediated by South African president Jacob Zuma. In June, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Qaddafi, his son, Saif al-Islam, and his intelligence chief, Abdulla al-Senussi. They were charged crimes against humanity for the attacks on civilians in the first two weeks of the revolt. In July, the U.S. and 30 other countries officially recognized the Transitional National Council (TNC) as Libya’s government and gave the council access to the $30 billion in Libyan assests that had been frozen by the U.S. Later in the month, the council’s military leader, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, was killed by fellow rebel soldiers. Younes, a former interior minister under Qaddafi, never gained the trust of the rebel movement and some questioned his loyalty. In August 2011, rebel fighters opposing Qaddafi made progress on several fronts. They seized Zawiyah and gained control of the city’s oil refinery. Zawiyah, a port city just 31 miles west of Tripoli, was a key gain. Rebel forces soon advanced into Tripoli and foreigners tried to flee the city. On August 21, with the rebels meeting little resistance from loyalists, residents in Tripoli took to the streets to celebrate the end of Qaddafi’s 42 years in power. Two days later, rebels seized Qaddafi’s compound. Qaddafi and his family fled and remained at large. Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the TNC and Qaddafi’s former justice minister, became the country’s leader and the rebels began transferring their administration from Benghazi to Tripoli. Rebels continued to make gains in loyalist strongholds throughout the country into the fall. By October, they had advanced on Surt, Qaddafi’s hometown, and captured Bani Walid. The fight for Surt proved to be more challenging for the rebels, with loyalist forces fiercely committed to maintaining control of the city. Both sides suffered significant casualties. On October 20, 2011, the interim government of Libya announced that Qaddafi had been killed by rebel troops in Surt. Initial reports were unclear on the cause of death. With Qaddafi dead, the interim government could turn its attention to rebuilding the country and setting the stage for elections. The role and influence of Islamists in government and day-to-day life were unknowns for the future of Libya. During the turmoil in Libya, the Islamists became a powerful force in the country. At the very least, they are poised to form a political party, and Islamist leaders signaled that they would participate in the democratic process. In addition, it remained unclear how the many rivalaries in the countryIslamists vs secularist, geographic, inter-tribe, and between the educated elite and tribal populationwill affect the political climate in the country. At the same time, there was growing concern about the increased activity of militant groups. At the end of October 2011, the Transitional National Council elected Abdurrahim al-Keeb, an engineer and opponent of Qaddafi, as interim prime minister. In July 2012, Libyans voted in its first national election since Col. Muammar Qaddafi was ousted. The National Forces Alliance, a secular party led by Mahmoud Jibril, a Western-educated political scientist, prevailed over Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in the election to form a national congress. The win by the National Forces Alliance is a sign that Libya, unlike Egypt and Tunisia, is not trending toward Islamist rule. Turnout was over 60%, and international observers declared the election largely fair, despite reports of election-related violence. In August, the Transitional National Council handed power to the newly elected General National Congress, a 200-seat body. Mohammed Magarief, a longtime opposition leader and head of the National Front Party, was elected chairman of the Congress and thus Libya’s head of state. In September, Mustafa Abu Shagur, deputy prime minister, prevailed over Jibril in the second round of voting by the Congress to become prime minister. On Sept. 11, 2012, militants armed with anti-aircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades fired on the American consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other embassy officials. Stevens was a widely praised diplomat and an advocate for the opposition in Libya, and had helped the new government in its transition to power. He was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979. The attack coincided with protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo over the release of a crude YouTube film, Innocence of Muslims, that insulted the Prophet Muhammad and criticized Islam. U.S. officials initially said the attack was also in response to the video, but later said they believed that the militant group Ansar al-Shariah orchestrated the attack. The Obama administration was criticized for the lack of security at the consulate that left diplomats vulnerable and for not immediately acknowledging it was a premeditated terrorist attack. During the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign, Republican nominee Mitt Romney repeatedly accused Obama of releasing misleading statements to downplay the role terrorists played in the attack. Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, was also drawn into the controversy. After the presidential election Republicans in the U.S. Senate threatened to derail her potential nomination as secretary of state because, they claimed, in the days following the attack Rice said it was a spontaneous reaction to the release of Innocence of Muslims, rather than a terrorist attack. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, defended Rice, saying she was relaying the notes she received from the CIA. However, Rice withdrew herself for consideration in December. Clinton appointed an independent panel to investigate the attack, and in its highly critical report, the panel said the U.S. State Department failed to provide adequate security at the American Embassy in Tripoli and the consulate in Benghazi, overly relied on local militias for security, and did not fulfill requests for safety improvements at the compounds. It also cited “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels.” The report listed 29 recommended actions and improvements, and Clinton said she would act on all of them. Several State Department officials resigned after the release of the report. The Libyan government condemned the attack and vowed to track down the perpetrators, though it proved too weak and ineffectual to do so. Indeed, the attack proved how little control the government has over the country’s disparate militias, which act as the country’s police yet operate independently of each other and the government. Ten days after the attack, several thousand Libyan citizens descended upon several militia headquarters and demanded that the government break up the groups. President Mohamed Magariaf rejected the demandan acknowledgement of the important role the militias play in the country’s security. In mid-October the Libyan government said Ansar al-Sharia leader Ahmed Abu Khattala organized the attack. However, it did not detain the suspect. In October 2012, the National Congress fired recently elected prime minister Mustafa Abushagur, citing its disapproval with the government he assembled. Ali Zeidan, a career diplomat who served under Qaddafi before going into exile, was then elected prime minister. Zeidan prevailed over an Islamist candidate. The political upheaval further illustrated the weakness of the fledgling government. The New York Times reported in December that the Obama administration privately approved to transfer of weapons from Qatar to Libyan rebels in 2011, but later expressed concern that the arms ended up in the hands of Islamic militants. The concern gained urgency as the civil war intensified in Syria and the Obama administration mulled arming rebels in that country. The National Congress passed a broad law in May 2013 that bans from taking public office anyone who served in a senior position under Qaddafi between 1969 and 2011. As written, the law threatens the standing of several current elected officials, including congress chairman Mohammed Magarief and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Secular opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril is also vulnerable under the new law. Magarief resigned weeks after the law passed, and his deputy, Giuma Attaiga, became acting chairman of the General National Congress. In June Congress elected Nouri Abusahmen as chairman. An independent member of Parliament, Abusahmen is a Berber, a minority group that suffered discrimination under Qaddafi. By September 2013, Libya had deteriorated economically and politically. Oil production dropped from about 1.6 million barrels per day before the civil war to 150,000, costing the country about $5 billion in revenue from exports. Strikes were mainly responsible for the reduction. Prime Minister Zeidan came under fire for failing to stem tribal fighting. In addition, the government lacked a reliable armed force, making Zeidan dependent on militias for security. These militias exploited the situation for their own gain. The country’s top cleric, Mufti al-Sadiq al-Ghiryani, called on Zeidan to resign. U.S. commandoes captured Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a high-ranking al-Qaeda operative who is known as Abu Anas al-Libi, in Tripol in early October 2013. He was indicted in New York in 2000 for helping to plan the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. U.S. authorities had been pursuing Abu Anas for about 15 years. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “the Libyan government was aware of the operation.” However, Prime Minister Zeidan denied that he had any prior knowledge of the raid. Days after the abduction of Abu Anas, members of a militia that has served as a government security force kidnapped Zeidan, presumably in retaliation for allowing the U.S. operation. He was held for several hours before being released. The incident revealed the increasing fragility of the country. In July 2013, the Cyrenaica Political Bureau, a militia led by Ibrahim Jathran, began a blockade of Libya’s major oil ports and demanded expanded autonomy for Cyrenaica, a province in eastern Libya, and a greater share in oil revenues. The government did little to end the blockade, despite the loss of oil revenuethe lifeblood of Libya’s economy. In March 2014, the group loaded a tanker with 234,000 barrels of crude oil (valued at about $30 million) to sell on the black market. Prime Minister Zeidan said the move was an act of piracy and threatened to blow up the ship. The militants, however, defied the threats and the tanker left the port. Parliament voted to dismiss Zeidan, citing his weakness and inability to control the militia. Abdullah al-Thinni was named interim prime minister. U.S. Navy SEALS raided the ship days later and captured three Libyans said by crew members to be hijackers. The ship was set to return to Libya. The raid was a major setback to Jathran’s militia. In May, former general Khalifa Heftar organized a group of anti-Islamist nationalists, calling it the Libyan National Army, and led a campaign against a coalition of Islamic militias, Libya Dawn, in eastern Libya that he said had thrown Libya into disarray. Fighting continued for several weeks, and Heftar gained the support of the country’s military. Heftar served under Qaddafi but split from him in the 1980s. He also accused Prime Minister Maiteg of being under the sway of the Islamic militias. Libya’s transitional Parliament elected Ahmed Maitiq, a prominent businessman from Misurata, as prime minister in May 2014. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the election was unconstitutional, and he resigned. Thinni remained in office as interim prime minister. Parliamentary elections were held in late June 2014, and because the populace had largely lost confidence in government as militias continued to yield tremendous power, turnout and interest in the race were low. In light of the violence between rival militias in Tripoli, the new Parliament convened in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is controlled by Heftar. However, many of the Islamist MPs refused to attend. Members of the former Parliament, which is the preferred body of the Islamists, reconvened in Tripoli and on Aug. 25 appointed Omar al-Hassi as prime minister, further complicating the political landscape. Heftar’s government is recognized by the majority of the international community. Violence between Libya Dawn and Heftar’s fighters intensified in Tripoli during the summer of 2014. In July, they battled for control of the city’s international airport, and the barrage of shelling threatened the U.S. embassy, forcing the U.S. to evacuate embassy staff. Most other nations also withdrew their embassy personnel. After a month of fighting, Libya Dawn won control of the airport, and Heftar’s troops fled Tripoli. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes on the Islamic militias in Tripoli several times in late August. Neither nation informed the U.S. about the attacks, and U.S. officials were reportedly irate that they were kept in the dark. The ongoing violence illustrated that any hope of stability in Libya was quickly fading, and the threat of civil war loomed. In early September, the government acknowledged that Libay Dawn controlled government ministries in Tripoli. By October, some 100,000 people fled the Tripoli area. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a surprise visit to Libya in October to try to broker peace between the groups. His efforts bore little fruit. The fighting escalated at end of 2014, with the government launching airstrikes on Misrata, which is under the control of Libya Dawn. The instability was blamed for an influx of refugees into Italy from Libya. More than 5,300 Libyans arrived in Italy during the first six weeks of 2015, a 60% increase over 2014. The rival militias agreed to a UN-brokered cease-fire in January 2015. The vaguely worded truce left ample room for interpretation and doubts that it would hold. U.S. special operations troops captured Ahmed Abu Khattala in a secret raid in Benghazi on June 15, 2014. He is believed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate that killed four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. In July 2014, the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia charged Abu Khattala and several others with the felony counts of “killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving use of a firearm,” providing “material support to terrorists resulting in a death,” and possessing a firearm during a crime. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in July. As Libya’s stability continued to deteriorate, at least three militant groups, one in each of Libya’s three regions, pledged allegiance to ISIS. In February 2015, a group of the militants aligned with ISIS beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who had been kidnapped from Sirte. Egypt responded by launching airstrikes on weapons depots in Derna, a militant stronghold in eastern Libya. In May, ISIS militants shot or beheaded at least 20 Ethiopian migrant workers, most of whom are believed to be Christian. About 1,800 migrants fleeing countries in North Africa died in the Mediterranean Sea, many off the coast of Libya, during the summer of 2015. The migrants were hoping to reach Europe. European countries struggled to deal with the influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants during the crisis. A court in Tripoli sentenced Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, a son of the former dictator, in absentia to death for his role in the violence against protesters during the 2011 uprising. Eight others, including former head of intelligence, Abdullah al-Senussi, received the same sentence. The sentence will not be carried out because the officials are being held by a militia in the town of Zintan. The militia has refused to release them into government custody. See also Encyclopedia: Libya .U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Libya

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October 24, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya: Week of chaos a reminder that the country’s still …

This has been much of Libya’s curse since the 2011 unseating of Moammar Gadhafi, but the past week has been a particularly ghastly episode. Militias holding parts of the capital, Tripoli — who are technically loyal to the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) — have been attacked by another armed group known as the 7th Brigade, from Tarhouna, to the capital’s southeast. All sides accuse the other of corruption, and maintain their grip will restore order. Yet the opposite is obviously proving the case. Militias have been fighting or squabbling, often at a slow-burn rate, for control of parts of the city for years. The distant thump of explosions or intermittent gunfire is far from abnormal across the city’s skyline. But this uptick has led the GNA to denounce the fighting — among militias that are technically loyal to it — and declare a state of emergency. Ongoing clashes have left at least 47 people dead and more than 140 wounded, a Libyan ambulance official told CNN. Prisoners broke out of a jail during the unrest on Sunday, with local media reporting 400 had escaped, although a GNA official claimed it was just dozens. Yet this is a smaller part of the wider problem. Nationwide, Libya is split yet again. In the east, General Khalifa Haftar, who decades ago helped Gadhafi’s original coup, has consolidated control around the city of Benghazi. Another militia, the Misrata Brigades, dominate a port to Benghazi’s west. There are further fiefdoms around the oil-rich nation — Libya has been reduced by the ongoing violence to an economic slump, and people queue for hours outside banks for the most basic of services. To add to that, ISIS fighters — who gained substantial control around the town of Sirte and along Libya’s massive Mediterranean coastline until a 2015 offensive against them — remain a threat. Only last week, a US airstrike killed an ISIS militant near Bani Walid, the US military said. In Tripoli, the GNA’s path has been far from straightforward. It first arrived as something of a UN and Western-backed implant, and found itself often restricted to its base in the port. It has since grown in power, and the Libya Dawn faction that formerly controlled much of the capital has stepped back. Yet some of Dawn’s loyalists are said to be assisting the 7th Brigade’s offensive. That old rivalry, too, persists. If you have kept up, then you may understand the scale of the challenge ahead for UN negotiators as they seek calm, or even a short-term peace. None of this complexity softens the agony for Libya’s people, who have seen their oil-rich dictatorship flounder as the revolution brought the warring rule of the gun rather than a simple switch to elected leaders. Or the plight of the thousands of migrants, who risked all in Africa’s deserts to reach the coastline, but now languish in Libya’s jails. Nor does it improve the confidence of European leaders who depend upon Libya’s government — and its coastguard — to stop the migrant trade across the Mediterranean.

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October 3, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

World Report 2018: Libya | Human Rights Watch

Political divisions and armed strife continued to plague Libya as two governments vied for legitimacy and control of the country, and United Nations efforts to unify the feuding parties flagged. The UN backs the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, in the west, but not the rival Interim Government based in the eastern cities of al-Bayda and Benghazi. Clashes between militias and forces loyal to these governments decimated the economy and public services, including the public health system, law enforcement, and the judiciary, and caused the internal displacement of over 200,000 people. Armed groups throughout the country, some of them affiliated with one or the other of the competing governments, executed persons extrajudicially, attacked civilians and civilian properties, abducted and disappeared people, and imposed sieges on civilians in the eastern cities of Derna and Benghazi. The extremist armed group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) lost control of its Libya capital Sirte in December 2016. In January 2017, remaining ISIS forces in Benghazi fled the city. ISIS-affiliated fighters remained present in areas south of Sirte and Bani Walid. Most of the more than 200,000 migrants and asylum seekers who reached Europe by sea in 2017 departed in boats from Libya. Migrants and asylum seekers who ended up in detention in Libya faced beatings, extortion, sexual violence, and forced labor in unofficial and quasi state-run detention centers, at the hands of guards, militias, and smugglers. Coast guard forces also beat migrants they intercepted at sea and forced them back to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Between January and November, 2,772 migrants died during perilous boat journeys in the central Mediterranean Sea, most having departed from the Libyan shore. The GNA struggled to gain authority and control over territory and institutions. Between February and May, militias aligned with it overran positions in Tripoli held by militias that supported a third authority, the Government of National Salvation (GNS). In the east, Libyan National Army forces (LNA), under the command of General Khalifa Hiftar and allied with the Interim Government, continued to expand control over territory in the east and south. Libyas legislative body, the House of Representatives, remained allied with the LNA and Interim Government, and failed to approve a slate of ministers for the GNA. In March, the LNA ended its siege of nearly two years on the Benghazi neighborhood of Ganfouda, which fighters of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) had controlled. When LNA forces entered, they committed what appeared to be war crimes, killing civilians and summarily executing and desecrating the bodies of opposition fighters. On May 18, forces aligned with the GNA, including the Third Force from Misrata, the Benghazi Defense Brigades, and other local units from the south, attacked an LNA airbase at Brak Al-Shati, in the south of the country, summarily executing as many as 51 individuals, most of them LNA fighters captured during the attack. Clashes between pro- and anti-GNA militias for the control of Tripoli lasted between March and May. Hostilities left many injured and resulted in the deaths of scores of fighters, and some civilians before militias and security forces aligned with the GNA took control of the capital. Several videos recorded between June 2016 and July 2017 emerged on social media seemingly implicating LNA fighters in summary executions and the desecration of bodies of captured enemy fighters in eastern Libya. On August 15, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Mahmoud al-Werfalli, an LNA commander implicated in these recordings. On August 18, the LNA announced they had arrested al-Werfalli for questioning. As of September, the LNA had not provided any update on the status of the alleged investigation against him. On August 23, unidentified gunmen beheaded nine LNA fighters and two civilians in an attack on a LNA-controlled checkpoint in al-Jufra region. According to the LNA, ISIS carried out the attack. In August, the LNA intensified a 14-month siege against the eastern city of Derna, which remained controlled by the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC), an alliance of armed groups that opposed Khalifa Hiftar and the LNA. Local council members, activists, and journalists reported on an impending humanitarian crisis in the city, where the LNA intermittently imposed strict measures that included cutting delivery of cooking gas, food items, and fuel. On October 4, unidentified armed men including a suicide bomber, attacked a courthouse in Misrata where regular criminal proceedings were taking place, killing at least four and injuring several people. ISIS claimed it carried out the attack. In October, unidentified forces conducted air strikes in Derna killing 16 civilians, including 12 children. There was no claim for responsibility. Also in October, armed groups loyal to the LNA appear to have summarily executed 36 men in the LNA-controlled eastern town of al-Abyar. The criminal justice system has all but collapsed since 2014. Civilian and military courts in the east and south remained mostly shut, while elsewhere they operated at reduced capacity. Prison authorities, often only nominally under the authority of the ministries of interior, defense, and justice of the two rival governments, continued to hold thousands of detainees in long-term arbitrary detention without charges. Militias that operated their own informal and often-secret detention facilities also held detainees in similar circumstances. According to the Tripoli-based Judicial Police, the body responsible for managing prisons under the GNA Justice Ministry, 6,400 detainees were held in prisons managed by it in the east, west, and south of the country, of whom only 25 percent had been sentenced for a crime. The rest were held in pre-charge or pretrial detention. The Defense and Interior Ministries of both governments in Libya held an unknown number of detainees, in addition to militia-run secret detention facilities. Hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children and including non-Libyan nationals, remain held without charge in two prisons in Tripoli and Misrata and in a camp run by the Libyan Red Crescent in Misrata for their apparent link to alleged ISIS fighters, without prospect for release due to their uncertain citizenship status and lack of coordination with countries of origin. On May 26, The Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, a militia allied with the GNA Interior Ministry, overran the al-Hadba Correctional Facility in Tripoli and transferred from there to another location in Tripoli Gaddafi-era officials detained there, including former intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi, former Prime Minister Abuzaid Dorda, and al-Saadi Gaddafi, a son of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The ICC prosecutor has a mandate to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed in Libya since February 15, 2011, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1970. In April, the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant for Mohamed Khaled al-Tuhamy, a former chief of the Internal Security Agency under Gaddafi, for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 2011 uprising. His whereabouts were unknown at time of writing. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of Gaddafi, continued to be subject to an arrest warrant issued by the ICC to face charges of crimes against humanity. In 2015, the Tripoli Court of Assize sentenced Gaddafi to death in absentia for crimes committed during the 2011 uprising. The Abu Baker al-Siddiq militia in Zintan, which had held him since 2011, reported it released him on June 9, 2017, citing an amnesty law issued passed by Libyas parliament. His release could not be confirmed; independent international observers have not seen or heard from Gaddafi since June 2014. The death penalty is stipulated in over 30 articles in Libyas penal code, including for acts of speech and association that are protected activities under international human rights law. Civil and military courts around the country have imposed the death penalty since the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011, often after trials marred by due process violations. An unknown number of people were sentenced to death by Libyan civil and military courts since 2011, yet no death sentences have been carried out since 2010. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated that 217,000 people were internally displaced in Libya as of September. According to the IOM, most displaced people originated from Benghazi, Sirte, Misrata, and Ubari. Militias and authorities in Misrata continued to prevent 35,000 residents of Tawergha from returning to their homes, despite the announcement on June 19 by the GNA that it had ratified a UN-brokered agreement between them and Tawerghans to end their disputes and allow Tawerghans to return to their homes. Misrata representatives, who accused Tawerghans of having committed serious crimes as supporters of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 uprising that ousted him, demanded, as stipulated in the agreement, that the GNA establish a fund to compensate persons who had been detained and the families of victims who went missing or were killed, between February and August 2011. At time of writing, the GNA had yet to establish such a fund, and Misrata forces continued to block displaced families from returning to their homes in Tawergha. According to the Benghazi municipal council based in exile in Tripoli, approximately 3,700 Benghazi families have been forcibly displaced since 2014 and have sought shelter in the western cities of Tripoli, Misrata, Khoms, and Zliten, after militias affiliated with the LNA threatened them, attacked, burnt or appropriated their homes, and accused them of being terrorists. Authorities in Misrata and Tripoli have detained a number of people displaced from Benghazi, often on dubious terrorism allegations. An additional 9,200 families from Benghazi were internally displaced in western Libya due to the conflict in the east. Armed groups intimidated, threatened, and physically attacked activists, journalists, bloggers, and media professsionals. Security forces affiliated with the LNA in Benghazi arrested AFP photographer Abdullah Doma twice within one weekon March 28 and April 2for a day each time. According to Domas family, the arrests were for his coverage of Earth Hour, a global event that took place on March 25 to raise awareness of climate change. Security forces also briefly arrested four of the organizers of the event, slamming it as offensive to Islam for allowing men and women to mix. In August, members of militias and armed groups in both east and west Libya threatened in phone calls and on social media the contributors and editors of Sun on Closed Windows, a book of essays and fiction, accusing them of immoral content. Militias briefly arrested two participants in the book launch in the city of Zawiyah. In November, a force affiliated with the GNA Interior Ministry, reportedly arrested participants of a comic book convention in Tripoli under the pretext that it breached the country’s “morals and modesty.” Since 2011, militias and forces affiliated with several interim authorities, as well as ISIS fighters, have attacked religious minorities, including Sufis and Christians, and destroyed religious sites in Libya with impunity. In July 2017, the Supreme Fatwa Committee under the General Authority for Endowments and Islamic Affairs, the religious authority of the Interim Government, issued a religious edict calling the minority Ibadi sect of Islam a misguided and aberrant group, and infidels without dignity. The Ibadi faith is practiced by many Amazighs, mostly in western Libya. Amazighs number between 300,000 and 400,000 of Libyas total population of 6.5 million. The GNA responded by condemning the religious edict. In August, unidentified armed groups in Benghazi reportedly kidnapped or arrested 21 Sufi adherents, a minority Muslim group, at different times and different locations. As of September, none of the 21 had been released. Libyan law does not specifically criminalize domestic violence. Personal status laws continue to discriminate against women, particularly with respect to marriage, divorce, and inheritance. The penal code allows for a reduced sentence for a man who kills or injures his wife or another female relative because he suspects her of extramarital sexual relations. It also allows rapists to escape prosecution if they marry their victim under article 424. On February 16, Abdelrazeq al-Nadhouri, chief of staff of the LNA, issued an order requiring women who wished to travel abroad by land, air, or sea to be accompanied by a male guardian. Al-Nadhouri rescinded the order on February 23 after public pressure, and replaced it with another order requiring all men and women ages 18 to 45 to acquire clearance by relevant security agencies ahead of any international travel from east Libya. The penal code prohibits all sexual acts outside marriage, including same-sex relations, and punishes them with up to five years in prison. Militias linked with various government authorities in east and west of the country and criminal gangs kidnapped or forcibly disappeared scores of people for political gain, ransom, and extortion. Tripoli-based activist, Jabir Zain, remained missing after an armed group linked to the GNA Interior Ministery abducted him in Tripoli on September 25, 2016. Civil society activist Abdelmoez Banoon and Benghazi prosecutor Abdel-Nasser Al-Jeroushi, both abducted by unidentified groups in 2014, remained missing. In August, an armed group affiliated with the GNA kidnapped former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan during a visit to Tripoli and released him nine days later. Libya remained a major hub for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants on their way to Europe. As of November, the IOM recorded over 161,010 arrivals to Europe by sea since January, most of whom departed from Libya. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), at least 2,772 died or went missing while crossing the central Mediterranean route to Europe. As of November, the IOM reported that 348,372 migrants and asylum seekers were present in Libya. Since 2014, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have filled a deadly gap in maritime rescue operations, patrolling in international waters close to the 12-nautical-mile line that marks Libyan territorial waters the area where over-crowded, unseaworthy boats are most likely to be in need. Italy and the EU provided training and material support to Libyan coast guard forces to boost their capacity to intercept boats in territorial and international waters and return migrants and asylum seekers to Libyan territory, where many were exposed to physical abuse including beatings, sexual violence, extortion, abduction, harsh detention conditions, and forced labor. In November, after revelations of alleged slave auctions, Rwanda offered to resettle 30,000 African slaves from Libya. The Department for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM), which is part of the GNA-aligned Interior Ministry, managed the formal migrant detention centers, while smugglers and traffickers ran informal ones. The United States announced in September 2016 that it had ended its military campaign against ISIS targets in Libya. In September 2017, the US conducted what it called precision airstrikes against purported ISIS targets south of Sirte. There were no reports of civilian casualties. In June, the UN Security Council extended an arms embargo on Libya, effective since 2011, for another 12 months. On June 1, the UN Panel of Experts of the Libya Sanctions Committee, established pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1973 (2011), issued its report on human rights abuses, violations of the arms embargo, and misappropriation of funds. In February, the UN Support Mission to Libya published a report on the 2014 and 2015 trial proceedings against 37 former members of the Gaddafi government who were accused of crimes during the 2011 uprising, concluding that proceedings violated both international fair trial norms and Libyan law. Members of the European Council met in Malta in February, and pledged to train, equip, and support Libyan coast guard forces, and, together with UNHCR and the IOM, improve reception capacities and conditions for migrants in Libya. The EU pledged a total of 200 million for migration-related projects in Libya to support migrant detention centers and coast guard forces, despite evidence of abuse. In July, the EU Council extended the mandate of its anti-smuggling naval operation in the central Mediterranean, Operation Sophia, until December 2018. Operation Sophias mandate is to disrupt migrant smugglers and human traffickers, including training Libyan Coastguard and Navy forces, and contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo in international waters off Libyas coast. On July 25, Frances President Emmanuel Macron hosted a meeting between Libyan leaders Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and General Hiftar in a bid to break the stalemate between them. The meeting resulted in a declaration of principles, mainly to a conditional ceasefire, and plans for future elections. In September, the EU renewed sanctions for six months against three Libyans seen as threatening the peace, security, and stability of Libya, and obstructive to the implementation of the LPA: Agila Saleh, president of the House of Representatives; Khalifa Ghweil, prime minister of the National Salvation Government; and Nuri Abu Sahmain, president of the self-declared General National Congress.

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September 15, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libyas Economic Outlook- April 2017 – World Bank

The lengthy conflict is taking a heavy toll on the Libyan economy and the well-being of the population. Obstructed by the conflict, production of oil, the main source of income in Libya, has been steadily declining over the last 4 years to reach around 0.38 million barrel per day (bpd) in 2016, which is less than 1/4 of pre-revolution levels. As a result, the Libyan economy shrank by an estimated 2.5% in 2016, with estimated real GDP falling to less than half of its pre-revolution level. The economic outlook assumes that a new functioning government is endorsed this year. In this context, the dynamics in the hydrocarbon sector triggered during the last quarter of 2016 is expected to continue, translating into higher production of oil, which is projected to progressively reach 1 million bpd by end-2017, still rep-resenting only two thirds of potential. On this basis, GDP is projected to increase by 40%. Although improving, the twin deficits will remain, as revenues from oil will not be sufficient to cover high budget expenditures and consumption-driven imports. This should keep the budget deficit at about 18.8% of GDP and the current account deficit at 15.3% of GDP in 2017.

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September 12, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed


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