by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Oct 25, 2011
Libya has officially been declared "liberated" and its former dictator Moammar Gadhafi is dead and buried. Now a new war for the country's future begins.
Shariah, Islam's strict religious code of behavior, is now the "basic source" of law in Libya. A new interim government prime minister and Cabinet are supposed to be installed by the rebel's National Transitional Council within a month, with a constitutional assembly and national elections to follow.
Much of it all sounds good on paper and in media sound bites. But, as with most revolutions, hopes, promises and expectations are set on a collision course with reality.
The National Transitional Council is riven with political and tribal factions; and rivalry for spoils of power exists between the east of the country and the west, between secularists and Islamists.
Already there are reports that various militias that took part in the eight-month war to topple the Gadhafi regime aren't heeding NTC calls to disarm and return to their villages and towns; of fighters in the northwestern city of Misurata and fighters in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, ignoring instructions from the NTC, which is based in Benghazi, to the east.
The lack of political cohesion within the rebel movement is nothing new. It was known by the international community long before the NTC garnered wide international recognition in the push to end Gadhafi's 42-year rule. But that which was put on a back burner during the street battles that raged across the country can no longer be left there despite the rhetoric.
"You should only embrace honesty, patience and mercy," Mustafa Abdul Jalil, NTC chairman and de facto president of the country, said Sunday, in declaring liberation.
The call for patience and mercy, however, was sullied before it was uttered by Jalil.
In the port city of Sirte, the last stand of pro-Gadhafi forces, the bodies of 53 Gadhafi loyalists were found on the grounds of a hotel.
"Some had their hands tied behind their backs when they were shot," said Human Rights Watch's emergencies director Peter Bouckaert. "This requires the immediate attention of the Libyan authorities to investigate what happened and to hold accountable those responsible."
The killings dovetailed with what appeared the summary executions by Misurata fighters of Gadhafi himself and the dictator's son, Mutassim, who were captured last week.
Witness accounts, cellphone photographs and video show Gadhafi having been captured alive by rebel forces, being beaten and placed on the hood of a jeep and taken away. Sometime after that he turned up dead, shot in the head.
The NTC, in an official statement, said Gadhafi was killed in crossfire between rebels and regime loyalists. The dictator's body, apparently against NTC wishes, was displayed to the public for days by Misurata rebels as bickering over how and where the body was to be disposed off raged between the NTC leaders in Benghazi, Misurata militia leaders and representatives of Gadhafi's tribe.
Beside his body was that of his son, Mutassim, who had been shot in the neck. Video taken after Mutassim's capture by rebels had showed him very much alive.
The killings of the dictator and his son are understandable. In addition to the atrocities committed by the Gadhafi regime, as many as 25,000 people were killed during the revolution, which started out as peaceful demonstrations for democracy.
Nevertheless, they upset the sensibilities of the nations and leaders that supported the Libyan spring with political support, military aid and financial largesse.
The United Nations plans to conduct a human rights investigation and the United States, Britain and others are calling for a full investigation as their unease over the killings foreshadowing wider bloodletting -- including that between political and tribal rivals.
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EU scolds Israel's Lieberman over Abbas quit call
Brussels (AFP) Oct 25, 2011
The European Union urged Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to avoid "provocative" acts on Tuesday after he called for the resignation of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. An EU spokeswoman recalled that the Quartet of Middle East peacebrokers, the United States, United Nations, EU and Russia, have called on Israelis and Palestinians "to refrain from provocative actions." Liebe ... read more
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