Africans in US-NATO occupied Libya have been arrested, beaten, tortured and killed by the CIA, MI-6 trained counter-revolutionary rebels. The armed groups have targeted dark-skinned people for liquidation., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libya Deploys Military Ahead of First Post-Qaddafi Elections
By Saleh Sarrar and Ola Galal on July 04, 2012
Libya’s interim government will deploy more than 13,000 troops along with aircraft and naval vessels to ensure security during the the country’s first free national elections since the removal of Muammar Qaddafi.
Officials have set up an operations room to coordinate the troops, interior ministry forces, plus naval and air elements ahead of the July 7 vote, the state-run Libya News Agency reported, citing Youssif El-Mangoush, the army chief-of-staff.
The election will create an assembly to replace the interim leadership known as the National Transitional Council. The new legislature will name a new prime minister and appoint a committee to draft the country’s constitution.
El-Mangoush said the military will conduct air surveillance of the country’s borders. The authorities are on high alert for any disturbances, Omar El-Khadrawi, the deputy interior minister, said in comments aired on Libyan state television.
Qaddafi, who ruled the north African country for 42 years, was ousted and killed in 2011 at the end of a bloody, eight- month uprising. While the oil-rich restored crude production to 1.45 million barrels a day in May, it’s struggling with a security void that has frustrated efforts to lure foreign investors.
The country, which sits atop Africa’s largest proven crude reserves, relies almost entirely on oil exports for its revenue. Its ability to rebuild has been stymied by the central government’s failure to rein in the armed militias that played a key role in ousted Qaddafi.
The head of the state-run National Oil Corp. called on the company’s employees to cast their vote as a step toward building a “modern Libya founded on law and institutions,” according to a statement posted on the NOC’s website. Nuri Berruien said workers should go to the nearest polling station without causing disruptions to operations or production.
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Rights group: Rein in Libyan militias - CNN.com
By Moni Basu and Jomana Karadsheh, CNN
updated 8:35 PM EDT, Wed July 4, 2012 CNN.com
(CNN)--Many months after the February 17 uprising that rid Libya of Gadhafi and his revolutionary rule, Libyans will choose a new government Saturday.
Much is at stake in that vote, said Amnesty International, which issued a scathing report Thursday on widespread Libyan lawlessness, focusing on armed militias operating above the law.
The report documented arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and impunity for unlawful killings.
It said Amnesty staffers visited Libya in May and June and found many militias refusing to disarm and that the government has only been able to dismantle a handful of the armed groups.
"It is deeply depressing that after so many months, the authorities have failed so comprehensively to break the stranglehold of the militias on Libyan security, with dramatic consequences for the people that bear the brunt of their actions," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director.
Amnesty International said it spoke with two sisters -- 27 and 32 -- who were stopped by militiamen at a checkpoint in February and forced at gunpoint to a nearby farm.
"One was suspended from a door for hours, had boiling water poured over her head, and was beaten and stabbed while being accused of supporting the former government of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi," the report said.
"The other was also suspended and beaten. The husband of one of them, who was detained at the same time, has disappeared."
Amnesty International also found instances of revenge beatings and vigilante-style justice carried out against detainees held by people who suffered under Gadhafi. The report said that sometimes detainees were held in cities where Gadhafi's regime allegedly committed human rights violations.
It gave the example of neurosurgeon Hisham Anour Ben Khayal. He was abducted in Tripoli in April by a militia from al-Zawiya that blamed him for the death of a relative due to alleged medical neglect. The doctor was beaten with sticks and whips.
In court, Khayal testified that he wasn't the treating physician in the case and that other doctors had operated twice to save the man who died.
Khayal was charged with murder and will stand trial in al-Zawiya, where there is strong sentiment against him, Amnesty said.
And public criticism of the counter-revolutionary militias is uncommon after they were hailed by the West as heroes who ousted Gadhafi. Critics of the militias, Amnesty said, are often labeled as Gadhafi loyalists.
Amnesty International urged Libyan authorities to do more.
CNN was not successful in obtaining immediate comment from Libyan government officials.
It said Libya should build a judicial system that will "hold perpetrators to account in trials that meet international standards and provide redress to the thousands of victims of human rights violations."
That position was supported by policymakers and Libya observers.
Ian Martin, the top United Nations envoy in Libya, agreed that Libya's National Transitional Council has not done enough; he said his office has been pushing to accelerate the handover of detainees in custody of rebel brigades to proper state authorities.
"We have also repeatedly pressed the government to take responsibility for protecting the physical integrity of those in detention, even if they go on being held outside state authority for a limited period of time," Martin told CNN.
Martin said the United Nations was trying to assist the Libyans in developing a strong judicial system.
"Certainly we are not satisfied with the rate of progress in that respect and very concerned by continuing torture and abuse of detainees in custody and continuing arrests outside legal process," Martin said.
Amnesty said 4,000 detainees remain in centers outside government reach. Some have been detained for a year.
Analyst Ranj Alaaldin said the interim government appears unable and unwilling to try to assert its control over a complicated network of armed militias.
In a commentary for CNN.com, Alaaldin, a senior analyst at the Next Century Foundation, described chaos over the past week in the seizure of Tripoli's airport, attacks on a U.S. diplomatic office in Benghazi followed by one on a British convoy, and violent tribal clashes in the south.
"The current security environment, dominated by militias, does not constitute a proper security framework: It lacks coordination and creates gaps that allow for conflict between rival groups, as well as criminal activities like smuggling -- and terrorism, which appears to be a new factor in the east," Alaaldin wrote.
CNN's Moni Basu reported from Atlanta and Jomana Karadsheh, from Tripoli, Libya.
Reactionary Want Monarchy in Libya Like Dubai
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - For Tripoli businessman Salem Mohammed, Libya's first elections in a generation on Saturday will pave the way for what he believes the North African country should become - a new Dubai.
"We have oil, we have money, Libya can easily be just like Dubai," the 47 year old, who works in manufacturing, said.
"We just need foreign investors and hopefully they will now start coming and business will boom."
Nine months after the end of Libya's counter-revolution, Mohammed hopes Saturday's election of a national assembly will mark a new start for an economy that flourished under Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule.
Investors will be closely watching the outcome of the vote - with no indication of a leading contender - to see what it will mean for projects that were frozen during the fighting and for the vast opportunities likely to emerge in an oil-producing nation with the wealth to pay for construction and healthcare.
Libya's new rulers have said no major new concessions would be awarded until after the polls and are reviewing past deals.
Once elected, the new 200-member assembly will appoint a government to replace an interim administration that lacked the mandate to make major decisions, and expectations are for old projects to restart and for new contracts to be signed.
"There are a lot of projects (on standby), everyone wants to settle their projects from before," said Klaus Fodinger, head of the cement division at Austria's Asamer Holding, which resumed operations in Libya in October.
"If there are no institutions, no one to talk to, how do you settle deals from the past? The elections are a crucial event."
Many international businesses came to Libya in recent years, attracted by its huge energy reserves and a population, which although numbering just 6 million, has median incomes much higher than elsewhere in the region.
But the eight-month NATO-backed uprising sent foreigners fleeing.
While oil companies were the first to return and have helped Libya climb back close to pre-war output levels of 1.6 million barrels per day, others have not been as fast.
Government trade delegations from around the world have visited, vying for future contracts. As commercial flights have resumed, businessmen have also jetted in for short stretches. Most companies which had a foot in Libya before have mainly wanted to get their ventures back up and running as they await a clearer political and legal landscape.
Tarek Alwan, managing director of London-based consulting firm SOC Libya, said he had been approached by numerous companies seeking guidance on how to enter the Libyan market.
"Major ones are seriously interested but they have not committed yet because the situation is not fully stable, economically and politically," he said.
"They have been waiting for the elections so this will give them some sort of assurances that there will be proper elected (authority) to represent the country."
WAITING FOR THE GREEN LIGHT
Major construction, such as residential property and hotels, as well as transport projects are untouched since last year, awaiting the green light from the authorities to restart.
"Despite the fact that most major public-sector projects are on hold, there is nonetheless a great deal of planning going on across many ministries and government agencies, and this is a positive sign," said Alex Warren, of research and advisory firm Frontier, which runs The Libya Report business site.
"It suggests that once an elected government is in place, then many projects look set to start or be resumed."
The question is how quickly they will resume. The fasting month of Ramadan, when daily life usually slows, begins shortly after the elections.
The assembly is expected to be named at least two weeks from July 7 after ballot counting is finalised and an appeals process. Within 30 days of its first meeting, it will appoint a new prime minister who will form a government.
"For major projects and contracts, I don't see it really picking up, in terms of new tenders or companies returning, until the last quarter at the earliest," Warren said.
The election is expected to lead to reforms and investors want to know what those policies will be. In May, the economy ministry issued a decree enabling foreign companies to set up joint ventures, branches and representative offices in most sectors, more easily.
"Businesses are looking with great hopes towards the elections," David Bachmann, head of the commercial section at the Austrian embassy in Tripoli, said.
"However, they are aware that probabilities are high that even after the elections it might take some months - hopefully not years - before decisions are taken."
While public sector entities await, the private sector is flourishing, especially trade. Tripoli's port is heaving with activity and foreign produce is stocked on supermarket shelves. A cash crisis has eased and shops and cafes have re-opened.
Monoprix Tunisia, an affiliate of the French supermarket chain, wants to start opening 10 stores in Libya from late 2012, after uprisings in both countries delayed earlier plans.
On the construction side, small-scale private projects have taken off - homes are being built, businesses being refurbished.
HUGE POTENTIAL; SECURITY RISKS
Austria's Asamer, which operates cement factories in Libya through a joint venture, has gradually increased production since January.
"We see a huge potential - there are the needs of young population and a lot of infrastructure to be reconstructed. We expect a boom in construction activity," Fodinger said.
Gaddafi isolated Libya's economy from much foreign competition, reserving licences and contracts for his own people, so the prospect of a more open market is attractive to new entrants.
Dependent on oil, Libya needs basic infrastructure development as well as investment in property, consumer industries and telecoms after a fifth of transmitter stations were destroyed in the war. It will also need foreign investment and expertise to increase oil and gas production.
Its tourism industry is largely unexplored, despite stretches of beaches and well-preserved Roman ruins.
Various fairs drawing international businesses have allowed companies to cultivate relations. Industry Minister Mahmoud Al-Ftise said there were plans to increase privatizations, and Libya was interested in more foreign investment.
"We would like to have a participation from foreign and local private business so we can see results because we would like to have competition among the business," he told Reuters.
However security remains a concern. Bouts of violence are deterring foreign firms from bringing back all their expatriates on the ground for now. For those who were once used to living in villas or flats in Tripoli, they now find themselves confined in secure compounds without their families.
Many businessmen travel with security advisers.
Libya's interim government has struggled to impose its authority on a country awash with weapons. Attacks on diplomatic and aid missions in the east have highlighted the ongoing volatility.
Last month, Tripoli's international airport was seized by an armed group for several hours.
"Security is a concern and when you hear of such violent incidents as we have recently, you worry and it may deter some foreigners from coming here," one European businessman said during a recent trip to Tripoli.
"But you have to weigh the risks against the opportunities."
(Additional reporting by Ali Shuaib; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)