Friday, February 17, 2012

One Year Since Libyans Revolted Against Mumar Khadafi

It was a year ago today that Libyans finally decided that 40+ years of rule by Mumar Khadafi were more than enough. They began protesting throughout the country and that ultimately led to an insurrection, civil war, and finally revolution that toppled the regime.
Libyans took to the streets on Friday to celebrate the first anniversary of the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, but some rued the insecurity and disorder that still stalk a country preparing for its first free election.

Flag-waving crowds converging on Martyrs Square in the capital Tripoli or Freedom Square in Benghazi, cradle of the revolt, had to negotiate extra checkpoints set up authorities to stop Gaddafi loyalists from disrupting festivities.

Spontaneous celebrations began on Thursday night when men, women and children emerged on the streets of Tripoli, Benghazi and other towns waving flags and chanting.

"Despite the problems that remain in the country, this is an amazing day and we want to celebrate," a 22-year-old engineering student called Sarah said in Tripoli. "Just look at what was achieved in this past year."
Observers in Libya have noted that the transition government has engaged in widespread human rights violations since coming to power - often attacking those of the ancien regime. Militias continue dominating the situation and the economy remains in shambles. It was the horrible economic conditions that fed the discontent leading to the revolution. The resulting political situation has been to eliminate a dictatorship where all power was in the hands of Khadafi and replaced it with one where power is distributed to hundreds and thousands of tribal leaders and militia groups that want to operate autonomously:
As a result, Libya has been flipped upside down, from a country where all power was in the hands of one man, Gadhafi, to one where it has been broken up into hundreds of different hands, each taking its own decisions. The National Transitional Council, which officially rules the country, is struggling to incorporate the militias into the military and police, while trying to get the economy back on its feet and reshape government ministries, courts and other institutions hollowed out under Gadhafi.
In one sign of the lack of control, Finance Minister Hassan Zaklam admitted that millions of dollars from Gadhafi family assets returned to Libya by European countries — a potentially key source of revenue — have flowed right back out of Libya, stolen by corrupt officials and smuggled out in suitcases through the ports.
The situation remains in flux and unless the NTC can bring the various tribes and militias to work together towards rebuilding those institutions, the sociopolitical situation in Libya will remain in shambles and open the door to renewed fighting and the exploitation of the security situation by terror groups who use failed states as a breeding ground for training, recruitment, and operational planning.

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