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article imageOp-Ed: Libyan prime minister warns of foreign intervention to end chaos

By Ken Hanly     Nov 11, 2013 in Politics
Tripoli - Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told Libyans that foreign powers might intervene to end chaos in the country if militias were not brought under control of the government.
The warning was aimed at rallying people to support his campaign against militias. However, many militias provide security for different areas of the government. Zeidan said: "The international community cannot tolerate a state in the middle of the Mediterranean that is a source of violence, terrorism and murder". The government is already under fire because Islamic militias believe, no doubt correctly, that the Libyan government at the very least sanctioned the US kidnapping of the Al Qaeda suspect Anas al-Libi. Zeidan was even kidnapped recently by a militia group for a few hours only to be rescued without violence by other militias.
Zeidan says that Libya is still subject to the resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter that would allow the international community to intervene to protect civilians. Of course that resolution was meant to protect civilians against the Gadaffi regime or that was its supposed intent. In reality it was meant to allow the degradation of Gadaffi's military might safely from the air and eventually lead to the victory of the very rebels that Zeidan is now complaining about. It remains to be seen if any western nations are anxious to get involved in a dubious security operation in Libya. I have not been able to find any material that would confirm Zeidan's claim about the UN resolution.
Zeidan said that people should rebel against the armed militias. Zeidan's call for public support simply shows that the government does not have the power or authority to act on its own to bring the militias to heel. There have been recent deadly attacks and clashes between militias in Tripoli and killings in eastern Libya. However, the militias are not Zeidan's only problems.
The entire eastern part of Libya, that used to called Cyrenaica, has declared an autonomous government. The prime minister of the self-declared Cyrenaica government Abd-Rabbo al-Barassin said that a new oil firm had been created based in Tobruk where protesters have prevented a government-chartered tanker from loading crude bound for Italy. Al-Barrasin said: "We have formed a firm called Libya Oil and Gas Corp. We will wait for a response from Tripoli and Fezzan and hope for an understanding with them. Then the firm will sell oil and we will keep the regional share of Tripoli and Fezzan without using it". Just hours before this announcement prime minister Zeidan had set a deadline of a week to 10 days for protesters to clear the oil facilities warning that otherwise the central government would take measures. However, he declined to say what those measures are. A terminal at Militah west of Tripoli owned by the Italian oil company ENI and the Libyan National Oil Co. has also been blocked by Berbers demanding more political rights. The decline in oil exports will cause a huge budget deficit if it is not soon ended.
Zeidan has said that he will give militias until December 31 to join the regular army or police or their pay checks will stop. By that time, Zeidan may find he is out of a job or 10 feet under.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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