ARMED militias have taken control of Libya. After legislative elections – the first attempt to formally share out power since the overthrow and assassination of Muammar al Gaddafi, armed groups are still committing all kinds of violations, torture, theft and killings, while the transition government is doing little about it.
A number of NGO’s have affirmed that armed groups who hunted down the Libyan leader, the way having been opened to them by U.S. and NATO aircraft, are reluctant to hand in their weapons and continue committing all kinds of atrocities.
Things have reached such a point that Amnesty International (AI) has been obliged to acknowledge the disastrous situation in this North African country in a report titled Rule of Law or Rule of Militias?
According to AI, approximately 4,000 people are being held by these militias in appalling conditions in secret detention centers, and subjected to torture. Many of them were detained in an arbitrary manner and for indefinite periods, the report adds.
In 12 of the 15 centers Amnesty visited, there was evidence of beatings and other abuse. Since August last year, the report records at least 20 cases of prisoner deaths after brutal acts of torture: being strung up in painful positions, given electric shocks and beatings with metal bars, sticks or gun butts.
Other NGO’s have informed of thousands of displaced persons after more than 12 months of instability. In cities such as Tauerga, some 30,000 inhabitants have been forced to leave their homes by militias. In other cases, militias are cohabiting with the population and taking women and children hostage as part of territorial disputes.
Transition government sources say that there are from 100-300 armed groups comprising at least 120,000 men. The largest formations are in important cities such as Tripoli, location of the Revolutionary Council and the Military Council. The Zintan and Misrata brigades are equally notorious. Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Brigade Coalition is one of the most important operating in Cirenaica.
The situation has become so unstable that the National Transition Council and provisional government prefer not to intervene. They have alleged that the groups, being better armed, have placed them in an inferior position. However, when it comes to confronting the problem, the will is nil. In May of this year they approved a law granting immunity to all those involved in war crimes, with the aim of protecting the “February 17 revolution.”
A July 10 report from the Institute of Strategic Investigations on Africa and its Diaspora, noted that bombings, deaths, and the invasion and occupation of the country have not stopped even for a day and have assumed unimaginable proportions, while the international media present the image that everything is over. But nothing is over, totally the opposite.
The report notes that the West is still financing certain armed groups, in particular those operating in Al Kufrah (a strategic oil-bearing area in the south, close to the border with Chad and Sudan.
In Al Kufrah – where a number of different ethnic communities cohabited peacefully for 40 years – given the threat of displacement, Libyans whose homes have been attacked, who are continuously robbed and frequently killed, are buying weapons to defend themselves. The report states that currently, it is easier and cheaper to buy a bomb or antiaircraft made in the USA than to acquire basic products for human survival.
If the civilian population is suffering from the same situation which allegedly fuelled a revolution 16 months ago, why has NATO not decided to mount a new no-fly zone?
The Libyan scenario is a mirror of what is currently intended for countries such as Syria and Iran, independent nations which have refused to bow down to Western pretensions to dismantle government which does not submit to its mandate. Libya is the kind of stability which Washington and its allies want to impose on the Middle East.