Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Libya: Political Old Guard reduced to attrition

The strength of the political Old Guard is being reduced by attrition as age takes its toll and its members cease to be corner stones of the Qadhafi regime. The latest blow in this section is Khalifah Hanaish who for many years was an important apologist for Colonel Qadhafi and manipulator of tribal politics. He is reported to be seriously ill in Austria.

He rose from the ranks to become a general in the Libyan army in charge of aspects of security and armaments, on which issues he reported directly to the Leader. His loyalty was total and until two years ago, he was an important player in the circle around the Leader.

This process of attrition is gradually reducing the number of experienced and dependable senior personnel available to the Leader in his management of the country. As new individuals take over the reins of influence, so the regime will be less confident of its base.

In an interesting lecture to the Lawyers Union in Tripoli, a speaker made the point that the Revolutionary Committee movement and indeed, the revolutionary committees themselves are illegal under the present law since no parties are allowed to exist. He pointed out that the evolution of the movement has meant that the majority of ministers in the cabinet have always been from the ranks of the revolutionary committees.

It will be recalled that in recent years only two ministers have not had close connection with the revolutionary committees – Mustafa Abdel Jallil who was Minister of Justice and was nominated by Saif al-Islam Qadhafi and the head of NOC, Dr Shukri Ghanem whose alliance with Saif al-Islam was among the reasons for his accession to the cabinet. The narrowness of the cabinet's origins tells of the poverty in organised political activity and indicates that a popular dissident leader would face limited opposition in the country.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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