Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Omar Mukhtar memorial creating tensions with the government

Discussion of the location of the Omar Mukhtar memorial has created severe tensions with the government which wants to minimise the hero status of Cyrenaica's most important freedom fighter.

The campaign in Benghazi to protect the site of religious significance is being backed by the use of Facebook as a means of mobilising technology for political dissent. Beyond the discussions about the memorial is the security services' anxiety about keeping firm control of external modern communication systems which cannot be intercepted in Libya.

There are websites that are very critical of the regime and more damagingly, have lampooned the Leader and his family who have been deeply angered by these attacks. It is unlikely, however, that overt opposition in the eastern province will disturb the government, although it is a warning that the grandiose plans developed by the Qadhafi family for the development of Cyrene – which is Libya's second most important archeological site after Leptis Magna - as a cultural and tourist centre might not be accepted without stout opposition.

In general, the political situation is calm and under the firm control of the security authorities. The Qadhafi family continues to have a tight grip on Libya's population. There remains a lack of leadership among the overseas opposition groups so that no obvious threat can be envisaged from that quarter.

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

© 2010 Menas Associates

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