Thursday, 17 March 2011

Libya: Security of foreign personnel and assets

The continuation of hostilities between the remnants of the army with mercenaries fighting for Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi and the lightly armed groups of the revolutionaries could persist despite Saif Al-Islam Qadhafi's wish for a quick conclusion.

Foreign companies therefore need to assess whether they can sustain a presence in Libya that is both profitable while still undertaken with minimum risk to life and assets. The route of the campaign has been marked by heavy fighting and considerable damage to property. If the opposition finds the strength to survive the initial onslaught by the regime's heavy armour then it would clearly be inadvisable for foreign workers to return to what is a very unstable and uncertain situation.

There are, however, some areas of Libya which will have been largely unaffected by the fighting and could, providing the support and infrastructure are brought back into action in the near future, possibly survive the damage done by war.

What occurred in late February in Libya was not a revolution by way of a complete overthrow of existing institutions and deep changes in society but a calculated attempt to rid the country of the Leader. In Islamic law there are a number of ways in which the community can rid itself of an unpopular ruler including by invoking the judgement of “oppression”. In many ways the Qadhafi rule had become a source of unacceptable oppression for the population. Certainly the unpopularity, indeed, hatred of Qadhafi, has been shown to be deeply entrenched.

The likelihood of Qadhafi surviving the revolt against him is currently in his favour and therefore companies - which have to take a view of temporal change in Libya and forecast what an anti-Western leader like Qadhafi might do in fits of revenge from time to time in the wake of his rejection by the bigger nations - must make their own decisions.

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

© 2011 Menas Associates

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