Thursday, 22 August 2013
Libyans fear armed confrontation
The situation remains tense throughout most of Libya, especially in Tripoli, as uncertainty, fear and widespread rumours of a possible coup and armed confrontation abound. Quite who might attempt a coup and which groups might be involved in armed confrontation is not at all clear, as the country totters on the brink of chaos.
A 20 August report in the London-based Guardian spoke of “growing fears of an Egypt-style standoff between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and opposition forces, with rebels blockading key oil ports and the capital”.
The Brotherhood's Justice and Construction Party, which only won 10% of the vote and 17 of the 80 party list seats in the July 2012 election, might arguably now see itself as the main political power in the GNC, following last month's on-off decision of the largest coalition party, the National Forces Alliance, which won 48% of the vote and 39 of the seats last year, to boycott GNC sessions, at least temporarily.
But the real question at the moment is who, if anyone, can really claim to be governing the country, or to be the main political or military force in the land. With the government's authority crumbling, one diplomat in Tripoli was quoted this week as saying that “Congress has basically collapsed.”
In the present state of chaos, the word “opposition”, rather like “government”, conjures up all sorts of possibilities, some still vaguely real, others more fanciful, although the beleaguered government of Prime Minister Zidan is still nominally in charge. In fact, some analysts might argue that the mere fact that he is still the country's prime minister suggests that he might be in a slightly stronger position than he was a week or so ago, especially if Tripoli does not fall to “opposition forces” and if he is able to overcome the armed protesters who have been holding the country's oil terminals and production to ransom.
© 2013 Menas Associates