WBEZ | Conflict In Libya http://www.wbez.org/tags/conflict-libya Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Post Revolution, Libyan Women Seek Expanded Roles http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-04/post-revolution-libyan-women-seek-expanded-roles-92817 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/Libya_women_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One recent day in Tripoli, hundreds of people strolled through a charity fundraiser organized by the women in Libya's capital city.</p><p>Ladies sold baked goods and handicrafts in rows of stalls. For the kids, there was a moon bounce and face painting. There was even a rock band that could use some practice.</p><p>It was a lot like charity bazaars in towns across the U.S., with a couple of notable exceptions: most of the women wore headscarves and among the more popular items for sale were hand-knitted versions of the Libyan flag.</p><p>The women running this fundraiser are revolutionaries, and they played a large but often unsung role in the uprising that toppled Moammar Gadhafi back in August. Now, they want a larger role in the new government and political system under construction in Libya.</p><p><strong>Taking Risks During The Revolution</strong></p><p>Isra bin Mahmoud, 26, is part of a group called Flower of the Capital. During the war, she says the group specialized in undermining the loyalty of Gadhafi's army in Tripoli. The group made a CD with video of atrocities committed by the regime and passed it to government soldiers.</p><p>"We gave them some CDs to show them the truth, to inform them that what they do is very wrong," she said.</p><p>This was at a time when showing any hint of dissent was enough to get a person jailed, tortured and quite possibly, killed.</p><p>"It was very dangerous, actually, but we are here. Thank God that we safe," Mahmoud said.</p><p>Now, she said, her group of 22 young women is staying together to work on postwar needs, like this fundraiser for wounded veterans.</p><p>Fatima al-Gadrub worked for the revolution under the name "Samoud," which means "steadfastness." Her group wrote and distributed a newsletter and helped smuggle weapons. She used a satellite phone to call outside news outlets and report on what was happening in the capital.</p><p>The women made many of the red, black and green revolutionary flags that kept appearing on the streets of Tripoli, in defiance of Gadhafi's police, who were under orders to suppress them.</p><p>Now that those flags fly everywhere in the city, Gadrub says she wants to stay active, but doesn't feel qualified to take a role in politics.</p><p>"Because I'm 30, and I have lived 30 years in the Gadhafi regime where there are no parties, where there are no political elections, I have no political attitudes. But there are others who have lived outside Libya and have ideas about politics," she says.</p><p><strong>Next Step: Preparing For Political Role</strong></p><p>Huda Abuzaid finds that kind of attitude frustrating. She is one of those women who lived outside Libya, as a filmmaker in Britain. She came back to volunteer with the Transitional National Council, which led the revolution.</p><p>She notes that there are no women on the council, and says it's not because there aren't capable women available. Abuzaid says she's looking to what she calls "Libya's senior professional women" to step forward into a tough and unfamiliar arena.</p><p>"Politics is rough, and it's incredibly rough at this point, when everything is at stake, and everyone wants to shape Libya's future," she said. "Nobody's going to give them those roles. And if you look at history, women have always had to fight."</p><p>Iqram abu Besh Iman is one of those professional women, and she's lived all her life in Libya. She is an architect who also works as a volunteer to improve facilities for disabled people.</p><p>She said Libyan women achieved success in many roles before the revolution — in medicine, law and academia. But, she says, most women refused any role in Gadhafi's government, because, as she puts it, "We care about our reputations."</p><p><strong>Forging New Path Amid Uncertainty<br /></strong></p><p>Now, Besh Iman said, women have had successful roles in the revolution, and that has helped prepare them for the next step.</p><p>"Because now we have confidence in free Libya, we have confidence about people. Since we have educated women, since we have active women, there will be a lot of women in the election," she said.</p><p>The date for those elections is still uncertain, and the Transitional National Council is still struggling to form an interim government.</p><p>A list of candidates for various Cabinet posts was leaked to the news media last week, and though the council insists that it was only tentative, it did include the names of three prominent women.</p><p>More and more, Libyan women are saying that's not enough. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317758359?&gn=Post+Revolution%2C+Libyan+Women+Seek+Expanded+Roles&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=141037471&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20111004&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 14:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-10-04/post-revolution-libyan-women-seek-expanded-roles-92817 Libya's Newest Concern: Looming Political Battles http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-30/libyas-newest-concern-looming-political-battles-92706 <p><p>Libya's victorious militias are still fighting the last forces loyal to ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi, but as the military endgame draws closer, some are worrying about the political battles that are just beginning.</p><p>The question is an old one for revolutionaries: how to go from a military triumph to a civilian government?</p><p>In Libya, the problem is magnified because the fighting is still going on and the military consists of various regional militias that don't answer to a single commander.</p><p>The rebels operate under the banner of the Transitional National Council, an unelected group that consists of Libyan dissidents, former exiles and officials who defected from the Gadhafi regime.</p><p>Mahmoud Jibril is the equivalent of the prime minister of the TNC, and he's trying to form an interim government that can run the country until a constitution is drafted and elections can be held.</p><p>But Jibril has become a lightning rod for criticism, some of it from militia leaders and their allies. He vented some of his own frustration at a news conference on Thursday, saying he doesn't plan to be a part of the interim government, and that the TNC would be doing him a favor by asking for his resignation now.</p><p><strong>Still No Interim Government</strong></p><p>Jibril also said the formation of the interim cabinet would be put off until Gadhafi loyalists are routed from two last cities, Sirte and Bani Walid. However, the militias have been advancing cautiously and the battles could take weeks, if not months.</p><p>Reports from the eastern city of Benghazi, where the TNC has been meeting, say the members simply haven't been able to agree on who should fill important cabinet posts.</p><p>Some criticism of Jibril is coming from Misurata, whose rebels fought hard for months to take their city from Gadhafi's forces, then went on to play a big role in the capture of Tripoli.</p><p>Fathi Beshsagha, the spokesman for the Misurata military council, says Jibril has performed poorly as prime minister. And, he adds, he can say this as part of the give and take in the new Libya.</p><p>There's another factor in the effort to form an interim government — the militias controlled by Islamists.</p><p>The most prominent Islamist fighter is Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the military commander of Tripoli.</p><p>He was part of an unsuccessful attempt by an Islamist group to overthrow Gadhafi in the 1990s, and later spent time in Afghanistan, where the Gadhafi regime said he was linked to al-Qaida.</p><p>Belhaj recently had an op-ed piece in Britain's Guardian newspaper and said that secular politicians are attempting to exclude the Islamists.</p><p>"It is as though they want to push Islamists toward a non-democratic option by alienating and marginalizing them," he wrote.</p><p>It's not clear what Belhaj meant by 'a non-democratic option,' but it's a worrisome thought in a country awash in weapons and fighters.</p><p>Belhaj may have as many opponents as Jibril, including the leaders of other militias.</p><p>Ibrahim Madani is a commander of a brigade from Zintan, another militia that saw hard fighting. He says the rebel groups will fight to stop Islamists from hijacking the revolution:</p><p>"We stop them by talking first, and if they don't want, there's the other way, we can fight until the end," he said. "And not only me, you know there are a thousand of me."</p><p>For now, the fighters and the politicians of Libya are still talking, trying to build networks of trust.</p><p>Fathi Beshsagha repeats a phrase that's often heard from the Misurata military leadership.</p><p>Their fighters, he says, gave their blood for the freedom of Libya, not for political positions. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1317420016?&gn=Libya%27s+Newest+Concern%3A+Looming+Political+Battles&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140959765&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110930&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-30/libyas-newest-concern-looming-political-battles-92706 In Libya, Some Just Learning Of Gadhafi's Demise http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-23/libya-some-just-learning-gadhafis-demise-92393 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-23/Sirte_1_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In Libya, civilians are fleeing from Sirte, the last major town that is still in the hands of forces loyal to ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi.</p><p>Many say they were cut off from the rest of the country, without electricity and with dwindling food supplies. Some say they knew nothing of the rebel advances in the past month, including the capture of the capital, Tripoli.</p><p>They didn't know that they would be emerging into a new country.</p><p>The first place they arrive is a rebel checkpoint and field hospital on the coastal road from Sirte to Misrata — hot, dusty cars packed with men, women and children, carrying whatever possessions they could cram into the trunk.</p><p>Some cars have stacks of floppy mattresses strapped to the top, because the refugees don't know where they will sleep. Volunteers provide them with food and bottled water, juice boxes and packaged cake.</p><p><strong>Clinic Filled With Wounded</strong></p><p>Outside the small clinic, a young doctor in blue hospital scrubs says most of his patients are wounded rebel fighters.</p><p>But the doctor, Mahmoud Adita, says he has seen a lot of civilians from Sirte as well, including, that day, four women in labor. An aging Russian-made helicopter, bound for the Misrata hospital, takes off with the pregnant women.</p><p>Adita says he has lost patients because he hasn't been able to transport them to the hospital in time.</p><p>One man who just brought his family out of Sirte says people there are cut off from the outside world. Without electricity, he says, they had no information from outside the city, only what he called Gadhafi's "black rumors." He says many people did not know that Tripoli fell a month ago.</p><p>Others say they did know what was going on, and it gave them hope. Ismael Milaad, a 34-year-old gym teacher from Sirte, says he had access to a generator and a satellite dish, so his neighbors gathered at his house to learn what was going on.</p><p><strong>Civilians Trapped In City</strong></p><p>Milaad says there are many men in Sirte who are preparing to fight the pro-Gadhafi forces as soon as most civilians are out. He adds, though, that he fears that there will be civilian casualties, because Gadhafi fighters are keeping some families trapped in the city center and using them as human shields.</p><p>The rebels, meanwhile, are playing a waiting game. They have a position set up at an underpass on the outskirts of the city, where they exchange artillery fire with pro-Gadhafi forces. But for now, they say, they're not trying to advance.</p><p>Back at the field hospital, the rebels aren't just passing out goodies. They're also taking the names of the fleeing families and searching their belongings.</p><p>Adam Ali, a rebel in dusty camouflage fatigues, says his men are looking for weapons. He says they've found a few pistols and photos — taken with Gadhafi soldiers — that show some refugees had pro-Gadhafi leanings.</p><p>At least some of the escaping families are double refugees: They fled from Misrata to Sirte when pro-Gadhafi forces were relentlessly shelling Misrata.</p><p>Now they're fleeing back, and the rebels view them with suspicion. The rebels say people carrying weapons or showing signs of being Gadhafi loyalists are not being allowed to return to Misrata.</p><p>The rebels say the status of those families will have to be sorted out later, when the fight for Sirte is over. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1316805439?&gn=In+Libya%2C+Some+Just+Learning+Of+Gadhafi%27s+Demise&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140738547&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110923&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Fri, 23 Sep 2011 14:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-23/libya-some-just-learning-gadhafis-demise-92393 What Role Will Islamists Play In Libya? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-21/what-role-will-islamists-play-libya-92282 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-21/libya_islam_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As Libyans work to form an interim government, some of those competing for power are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, raising fears that Islamist radicals may try to hijack the revolution. But many Libyans say those fears are mostly in the minds of Westerners.</p><p>Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi banned the Muslim Brotherhood. The group attempted to overthrow Gadhafi in the 1990s, and he responded with a ferocious crackdown that put many of its members in jail.</p><p>Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been involved in the current revolution since it began in February, and group members generally say they want a state governed by Islamic law and institutions.</p><p>One of the most prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood is Amin Belhaj, who also belongs to the Transitional National Council, the group that is currently running the country.</p><p>Belhaj says Islam should pervade every aspect of Libyan society, especially its government.</p><p>"This government should understand Islam as we believe. That's what we want," Belhaj says. That, he says, means justice and equality under Islamic law. Belhaj says his views on social values differ very little from those of conservative Christians in the United States. By Libyan standards, he says, those views are not extreme.</p><p><strong>Moderate Islam Dominant</strong></p><p>Islam already pervades life in Libya, as ubiquitous as the call to prayer, when men stream into Tripoli's mosques.</p><p>Most women wear clothing that cover everything except their faces and hands, and Libyans generally hold conservative opinions on many social issues.</p><p>Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the head of the Transitional National Council, said at a recent rally that Shariah, or Islamic law, should be the main source of Libya's laws. He added that Libyans will not accept any extremist ideology, either to the right or the left.</p><p>Ali Tarhouni, an economist who serves as deputy prime minister on the council, agrees that Libyans favor a moderate form of Islam, but acknowledges that extremism is a concern.</p><p>"This version of radicalization, I think that's an issue that we are concerned about and we talk about it openly," he says. "But so far, regardless of what you see, I'm not too worried about it."</p><p>Tarhouni and other members of the TNC were recently denounced by a prominent Muslim Brotherhood cleric as "extreme secularists."</p><p>Tarhouni and others have dismissed that as rhetoric, part of the back-and-forth of political maneuvering.</p><p>Mohammed Saleh Abdul Jalil Sabur, the imam of one of Tripoli's main mosques, says the clergy should stay out of politics, but he also believes that Libyans will resist extremism.</p><p>"Thank God we are not radicals here," he says. "Most people know that the Taliban and al-Qaida are anti-Islam, because in our belief, you cannot kill people, no matter who they are."</p><p>But Sabur says there is a place for the Muslim Brotherhood in Libyan politics, as long as they are not armed and not radical.</p><p><strong>A Viable Political Force</strong></p><p>Brotherhood members say they believe that they can establish an Islamic state through democratic persuasion.</p><p>"Anyone who is [logical], he should believe that democracy is the best way to get to the freedom state, even to the Islamic state," says Belhaj, the brotherhood member who is part of the TNC</p><p>Khaled Zarrugh, a brotherhood member who spent eight years in one of Gadhafi's prisons, says it won't happen quickly.</p><p>"I don't expect the Muslim Brotherhood to lead the country, at least from the first. After two years from now, I don't think any party will lead the country. It will be, I think, share," he says.</p><p>He says the brotherhood is not that strong politically, but others say the group is the best organized and could win a significant number of seats in an election.</p><p>Zarrugh says his model for Libya is Turkey, where he says Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown that Muslim conservatives and right-of-center politicians can win democratically and rule responsibly.</p><p>Right now, he says, the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya is just getting started. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1316635033?&gn=What+Role+Will+Islamists+Play+In+Libya%3F&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140665324&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110921&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 14:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-21/what-role-will-islamists-play-libya-92282 President Obama Praises Libya's Political Transition http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-20/president-obama-praises-libyas-political-transition-92231 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/Obama_Abdel+Jalil_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>President Obama met Libya's interim leader Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and held up the country as a model of what the U.N. can do to protect civilians from atrocities.</p><p>Obama also pledged continued support and encouraged Libya's new leaders to keep their promises to forge a just, democratic society.</p><p>Libyan rebels have yet to find ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi and fighting continues in the country. Still, Obama went to the meeting with a hopeful message.</p><p>"Today, the Libyan people are writing a new chapter in the life of their nation. After four decades of darkness, they can walk the streets, free from a tyrant," Obama said.</p><p>He said the U.S. ambassador was heading back to Tripoli to reopen the U.S. Embassy, abandoned earlier this year. The United Nations has a new team led by a British diplomat to help Libya work on a new constitution and prepare for elections.</p><p>So far, this seems to be a good news story for the U.N., at least the way Obama described it.</p><p>"This is how the international community should work in the 21st century — more nations bearing the responsibility and the costs of meeting global challenges. In fact, this is the very purpose of this United Nations," he said.</p><p><strong>Libya Seeking Frozen Assets</strong></p><p>Obama met with the chairman of Libya's Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, who is again asking for access to billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets. Abdul-Jalil also reassured the countries gathered at the U.N. that he's given Libyans clear orders not to seek retribution against Gadhafi's supporters.</p><p>"The Libyan authorities will bring to justice all accused of the Gadhafi regime before a just trial and we will work for the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation over the coming period," he said.</p><p>"The entire world is watching you," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who took the lead in supporting rebels in Libya. He told Tuesday's meeting at the U.N. that he has faith in the country's new leadership. British Foreign Secretary William Hague echoed that, saying the time is up for Gadhafi and his supporters.</p><p>"As for Gadhafi himself, he must be brought to justice under Libyan and international law. No country should consider giving a bolt hole to this fugitive from justice, a man wanted on charges of crimes against humanity. And any country that does consider giving him sanctuary should remember there is no expiry date for the charges he faces," Hague said.</p><p>Britain, France, the U.S. and others say their actions in Libya — as part of NATO — were justified and could be a model elsewhere. However, they are having a hard time persuading the U.N. Security Council to do more to stop a crackdown in Syria, where the U.N. says more than 2,600 protesters have been killed.</p><p>And there were even hints of disagreements on Libya. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma called for an end to NATO action because — as he put it — the initial threats that led the Security Council to authorize action against Gadhafi's forces no longer exist.</p><p>"We should therefore work towards the lifting of the no-fly zone as soon as possible in order to retain the integrity of the United Nations as the center that harmonizes the actions of nations in the pursuit of universal peace," he said.</p><p>Obama says the NATO action will continue as long as civilians are at risk in Libya — and that means as long as Gadhafi is on the run. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1316548879?&gn=President+Obama+Praises+Libya%27s+Political+Transition&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140642290&c7=1004&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1004&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110920&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-20/president-obama-praises-libyas-political-transition-92231 Libya's Bankers: Treasury Protected From Plunder http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-14/libyas-bankers-treasury-protected-plunder-91999 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-14/libya_money_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As a new Libyan leadership assesses the country's financial condition, there were fears that ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi, his family and his cronies had looted the treasury.</p><p>But it now appears much of that wealth remains frozen in foreign accounts, and Libyan bankers say the billions of dollars worth of gold and cash held by the Central Bank remained basically intact throughout the chaos of the revolution.</p><p>One of the many rumors and claims was that a convoy of more than 200 Libyan military vehicles had crossed the border into neighboring Niger.</p><p>For a brief time, there was talk of desperate men barreling across the Sahara Desert guarding a dictator's ransom in cash and gold.</p><p>That cinematic vision fizzled, though, when the government of Niger announced that only a few vehicles had entered the country, mostly with lower-level military men and officials, who are now being held under house arrest.</p><p>Instead, the new head of Libya's Central Bank, Gassem Azzuz, said the government's assets remained in its vaults, despite pressure from Gadhafi loyalists who tried to get their hands on it as the rebels moved closer to Tripoli.</p><p>"The banking sector has done quite well and is doing quite well, and is stable and sound, through the great efforts of the young people working in the Central Bank of Libya and the various banks," Azzuz said.</p><p>Azzuz told reporters that the Gadhafi regime had sold off about 20 percent of Libya's gold reserves — about 29 tons — in a last-ditch measure to pay the salaries of soldiers and government workers.</p><p>But he said the bankers don't believe that money was stolen.</p><p><strong>Bankers' Resistance</strong></p><p>Arif Alee Nayad, who is part of the Transitional National Council stabilization team, says Gadhafi supporters did put heavy pressure on the central bankers to release gold and cash for more dubious reasons.</p><p>He says the bank employees put up all sorts of resistance, "from not showing up, to actually delaying processes, from pretending not to have the keys, to pretending not to have the passports, in order to block transactions that were detrimental to the Libyan people."</p><p>The Libyan government's wealth overseas was frozen by international sanctions aimed at the Gadhafi regime, and that money is slowly beginning to trickle back into the country.</p><p>Mazin Ramadan is the director of the Temporary Financial Mechanism, a group set up to see that assets coming back to Libya are wisely spent during the transition to an elected government.</p><p>Right now, his group is trying to figure out how to spend about $400 million in Libyan government money that was unfrozen by the United States.</p><p><strong>Funds Available, With Strings Attached</strong></p><p>Ramadan says it must be spent on United Nations humanitarian programs to help Libyan recover from the war.</p><p>"Where the U.N. is concerned, it's always two things," he says. One is corruption, he says. He cites the oil-for-food scandal in Iraq, where U.N. officials were accused of taking bribes from Saddam Hussein's government to allow money to be siphoned off from the program.</p><p>"And the other part is the overhead," he adds. "It seems that the U.N. can't do anything without really large overhead."</p><p>Ramadan says he's negotiating with U.N. officials to assure that the money is really spent where the Libyans think it's most needed.</p><p>As to the billions of dollars worth of Libyan assets that are still frozen abroad, Ramadan thinks it could be years before that money is available.</p><p>He points out that money frozen during the regime of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos is tied up in litigation, 25 years after that strongman was ousted.</p><p>Meanwhile, there is still speculation that a significant amount of money from the Gadhafi regime was squirreled away where his cronies could get their hands on it.</p><p>"As a matter of fact," says Nayad of the Transitional National Council stabilization team, "they had vast amounts of wealth that didn't enter the banking system in the first place."</p><p>And where that wealth is now, is anyone's guess. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1316032340?&gn=Libya%27s+Bankers%3A+Treasury+Protected+From+Plunder&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140473747&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110914&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 14 Sep 2011 13:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-14/libyas-bankers-treasury-protected-plunder-91999 Freedoms Flourish On Walls Across Tripoli http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-13/freedoms-flourish-walls-across-tripoli-91952 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-14/gadhafi_graffiti.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In Tripoli, residents are painting the town red, green and black, the new colors of the Libyan revolution.</p><p>Under Moammar Gadhafi, the regime strictly controlled the images that were allowed in public. Storefronts had to be painted green. English was banned on signs. Anti-regime graffiti was quickly painted over and could be met with a harsh response.</p><p>Since the fall of Gadhafi, graffiti is appearing all over Tripoli, much of it denouncing the former regime and declaring Libya "free." New murals are also popping up across the capital, giving Libyans a chance to vent their pent-up rage toward Gadhafi.</p><p>Under a highway underpass, there's a caricature of the former dictator, his hair sticking out wildly as he gets flushed down a toilet. Depicting Gadhafi as a rat is also an extremely popular theme.</p><p>On a recent evening in Tripoli's Fashlum neighborhood, 15-year-old Mohamed Mahmoud Fujani has just finished painting a picture of Gadhafi, clutching his Green Book as he is shot out of a canon. Libyan students were forced to study the Green Book — Gadhafi's political manifesto — in school.</p><p>Fujani says even a few weeks ago, before Gadhafi fell, it would have been impossible to make murals like this one.</p><p>"If you do something like this," Fujani says. "They will kill you.<strong>"</strong></p><p><strong>A Range Of Paintings</strong></p><p>Not all of the new paintings are anti-Gadhafi. Some are images of rebel fighters thrusting their AK-47s victoriously above their heads. Some are simple slogans: "We Win or We Die" and "Libya is free." Next to Fujani's Gadhafi picture there's an image of a wild-eyed Sponge Bob Squarepants waving a rebel flag.</p><p>Fujani's 18-year-old sister, Rihada, is painting a mysterious life-size figure with just one eye, sort of a veiled, Muslim Cyclops.</p><p>She says she is drawing a woman wearing a white <em>hijab</em>, the traditional clothing of Libyan women.</p><p>To Rihada, the painting represents that under the old oppressive regime, women were watching.</p><p>Rihada can barely contain herself when she talks about the revolution, which began in February and lasted six months before Gadhafi was toppled. She calls the uprising "a new rose, a beautiful scent, a breeze."</p><p>"What a lovely freedom breeze came from the 17 February revolution. It's a whole new feeling. I hope we can be better than before," she says.</p><p>A few blocks away another group of young artists are gathered on the main street of Fashlum.</p><p>Mohamed Abou-Setta enthusiastically points to the various images and slogans on the wall behind them.</p><p>"As you see here, this is the map of Libya. And this is our flag," Abou-Setta says.</p><p>Another painter is making a portrait of Libyan national hero Omar Muktar, who was executed by the Italians in 1931 for opposing the colonial regime.</p><p>An estimated 30,000 Libyans died in the uprising against Gadhafi, according to the new health minister.</p><p>Abou-Setta says this wall is also going to be a monument to the local martyrs.</p><p>"We are trying to make something here, a big board, to write all the names of the people who are dying here in this street," he says.</p><p>He says the mural is a celebration of the victory over Gadhafi, but it's also a place to remember how much that victory cost. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1315980004?&gn=Freedoms+Flourish+On+Walls+Across+Tripoli&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140432917&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110914&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-13/freedoms-flourish-walls-across-tripoli-91952 Arab Spring Blooms On Libyan Radio http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-12/arab-spring-blooms-libyan-radio-91880 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-12/radio-libya-2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The fall of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has brought about a dramatic change on the radio dial in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.</p><p>In the past, Libyans could only tune in to the government stations. Foreign broadcast signals were blocked. And what the state-run stations offered was tightly controlled and laden with pro-Gadhafi propaganda.</p><p>Now, the airwaves that used to only carry four state-run stations — broadcasting only in Libyan Arabic as a mouthpiece for the Gadhafi regime — are filled with broadcasts from across the Mediterranean and neighboring Tunisia.</p><p>There's news from Radio France International. Announcers yell in Italian. A station in Tunisian Arabic can be heard. Shakira is singing in Spanish and English.</p><p>In the past, the government jammed all these broadcasts.</p><p>Rebels have taken over the main national radio station, which used to be called Al-Libiyah, and renamed it Radio Libya.</p><p>Ahmed Mustafa Sharif spent his career working as a logistics manager for a European oil company. After the rebels seized Tripoli three weeks ago, the 46-year-old became the assistant manager of Radio Libya.</p><p>On a recent day, he walks through the main studio, which is hosting a call-in show. Much of the talk is upbeat about the ouster of Gadhafi, but some people also call in to complain about the lack of water and other supplies in the capital.</p><p>But even complaining is something new. Sharif says people didn't call in to complain or criticize under the old regime.</p><p>Down the hall, four young musicians from Tripoli are being interviewed. It's the first time they've ever been invited to perform on the radio.</p><p>In the control room for the broadcast studio, tears well up in Sharif's eyes as he listens to the young men singing in Arabic, English and French.</p><p>"I'm going to be cry, you know. This is the first time we feel the free in Libya," he says.</p><p>Sharif says Gadhafi kept Libyans in a big jail for four decades.</p><p>"You cannot move free. You cannot say anything on the radio. Now they are working free. We can put English singers, Arab singers, any singers in the radio, but before no," Sharif says. "Also, [Gadhafi] didn't like anybody to be star. Just for him, this country just for him."</p><p>Fuad Ramadan, who was playing guitar in the studio, says that until three weeks ago, he could have been arrested for performing most of his songs in public. He says used to get together secretly with a group of friends to practice English and write music.</p><p>"We used to go and gather at Hamed's house," he says. "We used to go there without telling anyone of course. Anybody could tell on you and you could go beyond the sun. We'd gather, write songs. And we were actually waiting for this moment when we could speak to the world and tell them how we feel." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1315855333?&gn=Arab+Spring+Blooms+On+Libyan+Radio&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140400407&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110912&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-12/arab-spring-blooms-libyan-radio-91880 NATO's Intervention In Libya: A New Model? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-11/natos-intervention-libya-new-model-91835 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-12/nato_rasmussen_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NATO planes are still in the air and bombing targets over Libya and Moammar Gadhafi is still on the loose. Nonetheless, NATO is taking something of a victory lap in the wake of an operation that broke new ground for the military alliance.</p><p>But the Libyan operation also raised questions about its mission, its future role in such conflicts, and how it determines when to intervene.</p><p>NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told NPR he sees the Libya operation as a template for future NATO missions and proof the United Nations can outsource its muscle to the alliance.</p><p>"I don't see that as a negative" he said. "On the contrary, it's very, very positive that NATO is able to support the United Nations Security Council and help implement its decisions. That adds to the credibility of the U.N. and I'm very pleased to see NATO in that role."</p><p>Throughout the conflict, NATO has insisted that its actions are limited to supporting the U.N. resolution that calls for protecting civilians and enforcing an arms embargo.</p><p>But NATO certainly pushed the boundaries, and critics say NATO ended up providing close air support for anti-Gadhafi rebels. To most observers, NATO was clearly taking the rebel side in a civil war and backing efforts to oust Gadhafi.</p><p>Those critics worry that NATO risks becoming an armed service provider for the U.N. and other allies. That job description is a long way from what NATO still insists is its core, founding mission: to protect its members' territory and population.</p><p>In addition, there are questions about possible interventions in the future. Critics point out that NATO moved quickly to intervene in oil-rich Libya, while there's been no serious discussion of such action in Syria, where President Bashar Assad has been waging a deadly crackdown on opponents of his government.</p><p><strong>European Countries In The Lead</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>But Rasmussen said it was important to note the leading role played by European countries in Libya. European powers carried out the vast majority of the air strikes and only one of the eighteen ships enforcing the arms embargo was American.</p><p>"This time European allies and Canada took the lead. And that's an answer to an American public that requests more European engagement," Rasmussen said. "You saw it in Libya and I hope to see that model used also in the future."</p><p>But it's hard to take the lead – and maintain that position — when you run critically low on precision-guided bombs after barely two months into a conflict, as NATO's European allies did in Libya. The U.S. stepped in and sold the alliance ordnance, saving NATO from embarrassment.</p><p><strong>American Assets Crucial</strong></p><p>The U.S. launched 97 percent of the Tomahawk cruise missiles that crippled Gadhafi's air defenses at the start of operation. And throughout, the U.S. also provided about 75 percent of all the aerial refueling and reconnaissance flights and supplied key targeting and intelligence assets such as unmanned drones.</p><p>"Without critical American assets this would not have been possible and I suppose one could argue that if the operation had to go on too much longer it also would not have been possible," says Ian Lesser executive director of German Marshall Fund's trans-Atlantic center in Brussels.</p><p>"Clearly Europe was very, hard pressed," Lesser adds, "They were running out of stocks. The lesson really is that the US and Europe together need to refine their defense planning and procurement so they can get more for the amount they can spend."</p><p>Rasmussen concedes the mission underscored weaknesses in NATO. "The operation has made visible that the Europeans lack a number of essential military capabilities," he said. He says getting European NATO members to spend more wisely on defense, especially in a time of austerity, will be a key mission of his until the next big alliance gathering in Chicago next spring.</p><p>But only five of the 28 NATO members are meeting the NATO requirement, which calls for members to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense, according to the alliance's own figures. And Britain and others in the two percent club have announced plans for sharp defense cuts.</p><p>Former British foreign secretary Douglas Hurd believes the Libya mission represents a worrying trend for NATO because Europe's two largest military powers - Britain and France - shouldered most of the burden.</p><p>"We are the only two countries, apart from the United States, in NATO who actually have the will, the guts if you like, to intervene where intervention is clearly needed to prevent a slaughter."</p><p>Only eight NATO allies took part in combat in Libya. European powerhouse Germany even pulled its crews out of NATO support aircraft. Germany's move revived concerns that the economic giant is not living up to its international political and military obligations.</p><p>"That's a serious weakness for the whole of Europe," says Giles Merritt, a military analyst at the Brussels think tank Security and Defense Agenda. "German foreign policy still has not yet connected itself with European foreign policy in a meaningful way. And the German failure to put its shoulder to the wheel on Libya raised big question marks about how we're going to run European defense and security policy for the future." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1315810638?&gn=NATO%27s+Intervention+In+Libya%3A+A+New+Model%3F&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Europe,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140292920&c7=1004&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1004&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110912&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sun, 11 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-11/natos-intervention-libya-new-model-91835 Future African Relations Among Uncertainty In Libya http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-04/future-african-relations-among-uncertainty-libya-91504 <p><p>Moammar Gadhafi bankrolled and championed the vision of a United States of Africa, with himself as the continental president. As Libya struggles to find its equilibrium on the cusp of what appears to be the post-Gadhafi era, one question is its future as part of Africa.</p><p>The African Union has not officially recognized the rebel leadership in Libya, saying "regime change" and outside intervention were wrong.</p><p>South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, says continuing clashes are the reason the African Union has not recognized the unelected rebel leaders in Libya. Zuma was the chief AU mediator during the rebellion and spoke after a recent African Union summit.</p><p>"There is still fighting going on in Libya. Those are the facts. If there is fighting, there is fighting," he said. "So we can't therefore stand and say this is a legitimate [government] now."</p><p>More than a dozen African countries have unilaterally recognized Libya's rebel leadership, though not some of the continent's heavyweights — or the African Union. This has prompted a furious response from the transitional administration.</p><p>"Gadhafi has always looked at the African Union as his own baby," says Guma El-Gamaty, the Libyan rebel representative in Britain.</p><p>El-Gamaty dismisses the African Union's position as pro-Gadhafi. He told Al Jazeera's <em>Inside Story</em> that African leaders are missing the point if they choose not to ditch Gadhafi.</p><p>"Gadhafi has squandered billions and billions of Libyans' money trying to bribe many of the corrupt dictators in Africa, and that is partly what discredits the AU," he says, "and if some African countries are feeling sorry for Gadhafi, that's their problem. That's their right."</p><p>Political analyst Miguna Miguna says Africa cannot simply sweep away history and forget the pivotal role Gadhafi has played on the continent.</p><p>"Gadhafi funded all the main liberation movements in Africa. It's a fact. We can't change history," Miguna says. "He chose to be a pan-Africanist — that we will never take away from Gadhafi."</p><p>Miguna warns that Libya's rebel leaders risk alienating the continent, not least because of the brutal treatment allegedly being meted out to black Africans, whom Gadhafi recruited into his fighting forces. However, many other African migrants — who are not hired guns — are also being targeted, Miguna says.</p><p>"Some of the statements I've heard from the transitional authority in Libya are worrying, in the sense that they sound very anti-African, anti-sub-Saharan African," Miguna says. "In other words, anti-black African, almost bordering racism, actually."</p><p>The African Union too has expressed deep concern about the plight of black Africans being mistaken for Gadhafi's fighters in Libya. Jean Ping heads the AU commission and says the Transitional National Council (TNC) must beware.</p><p>"TNC seems to confuse black people with mercenaries," Ping says. "If you do that, [it] means one-third of the population in Libya, which is black, is also mercenaries."</p><p>On future Libya-Africa relations, political commentator Miguna says the new leaders must be pragmatic and remember that, geographically, Libya is in Africa — even though geopolitically it may be allied to the Arab world. He acknowledges, though, the African Union may indeed find itself on the wrong side of history.</p><p>"The reality is, Gadhafi did not want to leave and the African Union did not have the fortitude to tell him to leave — and the U.N. did," Miguna says.</p><p>He has a warning for some of the continent's leaders.</p><p>"African dictators should be watching Libya, Egypt and Tunisia very keenly," Miguna says. "These dictators should be shaking in their boots because their time is up."</p><p>He says the Arab Spring is spreading. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1315131428?&gn=Future+African+Relations+Among+Uncertainty+In+Libya&ev=event2&ch=134713506&h1=Conflict+In+Libya,Africa,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140176745&c7=1126&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1126&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110904&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=10&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=134713506&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Sun, 04 Sep 2011 05:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-04/future-african-relations-among-uncertainty-libya-91504