Libya, three years later

Three years have passed since the intervention by NATO forces in the Libyan Civil War. In March 2011, the NATO nations decided to bomb the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya of Muammar Gaddafi, who led Libya since 1969. Thanks to NATO air and ground support, Libyan rebels of the National Transitional Council were able to capture Tripoli in September 2011. The final battle was fought in the town of Sirte, Gaddafi place of birth and the last bastion of his Jamahiriya. On 20 October after days of fighting, the leader of the ''1969 Revolution'' was captured by NTC rebels after a NATO attack destroyed his convoy. Muammar Gaddafi was bleeding and beaten by angry rebels. Finally somebody took a shot at the dictator and killed him. Until this day it is still unclear who murdered Gaddafi, but we know that he died after being captured and tortured! The new State of Libya entered a period of chaos. Sectarian tribal conflicts started again and poverty rose sharp. Although freed from the Gaddafi tyranny, the State of Libya is plagued with corruption, ineffective government and above all capitalist exploitation as the new government plans on turning Libya into a capitalist nation!

After the death of Muammar Gaddafi and the birth of the State of Libya, many Libyans belived that a new era of liberty began. They were very wrong, the new leaders of Libya were not able to govern. This is because under Gaddafi, no Libyan bureaucrat dared to think independent. All political decisions were made by a centralized leadership. In Libya's case the Gaddafi family were the true leaders. Gaddafi's sons were powerful and enjoyed wealth, status and power. His only daughter Ayesha was dubbed in the Arab press as the "Claudia Schiffer of North Africa," because of her dyed hair. Together with loyal army officers, the Gaddafi family ruled the Jamahiriya. No bureaucrat could do anything win-out permission. After the Gaddafi clan were disposed, chaos erupted as nobody knew who was running the country!

The NTC leadership were a mixture of state bureaucrats, military officers and exiles who have not been in Libya for years. The nation does not have a history of democratic rule. Under King Idris the country was an absolute monarchy. Political parties were banned in 1951, only the Royal Family was allowed to rule. Gaddafi and his officers took power in 1969 and kept all political power in the hands of their Revolutionary Command Council. By 1977 the Command Council was abolished and replaced by the General People's Congress. Although the GPC was to be the highest ''democratic'' body of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, it served only as a rubber-stamp parliament for the decisions made by the ''Dear Leader'' 

With the collapse of the Jamahiriya, the General People's Congress collapsed too. The new government had no idea how to govern a nation held together by fear and terror. Both King Idris and Muammar Gaddafi used their secret police forces to capture and arrest their opponents. The new State of Libya used their militia's to establish order. But these militia's wanted revenge and did not cared about justice. Supporters of the murdered dictator were hunted down and arrested. Many are still in improvised prisons, still waiting to be trialed even after three years. Gaddafi's son; Saif Al-Islam was captured in November 2011 and is still waiting to be judged for his actions during the civil war!

Then there are the ethical minorities and local separatists. Although Libya is an Arab nation, its has a Berber speaking minority. These people were forced by Gaddafi to speak Arab and were not allowed to call themselves Berbers. As an Arab-nationalist, Gaddafi forced the Arab language and culture on the Berber minority. Then you also had the sectarian conflicts between cities. People of the city of Benghazi never liked the people of Tripoli who were more pro-Gaddafi. Some Libyans in the eastern provinces wanted to create a federal republic, which the new government rejected. Angry separatists started to use violence against the government who was in no way to stop them!

Although the National Army of Libya was created, the government was still not in full control. Many towns and small cities remain govern by local militia's. Many are based on tribal identity and because of sectarian conflicts, we see many conflicts. Since the end of the Libyan Civil War in October 2011, more then 1000 members of militia groups have been killed. 500 Libyan civilians have died as a result of sectarian violence between the militia groups!

The National Transitional Council created the General National Congress as the new parliament. This body was created in August 2012. Although democratic elected, most members of this new congress are none-partisan and do not follow a political party. Political parties in Libya are now legal, but because they were never free to operate, few have build any connections to the Libyan people. The General National Congress proofed to be a powerless body. The true powers in Libya remain the local militia's and the councils who run towns and cities independent of the government. Some militia's have raided the General National Congress buildings and use intimidation's to get what they want from the government. The prime minister of Libya was even kidnapped by a militia group. Ali Zeidan was prime minister since 2012. But after failing to capture the rouge oil tanker; MV Morning Glory, Zeidan fled Libya on 11 March 2014! 

If ethnic tensions and militia's are not enough, Libya has also a problem with its oil. Under Gaddafi, the oil was used to boost the economy. But the eastern parts of the nation always felt they were left with less money then the western provinces. Most Libyan oil comes from the eastern provinces and now these provinces demand more money from oil profits. Yet the inefficient government has not been able to make a deal with the eastern provinces. Now eastern militia groups have blocked the pipelines to the west and are causing another political conflict with the Libyan government. Because the eastern militia's are planning to sell Libyan oil for themselves on the world market. The Tripoli based government would never allow this, so there we have another huge problem!

The working class of  Libya are the ones who suffer the most. Although it has been three years, many cities and towns are still in ruins. Sirte, the birthplace of Muammar Gaddafi and last town to fall, remains a ruined place. Also rebels from Misrata have also destroyed the town of Tawergha. This place was home to many black workers, who were hired to work in Libya. In 2006, more then 24.000 people mostly black workers, were living in Tawergha. However the Armed Forces of the Jamahiriya used the town as a base of operation against the rebels in Misrata in March 2011. The rebels believed that the black population were supportive of Gaddafi. So rebels from the city of Misrata entered Tawergha in August 2011 and deported its 24.000 population with force. They burned houses and turned Tawergha into a ghost town!

Now in 2014, the State of Libya is offering no alternative to the old Jamahiriya state. Although called ''free'' and ''democratic'' by western nations, Libya is as chaotic as Iraq and Afghanistan. Another victim of western imperialist intervention into foreign conflicts. Supporters of Gaddafi in Libya are now called the  ''Green Resistance'' and their political party is called the Libyan Popular National Movement. Banned by the General National Congress, the political wing of the ''Green Resistance'' keeps defending the social gains of the Jamahiriya, which many Libyans supported. This is why a workers party must be build, the current Libyan government is ineffective and not able to represent the working class. Therefore workers councils must be established that can lead the base for a genuine socialist republic in Libya. Gaddafi may have used socialist rhetoric, but revolutionary socialists always rejected his regime. 

The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was no state of the masses, but a pseudo-revolutionary state with a planned economy. Thanks to this planned economy, Libya became one of the more wealthier nations in the Arab world. Because Gaddafi shared the oil wealth with the Libyans. It is true he enriched himself and his family, but unlike Tunisia, Egypt and Syria, the Libyans also benefited. It was not until after 1999 when Gaddafi started to abolish the planned economy in favor of a limited market economy. By 2007 a stock market was opened and private enterprises were becoming more legal. At the time of the Libyan Civil War little remained of the planned economy, although not all sectors were controlled by market forces. Revolutionary socialists fear that capitalism will be able to finish its conquest of Libya, which it started under Gaddafi. Therefore a workers party on a socialist program must be build. A party that rejects capitalism and fights for a workers government and a democratic socialist Libya!

Tawergha in November 2011. Once a town of 24.000 people, now abandoned!

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism