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Libyan Eastern Tribal Chiefs, Population, and Government (Part 1 of 2)

[Image from the 15 September meeting in Benghazi. Image by Andrea Khalil.]

On 15 September 2012, the tribal chiefs of Libya’s eastern region held a meeting to announce their solutions to the recent spate of violence, which culminated in the attack on the US consulate on 11 September. Although invitations were extended to government officials at this meeting, the tribes announced a clearly critical stance vis-a-vis the government’s weak politics, at times condemning its performance and thus affirming a new capacity to criticize the Libyan state. At 10:00 AM, the chiefs and their guests began to arrive at a wedding hall in Benghazi. When I arrived at the meeting, I was surprised to see a half a dozen or so security guards standing at the ...

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Ghazi Gheblawi on Social Media and the Libyan Uprising

[Image of Ghazi Gheblawi.]

[This post is part of an ongoing Profile of a Contemporary Conduit series on Jadaliyya that seeks to highlight prominent voices in and from the Middle East and North Africa.] Jadaliyya: What do you think are the most gratifying aspects of Tweeting and Twitter? Ghazi Gheblawi: The freedom to write your thoughts without many restrictions, whether they are grammatical or linguistic, and the concise nature of Twitter, make it important to form ideas and thoughts in a very brief, focused and informative style. The other aspect is that most social, cultural or socioeconomic barriers relatively disappear on Twitter. People from different backgrounds and cultures can ...

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Democracy Now! Interview with Islamic Scholar Tariq Ramadan on the Growing Mideast Protests and "Islam & the Arab Awakening"

[Image from screen shot of Democracy Now! broadcast.]

As anti-U.S. protests spread across the Middle East, we’re joined by Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University and visiting professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Qatar. Ramadan is considered one of the most prominent Muslim intellectuals in Europe and was named by Time magazine as one of the most important innovators of the 21st century. He was barred from entering the United States for many years by former President George W. Bush. In 2004, Ramadan had accepted a job to become a tenured professor at the University of Notre Dame, but nine days before he was set to arrive, the Bush administration revoked his visa, invoking a ...

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Libyan Humiliation a Driving Force for Anti-Americanism

[US Consulate burnt down in Benghazi. Image from via Tunisia-Live.]

Al-Nass (The People), and other television channels of “Satellite Salafism,” broadcast news of a year-old mediocre film trailer about the life of the Prophet Mohammad, made by an Israeli-Californian and championed by a Florida-based Christian pastor. Across the waters, radicals spurred each other on. The reactions in Cairo and Benghazi were swift. Crowds formed in front of the US embassy in Egypt and the US consulate in Libya, storming them, and, in Benghazi, launching a rocket-fired grenade which – it seems – killed four US officials, including the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. The crowds in both Cairo and Benghazi included not only radical ...

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ليبيا ما بعد القذافي وظائف تضخيم دور القبيلة

[ليبيا أثناء الثورة. المصدر افب]

لا يوجد شك في أثر التدخل الغربي في ليبيا، الذي علاوة على نتائجه الجيوستراتيجية الكبرى على البلاد ومحيطها الإقليمي، كما تبين ذلك حالة شمال مالي، فهو يفعل في سيرورة إعادة البناء الوطنية وإنتاج الهويات، فيمثل بذا عامل إخلال بإمكانات الانتقال الديموقراطي. الانتفاضة الليبية لم تبدأ قبلية كان مجرَّد تنظيم الانتخابات الأخيرة تحديا كبيرا. فقد انتهى عهد القذافي وسط الفوضى والاضطراب. والصورة التي رسمتها ليبيا حينذاك كانت تتشكل من ميليشيات مسلحة تفرض قانونها بالقوة وتتصادم في ما بينها، علاوة على التصفيات الجسدية السريعة، ومنها تصفية القذافي نفسه، مروراً بالرغبات الانفصالية للمنطقة الشرقية، والصراعات بين القبائل، والمصادمات ذات الطابع الإثني أو الحملات العقابية ضد المهاجرين. ...

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Human Rights Watch Calls for Due Process for Detained Libyan Ex-Prime Minister

[Former Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi. Image from Wikimedia Commons]

[The following statement was issued by Human Rights Watch on 6 July 2012.]  The Libyan authorities have yet to bring former prime minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi before a judge or inform him of the charges against him though he was extradited from Tunisia on 24 June, 2012, Human Rights Watch said today after visiting al-Mahmoudi in his prison cell in Tripoli. Al-Mahmoudi said that he had not suffered any abuse during his detention in Libya, but that he had been physically abused in detention in Tunisia. Providing access to visit al-Mahmoudi was a positive move, but Libyan authorities should ensure that al-Mahmoudi is granted all his rights as a suspect, Human ...

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Libya, Impunity, and the International Criminal Court

[Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, answers questions after the joint press conference with Libya's Interim Justice Minister Mohammed al-Allagui in Tripoli on Nov. 23, 2011. Image from Xinhua/Qin Haishi.]

Last week, four staffers of the International Criminal Court (the ICC) who were part of Seif Gaddafi’s legal defense team were taken into custody in Libya on allegations that they were functioning as a conduit for conspiracy between Gaddafi and his political allies. The ICC is now plunged into a messy battle seeking release of its staff while moving forward with the Seif case in ways that strain for legitimacy within Libya. The local Zintan council leadership responsible for the detention of the legal team, and the Libyan government’s handling of the incident, may be motivated by a range of different agendas. However, it is clear that if there is no speedy resolution, ...

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Convulsions in Libya

[Burning vehicle in Bayda on 16 February 2011. Image from Wikipedia.]

Fifteen days from now, the Libyan people will go to the polls. It will be the first election of its kind in Libya, but not the first election in the country. Qaddafi’s Jamahiriya held elections, but these turned out to be very large rubber stamps for a regime that conducted the spectacular trick of centralization in the name of de-centralization. But this is going to be a fraught election. The social and political conditions are unprepared for the niceties of electoral democracy. At the Rixos Hotel, the US democratic consultants have been trying to “guide” the country to democracy, and to offer their wisdom about elections. Part of their guidance has been to ...

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الذاكرة الجماعية العربية بين الانتقام والعدالة والمصالحة

[.صورة لسجن أكدز. المصدر المجلس الوطني لحقوق الإنسان في المغرب}

يمر العالم العربي بمرحلة مفصلية في تاريخه هذه الأيام. مرحلة اختلط فيها الصالح بالطالح، واختلطت فيها الانتهازية بالثورة، وكثر فيها تغيير الولاءات وصار نوعاً من التقليد أن نرى الجلادين يصيرون ثواراً وينغسلون من كل أدران الماضي الذي شاركوا في تشكيله بكل مساوئه لمجرد أنهم غيروا الولاء بين ليلة وضحاها وأرسلوا بياناً مسجلاً أو نقل عنهم أنهم تابوا وأصلحوا وانحازوا إلى جانب الشعب. هذه السنة الخطيرة تحمل في طياتها الكثير من المخاطر على مستقبل الثورة في العالم العربي لأن الديكتاتور لا يمكن أن يستحيل ديمقراطياً. الجلاد جلاد، ومن خدم الديكتاتورية سيسعى حتماً إلى تأسيس أخرى، لأن الطبع يغلب التطبع. هذا الكلام ضروري قبل مناقشة قضية الذاكرة العربية المشتركة وطبيعة إدارة المرحلة اللاحقة ...

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Investigations Around Libya: NATO's Craven Coverup of Its Libyan Bombing

[Image taken from counterpunch.]

Ten days into the uprising in Benghazi, Libya, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council established the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya. The purpose of the Commission was to “investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya.” The broad agenda was to establish the facts of the violations and crimes and to take such actions as to hold the identified perpetrators accountable. On June 15, the Commission presented its first report to the Council. This report was provisional, since the conflict was still ongoing and access to the country was minimal. The June report was no more conclusive than the work of the human rights ...

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The Libyan Model?

[Graffiti on a tank in Libya. Image from Demotix.]

In the halls of the United Nations (UN) in New York, “Libya” hangs like an ellipse. For some, the word connotes a successful agenda for humanitarian intervention. For others, it suggests a disaster. Impending wars in West Asia remain spurred on, or haunted, by “Libya.” Oil traders downplay the dangers of a strike on Iran. They point out that any shortfall in oil markets will be covered by “friendly” oilfields in Iraq and Libya, as well as by the Saudi regime’s eagerness to pump more oil to maintain supply at current levels. Last week’s Russian and Chinese veto of the Moroccan Resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council was derived, in part, from fear. Absent strong ...

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The Current Political Situation in Libya: An Interview with Ali Ahmida

[Map of Libya. Image from]

Libya is back in the news with increasing tensions among various militia groups and political factions struggling for power, sometimes through street battles. Three months have passed since the regime of Muammar Qaddafi was dislodged in Libya. So what is happening in Libya today? What forces are in play, wand hat has become of the revolutionary militias? And what about the issue of outside influence in today's Libya, given the crucial role played by NATO forces as well as governments such as Qatar in bringing an end to Qaddafi's autocracy. Khalil Bendib spoke with University of New England political science professor Ali Ahmida, who just returned from Libya.

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (24 September)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to by Monday night of every other week]  News "Soldier Who Taught 'Total War' Against Islam Threatens to Sue Top Military Officer," Spencer Ackerman Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, a ...

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Of Stupid Men and Smart Machines

It is too early to know the definitive story of what led to Tuesday’s protests at the US embassy in Cairo and the brazen attack on the US consulate in Benghazi later that night that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. As protests threaten to spread, what emerges through the dense speculative fog of the aftermath of Tuesday’s attacks is that the violence cannot be ascribed to any single cause. It was the result of a deadly confluence of factors: fanaticism from Islamophobes ...

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Libya Recap: Snapshots from Social Media

The 11 September attack on Benghazi's consulate resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, three other US officials, and ten Libyan security officials. Initial accounts suggested that spontaneous protests against Terry Jones' "anti-Islam" video initiated the violence, but succeeding reports indicate the demonstration was used as a front for a premeditated, professional assault. Several scenarios, ranging from disgruntled extremist Salafists to fifth column elements remain plausible. One ...

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Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi's Libya

[The following report is the latest from Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the relationship between the US rendition program and the now-deposed Qaddafi regime.] When rebel forces overtook Tripoli in August 2011, prison doors were opened and office files exposed, revealing startling new information about Libya's relations with other countries. One such revelation, documented in this report, is the degree of involvement of the United States government under the Bush administration in the arrest of opponents of ...

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Beyond Libya's Election

On July 7, 2012, 1.7 million citizens participated in Libya’s first democratic election with multiple parties in nearly half a century, marking a historic achievement. Approximately 60 percent of Libya’s registered voters cast their votes to elect a 200-member national assembly that will replace the unelected interim government, the National Transition Council (NTC). 0 0 1 2954 16841 ASI 140 39 19756 14.0 ...

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هل إنتهى سراب الترويكا: حول تسليم البغدادي

هل تسليم البغدادي المحمودي، رئيس وزراء ليبيا السابق نهاية وهم؟ إن البغدادي المحمودي بريء إلى أن تثبت إدانته في محاكمة عادلة تتوفر فيها كل شروط وضمانات الدفاع. وتسليمه، في نفس الوقت، هو واجب وحق للليبيين. لكن طريقة وتوقيت عملية التسليم تعتورها سبعة  أخطاء:  خطأ قانوني : القانون المنظم للسلط لا يعطي بطريقة واضحة لرئيس الجمهورية صلاحية منع أو مباركة التسليم ولكن في نفس الوقت لا يعطي هذه الصلاحية للوزير الأول! عدم وضوح النص يحيلنا آلياً للفصل 313 من المجلة الجزائية الذي يشترط مرسوماً من الرئيس ...

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When Protector Turned Killer

Back in January, Faiz Fathi Jfara of Bani Walid asked a simple question, “I just need an answer from NATO: why did you destroy my home and kill my family?” NATO refuses to answer him. NATO went to war in Libya to protect civilians through a UN mandate (Resolution 1973). The UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court gave legitimacy to NATO's operations, and it began its ten thousand sorties in March 2011. The war quickly exceeded the UN mandate, moving for regime change using immense ...

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Gold Bullets


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The Invention of the Savage: Colonial Exhibitions and the Staging of the Arab Spring

Watching a popular uprising in real time was indeed a dramatic experience. As viewers tuned in (or streamed in) to the violence, courage, and uncertainty of events in North Africa this year, many of them had the impression of witnessing the “actual” events, free from the framing tactics and analytical bias often found on the six o’clock news. A host of new media celebrities became household names as they reported live from Tahrir, and news outlets such as Al-Jazeera saw an unprecedented rise in ...

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The International Symposium on the Arab Spring Through the Eyes of Arab Novelists: Testimonies and Readings

In the grim depths of winter, the Arabic novel keeps the sun of the Tunisian Revolution shining. Although the sun of the Tunisian Revolution and the Arab Spring is still playing hide and seek, it is imperative that artists, writers, and poets find a venue to discuss the cultural and artistic sides of the revolution. On 18 and 19 January 2012, an international symposium on the “Arab Spring Through the Eyes of Arab Novelists” took center stage at the Ibn Rachiq Culture House in Tunis. The symposium ...

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Report of the Independent Civil Society Fact-Finding Mission to Libya

 [The following is the latest from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on Libya.] Report of the Independent Civil Society Fact-Finding Mission to Libya Introduction The Independent Civil Society Mission to Libya was established by the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), in cooperation with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), who provided additional expertise and professional experience. The International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) subsequently joined the mission, ...

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Holding Libya Together: Security Challenges After Qadhafi

[The following is the latest from International Crisis Group on Libya]. Holding Libya Together: Security Challenges After Qadhafi EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS As the recent upsurge of violence dramatically illustrates, the militias that were decisive in ousting Qadhafi’s regime are becoming a significant problem now that it is gone. Their number is a mystery: 100 according to some; three times that others say. Over 125,000 Libyans are said to be armed. The groups do not see themselves as ...

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