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'Security, serious concern in Libya'

The interim government in Libya is making efforts to stabilize the country following a popular revolution that toppled slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Interview with Nii Akuetteh, an African policy analyst in Washington, in a discussion about the challenges for the interim government in Libya stabilizing the post-revolution situation.

Looking at the situation in Libya, is this something that you were expecting that now with Gaddafi gone, the country would be facing a crisis like this?

When this all started, no I wasn't expecting this, but there have been signs all along that the security situation is dangerous and there is no one person in charge; no one that everybody is looking up to among the fighters.

Of course, given my background I have been concerned about how dark-skinned Africans and Libyans have been treated; then you go to how Gaddafi was executed, which definitely is a war crime.

Then you've got these clashes between the different militias from different towns and groups where they have so many different issues - some of them say they don't accept the leaders of the county; some of them say they want more cash before they disarm.

So, my answer is that now I am pretty concerned; it is not what I expected initially, but as the uprising has gone on, I've become more concerned; and you could see the signs with how they have treated dark-skinned Africans all over Libya.

It is a big concern and the problem is that the UN Security Council and the NATO countries that spearheaded the uprising by helping the rebels refused when the NTC asked them to stay longer and help them create... It was a very puzzling decision and as these fights continue, it becomes more concerning.

The main concern would be for a lot of people, can the interim government control this? I mean, when it did take control over Tripoli, there was of course a lot of hopes that they would bring the perpetrators of the injustices of the former regime to justice and now they have to face a new crisis and that is fights between the militia.

Now, these militias still have very heavy weaponry at their disposal. They haven't been able to collect and get all these weapons back into Tripoli into the hands of the central government. So, can the interim government control the situation?

I think that is looking doubtful. I agree completely with you, they refuse to hand over the weapons and so it is looking very doubtful. Mostafa Abdul Jalil himself, who is the head of the whole new regime, has warned that there could be a new civil war because the different militias do not trust each other and they seem not to trust the central government.

So I agree with you, the security situation is very puzzling. The attitude of the NATO countries... because they'll have to create this situation… it is all so puzzling to me because they seem to be saying, 'well, we are done with it,' but clearly, chaos in the new Libya is not in anybody's interest, so I'm pretty concerned, too.

Just briefly, when you say this may lead to civil war according to some, how possible do you think that is? And if the situation does proceed to that level, what will happen to Libya? What are your hopes for Libya getting democracy?

My hope is that there will be a consensus; that the international community will help the new Libyan government to get a handle on the situation. It is going to be difficult because when you have so many groups that refuse to disarm it is going to be difficult, but contemplating civil war is just too ghastly because I've seen a report and this is very… You know there are problems in Nigeria now so some are saying, 'well, if we don't get Nigeria oil, we will look to Libya.' So, it is in the interest of the world to help Libya stabilize their situation, but the threat of civil war is real and it's very concerning. So, my hope is that they will get the international help they need to calm the situation.

Source: Islam Times
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