Libya: Benghazi clean-up

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Sep 23rd, 2012

LIBYA IS inadvertently in turmoil. The civil-strife torn country, which was gradually becoming a hub for private militias, witnessed a jiff of fresh air as protesters tore down the offices of a jihadi organisation that was allegedly involved in the cold blooded murder of US diplomat Christopher Stevens.

The act of rage was unprecedented, as the mob stood against the well-entrenched militia in Benghazi, and forced it to flee. Though the protesters were backed by government machinery, the fact that they made it a political point to shun such disgruntled elements from their rank and file is quite promising.

This move has come days after some 30,000 protesters marched through Benghazi calling for an end to the armed groups and a return to the rule of law. Libyan society at this point is fairly polarised and public sympathies are split between private militias and those who have formed militant groups with the explicit support of the ministry of defence. The pro-reform groups who call themselves as brigades, like the one called Sahaty Brigade that ousted the Ansar Al Shariah outfit, are making inroads. It remains to be seen as to what impact such pro-government groups will have, and to what extent they will discourage display of arms in public.

Proliferation of armed gangs, however, is not a solution to the problems faced by the country. Libya, which had been under an autocratic dispensation for long and where institutions are too fragile to stand the test of democratic norms, cannot afford to see lawlessness as a perpetual constant. If this trend goes on, it would soon become an Afghanistan of North Africa.khaleejtimes

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