UN losing poker hand


UN losing poker hand

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In poker, smart players know that the best thing to do with a weak hand is dump it.  Not so the United Nations. Libya is doubling its stake continuing to back the failing Government of National Accord (GNA), hoping that by reopening its UN base in the capital, the previously fortified ‘Palm City Complex’, things will improve as well as sending in Gurkha ‘Security Guards’.  It might make a difference if they increase the numbers to 500, or even better, a 1,000, then the Gurkhas could wipe the floor with all the Tripoli-based militias.

The UN omit mentioning this. For 200 years the Gurkhas have been the most feared force in the British Army. If anyone can destroy the Tripoli militias, they can, but what’s the point? Why shore up an unelected five-man government?

The GNA was created by the UN two years ago to unite the country and end the civil war. Instead, the GNA’s cabinet are unable even to unite Tripoli, which is ‘controlled’ by various militias. Hence the need for Gurkhas, to stop militias overrunning Palm City, its ostentatious UN compound, itself a provocation to the Libyan people.

The elected parliament in Tobruk, rival to the GNA, is increasingly calling the shots. Thanks to the increasingly popular Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Tobruk now controls the majority of the country and its oil infrastructure and ports. The idea that the GNA will ever rule over areas held by Tobruk is laughable. But, having created the GNA, the UN remains determined to back it.  Last week Haftar banned GNA personnel from visiting the east, so much for the alleged French July détente efforts.

What makes the UN case so hopeless is that outside powers are split and at odds – in particular France and Italy – over who to support.

One European country is even pondering supporting the son of the late Colonel Gaddafi, so desperate has the situation become.

Italy supports the GNA, because militias in western Libya are in a position to stop people-smuggling.  However, it faces parliamentary elections in 2018 and politicians are aware the electorate will focus on the immigration issue.

Most migrants from Libya end up in Italy, not France, and for Paris, migration is less important than combating terrorism. Haftar is already combating Islamist terrorists in Libya, making France a natural ally.

“Serraj leverages off of Italian support,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a doctoral candidate in geopolitics and Libyan commentator, adding “and you can be sure Haftar makes use of the prestige of France’s apparent support for his military campaign. On the ground, the inability of foreign states to coordinate among themselves on Libya has always generated more chaos.”

In July, Fayez Serraj, the UN GNA designated prime minister met with Haftar in Paris to sign a peace deal between the two sides. But neither leader actually signed the document. In an interview with France 24, Haftar later said: “Serraj is a good man, but he cannot implement what he agrees to.”

Russia showed its support for Haftar by inviting him aboard an aircraft carrier earlier this year. It has since hedged its bets, insisting it is working for reconciliation by talking to all sides, including the Misrata-based Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos (BMB).

The BMB militia, surprisingly, pledged its support for an unknown multi-millionaire businessman Basit Igtet, a Swiss based Libyan with alleged links to Israel and designs on becoming president of Libya.

Be clear. The BMB Militia are enemies of Haftar’s LNA.

Lev Dengov, head of the ‘Russia’s Contact Group for a Libyan settlement’, recently said: “Tripoli and Tobruk personnel share the same embassy building in Moscow, engineered by us, to bring them closer to each other.”

Britain is trying to have it both ways. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who presumably facilitated the Gurkha’s deployment, visited Serraj to show support, flying east to see Haftar on August 24 at his headquarters, urging the field marshall to keep to the ‘unsigned’ agreement announced in Paris. Why should Haftar? It’s farcical.

The United States has kept a low profile thus far, though rumour has it there has been a shift in policy in the last few days. Expect Rex Tillerson to get involved in the near future.

With the big powers so divided, and the GNA experiment having failed, the new UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, a Lebanese politician, said by some to be distrusted by the Russians, would have done better to dump the GNA.

Instead Salame is planning to send UN staff and ‘British Gurkhas’, disguised as ‘guards’, into the Tripoli cauldron, putting many lives needlessly at risk to support a failed and unelected government.

When will the UN throw in its losing hand? And when will Russia return to the aces it had when it supported Haftar?

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Fuel shortage in Libya capital after fighters close pipeline


Fuel shortage in Libya capital after fighters close pipeline

Fuel supply to Libya's capital is regularly interrupted by militia or striking employees

Fuel supply to Libya’s capital is regularly interrupted by militia or striking employees

Libyans queued in long lines outside petrol stations in the capital Tripoli on Tuesday after fighters forced the closure of a fuel pipeline to the city.

On Monday, “an armed militia trespassed (at) Zawiya Oil Storage Depot and forced the workers (in) the control room to stop pumping the fuel to Tripoli,” Libya’s oil company said in a statement in English.

The National Oil Corporation said it changed the route of “fuel vessels heading to Zawiya port to discharge in Tripoli port”, though warehouses in Tripoli were still at good levels.

But on Tuesday in the capital, 50 kilometres (30 miles) to the east of Zawiya, several petrol stations were closed while long queues formed outside others.

 

Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed  Moamer al-Kadhafi, with rival governments and militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Living conditions have deteriorated in the capital, where residents have faced power cuts, fuel shortages, dizzying price hikes, and a cash crunch.

A UN-backed unity government has failed to improve the situation or assert its authority across the country.

Our miserable life in Libya


Our miserable life in Libya

Mustafa Fetouri |  Friday 21 July 2017

In Tripoli people queue at Bank for money [Photo: Social Media]

To say the lives of Libyans since their so called revolution in 2011 has been all but an uphill struggle against, sometimes, the impossible is an understatement! Life in Libya has been tremendously reduced to daily suffering despite the wealth of the country and when you recall how easy it was before 2011 you really miss the country you used to live in and of course miss the guy who used to keep it going so easy for the majority of people. Today’s Libya is a little bit of Somalia, Iraq, and Yemen combined together however differently.

This is a recent look at life in the capital Tripoli where it should much easier than in interior of the country where things are much worse.

Just imagine spending between 7 and 9 hours on average everyday without electricity while the average temperature is 40 degrees Celsius and humidity standing at around 60% or higher in the summer! On top of that you go to the bank maybe twice a week to get some money and after waiting for hours in the scorching Tripoli sun you are told there is none! It’s your money but still, you can not have it because banks are short of liquidity as they have been for the last year or so. Whatever cash they get they struggle to distribute to as many people as possible so no one gets enough which means you never get the exact amount you need; sometimes so desperately!

Assume that something goes wrong with your kitchen sink so you contact the plumber to come and fix it. He demands cash payment – most likely he is an illegal worker with no bank account. You let the sink dribbles on as you think of saving whatever cash you have for something more important in a country where cash dominates the economy so every payment is made in cash!

Lately some shops started accepting payment cards and checks but only at 30% higher than the cash price and sometimes even higher hike in prices. You demand an explanation from the grocery or any other shopkeeper and his answer is usually this: unfortunately, this is what we have and if you do not like it we can not do anything about it! Unless of course he knows you and trusts you enough to accept checks. But how many people will he know and trust?

If you are having a bad day and end up seeking medical help your problems will only multiply. You go a public hospital seeking treatment but you only find a doctor who sees you after waiting for at least two hours. You are lucky if you only walk away with simple prescription however it will cost you a great deal of cash! remember the cash is a red line for you not for medicine though! And Remember that before the 2011 revolution you as a Libyan used to get a medical checkup and the medicine at half price or completely free at any public hospital.

If you really have a bad luck your condition will require serious medical intervention. Because all public hospitals which used to treat people for free are almost desert and lacking the basic things such as simple injection, simple pain killers and of course electricity in most of them.

If the doctor decides that you have to have an operation then be ready for a long list of shopping! Yes medical shopping if you like. The respected doctor will give you a list of the things he needs for your operation and you have to go to the medical supplies shop (all private) and buy everything the doctor needs! This will bring you back to the issue of cash again! You could have gone to a private clinic (most of them illegally operating) but the cost is prohibitive! At least in the public hospital, the doctor will operate on you free of charge however at his own convenience!

In case things get worse and you are advised to seek medical treatment abroad then you are going through hell itself.

First, you have very little choices as where to go since all European countries require visas and to get one you have to spend a huge sum in cash again to get the visa, travel to Tunisia at least once since there are no EU embassies in Libya. You need much more cash to actually travel for your medical treatment. So Europe is out of the question and you are left only with three choices Egypt, Jordan or Tunisia; the only three countries where visas are not prerequisite as you can get them on arrival except for Tunisia where no visa is required.

Then you have to think about the financial side of things. To go abroad for medical treatment means you would need at least five thousand USD. To get such a figure nowadays in Libya you would need to buy it at the black market at the prevailing rate. For the last nine months or so the Libyan dinar has devalued against all other currencies. You are lucky if you can get the five thousand figure for, say, 42 thousand Libyan dinars! Recall here again the chronical cash problem and of course that the average income in Libya is about 500 LYD or about 60 USD. Before the “revolution” it income averaged around USD 300 while the exchange rate was around 1.3 LYD to the dollar. At the same time, you used to buy almost everything at subsidized prices supported by the government including hard currency for serious matters like medical treatment abroad.

This depreciation of the Libyan Dinar has led to a multitude of other problems. Prices of daily consumer goods have increased by some 200% and in some cases by 500% in less than five months in 2017 while some goods are no longer available because their prices have become so high that shop keepers do not sell them anymore. For example, it is very difficult to find certain shaving creams or plates just as it is so difficult to find after shave or good sun classes, reasonable perfume or shampoo. A one-liter bottle of olive oil costs around 15 LYD while a good suite would cost you around 1500 LYD and nice shoes should be available for 400 LYD so people learned to go without such things. One baguette now costs 5 times what it used to be six years ago while one kilo of fresh meat costs three times what it used to be then. Bread is the staple of the day for every family.

As a Libyan you are likely to remember as a distant memory the time, just before six years, when USD=1.3 LYD and in the case of medical needs you are likely to get it cheaper from the central bank in case your condition does not meet the criteria for free medical treatment abroad! Bread used to cost less than 10 LYD cents.

So no wonder that many people who had to go abroad for medical emergencies had to sell their cars and sometimes their homes to have enough cash for their treat. No wonder very few Libyans travel for medical treatment let alone for leisure!

The other day a friend commented to me by saying “if you get sick pray to God that it is a simple matter or if not then pray that you die quickly as the longer you are sick the more ruins you will bring to yourself and your family!”

No one seems to have any answer to why our lives have become so difficult.

Yet we still have three governments, two parliaments, one State Council, two prime ministers, so many ministers, and even more political parties.

One of our prime ministers just called for a new election for next March while the other said no! I have yet to find a single Libya who really cares about elections anymore as everyone is busy solving at least two problems every day and none of them is easily solved!

Saif Al-Islam accuses Abubakr Buera of defamation; case to be heard in Tobruk


Saif Al-Islam accuses Abubakr Buera of defamation; case to be heard in Tobruk

 

By Ajnadin Mustafa.

Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper has claimed that Saif Qaddafi will be tried in Libya next month, free from any ICC involvement.

Saif Al-Islam (file photo)

Cairo, 10 September 2017:

Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi has filed a lawsuit against prominent House of Representatives (HoR) member Abubakr Buera accusing him of defamation in relation to postgraduate degree from the London School of Economics. Tobruk district court has accepted the case put forward by Saif’s lawyer Khalid Al-Zaidi, and has set a date of 16 October for a hearing.

The claim that Buera defamed Saif was presented by Zaidi after the Benghazi HoR representative challenged the legitimacy of Saif’s PhD, which he in 2008.

Buera released a statement in March 2011 to the London newspaper The Independent accusing Saif of recruiting Libyan academics to write his dissertation. He reportedly alleged that Saif had gathered an assortment of PhD graduates from what was then Benghazi’s Garyounis University (now the University of Benghazi) to help him write his doctoral thesis. Buera was a professor at Garyounis at the time and specifically named an economics professor, Ahmed Menesi, as one of Saif’s collaborators. Menesi went on to become governor of the Central Bank of Libya then Libyan ambassador to Austria.

In the article Buera called on LSE to investigate Saif’s PhD. The LSE did so, but said there was no evidence to back up the allegation.

It is not thought that Saif will turn up for the case.  His current whereabouts remain something of a mystery. Since being released from house arrest and leaving Zintan, he was reported as having gone to the south of the country.

Benghazi protestors condemn ICC over Warfali


Benghazi protestors condemn ICC over Warfali

By Gabriel Harrison.

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Pro-Warfali demonstrators in Benghazi (Photo: LANA)

 

Supporters of  Libya National Army (LNA) officer Mahmoud Al-Warfali took to the streets of Benghazi yesterday to protest the ICC’s arrest warrant for him. In a statement issued by the organisers rejecting the arrest warrant, they accused the ICC of a range of wrongdoings from bureaucratic incompetence, to imperialism and support for terrorism.

“We, the sons and tribes of Benghazi, direct this message to the so-called International Criminal Court for being a colonial political institution that serves the interests of world imperialism and the Zionist movement and not an international human rights organisation,” the protestors’ statement read.

Welcoming Warfali’s willingness to take part in a Libyan military investigation into his actions, they accused the ICC of covertly continuing to support terrorists after they had been defeated on the battlefield by Libyan military forces. They also accused the ICC of hypocrisy for taking action against Warfali but not pursuing militant Islamists who been responsible for killings and other crimes. Where, they asked, had the ICC been for the last six years when judges and others were assassinated or people crucified in Sirte. They also asked where were the ICC charges against  those who killed demonstrators in Benghazi on 8 June 2013 or were responsible for the Gharghour massacre in Tripoli in November the same year or for other killings or acts of wanton destruction such as that of Tripoli International airport.

“This is a first step towards targeting the Libyan military, which has worked to save the country,” they claimed.

The protestors expressed appreciation for those who supported Warfali who has been accused of summary executions of some 33 Islamist militants.

The ICC has attracted considerable criticism over its lack of success in prosecuting war criminals. The court has only convicted three individuals in its 15-year history despite spending more than $2 billion. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has previously blamed its shortcomings on a lack of resources and continued instability in Libya.

In January, Human Rights Watch (HRW) sharply criticised the ICC for not launching investigations into war crimes in Libya. They argued that militias continued to “flout international law with impunity”, and that both the Libyan criminal system and the ICC were unable to hold criminals accountable.

Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), which welcomed the ICC arrest warrant for Warfali, has called on the LNA to cooperate with the court and deliver Warfali to The Hague immediately.

While agreeing that justice was best administered “as close to the crime as possible”, it questioned whether any trial in Libya of Warfali would be properly conducted. In any event, under international law, Libya was duty bound to surrender him unless it successfully challenged the order in court, it noted.

EDITORS NOTE: While ICC is condemning Warfalli only on videos which was posted on the Social Media, ICC tends purposely to forget to charge NATO for crimes done to the Libyan population which by the way its fully documented not only through the Social Media but also by the Media outlets. ICC also tends purposely to forget all the massacres, rapes, and torture done to the Libyan people who refused to BETRAY their country by the rebels also well documented, ICC also tends purposely to forget about Derna & Sirt being trapped by ISIS they where tortured, beheaded and raped and women were sold. ICC also tends purposely to forget BanWalid that it was attacked with Sarin gas also well document. I can go on and on for all the crimes the West, rebels, GNC and the UN backed government have done to the Libyan people who are also document. Where is the ICC to charge the ones responsible for the 70 thousand prisoners who are being tortured and raped to death? BUT IT SEEMS THAT ICC ONLY CHARGES HEROES WHO WANT WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR COUNTRY. SHAME ON YOU AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THAT CONDONES SUCH BEHAVIOUR