Socialist Worker

Faultlines emerge in Libya's new elite

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2269

There is a battle for power going on in Libya.

The imperialist forces behind the Nato intervention are indifferent to the quality of life or level of democracy in Libya.

They simply want to keep cheap oil flowing and are rushing to open embassies, military bases and avenues of influence.

Ex-prime minister Tony Blair has put it clearly. He said that Western “success” in Libya will offer the possibility of “regime change” in Syria and Iran.

But the imperialists have a problem. The National Transitional Council (NTC) and the rebels are not unified. Many in the NTC are defectors from Gaddafi’s regime and are seen as opportunists by some rebels.

They have been in Europe and elsewhere, dividing up Libya’s assets while young people died fighting Gaddafi.

The caretaker prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, has problems. Last week he had to postpone, then move, a press conference due to be held in a hotel being used as a rebel base in Tripoli.

A spokesman for Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the commander of forces in the capital, said, “Jibril represents no one. He is not welcome here. We have just fought to get rid of one dictator, we don’t want another one.”

The CIA detained Belhadj in Thailand in 2004 following an MI6 tipoff. He was tortured and flown to Tripoli where he was held in prison by Gaddafi.

Some NTC leaders are worried about the level of influence Belhadj is getting in Tripoli as it could be a threat to their Western-backed plans.

Libya’s future is far from certain. The continuing success of revolutions and uprisings across the region can influence events and push the West out.

Siân Ruddick

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Article information

Tue 13 Sep 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2269
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