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Anyone that been following events in Libya after the triumph of the revolution knows that since the military defeat of the Qaddafi regime, the peace has been broken all too often by armed conflict. Some have called it chaos and while I don't agree with that assessment, I know that the country is awash with weapons and the central government is still trying to get its sea legs.

There was a clash between tribes in the south in February that cost over a 100 lives before the NTC was able to handle it. There have been numerous clashes between the many revolutionary brigades and the government over issues or among themselves over turf, like the takeover, for hours of Tripoli Airport two weeks ago. No one died in that clash, but they haven't always been that lucky. Even criminal gangs have heavy weapons and try to take advantage of the disorganization to get some loot.

Remarkably, the one thing that has apparently been missing from this violent soup is what many people expected, something that looked like a counter attack by Qaddafi loyalists. Most anti-interventionists credited NATO with overthrowing Qaddafi. They also seriously overestimated the amount of popular support the Qaddafi regime had in Libya. They predicted that as soon as NATO planes where no longer in the skies over Libya, the pro-Qaddafi forces would stage something of a comeback and at a minimum, Libya would be plagued by a long period of guerrilla war.

It never happen.

Finally, this week, there was something that looked like an armed strike by forces from the Qaddafi regime, an armed clash in which 16 Libyans were killed.  

The Libya Herald reported on June 14, 2012:

Senior Qaddafi commander reported captured in ongoing Nafusa mountain clashes

Clashes between Zintani forces and members of the Mashasha tribe continued today around the town of Shagiga in the Nafusa Mountains. During the fighting, the Zintanis claimed to have captured the former Qaddafi commander of nearby Gharian, Mabrouk Sahban.  They also said they had caught a former deputy of Khamis Qaddafi as well as two Tawarghans fighting with the Mashasha.

Fighting between the two groups started on Monday after the Mashasha killed a Zintani brigadesman at a checkpoint they had erected on the road to Sebha.  During clashes on Tuesday, which drew in forces from other neighbouring towns, 16 people were killed.

Despite Zintani claims today to have moved into the town of Shagiga, home to many members of the Mashasha, local residents said that it has not been captured.  However, they reported that 40 houses had been destroyed in the town by rocket fire.

Libya Herald correspondents at a conference in nearby Jadu clearly overheard heavy gunfire during the afternoon.

Sahban, who commanded Qaddafi’s forces in the Nafusa Mountains during last year’s revolution, had a reputation for brutality. After the liberation of Gharian, a few days before that of Tripoli last August, he completely vanished. It is now being said that he was being given protection in Bani Walid, which has been seen as a hub of counter-revolutionary sentiment since January.

The situation in the area threatens to be further exacerbated by the death of a brigade commander from Jadu this afternoon. Al-Sifao Omar Hablee had earlier been shot on Tripoli’s airport road. It is claimed that he had been stopped by members of Zintan’s Mohammed Madani Brigade who tried to seize his vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, and that they shot him when he refused to hand it over.  He was taken to hospital where he died of his wounds.

Following his death, representatives from Jadu went to Zintan, and demanded that his killers be handed over.  It has been reported that some Jadu citizens are preparing for a possible clash with Zintan.

And so it goes in revolutionary Libya. There are still many stables to clean. The surprising thing is that we haven't heard more from supporters of the Qaddafi regime, but then, who knows how much they have been involved in instigating some of the other clashes or just what other mischief they've been up to.

History has shown that the defeated regime will always attempt a counter-revolution and by many means. It was a good thing for the revolution that the infamous Law 37, that banned public support for Qaddafi was struck down. It is better to have the Qaddafi supporters be able to publicly advocate their views and become politically involved in building the new Libya. But the Libyan revolutionaries must remember that the danger is not over and won't be until every vestige of the old regime is defeated in detail.


                                     Ferchichi, Libya            June 15, 2012


For more background on the Libyan Revolution and links to lots of information see my other writings at the DailyKos and WikiLeaks Central:
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Libyan High Court strikes down anti-free speech law
Where should Libya's Saif Qaddafi be tried?
MSM plays Hankey Panky with Libya
Qaddafi lies live on after him
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Libya's Qaddafi helped US & Israel against Iran in Olympic Games
Why is Russia demanding NATO boots on the ground in Libya?
#LyElect Libyans register to vote 1st time in 60 years
Libya's Revolution: How We Won - The Internationale in the 21st Century
Good News from Libya
On Libya & Glenn Greenwald: Are the anti-interventionists becoming counter-revolutionaries?
UN: NATO killed 60 civilians in Libya
Libya in the news today
Amnesty International on Libya again
The Current Situation in Libya
Democracy Now & Amy Goodman gets it wrong again.
Why is Chris Hedges calling for "boots on the ground" in Libya?
The Worm Has Turned: Good Film on Libyan Revolution from PressTV
Why NATO's mission in Libya isn't over yet
Libya's Freedom Fighters: How They Won
Racism in Libya
Abdul Rahman Gave his Eyes to See the End of Qaddafi
BREAKING: Secret files reveal Dennis Kucinich talks with Qaddafi Regime
BREAKING: Libyan TNC won't extradite Lockerbie bomber
Who really beat Qaddafi?
#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya
What should those that opposed NATO's intervention in Libya demand now?
BREAKING: Qaddafi's Tripoli Compound Falls!
Does PDA Support Qaddafi?
BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is Joined
Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure
Qaddafi's Long Arm
SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO
Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?
CCDS Statement on Libya - a Critique
The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis
NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Arming Gaddfi
North African Revolution Continues
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:05:05 AM PDT

  •  Lessons Learned (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, wu ming, 207wickedgood

    As we can see with what just happened in Egypt (parliament dissolved, possibly a military coup) the revolution is simply the first step in a long process.

    The problem with the long term corrupt, entrenched non-democratic states like Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc., is the associated cronies. Also entrenched, and making money from their positions, they sure as hell are not going to readily give up on the gravy train.

    Telling will be the U.S. reaction/action to what is happening in Egypt.

    "Think of _Huffington_ as HuffPost's more stylish offspring". A. Huffington. Uhhh, OK! Gimme a break.

    by Superpole on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:23:09 AM PDT

  •  Whuzzat? Libya? Where dat? (0+ / 0-)

    Tipped, recced, and hotlisted.  Looks like you're a source for considerable detail on Libya.  

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:43:25 AM PDT

  •  The problem may not be Qaddafi supporters (3+ / 0-)
    But the Libyan revolutionaries must remember that the danger is not over and won't be until every vestige of the old regime is defeated in detail.
    Car carrying British ambassador to Libya attacked
    A jihadist group calling itself "Brigades of imprisoned Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman" claimed responsibility for the earlier attack on the U.S. consulate, according to the SITE monitoring service. The group posted a message on jihadist forums Monday saying the attack was a response to the drone strike that killed al-Qaida's second-in-command Abu Yahya al-Libi in North Waziristan on June 4 and to U.S. drones flying in Libyan skies. It is named after the blind Egyptian Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in the U.S. and was the spiritual leader of men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
    Sources: U.S. mission in Benghazi attacked to avenge Al Qaeda
    Noman Benotman, a former senior member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting group, said that according to his sources in Benghazi, the leaflets also promised more attacks against the United States.

    Benotman, now a senior analyst at the Quilliam Foundation in London, said the attack involved the explosion of a rudimentary homemade device and the operation appears to have been hastily put together. Benotman said on Tuesday that pro al Qaeda groups operating in Libya could use the death of al Libi as a pretext to expand their operations.

    Somebody said Party! I got excited. I love Parties! Especially Parties with exclamation marks! Now I'm sad because there's not a Party! h/t AnnetteK ;-)

    by EdMass on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:30:13 AM PDT

    •  I quite agree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      The point of this diary is that Qaddafi supporters have turned out to be the least of their problems. This sounds like a handful of Qaddafi officers and a few Tawarghans fighters have conned this tribe into fighting for them. It also sounds like they are being wrapped up easily enough. If this is all the pro-Qaddafi forces have been able to come up with in the past 8 months, why they're no problem at all.

      Al Qaeda is much more the looming problem now. They didn't play a role in the revolution as Qaddafi claimed but now with easy  borders and a patchwork of security, they can make mischief. It doesn't take a large force or popular support to attach a bomb to the side of a building.  

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:08:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Libya's Prospects - GCSP (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdMass
    http://www.gcsp.ch/...
    Geneva Centre for Security Policy
    05 June 2012
    Libya's Prospects, interview with Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou [audio]

    "No coherent state leadership strategy in addressing these militias activities, the proliferation of these militias and their self-empowerment in relation to a political process - this is going to be increasingly problematic for the Libyan transition."

    •  All these experts you quote know nothing (0+ / 0-)

      About revolution. They don't even know what "transition" they are talking about.

      BTW Why do they call them 'militias' rather than 'revolutionary brigades?" Not all militias are born out of revolutions but these were. Think they might be missing something?

      They are also all experts on the occupy movement too.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:16:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What the hell are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)

        You are not making any sense. It is obvious you never bothered to listen to the report.

        Members of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy certainly have considerably more expertise and much better credentials than you have. You base much of your diaries on hearsay, propaganda and wishful thinking.

  •  The greatest threat to Libya is the unrestrained (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT

    militias that are vying for regional control. Your attempts to blame the ongoing strife on "Gaddafi forces" is a canard.

    Here's a report that gives a more honest view of the current situation in Libya:

    With Peace Comes Daily Combat Casualties

    June 14, 2012:  The NTC (National Transitional Council) is dealing with a divided country. There is no real central government in Libya, and many parts of the country are not ruled at all but are in chaos because of disputes between local militias. However, the major urban areas are run quite effectively by militia coalitions (or understandings) and local businessmen. The cities of Tripoli (the capital), Misarata, Zintan, and Benghazi are all relatively peaceful and bustling.
    ...
    The NTC has formed a national police called the SSC (Special Security Committee). So far, some 60,000-strong former militiamen (and some who fought for Kaddafi) have joined. The pay is high and regular, but leadership is largely amateur. The SSC is not welcome in Misrata and Zintan and has its hands full dealing with independent militias in Tripoli and Benghazi. The SSC is also trying to arrange an end to fighting between black African and Arab tribes around the southeastern town of Kufra. This has been going on for months and has left over 200 dead so far. The fighting has been getting worse in the last few weeks. The disputes are largely about control of water and land and are part of centuries old animosity between the Arabs and black Africans. The two tribes involved have a long history of conflict.

    Another source of violence, which the SSC has been less successful against, are Islamic radical groups in eastern Libya. Some of these groups want to turn Libya into a religious dictatorship and declare war against the non-Moslem world. These Islamic radicals have attacked Westerners in the area and were responsible for desecrating World War II era graves of Western soldiers. All this is a big embarrassment for the NTC, which knows it needs to work with the West (to sell the oil and import goods and services). At the same time, the NTC does not want the local Islamic radicals to declare war on the NTC.  The SSC may eventually have to go to war with these Islamic terror groups and trigger a round of terrorist violence.
    ...

  •  Libyan government finally clamping down on (0+ / 0-)

    rogue militias.

    Libya declare military zone in west to stop bloodshed

    "As a result of the violence in the areas of Mizdah, Sheguiga and Zintan which has killed innocent people, the interim government... orders all parties to immediately stop their fire," Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib's office said in a statement.
    "To reinforce this, the government has ordered the army chief and the interior ministry to consider the area of clashes a military zone and to use force and all means necessary to stop any shooting against innocent civilians."
    The statement was backed by the ruling National Transitional Council and Dar al-Fitna, which represents Libya's highest religious authority.

  •  Degaulle (0+ / 0-)

    forces strike back in France.

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