Adonis Diaries

Most plausible resolution to the revolt in Libya

Posted on: June 27, 2011

Most plausible resolution to the revolt in Libya

Libya is 1,700,000 vast, the third largest State in Africa after Algeria and Sudan (before the referendum for partition).  Barely 6 million citizens inhabit this large State, and most of them are urban dweller along the 1,700 km coastal line in Tripoli, Bengazi, Misrata, Al-Bayda, Sert… The over 3 million foreign workers have vacated or are located in refugee camps in Tunisia…

The date February 15 for the start of the revolt in Libya was no coincidence.  Qadhafi orchestrated vast demonstrations throughout Libya to commemorate the cartoons published in Danmark “satanizing” the Prophet Mohammad.  It turned out that demonstrators in the second largest city in Libya changed the purpose of the march to lambasting the regime.  The police forces fired live munitions on the demonstrators, civilians were killed, and the fire spread.

Is it my imagination or I am not following very closely what’s going on in Libya?  I sense that the media have shifted their attention to Syria.  I used to watch streams of videos showing Libyan insurgents “cleaning” a town one day, and the Qadhafi “brigades” launching counter-offensives and re-cleaning the captured town the next day.  It was sort of regular vacuuming operations: Not of dust and dirt, but of “traitors and unwanted civilians”…

It makes sense to lay down the historical and cultural background of what constitute the eastern region (called Cyrene, or Shark or sun up) and the western region called Tripoli (or Gharb or sun down).  The Phoenician merchants established several trading posts in the western region more than 35 centuries ago, and then Carthage became the dominant power in the 5th century BC.  Greece started establishing trading posts in the eastern region around the 6th century BC.

Greece and Carthage could not resolve the partition militarily and they decided on a dividing line that is 50 kilometers east of actual Sert.  The Roman Empire conquered all of Libya but the Hellenistic culture (and later Byzantium) weighted heavily in the easter region, and remained based in Alexandria (Egypt), while the Tripoli region was more impressed by the latin culture, and remained polarized toward Carthage.

In 643 AC, the Islamic/Arabic empire started its expansion and occupied Egypt, Libya, and all of the Maghreb, before crossing into Spain and establishing the Andalusia Empire in Europe. In 1050, the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt (leaning toward the Shiaa Moslem sect) in order to punish the Sunni Moslems in Libya dispatched two Arabic tribes in the Arabic Peninsula (current Saudi Arabia) to relocate in Libya.  The Banu Hillal tribe settled in the Tripoli region and the Salami tribe in the Benghazi region.  The Ottoman Empire with Capital Istambul dominated Libya since 1550: The western governor or Pasha relied on the Maghreb people to secure self-autonomy, while the easter governor was more allied to the Pasha of Egypt.

Itali decided in 1911 to secure a colony, since France and England had their colonies in Africa. France occupied all of western Africa (Francophone States) and England occupied western Africa and south Africa.  During the fascist Mussoli regime, Itali managed to occupy all of Libya, after two decades of military operations, installing detention camps, and forcing most of the people in the desert towns toward relocating in the urban centers on the sea for efficient control.

After WWII, England encouraged the monarch Senusi to becoming the monarch of Libya:  The constitution was of a federal-type model with two self-autonomous States, with Benghazi the central Capital.  As oil was discovered, the Constitution was changed for a unified State till 1969, as Qadhafi succeeded in his military coup d’ etat and shifted the capital to Tripoli and neglected the easter region that was still pro-monarchic. 

France was responsible, for a short duration after the WWII and before the Independence of Libya in 1953, of the South-Western desert of Sebha and controlled the South-North axe route that most African immigrants used to reaching the Mediterranean Sea and which was used as the preferred land route for trading among the Sahara States and tribes. 

Consequently, there is a high homogeneity of the population in Libya: 90% are “Arabic” and speak the same slangs, while 5% are of Berber origin (Algeria and Morocco), and another 5% related to African tribes from Niger and Chad.

The most plausible resolution, after satisfying the pre-requisite of ceasing the power of Qadhafi and his bloody sons, is the following:

First, Libya would be federated into two States:  The eastern State based in the Capital Benghazi, and the western State based in the Capital Tripoli.  The Federal government would be relocated to the city of Sert, in the middle of the long coast line of 1,700 kilometers, the historical dividing line between the two concentration of people and tribes (and where Qadhafi was born).

Second, the oil revenue (constituting 90% of the GNP) will be split into three parts: 40% to each State and 20% for maintaining the central government and its key federal institutions such as army, foreign affairs, currency…

Third, federal revenues will be proportionally budgeted and allocated to the people living in the deep desert oasis such as Kufra and Sebha.

Note: I might add more details to that article, or decide to publish it in several parts.

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June 2011

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