One Brutal Regime in Libya Down, Another One Rises


I just did a quick search of the major US mainstream media websites and as of yet, there is no coverage of this. But luckily our friends across the pond in Britain are on top of it:

Thousands of people, including women and children, are being illegally detained by rebel militias in Libya, according to a report by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Many of the prisoners are suffering torture and systematic mistreatment while being held in private jails outside the control of the country’s new government.

The document, seen by The Independent, states that while political prisoners being held by the Gaddafi regime have been released, their places have been taken by up to 7,000 new “enemies of the state”, “disappeared” in a dysfunctional system, with no recourse to the law.

The report will come as uncomfortable reading for the Western governments, including Britain, which backed the campaign to oust Gaddafi. A UN resolution was secured in March in order to protect civilians from abuses by the regime, which was at the time mercilessly suppressing the uprising against the Gaddafi regime.

There was evidence, says the report by Ban Ki-moon, due to be presented to the Security Council, that both sides committed acts amounting war crimes in the bitter battle for Colonel Gaddafi’s hometown, Sirte. The Secretary-General who recently visited Libya, echoes the concern expressed by many world leaders over the killing of the former dictator by rebel fighters pointing out that Gaddafi was captured alive before being put to death.

[snip]

Libya is the only Arab uprising to have attracted direct Western military support, despite the closer links forged with the West in recent years by the Gaddafi regime. The resistance in London, Washington and elsewhere to Nato-led intervention in other Arab countries has centred largely on a lack of coherent opposition. Political backers of the air strikes in Libya had cited the National Transitional Council (NTC) as a credible alternative to the Gaddafi regime.

[snip]

But the continuing human rights abuses, says the Secretary-General’s report, are the most pressing concern. The report says that “while political prisoners held by the Gaddafi regime have been released, an estimated 7,000 detainees are currently held in prisons and makeshift detention centres, most of which are under the control of revolutionary brigades, with no access to due process in the absence of a functioning police and judiciary.”

Of particular worry was the fate of women being held for alleged links with the regime, often due to family connections, sometimes with their children locked up alongside them.

“There have also been reports of women held in detention in the absence of female guards and under male supervision, and of children detained alongside adults,” says the report.

In fairness to the Libyans who fought against and opposed Gaddafi, democracy won’t sprout up overnight. However, throughout the entire Western-supported Libyan uprising, there were signs of trouble- summary executions of Gaddafi supporters, the murder of Gaddafi (and alleged sodomizing of him prior to his murder), and a general lack of any kind of discipline or order. What is interesting is that despite all of this, the US rarely condemned the Libyan opposition. It’s an interesting double standard we apply- if we support a country or a people then they can be as violent and repressive as they want to be but if we don’t support them or are non-committal, then we demand that they don’t dare throw so much as a stone at the forces repressing them (think protesters in Bahrain, Palestine, Egypt etc.) and we simply urge “restraint on all sides.”

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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