Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bani Walid... Again.

Any hopes of stabilizing Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi were just day dreams of the new rulers and their supporters and not a feasible reality. Some scholars actually pointed out this but their warnings were disregarded, which was a very bad, short sighted mistake.

After the fall and death of Gaddafi, the National Transition Council (NTC) has been unable to do anything correct, perhaps except selling the oil of the country. The formation of a new government gave rise to enough disputes. There were reports of radical Islamic, even Al-Qaeda linked militant groups in the NTC held areas even before the fall of Gaddafi. Disputes between tribes are on the rise. The NTC has not been able to establish their writ in large swathes of the land. An extremely revealing example is their inability to convince the captors of both Saif al-Islam and Al-Sanussi, Gaddafi’s son and spy chief respectively, to hand them over to the NTC. Even in the major cities of the country there are armed people outside NTC control.

With all these detractors, one may think that at least the NTC is free of the Gaddafi loyalists, especially after the ignominious death of the old man and the death, capture or flight of his sons. Well, unfortunately for the battle weary NTC, this is not the case.

Bani Walid, a Gaddafi stronghold which held on weeks after the fall of Tripoli, has once more become the battle ground between the Gaddafi loyalists and the NTC. On January 23, 2012, the rebels attacked the NTC units in the town. Although the militants are a few hundred strong, they are backed by the bulk of the local population who are still pro-Gaddafi.

After Wednesday, January 25, Bani Walid has been relatively quiet. However, the NTC has made its intention of defeating the militants clear. The Libyan government is massing heavily armed troops and even preparing the air force to attack and retake the town. A military assault will most probably overcome the armed opposition within a short period of time. However, a comprehensive solution to the fractional disputes within Libya seems to be yet another dream.

No comments:

Post a Comment