— The Erimtan Angle —

The apparently orchestrated Arab Awakening and Libya’s violent Assisted Rebellion, which ended in Colonel Gadhafi’s violent death, have now finally born their first tangible fruits, as related by AP’s Maggie Michael: ‘Jubilant Libyans chose a new parliament Saturday [, 7 July] in their first nationwide vote in decades, but violence and protests in the restive east underscored the challenges ahead as the oil-rich North African nation struggles to restore stability after the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. One person was killed and two wounded in a gunbattle between security forces and anti-election protesters in the eastern city of Ajdabiya, according to the head of the election commission. Nouri al-Abari said the polling centre targeted by the protesters was later reopened and voting commenced normally. The shooting followed a attacks on polling centres in the eastern half of the country, which was the cradle of the revolution against Gadhafi but is angry about the perceived domination of power by rivals in Tripoli. The vote capped a transition that has exposed major fault lines ranging from the east-west divide to efforts by Islamists to assert power’.[1]

In other words, the transition to democracy in Libyahas apparently not been a complete success. Now, “major fault lines ranging from the east-west” are beginning to expose the power-struggle between Islamist forces and so-called proponents of democracy, arguably backed by major international oil and gas companies desirous of big shares in the North African country’s underground wealth. Still, the BBC optimistically reports that now ‘[p]artial results are expected later in the week, with some unofficial exit polls suggesting a liberal alliance was leading Islamist parties. Officials said turnout on Saturday was about 60%. Voting continued in some areas where technical difficulties caused delays’.[2]  Libyans have not been able to cast votes since 1964 . . . a dentist Adam Thabet said “I have a strange but beautiful feeling today”.[3]

The UN and the Libyan Electoral High Commission (HNEC) provide these statistical data: Libyahas ‘2.8 million registered voters from around 3-3.5 million eligible (45% women). 2,639 individual candidates (competing for 120 seats in 69 constituencies). 374 party lists from more than 100 political entities (competing for 80 party seats in 20 constituencies). 559 women registered for party seats (44%). 88 women registered for individual seats (3%)’.[4]  In contrast, last year the Obama Administration declared that the costs of the war in Libya amounted to $550 million.[5]  Additionally, Canada spent about $110 million CAD, France $813 million USD, Italy $1.24 billion USD, the UK $333 million USD, and the U.S. in total $1.3 billion USD.[6]  In other words, a grand total of about $3.5 billion USD were spent as subsidies for the oil and gas industry, or for the benefit of 2,8 million registered Libyan voters casting ballots on who should take responsibility for selling offLibya’s natural assets . . . France, Italy, and the UK are now going through difficult times as the Euro crisis widens and austerity measures cut deep and deeper. As the map reproduced below indicates, other states also contributed: namely, the EU members Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Sweden as well as the UAE, Qatar, and the North Sea Oil-rich tiny nation of Norway.

At the beginning of July, the Libyan Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Prof. Fathi Al Akkari said that “Libyaneeds everything. There is huge demand for goods, services and know-how from all sectors of the economy and Libyawelcomes all to support its rebuilding efforts”.[7]  At the end of June, over 150 delegates from Canada, China, Germany, Egypt, Italy, UAE, UK, GCC, Middle East, USA and other countries participated in the Future Libya Development Forum event, held in Dubai. These individuals were there to “demonstrate and reassure their commitment to the Libyan market and create and strengthen their trading links with Libya’s public and private sector business communities”.[8]  In the meantime, hapless Libyan voters were given the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights in an effort to convince them and the world that Libya is moving forward . . .

[2] Maggie Michael, “Violence mars Libyan election  ” AP (08 July 2012). http://thechronicleherald.ca/world/114867-violence-mars-libyan-election.

[2] “Libya election: Count under way after historic vote” BBC News (08 July 2012). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18758389.

[3] Maggie Michael, “Violence mars Libyan election  ”.

[4] “Libya election: Count under way after historic vote”.

[5] “Libyan war cost $550 million so far, lawmaker says” Reuters (30 March 2011). http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/30/us-libya-usa-cost-idUSTRE72T6XZ20110330.

[6] “Funds spent by Foreign Powers on War in Libya. – 2011 military intervention in Libya” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_military_intervention_in_Libya.

[7] “Libya open to doing business with international partners, Minister.” BI-ME (04 July 2012). http://www.libyaninvestment.com/libya-business-news/65313.html.

[8] “Dubai Chamber endorses Libya Infrastructure and Rebuild Conference” UAE (08 February 2012). http://www.ameinfo.com/289465.html.


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