By Abdel Ban Atwan: Welcome to the New Libya, Country 'Liberated' by NATO:
No Oil Revenues, No Security, No Water, No Electricity. Welcome to the new Libya, a country 'liberated' by NATO, which now finds itself without the oil revenues which could make it rich, with no security, no stability and assassinations and corruption at unprecedented levels. Last Friday, the Economist magazine published a report about the implosion of Libya. My attention was caught by the pictures that illustrated the piece, particularly one of some graffitti on the wall of a sea front cafe in the capital Tripoli. 'The only way to Heaven is the way to the airport' it read. The joke is indicative of the troubled state of Libya nowadays following 'liberation' by NATO warplanes in the sky and the revolution on the ground which toppled the dictatorial regime of Muammar al-Ghadaffi. Recently I have met people who are visiting London from Libya and they tell stories of life there which are hard to believe. The capital Tripoli had no water or electricity for a whole week. The armed militia dominate and rule the streets in the absence of a workable government, a national security establishment and basic municipal services. Onoud Zanoussi, the 18 year-old daughter of Abdullah Zanoussi, the former chief of Ghadaffi's security establishment, was kidnapped on her release from prison following seven months behind bars accused of entering her country illegally. She was abducted in front of the prison gates and the abductor was one of the guards! Two years ago, the British and French business community sharpened their teeth and rubbed their hands with glee in anticipation of their share of Libyan reconstruction. Now there isn't a single foreign businessman in Tripoli, all of them ran for their lives after the assassination of the American Ambassador and attacks on several foreign businessman in Tripoli, all of them ran for their lives after the assassination of the American Ambassador and attacks on several foreign Embassies and Consulates. During the NATO bombardment, news from Libya dominated the front pages and was the first news item on every Western and Arabic television station. There was 24-hour coverage about the Libyan Liberation miracle and the great victory achieved by NATO and the revolutionaries. Nowadays it is very rare to find a Western reporter there and even more rare to read a decent report about Libya and what is really going on there. Oil was the main objective and the real reason for the NATO intervention: but oil production has all but ceased due to a strike by security guards on the oil fields and export terminal. The ostensible reason for this strike is the demand for a pay rise but there is another, equally powerful, motive, they are protesting the demands of various separatist movements who are calling for self-rule for oil-rich Barca (Cyrenaica) with its capital in Benghazi. Most of Libya's oil reserves are situated here. Rather than the local or national government, a militia is in control of most of oil on the oil fields and the export terminal, it has started to sell huge amounts of oil on the black market and is trying to expand these activities leading Ali Zidan, the Prime Minister, to threaten to expand these activities leading Ali Zidan, the Prime Minister, to threaten to bomb any unauthorized oil tanker going anywhere near these sites. The irony is that the same thing is happening now in Eastern Syria where the militia and local tribes are in control of the oil fields in Deir Al-Zour, refining the oil themselves by hand and selling it on illegally.