Although Mu'ammar al-Qadhdhafi was one of the key figures in beginning the Islamic revival in the early 1970s, he marched to his own idiosyncratic, anti-fundamentalist tune. For example, he dramatically put Qur'anic punishments on the books, but then did not apply them. Indeed, his two decades in power saw the Libyan government move further away from the Islamic law, not closer to it. Not surprisingly, Qadhdhafi and fundamentalist Muslims mutually despise each other and he actively represses their organizations. So long as Qadhdhafi remains in power, fundamentalism has no role in Libya.
Were that to be, fundamentalist Muslims would be in a strong position to succeed him. For example, while the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a leading opposition movement, appears broad-based in appeal, fundamentalist Muslims behind-the-scenes run the show.
The National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) is an opposition movement to Muammar al-Gaddafi's regime in Libya. NFSL was established on 7 October 1981 at a press conference held in Khartoum, Sudan's capital. Its original leader was Muhammad Yusuf al- Magariaf, formerly Libyan ambassador to India. The NFSL is led by Ibrahim Abdulaziz Sahad, a former Libyan military officer and diplomat. The most recent National Congress of the NFSL was held in the United States in July, 2007.
The National Conference for the Libyan Opposition was formed in 2005 as a lose association of seven Libyan opposition groups. Apart from the NFSL, it included outfits like the Libyan Constitutional Union, Libyan League for Human Rights, Libyan Tmazight Congress and the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. NCLO was instrumental in organizing the Day of Rage in Libya, which was a watershed in the ongoing Libyan rebel movement. Mostly led by expatriate Libyan figures, the group was formed in London.
The group says it was inspired by a Libyan diplomat who defected to the rebel camp in the 1980s and was subsequently captured and executed by Muammar Gaddafi. Like other serious-minded Libyan opposition outfits, LLHR is foreign-based, with headquarters in Geneva. LLHR ranks were active in organizing the 2011 uprising
The main campaign plank of the LCU is the return to the 1951 constitution and the reinstallation of monarchy. It was launched by Sheikh Ben Ghalbon in 1981 and declared allegiance to the deposed King Idris. He points out that Libyans chose the Kingdom system and also chose the King in 1951 when it gained independence from the western colonization. "When the coup took place in 1969, it presented nothing of value, on the contrary, it became preoccupied with falsifying history and destroying the achievement of the nation," he said in an interview published in LCU's website.
The LIFG, also known as Al-Jama'a al- Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya, was formed in 1995 by people who had Taliban-Al-Qaeda links. They immediately launched a bid on Gaddafi's life. But the 1996 assassination attempt failed. After launching several deadly attacks targeting Libyan soldiers they mellowed down over the years and apologized to Gaddafi in 2009 for trying to kill him.
Libya's opposition is a poorly defined group of mutually hostile factions that have not formed a meaningful military force thus far, and are even less likely to form a functioning government. The U.S., France, and Britain have intervened, and major foreign energy outlets - plus Western ideology - are at stake. U.S. President Barack Obama promised that intervention would be short -- a matter of "days, not weeks." British Prime Minister David Cameron admonished that international involvement should be limited to stopping Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafis violence.
A Libya with Qaddafi in even partial control would be unacceptable to the international community; the country would be highly unstable and a real liability to North Africa and Europe. The worlds inability or unwillingness to displace an unreconstructed Qaddafi would give succor to a number of groups, including al-Qaeda, that could seize chaos in Libya and North Africa as an opportunity to extend their influence. Indeed, Qaddafis threat to turn the Mediterranean into a zone of instability is a reminder of precisely what a divided Libya could yield.
The February 17 Libyan revolution against the vicious forty-one year rule of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi was as popular as the other Arab uprisings. Although it started as massive peaceful protests, it quickly turned to an armed struggle because of the nature of the regime. Gaddafi built his power base around the establishment of several armed battalions controlled by (and even named after) his sons and close relatives. In addition, he also imported thousands of mercenaries to fight his people and spread terror to crush the revolution.
Many former supporters of the regime broke ranks with Gaddafi once he started bombing and killing his people. Hundreds of ministers, ambassadors, judges, military officers, and other state officials have joined ranks with the revolution. The National Transitional Council (NTC), led by former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, was established to lead the revolution and organize the resistance against the regime. In addition, the major Libyan tribes have since supported the effort to overthrow the government.
Rebel fighters stage a checkpoint in Zwitina, Libya. Fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi continued throughout the day in Ajdabiya, about six miles away.
But despite Gaddafis military superiority and willingness to use all the means at his disposal, the revolutionaries are still able to fight back. As the NTC was able to receive Arab and international recognition, the U.N. Security Council passed several resolutions that imposed a no-fly zone, froze much of the regimes assets overseas, and imposed a travel ban on Gaddafi, his sons and cronies, while an investigation by the International Criminal Court has opened into allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity. But the primary challenge for the opposition is in maintaining the real goals of the revolution, namely the establishment and insistence of an independent, free and democratic Libya, despite all foreign interference and regional pressures.
By the start of the 1980s however, the Brotherhood, which had renamed itself the Libyan Islamic Group (Al-Jama'a al-Islamiya al-Libyia) and who aspired to replace the existing regime with sharia law through peaceful means, were beginning to gather a following once again. The group was given a boost by a number of Libyan students who had gone abroad to study in the UK and the U.S., where they were exposed to a range of Islamist ideas.
The movement was especially strong in the east of the country in and around the city of Benghazi where the main tribes have traditionally opposed Qadhafi's rule. The regime continued to take an uncompromising stance towards the movement, executing one of its members in Tripoli in 1983. More famously, in 1986 it arrested a group of nine Islamists, reportedly members of the Brotherhood, and accused them of murdering a high-ranking security official. The following year, six of them were publicly hanged in Benghazi sports stadium and their executions televised. Despite these setbacks the group continued to gather momentum.
The Islamic Gathering (Harakat Atajamaa Alislami), founded by Mustafa Ali Al-Jihani. Its support base was almost entirely in the east of the country and its ideology was very similar to that of the Brotherhood. The Jama'at al-Tabligh also succeeded in drawing a following at this time, mainly in the western areas. However, they chose to distance themselves from politics, after a number of them had been arrested at the end of the 1980s and became co-opted by the regime, some of them being given posts as imams or speakers.
began gathering around the leadership of Emir Awatha Al-Zuwawi who travelled around the country preaching jihad. It was a highly secretive movement, with no official name and it was spread across a number of Libyan cities. Unlike the Brotherhood, it advocated launching military operations against the regime in order to overthrow Qadhafi.
the regime has been unable to prevent the growing religiosity that has taken hold among the Libyan population in recent years, as it has across much of the Arab world. Increasing numbers of the population are coming to sympathise with a Brotherhood-type of ideology and to aspire to the kind of Islamic alternative promoted by the Brotherhood in what could be interpreted as a form of passive resistance to the regime.
The leader of the rebel government in eastern Libya earned his reputation as a foe of the regime from an unlikely post: as Col. Moammar Gadhafi's minister of justice. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, a former judge who served in Col. Gadhafi's cabinet from 2007 until he resigned last month to protest violence against demonstrators, now heads the Libyan National Council, whose lineup seats former government insiders alongside hardened dissidents who spent years in prison.
Fatih Terbil: Representative of the youth. A human-rights activist and lawyer who represented the families of prisoners killed in the regime's 1996 crackdown on a prison rebellion that left 1,200 dead. His Feb. 15 arrest kicked off the protests that sparked the uprising.
By the end of the second week, the Pentagon was starting to downgrade its commitment and gradually transfer the main responsibility for the war to Nato. The most likely reason for this shift is that the Obama administration had concluded that the Gaddafi regime was not near to collapse, and that its military forces - however affected by the air- strikes - were adapting rapidly to the changed circumstances. There was thus the prospect of a long war, in which Washington was determined to avoid becoming entangled.
As Col. Moammar Gadhafi's forces tightened their grip on the oil town of Brega, the commander of Libya's rebel army slammed NATO Tuesday for failing to carry out airstrikes and blocking a shipment of weapons and relief supplies that was headed to a city where fighting has raged for weeks. Gen. Abdelfatah Younis' comments underscored growing dissatisfaction among Libyan rebels with NATO, which took over the military campaign against Gadhafi from the U.S. this week but has watched the rebels continue to lose ground to government forces in a tug-of-war along Libya's Mediterranean coastline.
On Tuesday morning, the Turkish navy, acting under NATO command, refused to allow a private ship carrying weapons, ammunition and medical supplies from the rebel capital of Benghazi to land at Misrata. The Turkish forces inspected the ship, which had been chartered by private citizens in Benghazi, then, citing a United Nations-imposed arms embargo on Libya, the captain to surrender the arms or turn back
Rebel fighters cluster in Port Brega, Libya, March 11
The Obama administration is not against Islamists rising to powerso long as it is through the "will" of the people. The administration "supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government. In his speech, Obama said the U.S. must support "the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders"; must support "governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people.
Gaddafi and his sons are confident in their ability to remain undefeated in a war that extends into summer-autumn 2011. Much of their apparent interest in compromise may be tactical. They may be calculating that the Nato operation can soon be represented across the region as yet another western assault on the Arab world.
If and when the Islamic revolution succeed in creating significant change across the region, Turkey will have to seek yet another new role in the new middle east. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu proclaimed that, "If the world is on fire, Turkey is the firefighter. Turkey is assuming the leading role for stability in the Middle East."
Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), in the elections of November 2002. By March 2003, in advance of the coming war in Iraq, the new government signaled that a new era had begun by refusing to permit American troops to traverse Turkish territory.
To some experts over the next eight years, Turkish foreign policy become increasingly hostile to the West in general, the United States, France, Israel in particular, even as it warmed to governments in Syria, Iran, and Libya. This shift became particularly evident in May 2010, when Ankara both helped Tehran avoid sanctions for its nuclear program and injured Israel's reputation with the Mavi Marmara-led flotilla.
But the full extent of Ankara's Middle East ambitions emerged in early 2011, concurrent with the region's far-reaching upheavals. Suddenly, Turks were ubiquitous. Their recent activities include:
Providing a model: The Turkish president, Abdullah Gül, holds that Turkey can have a "great and unbelievable positive effect" on the Middle East – and he has some takers. For example, Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's newly legalized Ennahda movement, has stated: "We are learning from the experience of Turkey, especially the peace that has been reached in the country between Islam and modernity."
"In the Middle East, Iran is in excellent condition in terms of party pluralism, but Turkey's situation is definitely even better. I always say that this is the path that Egypt needs to take... because Turkey has become a civil state, while at the same time fearlessly opening a door to the Islamists. Third, it is the leading country in Europe in terms of economic development. I am pleased with the experiment of the Justice and Development party there, and I call on the Muslim Brotherhood to learn from them.
S'ad Al-Din Ibrahim: I am pleased with the experiment of the Justice and Development party there, and I call on the Muslim Brotherhood to learn from them.
Offering an economic lifeline to Iran: Gül paid a state visit to Tehran in February, accompanied by a large group of businessmen, capping an evolution whereby, according to the Jamestown Foundation, "Turkey is becoming a major [economic] lifeline for Iran." In addition, Gül praised the Iranian political system.
Obstructing foreign efforts in Libya: Starting on March 2, the Turkish government objected to any military intervention against Mu'ammar al- Qaddafi's regime. "Foreign interventions, especially military interventions, only deepen the problem," Davutoğlu put it on March 14When military operations began on March 19, Turkish forces did not take part. Turkish opposition delayed NATO's engagement in Libya until March 31 and then freighted it with conditions.
Supporting Qaddafi: Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan helped Qaddafi by saying: "Turkey will never be a party that points a gun at the Libyan people. Ankara also involved in the distribution of humanitarian aid in Libya, to manage the Benghazi airport and to deploy naval forces to control the area between Benghazi and the Greek island of Crete. In gratitude, Qaddafi replied, "We are all Ottomans." In contrast, Libyan rebels fumed at and marched against the Turkish government.
Helping Damascus: In January, Ankara agreed to train Syrian troops; in March, Erdoğan publicly advised Syria's President Bashar al- Assad how to maintain power, perhaps fearful that Syria's 1.4 million Kurds might win more autonomy and cause unrest among Turkey's approximately 15 million Kurds.
Anti-Zionism: Ankara has emerged as the leader in delegitimizing Israel. Davutoğlu tries to unify its enemies while predicting Israel's disappearance; a government-affiliated organization plans a new Gaza "freedom" flotilla with at least 15 ships taking part; and the deputy prime minister calls for a Libya-style bombing of Israel.
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