Libya. The year was marked by progress on the road to
democracy but also by bloody clashes between different
militia groups. In the elections for a transitional
parliament on July 7, 200 seats were at stake, 80 of them
reserved for party-linked candidates and 120 for
independence. The Liberal National Forces Alliance (NFA),
largely a continuation of the National Transitional Council
(NTC) that has ruled Libya since the 2011 revolution, became
the largest party with 39 of the party mandates. The Muslim
Brotherhood's Justice and Reconciliation Party took 17 party
mandates, fewer than expected.
The choice was on the whole free, fair and peaceful. Of
those entitled to vote, 83% registered, and 62% of them were
reported to have voted. Under a new electoral law, the
parties would launch an equal number of candidates from each
gender; yet only 33 women got seats in parliament. The task
of Parliament was to formulate laws and form a government,
but not, as initially planned, to appoint the body that
would draft a new constitution - this body would instead be
appointed in a separate election.
In September, the new Prime Minister elected Mustafa Abu
Shagur, a recognized al-Khaddafikrit optics engineer.
However, he failed to form a government and the mission
passed on to Ali Zidan, an old diplomat who had resigned
from the al-Khaddafi regime in 1980. He succeeded on October
31 to get Parliament's support for a government with
ministers from both major parties.
countryaah, the country was a patchwork of revelry for more than a
thousand different clan-based militia groups equipped with
an abundance of small arms. Most of the groups had their
origins in the revolt in 2011. Some of them managed to
establish reasonably calm in the area they controlled and
some of the larger groups were also subordinate to the
Interior Ministry. Others were led by warlords who ruled
with force and made big money on the smuggling of gasoline,
drugs and people. There were also a few units loyal to the
fallen regime, including in the town of Bani Walid southeast
In Cyrenaika, the region around Benghazi in eastern Libya
where the 2011 uprising began, clan leaders announced in
March that they wanted to form their own state within a
Libyan federation, something the NTC immediately rejected.
Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens,
were killed on September 11 in an attack on the US Consulate
in Benghazi. The Libyan government accused the Ansar
al-Sharia jihadist group of being behind the act.
In January, UN refugee commissioner Navi Pillay explained
that as many as 8,000 al-Khaddah refugees were held by
militia groups in different places. Among them was
al-Khaddafi's eldest son Saif al-Islam, held by a group in
the city of Zintan in the south and requested extradition by
the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for
crimes against humanity. Former intelligence chief and Prime
Minister Abdullah al-Senussi was arrested in Mauritania in
March and released after tough negotiations with Libya in
September. In May, the Libyan government asked the ICC to
bring both Saif al-Islam and al-Senussi to trial in Libya.
Saif al-Islam announced that he would rather be handed over
to the ICC.