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Libyan Leader Says Militia Clashes Could Create Civil War


January 4, 2012 - After deadly clashes between rival fighters in Tripoli this week, Libya’s transitional government expressed growing concern that the country could descend into civil war if its militias were not brought under control. The leader of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, bluntly warned late Tuesday that the government faced "bitter options" as it struggled to rein in thousands of fighters who joined regional militias during the months of battles against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and have remained in Tripoli, the capital, long after his death. "We deal with these violations strictly and put the Libyans in a military confrontation, which we don’t accept, or we split and there will be a civil war," Mr. Abdel-Jalil was quoted by Reuters as saying...

[84535]



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Libyan Leader Says Militia Clashes Could Create Civil War [ 84535 ] -

By J. DAVID GOODMAN

January 4, 2012


After deadly clashes between rival fighters in Tripoli this week, Libya’s transitional government expressed growing concern that the country could descend into civil war if its militias were not brought under control.

The leader of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, bluntly warned late Tuesday that the government faced "bitter options" as it struggled to rein in thousands of fighters who joined regional militias during the months of battles against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and have remained in Tripoli, the capital, long after his death. "We deal with these violations strictly and put the Libyans in a military confrontation, which we don’t accept, or we split and there will be a civil war," Mr. Abdel-Jalil was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The Libyan government had hoped to clear the city of out-of-town militiamen by Dec. 20.

The country’s transitional leaders are trying to create a robust army by cobbling together the many defectors from Colonel Qaddafi’s military and other former rebel fighters. The militias are reluctant to disarm because they hope to protect their regions’ interests as the future government takes shape.

Last month, a powerful militia from the western mountain town of Zintan exchanged fire with soldiers from the Libyan National Army at a checkpoint run by the militia on the road to Tripoli’s international airport.

And on Tuesday, fighters with the Tripoli militia, whose members are mostly from the capital, engaged in a shootout with a heavily armed militia from Misurata. Two fighters died.

On Wednesday, the incoming United Nations Security Council president dealt with another legacy of the battles to oust Mr. Qaddafi: civilian casualties caused by NATO’s bombing campaign. South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations, Baso Sangqu, who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for January, called for an investigation into human rights abuses committed in Libya, including by NATO, according to The Associated Press.

"They were supposed to be precision strikes," Mr. Sangqu said, "but it was clear that those were not that precise."

NATO says it carried out its operation carefully. A recent on-the-ground examination by The New York Times of airstrike sites found credible evidence of dozens of civilians killed.


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:: Article nr. 84535 sent on 05-jan-2012 14:18 ECT

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By J. DAVID GOODMAN:
January 4, 2012 - After deadly clashes between rival fighters in Tripoli this week, Libya’s transitional government expressed growing concern that the country could descend into civil war if its militias were not brought under control. The leader of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, bluntly warned late Tuesday that the government faced "bitter options" as it struggled to rein in thousands of fighters who joined regional militias during the months of battles against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and have remained in Tripoli, the capital, long after his death. "We deal with these violations strictly and put the Libyans in a military confrontation, which we don’t accept, or we split and there will be a civil war," Mr. Abdel-Jalil was quoted by Reuters as saying...
[84535]







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