Libya Splits into Disparate Militia Zones
In the Guardian — After Gaddafi, Libya splits into disparate militia zones: The rebel strongholds of Benghazi, Misrata and Zintan have become increasingly independent of Tripoli’s new regime
“In the old days there would be 12 forms and it would take 10 days to pay all the bribes,” says Nasser Mokhtar, who printed photographs of the shaheed – martyrs – in the war in his print shop and is now back at his clothing import business.
Now, he explains, there are no bribes; customs officers fear the wrath of the port authority if they try it on.
There is wild talk of a second uprising on the streets of former rebel towns, but the weapon of choice is not the gun but the ballot box. City elections have been rushed through while the central authorities dither with the national election, and the municipalities adopt their own powers. El Gallal explained that, if the elections nationally go well, all will be fine. If not, Benghazi will fall back on its own city administration. “If it (the national election) goes wrong, we don’t need the national congress,” she said.
Back in Tripoli, the signs are that the national elections are going very wrong indeed. The NTC insists that the vote will take place, as promised, on 19 June. But staff at the election commission tell me that they have yet to agree the list of candidates. Giving Libya’s enthusiastic political parties only a few days to campaign will cause uproar. But so will a delay, stoking fears by the rebels that the NTC plans to hang on to power.