Libyan Leader Vows to Keep Libya United
Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya announced in a press conference that the NTC was “not prepared to divide Libya” and blamed “infiltrators” and Gadhafi remnants for the proposed autonomy plan. “We are ready to deter them, even with force,” said Jalil.
Jalil’s comments came as evidence emerges that Libya’s regions desire greater autonomy and control over their respective localities. Misrata, a city that experienced a vicious offensive during the revolution, has reportedly has held its own municipal elections and “established a security zone that prohibits many Libyans from entering.” All this occurred with no involvement or influence from the NTC.
After declaring their desire for autonomy, the oil-rich and historically marginalized eastern region of Cyrenaica appointed long-time political prisoner Ahmed al-Zubair al-Senussi as their representative and held a conference where 3,500 delegates exposed four key points that defined their objectives. The conference called Libya to remain united, allow for greater regional autonomy, and reform of election laws voiced by the NTC. According to Amnesty International, hundreds of militias remain outside of central control. Some would argue that the ruling NTC has proved incompetent. Their handling of the current grievances by Libya’s heavily tribal influenced regions will be a test of its leadership.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama met with Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib in Washington. President Obama reminded el-Keib the necessity for “openness and engagement with Libya’s civil society” as Libya develops institutions. President Obama praised him for his leadership “as Libya moves to build a democracy and reconstitute itself.