09/15/2011, 00.00
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Libya’s new govt, a ridiculous and wretched bunch, says Del Boca

For the historian, the new Libyan government does not add up. Made up of former Gaddafi officials and Muslims extremists fighting among themselves, it will bring few benefits to the Libyan people. It might instead herald the beginning of a power struggle following planned elections.
Rome (AsiaNews) – With a government that includes former Gaddafi officials, radical Muslims and former al Qaeda operatives, the new Libya will not be that much different from the old one. “The presence of these characters shows that the new government is just a ridiculous and wretched bunch,” historian and Libya expert Angelo Del Boca told AsiaNews. For him, this war reflects its contradictory causes, more related to economics than a genuine desire for change.

“What surprises me these days is the appearance of many faces tied to Muslim terrorism and anti-Gaddafi tribal leaders from Cyrenaica,” he said.

In his view, they have nothing to do with democracy as claimed by Western governments, especially France and Great Britain, whose leaders just started a visit to Tripoli and Benghazi.

Instead, what worriers the historian is Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the current military governor of Tripoli and head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a jihadist movement close to al-Qaeda who supplied thousands of suicide attackers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In the coming months, rebel leaders will clean up their image for the elections, but the Libyan people will not get many benefits,” Del Boca explained.

For him, the National Transitional Council (NTC) is culturally unprepared to change the country and is already torn apart by a power struggle that could plunge Libya into chaos.

Great anti-Gaddafi dissidents and intellectuals like Anwar Fekini, who raised funds for the war against Libya’s fallen strongman, have been left out in the cold.

The future ideological order of the country is already feeling the pressures from Muslim extremists who provided most of the fighters for the battle for Tripoli. “The danger of a Sharia-based state is quite real,” Del Boca warns.

Indeed, a radical Libyan Muslim leader, sheikh Ahmed al-Salabi, yesterday said that he did not recognise himself in the new government, with its officials from the old regime, and that he would do everything to oppose it.

Meanwhile, the United Nations announced changes to Security Council Resolution 1970. Over the coming weeks, the arms embargo imposed on Libya will be gradually lifted and sanctions on Libyan banks and oil companies will be phased out. The No Fly Zone will however remain in place. (S.C.)
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Italy leading more than 30 per cent of military operations in Libya
Del Boca: “Gaddafi wants to become a martyr and will resist till the end”, others fear total war
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