NTC faces daunting challenges in Libya

Sept. 13, 2011 at 11:13 PM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The transitional government in Libya faces daunting challenges in trying to win the cooperation of divergent interests vying for position, a U.N. official said.

The BBC reports the National Transitional Council, which is establishing its presence in the capital city of Tripoli, hopes to form an interim government by the end of September and hold elections for a 200-member national congress within eight months.

The national congress, in turn, is charged with drafting a constitution, setting the stage for multi-party polls.

But the NTC confronts numerous potential conflicts, the BBC pointed out.

The NTC must grapple with gaining control over the brigades that gained power during the six months of conflict leading to the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. Brigades that conducted military campaigns now compete for credit for taking Tripoli and it remains unclear when the brigades will disband.

The Supreme Security Committee, which includes the interim oil and finance minister, police and the interior and defense ministries, is supposed to oversee the brigades. But security remains disconnected.

Some cities, for example, run their own military affairs and volunteer soldiers are reported reluctant to obey the national liberation army. Factions of anti-Gadhafi fighters have clashed, including one report of at least 12 people being killed Sunday when two anti-Gadhafi groups fought in western Libya over ownership of weapons. Fighters in Misrata have started challenging NTC authority.

The NTC could face a divide between secularists who studied and worked overseas and Islamists who opposed Gadhafi's rule from inside Libya.

Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman for the U.N. special adviser for Libya, Ian Martin, said: "(The NTC has) a lot of challenges to overcome before they can get the wheels of government running smoothly. They are conscious of the fact that they need to be seen to be running the country from the capital, and we haven't seen that yet."

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