May 28, 2014

Libya On The Edge of Collapse, Every Single Institution Is Failing

"We came, we saw, he died. Then we left, and many more died."

An excerpt from, "Libya: Facing Economic Collapse in 2014" by Mohsin Khan and Svetlana Milbert, Atlantic Council, January 23, 2014:
For 2014, two possible scenarios emerge. In the optimistic scenario, oil production comes back online, as it did in 2012, and export revenues and international reserves return to their normal levels. Growth would increase sharply during 2014, much as it did in 2012. The IMF and the World Bank subscribe to this scenario and are projecting real GDP to increase by around 25 percent in 2014. The Economist Intelligence Unit is more cautious but still puts Libya on its list of the top ten fastest growing economies in 2014. The optimistic scenario rests crucially on a political settlement that brings about internal stability.

The pessimistic scenario assumes there is no political agreement among the various groups and militias, and consequently oil production and exports remain at their end-2013 levels. Real GDP would thus continue to fall, possibly by as much as 15-20 percent even in the context of high government spending to maintain non-oil economic activity. Nominal GDP would be around $65 billion, some 20 percent below the 2012 level, and about what it was in 2009.

Even if a complete economic collapse is averted by additional government spending, it is quite certain that the economy will be in relatively poor shape in 2014. This will leave the next government the major task of reviving the economy and transforming it into one where the private sector plays a leading role rather than the government. The longer a political settlement is delayed, the more difficult it will be for the next government to do this and put Libya on a sustainable high-growth path that creates sufficient jobs for its young and expanding labor force. Failure to get the economy right will lead to more instability and more uprisings.
An excerpt from, "The end of Libya? Rogue militias may lead to the country's collapse" by Itxaso Dominguez Olazabal, Albawaba, May 20, 2014:
The security situation is far from improving: unpunished militias are said to hold 8,000 people in prisons, many of whom claim they have been tortured. The Jordanian Ambassador was recently freed after one month of abduction. Kidnappings have become the daily bread in the main cities. Millions of arms, including heavy weapons, are today scattered across the country, even reaching Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Lawlessness has become the norm, and militias and tribal leaders, hoisting the weapons the international community provided them with three years ago, make good use for taking control of both towns and vital sources of revenue. Gaddafi completely destroyed the state, and everything in Libya has had to be - and still is - built from scratch.

What do the separatists want? They demand not mere autonomy but something close to independence. The territory of Cyrenaica (Barqa, in Arabic) followed concrete steps in this sense: it first established a shadow government, after advocating for a loose federal system of government sharing power for months with Fezzan, the south western region of Libya and in June 2013, Sheikh Ahmed Zubair Senussi, head of the Cyrenaica Transitional Council, declared self-government.

On November 4 2013, it unilaterally declared its condition of “semi-autonomous state.” The separatist region even announced the establishment of an independent oil company after taking over several commercial seaports, a step prior to the creation of a Cyrenaican Defense Force.
An excerpt from, "Libya: Government Institutions at Risk of Collapse" Human Rights Watch, March 7, 2014:
The international community has announced plans to train members of militias and others to be integrated into the army. Immediate and strong international support should also be provided to the judicial police, who provide security at detention facilities, and to judges, prosecutors, and witnesses, Human Rights Watch said.

“The serious shutdown of basic judicial and prosecutorial operations in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya should ring alarm bells in Rome,” Whitson said. “If the Libyan government can’t exercise even these basic functions in significant parts of the country, then others will take ‘justice’ into their own hands.”

Thousands of people are detained in Libya without basic due process protections, such as access to counsel, being charged with a crime, or brought before a judge. The Justice Ministry is holding 5,500 people, Justice Minister al-Marghani said. An unknown number of people is held outside of government custody. Despite some progress, the Justice Ministry was not able to meet the latest deadline of March 2 under the country’s Transitional Justice Law to transfer all detainees to government custody.