Saturday, August 4, 2012

Libya's Rigged Election

They are all tampered with at this point, a taint that makes them all illegitimate.

Anyhow, let's meet the candidates:

"Libya’s election launching big step toward democracy; Vote presents test of divided nation after its rebellion" by Maggie Michael  |  Associated Press, July 06, 2012

TRIPOLI, Libya — Abdel-Hakim Belhaj is a former rebel commander and a jihadist who once fought the Russians in Afghanistan. More recently, he has replaced his camouflaged fatigues with a business suit and founded an Islamist political party that is among the front-runners ahead of Saturday’s parliamentary election.  

Good Lord, readers, he's an "Al-CIA-Duh" candidate!

It is the first significant step in Libya’s tumultuous transition toward democracy after more than 40 years under Moammar Khadafy’s repressive rule.  

I gue$$ that's one take on it.

The campaign posters plastering Tripoli, the capital, are in sharp contrast to the decades in which Khadafy banned political parties and considered democracy a form of tyranny. He governed with his political manifesto the ‘‘Green Book,’’ which laid out his vision for rule by the people but ultimately bestowed power to him alone.

But Saturday’s election, in which 2.8 million Libyans are eligible to vote, follows a ruinous civil war that laid bare regional, tribal, and ethnic conflicts and left the country divided nine months after Khadafy was captured and killed by rebel forces in his home city of Surt.


While many Libyans hoped the oil-rich North African nation of 6 million would thrive and become a magnet for investment, a virtual collapse in authority has left formidable challenges. Unruly militias operate independently and deepening regional and tribal divisions erupt into violence with alarming frequency. Human rights groups have documented reports of widespread torture and killings of detainees. 

But it's a western success story so it's all good!

The vote also will be a test of the strength of Islamist parties, which have gained influence in Libya and other nations following the ouster of secular regimes run by strongmen like Khadafy and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. Groups vying for power range from the politically savvy Muslim Brotherhood to the ultraconservative Salafis and former jihadists.  

Let the rigging begin!

Flush with money, the Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party has led one of the best-organized and most visible election campaigns. Young men and women in white shirts bearing the party’s name and symbol, the horse, go door-to-door introducing candidates and canvassing votes across Tripoli.

I'll bet they lose!

Three other parties also are expected to take a sizable share of the Legislature’s seats: former prime minister Mahmoud Jibril’s secular Alliance of National Forces, Belhaj’s Al-Watan, and the National Front party, one of Libya’s oldest political groups, which is said to have organized several assassination attempts against Khadafy.

The new, 200-seat Legislature will name a new transitional government that will rule until a constitution is drafted and adopted in a nationwide referendum. New parliamentary elections are to be held in 2013.

The Legislature was supposed to elect a panel to draft a new constitution, but the ruling Transitional National Council decreed on Thursday that members of the panel would be directly elected by voters, a move widely interpreted as a nod to Libyans seeking a federated nation to overcome what they see as their marginalization by the central government in Tripoli.

It will be the latest democratic fruit to arise from the Arab Spring revolts that have swept the Middle East since late 2010, following those in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. 


A supporter of the Justice and Construction Party celebrated the end of the election campaign on Thursday.
A supporter of the Justice and Construction Party celebrated the end of the election campaign on Thursday (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters).

Take a look at the fruits, ladies -- if you can see through the veil.

The revolt in Libya also began with protests calling for Khadafy’s ouster, but a brutal crackdown prompted NATO to wage airstrikes that proved key in helping the rebels win the war.  

Someone say Syria?

‘‘The dream is coming true,’’ said Guma el-Gamaty, a former spokesman for the National Transitional Council that has run Libya since Khadafy’s ouster. ‘‘For 42 years, there was one god controlling the country. Now they are in the thousands.’’


Sure reads like a dream.

"Tension, fear evident on eve of Libyan election; Election worker is killed; some push for boycott" by Maggie Michael  |  Associated Press, July 07, 2012

TRIPOLI, Libya — The killing of an electoral worker and calls for a boycott on the eve of Libya’s first vote since the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Khadafy raised fears of election violence as campaigning came to an end Friday in a contest seen as a milestone on the country’s path toward democracy.

The Saturday election of a 200-member transitional Parliament caps a messy nine-month transition after a 2011 civil war that ended in October with the death of Khadafy, whose four-decade rule left the country deeply divided along regional, tribal, and ideological lines....

In what it called an attempt to defuse east-west tensions, the council decreed on Thursday that the new Parliament will not be responsible for naming the panel that will draft a new constitution. Instead, the drafters will be directly elected by the public in a separate vote at a later date....

On Friday, gunmen shot down a helicopter carrying polling materials near Benghazi, killing one election commission worker, said council spokesman Saleh Darhoub. He said the aircraft came under attack while flying over Benina airport on the city’s outskirts, and that the crew survived after a crash landing. It was not clear who was behind the attack.

The shooting was merely the latest unrest in the messy run-up to the vote. Late Thursday, former militiamen shut down three eastern oil refineries — in Ras Lanouf, Brega, and Sidr — to press the transitional government to cancel the vote, Haroun said. He said militiamen also have cut the country’s main coastal highway linking east to west.

Earlier this week, former rebel fighters and other angry protesters in Benghazi and in the nearby town of Ajdabiya attacked elections offices, setting fire to ballot papers and other voting materials.

Haroun said boycott supporters would take to the streets on election day to ‘‘prevent people from voting, because this is a vote that serves those who stole the revolution from us.’’  

You guys aren't the only ones.  All the revolutions are contending with this problem. The empire has either co-opted them or used them as cover for coups.

The vote also will be a test of the strength of Islamist parties, which have gained influence in Libya and other nations following the ouster of authoritarian regimes run by strongmen like Khadafy and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. Groups vying for power range from the politically savvy Muslim Brotherhood to the ultraconservative Salafis and former jihadists.

I predict they will not do well.

Late Thursday, supporters of the Justice and Construction party cofounded by the Muslim Brotherhood marched through the streets of Tripoli carrying the party’s flags.

The Alliance of National Forces, led by secular-leaning former premier Mahmoud Jibril, paraded in cars plastered with party posters. The National Front, which descends from a Khadafy-era opposition movement, lit the sky over the capital with fireworks.

A day earlier, the former rebel commander and former jihadist Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, who cofounded the Homeland, or Al-Watan party, spoke to hundreds of supporters in the heart of Tripoli, endorsing democracy that will serve Islamic Sharia law.  

Well, we all know about him, right?

Those four parties are seen as front-runners in a highly unpredictable race.  

Translation: prepare for vote fraud and electoral rigging. Welcome to democracy, Libyans!


"Libyans brave risk of violence to vote" by David D. Kirkpatrick  |  New York Times, July 08, 2012

BENGHAZI, Libya — Defying expectations and in some places bullets, Libyans across most of their country voted on Saturday in their first election after more than four decades of isolation and totalitarianism under Moammar Khadafy....

The voting was far from immaculate. Violent protests forced the closure of several eastern polling stations, and at least one man was killed in election-related violence in Benghazi.  

What was it Rumsfeld said? Democracies are messy?

But given the low expectations after nearly nine months of lawlessness since the killing of Khadafy, the orderly voting in much of the country surprised even the voters themselves. As the polls closed, election officials said the turnout was 60 percent and vote-counting began. Results are not expected for several days.

Many people had braced for chaos, if not civil war, as Libya prepared to go to the polls with its cities controlled by fractious militias.

Violent attacks on polling centers across the east have been carried out by protesters determined to thwart the election for fear of domination by the country’s western region.

Almost no one can remember the parliamentary elections once held under the monarchy that preceded Khadafy’s 1969 coup, and a vast majority of Libyans were born after he had eviscerated any civic organizations or national institutions, except perhaps the secret police.  

If you say so, MSM hunk of s***.

Sort of feel that way myself about my crumbling, decaying hulk of a carcass I call a country.

But in some ways their inexperience proved an unexpected blessing, argued Diederik Vandewalle, a Libya scholar at Dartmouth University who is in Tripoli for the vote. Neighboring Arab Spring revolts in Egypt and Tunisia have struggled to overcome the resistance of holdover institutions like the police or the military, and polarizing divisions between Islamists and liberals.

But Libyans were inventing a new nation virtually from scratch.  


Sweet liberation, even if flattened the place, killed untold thousands, polluted the environment, and left the country controlled by clans. 

I hope you can see why it's really hard to read this anymore.

After warning throughout last year’s revolt of a possible descent into Somalia-like chaos of tribal infighting after the removal of Khadafy’s iron fist, Vandewalle said the organizing of the vote had proven him wrong, at least so far. ‘‘Who would have predicted a year ago that there would even be elections?’’ he asked.

The interim government’s election commission said that voting had taken place as scheduled in 94 percent of the nation’s polling centers despite a tribal strike and sporadic protests, and by 4 p.m., at least 1.2 million, or 42 percent, of Libya’s eligible voters had cast ballots.  

Turnout already dropped to 42%?

Libyans in the major coastal cities of Tripoli, Misurata, and Benghazi celebrated by jamming the streets with their cars, honking madly and waving out the window the ink-stains used to mark the right forefingers of each voter.  

Yaaaay, Libya looks like Iraq!

Still, even amid the jubilation — joined in many places by the artillery-mounted pick-up trucks of the young militiamen who are both the source of Libya’s tenuous security and its scourge — there were many reminders that the vote was just the beginning of the struggle to erect new institutions of government....  

Do you know how sick I am of seeing still, but, if, maybe, could, in my news reports?  Maybe it's just me, but in college they specifically told me these were bad words for a report. It's one of the few things that was worth remembering from the experience.

Violence aimed at stopping Saturday’s vote also underscored that regional resentments will surely bedevil the new congress just as they did the transitional council.

In the days leading up to the vote, protesters angry at the distribution of seats in the congress have attacked polling stations and burned ballots here and in other eastern cities. On Friday night, they downed a Libyan air force helicopter carrying voting supplies, killing an election official.

And on Saturday fresh attacks on election facilities across the east damaged election materials in as many as three polling centers in Benghazi and forced the closure or consolidation of several polling centers in the coastal area around the city of Ajdabiya as well.  

Oh, the fruits of democracy and the excitement of building a new nation from scratch, huh?


And I think we all saw this coming:

"Early results suggest setback for Islamists in Libya" by David D. Kirkpatrick  |  New York Times, July 09, 2012

BENGHAZI, Libya — A coalition led by a Western-educated political scientist appeared on Sunday to be beating Islamist parties in Libya’s first election in the post-Khadafy era, standing apart from an overwhelming Islamist wave sweeping across neighboring Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings....   

It just SCREAMS a RIGGING, doesn't it?

The surprising outcome may reflect the relative novelty of political debate in Libya, as well as the reputation and tribal connections of the coalition’s founder, Mahmoud Jibril.  

Whatever excuse works.

Jibril, 60, is a member of Libya’s most populous tribe, the Warfalla, as well as the former interim prime minister who helped lead the de facto rebel government in Benghazi.

But Jibril and his coalition also stood out from other opponents of Islamists around the region because they did not hurl accusations of extremism against those who called for Islamic law.

Like the Islamists and almost every other major faction here, Jibril’s coalition pledged to make Islamic law a main source of legislation, though not the only one.

Ideological lines remained fuzzy, and many voters acknowledged plans to let tribal or family ties guide their vote. But the Islamists sought to portray Jibril’s coalition as ‘‘liberal’’ or ‘‘secular’’ — and some who stood with him acknowledged privately that for them those terms were perfectly apt.

Jibril himself echoed a frequent refrain of Libyan voters unsure what to make of reemergent groups like the Muslim Brotherhood: ‘‘Do they think they are more Muslim than we are?’’

A former professor of political science who earned his doctoral degree and then taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Jibril said in a recent interview on Libyan television.... 

God, he's a U.S. puppet.

The apparent success of his party over the Muslim Brotherhood’s bloc now makes Jibril perhaps the most important voice in the next stage of Libya’s political transition after the fall of Moammar Khadafy. That phase is expected to include the drafting of a new constitution.

Several estimates say that in the portion of a planned national assembly decided by a contest between parties, Jibril’s coalition, the National Forces Alliance, had won as much as 80 percent of the vote in the Western region around Tripoli and more than 60 percent of the vote in the Eastern region around Benghazi.

Jibril’s Warfalla tribe, which accounts for roughly a million of Libya’s 6 million inhabitants, has its heaviest presence in both of those critical regions.

The party that appeared to be running second, the bloc established by the Muslim Brotherhood, appeared to receive only about 20 percent or less in both regions, parties and monitors said, indicating a trend likely to carry over into the competition between individual candidates as well.

Another loosely Islamic party founded by Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a former leader of an armed Islamist insurgency here who became the head of Tripoli’s military council, also fell short. It was expected to be a major competitor but appeared to end up with even less support than the Brotherhood.

The initial results came a day after election-related violence killed at least two people and armed assaults on polling places forced the closure of several of them in the eastern coastal region. But 94 percent of polling places had opened, the interim government said Saturday, with turnout at over 60 percent.

Among Jibril’s most vocal opponents were the militia leaders from the coastal city of Misurata, who emerged as a powerful force in the interim government. Reports from Misurata on Sunday indicated that Misurata had favored a new party founded by Abdurrahman Sewehli, a prominent descendant of that slain hero. Islamists did not appear to dominate there either.

Jibril left his job as interim prime minister under a cloud. In addition to criticism that he failed to do enough for average Libyans, he was criticized for spending too much of his life in the United States and too much of the fight against Khadafy jetting around foreign capitals.

Some also faulted him for his work before the uprising as the director of planning in the Khadafy government. Jibril was a proponent of economic liberalization and considered an ally of Khadafy’s son, Seif al-Islam.

But he quit the Khadafy government to form the self-appointed National Transitional Council as soon as the insurrection began, and his liberal image and political sophistication were vital to securing the Western military support that ultimately enabled the rebels to unseat Khadafy.


I'm sorry I'm getting tired of the script, readers.

"Libyan coalition leader keeps focus on secular goals" by Maggie Michael  |  Associated Press, July 10, 2012

TRIPOLI, Libya — A Libyan political alliance trying to hold off Islamist rivals used just one face on its national campaign posters: the image of a former rebel prime minister who once taught strategic planning at the University of Pittsburgh.

‘‘Founded by Mahmoud Jibril’’ read the fliers and posters for the secular-leaning coalition that appeared to have the early edge over the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist backers in the vote counting from Saturday’s parliamentary election.

If the liberals hang on, the outcome will probably speak more about Jibril’s skills at populism than a wellspring of support for his relatively unknown political allies.

Jibril — a globe-trotting envoy for the rebel cause after abandoning his adviser post within Moammar Khadafy’s regime — is now in position to become one of Libya’s political point men by serving as a unifier of an array of liberals, secularists, and moderates in the nation’s first open elections in nearly five decades....    


Jibril has managed to strike all chords, making his alliance possibly the first since the Arab Spring to humble the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist allies after surging to power in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia....

But, like any rising political force, Jibril stirs a backlash. Rivals say that Jibril has led a fear-mongering campaign against Islamists and capitalized on Libyans’ fear of another chaotic Egyptian or Tunisian scenario.  

And above I was told he won because he didn't run that type of campaign. WTF!?!?!?

‘‘They exploited people’s fear of another Islamist-led state,’’ said Mahmoud al-Shebani, a candidate of the National Parties’ Bloc, which describes itself as a centrist faction. ‘‘They launched an extensive campaign warning that Islamists will turn Libya to Taliban or will rule like (the late Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini.’’

Jibril, 60, is not on the ballot under rules blocking members of the anti-Khadafy transitional government from running. Instead, he acts as a mix of elder statesman and spokesman for a political coalition of more than 50 parties — some as small as just a handful of people. He launched a private TV network, toured the country and opened new branches in many cities.

In Tripoli’s upscale neighborhood Andalus, the alliance headquarters is located in a four-floor building overlooking the Mediterranean. The headquarters is a beehive, packed by young men and women.

‘‘Where did he get the money from? Look at the army of employees he got,’’ said Shebani.

I have a pretty good idea.

Curiously, Jibril’s core viewpoints are borrowed largely from his reform plans as a senior Khadafy economic adviser and protege to Khadafy’s son and presumed heir, Seif al-Islam. The ‘‘Libya Tomorrow Project,’’ which Jibril helped author, promoted sell-offs of state companies, more international-friendly policies, reconciliation with opposition movements, and stronger human rights commitments.  

So much for that if the torture and detainee reports are true. And you can see why he is well-liked in the West. 

At the time, it was initially well received by Libyans, but seen by critics as a way for Khadafy’s son to market himself to the West as Libya also tried to repair its global image.  

Let this be a lesson as to how quickly they will turn on you. Assad is getting it now.


Related: US intervention in Libya: a model of what can go right

The war paper really is disgusting sometimes.   

Next stop Syria....

The Libya that Khadafy left behind

Which is exactly what the Globe did with Libya after the vote. 

Related: Globe Light on Libya 

Before, too, the reason being they don't want you to know the place has literally gone to hell after Khadafy blessed them with the highest standard of living on the continent. He brought water to the desert, and he was the economic leader of the African continent. 

Where he went wrong was advocating the dinar as a government-issued currency for the continent, and Goldman Sachs owed him a pile of money for the mortgage frauds Khadafy's sovereign state funds bought.