By Henry Greenﬁeld
Though the National Liberation Army (NLA) took
Tripoli last month, civil war still rages in Libyan cities
like Sirte, Bani Walid and Sabha. The former Libyan
President and Prime Minister, Col. Muammar el-
Gaddaﬁ, was born in Sirte, making it a stronghold
for opposition against the NLA and the National
Transitional Council (NTC).
Civil war erupted in Libya early this year after Gaddaﬁ
used military force against nonviolent protesters,
causing widespread unrest. National angst quickly
organized under the NTC. Beginning in March, after
the NTC suﬀered a series of military defeats, the US
led air strikes against Gaddaﬁ loyalists,
shifting momentum to the NTC.
Now, loyalists are barely holding on to a few cities.
But once military conﬂict has ended, there may still
be political tension within the NTC. According to
The New York Times, when rebels ﬁnd weapons,
they often take them to their respective villages
instead of turning the weapons over to the NTC.
Also, the NTC has not yet organized a cabinet,
which they planned to have done by August. The
New York Times attributes the NTC’s diﬃculties to
sectionalism among its members.
The U.S. has provided considerable support for the
NTC over the past few months. But in the years
before the outbreak of the Libyan Civil War, the
U.S. resumed diplomatic relations with Gaddaﬁ’s
government and even celebrated Gaddaﬁ for opposing
terrorism after 9/11.
Uprisings similar to Libya’s Civil War have
occurred throughout the Middle East. While the
US was conducting air strikes in Libya, the Yemeni’s
government killed 52 civilians at a nonviolent protest,
similarly resulting in widespread unrest. But the U.S.
has not supported Yemeni rebels, and Western media
has not seriously covered their cause. In an Op-Ed
piece for Al Jazeera, Abubakr Al-Shamahi blames this
unresponsiveness on subtleties in Yemeni politics that
are misunderstood in the West. Other commentators
believe that the U.S. has not supported Yemeni rebels
because the U.S. does not depend on Yemen for oil.
Libya produces six times more oil then Yemen.