Libya Political And Economic Profile – Analysis


By Christopher M. Blanchard and Jim Zanotti

Major anti-government protests broke out in Libya on February 15 and have since intensified, eliciting violent government responses. The demonstrations are in opposition to the 42-year regime of Libya’s leader, Muammar al Qadhafi. As of February 18, opposition forces have taken over areas of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, with pro-government forces holding a reduced area around the capital Tripoli.

Libyan-U.S. rapprochement has unfolded gradually since 2003, when the Libyan government accepted responsibility for the actions of its personnel in regard to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and announced its decision to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction and long range missile programs. In response, U.S. sanctions were gradually removed, and, on May 15, 2006, the Bush Administration announced its intention to restore full diplomatic relations with Libya and to rescind Libya’s listing as a state sponsor of terrorism. Full diplomatic relations were restored on May 31, 2006. Libya was removed from the lists of state sponsors of terrorism and states not fully cooperating with U.S. counterterrorism efforts in June 2006.

Current U.S. policy concerns, in addition to those linked with the ongoing unrest, include ensuring Libya’s positive contribution to the security and economic prosperity of North Africa and the Sahel, securing commercial opportunities in Libya for U.S. firms, and addressing persistent human rights issues. The Obama Administration is requesting $875,000 in FY2011 foreign assistance funding for Libya programs.

Muammar al Qadhafi: A Profile

Muammar al Qadhafi was born in 1942 near the central coastal city of Sirte. His Arabized Berber family belongs to the relatively small Qadhafa tribe, and his upbringing was modest. As a young man Qadhafi identified strongly with Arab nationalist and socialist ideologies espoused by leaders such as Egypt’s Gamel Abdel Nasser. Although he was excluded from the elite Cyrenaica Defense Forces on a tribal basis during the Libyan monarchy period, Qadhafi was commissioned as a regular army captain following stints at the Libyan military academy in Benghazi and the United Kingdom’s Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Following his return to Libya, he led the September 1, 1969, overthrow of the Libyan monarchy with a group of fellow officers. He was 27 years old.

Qadhafi has proven to be a controversial, complex, and contradictory political survivor during his long reign in Libya, in spite of numerous internal and external challenges to his rule. He has exercised nearly complete, if, at times, indirect political control over Libya over the last 30-plus years by carefully balancing and manipulating complex patronage networks, traditional tribal structures, and byzantine layers of national, regional, and local governance. Libya’s foreign and domestic policies nominally have been based on his personal ideology. In the past, Qadhafi and his supporters have imposed his theories with realistic purpose and precision, not hesitating to crush coup attempts, assassinate dissidents abroad, or sponsor violent movements and terrorist attacks against Libya’s perceived external enemies.

Personally, Qadhafi often is described as mercurial, charismatic, shrewd, and reclusive. He is married and has eight children: seven sons and one daughter. An April 1986 U.S. air strike in retaliation for a Libyan-sponsored anti-American bombing in Berlin hit one of his homes in Tripoli, killing his adopted infant daughter and hospitalizing members of his immediate family.

The incident reportedly continues to be a source of personal anger and resentment for Qadhafi: he has preserved the bombed-out ruins of the home in the military compound where it stood, and he remarked on the death of President Ronald Reagan in 2004 that the former U.S. President had died before he could be prosecuted for the “ugly crime that he committed in 1986 against the Libyan children.”44

Political Dynamics

Libya’s often contradictory political dynamics are a product of competing interest groups seeking to influence policy within the confines of the country’s authoritarian political system and amid Libya’s emergence from international isolation. Elements of Muammar al Qadhafi’s ideology permeate political discourse on many security and foreign policy issues, while in other cases, such as economic reform, new frameworks are being embraced to meet society’s current and changing needs. The legacies of colonial occupation and Libya’s struggle for independence continue to influence Libyan politics; rhetorical references to preserving sovereignty and resistance to foreign domination are common in political statements. Most Libyans also accept a prominent role for Islamic tradition in public life: Islam is the official religion and the Quran is the basis for the country’s law and its “social code.”

Tribal relationships remain important, particularly with regard to the distribution of leadership roles in government ministries and in political-military relations. Tribal loyalties remain strong within and between branches of the armed services, and members of Qadhafi’s tribe, the Qadhafa, have held many high-ranking government positions, reportedly including key positions in the air force. Members of larger, rival tribes, such as the Warfalla, have opposed the regime on grounds of tribal discrimination. Some Libyan military and security officials staged limited, unsuccessful coup attempts against Qadhafi in 1993 and 1996 based in part on tribal and familial rivalries. The Qadhafi government has performed periodic reassignments and purges of the officer corps to limit the likelihood of organized opposition reemerging from within the military. However, these political considerations have affected the military’s preparedness and war fighting capability. Political parties and all opposition groups are banned in Libya under law number 71 of 1972.

Formal political pluralism is frowned upon by many members of the ruling elite, even as an increasing number of regime figures advocate for greater popular participation in existing government institutions. Opposition groups, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood, appear to have shifted their political strategies toward gradual attempts to influence national policy making in contrast to others’ confrontational efforts to change the makeup of the regime. Prominent figures in Libyan politics include Muammar al Qadhafi’s son Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi,45 General People’s Committee Secretary Al Baghdadi Ali al Mahmudi, National Oil Company chief Shukri Ghanem, Foreign Minister Musa Kousa, and prominent members of the security establishment, including army leader and original RCC member Abu Bakr Younis Jaber.

Government Structure

Libya has a unique political system composed of nominally decentralized and participatory levels of government. Muammar al Qadhafi and his closest supporters exercise final authority over domestic and foreign policies by means of their control of the implementation mechanisms of the national government—the sizeable military and security apparatus and a handful of powerful ministries. Qadhafi’s ideological emphasis on “the authority of the people” is the stated basis for the operation of Libya’s multiple levels of government. Although participation in these institutions is mostly open and political leaders routinely encourage citizens to take part in their deliberations, most external observers regard Libya’s political system as largely authoritarian and undemocratic. The U.S. State Department’s annual human rights reports document ongoing restrictions on political life and human rights in Libya (see “Political Reform and Human Rights” below).

The “Authority of the People”

A hierarchy of “people’s congresses” make up Libya’s government and serve as venues for the exercise of “popular authority” as defined by Muammar al Qadhafi’s ideology. At the local level, citizens meet in Basic People’s Congresses to appoint representatives to regional and ultimately the national General People’s Congress. Participation in the basic congresses is open to all Libyan citizens, although participation rates are notoriously low and Qadhafi regularly makes public statements expressing his disappointment with participation levels and urging broader popular involvement in public affairs. At the March 1, 2000, session of the General Peoples’ Congress, Qadhafi abolished the positions of 12 General People’s Committee (cabinet-equivalent) secretaries and reassigned their duties to provincial committees. Secretariats of foreign affairs, justice, public security, and finance remained under the authority of the centralized General People’s Committee. Some experts have argued that the decentralization was designed to deflect popular criticism from the central government and further dilute political opposition within the country.

In March 2006, the Libyan government announced the replacement of Secretary (prime ministerequivalent) of the General People’s Committee Shukri Ghanem by former Health Minister Al Baghdadi Ali al Mahmudi. A cabinet reshuffle and the creation of seven new ministries also were announced. The replacement of the reform-oriented Ghanem was interpreted by some observers as an effort by conservative and hard-line elements of the Libyan political establishment to reassert control over the speed and direction of Libya’s reform efforts. Ghanem now serves as the director of the National Oil Company, where he is involved with ongoing international bidding for oil exploration and production-sharing agreements. A further reshuffle in March 2009 elevated long-time intelligence chief Musa Kusa to the position of Foreign Minister, and further changes in the leadership of the General People’s Congress were enacted in January 2010.

Proposals for the Dissolution of State Ministries and Revenue Distribution

In March 2008, Qadhafi announced his intention to dissolve most government administrative bodies and institute a Wealth Distribution Program whereby state oil revenues would be distributed to citizens on a monthly basis for them to administer personally, in cooperation, and via local committees.46 Citing popular criticism of government performance in a long, wideranging speech, Qadhafi repeatedly stated that the traditional state would soon be “dead” in Libya and that direct rule by citizens would be accomplished through the distribution of oil revenues.

Defense, foreign affairs, security, and oil production arrangements reportedly would remain national government responsibilities, while other bodies would be phased out. In early 2009, Libya’s Basic People’s Congresses considered variations of the proposals, and the General People’s Congress voted to delay implementation. As of early 2010, there is no indication that new support for the initiative is forthcoming from within the General People’s Congress, and, as such, the plan appears to be shelved for the time being.

Opposition Groups

The government has dealt harshly with opposition leaders and groups over the last four decades, establishing special “people’s courts” and “revolutionary committees” to enforce ideological and political discipline and to punish violators and dissidents. Abroad, Libyan intelligence personnel have monitored, harassed, and, in some cases, assassinated expatriate dissidents, some of whom were referred to as “stray dogs.” In recent years, some in the Libyan establishment have reached out to opposition figures and exiles, facilitating engagement and negotiating the return of some former regime opponents to Libya.

Libya’s myriad opposition movements can be categorized broadly as Islamist, royalist, or democratic in orientation. However, their activities and effectiveness have been largely limited by disorganization, rivalry, and ideological differences. New efforts to coordinate opposition activities have begun in response to Libya’s reintegration to the international community and the emergence of a broader political reform debate in the Arab world. However, most observers do not regard any of Libya’s current opposition groups as a serious threat or alternative to the current government.


In the past, government officials and intelligence operatives have monitored and taken violent action against expatriate opposition groups and leaders, including in Europe and the United States. Clandestine opposition groups also have carried out assassinations and attacks against Libyan government officials abroad. Opposition groups in exile include the National Alliance, the Libyan National Movement (LNM), the Libyan Movement for Change and Reform, the Islamist Rally, the National Libyan Salvation Front (NLSF), and the Republican Rally for Democracy and Justice. A royalist contingent based on the claim to the throne by Mohammed al Sanusi, the grandson of the former king, is based in London. These groups and others held an opposition conference in July 2005 in London and issued a “national accord,” calling for the removal of Qadhafi from power and the establishment of a transitional government.47 A follow-up meeting was held in March 2008.48

In a September 2005 interview, then-Foreign Minister Abd al Rahman Shalgam characterized some of the regime’s expatriate opponents as individuals who fled the country after committing economic crimes or collaborating with foreign intelligence services. He then invited any expatriate dissidents who had not committed crimes to return to Libya.49 In August 2005, the government announced the return of 787 exiles who agreed to reconcile with the Qadhafi regime.50 Regional observers characterized the return of prominent dissidents in August 2006 as evidence of an unofficial reconciliation program between the Libyan government and its expatriate opponents.51 The Qadhafi Development Foundation reportedly facilitated the return of a group of 33 exiles in January 2010.52

The Muslim Brotherhood

Like other political organizations and opposition groups, the Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Libya under law number 71 of 1972. Since the late 1940s, when members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood first entered Libya following a crackdown on their activities, the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood has existed as a semi-official organization. Hundreds of Brotherhood members and activists were jailed in 1973, although the Brotherhood eventually reemerged and operated as a clandestine organization for much of the following two decades. In 1998, a second round of mass arrests took place, and 152 Brotherhood leaders and members were arrested.

Several reportedly died in custody, and, following trials in 2001 and 2002, two prominent Brotherhood leaders were sentenced to death and over 70 were sentenced to life in prison. The government announced a retrial for the imprisoned Brotherhood activists in October 2005, and in March 2006, the group’s 84 remaining imprisoned members were released.53

The controller general of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, Suleiman Abdel Qadir, describes the Brotherhood’s objectives as peaceful and policy-focused, and has called for the cancellation of laws restricting political rights.54 Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi has reached out to the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood by publicly characterizing the organization as nonviolent and non-seditious. Abdel Qadir responded to political reform statements by Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi in 2007 with calls for more inclusive, consultative decision making.55 In a November 2008 interview with Qatar-based satellite channel Al Jazirah, Abdel Qadir expressed appreciation for the younger Al Qadhafi’s attempt, while noting that the fact that outreach has taken place under the auspices of the Qadhafi Foundation and not through official state organs undermines their significance. He also repeated calls for reform and reconciliation aimed at creating a constitution and protecting civil rights for Libyans.56

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is a violent Islamist movement opposed to the Qadhafi government. Its imprisoned leaders have been engaged in a dialogue with the Qadhafi Foundation for several years, and over 100 LIFG members have been released. In 2009, some of the group’s leaders issued a lengthy series of writings, referred to as “the recantations,” outlining their rejection of the use of violence (see below). However, Libyan and U.S. concerns about LIFG’s domestic and international activities persist. According to the Department of State, the LIFG has attempted to assassinate Qadhafi, most recently in 1996, and may have participated in the planning of the May 2003 suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco.57 The group’s reported ties with Al Qaeda came under scrutiny in July 2009 after group members based in Britain reportedly renounced the group’s affiliation with Al Qaeda, and contrasted the LIFG with others who use indiscriminate bombing and target civilians. In November 2007, Al Qaeda figures Ayman al Zawahiri and Abu Layth al Libi announced the merger of the LIFG with Al Qaeda, which many terrorism analysts viewed at the time as having political rather than operational relevance.58 Al Libi was killed in an air-strike in Pakistan in February 2008.

Al Qaeda Affiliation and Recantations

In a July 2009 statement, LIFG members in Britain characterized the November 2007 Al Qaeda affiliation announcement from Al Libi as “a personal decision that is at variance with the basic status of the group,” and sought to “clearly emphasize that the group is not, has never been, and will never be, linked to the Al Qaeda organization.”59 The statement stressed that LIFG members abroad support “the dialogue underway between the group’s leadership and the Libyan regime if it should lead to an end to bloodletting, the release of prisoners, the spreading of security and justice, the reunion of families, and to permitting preaching, educational, and political activities.” The statement warned that the group would “preserve [its] lawful and natural right to oppose the regime if it does not turn its back on its previous policy that has led to tension and deadlock.”

Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi has overseen an effort to engage with LIFG leaders in an effort to encourage them to renounce violence and links with other violent groups. Reports on the dialogue suggest it is similar to processes completed or underway in other countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In 2009, the government and the LIFG reach an agreement in which LIFG leaders renounced violence against the Libyan state, and, later in 2009, the dialogue resulted in the issuance of written “recantations” of the LIFG’s former views on religion and violence.60 In October 2009, over 40 LIFG prisoners were released, alongside other Islamists.

The United States froze the LIFG’s U.S. assets under Executive Order 13224 in September 2001, and formally designated the LIFG as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in December 2004. In February 2006, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated five individuals and four entities in the United Kingdom as Specially Designated Global Terrorists for their role in supporting the LIFG.61 On October 30, 2008, Treasury designated three more LIFG financiers.62 Some observers have characterized the designations as a gesture of solidarity with Libya and have argued that the ability and willingness of the LIFG to mount terror attacks in Libya may be limited. Others claim that some LIFG fighters have allied themselves with other violent Islamist groups operating in the trans-Sahara region, and cite evidence of Libyan fighters joining the Iraqi insurgency as an indication of ongoing Islamist militancy in Libya and a harbinger of a possible increase in violence associated with fighters returning from Iraq.63 Reports suggest that eastern Libya may be a stronghold for LIFG members and other extremist groups that could pose a threat to Libya’s security.

Political Reform and Human Rights

The 2009 U.S. Department of State report on human rights in Libya (released March 11, 2010) characterizes Libya’s human rights record as “poor.”64 According to the report:

Continuing problems included reported disappearances; torture; arbitrary arrest; lengthy pretrial and sometimes incommunicado detention; official impunity; and poor prison conditions. Denial of fair public trial by an independent judiciary, political prisoners and detainees, and the lack of judicial recourse for alleged human rights violations were also problems.65

The report also stated that “security personnel reportedly routinely tortured prisoners during interrogations or as punishment,” but added that reports of instances of torture had declined over the last year according to foreign observers. The Qadhafi Development Foundation’s Human Rights Society issued a report in December 2009 stating that the Society had “received a large number of complaints regarding cases of torture, ill-treatment, unlawful and unjustified detention, denial of freedom, and a clear premeditated violation of the law.”

Since 2003, Libyan political figures, including Muammar al Qadhafi and his son Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi, have made a series of public statements and policy announcements in an effort to repair Libya’s reputation with regard to human rights practices. Some tangible steps have been taken, and Libyan authorities have reported that legal reforms are underway that may improve the protections and rights afforded to citizens. Judicial entities associated with human rights abuses and political control in the past, such as “revolutionary courts” and “people’s courts,” reportedly have been dismantled. As a result, some observers have expressed cautious optimism that political, social, and religious freedom may improve in Libya. Others continue to warn that such reforms may be merely cosmetic and meant to support the government’s efforts to improve its domestic legitimacy and international standing.

A December 2009 Human Rights Watch report concluded that

the past five years have witnessed an improvement in the human rights situation, though far less than promised or required. There are less frequent reports of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances compared to the two previous decades. There has been greater tolerance of freedom of expression and some progress in addressing gross violations of the past, though this remains very unpredictable.66

Legal and Institutional Reform

Libyan law prohibits the activities of all political opposition groups and restricts the free exercise of speech and the press.67 Since Qadhafi’s 1969 coup, little legal recourse has been available to citizens accused of political crimes. Nevertheless, officials have announced plans to embark upon a full review of the country’s Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure to eliminate restrictive laws regarding political activity. Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi also has called for a constitution to clarify the power of different legislative, executive, and judicial institutions in Libya and has endorsed ongoing legal reforms as a means to “provide a free environment that is suitable for a normal political life.”68 He renewed these calls in an August 2007 speech and indicated that a constitutional drafting process would begin. The speech called for the guarantee of “independent institutions,” including the central bank, the supreme court, the media, and civil society. He also outlined four “red lines” to guide reform efforts: Islamic law, the territorial integrity of Libya, security and stability, and “Muammar al Qadhafi.”69

In support of the reform efforts, some institutional changes have been instituted to improve political and human rights conditions. In March 2004, the General People’s Committee Secretariat of Justice and Public Security was split into two separate secretariats in an effort to establish greater judicial independence. In January 2005, the General People’s Congress approved a law abolishing judicial institutions known as “people’s courts” and “revolutionary courts” that tried suspected regime opponents, sometimes in secret. International human rights organizations welcomed the abolition of the people’s court system as an “important step” and urged Libyan authorities to grant new trials to prisoners convicted by the courts, including several who were convicted in late 2004. In December 2009, the Qadhafi Development Foundation called for the abolition of the State Security Court, which has in some instances assumed the former activities of the people’s court system.

Human Rights Monitoring

The Libyan government has not permitted the establishment of independent human rights organizations but invited international human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to Libya for the first time in 15 years. In late 2004 and early 2005, representatives from both organizations toured various security facilities and prisons and met with selected imprisoned dissidents. A January 2006 Human Rights Watch report based on research conducted during the visit concluded that “Libyan leader Muammar al Qadhafi and his inner circle appear unwilling to implement genuine reform, especially in the areas of free expression and association,” although the Libyan government had taken “some positive steps” to improve human rights conditions since 2003.70 Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi has publicly supported a pro-human rights agenda and created the Human Rights Society operating under the auspices of the Qadhafi Development Foundation.

Fathi al Jahmi

The death of Fathi al Jahmi, Libya’s most internationally recognized political prisoner, shortly after his release from Libyan custody in May 2009, brought a negative end to a long-running issue of contention in U.S.-Libyan relations. Al Jahmi was imprisoned in 2002 after publicly calling for elections and press reforms and for criticizing Muammar al Qadhafi and the government. President George W. Bush praised Al Jahmi’s subsequent release in March 2004 under a suspended sentence, but Al Jahmi was soon rearrested after he repeated his calls for reform and expanded his criticism of Qadhafi in interviews with regional satellite channels, including U.S.-funded Al Hurra. Al Jahmi subsequently was detained and remained in ill health throughout his detention. Bush Administration officials repeatedly called for Al Jahmi’s release,71 and U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, reportedly raised the issue in private with their Libyan interlocutors.72 On March 17, 2009, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood stated that the Obama Administration continued to call for Al Jahmi’s “unconditional release, as well as his ability to travel and seek medical care where he wishes.” In response to the news of his death, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, “we had welcomed his release to Jordan. We regret that his poor state of health, however, did not allow him to fully recover upon transfer.”

Christopher M. Blanchard
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs
[email protected], 7-0428

Jim Zanotti
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs
[email protected], 7-1441

This article is an edited version of a longer February 18, 2011 Congressional Research Service Report: “Libya: Background and U.S. Relations” (PDF)

44 Khaled El-Deeb, “Gadhafi: Regrets Reagan Died Before Being Tried for 1986 Air Strikes on Libya,” Associated Press, June 6, 2004.
45 For a detailed profile of Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi and a discussion of questions about the possibility of his succeeding his father, see Yehudit Ronen, “Libya’s Rising Star: Said Al-Islam and Succession,” Middle East Policy, Vol. XII, No. 3, Fall 2005, pp. 136-44.
46 BBC Monitoring Middle East, “Libyan leader says cabinet must be dismantled,” March 2, 2008; and, “Libyan Leader Addresses Libyan People’s Congress; Dissolves Cabinet,” OSC Report GMP20080305864001, March 3, 2008.
47 May Youssef, “Anti-Gaddafists Rally in London,” Al Ahram Weekly (Cairo), No. 749, June 30 – July 6, 2005; Al Jazeera (Doha), “Opposition Plans to Oust Al Qadhafi,” June 25, 2005; Middle East Mirror, “Libya’s Fractured Opposition,” July 29, 2005.
48 “Libyan Opposition Groups Meet in London To Reiterate Commitment To Save Libya,” OSC Report GMP20080329825012, March 29, 2008.
49 “Libya’s Shalgam on Ties With US, S. Arabia, Opposition,” OSC Report GMP20050924512001, September 24, 2005.
50 UPI, “Libya Says Hundreds Return From Exile,” August 20, 2005.
51 Khalid Mahmoud, “Libya: Surprise Return of More Opponents Following Secret Contacts,” Al Sharq Al Awsat (London), August 19, 2006.
52 “Libyan Opposition Members Reportedly Return Home,” OSC Report GMP20100102950009, January 2, 2010.
53 Afaf El-Geblawi, “Libya Frees All Jailed Muslim Brotherhood Members,” Agence France Presse, March 3, 2006.
54 “Al Jazirah TV Interviews Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Leader on Current Situation,” OSC Report – GMP20050803550006, August 3, 2005.
55 “Libyan MB Concerned Over Sayf al-Islam’s Statements Regarding New Constitution,” OSC Report – GMP20070830282001, August 30, 2007.
56 “Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Official on Libya’s Foreign, Domestic Politics,” OSC Report – GMP20081111635001, November 10, 2008.
57 U.S. Department of State, “Libya,” Country Reports on Terrorism 2004, April 2005.
58 “Al-Zawahiri, Al-Libi: Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Joins Al-Qa’ida,” OSC Report – FEA20071104393586, November 3, 2007.
59 “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Abroad Issues Statement Supporting Regime Dialogue.” OSC Report – GMP20090703825003, July 3, 2009.
60 “Report on ‘Seething Anger’ in Libya Over Dismantling Al Qa’ida-Linked Cells,” OSC Report GMP20080630825001 June 30, 2008; “Libya: Jailed Islamic Group Leaders ‘Preparing’ To Renounce Armed Violence,” OSC Report GMP20080706837002, July 6, 2008; “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Source Announces Ideology Revision Nearly Complete,” OSC Report GMP20090615825012, June 15, 2009; and OSC Reports, GMP20090911452001, GMP20090911452002, GMP2009091145200, GMP20090910488004, GMP20090911452004, GMP20090915452001, “Libyan Newspaper Publishes Libyan Fighting Group Retractions,” September 2009.
61 U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Treasury Designates UK-Based Individuals, Entities Financing Al Qaida-Affiliated LIFG,” JS-4016, February 8, 2006.
62 U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Three LIFG Members Designation for Terrorism,” HP-1244, October 30, 2008.
63 Alison Pargeter, “Militant Groups Pose Security Challenge for Libyan Regime,” Janes Intelligence Review, Vol. 17, No. 8, August 2005, pp. 16-19.
64 U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Libya – 2009, March 11, 2010.
65 Ibid.
66 Human Rights Watch, “Truth and Justice Can’t Wait: Human Rights Developments in Libya Amid Institutional Obstacles,” December 12, 2009. Available at
67 According to the U.S. State Department, Libyan law provides for freedom of speech “within the limits of public interest and principles of the Revolution.” In practice, criticism of the government and Qadhafi are restricted and often punished. By law, most print and broadcast media in Libya are owned and operated by government authorities, and the activities of private newspapers and broadcasters have come under scrutiny since early 2009, when outlets that had been given limited space to practice independent journalism were renationalized. Satellite and Internet access are limited and partially censored.
68 “Libyan Leader’s Son on Call to Reopen Human Rights Files,” OSC Report – GMP20050820537003, August 20, 2005.
69 “Libyan Leader’s Son Outlines his Version of Democracy,” OSC Report – GMP20070823950058, August 20, 2007.
70 Human Rights Watch, “Libya: Words to Deeds The Urgent Need for Human Rights Reform,” Volume 18, No. 1(E), January 2006.
71 On March 31, 2008, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement urging “the Libyan government to fulfill their promise to release without condition” prominent political activist Fathi al Jahmi. U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey, Press Statement: Washington, DC, March 31, 2008
72 Issues Related to United States Relations With Libya On-the-Record Briefing Washington, DC, May 15, 2006.


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