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  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 19,131     71
     
GNI per capita
 US $ n/a n/a
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 108 - (26/01/13)

Qadhafi's arsenals have ended up throughout Africa and the effects have been noted by the emergence of so many new groups, including Boko Haram in Nigeria and Mujao in Mali, Ansar Dine, demonstrating that North Africa has becoming become a breeding ground for the new Al Qaeda. The Libyan revolt, culminating in the collapse of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, has played no small role in encouraging the turmoil in Mali (and in the Sahel region in general). The Malian rebels at first Tuareg and then Islamist found a large supply of weapons and (almost) at no cost from Libyan arsenals. Qadhafis own military organization or model is specifically to blame for the proliferation of weapons phenomenon. o understand why it is necessary, take a step back. Qadhafi borrowed the mode from Titos Yugoslavia, which was designed around a small army of small popular militias, supplied with weapons, of all kinds including complex platforms, stored in facilities spread throughout the country

The Mali Crisis and its roots in the Libyan Revolt of 2011
The terrorist commando that took hostage 41 Westerners and hundreds of Algerians at the central gas extraction at In Amenas in the Algerian Sahara, operated by BP-Sonatrach, came from Libya, according to the Algerian Interior Minister, Dahou Ould Kablia, after the military operation to stop the Islamists came to an end with many dead and injured. Libya and Egypt have tightened security measures at their oil facilities, after threats from Islamic extremists who, after this assault at In Amenas in Algeria, have threatened to attack other new installations in North Africa. Special defense units and increased patrol units have been deployed at all Libyan oil facilities.

The attack in Algeria, and in fact the entire occupation of northern Mali by Tuareg separatists and Islamists, was made possible by the demise of the Qadhafi regime in Libya.

The elimination of the Colonel has uncovered a Pandora's box. For years the Tuareg were kept at arms length by Col. Qadhafi who paid them, or rather paid them off, to avoid stirring trouble in the remote and vast southern regions near the border with Mali. The Tuareg militias, however, fled after their source of patronage departed in the wake of the Libyan revolt. Last spring the Tuareg militias took over Timbuktu after raiding abandoned arsenals of weapons in Libya. The Algerian minister, then claimed that the very leader of the operation at In Amenas, Mukhtar Belmukhtar and the handful of thugs intent on revenge for the French intervention in Mali, reached their target via Libya.

This shows again that Al Qaeda is a franchise, exploited by this or the other group, as they see fit, and often without any special ideological reason. The founder of Ansar al-Din, the main Islamist group that has dominated northern Mali since last spring, is the very definition of opportunist; Ag Ghali, as he is known, started out wanting to lead a Tuareg revolt in the Azawad only to see his leadership bid fail for the MNLA (Movement for the Liberation of Azawad). He turned his disappointment by packaging his ambition in an Islamist guise and leading Ansar al-Din. These new al-Qaida groups have internationally experienced combatants; some of them have fought in Afghanistan; some may have been involved in Yemen. The groups then have found a solid base in Africa and they are edging ever closer to the Mediterranean; a feat that Europe has grown wary about, as they edge closer to the Mediterranean and Europe. The contents of Qadhafi’s arsenals have ended up throughout Africa and the effects ave been noted by the emergence of so many new groups, including Boko Haram in Nigeria and Mujao in Mali, Ansar Dine, demonstrating that North Africa has becoming become a breeding ground for the new offshoots of Al Qaeda.

The Libyan revolt, culminating in the collapse of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, has thus played no small role in encouraging the turmoil in Mali (and in the Sahel region in general). The Malian rebels – at first Tuareg and then Islamist – found a large supply of weapons and (almost) at no cost from Libyan arsenals. Qadhafi’s own military organization or model is specifically to blame for the proliferation of weapons phenomenon. To understand why this is necessary, take a step back. Qadhafi borrowed the ‘mode’ from Tito’s Yugoslavia, which was designed around a small army of small popular militias, supplied with weapons of all kinds including complex platforms, stored in facilities spread throughout the country. Qadhafi liked this system, or at least its size requirements, because it allowed him to reduce the rank and file numbers while also offsetting the risk of dissent or revolt, from within the army ranks ( although it took forty years of power to find out that this theory was flawed). Indeed, it is no coincidence that Gaddafi in the early days of the revolt ordered the air force to attack the rebels and perhaps more importantly to bombard the weapons depots where they were getting their ammunition and hardware. The Libyan leader clearly placed too much trust in his pilots, because the arms depots fared much better than the dictator, most of them having been left intact and open for ‘trade’.

Qadhafi, who was not a real Colonel, though he fancied himself as a sort of modern day Hannibal – some of the propaganda mural paintings depicted him on horseback, brandishing a sword, challenging the US Air Force – had schemed an elaborate plan to keep the Tuareg rebels close. He harbored the ones fleeing from Mali and Niger (many over the years: it is no coincidence that there is such a thing as the MNLA; there are actual grievances in these countries) for years, offering them shelter and even high ranking positions in the armed forces with commensurate military training. Once Qadhafi’s regime met its demise, of course, the Tuareg had no reason, or indeed logic, to stay in Libya.

They were forced to return to their original lands - armed to the teeth and in capable offroad vehicles, many of which could be seen in the recent images from Timbuktu or Gao. The trucks were filled with brand new weapons from the Libyan arsenals: Machine guns, mortars and grenade launchers, as well as anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank systems. It seems that Niger, perhaps having a better and more equipped armed force, was better able to disarm the returing Qadhafi-Nigeriens. Mali, however, was not capable of stopping them. Indeed, in the coup of March 2012 by the Malian army against the government in Bamako, the official reason was given as the latter government’s inability to deal with the Tuareg revolt, which at first was shaping along a Tuareg nationalist sentiment. Only, later would it take an Islamist turn.

The Malian armed forces, with the exception of some units trained by French and U.S. Special Forces were and are, unprepared to deal with the Libyan well trained and well armed militias. Moreover, the weapons stored in Qadhafi’s arsenals also helped to give rise to the anti-Qadhafi militias who used them during the civil war; they also sold some, to finance themselves, and used them to maintain their ‘influence’ in the post-Qadhafi Libya. The buyers of the weapons were not necessarily Tuaregs; they include a wider array of clients such as the fundamentalist militias operating in the north of Mali: Ansar Dine, Mujao (Movement for the Uniqueness and Jihad in Africa), which are multi-national and do not discriminate their members on the basis of country of origin.

As for Libya itself, more specifically the persistence of the militias; the fact that they have not been disarmed has kept their power and influence intact, at the expense of the enfeebled Government’s power and influence. The ultimate risk for Libya, the dismemberment of the country, must remain a possibility for the time being. Continuing demands in Benghazi for separation from Tripoli and daily attacks against State targets, are serious reminders that the Libyan crisis has not been resolved yet!

Even if Libya manages to overcome divisions and militias, their presence (if not their armed prowess) shows that Libya’s biggest enemy remains in its patriarchal and tribal nature. This has the effect of negating individual political choice, which is of course essential in a democracy. This is because in a tribal system the votes represent clan or tribal preferences rather than individual ones. 
 

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