July 7, 2012 |
TRIPOLI, Libya — Naima Naggar stood in a Tripoli polling station Saturday, her index finger stained with indelible ink as she voted in Libya's first free elections in decades hoping to heal tribal divisions and bring this battered nation closer to democracy. She and other Libyans voted in high spirits to move beyond last year's civil war and the late Moammar Kadafi's 42-year repressive rule. Yet distrust and tension hang over the country, which has been marked by lawlessness and political schisms fueled by heavily armed militias.
March 22, 2012 |
Amal Zuhair's hijab is pushed back, revealing a strip of hair that to her traditionalist elders is a provocation, much like her fondness for rock music. She says she feels like two people: "I leave myself at home whenever I go outside. I am this other thing, this pretend person they want me to be. " Zuhair's struggle with her identity mirrors a broader quest in Libya as the country tries to recover from the four-decade rule of Moammar Kadafi, whose Arab nationalist regime long repressed minority cultures.
January 12, 2012
Speaking from what he apparently considers a position of strength, Syrian President Bashar Assad this week condemned the "terrorists," "traitors" and "outsiders" he said were leading the 10-month-old uprising against him and threatened to strike his enemies with an "iron fist. " Preventing such an offensive by the regime, which has complied only fitfully with a demand by the Arab League that it restrain itself, will be difficult. But the Arab League and the United Nations can and must do more to minimize the violence and brutal repression in Syria, which has continued unabated since the uprising began.
January 1, 2012 |
It was a bad year for the villains of the world. Three of the biggest bad guys met their ends: Osama bin Laden, killed by U.S. commandos who stormed his villa in Pakistan in May; Moammar Kadafi, killed by Libyan insurgents who captured him (with the help of a NATO airstrike) in October; and Kim Jong Il, the ruler of North Korea, who died Dec. 17, reportedly of a heart attack. Bin Laden was the most important. Americans remember him, of course, as the architect of the terrorist attacks of Sept.
December 17, 2011 |
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, on his first visit to Libya since the fall of Moammar Kadafi, warned that its government faces "a long and difficult transition" as it seeks to bring militias and tribes under its control. The new government in Tripoli has struggled to disarm the disparate forces that ousted Kadafi with NATO backing two months ago, raising fears of further factional fighting. It is a tall order for a country whose institutions withered under Kadafi and whose government buildings were widely damaged in the eight-month uprising, including by NATO bombing.
December 8, 2011 |
Weary of continuing gunfire in the streets of the capital, Libya's interim government has given notice to out-of-town militias to hand in their weapons and leave Tripoli in order to help steer the country toward civilian rule. Militias have until Dec. 20 to leave, said Abdul-Rafik Bu Hajjar, head of the Tripoli municipal council, threatening to ban all traffic except vehicles from the Interior and Defense ministries if the militias fail to comply. His order has the backing of the new prime minister, Abdel-Rahim Keeb.