Libya threatened by Berber revolt: report

The Germany-based Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns of a further destabilization of post-Qaddafi Libya. “Libya is threatened by a Berber revolt,” said the STP’s Africa expert, Ulrich Delius. “The country’s new leadership is not prepared to honor the help of the Berber militias during the overthrow the Qaddafi regime by recognizing the basic rights of the non-Arab minority. Libya is about to fall back into times as bad as during the Qaddafi regime, if there is no end to the general arabization and racism against non-Arabs.” This month has seen scattered skirmishes between Berber and Arab militias and the nascent national army.

A particularly dramatic incident took place on Dec. 11 at the airport in Tripoli. A motorcade of the influential army chief Gen. Khalifa Hiftar broke through a Berber road block. At least two were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire. “The army is playing down the incident —but the confrontation shows that the Berber militias are not prepared to accept the army’s supremacy,” said Delius.

This past weekend, there were also armed confrontations south of Tripoli where the Berber-led militia from Zintan battled members of the El-Mashasha clan who were mostly followers of Qaddafi, leaving four dead.

The non-Arab indigenous people, who call themselves Masire (Amazigh)—not Berbers—accuse Libya’s National Transitional Council of continuing Qaddafi’s arabization policy and of ignoring the Berbers, who contributed significantly to the overthrow of the dictator. It was the Masire from the mountain range Jebel Nefoussa west of Tripoli who led the western offensive against Tripoli. Masire militias were also of great importance in the struggle for the cities of Misrata, Zouara and Zintan.

Although the Masire make up approximately 10% of the population, they were not taken into account in forming a new government. During the struggle against Qaddafi, several now members of the new government had already accused the Masire of being anti-Arabic or Israel-supporters. So far, the new rulers of Libya are not willing to accept the Masire language to be equal with Arabic. (STP, Dec. 13)

See our last posts on Libya, the Arab revolutions and the Berber struggle.

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  1. Adrar Nphusa Indigenous Libyans pre-dating Arabization
    Thanks for the follow-up coverage on post-Qaddafi Libya. Aside from this German organization’s report sourced here by WW 4 Report there has been very little analysis of the best organized of the anti-Qaddafi rebel coalition currently vying for a political and institutional role in the new Libya. To avoid confusion when using online search engines to locate Anglophone or translatable web sites providing the Amazigh (pronounced Mazirr) or Berber perspective on Tamazgha (which means in the indigenous language of North AFrica “Land of Free Peoples” and is preferred to the post-Arab Facade term for states such as Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Niger and Mauritania that term being the Arabic Maghreb, simply meaning “The West” to Caliphate or Imperial Arabo-Islamic conquest of native North Africa).

    Also, I hope Bill & his excellent and always curious and professionally skeptical WW 4 Report staff whould beware a disreputable nominally ‘Progressive’ Canadian pundit named Mahdi Nazemroaya who is popping up on all the Pacifica Radio and affilitated community and college radio stations across the U.S., Canada and cyber stream of narrowcasters. Mahdi Nazemroaya during the post-Bengazi seige by Qaddafi forces period when NATO offered its air bombardment services to the Libyan rebels being primarily armed by the French (plenty of room for legitimate skepticism).

    Mahdi Nazemroaya traveled to Libya and holed up in the Qaddafi-loyalist hotel and for weeks spewed ludicrous alternative NATO-Imperial conspiracy stuff totally lacking any of the appreciable complexities of a situation that was not NATO-orchestrated, yet should be expected to be exploited by NATO and a global spectrum of mercenaries, legionairres and privateers with even more dubious humanitarian bona fides than NATO. This Nazemroaya was filing for all the Pacifica Radio and community radio and Progressive Indy media outlets preposterously pro-Qaddafi pap for weeks during the NATO bombardment of Libya. Make up your own minds on how to interpret the unique case of Libya in the roiling and changing North African map, just beware of and keep track of the strands of input coming from Mahdi Nazemroaya. Bill and WW 4 and Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade reports 86’d from Pacifica’s NYC Tri-state radio station WBAI last year while critiquing Pacifica’s economic interests in commodifying conspiracy paradigms have done very valuable work from warning true Progressive activists about some charlatans exploiting the anti-Imperial niche of the New Global Order analysis and propaganda industry. Being against NATO and its member-states’ competing individual interests in North Africa and the rest of the roiling Muddle East and greater Islamic World doesn’t mean one has to sign on as Tony Blair and the denatured UK Labor Party government did in backing illegitimate kleptocratic dictators like Qaddafi. Nazemroaya lost his credibility over the course of the months of legitimate defensive struggle against Qaddafi’s clearly-stated auto-genocidal goals from the seige of Bengazi to the forcible round-up of the Qaddafi family thugs. Exhibit A: