Spread of Radical Islam in Libya Fails to Deter Oil Companies

Jun 27, 2013, 14:08 ET from World Review

VADUZ, Lichtenstein, June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --


Two years have passed since the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, yet Libya's conflict is far from over, says World Review author and former French Minister of Defence Charles Millon.

Hostility between Libya's three main regions - Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan - is threatening to spill into anarchy and conflict. Yet this has not deterred foreign investment from energy companies, he says.

To make matters worse, the General National Council has passed a law banning the involvement of anyone associated with Colonel Gaddafi from participating in politics. This encompasses 500,000 people, and leaves only Islamist hardliners who can rule the country.

'Although they have traded in their combat fatigues for suits, the new masters of Libya are no softies,' says Mr Millon.

'Abdelhakim Belhadj, governor of Tripoli and a former jihadist, has been seeking power with his new party, Al-Watan, which is described as tending towards "Salafi nationalism".

'Abdelkarim al-Hasadi, known as the "Emir of Derna", in the eastern part of Libya, is an admirer of the Taliban and makes excuses for the stoning of women. And the Grand Mufti Sadeq Al-Ghariani has called for a ban on Libyan women marrying foreigners.'

The literal and violent application of Sharia law in those countries does not appear to concern the rest of the world. 'This is because the only thing that seems to be working in Libya is the production of oil and gas, which is now at pre-revolution levels,' he says.

Western oil companies, such as the French group Total which invested US$130 million in 2013 (around 100 million euros) in gas exploration in Libya, do not seem to find anything wrong with the situation vacillating between anarchy and Islamist repression.

'Libya appears to be heading towards a violent order under the dual banner of oil and Salafi Islamism,' he says.

Read the full World Review report here.

About the author

World Review author Charles Millon is a French politician who served as France's Minister of Defence from 1995 to 1997 in Alain Juppe's government and French Ambassador to the United Nations from 2003 to 2007.


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