Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Barqa Not Yet Reborn

Sean Kane thinks commentary on the movement for autonomy for eastern Libya has been overblown:
"The first major counter point to the narrative of an east-west fragmentation in Libya is that it is not clear that federalism actually enjoys majority support in the east. It is somewhat out of date now and Libya's post-revolutionary political attitudes certainly remain in major flux, but a survey last October of public opinion in the east found that only seven percent of respondents favored a federal system...

"The second overlooked point of nuance is that even among those in the east who favor federalism, some were not pleased with the Barqa declaration. Beyond discomfort with the self-appointed Barqa Council speaking on behalf of the east on such an important issue, there is a feeling that the rushed announcement threatens to internally divide a part of the country that prides itself on its cohesiveness...

"Finally, the substantive differences between the east and the rest of the country on how much local autonomy should be granted to areas outside of Tripoli do not appear irreconcilable. The core day-to-day complaint that is giving rise to both federalism and decentralization appears to be one and the same. Namely, ordinary Libyans around the country are fed up with having to travel to the distant capital to conduct routine administrative business and access government services."

Read the piece for his full take on the issue.



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