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West should have put boots on the ground in Libya, says former prime minister

March 25th, 2014
05:15 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Western countries exercised “bad judgement” in failing to put troops on the ground during the Libyan revolution, Former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Tuesday.

“There was bad judgement on [the] part of the West for not putting too many troops on the ground,” Zeidan said through an interpreter.

Amanpour clarified whether he believed that, in retrospect, he wished that the West had “put boots on the ground, forces to maintain security.”

“Any means to have security will be accepted in Libya,” he said. If Libya wants stability, “we should have forces that are part of the United Nations, regional or Middle Eastern troops, or countries that have relations or connections in Libya – and if this takes place under the international community, under the United Nations, it will be accepted.”

Three years after Moammar Gadhafi was forced from office and killed, control of Libya is largely in the grip of militias.

Zeidan himself was forced from office by a parliamentary vote earlier this month and fled the country.

He insists that he is still the prime minister.

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Libya

Gadhafi son improperly extradited to Libya, former lawyer says

March 6th, 2014
05:37 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The extradition of Saadi Gadhafi, son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, back to Libya from Niger may not have been proper, suggested a lawyer who has formerly represented him.

“I’m not even sure that he was extradited,” Nick Kaufman told CNN’s Hala Gorani, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, from Jerusalem.

“Extradition suggests that this was a legal process where Saadi Gadhafi was accorded a lawyer, a court hearing, and…it’s not even clear to me that that even took place.”

Saadi Gadhafi fled Libya more than two years ago, after his father’s death in the uprising that ousted him from power.

He had been living in Niger ever since.

“I’m quite surprised at the authorities in Niger,” Kaufman said. “They know who I am. They know that I was formerly representing Saadi. They know how to contact me.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Latest Episode • Libya

Meet the 32-year-old militiaman holding Libya’s oil hostage

January 14th, 2014
03:46 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

A 32-year-old Libyan militia leader, sitting since July on billions of dollars of oil in the eastern part of the country, was defiant in an exclusive interview Tuesday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“This government has allowed Libya to become one of the most corrupted five states in the world,” Ibrahim Jadran said through an interpreter. “The government is not able to defend itself.”

Perhaps no single person better illustrates the post-war woes of Libya than Jadran.

In 2012, he was entrusted by the government to guard Libya's crucial eastern oil ports.

But last July he went rogue, seizing the ports – blocking oil exports – and demanding more autonomy and shared revenues for his eastern region, which he calls by its ancient Roman name, Cyrenaica.

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Libya

Does U.S. now favor commando raids over air strikes?

October 7th, 2013
04:04 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The U.S. operations this weekend in Somalia and Libya are putting a spotlight once again on American military tactics around the world, and incursions into other countries.

The fact that both operations used commandos on the ground, instead of drone strikes, which have so proliferated under U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, may be indicative of a recent trend.

“There’s been a strong desire to increase the number of captures and increase the amount of intelligence that we can glean from these operatives,” Former U.S. Counter Terrorism Coordinator Daniel Benjamin told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

Benjamin is director of Dartmouth's John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding.

Abu Anas al Libi, a man wanted for his connection to the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings, was capture by U.S. forces in Tripoli, Libya.

“There’s a lot to learn from this man,” Benjamin said, “and there’s the additional fact that the Untied States never lets these cases die, and it’s very important to show that we’re going to follow them to their conclusion and that justice will be done.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Libya • Somalia

Libya is not failing, PM Zeidan tells Amanpour

September 26th, 2013
02:48 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

“Libya is not a failing state,” Prime Minister Ali Zeidan emphatically told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Thursday. “The state of Libya doesn't exist yet.”

“We are trying to create a state, and we are not ashamed of that,” he said. “The outside world believes that Libya is failing, but Libya was destroyed by Gaddafi for forty two years and was destroyed by a full year of civil war. And that's why we are trying to rebuild it.”

He said that the idea that democracy can be built “within a month” is “an illusion.”

The most-current crisis in Libya involves the militias that have run rampant since the revolution.

Militias in the east of the country are demanding more autonomy from the central government, and have severely constrained Libya’s oil output, which is central to its export revenue.

Prime Minister Zeidan denied reports that his government had tried to pay off the militias to get their cooperation, a charge he vigorously denied, calling such a move “immoral” and “inappropriate.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Libya

Benghazi point man explains why he wasn’t at hearing

May 8th, 2013
05:13 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Congressional hearings Wednesday on the September 11, 2012 Benghazi, Libya attacks were missing a key player in the affair.

Thomas Pickering, former ambassador and a top State Department official, is the author of the after-action report on the attack, which left four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead.

The chairman of the House committee overseeing the hearing, Congressman Darrell Issa, said Pickering had refused to attend.

Pickering called Issa’s statement “colossally misinformed,” in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.  FULL POST


Filed under:  Latest Episode • Libya

Will Libya fall apart after Gadhafi?

May 7th, 2013
06:30 PM ET

By Claire Calzonetti and Samuel Burke

Two years after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's shaky democracy is teetering.

For days now, gangs of armed men have surrounded key ministries, trying to force out members of the democratically-elected government.

Libyan Justice Minister Salah Marghani has been forced to evacuate his own ministry, because it has been surrounded for a week by armed militias.

“The country is going through a terrible fear,” Marghani told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “But I assure you that the situation is under control and the government will not yield.”

Marghani reaffirmed that the government will not respond with violence.

“This situation is a standoff – a struggle between growing the right way and maybe falling back to the area of dictatorship,” Marghani said.  FULL POST


Filed under:  Latest Episode • Libya

The Libyan who knew too much

October 18th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

By Samuel Burke & Claire Calzonetti, CNN

Libya has come to the forefront in the U.S. presidential election campaign. The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last month has turned the deaths of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens, and the three other U.S. officials into a political football.

Ali Tarhouni served as Libya’s interim prime minister after playing a key role in marshaling international support and funding for the revolution that overthrew Moammar Gadhafi last year.

But he says he refused to run for prime minister in the recent election because he doubted the new leaders wanted to swallow the tough security medicine that he was prescribing in order to confront and rein in the militants.

“When I outlined what I wanted to do, the National Transitional Council at the time said that that's too tough of a medicine.”  FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Libya

Fond memories of Ambassador Stevens

October 17th, 2012
02:26 PM ET

Former Libyan Interim Prime Minister Ali Tarhouni shares memories of his late friend, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Libya