By Gary Sandiford, Olive Group’s Dubai based assessments manager. Olive Group is a leading provider of security and technology solutions and has been operating in Libya since mid 2011.
Political uncertainty remains a key issue in Libya. On 7 October the National Congress voted overwhelmingly to dismiss Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abu Shagur in a vote of no confidence, following his inability to successfully form a cabinet. A subsequent motion proposing that the next prime minister be chosen from inside the Congress was comprehensively defeated. It now appears that three candidates will be agreed on by representatives from the five main blocks and a handful of non-aligned members, these candidates will then be voted on by Congress.
Government controlled forces have continue their siege of the pro-Qadhafi stronghold of Bani Walid. The last seven days have seen a build-up of forces and several clashes The original deadline imposed by the National Congress for the town to surrender those responsible for the kidnapping and torture of Omran Shaban was extended from 5 October to the 10 October following the intervention of President Mohamed Magarief. Unconfirmed reports claim that the Egyptian embassy evacuated a number of Egyptian citizens from Bani Walid on 8 October.
On 4 October a team from the FBI finally visited the US consulate in Benghazi, the first since the 11 September attack. A Pentagon spokesman reported that the team was accompanied by a small contingent of US military personnel. Separate reports in the US media have claimed that US special operations forces were in Libya and neighbouring countries, aiding in the collection of intelligence on those involved in the 11 September attack. There remains a degree of speculation that the US may take some form of action against individuals or groups identified as involved in the attack.
The Libyan Interior Ministry announced that the seven Iranian Red Crescent workers who were kidnapped in Benghazi on 31 July by an Islamist aligned militia were freed on 7 October. The report was supported by a Libyan Red Crescent official, who confirmed the seven had left for Turkey, from where they would continue on to Iran. All were reported to be in good health and happy to be heading home.