David Cameron makes 'secret' Libya visit
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David Cameron makes 'secret' Libya visit

Norwich : United Kingdom | Jan 31, 2013 at 6:19 AM PST
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David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Libya, according to a recent news announcement. The BBC reported he arrived in the highly volatile North African state Thursday on the second leg of his current visit to the continent.

Apparently, the trip had been concealed by the media for security reasons.

Western powers are no doubt still wary about high-profile state visits to Libya following the Sept. 11 attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi. During the night, an armed group attacked a compound meant to protect the consulate building. A nearby CIA annex in a different diplomatic compound was attacked the following day. US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others were killed and 10 more were injured in the attacks, which were later linked to al-Qaida.

Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, is said to have "travelled to the capital city of Tripoli from Algeria this morning." The BBC report added, "Downing Street requested a media blackout in advance of his arrival for security reasons."

He is reported to have met the Libyan interior minister, believed to be Fawzi Abdel A'al.

The BBC had not named the individual up to the time of publishing this story, an indication perhaps of the unsettled state of affairs in the country since the overthrow of its iconic leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

According to Wikipedia, Fawzi Abdel A'al resigned as interior minister last August. Media reprots at the time linked his resignation to attacks on Sufi Muslims, distinguished from other Islamic sects by their mysticism and liberalism, especially evident in their tolerance of music.

However, an Al Jazeera report on Aug. 29, 2012, says that Abdel A’al had withdrawn his resignation, citing the deteriorating security situation in Libya as his main concern and complaining of a “ferocious media war” being waged against him.

The BBC reports that “[e]arlier this week, the Foreign Office warned of a 'potential threat' to the British embassy in Tripoli” and that it came “less than a week after UK citizens were urged to leave Benghazi because of a ‘specific and imminent threat to westerners.’”

The British leader travelled to Libya with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in September 2011 to mark the liberation of the country from Gadhafi’s rule. According to the BBC, he said Thursday, "I will never forget the scenes I saw in Tripoli and Benghazi. The British people want to stand with you and help you deliver the greater security that Libya needs."

Roughly in line with predictions by Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, Gadhafi’s son and defacto prime minister during his father’s reign, Libya appears to be deeply fragmented, with indigenous tribal factions and al-Qaida-linked foreigners competing for ascendancy.

US President Barack Obama continues to field heavy criticism over his administration's response to the revolutionary Arab Spring unrest in Libya, dating back to 2011. He and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were obliged to defend their performance over Libya during a Jan. 25 interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes.

According to the conservative news blog CNSNews.com, Obama dismissed the view that his administration had abdicated leadership in Libya, saying that Gadhafi would likely disagree with that assessment, if he were still around.

Opinion:

Both liberal and coservative commentators would do well to be mindful that the deeply worrying, long-term government-disrupting, Islamist-terrorist-led developments in Mali and Algeria—which, in the latter country, saw a number of Britons and other western citizens killled this month—is directly traceable to the overthrow of Gadhafi and the dispersal from Libya of heavily armed Malian, Algerian and other North African Muslim militia men.

References:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21277683

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Benghazi_attack

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fawzi_Abdel_A'al

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/08/2012828151119960654.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saif_al-Islam_Gaddafi

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-recalls-his-response-libya-crisis-one-marked-us-leadership

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Junior Campbell is based in London, England, United Kingdom, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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