Libyan Tawergha families displaced in 2011 to return home

Fayez Serraj. (AFP file)
Updated 27 December 2017

Libyan Tawergha families displaced in 2011 to return home

BENGHAZI: Libyan families displaced from the town of Tawergha after being driven out by militias following the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that evolved into a ruinous civil war can return in February, the head of the UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, said.
The decision, announced Tuesday by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, follows a reconciliation deal between representatives of Tawergha and the city of Misrata, which previously fought on opposing sides. Serraj's government ratified the agreement in June.
Tawergha was used as a staging ground for attacks on Misrata during the uprising that eventually toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Anti-Qaddafi militias, mainly from Misrata, ransacked the town and drove out its residents, believing they had aided Qaddafi's forces. Tawergha, located some 38 km south of Misrata, has been a ghost town since.
Tawergha's residents have since been living in camps and makeshift housing across Libya. Human Rights Watch estimates the number of those displaced from the town to stand at about 40,000. The Tawergha community is a racially distinct group with darker skin than most Libyans, making it even harder for them to navigate the country's chaotic post-revolutionary environment.
Libya descended into chaos since 2011 and is now split between rival governments and myriad militias.


New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

Updated 08 July 2020

New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

  • Regulation of electricity sector a key condition of international bailout for collapsing economy

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s government finally appointed a new board of directors on Tuesday to control the state-owned electricity company.
Electricite du Liban (EDL) has long been mired in allegations of corruption and fraud. Its annual losses of up to $2 billion a year are the biggest single drain on state finances as Lebanon faces economic collapse and the plunging value of its currency.
Reform of the electricity sector has been a key demand of the International Monetary Fund and potential donor states before they will consider a financial bailout.
“Lebanon’s electricity policy has been inefficient and ineffective for decades — always on the brink of collapse, but staying afloat with last minute patchwork solutions,” said Kareem Chehayeb of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC.
“The economic crisis has made fuel imports more expensive, causing a shortage, with external generator providers hiking their prices or seeking business in Syria. It is a wake-up call to decades of overspending and poor planning of a basic public service.”
The World Bank has described the electricity sector in Lebanon as “tainted with corruption and waste,” and the IMF said “canceling the subsidy to electricity is the most important potential saving in spending.”
Electricity rationing was applied for the first time to hospitals and the law courts, but Minister of Energy Raymond Ghajar said: “The first vessel loaded with diesel for power plants has arrived, and as of Wednesday the power supply will improve.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised the Lebanese people on Tuesday that they would see the results of government efforts to resolve the country’s financial chaos “in the coming weeks.”
Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Diab said: “The glimmer of hope is growing.” However, the appointment of an  EDF board of directors was criticized by opposition politicians. Former prime minister Najib Mikati said the appointments meant “the crime of wrong prevailing over right … is being repeated.”