08 Feb 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on Libya

Articles

Migrants calling us in distress from the Mediterranean returned to Libya by deadly ‘refoulement’ industry
The Conversation, 07 Feb 2019

When they called us from the sea, the 106 precarious travellers referred to their boat as a white balloon. This balloon, or rubber dinghy, was meant to carry them all the way to safety in Europe. The people on board – many men, about 20 women, and 12 children from central, west and north Africa – had left Khoms in Libya a day earlier, on the evening of January 19. Though they survived the night at sea, many of passengers on the boat were unwell, seasick and freezing. They decided to call for help and used their satellite phone at approximately 11am the next day. They reached out to the Alarm Phone, a hotline operated by international activists situated in Europe and Africa, that can be called by migrants in distress at sea. Alongside my work as a researcher on migration and borders, I am also a member of this activist network, and on that day I supported our shift team who received and documented the direct calls from the people on the boat in distress.

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Lessons From the Only Remaining Arab Spring Democracy
Bloomeberg Businessweek , 07 Feb 2019

What does Tunisia’s survival mean for the rest of the region?
Lina Ben Mhenni is struggling to keep faith with the revolution. When we first met, in the early, heady months of the 2011 Arab Spring, the charismatic blogger-activist, then 27, was widely hailed as one of the movement’s heroes. Her blog posts had helped galvanize protests that brought down Tunisia’s dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the first of several Arab tyrants toppled by their people. Back then, like millions of young people across the Arab world, she was still marveling at what had been achieved and was cautiously optimistic about what would come next: dignity, democracy, and jobs. If the leaders who came next failed to deliver those things, Ben Mhenni and other torchbearers of the Arab Spring were confident they could return to the streets in their youthful millions and force change once more.

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Haftar push in south Libya sparks backlash
TRT Wolrd, 07 Feb 2019

Libya's Tubu, part of a larger cross-border ethnic minority group, speak out against the "ethnic cleansing" of their community, after Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) launches a military offensive in the country's south.
A military offensive in southern Libya which US-backed militia leader Khalifa Haftar claims is aimed at rooting out "terrorists" and foreign fighters has sparked backlash from an ethnic minority and the UN-backed government.

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Eastern Libyan forces take over El Sharara oilfield
Reuters, 06 Feb 2019

Eastern Libyan forces loyal to Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar captured the closed El Sharara oilfield on Wednesday, officials said in a challenge to the Tripoli government. El Sharara was taken over on Dec. 8 by groups of tribesmen, armed protesters and state guards demanding salary payments and development funds. But some tribesmen demanding development funds remained at the 315,000 barrel-per-day oilfield, one of their protest leaders told Reuters.

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