To start with, France 24.com reports"East Libyan leaders declare autonomy from Tripoli."
LATEST UPDATE: 07/03/2012. I'm on top of it. In part:
Tribal leaders and militia commanders declared a semiautonomous region in oil-rich eastern Libya on Tuesday, a unilateral move that opponents fear will be the first step toward outright dividing the country six months after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.
The thousands of representatives of major tribal leaders, militia commanders and politicians who made the declaration at a conference in Benghazi said the move is not intended to divide the country and that they want their state to be part of a united Libya.
The conference said the eastern state, known as Barqa, would have its own parliament, police force, courts and capital - Benghazi, the country’s second largest city - to run its own affairs.
Under their plan, foreign policy, the national army and oil resources would be left to a central, federal government in Tripoli. Barqa would cover nearly half the country, from central Libya to the Egyptian border in the east and down to the borders with Chad and Sudan in the south.
This isn't an all-out split, but a type of federalism that, given the circumstances, makes some sense. Foreign policy, oil, and the national army are all the important parts reserved to Tripoli.
For what it's worth, my previous (rudimentary) thoughts on a two-state solution. I hoped the idea could save western Libya from the bloodshed it suffered, and even allow the Jamairiya system to survive in some territory and ingeniously regain its homeland in time. The latter still remains a distant hope, but the death and dignity that's occurred can't be undone. And now Libya, some fear, is headed for a split-up anyways, without any of it under Green control (barring certain homes, areas, and remote towns, perhaps).
In the early days of the war, the Tripoli government claimed Islamist militants had seized Dernah, east of Benghazi, and declared an al-Qaeda-linked "Islamic Emirate of Barqa." The West scoffed at the cheap propaganda against the non-violent, modern, liberal, freedom-seekers. But since the rebels won the war last year, we've seen al Qaeda fighters and LIFG fighters put in charge of a system of torture in the west and south. We've seen the "Emirates flag," also known as the flag of al Qaeda in Iraq, flown over the main courthouse in Benghazi, those who questioned it threatened with brutal death. And we see now an official move to create a Benghazi-centered state of Barqa. "State" does not equal "emirate," a repressive, brutal, Salafist kingdom. But that flag with some currency in Barqa does.
The NTC is not happy, wants full authority over everything like Gaddafi used to exercise. They seem a little fixated on imagined outcomes, and show little tact or faith in the intentions behind the announced experiment. France 24 continues:
Libya’s National Transitional Council, the interim central government based in the capital Tripoli, has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the creation of a partly autonomous eastern region, warning it could eventually lead to the breakup of the North African nation of 6 million.Underlying motives and reasons behind a split, unclear on this end. The NTC people have their theories. Al Jazeera's Zaina Khodr tweeted:
“This is very dangerous. This is a blatant call for fragmentation. We reject it in its entirety,” said Fathi Baja, the head of political committee of the NTC. “We are against divisions and against any move that hurts the unity of the Libyan people.”
head of #Libya #NTC said declaration of autonomy by civic leaders in east result of foreign plot and risked breaking the country up.Takes one to know one. In fact, they do know their stuff and they might be right. The NTC was born in an international plot, with schemers on at least three continents. (If you still don't know about Nouri al Mesmari and Ibrahim Dabbashi, you'd better go look it up)
But then again, the NTC could just be acting shrill and defensive in a way that's telling.