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Sep 10, 2013 | 18:17 GMT

2 mins read

Libya's Troubles Maintaining Central Control

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Libya's Troubles Maintaining Central Control

The Libyan government restored functionality to a pipeline Sept. 8 used to deliver fresh water to the capital city of Tripoli, Libyan Water Resources Minister Alhadi Suleiman Hinshir said. The pipeline had been disabled since Sept. 3, after an attack in southern Libya on a pumping station connected to the country's Great Man-Made River by militants loyal to former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The militants reportedly launched the attack to protest the detention of Anoud al-Senussi, the daughter of Abdullah al-Senussi, who served as Gadhafi's head of intelligence. The minister said it would still take several days for the pipeline to begin pumping at its pre-attack rate of 1.3 million cubic meters of water per day to Tripoli, with approximately 200,000 cubic meters of water per day currently flowing through the pipeline.

Tripoli is dependent on the Great Man-Made River and related infrastructure for its supply of fresh water, and ensuring security for that infrastructure, which often runs through regions of the country hostile to the central government, is a challenge post-Gadhafi authorities have not been able to fully address. This struggle is part of a larger effort to establish the central government's control not just within southern Libya but also over the oil-producing eastern region of the country near Benghazi, an area which is also dependent on the Great Man-Made River for fresh water. Political negotiations and modest security operations have been attempted by Tripoli in a bid to re-establish a degree of central control over the country, but the independence, relative self-sufficiency and abundance of small arms held by local authorities in rival regions of the country mean that Tripoli is not able to unilaterally impose sovereignty.

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