Libya – Your Questions Answered!

Since Colonel Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011 Libya has been subject to instability and lawlessness. But what is happening now and why is Libya lawless now?

Who is in control of Libya?

This is the issue. At the moment nobody is in control of Libya. Approximately 1700 armed groups, with a variety of different goals, are in combat in Libya at the moment. These groups are mostly looking for money and power, but at the moment the country is in total chaos with all the conflict between these groups.

Were these groups on the same side?

During Gaddafi’s era the groups were united by their hatred of Gaddafi, however that was it. The groups all have slightly differing interests, and no single group ever led the way in opposing Gaddafi. The groups have little knowledge of how politics works and how the rule of law operates, which has led to further political troubles since 2011. This is demonstrated by the fact that there has been 5 different governments in Libya in the past 4 years.

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Is any help outside Libya provided?

There is some help provided, but this is minimal. The US government said they would help Libya retrieve any stolen weapons from the Gaddafi era, but not much more than that. Despite this, many of the stolen weapons have not been recovered and most of them have ended up in the hands of these armed groups throughout the country today.

Other African countries are fearful over where these stolen weapons will end up. Many people believe that the stolen weapons could deepen the instability in countries such as Mali and Niger, as well as in Sinai, Gaza and even Syria.

Foreigners

There have been a number of attacks on foreigners, including a number of attacks on diplomats (an official representing a country abroad). This includes the killing of the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi. Furthermore, western oil firms were seized by many groups causing a decline in the global oil market. 

Which group is the most dangerous?

Ansar al-Sharia is potentially the most dangerous armed group in Libya, as it is blamed for the death of US ambassador Christopher Stevens and for forming relations with a number of Islamist groups. Colonel Khalifa Haftar also has a powerful militia (armed group), and has a goal of defeating Ansar al-Sharia.

The people of Libya

The troubles in Libya lead many to live in fear, and there is little evidence that change will happen. The government is being controlled by these armed groups, but it is hoped (by the government) that some groups will combine to form a sort of national army for the country to stop the continuance of instability and lawlessness.

What do you think is the solution? How can the government stop these armed forces?

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Death for apostasy!

A woman in Sudan (Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag) is facing death after the court ruled she had committed apostasy because of marrying a Christian man. Apostasy occurs where someone is said to have abandoned their religious faith.

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She is said to be 8 months pregnant (although she would not be sentenced to death until 2 years after the birth) and the ruling has been severely criticised by Amnesty International, which called the court’s decision as “appalling and abhorrent”.

In Sudan, the country’s religion is Islam, so her marriage to a christian man was said to be an act of apostasy, which led the judge to sentence her to be “hanged to death” and 100 lashes.

This is a short post we thought you would be interested in! What are your views? Should she have been punished?

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Thailand Turmoil

Digestible Politics is back with daily posts helping you understand the world around you in a digestible manner!

Today, we shall be talking about what is happening in Thailand and the political crises currently happening…

The Prime Minister

The court in Thailand decided to get rid of their Prime Minister (Yingluck Shinawatra) because it was found she had illegally repositioned the national security chief of Thailand so he would have a different role in government. A further 9 members of the Thai government were told to resign.

Many people are angry about what has happened, believing the court is biased in favour of the opposition.

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What next?

Fears are increasing because it is believed that fights could break out between the ‘red shirts’ (those who support the Prime Minister) and those who are against the Prime Minister.

This political nuisance is nothing new in the country and many protesters have been protesting throughout the Prime Minister’s time in office, by occupying buildings and disrupting elections. So far, approximately 30 people have died during the protests.

Who is the leader of Thailand now?

Those ministers in cabinet who remain are currently leading the country with a caretaker Prime Minister (Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan) – Digestible Politics loves this name!

After disruption at a previous election earlier in the year, a new election is being held in July. However, there are fears that there will be even more protests to come in these elections.

The latest crises

A controversial amnesty bill (an amnesty is where you give a pardon to someone) was passed by the government, which could potentially lead to Thaksin Shinawatra (a former leader and also Yingluck’s sister) returning to politics without ever setting foot in jail.

Many thousands of people have showed their opposition to the bill, which was eventually dropped, but anti-government protests remain.

What are your thoughts on the protests in Thailand? Should they have ousted their Prime Minister?

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Prisoner Sentencing

How long a sentence should a murder get in prison?

In the UK life sentences rarely actually mean life, whilst in the USA this is fairly common. Currently in the UK only about 50 people are subject to a whole-life sentence, most recently Dale Cregan for murdering 4 people. In the USA, however, approximately 40,000 people are imprisoned without much hope of release. Furthermore, this figure does not include those American prisoners who have been given extremely long fixed term sentences. For example, one Alabama man was sentenced to 200 years for kidnapping and armed robbery.

Prison Visitor Fee

America’s ‘sentencing inflation’ began in the 1980s when the Democrats and the Republicans wanted to show how tough they could be on crime. The increased sentences also saw a rise in states like Michigan where the death penalty does not exist, so the increased sentence was an alternative punishment.

However, there have been recent calls to have US-style, lengthy fixed life sentences in the UK. This is being considered after the European court ruled in 2013 that whole-life sentences were breaching the European Court of Human Rights. These proposals would allow the court to give sentences of hundreds of years. But, unlike whole-life sentences, these sentences can be reviewed and reduced (an aspect of sentencing less available in America).

Although many people say this move will “restore Human Rights” by enabling sentences to be reviewed along the way many others still argue that the sentence changes is dangerous and unnecessary, especially as the UK has seen increased sentences being given out year on year for the past decade.

How should a murderer be sentenced? How does it differ in your country? What sentencing proposals do you want to see?

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China’s One Child Policy

The People’s Republic of China implemented the one child policy to control the booming population of China. This meant that all families could only have one child unless they lived rurally, where they could have a second child if there first child was a girl or disabled (men were needed for labour).

It was introduced in 1979 to fix the societal problems arising from the booming population and has been estimated to have stopped approximately 200 million births in the last 35 years. However, there have been issues of forced abortions, female infanticide and something known as ‘Little Emperor Syndrome’ (where the only child gets spoilt!).

ocp

Today, China has just implemented a resolution which eases the one child policy. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has now allowed couples to have a second child if both parents are an only child, but it needs legislative approval before gaining effect.

Experts argue the lack of youth in China is leading to a reduced number of people who are working and increased care for the elderly (China is expected to have 25% of its population over the age of 65 by 2050). There is also a massive gender imbalance in the country.

The new resolution hopes to deal with the new issues facing society as a result of the one child policy, whilst maintaining the fairly low birth rate in the country.

What do you think about China’s planned change to the One Child Policy?

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South Sudan

Where is South Sudan?

It is located in central Africa, bordered by 6 countries, and is the newest nation on Earth after gaining independence in 2011. Despite being a country rich in oil it is a very poor and underdeveloped country.

southsudan

Tensions in South Sudan

South Sudan gained independence through a referendum which saw the public vote by a large majority (98.8%) to break away from Sudan. Since gaining independence there has been a lot of unrest and border battles between Sudan and South Sudan. The death toll continues to increase daily. Fortunately, conflict has not yet reached the capital, Juba.

One issue the government wants to fix quickly is the oil business. Production had been put on hold for a while, which proved damaging for the country’s already brittle economy.

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A coup plot

This month the South Sudan government announced there had been a coup d’etat (a seizure of power). The Sudan Liberation People’s Army, a group loyal to the President Kiir, fought with another group loyal to the former vice President, Riek Machar. This has resulted in the death of at least 500 people.

Civil war?

Gerard Araud (President of UN Security Council) has sent warnings of a “fully-fledged war throughout the country”. Refugee camps have been set up by the UN – currently, there are 20,000 people who have taken refuge in Juba. There is a lot of conflict and tension and that is set to continue.

Is war inevitable? Should South Sudan give in to Sudan or should they fight to support the will of the people?

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Nigerian Students Shot Whilst They Slept

The Boko Haram group in an attempt to overthrow the government has launched numerous attacks on schools in Nigeria leaving North-Easter Nigeria in a state of emergency.

Boko Haram was founded in 2002 which was initially set up to oppose western education. In 2009 the group set up military operations to create an islamic state in Nigeria.

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The attacks happened at the College of Agriculture in Yobe state whilst the students slept and it is suspected approximately 50 students have been killed and another 1000 students have run away from the campus. After shooting and injuring many students the gunmen also set fire to some of the classrooms.

Although the government had previously tried to stop Boko Haram’s operations, which did have temporary success, the group soon came back for revenge against the Nigerian government. 

Other attacks they have committed include a shooting a school on the outskirts of Maiduguri and another in the village of Mamudo in Yobe state. 

How do you think the government should ‘crack down’ on extremist groups such as Boko Haram?

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