As NATO allies continue their air campaign over Libya, intense fighting between Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s forces and the Libyan opposition continues unabated. While Tunisia and Egypt experienced relatively peaceful pro-democracy uprisings and transitions, the fighting between the Libyan opposition and the Qaddafi regime has been drawn out, resulting in significant casualties on both sides. According to some reports, the U.S. and its allies are now in discussions to offer greater support to the Libyan opposition forces. Further, the Libyan opposition continues to press the U.S. and the international community for full diplomatic recognition of the Council as the legitimate representative of Libyan people, access to frozen Libyan assets and increased humanitarian and military support.
On May 12, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy hosted a discussion with Dr. Mahmoud Gibril Elwarfally, interim prime minister of the Libyan Transitional National Council. In his address, Gibril discussed the current state of the conflict, as well as the Transitional Council’s vision for the future of Libya. Gibril holds a doctorate in strategic planning and decision-making from the University of Pittsburgh. From 2007-09, he served as the chair of the National Economic Development Board in Libya and led the Libyan National Planning Council. Senior Fellow Kenneth Pollack, director of the Saban Center, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
After the program, Interim Prime Minister Gibril took audience questions.