Key to solving Libyan conflict lies within the country, analyst says

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Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

The key to solving the Libyan political conflict lies within the country rather than with the international community, analysis says.

Electoral and governance deadlock has been blamed for the devastating impact of the flooding in the country.

The “contentment” of the political elite and others with the status quo—given the currently limited levels of violence and the rising global prices of energy since the outbreak of Russia’s war on Ukraine—explains the general lack of a genuine commitment to relaunch the transition and electoral roadmap, according to Dr. Irene Fernández-Molina from the University of Exeter

But profound domestic recognition and social contract issues will affect any future rebuilding, settlement and Libyan government, as shown by protests by disgruntled Libyan youth across the country in the summer of 2022.

Dr. Fernández-Molina says the EU’s efforts in the coming months should focus on ensuring intra-EU and broader international political unity in Libya. Any national reconciliation conference for Libya hosted by the African Union should also receive strong EU backing. Those with power should work to ensure neglected Libyan youth and get a dialog.

Dr. Fernández-Molina said, “The has learnt only half of the lessons from the past decade of Libyan government splits and international recognition dilemmas. The problem of the now-embraced inclusivity is that it remains partial and vulnerable to hijacking from members of the Libyan political elite who have little interest in a successful transition. Overcoming this catch-22 situation is certainly not easy, but in any case, the only way ahead hangs on democratic elections.”

Libya is yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel of protracted turmoil and intermittent civil war. Since the suspension of parliamentary and in December 2021 the country has seen two parallel cabinets are operating again in Tripolitania, in the West, and Cyrenaica/Barqa, in the East, with the ensuing increased risk of return to violent conflict.

Over the past 12 years, Libya has gone through the overlapping upheavals of revolution, international military intervention and civil war as well as relatively quieter interludes devoted to stabilization, political transition, security sector reform and state-building attempts. The analysis says at no time have the latter efforts resulted in a sustainable conflict settlement. The failure of conflict resolution has been conspicuously associated with recurring authority splits and contests about international recognition.

Dr. Fernández-Molina said, “Rather than acting at the initiative or on behalf of regional or global powers, those with power in Libya played a key role in internationalizing the conflict by soliciting and manipulating foreign support for their own interests and agendas.”

“Their autonomy has been preserved and reinforced thanks to the persisting rentier nature of the Libyan state and its institutional bits and pieces. Oil and oil revenues managed by the Central Bank of Libya have kept flowing even in the shakiest conditions to all sorts of (para)state and double-hatted local actors.”

“Rather than pigeonholing the country into the problematic category of failed states, the outcome of Libya’s deepening fragmentation may be better understood as the consolidation of multiple areas of limited statehood.”

Key to solving Libyan conflict lies within the country, analyst says (2023, September 18)
retrieved 20 September 2023

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Team uncovers plant remediation effects on petroleum contamination

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Chris Kasanke, left, and Mary-Cathrine Leewis were part of the UAF research team led by microbiology professor Mary Beth Leigh that studied plant remediation of a site contaminated by petrochemicals. Their recently published study of the Fairbanks site revealed that initial choices about fertilization and seeding affected which plants and soil microbes were present two decades later. Credit: Mary-Cathrine Leewis

Initial choices about fertilization and grass seeding could have a long-lasting effect on how plants and their associated microbes break down pollution in petroleum-contaminated soils, a research team led by a University of Alaska Fairbanks professor recently reported.

Microbiology professor Mary Beth Leigh and the team found that planting grasses or adding fertilizer, or a combination of both, to a contaminated site had surprisingly persistent effects on the microbes associated with local vegetation.

The study, recently published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum, indicates that an even greater importance should be placed on initial phytoremediation strategies— the to restore environments contaminated by pollutants.

The study is based on previous U.S. Army Corps of Engineers research at a petroleum-contaminated area near Fairbanks, Alaska.

The previous research began in 1995, when scientists created test plots of petroleum-contaminated soil. On some plots, they planted grass. On others, they added fertilizer to the soil. Some plots got both grass and fertilizer and others got no treatment.

The site was no longer monitored after the initial three-year study but, in 2011, the UAF team revisited the site to examine long-term progress. By that time, the contamination could no longer be detected and native species such as white spruce, fireweed, yarrow, willow, blue grass, poplar, buffalo berry, birch and clover had replaced the originally planted grasses.

Three years later, the team took additional samples to test for microbes in each plot. Unexpectedly, the team found that the microbes varied from plot to plot depending on the initial mix of fertilizer and grass, rather than on the types of native species that had moved in.

Since microbes, rather than plants, are responsible for breaking down petroleum, these differences could improve the phytoremediation process. With further study, scientists could strategize ways to make phytoremediation more effective by using plant and fertilizer combinations that encourage petroleum-biodegrading microbes to thrive.

“The jury is out on exactly which plant and fertilizer treatments would be the most effective from the start,” Leigh said. “That is one of the things we are testing in a project at another long-term monitoring site.”

Crude oil and diesel often threaten ecosystems in rural sub-Arctic areas, Leigh noted.

“Phytoremediation could be an important tool in the toolbox of rural communities that experience soil contamination with diesel fuel,” said Leigh, who is with the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology. “Giving communities the best advice on how to mitigate contamination in an affordable way, such as by using local plants and their associated microbes, has the potential to significantly empower Alaska Native communities in remote areas whose ecosystems are threatened by petroleum pollution.”

Rodney Guritz, a former student of Leigh’s and the owner and principal chemist of Arctic Data Services, compiled the for the study.

Guritz sees the potential for practical applications of the new findings in industry.

“In light of climate change, we urgently need to shift from dig, haul and burn, and I see phytoremediation as an important part of this needed shift,” he said.

The study has implications for phytoremediation strategies worldwide, according to collaborator Ondrej Uhlik, of the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, in the Czech Republic.

“The implications for reinvigorating previously contaminated areas for multi-use purposes are huge in the Czech Republic, and also for Alaskan communities that depend on fragile ecosystems,” Uhlik said. “Moving forward, it’s exciting to think about reclaiming land to allow communities to thrive and not have to abandon land or live with toxins.”

More information:
Jakub Papik et al, Legacy Effects of Phytoremediation on Plant-Associated Prokaryotic Communities in Remediated Subarctic Soil Historically Contaminated with Petroleum Hydrocarbons, Microbiology Spectrum (2023). DOI: 10.1128/spectrum.04448-22

Team uncovers plant remediation effects on petroleum contamination (2023, June 13)
retrieved 13 June 2023

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