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      Libya Announces New Cabinet

      Libya appointed a new cabinet comprised of pragmatists and technocrats - denying Islamists access to key defense ministry posts.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 11/22/2011, 10:57 PM

      Abdul Raheem al-Keeb
      Abdul Raheem al-Keeb
      US Gov/Voice of America

      Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is set to make an official announcement on its new cabinet line-up Tuesday, but several key roles have already been announced.

      Prime minister designate Abdul Raheem al-Keeb said Monday that ministers have already been appointed for the defense, finance and foreign ministries.

      Osama Al-Juwali, commander of the Zintan Brigade was appointed defense minister as part of the cabinet line-up.

      According to Reuters, Libya's deputy envoy to the United Nations Ibrahim Dabbashi was named foreign minister, an oil company executive was made oil minister, and the finance minister in the outgoing interim government Ali Tarhouni was re-appointed.

      The new cabinet is faced with the task of rebuilding the oil producing country after a bloody revolution which toppled former dictator Muammar Qaddafi. A principle challenge will be mediating between rival ideological, regional, and tribal factions once held together by Qaddafi's eccentric personality cult.

      Of key import to Western leaders is that the appointments include no key roles for Islamists, who have been making their own bid for power. Islamists have been especially seeking key defense ministry roles that would put the country in their power. Instead, thus far, secularists have been appointed.

      Keeb announced the new roles just hours after meeting the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, in Tripoli.

      The NTC prime minister said he would insisted on picking pragmatists and technocrats with the skills to steer the country towards democracy rather than those with the most political clout, according to Reuters.

      “We will use competence as a basic measure and in this way we will be able to include all of Libya's regions. You will see,” Keeb said. “We're working hard to ensure that what we have is something solid, cohesive, and capable of doing the job.”

      However, observers say tensions could flare over the cabinet composition, noting some council members had re-opened the discussions after initially agreeing the appointments.

      “There are some people who do not accept some of the names,” a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told al-Arabiya.

      Those tensions were illustrated by the capture of Seif al-Islam deep in the Libyan desert.

      The fighters from Zintan who seized him on Saturday flew him in a Soviet-built cargo plane to their hometown in Libya's Western mountains and are holding him there until the central government is formed.

      They say it is to ensure his safety - his father was killed after he was caught by another militia in his hometown of Sirte last month.