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Omaish: Libyan Parliament, Constant Discord | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Libya’s warring parties met in the Tunisian capital of Tunis [Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters]

Ibrahim Omaish, head of justice, reconciliation, and road-map committee at the Libyan House of Representatives, said that the house witnesses a constant discord concerning the trust in Fayez al-Sarraj’s government proposed by the U.N. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Omaish noted that the parliamentary block that supports Sarraj is obstructing the trust session.

Omaish, a member of the parliament for Benghazi continues that his country suffers from bad conditions amidst concerns from transforming Libya into a new Iraq. He also talked about conflicts between the Democratic and Republican parties in USA concerning the Libyan crisis.
Below, the text of the interview:

*How do you see the situation in Libya today?

– Unfortunately, the situation is very bad. The Libyan people are split and the condition in the country suggests that Libya may be transformed into another Iraq. Omaish said that they expressed their concerns to the U.N. through its Special Envoy Martin Kobler.

* Are the presidential council and the U.N.-suggested government the reason behind this condition?
– As a parliamentary committee of justice and reconciliation, we had reached agreements and solutions with the National Congress, which controls Tripoli. But the U.N. and many western parties insist on the persistence of Sarraj’s government.

* Does this mean that you oppose Sarraj’s government?

No, we don’t oppose this government. Yet the international insistence and support for it, regardless of the parliament’s legitimate approval may threat the democratic and legal paths in Libya, and raise people’s concerns. Sarraj would have gained the support of the parliament, but the international insistence on supporting him regardless of the parliament’s position encourage some parties on ignoring the legislative council, the main decision maker in the trust matter.

*What about the National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar considered as one of the main conflict points between east and west?

– When the other party proposes cases, they should not obstruct solution. When talking about the building of a powerful army, we should not focus on names. Moreover, it’s better to talk about the rebels’ issue, and how to determine the differences between them and the terrorist organizations. In Benghazi, we see confusion between the “rebels” and “Ansar al-Shariaa”, which killed a big number of people. We want an inclusive national reconciliation and to leave the other issues to the interim laws of justice.

* Direct communication took place with American officials during the agreement’s discussions between the parliament and the National Congress in Tunisia in the end of 2015…what do you say about it?

– I don’t trust the Americans despite the positions I received from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton personally, who expressed her support for the Libyan people.

However, a republican official concerned with the Libyan case in the U.S. Secretary of State said the most important is that Sarraj’s government controls the country, and refused any other agreements among the Libyan people.

* Where do you see danger in such positions?

– We are concerned from real attempts to use violence and force in Libya if the republicans won the presidential elections in USA, amidst suggestion to split some Arab countries.

* Do you see any serious indications on the “split” issue in Libya?

– Yes … the printing of the national currency in two countries: Russia and the U.K. for example is an attempt to reinforce the separation idea. If we resigned to this plan, it will last for years to come. The eastern region will remain under an autonomous rule, while the government will remain responsible for western region’s affairs.

* Some may understand that the parliament wants to exclude the U.N. from the Libyan case?
– No, we want to work under the umbrella of the U.N., but we have our concerns. Why they insist on the disagreement? Why the U.N, don’t ask Sarraj to propose his projects on the parliament and to demand its support?

* As an MP for Benghazi…How do you see the army’s war against terrorist organizations two years after it kicked off security operations in the eastern region?

– Finally, the army succeeded in rebuilding itself, and fulfilled a remarkable role in the eastern region. Yet, its chances of success are few, as it lacks for finance and arms. Yet, the army seeks to combat terrorism, liberate Benghazi and Derna to ensure stability in the eastern region, and tries to play an important role in liberating Sert and protecting oil facilities with few capabilities.