Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that mass resignations have hit various Libyan state institutes, in protest against the regime’s use of violence to suppress the anti-Gaddafi protests.
Sources also claimed that after over a week of protests, senior Libyan officials and government officials are now beginning to distance themselves from the Gaddafi regime, particularly in light of the brutal and bloody crack-down initiated against the Libyan protesters. However the sources clarified that senior Libyan officials in the intelligence and foreign affairs apparatus still, for the most part, remain loyal to Gaddafi and his regime.
A Western diplomat in Tripoli informed Asharq Al-Awsat that he had received information that Libyan Secretary of the General People’s Committee – in effect the country’s Prime Minister – Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, had refused to take part in the press conference that was held on Wednesday on Libyan state television from Tripoli. This press conference included a number of Libyan officials, most prominently Secretary-General of the Libyan Public Congress Mohamed al-Zawi, and was held in order to announce the official Libyan viewpoint with regards to what is taking place in the country. The Western diplomat, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said “he [al-Mahmoudi] may have resigned, nobody knows; however al-Mahmoudi informed those close to Gaddafi that he was unhappy with the way that the Libyan state was dealing with the protests that have been taking place in different Libyan cities since last week.”
Al-Mahmoudi has not appeared in public since the outbreak of the protests, nor has he made any statements to the official Libyan media, which strengthens speculation that he may have resigned.
Whilst Mohamed Amer Bayou, the spokesman for the Libyan regime who was known for his loyalty to Colonel Gaddafi and the Gaddafi regime, also resigned from his position, saying that the regime was wrong to threaten violence against its opponents, and called on Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to start talks with the opposition.
A former Libyan official told Asharq Al-Awsat that senior government officials were reluctant to resign for fear of the Gaddafi regime retaliating against them personally, or against their families. The former official added that Gaddafi had strengthened security measures throughout the city of Tripoli, making it virtually impossible for any senior official to escape.
Former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Jalil also resigned from his position in protest of the Libyan regime’s use of force against the protestors. He later told the press that Gaddafi had hired African mercenaries to attack the Libyan protestors, adding that he had proof that Gaddafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing. Whilst former Libyan Interior Minister General Abdul Fattah Younis Al Obaidi announced that he supported the Libyan demonstrators, and called on the Libyan army to take a similar position.
However Colonel Gaddafi still enjoys the loyalty of a number of his senior aides, including Intelligence chief Abu Zeid Omar Durda and Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa.
Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, known as the envoy of death, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “I remain in my post, and I will not leave it or resign.” He added that the media was conveying many lies.
Kusa told Asharq Al-Awsat that the rumors about mass resignations and a split in the Libyan regime aimed to destroy morale. He also called on the people of Libya not to listen to these lies, particularly with regards to the Libyan regions of Darnah and Bayda, as the aim is to establish an Islamic Emirate there. Kusa warned against the Islamist element that exists in Darnah, claiming that Islamist extremists who had participated in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, had returned and set up base in this region. He also said that the Libyan regime intended to invite western journalists and diplomats to visit this area to see evidence of the Al Qaeda presence in this region for themselves, adding that Al Qaeda was behind the lack of security being seen in some areas of the country.
He added that Libya is resilient and able to deal with such terrorist conspiracies, saying “what is sad is that we have seen those who said that they were our friends [condemn us], and today we know who is with us and who is not.”
Whilst another Libyan diplomat, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity said “the Gaddafi regime has lost the respect of the majority of the members of Libya’s diplomatic missions to the world” adding that “the mass resignations from the foreign minister has escalated due to the suppression and violence being carried out by the authorities against the popular revolution.”
Whilst a Libyan ambassador to a western country, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that almost all Libyan ambassadors abroad, have, or are preparing to, resign and distance themselves from this corrupt and violent regime. He added “I have received telephone calls from colleagues and ambassadors abroad, who are all preparing to resign, however they fear for their families who are present in Tripoli.”
He added “I have written my resignation; however I have yet to announce this until I can confirm that my family has left the country, for the current regime would not hesitate to kill them in retaliation.”