Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saif-al-Islam debacle a case of mistaken identity – NTC | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Juma Al-Qamati, political coordinator between The Libyan rebel National Transitional Council [NTC] and the British Government, has stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that the real scenario regarding the arrest and then appearance of Saif-al-Islam Gaddafi is that the information the NTC received from Tripoli was wrong though it came from a reliable source.

Al-Qamati told Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone interview that what transpired could be the result of the confusion between Saif-al-Islam and Muhammad who was arrested by the revolutionaries and placed under house arrest before escaping. What Saif-al-Islam did was a media farce from inside Bab al-Aziziyah. There is a tunnel between it and the hotel which Saif-al-Islam used to move. He added that Saif-al-Islam did not walk in the streets of Tripoli as some media had reported and stressed: “We have reached the end of the road. He will disappear and vanish.”

Regarding Tripoli’s fall and the end of Gaddafi, Al-Qamati said: “Tripoli’s fall actually means the end of Gaddafi and his regime cannot resist anymore. The revolutionaries came from Brega and reached Bin-Jawad and are now on their way to Misrata which is also expecting its center to be liberated.” As to the revolutionaries’ entry into Bab al-Aziziyah compound and whether this means Gaddafi had fled from it, he answered that Gaddafi and his family were probably hiding or had fled by using the underground tunnels beneath the compound.

Regarding the current coordination (these two days) between the TNC in Libya and British Government, Al-Qamati explained that the coordination is basically done through the head of the British diplomatic mission in Benghazi John Jenkins and the British Foreign Office in London. Past discussions are being followed up at present as well as the issue of releasing the Libyan funds in Britain which are estimated at 1.3 billion Libyan dinars and the new development in this is the government’s expression of its intention to release them soon.

As to the revelation in the British press about the role of British expertise in helping the revolutionaries enter Tripoli, Al-Qamati denied this categorically and asserted that the British organs did not have any role either in implementing or planning the operations to enter Tripoli, adding that only Libyan quarters planned and implemented and the only sides that the revolutionaries sometimes consulted are officers from Qatar who are in Benghazi.

When asked about a possible catastrophic end in Tripoli if Gaddafi became convinced he was finished, Al-Qamati expressed his belief that the battles would end with the arrest of Gaddafi and his sons and they would be hunted down if they escaped. He also asserted that Gaddafi cannot in his present position give orders or do anything and he already fired a Scud missile but it had no effect.

On the possible intervention of NATO’s land forces if the situations deteriorated in order to resolve the last battles, Al-Qamati rejected this strongly and said: “It is impossible. We will not accept it. No foreign land intervention will be allowed. The Libyans will liberate Libya themselves.

On the possibility of divisions in the opposition’s ranks after Gaddafi’s departure, he said they are eager to avoid any division and want to protect national unity which is, according to him, a strategic option for them. He added: “We are in the last hours of Gaddafi’s regime and the blessed Libyan revolution. We will enter a new stage and the challenges are going to be difficult. We are determined to confront them and move from the transitional stage to the safe shores and a new Libya as we want it, a constitutional state where law prevails and its sons live in dignity and freedom. We are ready to achieve this vision.”

When asked about his likely role in the new government in the near future if Tripoli was liberated, he said: “I will return to Libya as soon as possible after spending 31 years abroad and will go to Tripoli directly. This was my dream and decision from the beginning, namely, to return only to a liberated Tripoli and to enter it directly. I am not expecting any official role at the current stage and will be ready to serve my country from any position.”