Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Tripoli’s Revolutionist Council to launch party | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Abdullah Nakir, chairman of Tripoli’s Revolutionist Council, has revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that he plans on announcing the establishment of a political party in the middle of January as proof of the desire of the revolutionaries, who played a key role in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, to join political and partisan life in the new Libyan state.

In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone from Tripoli, Nakir said that the new political party will contribute to strengthening the political bond between the revolutionaries and the Libyan state. He said that he is currently putting the final touches to the political party’s platform, which he said would express the Libyan people’s aspirations to establish a civil state where the values of democracy and respect for law prevail.

Nakir pointed out that thousands of the fighters, who previously served in the revolutionaries battalions affiliated with Tripoli’s Revolutionist Council, will merge in the military and security institutions of the transitional government to boost it and contribute to enhancing security and stability in the country.

Nakir added that some of the revolutionaries will join the army, others the police force, and some others will return to civilian life provided they hand over their weapons. We believe, he added, that we are now at the threshold of a new era. The revolutionaries will give up arms to contribute to establishing the new Libyan state.

While Nakir shows reservations about revealing the name of the new political party until it is officially announced in the next two weeks, he believes that the political life in Libya will accommodate all those who desire to engage in political and national action in the forthcoming stage. Nakir added: “When we give up weapons, this will be in the interest of our people, and in response to the demand of the masses, who expressed their rejection of the continuation of all armed manifestations in the various parts of the capital Tripoli.” He added: “We opt for a Libyan state and political action. We hope to advance a positive model to the world and to Libyan society in the transformation process to political action. We believe that our military role is over, and we now have a new political role to play.”

Military commanders in the ranks of the revolutionaries have recently followed Nakir’s suit, and began preparations for founding several political parties in a state that had absolutely never known political parties throughout Colonel Gaddafi’s 42-year rule. Gaddafi applied his argument in his Green Book that “whoever joins political parties is a traitor.” He banned any partisan activities, only allowing his political party –the revolutionary committees– to engage in activities on the local and international levels on the grounds that they were the backbone of the Jamahiriyah system, which he introduced in 1977.

After the announcement of the liberation of Libya and the killing of Gaddafi in October, Libya seems to be headed to a new era of its political history. Secular, liberal, and Islamic political parties prepare to emerge in preparation for participation in the legislative elections scheduled for the middle of 2012 as the term of the current transitional government, led by Dr Abdul-Rahim al-Kib, ends.

Nakir urged the international community to urgently offer aid to improve the living conditions of thousands of foreign refugees in Libya. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that there is a dire need for help from the international community through human rights organizations, humanitarian groups, and relief committees to provide food and medicine to the refugees, who have been stranded in Libya since even before the collapse of the former regime. He added: “We are facing a difficult situation, and we have refugees of various nationalities. The international community should do its part in returning those refugees to their original countries, and so we request urgent aid for them.”

In response to US reports on the Al-Qaeda Organization’s attempt to establish a safe haven for its elements on Libyan territories, Nakir downplayed these reports. He said: “We will not allow any terrorist presence on our territories; neither for Al-Qaeda nor for any other organization.” He pointed out that the revolutionaries, who exert key effort in providing security and stability until the local security forces are restructured and the national army built, are performing their duty in protecting Libya’s borders. While Nakir acknowledged some infiltrations through Libya’s long borders with neighbouring countries, he stressed that these infiltrations are limited. He stressed that the situation in general is under full control.

To give examples of the revolutionaries’ competence in preventing smuggling or entry by Al-Qaeda elements into Libya, Nakir revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that a military squad of the Tripoli council of revolutionaries foiled an attempt to smuggle 500 tons of narcotics into Libyan territories from Algeria. He noted that the revolutionaries last week ambushed the group of smugglers and arrested them.

The National Transitional Council [NTC] and the Libyan government were silent yesterday about the CNN report that the Al-Qaeda Organization sent experienced jihadists to Libya in an attempt to set up a combat force in Libya. Yet Libyan security and military sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Libya needs international support to destroy any presence of Al-Qaeda on Libyan territories.

CNN cited a Libyan source close to Western counter-terrorism officials as saying that among those jihadists was a veteran fighter who was arrested in Britain on suspicion of involvement in terror. The source described this jihadist as committed to the Al-Qaeda Organization’s principle of attacking US interests. The source told the CNN that Ayman al-Zawahiri personally sent this jihadist, who had previously imprisoned in Britain, to Libya earlier this year on the ground that Gaddafi’s regime had lost control of vast areas of Libya.

According to the CNN report, the jihadist arrived in Libya in May and has since begun recruiting fighters in the eastern part of Libya near the Egyptian border. The report added that he managed to recruit approximately 200 fighters. The Libyan source says that Western intelligence agencies are aware of this jihadist’s activities. This jihadist, who is one of Al-Qaeda leaders, holds dual Libyan and European nationalities. He was arrested in a third country while traveling to Libya from the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is believed that this man, whom the British authorities revealed only the initials of his name as “A A,” is trying to establish a command post for the Al-Qaeda Organization in Libya. He has been close to Al-Zawahiri since the 1980s. He first traveled to Afghanistan in the 1970s to join the mujahidin who were fighting the Soviet occupation forces.

According to available information, this same man later moved to Britain where he began to spread Al-Qaeda ideology among Muslims. He admired the ideology of Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, who emerged as Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq after the US invasion. Al-Zarqawi championed a campaign that strengthened sectarian hatred between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq. “A A” spent some time in the tightly-guarded Belmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom between 2006 and 2007. He was viewed in Britain as a dangerous man to global air travel, and according to the Libyan source, he resisted legal moves to deport him to Libya. He left Britain in 2009, returning to the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan with two young men, one of whom was later killed.

Western intelligence agencies voiced their concern about the possibility of Islamic extremists, particularly the Al-Qaeda Organization, gaining a foothold in Libya. The Al-Qaeda Organization’s command included several Libyan nationals, such as Atiyah Abdul-Rahman, who was killed in August, and Abu-Yahya al-Libi. Just a few weeks ago, Abu-Yahya al-Libi said in a videotape [addressing the Libyan people] “you find yourselves at a crossroads, choosing between a secular regime that satisfies the West’s greedy alligators, or the desire of espousing a strong stand and establishing God’s religion.”

Armed groups have for a long time enjoyed presence in the eastern part of Libya, even when they were harshly quelled by Gaddafi’s regime. Al-Qaeda documents, which were discovered in Iraq in 2006, showed that numerous fighters who joined the insurgency in Iraq came from Libya.

A US cable published recently by WikiLeaks, and dates back to 2008, showed that there were more support for extremist Islamic parties in Dirnah, which is close to the area where “A A” came from.

The council of Bani Walid, 180 kilometers south of Tripoli, was restructured yesterday. Mahmud Buras, member of the council’s media committee, said that putting in order the security and economic situation in the city was a priority. He told the Chinese News Agency, Xinhua, that one of the city council’s priorities is to organize the security situation through the police force and reinforcing it materially and technically and by manpower to do its duty as well as possible. He said that the council of Bani Walid, which was the last bastion for the remnants of Gaddafi’s regiments, will soon begin removing all military manifestations on the streets.