Qatar and Turkey Violated Sovereignty of Our Country

Speaker: Both Qatar and Turkey violated Libya’s sovereignty and supported terrorist factions

 

Libyan Speaker: Qatar and Turkey Violated Sovereignty of Our Country

Libyan House Speaker Saleh

President of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh attends the closing session of an Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, March 29, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

March 21, 2018 – Libya depends on Saudi Arabia’s support to maintain stability in the country, according to Libyan Speaker Agila Saleh who stressed that Riyadh has a role in the unity of the Arab and Islamic nation, noting that both Qatar and Turkey violated Libya’s sovereignty and supported terrorist military factions.

During his interview with Asharq al-Awsat on the sidelines of his visit to Riyadh, where he met with Chairman of Saudi Shura Council Sheikh Abdullah al-Sheikh, Saleh explained that his visit is aimed at developing relations between the two councils and clarifying what is happening in Libya regarding the political agreement.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives praised the Saudi-Libyan relations and stressed the Saudi leadership’s keenness to support Libyan people under all circumstances. He added that Libyans rely on the active role of Saudi Arabia, welcomed by Arab and Islamic communities, in exercising diplomacy to prevent foreign interventions, saying: “Let Libyans rule themselves.”

Saleh pointed out there is no progress in the Libyan issue because there has not been enough pressure on the UN envoy by the international community to implement the agreement.

“We came to Saudi Arabia, and we rely on the Kingdom to contribute to pressure the UN envoy and accelerate the reunion and the implementation of what was agreed upon,” said Saleh.

He also expressed optimism about the appointment of Ghassan Salame as UN envoy to Libya, asking him to expedite the search for a solution.

Qatari – Turkish interventions

Saleh confirmed Turkish and Qatari interventions in Libya, adding that evidence of this intervention is prominent, last of which was discovered on Monday, with a group of terrorists backed by both countries arriving in Libya.

“We wished our Qatari brothers had supported Libya, and were neutral,” said Saleh, adding he hoped Doha had respected Libyans.

The Speaker also accused Turkey of arming terrorist groups, the last of which was revealed in Greece trying to smuggle 29 containers full of weapons and explosives to Libya.

On the other hand, he lauded the efforts of the Libyan army and its sacrifices despite the presence of terrorist organizations with developed weapons. He also called upon the tribes and dignitaries to convene and try to find a solution for the Libyan crisis.

Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi

When asked on the candidacy of Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi for presidential elections, Saleh indicated that Libyan parliament annulled the law of political isolation, meaning that every Libyan, whether Saif al-Islam or any other, has the right to run for elections given they are not subject to judicial restrictions.

“It is up to Libyans to choose their candidate, and we as the Parliament, can’t rule out any candidacy for any reason,” he added.

As for him, Saleh believes that Saif al-Islam’s candidature for presidency is not appropriate, given that many Libyans have their concerns and this could further divide the country.

As for the current House of Representatives, the adviser stated that some countries, instead of supporting the legitimacy as they claim, support Muslim Brotherhood, creating a rift among Libyans.

“We were surprised by the political agreement, achieved in Sukhairat by unauthorized people,” he stressed.

Saleh stressed that after international pressure, “amendments were approved by the United Nations and the Security Council with the support of the Arab States, indicating that the Presidential Council, instead of including three presidents, becomes composed of a president and two deputies, and the Prime Minister is tasked with presenting the government’s program before the parliament for approval and confidence vote.”

The Speaker told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decision to form an executive authority composed of a president and two deputies from each region, a government of national accord in order to unite institutions, and take Libya out of this crisis was almost unanimous.

The government of national accord (GNA) violated the political agreement, and yet the international community continues to support it, according to Saleh.

Relations with Egypt

Saleh stressed that relations between Libya and Egypt are historic, considering Cairo a refuge for Libyans. He also praised Egypt’s cooperation with Libya in securing the border.

The Speaker concluded by calling Arab leaders to unite and assume their responsibilities for a strong Arab nation, adding that it is crucial to join Arab forces together to prevent foreign interventions.
Source: by Nayef Al Rasheed, Asharq Al-Awsat (English Edition), March 21, 2018
Description of source: The English language edition of Asharq Al-Awsat, a Pan-Arab Arabic language newspaper launched in London. The newspaper covers regional politics, social issues, economic and business news, as well as sports and entertainment. The paper targets the top segment of Saudis and Arabs in the Arab world, as well as Arab speakers in non-Arab speaking countries. Country of origin: United Kingdom
© 2018, Asharq Al-Awsat (English Edition), All rights Reserved.

Libya’s first post-2011 leader levels accusations at Islamists

Libyan Chairman Jalil

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) speaks during the handover ceremony of power to the national congress in Tripoli, August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

March 22, 2018 – The former leader of Libya’s first post-Gaddafi authorities has given an extensive TV interview in which he criticised the country’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and revealed details about the assassination of a key commander in the 2011 uprising.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil was the chairman of the National Transitional Council (NTC), the first legislative body to be formed as an alternative to Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. It was established at the start of the uprising in February 2011, and ran the country along with its Executive Office – which acted as a government – until a parliament was elected in July 2012.

The channel, privately owned 218 TV, provided video of the interview on its Facebook page on 21 March as well as bullet point summaries of his remarks, published with the Arabic hashtag #Abdul_Jalil_testimony. ‘Misplaced trust’ in Islamists

Abdul Jalil roundly criticised the Muslim Brotherhood, telling 218 TV that it “always seeks to exclude others”.

Having previously worked closely with them, he told the channel that the trust he had had in Islamists in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular “was misplaced”.

“I have exposed their faults on several occasions. They will not abandon these faults – that is, their loyalty to the group and not to the nation, and the way that they always seek to exclude others whenever they take any position [of power], paving the way for some broader plan,” he said.

He said he had come under pressure by several Islamist figures – including Ibrahim al-Sallabi, the brother of prominent cleric Ali al-Sallabi – to include a reference to Sharia law in his 2011 declaration of independence speech after the downfall of Gaddafi, in exchange for them handing over their and their militias’ weapons. “This was an earlier agreement, but they came to remind me of it on the morning of the day we declared liberation,” he said.

“Please note that Mahmoud Jibril, who has been accused of secularism, is the one who insisted to me – firmly – to ensure there would be a place for Islamists in the NTC,” he added, in reference to the former head of the NTC’s Executive Office (a post equivalent to interim prime minister) and leader of the National Forces Alliance party.

Suspicions over Islamists’ role

The former NTC chairman also revealed purported details of the 2011 assassination of a key commander of rebel forces, Abdul Fattah Younes, apparently by allied fighters, an obscure incident which Abdul Jalil said “nearly caused the collapse of the revolution”.

A warrant for Younes’s arrest was issued by Jumaa al-Jazwi, Abdul Jalil said, adding that he has known al-Jazwi since the latter was released from prison in 1998. “It was a unilateral decision and did not consult committee members,” he said of the warrant.

The officers tasked with arresting Younes refused to do so, he said, adding that instead, a convoy of 40 vehicles headed to the rebel forces’ headquarters in Ajdabiya to capture him. Younes “agreed to be detained and put up no resistance”, and was transferred to the Abu Obeida camp run by Ahmed Abu Khattala and other Islamists, and later shot to death, he said.

Ahmed Abu Khattala is an Islamist militant who was captured by US forces on a covert mission in Libya in 2014 before being convicted in 2017 on terrorism charges.

Abdul Jalil accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being “involved” in Younes’s assassination, while distancing himself from the incident, saying it was impossible that he had been a reason for the ex-commander’s killing.

Younes was commanding rebel forces against Gaddafi after he defected as interior minister.

Separately, Abdul Jalil raised suspicions over the activities of other prominent Islamist figures.

He said that on his way to attend a NATO meeting in the Qatari capital in Doha in the wake of the uprising, he was “surprised to see” Abdelhakim Belhaj and two other figures on the plane due to depart from Benghazi. Abdul Jalil said the three did not attend the meeting but rather “disappeared on arrival in Doha”.

Belhaj is the ex-leader of the formerly al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), who became the military commander for the capital Tripoli after Gaddafi was toppled.

Future of Libyan politics

He said that the crisis in Libya is “the result of foreign intervention”, and that resolving the current deadlock would require some parties to concede “some rights”.

Abdul Jalil, who had served under Gaddafi as justice minister before switching sides to become an opposition leader, added that he was not seeking office. Presidential and parliamentary elections are due to be held this year.
Source: Facebook in Arabic, March 21, 2018
© 2018 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Turkish Column Questions Whether US Trying To Reshape MidEast by Using Qatar

Libya vs Qatar

Protesters burn an effigy of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thaniat as they wave the flags of Cyrenaica and Libya during a demonstration against the Muslim Brotherhood and the State of Qatar, for interfering in local politics, in Benghazi, May 10, 2013. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

Commentary by Cumali Onal: “Qatar: Impossible To Understand”

Sunday, February 19, 2012 – It is a very small country in the Persian Gulf. Only about 300,000 of its total population — around 1.5 million people — are originally from Qatar. With a $179,000 gross national product per capita in 2010, Qatar is the richest country in the world. Almost all of its income comes from its abundant oil and natural gas reserves.

Qatar, a young emirate that gained its sovereignty in 1971, has been governed by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. Its security is majorly dependent on the Fifth Fleet of the United States Navy. Being such a small country, Qatar`s name is mentioned rather frequently due to its disproportionately active foreign policy.

After a bloodless coup in 1995, led by Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani against his father, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar began to undergo big changes both inside and outside of the country. As a result it started to gain more attention in the international arena. It began conducting shuttle diplomacy, covering almost all Muslim countries from the Western Sahara to Somalia, from Ethiopia and Eritrea to Darfur to Lebanon and also to Palestine.

By assisting the Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah in reaching an agreement, Qatar achieved what the United Nations, the Arab League and France could not. They did this by enabling Lebanon, which was on the brink of civil war, to overcome its political crisis. In 2010, Qatar also convinced rebel groups in Darfur to sign a treaty with Sudan.

Last year Qatar was among the countries that had a primary role in bringing down the Gaddafi regime in Libya. Now it stands among the primary countries that strive to topple the Assad regime. Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the leader of Qatar himself, funds the Al Jazeera television station — the nightmare of dictators from Tunisia to Egypt and from Yemen to Libya.

In order to make its biggest diplomatic move after active involvement in the Libyan and Syrian crises, Qatar is trying to help the Taliban settle with Afghanistan and Pakistan and open an office for the Taliban in its capital, Doha, which hosts the biggest American military base in the Middle East.

Besides diplomacy, it also made its mark in football by winning the bid to host the World Cup in 2022. It is currently engaged in a diplomatic struggle to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

There are a variety of speculations on Qatar`s true motives. Why does a very small country with limited human resources pursue such active diplomacy? Why does a country, which itself isn`t democratic, struggle so much to bring democracy to the region?

Moreover, Qatar does so in such a way that it stands up to Egypt and asserts its position as the big brother of the Arab world, despite its relative economic weakness. Most notably, Qatar also competes with Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil producer in the world, to appear on the forefront of regional diplomacy.

According to some, the Al Thani family wants reconciliation and peace in the region in order to enjoy its wealth. In other words, the family is trying to change the identity of the Middle East, which is remembered as the site of wars and chaos.

Another understanding is that Qatar endeavors to increase its diplomatic allies by pursuing a “zero problem policy” with its neighbors and countries in western Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, just like Turkey.

Maybe the most reasonable answer is that Qatar is a country that, for the first time, is working for true peace in the most problematic region in the world.

Western countries arbitrated for a solution to the Palestine problem for decades and they are still doing so. However, due to biased policies, they have always produced deadlock rather than a solution. Similarly, in the cases of Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Iran, Western countries don`t really support a solution.

The fact is that any country — even a small one, if it is sincere in its policies — can achieve substantial diplomatic gains.

However, some see Qatar in a different light. They see Qatar as the hand of the US in the Middle East. In other words, they argue that the US is trying to reshape the region by using Qatar.

These skeptics question how a tiny country that surrenders its security to the US can pursue such an active foreign policy. Although Qatar seems to contrast with the US in terms of their views of Hamas and the Taliban, the general policy that it pursues isn`t at odds with Washington`s strategy in the region.

That means that the US is trying to redesign the region from Libya to Egypt and from Afghanistan to Syria by using Qatar and its money.

Although the US does try to use Qatar to design the region, it doesn`t seem very probable that the result will be as Washington wishes.

As anti-Americanism has already peaked in Egypt, the army and the people responded to American pressure to acquiesce to civilian government as soon as possible by stating that the American government can cut its $1.5 million [billion?] in aid if it wants.

The more democracy is established in the region, the more difficult it will become for the US and other big powers to control it.
(Description of Source: Istanbul Sunday`s Zaman Online in English — Website of Sunday edition of Today`s Zaman, English-language daily published by the Zaman media group, supportive of Fethullah Gulen community; URL: http://www.sundayszaman.com)
© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

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