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"We will never let the country fall back into the hands of 'climbers'", he adds, using a word that has come to refer to profiteers and opportunists, people whose allegiance during the revolution was dubious.

"On behalf of all the former rebel forces, I say we will crush with an iron fist anyone who tries to destroy the revolution."

                - Abdel Hakim Sheibi, a commander of the Zintan Revolutionary Brigades.

I saw two segments on the morning news that I think gives a true flavor of what is happening in Libya today and for that reason I wanted to bring them to your attention.

The first was a segment by Gabriel Gatehouse on the BBC on the militia groups that still control Tripoli's International Airport, and the second was an Al Jareeza segment on the way education is changing in revolutionary Libya.

The Gabriel Gatehouse piece concerns the Monday deadline that the Libyan interim government has given for militia groups to relinquish control of the country's border crossing. Here are some excerpts from that piece:

Battle of wills over control of Libya's border crossings
2 March 2012 Last updated at 08:32 ET

Many of Libya's international gateways are still controlled by brigades of former rebel fighters.

A spokesman for the interior ministry told the BBC they must all be in government hands by Monday.

The issue is becoming part of a battle of wills between Libya's politicians and the young men you fought the revolution.

It is the latter who have the upper hand.

Tripoli International airport is getting busier every day, as Libya emerges from civil war.

When Tripoli fell to rebel forces in August 2011, it was fighters from the small town of Zintan, south-west of the capital, who rushed in to secure the airport.

Six months later, they are still here.
The government is trying to assert itself. But it lacks authority. It wants former rebel fighters to join a national defence force.

But Abdel Hakim and his men simply don't trust the government. Not yet.

They believe they are still needed to prevent Libya's international gateway from falling into the wrong hands.

"We will hand over control of everything once the country is back on its feet, but not before," he says.
Zintan's various brigades control more than just Tripoli airport.

They control security for at least one bank and an Islamic centre in the capital, as well as several oilfields in the southwest of the country.

Nestled in the foothills of the Nefusa mountains, with a population of no more than 50,000, Zintan has become a force to be reckoned with.
Ask Zintanis about their town and they will quickly tell you about the colonial period, when their forefathers fought against the Italians.

But it was during last year's revolt against Col Gaddafi that Zintan gained its current fearsome reputation.

Ibrahim al-Madani lost his father in the revolution. He is now one of the town's most respected commanders.

"It's a small town," he said, "but [fighting] is in our blood."

"Even our grandfathers fought until the end. When you give your blood for Libya and Libyan people, I am happy for that."

The power that men like Ibrahim al-Madani now enjoy is forcing even global players to take note.  

So while everybody from the governments of the US, China, Russia and Britain to Amnesty International complain that the revolutionary brigades are "out of control" one thing that is missing from this article, and is missing from most reports coming out of Libya are any hard facts to substantiate those claims. The fact is that incidents of armed clashes between the militias are rare, and those leading to deaths, even rarer. Even Amnesty International had to say "Militias have established sometimes fluid networks of co-operation."

Also we know that Tripoli International Airport is now functioning well under the control of the Zintan Brigades, with more international and domestic flights coming and going everyday and no reports of bribery or thuggery getting in the way.

So it sounds like the revolutionary brigades are carrying out an armed occupation of their own country, very much in the spirit of the worldwide occupation movement, with the aim of assuring that the revolution won by their blood is not lost by "their"politicians. To this I say "Right On!"

The second piece New chapter for Libyan education is a short 2 minute video that talks about how education is changing in Libya, and for the better. I was surprised to find that under Qaddafi, every student had to pass four courses on Qaddafi's little Green Book to get a college degree. Four courses? It's only 33 pages long! At the end one student complains that her studies are much hard now. I guess! Probably have to read more...

I note the black students in the class only because it would appear to contradict the picture of genocide and racist pogroms being painted of race relations in revolutionary Libya by some anti-interventionists and pro-Qaddafi supporters in the US left.

It sounds to me that Libya is doing just fine considering what they just came through.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 10:52:21 AM PST

  •  Thanks Clay - this is important stuff. (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans: They hate us for our Freedom.

    by mikeconwell on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 11:15:11 AM PST

  •  the reports of militia running amuk (0+ / 0-)

    fails to distinguish between government forces and the several various militias.  Also there is a lack of distinction between the actions of the government military vs the actions of the militias vs the actions of individuals.  Qaddafi's regime left a lot of people with a good many grudges to settle.  In some cases at least, it appears the retribution is more an individual matter rather than a matter of policy.

    For that matter, have any of the surviving members of the Qaddafi family shown up elsewhere in the world?  The last I heard, they had fled to Niger in two or more military caravans but Niger was supposedly a transit point for them to go to another country

  •  Here's a disturbing video of blacks being tortured (0+ / 0-)
    A shocking video has appeared on the Internet showing Libyan rebels torturing a group of black Africans. People with their hands bound are shown being locked in a zoo-like cage and forced to eat the old Libyan flag.

    ­“Eat the flag, you dog. Patience you dog, patience. God is Great,” screams a voice off-camera in the video published by LiveLeak on February 28.

    •  They aren't being tortured because they are black. (0+ / 0-)

      Here is the same video but with sub-titles so we can tell what they are saying, which is stuff like:

      "Dog Eat the flag! Dog Eat the Flag!
      You dog come here! Eat this flag! eat it, yea, Tawergian! Yea dirty Dog!
      Note that while being called a dog is derisive, it is not racists. In fact, this particular video proves the opposite point because while the title, whoever posted this various on YouTube gave it, Libya: Blacks treated like Apes in the Zoo by rebels   is factually true, it is misleading. Race or color plays no role in what is being said by their tormentors. If the video had been titled  Libya: Tawergians treated like Apes in the Zoo by rebels it would have been much more accurate, because they are being abused, no doubt by people from Misrata, not because of the color of their skin, but because of where they were from.

      I dealt with this question also in my diary last Saturday and gave another example, so to repeat what i said there:

      One focus of the report is the persecution of people from Tawergha. They document many such abuses:
      Another challenge is to tackle the widespread discrimination and xenophobia against sub-Saharan Africans and dark-skinned Libyans from Tawargha and other parts of Libya where support for al-Gaddafi forces during the conflict was reportedly high. The 30,000 residents of the town of Tawargha, who were forcibly displaced during the conflict, are still barred from returning to their town, where their homes have been looted and burned down. They remain in poorly resourced camps in Benghazi, Tripoli and elsewhere in Libya and face an uncertain future. So far the NTC has been unwilling to take on the militias and local authorities in Misratah who are determined not to allow the residents of Tawargha to return home.
      Because most people from Tawargha are black, much has been made of these revenge attacks by some in the pro-Qaddafi and anti-interventionists camps. They see them as racists attacks, pure and simple, and display them as proof that the revolution is "not progressive in anyway."

      While racism by Arabs against black Africans in Libya is a problem of long standing which I have examined elsewhere, most notably in Racism in Libya, there is reason to believe that the suppression of Tawargha and its people has much less to do with racism than these people think and more to do with simple revenge. Certainly, there is enough reason in the realities of the war immediately past to understand the animosity between these two groups without falling back on any color difference. The descriptions of the abuses in the Amnesty document don't look like racism, in fact many can be read the other way entirely. For example, they describe the abuse a 45-year-old army officer from Tripoli of Tawargha origin while he was being held at a militia's detention facility in Tripoli:

      [He said] "They also subjected me to electric shocks through live wires while I was lying on the floor. They put the electricity to different parts of my body including my wrists and toes. At one point I fainted and they threw water at me to wake me up.

      He said that he believes that the only reason he was detained was that a colleague reported him to the militia for being of Tawargha origin.
      Another way to say that is to say that he wasn't detained because he was black, they already knew he was black, he was detained and tortured after they found out that he was from Tawargha.

      I am in no way trying to justify the mistreatment of Libyans from Tawargha. That has to end and that town eventually has to be restored. I only point this out because so many people on the left are only too happy to brand this treatment racist and use it to condemn the whole revolution.

      You're one of those people and you should be a shame of yourself.

      I have recently noticed that I have about 60 Libyans following me on Twitter, including the Libyan Youth Movement and the NTC Labor Ministry. Hopefully, they also read what I have to say here. If I can I want to have a positive influence on their struggle. I want to fight racism in Libya and encourage reconciliation between the people of Misrata and Tawargha, and I can't do either if I, like you, confound the two for the purpose of attacking the Libyan Revolution and the great victory they have already won.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 02:30:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm simply posting news from Libya which is (0+ / 0-)

        not as rosy as you purport it to be.

        You're one of those people and you should be a shame of yourself.
        That's complete nonsense. Here's a report by Human Rights Investigations
        Libya – The Racist Revolution – Tawargha

        As our regular readers will be aware, we have been reporting on the fate of the people of Tawergha since the local rebel commander Ibrahim al-Halbous, said he was going to wipe the town off the map. We reported the storming of the town, with NATO support, and the extremely worrying reports of prisoners in shipping crates and the people of the town being “handed over to the red cross,”  which they weren’t (see ‘Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata’).
        Andrew Gillighan is a serious reporter and he even mentions the racial context:

        And as so often in Libya, there is also a racist undercurrent. Many Tawargas, though neither immigrants nor Gaddafi’s much-ballyhooed African mercenaries, are descended from slaves, and are darker than most Libyans.

        Along the road that leads into Tawargha, the Misurata Brigade has painted a slogan. It says, “the brigade for purging slaves [and] black skin.”

        We have to say, the racist element is more than an undercurrent, but if more journalists had reported the truth rather than turning a blind eye, refusing to report or to investigate then perhaps lives could still be saved.

        In this context we should just mention the ”reporting” of so-called journalists such as Chris Stephen who has been in Misrata for weeks writing pro-war, pro-NATO propaganda for the benefit of the Guardian’s readership and failing miserably to report on the racist atrocities and ethnic cleansing.

        Update (12 September) – The Washington Post reports Human Rights Watch Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert as confirming:

        “It really is racist violence against all dark-skinned people, this situation for Africans in Tripoli is dire.”

    Tue, 14 February 2012

    Libya's post-Gaddafi government has warned the United Nations that gays and lesbians are a threat to the continuation of the human race, reports the Geneva-based UN Watch monitoring group.

    The comment was made by Libya’s delegate, Ibrahim Dabbashi, at a planning meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Libya's membership of the council was suspended in March last year and then restored in November following Gaddafi's fall.

    Opposing plans for the council to hold a panel discussion on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation next month, Dabbashi said that LGBT issues “affect religion and the continuation and reproduction of the human race”.

    He explained that if his country had not been suspended at the time it would have opposed the historic South African-led June 2011 resolution that saw the council condemning discrimination and violence against LGBT people.

    “’s shocking homophobic outburst by the new Libyan government, together with the routine abuse of prisoners, underscores the serious questions we have about whether the new regime is genuinely committed to improving on the dark record of its predecessor, or to pandering to some of the hard-line Islamists amidst its ranks,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

  •  More than 100 killed in Kufra region (0+ / 0-)
    UN says south Libyan region tense after tribal warfare killed more than 100 people
    Feb 28 2012
    BENGHAZI, Libya — The United Nations said Monday that the situation in a remote southern part of Libya where more than 100 people were killed in tribal warfare this month remains tense although a cease-fire brokered by local officials is still holding.

    A statement by the U.N. Support Mission in Libya said that as much as half of the population of Kufra has fled and that around 200 foreign migrants are still waiting to be moved out of the area.
    The injured packed the city’s three-room hospital for days during the clashes. Many had no beds to sleep on. There was one doctor and 15 nurses using empty bottles of water as blood bags. Patients had to share one ventilator.

    For days, rescuers were unable to get to the bodies of victims who were left on the street.

    An Associated Press reporter who was in Kufra during the clashes saw at least 160 houses demolished by rockets in one neighborhood. Families gathered inside a school seeking shelter, but even that came under shelling.

    •  More on this from the same article you cite: (0+ / 0-)
      Kufra, a border area where Libya, Chad and Sudan meet. The region is a hub for the smuggling of African migrants, goods and drugs.

      The two groups are old rivals and speak different languages. The Tabu have long complained of discrimination under Gadhafi.

      Abdel-Majed, once an opposition leader who founded a group calling for an autonomous state for the Tabu people, said Gadhafi’s regime would expel Tabu students from schools, take their passports and deprive families of bank loans.

      Gadhafi also tried to change the demography of the city by offering incentives to al-Zwia tribe members to move to Kufra in order to outnumber the Tabu.

      The clashes, erupted after an al-Zwia smuggler shot and killed six Tabu tribesmen guarding a border crossing, lifting the lid on a long suppressed ethnic conflict.

      This is in an area 500 mile from the coast where most Libyans live, closers to Chad and Sudan [ and sharing many of their tribal problems ]. It's not surprising that the revolutionary Libyan government hasn't much control over what happens down there yet. I wonder if even Qaddafi had much control there beyond setting tribe against tribe and thus setting the stage for the current conflict, which may finally be worked out amiably without his meddling.

      So once again, shame on you for mis-characterizing such conflicts to attack the revolution. Don't you realize that by doing so, you forfeit any chance affecting this situation in a positive manner.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 03:03:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are the one mis-characterizing the conflict (0+ / 0-)
        So once again, shame on you for mis-characterizing such conflicts to attack the revolution. Don't you realize that by doing so, you forfeit any chance affecting this situation in a positive manner.
        The report was from the Washington Post. If you don't like it take it up with them. It just shows the NTC does not have full control of the country. The militias are in control in their respective ethnic and tribal areas.

        To keep saying it is all Qaddafi's fault is a lame excuse. The NTC needs to take control of the situation in Libya.

        Even Obama is worried that the situation in Libya is not good and is extending the sanctions another year - which effectively sanctions the NTC as they have to go begging for the 160 billion of Libyan assets that was withheld.

        Notice the TWO threats: the first is US national security and the other is diversion of assets.

        February 23, 2012

        "However, the situation in Libya continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and we need to protect against this threat and the diversion of assets or other abuse by certain members of Qaddafi's family and other former regime officials" the president wrote.

        It appears Obama is hurting the revolution more than anyone. The people are demanding changes and reconstruction that will require every penny of the sanctioned Libyan Sovereign funds. Hold up of these funds puts the NTC in a bad position.
        •  kinda goes against the idea they are just NATO (0+ / 0-)


          Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

          by Clay Claiborne on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 06:03:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe that is the NTC's problem. They are (0+ / 0-)

            perceived to be NATO's puppets by the Libyans and are thus unable to take control. This puts them in a bad position from both sides.

            The US must maintain control for it's geo-strategic and national interests as Obama has stated. We will see how the Libyan people accept this in the coming months.

            I am for the revolutionaries in Libya. I do not want the western powers to take control of the country but I'm afraid that is what is going to happen.

  •  "militias are subjecting many to torture, rape (0+ / 0-)

    and other abuses."

    Amnesty International Warns Libyan Militias “Out of Control”
    Posted: 02/16/2012

    One year after Libya’s uprising, armed militias are freely roaming throughout the country, committing widespread human rights abuses and serving as de facto leaders, says a new report by human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

    “Militias in Libya are largely out of control and the blanket impunity they enjoy only encourages further abuses and perpetuates instability and insecurity,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

  •  Libya – Back to the bad old ways (0+ / 0-)
    Libya – Back to the bad old ways
    Posted on February 16, 2012 by admin

    It took Mr Elyazghi days to begin to tell the harrowing story to friends, including those who had taken part in the uprising against Gaddafi and were now at the head of various neighbourhood councils and militia groups.

    But it was their response that shocked him most. “They told me I should say to the authorities that I was captured on March 20 instead of August 20,” he recalls with disgust. “That way I would get a nice big payment from the transitional government.”

    Gaddafi and his family may be gone. But the culture of corruption and abuse they engendered remains, threatening Libya’s future economic growth and political stability. Not only do many steal; some even engage in torture, which Amnesty International describes as widespread, in the very name of the revolution that started a year ago. Transitional authorities estimate that at least $2bn has been pilfered by people falsely claiming they were wounded, fought in the uprising or paid for weapons out of their own pocket.

    “If corruption was 100 per cent then, it’s now 110 per cent,” says Abdul Hamid el-Jadi, a Libyan-Swiss banker and anti-corruption crusader. “The family was arrested and killed but the opportunists are still there.”

  •  IMF institutes Neo-liberal policies in Libya in (0+ / 0-)

    return for loans. Wages in public sector to be cut and subsidies for gas, food and other items to be ended as soon as possible.
    Libya—Concluding Statement of the 2012 Staff Visit
    January 26, 2012

    Describes the preliminary findings of IMF staff at the conclusion of certain missions (official staff visits, in most cases to member countries). Missions are undertaken as part of regular (usually annual) consultations under Article IV of the IMF's Articles of Agreement, in the context of a request to use IMF resources (borrow from the IMF), as part of discussions of staff monitored programs, and as part of other staff reviews of economic developments.

    I. Overview

    1. The mission is grateful to the Libyan authorities for their hospitality, collaboration and valuable input during technical and policy discussions. It benefited greatly from interactions with government and central bank officials.
    Fiscal Policies and Framework

    20. The mission underscored the need to balance short-term spending pressures against fiscal sustainability and prospects for private sector development. The mission recognized the need to address urgent needs resulting from the conflict. Wage increases implemented by the previous regime will raise the wage bill from 9 percent of GDP in 2010 to 18.7 percent of GDP in 2012. A high level of public sector wages will reduce the incentive for individuals to seek employment in the private sector and undermine efforts to advance economic diversification. The envisaged increase in subsidies will raise their cost from 11.7 percent of GDP in 2010 to 15.9 percent of GDP in 2012.
    23. Reforms will be needed to contain the wage bill and increase the efficiency of the public sector. Medium-term measures that have been implemented successfully in other countries include retrenchment of government employees, decompressing the wage structure, aligning civil service remuneration with the market, monetizing allowances to make compensation more transparent, introducing performance-based incentives, computerizing payroll and personnel systems, and, strengthening the recruitment system to depoliticize government hiring and professionalize the civil service.

    24. The mission noted that subsidy reform over the medium term should aim to reduce the economic inefficiencies while better protecting low-income households. Universal subsidies, particularly fuel subsidies, are not targeted and disproportionately benefit higher income households. Subsidies affect consumption and production patterns as well as the allocation of resources, with negative implications for the budget, expenditure composition, and private sector development. Subsidy reform is usually difficult to implement due to the absence of a social safety net to shield low-income households. If the implementation of a sophisticated social safety net is not feasible, the government could consider: (i) limiting the speed at which prices of goods primarily consumed by low-income are raised; (ii) identifying a package of short-term measures to mitigate the adverse impact of price increases on the low-income households; (iii) utilizing some of the savings from subsidy reform to increase public spending to benefit low-income households; and, (iv) using a range of methods to improve targeting of low-income households, such as categorical or geographical application or linking benefits to a self-targeting work program or schooling requirement. Although such measures are imperfect, they are more cost-effective in protecting low-income households than universal subsidies.

  •  Guards deny entry to Libya’s third-biggest city (0+ / 0-)
    Libya’s Post-Qaddafi Government Is Hobbled as Misrata’s City-State Thrives
    Feb 29 07:23:09 GMT 2012
    Misrata’s militias, which number 250, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch, take orders from the city’s military council and were among dozens of armed groups in Libya that refused an NTC request in December to lay down their weapons. The divisions show how the new western-backed central government is struggling to assert authority across the North African nation, which holds Africa’s biggest oil reserves.

    “Rather than tearing Libya apart, it is more likely to lead to a dysfunctional government, a government that is hobbled by incapabilities because it has been so subverted and hollowed out by regional interests,” said Shashank Joshi, associate fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute.
    Reports of Torture

    Doctors Without Borders suspended its operations in Misrata on Jan. 26, saying detainees were being tortured and denied medical care. During the six months that its teams spent working in Misrata’s detention centers, they treated 115 people for torture-related wounds. The group said it reported all cases to the authorities and that no action was taken.

    Some houses of Misratans thought to have supported Qaddafi are being destroyed, while others are being spray-painted with the word “traitor.”
    Benghazi, the eastern city where the revolution began last February and the birthplace of the NTC, has been beset by protests in recent weeks by Libyans demanding greater accountability and transparency from the government. Tripoli has been hit by strikes and sit-ins over unpaid wages.

    Misratans say their emerging autonomy results from central government inaction, not a desire for isolation.

    •  Have wages actually been cut? (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, we all know what the IMF wants now in every country, austerity and more austerity. But how does what the IMF recommend translate to the headline: IMF institutes Neo-liberal policies in Libya?

      Your claim that the central government doesn't really control anything doesn't sit well with your claim that the IMF is already instituting policies.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 02:42:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Freed of Gadhafi, Libya's instability only deepens (0+ / 0-)

    BENGHAZI, Libya—A large map of Libya hangs on the wall in the home of Idris al-Rahel, with a line down the middle dividing the country in half.

    Al-Rahel, a former army officer, leads a movement to declare semiautonomy in eastern Libya, where most of the country's oil fields are located. The region's top tribal leaders meet Tuesday in the east's main city Benghazi to consider unilaterally announcing an eastern state, linked to the west only by a tenuous "federal union."
    Libya may not face literal fragmentation, but it could be doomed to years of instability as it recovers from four decades of rule under Gadhafi, who pitted neighbor against neighbor, town against town and tribe against tribe. The resentment and bitterness he incubated is now bursting forth in general lawlessness.

    "What Gadhafi left in Libya for 40 years is a very, very heavy heritage," said Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council, which in theory rules Libya but doesn't even hold sway in the capital Tripoli. "It's ... hard to get over it in one or two years or even five years."

    Signs of the government's weakness are everywhere.

  •  U.N. Faults NATO and Libyan Authorities in Report (0+ / 0-)
    March 2, 2012

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — NATO has not sufficiently investigated the air raids it conducted on Libya that killed at least 60 civilians and wounded 55 more during the conflict there, according to a new United Nations report released Friday.

    Nor has Libya’s interim government done enough to halt the disturbing violence perpetrated by revolutionary militias seeking to exact revenge on loyalists, real or perceived, to the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the report concluded.

    Published without publicity on the Web site of the United Nations Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, the report details the results of an investigation by a three-member commission of distinguished jurists. It paints a generally gloomy picture of the level of respect for human rights and international law in Libya, while acknowledging that the problem is a legacy of the long years of violent repression under Colonel Qaddafi.

  •  Here's an interesting viewpoint from Libyan (0+ / 0-)

    opposition spokesman, Sabri Malek. The interview is on an Iranian Shia news website. Malek is strongly against the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist gaining a foothold in Libya. He wants a more secular government for Libya.
    (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - We have conducted an interview with Sabri Malek, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Libya, to further discuss the issue.
    Q: Welcome, Sabri Malek from the Democratic Party of Libya, to the show. First of all, what is the Democratic Party of Libya?

    Malek: The Democratic Party in Libya was established on the 14th of July last year. It was the first political party after the 17th of February Revolution. We stand for democracy, for human rights.
    Malek: There is a pact between the [Muslim] Brotherhood and some Western agencies. They want them to rule in the Arab world. The Brotherhood do not stand for democracy.

    Q: Arguably, the Muslim Brotherhood would say that they are the only cohesive social services forces, as it were, in a land of dictatorship which is what I’m sure they would say. Don’t you feel a bit lonely?

    Malek: The future conflict in North Africa is between the Brotherhood and the Salafis. The Brotherhood are supported by the Americans and by the Qatari money. The Salafist are supported by the Saudi Arabians.

    We don’t want Libya to be dragged into this conflict. We have no interest in that. The problem is in Egypt mainly and we don’t want to import problems of Egypt into Libya as we did in 1969. We followed [Abdel] Nasser and you know what happened - we got Gaddafi and 42 years of dictatorship.

    We the Democratic Party want to ensure that Libya goes towards democracy and not towards fundamentalism.

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