Libya, ten years after the NATO intervention. Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam: “We learned our lesson; we study it for future generations”
By Vanessa Tomassini.
Ten years after NATO’s intervention against Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is a country on the verge of bankruptcy. The Libyan dinar devalued to historic lows against the dollar, the political and military division, are just some of the priorities for the new unified government designated by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF). In this conversation with the envoy to Cairo and cousin of the rais, head of the national struggle front, Ahmed Gaddaf AL-Dam, we retrace these years of struggle and humiliation.
Mr. Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam, thank you for accepting this interview. It’s been long time since our last conversation. First of all, how is your life in this moment between wars and Covid-19?
“I thank you for your interest. After ten years of wars, pain, destruction, blood, and the humiliation our people live in, this Covid-19 is worthless to us, it just appears like a headache or a common flu”.
February 2011- February 2021, what changed in Libya during the past ten years?
“Certainly, since the unjustified NATO aggression and the destruction of Libya and its accompanying violations, transgressions and promises of lost paradise turned into chasing nightmares that reached another generation, it took hold in the memory of Libyans, even those who left the regime, today have mercy on security, bread and medicine, and before that the pride that the nation lived. It will leave its mark for years to come, even when we all go out tomorrow to the light. Perhaps you will see the facts and notes that come out every day confirming the size of the conspiracy against this country, which was safe. Millions of people from our neighbors remain in its shadow. We have had hundreds of billions of contracts with Italy, France, UK, and America. But Libya has become an exporter of illegal immigration and extremist gangs. What increases the pain of the Libyans is that they discovered that the West, which was shedding crocodile tears, destroyed their country, killed their leader, and started managing chaos. It did not want an end until Libya became a failed state and set itself up as guardian over it, plundering its wealth. The Libyans turn into slaves. This is what happened, unfortunately. Otherwise, what does it mean for the Security Council to decide within two weeks to move the fleets, the latest aircraft, and thousands of mercenaries to destroy its fortress, which was the safety valve for North Africa. Neither Isis or Al Qaeda there was in Libya. For ten years, it has been unable to protect the Libyans from all these airborne crimes. All the Security Council meagre decisions increase the suffering of the Libyan people, and the Libyan Council handed over to a group of agents, spies, and gangs, who wreaked corruption and provided them with impunity, support and protection”.
A unified new temporary Government, what do you think of the results of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF)?
“Despite our reservations regarding the choice of many participant names and how some of them have been chosen as they were the ones who brought us to this, as Mrs. Stephanie Williams says, they are ‘dinosaurs’; and despite the choices that were clouded by millions of ‘bribes’ and that is documented and some of them should have been in prison, according to administrative control documents, we supported its outputs. We hope that there would be seriousness in working on preparing for free elections, lifting all restrictions, releasing prisoners, allowing the return of displaced people, abolishing the notorious laws, abiding by the time period, the exit of mercenaries and foreign forces, and respect of the Libyans’ will. We issued a statement that I will provide you with a copy, we will have a position as long as the commitment has not been fulfilled, and the responsibility lies with the United Nations and the Security Council”.
Who is Mohamed Younis Al-Menfi and Abdelhamid Bdeiba?
“With all due respect, they are the ones chosen by the United Nations. Surely, your question indicates that they have no past and this is good”.
With this new executive authority, does everything change or nothing change?
“We aspire, as I said, to an interim government in order to prepare for the elections.”
Both Turkey and Russia still have mercenaries in Libya, do you think they will leave someday?
“Certainly, the Turkish and Russian forces and mercenaries will leave when the United States issues orders to them, because they allowed the Turkish intervention to counter the Russian one, and Russian military companies will not leave unless Turkey withdraws. And I know that NATO will not allow Russia’s military presence in North Africa. It considers it a threat, and it will not allow Turkey to remain in control of Libyan oil and gas, and control the country. Nor to blackmail the countries of the northern Mediterranean. All Libyans will not accept the presence of a foreign military man on their land, no matter how different they may be, especially after the terrifying results they brought us to.”
Do you think that the arrogant intervention of Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates on the Libyan scene made Europe wake up? For example, do you think that previous divisions between France and Italy have been overcome?
“Unfortunately, when Libya had a lion, no one would have interfered in it. Nor were these countries encroaching on this sacred soil. And another reason is that this conflict does not serve the Libyans, but rather a conflict of interests. Then Libya is subject to Security Council decisions. I do not think that anyone can entering a bullet or a dollar without their knowledge and blessing. That is why we accuse them of managing the chaos, as Mrs. Condoleezza Rice told us and confirmed in her statements and books by Mrs. Hillary Clinton, and Mr. Trump’s leaks. The will of the Libyans must be respected, and stop considering Libya a ‘barrel of oil and gas’ by all parties.”
Do you expect a change in US policy with Joe Biden? What are the mistakes of Donald Trump, if any, in Libya and the Middle East?
“America is America, and it has a steady strategy. It changes tools, liquid and methods and uses everyone for that. It may be that Mr. Trump removed the mask, talking directly about everything. President Biden will definitely wear the ‘corona mask’ and the economic and security implications of it. In my estimation that Libya, its location, wealth, and the vacuum it is currently experiencing, will motivate President Biden’s administration to put his feet directly into it without intermediaries, especially in light of the dishonourable and immoral competition that Europe is pursuing”.
You are in Egypt, how does Cairo weigh in the Libyan file?
“Cairo has been more than affected by what happened in Libya, where it had millions of its workers and dozens of companies. After the fall of the Brotherhood, its affiliated fled to Libya turning it into a base for aggression, bombings and assassinations in Egypt. Its borders became threatened. Therefore, Egypt will applaud any peace or deal in Libya.”
Will peace last in Libya? Or are we facing a new calm before the storm?
“We, the free sons of Libya, are determined to put an end to this tragedy. We work day and night for that. We have removed all barriers and obstacles for the sake of its historical interests. We learned a harsh lesson, and you will see soon the true face of the free and benevolent Libyans. We will stop running after the mirage, the water is under our feet, and we will create a new morning with our own hands.”
In conclusion, are the Libyans really divided or do currents from outside want to divide them?
“Today there are no disagreements between the Libyans, as we all meet in Cairo with all yesterday’s opponents, and we must all apologize to the homeland. All of us paid the price for our mistakes. We learned the lesson. We will study it for future generations. So, we raised a white flag and we all surrendered to the homeland. We will build a new State, a new political system, and a new banner. It’s time to turn the page of the past, good and bad.”
Thank you again, Mr Ahmed. Would you like to add something?
“After all these years, we want the United Nations to open an impartial investigation so that we know what happened in 2011 in terms of decisions. Sending a fact-finding committee and investigating on violations that were not stipulated in the Security Council resolution, the killing of ‘the captive Gaddafi,’ the killing of the captive Colonel Al-Mutassim Gaddafi, as well as more than 70 prisoners’ massacre documented by Human Rights Watch, killed while being shackled in front of the Mahari Hotel in Sirte. As well as in the use of internationally banned weapons and gas against the Libyan Armed Forces. As well as in the plundering of wealth and gold. And their effects. After that, they should apologize to the Libyan people and correct the mistakes. And they may seek the help of the evidences officially published against Mrs. Hillary Clinton in America, the memoirs of President Obama, what Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said, what the Libyan Prime Minister at that time Mahmoud Jibril told the CNN, the French ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs at the time, and the results of the investigation in the British House of Commons about the lies that former Prime Minister David Cameron propelled. We ask the United Nations to open the human rights file in Libya after 2011, the economic file, which is in the possession of the current administrative control. We demand to work to release the detainees in prisons for ten years, men, women and children, and lift the penalties for ‘the legal system supporters in Libya’, of whom defend the homeland, and this became their concern, unfortunately, in this strange Coronavirus time”.
This interview originally appeared on the Italian “Strumenti Politici“