By Vanessa Tomassini.
“We don’t trust foreign countries and we will never trust them. If they had sent building materials instead of weapons to Libya, now the problem of armed groups would be solved. We need to empower young people in country building, development, and trade. We can collaborate with any country that wants to contribute to Libya reconstruction and progress, but we cannot accept solutions imposed from outside. The interference of third countries and the mismanagement of the problem by the UN Mission are the main cause of the tragedy in which we live. The problem is not the young people.”
To tell us this is Dr. Ali Busriba, member of the Libyan Parliament for Zawiya, who today is working unsparingly on the national reconciliation project, based on the model of the peace reached between Warshefana and Zawiya, thanks also to the commander of the Warshefana’s 55th Battalion, Muammar al-Dawi.
The deputy believes that Mohammad Al-Manfi and Abdelhamid Dabaiba new Government, designated by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Geneve, will meet with opposition from Libyan people. “The United Nations, after reaching the Skhirat Agreement in 2015, which was never implemented, is proposing a new government today, but will the new executive be able to get mercenaries and foreign forces out of Libyan territory?” Dr. Busriba asks himself, stressing that this solution imposed from the outside does not respond to the real problems of the country: “Libya is militarily divided between East and West, politically divided between two governments and two parliaments. No one has come to tell us how they intend to unify these institutions. Furthermore, we expected an authority that was acceptable to everyone, that enjoyed the consent and respect of the three regions of Libya”.
The Western Region Forces Union, which includes dignitaries and armed groups from the western region (from Tripoli to Tunisian border), had already rejected the dialogue process in Geneva, raising several doubts about the selection mechanism of the 75 participants in the Forum, and the alleged pressure from the UN Special Representative Stephanie Williams to vote candidates rather than others. This coalition also criticized the recent “Snakes Hunting” operation launched last month by Tripoli’s Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha.
“The minister’s first mistake in launching this operation – explains Dr. Busriba – was not clarifying which people will be its target. Young people must be involved and not persecuted. Rather than uniting the armed groups under a legitimate army, Fathi Bashagha is fighting them, while supporting Turkish militias and mercenaries in the western region. Russia and Turkey are interested in having their bases in Libya and definitively affirming their presence in the Mediterranean. They’re not here to help the Libyan people. Bashagha, as well as Minister Namroush, want to replace our armed groups with Turkish and Syrian troops. They are also facilitating the citizenship’s procedures for those mercenaries already in Libya.”
Dr. Ali Busriba, during our meeting in Tunis, expresses concern about the current situation, which could allow extremist groups to re-emerge. “We fought Daesh in Sabratha, we know what does it means. We reject any extremist ideology. Young Libyans, members of armed militias, must be empowered through training courses and allowing them to continue their studies abroad”. The deputy welcomes the role that Italy can play in reconstruction and issues a warning: “there are foreign countries, including Europeans, which are facilitating the illegal immigration and human trafficking from the south of Libya to put the Italian state in difficulty. They use migrants as a blackmail weapon. France did it in the past and now Turkey is ready to do it again to blackmail Europe based on its agendas. Why do UN sanctions only affect traffickers on the coast? The trafficking of human beings starts yet from the southern borders of Libya”.
He prefers not to reveal his short-term plans, nor does he worry about any sanctions by foreign countries, announced for those who will hinder the new government: “It is not my intention to prevent its settlement. But I will work with young people and leaders across Libya to ensure that on December 24, 2021, Libyans can go to the vote and elect their representatives. We will not allow what happened with Skhirat in 2015 to repeat. Serraj should have stayed for a year and a half, more than five years have passed…”.