In Egypt, the elected president is suffering in jail and his supporters are arguing that he is the sole legitimate president, while the members of the elected parliament have either been imprisoned or displaced. There is also a president who used the force of arms to appoint himself as president, and he does not recognise any legitimacy other than the legitimacy of the rifle. However, this same president, along with other countries that do not even pretend to hold elections, all support the "legitimacy" in Libya, back the "elected" parliament, and reject any opposition to its "legitimacy".
As is the case with Morsi and his supporters, the legitimacy parliament and government in Libya are all imprisoned or in self-imposed exile in a remote city, and most of Libya's territories are outside their control, most importantly Tripoli and Benghazi. However, unlike Morsi, most of the state forces, as well as Libya's neighbours, including the coup-led government in Egypt, swear by the legitimacy of the Tobruk government and parliament. Such legitimacy is similar to the legitimacy of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader, who fled his country for more than half a century and remains in exile.
No one observing modern and ancient Arab history needs to be reminded that the claims of legitimacy cannot be separated from the reality of the balance of power on the ground, and that any legitimacy that becomes the subject of dispute automatically loses a significant amount of its weight. Ultimately, all legitimacy is the product of the balance of power, because there is no such thing as absolute legitimacy for anyone. Many have challenged the legitimacy of the Caliphs and rebelled against them, and even killed them. The Imam Ali bin Abi Talib accepted resignation and left it up to the nation to choose whom they liked, despite his legitimacy, and did so after taking the reality on the ground into consideration and to stop the bloodshed of Muslims. It was this same logic that drove Imam Hassan to strike a deal with Muawiya to avoid fighting.
This is the case of true legitimacy, but when the claim of legitimacy itself is fake, such as Bashar Al-Assad's claim that he is an elected president and Al-Maliki's claim that his removal is a violation of the constitution which has already been trampled, then the matter takes on other aspects and dimensions. In the case of Libya, the "legitimate" parliament and government actually hold false and hypocritical legitimacy, just as is the case when states that have no relation to the dispute interfere in "Libyan affairs". Meanwhile, the false and slanderous government remains silent in the face of flagrant foreign intervention, and even make secret deals practically handing the country over to foreign dictator governments under the pretext of democracy.
Just like Antoine Lahad (leader of pro-Israeli Christian militia in Lebanon), Haftar (the leader of the militia falsely called "Operation Dignity", but should be called Operation Insult Libya and sell it in the slave market) claims that this government aims to liberate the country from the militias, and although this is a noble goal, if it is achieved through political consensus, those who made these claims have turned into the worst and weakest militias. The situation in Libya was much better before these miserable and collaborative militias appeared and claimed they wanted to liberate Libya.
The wonders of our Arab world are endless. The case is similar in Yemen, which is being eaten by extremist militias from every part of the spectrum. The latest development is a sectarian militia's addressing the issue of reducing the subsidies on fuel in order to take over authority. These militias, coming from the dark ages, forget that the foreign support given to Yemen is mostly from the West and Gulf states, and that if their wishes do come true and they dominate the authority, just as Nasrallah's party did, then many Yemenis will die with the outbreak of war or out of starvation due to the cut in support.
It really is the time of farce; the age of coups, as hypocrisy has become the master of all virtues, led by lying. In this day and age, the leaders of resistance and the men of defiance cry bitterly because Washington did not invite them to participate in its war on "terror" (despite their pride in their past terrorist track record). Today, the Islamists (except for those who have been shown mercy by God) have been divided into terrorists who wreak havoc in the world, tyrants who are no less corrupt, and groups of hypocrites who compete with the liberals to cosy up to the tyrants. Nowadays, the judiciary has become a mafia gang taking revenge on the advocates of truth and virtue, or anyone daring to oppose injustice, calling their actions "justice". The biggest terrorists are accusing the innocent of being terrorists and declare those who they fear would affect their terrorism, oppression and corruption as terrorists.
After this analysis, I should presumably present a proposal to address this crisis, just as the UN and international parties advise Yemen, Libya, and others to resolve their problems through dialogue. In principle, this suggestion is valid, because all the claims of legitimacy and the accusations of terrorism are nothing but weapons used by each party to strengthen its position. Everyone is unable to get rid of the other party, and every delay in dialogue is a waste of love, time, and capabilities in the country that is being destroyed before it has to inevitably resort to dialogue.
However, I find myself reluctant to provide such advice because the parties involved are not do-gooders who have strayed or lost their way. They are evildoers who have found what they want. If we warn them and remind them of their hypocritical and deceitful rhetoric, then they are likely to resolve the problem by annihilating themselves and relieving mankind from their evils. This is God's way on Earth, "Verily We shall cause the wrong-doers to perish".
Translated from Al Quds Al Arabi, 18 September, 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.