A leader of the Muslim Brotherhood group in Libya, Bashir Al-Kabti, has denounced the statements made by Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar in which he described the Brotherhood as a “terrorist” group and alleged that it constitutes the greatest threat to the country.
Haftar’s remarks came during an interview with the Egyptian satellite channel ON TV on Saturday.
Kabti, the Brotherhood’s former general supervisor, told the Arabi 21 website that Haftar is “ignorant about the facts,” and that he only seeks to appease Egypt and its president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi by making accusations against the Brotherhood.
Sisi was Egypt’s defence minister when he led a military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, was the country’s first democratically-elected president.
Kabti said that Hafter does know that the Brotherhood registered themselves officially as a civil society organisation in 2011. “Therefore, we are now subject to the state’s authority. We have no military or political activity,” he added.
Libyan lawyer and human rights activist Taher Al-Naghnoughi said that “Haftar did not provide any evidence for his accusations against the Muslim Brotherhood.”
He added that Haftar’s statements included contradictions. “On the one hand, he claims that he controls Libya’s entire east; on the other, he claims that he is threatened by the Brotherhood and Islamists,” he told Arabi 21.
“What Haftar wants now is to exclude all Islamist groups, especially the moderate ones, and even those who currently support it, because he always acts through conspiracy theory,” he added.
But a Benghazi-based political activist, Faraj Farkash, believes that “Haftar’s latest statements are rather directed at Egyptian public opinion; and perhaps they constitute an attempt to justify his rejection to meet [UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez] Seraj,” he said.