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The surreal scene in Libya

People gather to protest against the candidacy application of Saif Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi and Khalifa Haftar for upcoming presidential election in Tripoli, Libya on 19 November 2021 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]
People gather to protest against the candidacy application of Saif Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi and Khalifa Haftar for upcoming presidential election in Tripoli, Libya on 19 November 2021 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

There is no doubt that the appearance of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, wearing his father's cloak while presenting his candidacy papers for the presidency, provoked the wrath and anger of millions of Libyans, who revolted against his criminal tyrant father in a great revolution that he could not confront. He had feared and trembled at the revolution of his people, who he called rats, and he hid from them in a sewage pipe, which he came out from like a mouse, asking for forgiveness and mercy. Meanwhile, he never showed his people mercy throughout the more than 40 years he ruled Libya with an iron fist, oppressing and humiliating the people and shedding their blood, money and honour.

It was a very provocative scene, especially since, during the revolution, the man who came defiantly and arrogantly in his father's clothes, had used the same description his father did, calling the revolutionaries rats and raised his finger, threatening Libyans with anguish and punishment. The revolutionaries cut him off after he was arrested, in a scene no less dramatic than the scene of his father's arrest, leaving him lost and unable to believe what was happening around him. What a difference between the two scenes, that are ten years apart!

What happened in those ten years that completely changed the picture and completely changed the scene?

Everyone knows exactly what happened to the Libyan revolution and how the two evil states in the region (Saudi Arabia and the UAE), who led the counter-revolutions against the Arab Spring from their permanent headquarters in Abu Dhabi, joined by the colonial countries that have ambitions in Libya (France and Russia) and the old colonial legacy (Italy). They cooperated and combined their efforts to fight the revolution in its infancy, planting incitement and strife amongst the revolutionaries to divide and weaken Libya. When they failed to kill it, they used the criminal, retired colonel Khalifa Haftar to carry out his coup against the legitimate government, but he completely failed to storm the capital, Tripoli, despite the unlimited support he received by way of weapons, money and mercenary fighters from the private Russian Wagner Group, in addition to Chadians and Sudanese. Haftar committed many massacres and became wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), just like Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, who challenged the ICC, borrowing his father's famous words, "To hell with the ICC."

READ: Libya prosecutor asks to halt candidacy of Haftar, Gaddafi's son

The situation in Libya may seem like a terrible nightmare that the Libyans woke up to with the two men wanted by the ICC running for the presidency. The ghosts of the miserable past have returned to haunt them once again. They definitely will not differ from their past.

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi chose the city of Sebha, where his clan and family is from, to announce his candidacy. It is the city where his father ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years, and his son wanted to derive his strength from where his father's strength and tyranny stemmed in order to restore his father's rule and past glory. He hopes the good old days would return, so he summoned his father's personality, words, gestures and traditional clothes so that he would appeal to the emotions of Muammar Gaddafi's orphans and widows. He called on the Libyans to head to the High Electoral Commission offices to receive their electoral cards to elect him, addressing them with his father's words, "O great Libyan people, the hour of truth has struck."

The coup-leader criminal Khalifa Haftar, who killed thousands of the Libyan people and burned and destroyed everything, is also addressing the people as "the great Libyan people" and presenting himself as the saviour of the country and the people, and not as someone who wants power.

The law, which was enacted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, and was presented to its members, is custom made for Gaddafi Jr and the criminal Haftar, excluding their strongest competitor from the running, i.e. Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah because Article 12 of the law prevents him from running. This dubious article requires that the presidential candidate stop working in the state three months before the election.

Dbeibah said he considered the election law to be "flawed and written to serve specific candidates" and warned against of the danger of the conspiracy of political classes that want to control the sovereignty and wealth of Libyans.

Libya's interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on June 24, 2021 [Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images]

Libya's interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah on June 24, 2021 [Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images]

In the midst of this surreal scene, Western countries insist on elections being held at the end of next month, before the constitution is issued and the people decide on the type of state they want and its system, whether it is a presidential or parliamentary republic. Do they prefer the federal system or the central state system? The constitution defines the powers of the executive authority and sets controls to prevent the authorities from overlapping. The masses organised several demonstrations, rejecting holding elections without a constitution.

We may wonder why the West is so enthusiastic about holding elections in Libya, the latest of which is the international conference on Libya, which was held in Paris two weeks ago to provide support for the presidential elections. However, they are reluctant to take this step in Sudan.

Usually there is no answer to any of our questions about the position of the international community. It is a society that has completely different standards depending on its whims. It is a society that looks out for its own interest only.

In any case, it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the elections are no longer a purely Libyan affair, but rather an international goal that achieves the interests of many countries.

I think it is ridiculous to ask where the Arab League is in terms of what is happening in Libya or any of the other hot spots in the Arab countries that are experiencing turmoil or crises, and why it did not establish and organise the conference on Libya. For us, the Arab League is long gone, it only surfaces to condemn Turkey or Iran.

Libya: Confused elections

Is it not unfortunate that Israel has become the gateway through which anyone aspiring to rule in our Arab countries must go? Haftar's son went to Tel Aviv to meet the Zionist officials in order to guarantee their support for his father's battle for power, while presenting a blank cheque for Israel to operate in Libya once he is in reaches power.

I do not rule out the possibility of Gaddafi Jr taking the same step, as he has had close relations with a number of Israelis since the time of his father; he was the link between Gaddafi Sr and the Zionist enemy.

Isn't it shameful and disgraceful that Israel is the compass for those hoping to reach government, every ruler hoping to keep their position must go to Tel Aviv to receive Israel's blessings and kneel to the Zionists. Pledging obedience and loyalty to the Zionist entity is the only way for them to safeguard their positions and keep their chairs.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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