Aref Nayed: Liberation of Tripoli from Militias Will Bring Stability, Equality and Prosperity to Libya – Al Marsad

The Chairman of the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS), former Ambassador Dr Aref Ali Nayed, in an exclusive and wide ranging interview given to Libya’s Channel last night said that those who seized control of Tripoli will inevitably be forced to leave it because the Libyan National Army (LNA) is an organized and solid institution with enough equipment to liberate the capital.

[Libya, 15 July 2019] – In an interview with Nabil Al-Hajj on Libya’s Channel on Sunday Dr. Nayed considered the Libyan crisis to be a crisis of a strange kind—it was a crisis caused by parasites. For example there are countries that witnessed the emergence of parasitic bodies or what is known as a state within the state; such bodies live within the state to expand their own influence because they have a transnational ideology, in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is classified as a terrorist group by the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR).

He pointed out that the Libyan National Army is restoring the Libyan state to what it should be, and getting rid of the parasites that have kidnapped the capabilities of the Libyan people throughout these years. He pointed out that winning the battle against the militias in Tripoli is in the best interests of the Libyan National Army, the people and the democratization process of the country.

He said that those who do not want war must not align themselves with what he described as the “war machine”, meaning the Muslim Brotherhood, the LIFG, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State. He argued that it was imperative now for people to support a decisive victory, not stopping it. In light of the recent developments, the battle must be won particularly after the arrival of foreign fighters from Syria on board of special flights in addition to the daily shipments of weapons from Turkey.

“Personally, I am ready to assist in any mediation to negotiate with the city of Misrata as part of the social fabric, and not with the people who believe in certain ideologies. I think that negotiating with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorist organization is neither desirable nor fruitful. It is just a sellout of our homeland,” Dr. Nayed said.

“What happened in Gharyan was a Turkish intelligence operation more than anything else,” Dr. Nayed continued.

He stressed that the General Commander of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has no personal ambitions and wants a unified Libya. “Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar supports holding elections in the country.” Dr. Nayed said.

Dr. Aref Ali Nayed expressed his surprise at the accusation levelled against Haftar that he wants to take over the capital while in reality the Presidential Council, that is accusing him, is indefinitely renewing its expired tenure and procrastinating and obstructing the elections.

Regarding the Cairo meetings, Dr. Are Ali Nayed said: “Cairo has brought together both the members of the Libyan House of Representatives and its boycotting members to create harmony in the Libyan parliament, in order to reach a unified vision, and give them the opportunity to rebuild confidence, and establish communication channels. Egypt is trying to create harmony in order to restore channels of communications between all the MPs of the HoR, because this body, in spite of its weakness and its division, remains the last body elected by the Libyan people”.

Here are excerpts from the interview translated exclusively here from the Arabic by Al Marsad:

Libya Channel: The positions of Sanalla raise a lot of controversy particularly his statements about the militarization of some of the oil facilities and installations. How do you understand his position?

Dr Aref Ali Nayed: Sanalla disappointed everyone. We had commended Sanalla through the Libya’s Channel; we described him as a technocrat, but to everybody’s dismay the NOC airliner is used sometimes for military purposes. Unfortunately, he is involved now in military negotiations. Everything is documented in a world that has turned into a small village thanks to technology. We have all the dossiers and documents of the companies they are currently negotiating with for air defense weaponry through NOC funds. All these documents shall be submitted to the judiciary at the appropriate time. Everyone will have to answer all the legal questions before the Libyan courts and fair justice according to Libyan law; not the United Nations law.

God alone knows whether Sanalla is a closet member of the Muslim Brotherhood or he has actually changed into a different person, or the current events changed him, but certainly, he is not the Sanalla we knew.

Libya Channel: You have referred to the Skhirat agreement. Do you think that this agreement, after all the events that have occurred, is still viable as a political solution to the ongoing conflict?

Dr Aref Ali Nayed: On several occasions, I have stated, through open letters from the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies, to UNSMIL head, Dr. Ghassan Salamé, that the dilemma of the Skhirat agreement is that it has never been implemented; it has never come into force. For example, the Presidential Council, in accordance with the Skhirat agreement, is to make decisions unanimously. In reality, however, decisions are issued by the Presidential Council individually and autocratically. Other confidence-building measures, such as the release of prisoners, putting an end to torture, improving conditions, the return of the internally displaced families to their homes, all these have not been implemented at all. All these situations still exist.

Sometimes they play with the feelings of the people by leaking news of the release of some of the supporters of the former regime or others. These prisoners should have been released in 2015, but only a few were released and deals were made behind the curtains to release them. The Skhirat agreement was never implemented. Where are the measures pertaining to building confidence?

I met with Stephanie Williams. General Raad, the security officer in the UNSMIL, attended the meeting. I wonder where were the security arrangements that should have been done by the UN mission? Do the security arrangements mean that someone will make a tour of the city of Tripoli riding a late model Mercedes? Or that the security arrangements involve bullying the bankers and blackmailing them on a daily basis? Do the security arrangements mean that someone can buy half of Tripoli and its properties, and starve its people, and sell their homes to people, and that no one knows the source of the funds they use to buy those houses?

Libya Channel: Who is responsible for not implementing at least the security arrangements clause in the Skhirat agreement?

Dr Aref Ali Nayed: I hold the United Nations and the international community, particularly the Obama Administration, the State Department of the former White House Administration that still, unfortunately, has some of its personnel from the deep state in the United States promoting the same school of thought—responsible for not implementing it. They should have condemned the attack by the Islamists and their aligned armed groups of ideological parties on Tripoli in 2014. The attack [by Operation Libya Dawn] was in no way different from Mussolini’s attack on Rome.

The United States and the international community should have rejected the takeover of Tripoli at that time. Even when the US Ambassador to Libya was assassinated in Benghazi, the young men and women of Benghazi participated in a spontaneous outcry to protest against this terrorist crime. They were shot at and killed in those demonstrations but they eventually expelled the militias at that time from the city. These events are documented online with photos of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, the LIFG, and al-Qaeda standing next to the President of the defunct General National Congress and his ministers; they said that these militias were legitimate and that the youth of Benghazi were the ones who committed mistakes. The United States should have sided with the Libyan people at that time.

There is no doubt that the current battle was affected by the declared shipments of armored vehicles that were unloaded at Tripoli seaport in broad daylight, and also by the drones that were shipped to Tripoli during the past two weeks. Such shipments (that defied UN embargo) had a clear impact on the battle. Unfortunately, the Mitiga airbase was used as a command and control headquarters for these drones. They should have taken into consideration the adjacent international civilian airport of Mitiga, but it seems they used the civilian airport as a kind of shield against military action (by the LNA) as they did in the Tajoura Migrants Detention Centre.

They have made the migrants human shields for their battalions and groups. The seizure, by their forces, of the Libyan National Army Operations Room in Gharyan, is directly related to unmanned aircraft power. The fall of Gharyan was a Turkish intelligence operation more than anything else; the strikes directed at our forces had a direct impact, but thanks to God, the Libyan National Army corrected the situation and destroyed all the unmanned planes that the Government of National Accord (GNA) received. All other drones were prevented from launching new raids. The LNA carried out preemptive raids against the drones before they were loaded and prepared to hit the Libyan National Army units. Now the LNA has succeeded in destroying the Operations Room of these drones. Now there is full control by the Libyan National Army, and this must be consolidated quickly. If the battle lasts longer, the militias will have more supplies.

There is another weapon that many people are unaware of— the money weapon. Fayez al-Sarraj, (President of the Presidential Council) managed to buy many with the Libyan people’s money. It is strange that tens of millions are given to Ali Kana to buy gangs. Of course not every Libyan can be bought. There are, for example, the honorable Tuareg people who refused to sell their loyalty with money. There are also enemies of Ali Kana who have not allowed him to take over the areas where Tuareg people exert control. I salute them for this noble attitude. But he managed to buy some people; the gangs of the Chadian opposition and other mercenaries to use them to attack the people of Murzuq.

Libya Channel: After the liberation of Tripoli, will Aref Ali Nayed be a presidential or a governmental candidate?

Dr Aref Ali Nayed: If the Libyan House of Representatives asked me and told me that the country needs my services, I would comply with their request. If I were asked to be a Prime Minister, I would submit my programme to the parliament. I have the First 100 Day Programme; complete plans for running the country; what we will do, how, and the mechanisms of action. If my programme is accepted, then why not? It is not wrong to serve your country. I announced my candidacy even before there were elections. I support the civil state and its establishment and the army that secures and protects the civil state.

I hope that God will help our country out of this dark phase. May God preserve Tripoli. I pray to God to keep its people safe and God willing it will be a peaceful entry. I call on the youth of the capital to show their solidarity with the Libyan National Army so that this ordeal ends with the least amount of human loss.