Guardian of Democracy and Law and Fighter of Corruption: Fathi Bashagha Exposed – Al Marsad

The sacked Minister of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fathi Bashagha, raises the banner of fighting corruption and the corrupt in his desperate attempts to evade the fact that he is the prime person liable for the abysmal situation that currently engulfs Libya.

(Libya, 1 September 2020) – Through populist slogans, enthusiastic speeches, and fiery statements, the sacked Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha was trying, as many of his opponents believe, to give himself a PR rebranding as part of an early election campaign to win over citizens and deceive their minds and hearts with enticing slogans. While it may be his right to try to polish his image,  yet he and his supporters and followers have no right to obscure the fact that his track record from 2011 till now is the exact opposite of his slogans.

Bashagha keeps referring to the law but many rightly ask what does this actually mean when when he himself reached his position as minister without confidence of the Libyan Parliament and in violation of the Skhirat Agreement? How can the term “commissioned minister” be legitimate? Who exactly did he represent in the Misrata block when he contest parliamentary elections? What about his existing membership in the House of Representatives (HoR) from which he did not resign before joining the government? 

The truth is that Bashagha, who portraits himself as the guardian of the law and the civil state has a catalogue of legal infringements. Is it valid, whether professionally or legally or according to the terms of the Skhirat Agreement, to describe Bashagha in the media as Minister of Interior without qualifying it by the phrase “boycotting HoR member”? 

BASHAGHA AND DEMOCRACY

In June 2014, Fayez al-Sarraj was elected to the HoR for the district of al-Andalus and Bashagha for the Misrata constituency. Sarraj joined Tobruk, the headquarters of the HoR, after a popular and democratic electoral process, while Bashagha led—and was the godfather of—Operation Libya Dawn (Fajr Libya) against the same electoral process. This was confirmed in an interview by Osama Juweili on the 218 Channel before joining the government.

Bashagha’s Operation Libya Dawn destroyed Libya’s nascent political process, according to the report of the Security Council panel of experts in 2015,  and the country then entered into a vicious cycle of conflict, violence, destruction, and most seriously of all divided institutions from which the country has yet to recover. The only reason for Operation Libya Dawn was that the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies had lost power.

Sarraj’s election results for al-Andalus district in Tripoli

When Sarraj was carrying out his duties as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Tripoli in Tobruk, he voted with other MPs on removing the radical Islamist cleric Sadiq al-Gharyani from his position as Mufti, on dismissing the governor of the Central Bank of Libya Siddik al-Kabir, designating Operation Libya Dawn as a terrorist operation, designating the Derna and Benghazi Shura Councils and Ansar al-Sharia as terrorist groups, appointing Khalifa Haftar as a general commander of the Libyan Army, and forming the General Command—Bashagha, in turn, was paving the way for political division and supporting the establishment of a parallel government in Tripoli led by the radical Islamist Omar al-Hasi, and then Khalifa al-Ghweil.

Bashagha’s election results for the Misrata constituency

On 20 February 2016, Sarraj arrived in Tobruk in an attempt to gain the confidence of the HoR for his government. Most of the boycotting MPs attended that session along with subsequent sessions to approve the Political Agreement. Those present included Muhammad al-Ra’idh, Mustafa Abu Shaqur, and others.

The provisions of the Skhirat stipulating the return of the boycotting MPs to the HoR’s sessions in Tobruk

Almost all the boycotting MPs, even the Islamists, attended the sessions, except for Fathi Bashagha, who continued to boycott the HoR thus shirking his duty towards his constituents who had voted for him, and disregarding the Skhirat Agreement which stipulated in Articles (16-17-18) thereof that the boycotting MPs should return to fulfil the required obligations.

Sarraj and his Council failed to gain confidence and Bashagha was one of the key supporters of the idea of not going to Tobruk in the first place. Since then, the Presidential Council has become the body that drafts the budget law, disburses the allocations of funds, and audits itself without any legislative oversight which Bashagha tirelessly help to weaken.

WHY HAS THE GOVERNMENT BECOME CORRUPT?

Consequently since this government and the Presidential Council work without any Parliamentary scrutiny, the institutions are divided. With the Audit Bureau under ideological control at the hands of Bashagha’s Muslim Brotherhood allies, financial and administrative corruption has become the most prominent feature throughout the government in Tripoli as well as in Bayda because of the division and lack of follow-up by the legislative authority that had been determinedly and deeply weakened, split, and exhausted. Bashagha was either directly responsible for this situation that through the ill-fated Operation Libya Dawn and his subsequent insistence on weakening the HoR—or what he loves to call, the Tobruk Parliament.

UN FAVORITISM AND SUPPORT FOR IMPUNITY

This month, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and its envoy, Stephanie Williams, who is closely connected to Bashagha, came out to announce the formation of a UN investigation team into the humanitarian violations committed in Libya. The idea was welcomed before the UNSMIL disappointed thousands of relatives of victims and missing persons when it confirmed, for reasons only the UNSMIL knows, that the investigation would only cover the period from 2016 to 2020. It was as if those killed in the violations committed by Operation Libya Dawn, due to Decision 7, the Gharghour massacre, and the Black Saturday in Benghazi, and countless number of other crimes, were of value.

It is necessary to have a comprehensive and impartial investigation from 2011 until today into all the violations committed during the various events throughout the country. These include the heinous acts committed during Jannat graves, Operation Libya Dawn, massacres in Gharghour, Garabulli, and Brak al-Shati, the persecution of the Tawergha, up to the war against terrorism in the east and Sirte and all transgressions and field executions of prisoners—some of whom Bashagha himself announced their arrest in the battles of Sirte on 16 September 2011, before they were found liquidated and dead in the streets of the city according to what Human Rights Watch confirmed—let alone those killed in prisons under torture.

53 prisoners who were liquidated by extremists and gunmen from Misrata in al-Mahary Hotel in Sirte as documented by Human Rights Watch in October 2011.

The investigation should also include violations during the repeated Tripoli wars and militia wars, in addition to revealing how these terrorist organizations came into being in terms of financing, arming, and media presence, especially the stages of their inception in Sirte.

A comprehensive investigation will help uncover truth and debunk the pompous slogans that some raise today that they are fighting corruption. Many have been taking advantage of people’s tragedies and suffering to promote personal glory in anticipation of any new political or even electoral deal. However, it seems that the UNSMIL does not like to do that to save the face of some players whom it supports instead of truly supporting Libya.

The Official Journal of the Ministry of Justice: The Constitutional Court dissolved the House of Representatives based on the challenge submitted by Khaled al-Mashri and al-Mannai, November 20, 2014 – Archive

END OF THE ROAD FOR BASHAGHA

All of the foregoing does not absolve Fayez a-Sarraj, Abdullah al-Thini, Aguila Saleh, Khalifa al-Ghweil, Omar al-Hasi, Khaled Shakshak, Nasr al-Mashay, Mustafa Sanallah, or Siddik al-Kabir and their role in the current disgraceful and collapsing situation in the country.

However, the person who initiated this situation by turning against Libyans in 2014 should be held accountable first: Fathi Bashagha. He has used PR firms, western diplomats and journalists to craft the image that he is a man of peace, who cares for law and order, democratic institutions and a civil state. He also wishes to take credit for the popular demonstrations that took place in Tripoli, but the fact of the matter is that its against corrupt strongmen like him who they demonstrating against. They demonstrated too against Syrian mercenaries who enjoy a monthly salary of US$2,000 at a time when many Libyans are going hungry. Baghasha is fully responsible, when he was Minister of Interior of having brought the mercenaries with terrorist links to Libya with the connivance of Turkey—he must bear full responsibility of its implications. He has not only emboldened criminal militias, brought in Syrian terrorists and literally sold Libya’s sovereignty to Turkey. 

As for Khaled al-Mishri, he too is an accomplice in crime and a truckling puppet who deserves to be also investigated along with the ties to the Muslim Brotherhood that he and others share. Sadly, this scrutiny can no longer wait, it’s the end of the road for Bashagha. 

© Al-Marsad English (2020)

 

FURTHER RESOURCES

The Interior Ministry of Luxurious Convoys Fails to Protect the Protest Movement, Masterminds Coup with the Muslim Brotherhood

Before Bashagha’s Suspension, Mishri Meets with Turkish Ministers to Discuss Ceasefire and Economic Projects

Williams Remains Silent on Violations Against Tripoli’s Protesters, Yet Sarraj Wants Her to Condemn Sirte Events

SPECIAL REPORT | Turkish Intelligence in Tripoli Orders Infiltration of Protest Movement