The problem of Libya is not the candidacy of Saif al-Islam, but the continued rule of militias
No one can predict what the situation in Libya will be like in the next few days, especially after Saif al-Islam Qaddafi submitted his candidacy for the presidential elections. Warlords, militia leaders, Brotherhood activists and those who describe themselves as the revolutionaries of February 17th announced that they would block the way to the elections, and would close the polling stations. And they will prevent voters from voting on the due date, including those who called for the besieging of the headquarters of the Electoral Commission in Sidi al-Masry, and for the arrest of its head, Imad al-Sayeh, all because the ideological forces, armed groups and powerful authorities in the capital and cities in the west of the country reject the candidacy of Saif al-Islam Qaddafi and Khalifa Haftar.
The international community and its international front will have to contemplate the current course of events after ignoring that the real problem in Libya is security, not political, and it is represented by the armed militias that have controlled the centers of sovereign, governmental and economic decision-making in Tripoli since 2011. The dismantling of the state has led to a security and military vacuum which has been exploited by armed groups that still extend their influence and consider themselves the actual rulers in the country, and they are not ready to compromise their interests, which inevitably contradict the interests of the state in its value, sovereignty, symbolism, influence over its capabilities and monopoly on arms.
Those militias, groups and currents associated with them do not want the state to be established, except according to their own conditions. They will not allow the country to exit the tunnel into which it has been pushed since 2011. Although they claim to defend the “civil state” in the face of “militarization,” they seek to consolidate the “militia state” under a religious cover that is not devoid of the takfiri tendency that is adopted in mobilizing against the other politically and ideologically different, despite the international community’s realization that these militias represent the real danger to the democratic path, especially in light of a real division of the country, and a real hostility between the parties; Haftar, for example, is a candidate for the presidency of the Libyan state in its entirety, but he cannot move in the western region, which revolves around the capital, Tripoli. Saif al-Islam, is a candidate for the position of President of the State of Libya, and he is persecuted by the judiciary, by militias, by infidels by the Mufti, and an outcast from the February politicians.
What if he wins the presidency?
The appearance of Saif al-Islam Qaddafi at the sub-headquarters of the Electoral Commission in Sebha, where he submitted his candidacy papers for the presidential elections, represented a resounding surprise inside and outside, as soon as the man moved in the center of the capital of Fezzan province, entered the headquarters and found enough time to complete the registration procedures, then leave the place quietly, confirms that coordination took place with the leadership of the National Army, which extends its influence over the city and the southern region, and even suggests that there were consensuses that took place weeks before, and one of its outcomes was the registration of Saif al-Islam’s name in an office in Sabha, even though he was born in Tripoli and a resident of its territory if we consider him still residing in Zintan.
I will not ask here whether Saif al-Islam moved from Zintan to Sebha directly to submit his candidacy file. The distance between the two cities, passing through Gharyan, is about 760 kilometers, and crossing it requires more than eight hours of uninterrupted walking, which means that the man and his companions were in one of the southern regions, and most likely it was Ghat, before entering Sabha, and that during the last period he was able to move around between a number of cities and villages of Fezzan to meet dignitaries and local residents, all with direct security from the army.
What several Libyan cities and villages witnessed in celebrations of his candidacy confirms the extent of the overwhelming popularity that Saif al-Islam enjoys in all regions of the country, for several reasons, including that the previous government was primarily a cultural one linked to a complex social structure, and it succeeded in transforming into a symbol, the nature of the Libyan Badia society with its extensions. Tribalism within cities, with the titles of Bedouin culture, customs, traditions and daily behaviors. Those who were surprised by Saif al-Islam’s adherence to his father’s traditional dress ten years after his death should pay attention to a message to the father’s supporters that there is no rupture with cultural and social privacy, even though there are differences in visions and political and economic projects.
On the other hand, gunmen came out in some areas of western Libya to denounce Saif al-Islam’s candidacy and attack electoral centers and raise threats to the commission and its head, and a movement of militias was announced next Saturday, and there may be other programs, all of which are in the framework of a general trend for decision makers in Tripoli, which is to compel the international community to accept postponing elections, or changing Article 12 in order to allow Prime Minister Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba to run for president. If he wins, that is required. And if the results go to Saif al-Islam or Haftar, then everyone should prepare for war and division again, and this is what the Brotherhood, militants and regional leaders have threatened.
The international community finds itself in a difficult situation, for true democracy requires it to respect the will of the Libyan people, to create conditions to enable those chosen by the people at the ballot box to carry out their mission, and to take a decisive position on those who might obstruct the elections or refuse to recognize their results, or want to run the train of candidacy and vote according to their choices. and their interests as they work to return the country to chaos and civil strife.
Meanwhile, there are parties that are trying to impose their guardianship on the general popular position and voting intentions, and they reject the candidacy of Saif al-Islam Qaddafi on the basis of their knowledge of the wide popular base he enjoys that may qualify him to win the position of president, and they rely in their position on the strength of arms and money. If Field Marshal Haftar has an army and Dabaiba has militias, Qaddafi’s son is the only one from the real power rivalry who does not have an armed force on the ground.
What is sure and certain is that several parties at home and abroad do not want Qaddafi’s son to win the presidency of Libya or influence its upcoming political scene, but the reality on the ground indicates that internal, regional and international balances imposed consensus by allowing him to run for office and the biggest challenge will be how the community confronts those who are trying to use the candidacy of Qaddafi’s son as a justification for obstructing the elections. What if he continues his march towards the twenty-fourth of December and actually won the elections? How would he be president in a capital controlled by those who consider their only legitimacy to be in their war against his father’s government?
The problem of Libya is not Saif al-Islam’s candidacy, but the continuation of the rule of the militias that want the next president to be part of their chaotic project, in line with their regionalism, and in response to their interests that they do not want to compromise, and with the centers of influence they have achieved during the past ten years. They do not recognize democracy or the peaceful transfer of power, but rather the power of the revolution, which cannot be transformed into a state while the guns are still on the shoulders of the rebels.
Translation by Internationalist 360°