Philippe Wojazer / RFI & Anissa Haddadi / Agence France-Presse & International Business Times – 2011-06-29 02:52:01
Libya’s Anti-Kadhafi Rebels No Democrats, Report Claims
Philippe Wojazer / RFI & Reuters
(June 27, 2011) — The anti-Kadhafi uprising in Libya is neither democratic nor spontaneous, according to a delegation, which visited the country last month. Their report, published by two French-based thinktanks, claims the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) wants to impose Islamic sharia law and that the uprising is motivated by regional resentment and vindictiveness.
While condemning Moamer Kadhafi’s regime, the group says that “true democrats” are a minority in the TNC, which has been recognised by France and a number of other countries.
The group, organised by French thinktanks Ciret-AVT and CF2R, visited Tripoli and Tripolitania, under the control of Moamer Kadhafi’s forces, and rebel-controlled Benghazi and Cyrenaica in April. It included former French intelligence chief Yves Bonnet, former Algerian minister Saida Ben Habyles and Franco-Bulgarian writer Roumania Ougartchinska.
The democrats are working alongside monarchists, radical Islamists and Kadhafi regime defectors, like the council’s chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, a former justice minister who twice confirmed the death sentences passed on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor for allegedly deliberately infecting 400 children with HIV.
And, the observers point out, only 13 of the 31 TNC members’ names have been made public, with representatives of the west of the country, most of which is under Kadhafi’s control, kept secret for “debatable” reasons.
Despite its dubious past, the Kadhafi regime may have been trying to reform, according to the report, thanks largely to Kadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam. It points out that a new constitution was being planned with the help of well-known intellectuals who were members of the Kadhafi Foundation, including US academics Francis Fukuyama, Joseph Nye and Benjamin Barber and the UK’s Anthony Giddens.
The movement is “an armed uprising of the east of the country… which tries to present itself as part of the Arab ‘spring,’ with which it has nothing in common,” their report says.
The report seems most concerned at the threat of establishing a base for Islamists in the region.
Article I of the CNT’s National Charter states that sharia should be the basis of the country’s laws and the report claims that the Libyan Islamic Combatant Group and Al-Qaeda both claim to have fought against Kadhafi’s forces during the uprising.
The revolt has inspired three to four million migrant workers to flee the country, “at a time when their own countries are suffering a high level of unemployment,” it says, adding that “all blacks in eastern Libya were considered to be mercenaries in the service of Kadhafi.”
And it dubs the Western intervention in the country “adventurist,” threatening to destabilise Africa and the Middle East by providing a base for radical Islamism in the region.
NATO air strikes have hit a hospital in Mizda, wounding about 40 civilians and Korean doctors, and other non-military targets in Misrata and Ziaouia, the report adds.
Accusing France, the UK and the US of going much further than the UN resolution authorising air strikes allowed, the delegation says that secret services were operating in the country before the motion was passed and continued to do so afterwards.
France, in particular, could lose business and influence in Libya if Kadhafi is not overthrown, thanks to an “exaggeration” of its role in supporting the rebels both in Paris and Beghazi, it claims.
Libyan Rebels Seek Diplomatic Ties with Israel Says French Writer
Anissa Haddadi / Agence France-Presse & International Business Times
(June 2, 2011) — As the news that 270 people went missing after a fishing boat carrying migrants from Libya to Italy broke down just off the Tunisian coast hit, French writer Bernard Henri Levy announced he delivered a message on Thursday from Libyan rebel leaders to Israel’s premier saying they would seek diplomatic ties with Israel if they came to power.
Levy told AFP he passed on the verbal message from Libya’s National Transitional Council during a 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
“The main point was that the future Libyan regime would be moderate and anti-terrorist and will be concerned with justice for the Palestinians and security for Israel,” Levy said. “The future regime will maintain normal relations with other democratic countries, including Israel,” he added.
Levy a French philosopher and writer, who helped engineer France’s recognition of Libya’s fledgling rebel authority, visited the rebel-held Libyan city of Misrata last weekend.
Talking about his encounter with the Israeli Prime minister he said that Netanyahu “did not appear surprised” at the content of the Libyan message.
Netanyahu’s office confirmed the meeting with the French writer and philosopher but refused to further comment on the discussion. “The prime minister likes to meet intellectuals,” a spokesman said.
In early March, Levy went to the eastern Libyan town of Benghazi, days after its capture by rebel forces.
While Levy went to eastern Libya and visited Benghazi in early March, he met members of newly formed National Transitional Council and arranged for some of them to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on March 10.
Following the meeting with the rebel representative, France became the first country to recognise the provisional body as legitimate and to call for NATO’s involvement.
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