Libya celebrates 10th anniversary of February 17 revolution, the suffering continues

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Wed, 17 Feb 2021 - 05:32 GMT

FILE PHOTO: Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government prepare themselves before heading to Sirte, in Tripoli, Libya, Libya July 6, 2020. REUTERS/Ayman Sahely/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government prepare themselves before heading to Sirte, in Tripoli, Libya, Libya July 6, 2020. REUTERS/Ayman Sahely/File Photo

CAIRO - 17 February 2020: On Wednesday, Libya celebrates the 10th anniversary of the February 17 revolution. The Libyan people disagreed about whether it was a pure popular revolution or an armed uprising against the regime of former Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Despite the current instability and chaos, Libyans are still looking forward to a more secure and stable future.

 

As usual, political Islam groups moved at the beginning of the events and pushed for the formation of armed entities to target the strongholds of Colonel Gaddafi's forces. The international intervention led by the United States, Britain, and France - without a UN decision - led to the destruction of the infrastructure of Libya in a large number of cities, targeting a large number of warehouses that contain huge quantities of heavy and medium weapons.

 

Some regional and international countries have moved under the pretext of helping the Libyans bring down the Gaddafi regime, amid a foggy scene in which no accurate information is available regarding the country that has been closed on itself for years. Most of the countries relied on the news that was published by Al-Jazeera channel, which everyone later found was misleading, to justify direct intervention in Libya.

 

After the killing of Gaddafi on October 20, 2011, Libya suffered from the strength of armed formations and militias that received external funding, which enabled it to control the Libyan state institutions in all cities through the so-called "military councils" that formed a spearhead to stop any moves to form a Libyan military establishment.

 

Several militias and armed formations led assassination campaigns of Libyan military and security leaders, known for their patriotism and competence. These campaigns started by assassinating  former Minister of Interior, Major General Abdel Fattah Younis, who rejected any foreign intervention during the events of February 17, 2011, and continued during 2012 and 2013.

 

Mid-2014 witnessed the birth of the first unilateral move by some Libyan soldiers through "Operation Dignity" to pursue extremist and militant groups that had spread in Libya significantly, and this was the beginning of the idea of forming a national Libyan military institution that would be able to control security and stability in the country.

 

Libyan political analyst Ezz El-Din Aqeel said that Libya was subjected to the largest process of crushing, theft and looting against highly sensitive national security institutions, in addition to the looting of movable assets and cash.

 

Aqeel emphasized to Egypt Today that there is no consolation for the Libyan people except through the just punishment for those he described as "bats" that plunder, shed blood and take lives, at the instigation of those he described as "gangs" of foreign governments that want nothing but destruction.

 

The Libyan political analyst pointed out that Libya lived what he described as a "black decade" following the February events, expressing his hope that security and stability would prevail inside Libyan cities.

 

For his part, Libyan economist Fawzi Ammar said that some see the February 2011 events as a revolution,  some see it as an uprising that has not been completed to become a revolution, while others who oppose it see it as a conspiracy, especially after the intervention of NATO.

 

Ammar emphasized that anyone who follows the situation in Libya sees the deterioration of the economic, political, security and sovereign conditions, referring to the fleeing weapon, the low price of the Libyan dinar and the deterioration of services in terms of electricity and liquidity. This reflects the failure of the February events for some, as the difference in visions on how to achieve the national interest should not lead to treason or atonement.

 

Ammar pointed out that February 2011 was the product of a historical process and was supposed to happen, especially in a country without a sustainable political system and a catastrophic developmental strategy that some exploited to settle scores.

 

He further demanded the restoration of the sovereignty of the Libyan state before thinking narrowly of power.

 

Libyan delegates at UN-facilitated talks on Feb. 5, made the surprise choice of Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah as transitional prime minister, along with a three-member presidency council, to govern the war-ravaged North African country until December elections. Mohammad Younes Menfi became the new president of the presidency council in the unity administration, following the vote held outside Geneva and announced by former United Nations envoy Stephanie Williams.

 
 
It marked the start of a new chapter for the country after the failure of a 2015 UN-brokered deal that established a Government of National Accord headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.
 
 
 
Intellectuals believe that the real challenge facing the transitional government is unifying the army and the security institutions in the country. However, others stress the importance of the role of the United Nations and the major powers in sponsoring the new government, stabilizing the ceasefire, and removing militias and mercenaries.
 
 

Libya has been in chaos ever since the 2011 overthrow and killing of dictator Moamer Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising, with warring rival administrations battling for power. Since the downfall of Gaddafi, Libya has become a key route for irregular migration from Africa into Europe, across the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Several countries seek to solve the Libyan crisis, most prominently Egypt, which hosted the third meetings of the Libyan Constitutional Track from February 9 -11 in Hurghada, in the presence of delegations of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Council of State under the auspices of the United Nations.

 

In January 2021, the Libyan Constitutional Committee meetings were also held in Hurghada for a period of three days, in the presence of members of the House of Representatives and the State Council sponsored by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.

 

At the end of 2020, a Libyan meeting was held in Cairo between representatives of the Libyan House of Representatives and the Supreme State Council in Libya, as part of the efforts, led by Egypt and sponsored by the countries of the region to support the path of a political solution in Libya.

 

In September 2020, Egypt's Hurghada hosted meetings between Libyan military and security leaders representing the east and west of the country, to agree on the military and security tracks.

 

Egypt earlier announced an initiative, dubbed the Cairo Declaration, which posits a Libyan-Libyan resolution as a basis for resolving the country’s conflict, drawing on earlier international efforts, including the Berlin conference.

 

In July, the Egyptian House of Representatives has authorized President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to “take necessary measures” to protect national security, giving the president the green light to send troops to Libya.

 

This came in a closed session on protecting the Egyptian and Libyan national security against terror threats. The session was attended only by the Parliament members and the general secretariat of the House.

 

Sisi said at a meeting with Libyan tribal chiefs in Egypt that any Egyptian military intervention in Libya may only materialize upon a request by the Libyan people and permission from the Egyptian House.

 

According to Article 152 of the Egyptian constitution, the state has to seek the Parliament’s approval before declaring war or sending its forces in combat missions. The members attending the session are not authorized to disclose any details of the discussion inside this secret meeting.

 

During his meeting with the tribal chiefs on July 16, Sisi saidEgypt has always stood by a peaceful solution in Libya through encouraging negotiations between Libyan factions. However, it will not stand idly as it watches activities that threaten Egypt’s national security.

 

“Egypt has the strongest Army in the region and Africa,” he said, adding that it is, however, wise and does not assail or invade other territories.

 

He noted that in case the Egyptian forces enter Libya, they will be led by tribal leaders carrying the Libyan flag.

 

Sisi promised that Egypt will- if necessary- intervene "only at the Libyans' request and withdraw upon their order.”

 

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