Who is who in Libya: The Opposition and Islamic movements

Who is who in Libya: The Opposition and Islamic movements
bengazi_libyaLibya is a country comprised of tribes and clans. Close to all of the government’s opposition live exiled outside the country. The opposition groups in exile published a declaration on February 14, 2011, inviting Kaddafi to resign. The following groups signed the declaration: the Social Justice and Democracy Union, the Libyan National Salvation Front, the Libyan National Movement, the Libyan Islamic Movement Union, the Libyan Opposition Conference, the Enough Movement, the Libya Commission for Justice and Truth and the Libyan Intellectuals and Writers Union.

Libya’s strongest opposition movements are the Muslim Brothers (Libyan Islamic Brotherhood), the Libyan National Salvation Front and jihad movements.

The Libyan Islamic Brotherhood

The Libyan Islamic Brotherhood was established in 1979. Like the Muslim Brotherhood, the target and purpose in the foundation of the group was the principle of “the Islamic religion and state.” After 1993 the Libyan Islamic Brotherhood began to be called the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood.

During the seventies and eighties due to the harsh and merciless approach of the Qaddafi administration, the founders and administrators of the brotherhood were held extremely secret.

For a time Sheik Muhammad bin Gali represented the Libya Muslim Brotherhood at meetings. Muhammad el Hifsi is mentioned in an article entitled the “Islamic Brotherhood’s Apparent Situation.” In a statement regarding martyred el Mebruk Gays el Medhun, Hıfsi is mentioned in relation to the Libya Muslim Brotherhood.

In an interview made with him in the nineties by the Al Muslim Magazine, Rashid Al Muntasar was mentioned as the person responsible for the Libya Islamic Brotherhood. Abdullah Abu Sin represented the Libya Islamic Brotherhood in some organizations. It is thought that these persons were administrators in the Libya Muslim Brotherhood during certain periods.

The Libya Muslim Brotherhood argues that Libya is an inseparable part of the Islamic world. The Brotherhood sees the Libyan administration as a regime that fights against Islam, curtails freedoms and oppresses the people.

The Brotherhood claims that the prevention of political parties’ foundation and activities in Libya by the Qaddafi administration and their tight control of syndicates, the judiciary and all social organizations are contrary to human rights.

Libyan National Salvation Front

It was founded in 1981 in opposition to the Qaddafi administration. The Front aims to overthrow Qaddafi and set up a constitutional and democratic system.
The goals are separated into before and after Qaddafi goals.

A. The goal before Qaddafi

To overthrow Qaddafi:
The first goal is to overthrow the Qaddafi administration. In order to accomplish this goal, it is necessary to prepare a common plan of struggle by uniting all national movements inside and outside the country and to use all legitimate methods.

B. The goal after Qaddafi

1. After ending the Qaddafi administration, to form an assembly of ministers and a temporary government with the condition that their term will not exceed one year.
2. After establishing an assembly of ministers and a temporary government, to hold a general election within the first six months.
3. To elect a new head of state in accordance with the new constitution, which will be accepted as a result of a referendum.
4. In order to prevent authority from being gathered together in one hand, it will be distributed among different state institutions according to the principle of separation of powers.
5. Protecting the country’s sacredness and spirituality.
6. Presenting the country’s resources to the service of the people, neighboring countries, brother countries and all of mankind.
7. To change the bad image of Libya that was formed in the international arena during the Qaddafi reign. To develop good relationships within a framework of mutual respect with neighboring and world countries.

Jihad Movements

There are also jihad movements in Libya. The “Martyrs Movement” and the “Islamic Fighting Group” are two important jihad movements that have made their voices heard.

The first conflict between the jihad movements and the Qaddafi administration took place in 1986 in the city of Bingazi.

The assassination of Ahmed Misbah al Warifli, a member of the “Revolution Committee” set up by Qaddafi in Bingazi, is known as the first confrontation between the Qaddafi regime and the jihad movements.

Ahmed Misbah al Warifli was killed in August, 1986, by 9 members of the Jihad movement because of the harsh stance he took especially towards street vendors in the city of Bingazi and the oppression he made to the people. After the Qaddafi administration executed these nine people in October, 1987, armed conflict began.

The execution of these nine youths was perceived as Qaddafi and state terror in Bingazi. In general the Libya regime and, in particular, members of the “Revolution Commission” were to be perceived as enemies in the eyes of the Bingazi people.

In later periods the Libya administration would frequently arrange raids on mosques of the jihad movements, particularly in Tripoli, and both sides would have losses in the ensuing conflict.

Nationalists, Socialists, Liberals…

On February 15, 2011, members of the jihad movements formed a new group called the “Libyan Islamic Movement for Change.” Indicating that they aimed to change the Libyan government by peaceful means, the group announced that they were unarmed.

The Movement, which includes members of religious movements and members of Islamic groups that were arrested previously, called on the Libyan people to join them.

After independence in Libya, social movements like the socialist Arab Baath Party, Hizb ut Tahrir al Islami and Arab nationalist movements showed their presence for some time. There are communists, socialists, liberals and partisans of democracy in the country and civil societies making various activities.

Like in other Arab countries, the overwhelming majority of people in Libya have no ties to any political party.

By Abdullah Aydoğan Kalabalık / Cairo, World Bulletin


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