1/ Never a dull day in M-Oosten. Zal proberen uit te leggen wat er a/d hand is in Libie rond vrijlating van Saif al-Islam (Khadafi’s zoon)>
— Harald Doornbos (@HaraldDoornbos) 10 juni 2017
Yesterday, Dutch Middle-East correspondent Harald Doornbos posted a thread of comments on the situation in Libya, and more specifically about the release of Saif-alIslam, Muammar Khadaffi’s son. With help of the EU and Obama’s USA, Libya has been in total chaos since Khadaffi was ousted by rebels assisted by coalition forces.
It now seems that maybe the son of Khadaffi, of all people, can help reinstate stability in the country. There is a good chance Trump, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and French president Macron feel the same way.
“Never a dull moment in the Middle-East. I will try to explain what’s going on with the release of Kadaffi’s son; Saif al-Islam. Saif was imprisoned for years by the Zintan rebels (see the blue spot under Tripoli Western-Libya in the map below).
Zintan has a pact withGeneral Heftar’s second Libyan government based in Benghazi in Eastern-Libya (also blue on the map). The Heftar government in Benghazi is Islamic but anti-Political Islam. This goes against the official Libyan government in Tripoli & Misrata (green on the map).”
“The EU, the UN, Turkey and Qatar support the Islamist government in Tripolo and Misrata. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE support Heftar in Benghazi.
And wouldn’t you know it, this is the same in the Gulf: The EU, Turkey and Qatar are pro-political Islam versus Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Trump who are against political Islam.”
Back to Saif al-Islam Khadaffi:
“Saif has been released by the Zintan rebels at the intercession of the Benghazi government. The Benghazi government is sick and tired of the religious extremists like Al Qaeda or Isis, who have abused the Libyan revolution. Again; the Benghazi Government is Muslim, but they despise political Islam.
Therefore, they fought for years against ISIS and Al-Qaida in Tripoli etc. And after years of chaos and misery, Benghazi General Heftar has politically almost completely become like the late Muammar Khadaffi. There is absolutely no hope left for the Libyan revolution. The people only want stability, and Heftar provides this.
Because of this, Heftar is not so much an enemy of Saif as he was in the beginning of the revolution. It is actually the other way around: Heftar needs every force in Eastern Libya that is anti-political Islam. And Saif is potentially one of those forces.”
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) 11 juni 2017
“Therefore, upon his release, Saif al-Islam’s lawyer, immediately released a statement saying Saif respects all Arab countries, except for Qatar. Saif also stated that he respects Saudi Arabia, and that his father (Muammar Kadaffi) has always warned the region for Qatar. Saudi television has spent much time and effort announcing Saif al Islam’s release from prison, and there are rumours Saif will hold a speech.”
This is going to be extremely interesting, the two blocks who are clashing now are: Heftar (+ Saif al-Islam?), Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE vs Qatar, Turkey and the Tripoli and Misrata government.
The big questions now are: What is the EU going to do with its support for the Islamists in Tripoli and Misrata and Qatar? And how hard is Trump going to stand behind Saudi Arabia? And Saif Al-Islam? What is he going to do? After such a deep fall, will he rise again? If he plays a role again in Libya, who would have thought that a couple of years ago?”
Then Doornbos provided additional notes:
“Saif al-Islam’s and his sister Aisha’s power is that they are able to unite divided parties and tribes in Libya.
In 2014, The International Criminal Court asked for Saif al-Islam’s extradition to stand trial for crimes against humanity. Libyans think the West has devastated the country more than enough and do not take the ICC seriously.
Post-revolution Libya is much more violent than during the Khadaffi era. Therefore, the Libyans view the current warlords as criminals, and not Saif al-Islam.
It could be expected that Heftar and allies (including Saif al-Islam) will try to conquer Tripoli and Misrata and defeat the Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Finally, Doornbos provided a speculation on things to come:
“It is interesting what the EU will do. Up to this point, the EU has supported the Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood in West Libya. But the Islamists in West-Libya have turned the area into chaos. One of the consequences: the dramatic migrant wave of Libya to Italy. French president Macron realises that General Heftar is a much better option for stability in Libya and could mean an end to the wave of migration into Europe.
But Germany is supporting the Islamists, and consider Heftar to be “Putin’s guy.” Germany and Italy are planning to stop the migrant wave by blocking the South-Libyan border (which is 5000 km long!).”
— The Local Italy (@TheLocalItaly) 14 mei 2017
“This plan is ridiculous and will never work, it seems its primary goal is to install German / Italian army bases there. Germany wants to oppose French- and US influences in Sub-Saharan Africa. Who said imperialism was dead?”