“USS Liberty: Dead In The Water” (BBC Documentary 2002)
Unifying the Libyan tribes is central to bringing stability to the country, believes David Otto, Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Expert, Director of TGS Security and Intelligence Consultants, a company, providing consultancy on security and intelligence matters, who took the time to participate in an interview with Radio Sputnik.
In the midst of crisis and civil war, Libya is bracing to hold presidential elections next year. Since being freed from jail this past summer, second son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is being posited as a potential favorite for the post. Sharing his thoughts on the prospect of a member of the Gaddafi family returning to power is specialist David Otto.
David Otto: This is a man who has gone through a political branding mill, so to speak, and he understands very much what it takes to move Libya forward, to a modern government system by the people, for the people and a system that would be void of interference in the internal affairs of Libya. I think Saif Islam, having spent a lot of time in jail, he has taken time to reflect on what really went wrong. And he now has the opportunity, perhaps, to have another go if the people of Libya really choose to elect him as the next president.
Sputnik: How much support does he have?
David Otto: In terms of support, Saif Islam is somebody who is aware of the causes of credibility. He knows very well that it is the people of Libya that count. He also knows that a lot of Libyans who hold the power to vote remain the silent majority, and they continue to suffer the most from what Libya has become after his father was murdered. He has managed at this very early stage to win almost 80% of the union of tribal council members — and you are very much aware that Libya has about 140 tribes that make up Libya. Even before Gaddafi came to power, which is something Saif Islam has experienced himself, he knew the biggest challenge that any leadership would face, any challenge that would threaten the unity of Libya and its progress from being a poor country to being a rich country was the diverse tribal existence, where every tribe wanted to be dominant. However oppressive Western media sees what his father did, he managed to have very firm control over all of these 140 tribes. This is an experience which Saif Islam had during the leadership of his father. The time that he spent in jail, he understood the dynamics of the tribal and planned system, and he is putting some of the major tribes back together, which exist in Libya. He has a lot of support from some of these tribes, and this is what really puts him in a very strong position.
Sputnik: How is it that he’s been able to gain this support? What exactly has he been doing, and what will he continue to do to try to unite all of the different tribes in Libya and bring unity to the country?
David Otto: What Saif Islam has been able to do is to spend a lot of time to understand that in order for any president, or for anybody to have full control over Libya — he said it before, already in 2011 — he said that in order for anybody to have firm control over Libya, they have to be able to have a firm control and abide in the interests of the tribal councils. He has been able to put envoys on the ground to talk about the possibilities of having a unified Libya. He understands that there is the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, and then he also has the challenge of the Libyan National Army, under Khalifa Haftar. So, what Saif Islam has been doing is to garner more support from some of these tribes that switch sides when things hit the fan. He’s managed to do that. A lot of Libyans are now fed up after six years of thinking that the new GNA government, which is UN-backed, would be able to create stability. But now there’s a period of disillusionment among a lot of these tribes, and they then look at the way that Gaddafi’s father ran Libya and think that was far better. Because of that, he has actually been able to bring a lot of support, because they see him as the only person that could actually unite most of these tribes.
Sputnik: How is the West, namely the United States and the EU likely react to Saif Gaddafi, especially if he does win these elections?
David Otto: It is going to be interesting. What I think is that it’s going to be a somewhat confusing and somewhat unbelievable scenario for the West. But Gaddafi’s son understands that in a democratically held election, it is the reaction of Libyans that will count to Saif Islam, and no-one else really matters. Libya, of course, will need foreign support, and I guess from many countries, including the African Union, that has the capacity to lift Libya from the turmoil, even if Libya is deserted by the European Union. I think if Saif Islam wins and succeeds in bringing Libya together, and halts the crisis that most countries are facing as a result of Libya, and manages to stop the chaos that has been created in Libya, perhaps in coordination with the African Union, and also if he defeats the cocktail of jihadists in the Sahara region and creates stability for his regional neighbors, the reaction of the West will change for good. The West itself is desperately looking for some miracle to fix this problem, even if it benefitted them somehow from a geopolitical perspective, and if Saif Islam is that person, then I don’t think they have much of a say.
I got to know Muataz somewhere in the year of 2015 his one of the many children of a very dear friend and mentor of mine. Muataz was the most vibrant young boy who always smiled and made his life mission to see our destroyed country with a bitter sense of humour, a young man who feared nothing but God was the ray of sunshine to his family. As for his friends the ones he trusted his life with was a teaser there was not a day that you wouldn’t cry from laughter as Muataz would do his teasing to anyone whether his family or friends if they were feeling down or worried or in just a bad mood.
He was inquisitive about everything also wanted to understand what happened to our country and why? In such time I was introduced by his father to me, started asking questions like why is your Arabic broken, aren’t you a Libyan, why have you gone abroad, how is life abroad, could he survive abroad if he would travel, could he study abroad? A very inquisitive young man but full of joy. He gave me a call one day asking me if I could help with his mom?
His mother was very sick and the hospitals in Libya could not help her and if I could find a specialist etc. As I started to locate a specialist and asked the doctor to sent an invitation to the German embassy in Tunis so that his mother could travel due to her health reasons and needed urgently an operation. Little did Muataz knew he would also need to come to Europe for an operation in his brain.
So the German, Italian, Greek, France and English embassies in Tunis asked for the following for a Libyan to be able to travel abroad: A bank account statement, statement from his/her working place and a statement on how much they earn, Family status, Property status, Return ticket, How much money will they have on them, Which hotel they are going to stay, The reason they want to travel (they could see you are dying still they will ask you why you want to travel) you must pay 600 euro for the application wait in Tunis for 15 days and 90% of the applications are rejected especially if you have no residence in Europe like I do.
I used all my connections I had from Europe to get his mother to come over but F.U.K.US and NATO made sure that all Libyans who do not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or to the UN-backed government or to MISURATA could not travel abroad unless as I said before you had a residence in Europe. I was so upset that there was nothing I could do for his mother who had a stroke. His father and other friends together with me tried every possibility but FOR A LIBYAN IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO TRAVEL EVEN FOR HEALTH REASONS. NATO made sure of it. It had destroyed most of our hospitals also 90% of our infrastructure but the worst they did BY BEING AN ALLY TO AL QAEDA, ISIS, AND OTHER FANATIC LUNATICS WHO GOVERN OUR COUNTRY has taken away the respect, our dignity and our freedom.
In November 2016 Muataz called me to wish me Happy Birthday and to remind me its time to come home meaning Libya, I’ve been a way a long time. I promised him that as soon as my father can travel after a serious operation I will accompany him to Tripoli and I will arrange to meet him and his sister. We set a date on the 5th December 2016 that we would be travelling and I would meet him and his sister the next day. The last time we talked was on the 13th November 2016. I knew Muataz was busy with his university so I didn’t pay much attention that a whole week had passed and we hadn’t talked, to my excuse I was busy with my father turning for the worse so my time at home was limited as the internet too.
Around the beginning of December I called his father to see if everything was ok with his family and said everything was fine only Muataz is having some bad days with a splitting headache. I asked if he had gone to a doctor and his father said they are going the next day or something, again I didn’t pay too much attention believing that Muataz headaches where from stress living in Tripoli not an easy town especially when its hold under captivity from the Muslim Brotherhoods together with UN-backed government and Misurata militias. Everybody has to be careful whether you are pro-Qaddafi or not.
On the 15th December 2016 his father calls me and tells me there is a problem with Muataz, they found aneurysm in his brain. I was shocked, speechless couldn’t find the words to console his father and family the only thing I remember telling his father who was not in Tripoli is to sent me everything they had from the hospital concerning Muatez health so I could talk to a neurosurgeon specialist and would prepare to bring the doctor to Tripoli so that he could operate. His father told me that nobody in Tripoli would operate him due to the swelling and we should wait till the swelling would go down. I asked isn’t there a way that he could be airlifted and brought in Europe where I am, his answer was that no embassy is willing to give a Schengen visa, for fear that the son would ask asylum…. I said ok I will call the embassy.
You really do not want to know what happened on the phone with the embassy but what slipped from the mouths of the embassy was that it’s an order by the powers who now colonise us. I didn’t give up I spoke to the neurosurgeon and asked him if he would assist the doctor in Tripoli to perform the operation by phone/Skype the doctor was reluctant but he already knew from the case of my father that I am not an easy person and NO was not acceptable so he gave in to my request on one condition that I get to Tripoli and to Muatez on time. I explained to him that everything is arranged and my family and I were travelling on the 21st December 2016.
Prior to my travelling date I talked to Muataz father and he told me the have him on an induced coma, I asked where he was (father) he answered if I come to Tripoli I will never arrive to the hospital to see my son. Don’t worry he says everybody from the family is waiting for you tomorrow along with the doctor to explain to you the situation. We said our good nights and the next day we left for Tripoli a stop over in Istanbul which is the only route to go to Tripoli and we landed in Tripoli around seven in the afternoon, the first thing I did while waiting for our luggage was to call Muataz’s father so he would tell me in which hospital his son was.
I am so sorry to tell you that my son Muataz died a few hours before you land in Tripoli.
I stopped on my tracks. How? you said he was doing fine? What happened?
I do not know you will have to call my daughter to tell you. They were waiting for you but now they have left they have gone home he said.
The only thing I could say to this father who could not be at the side of his beloved son I am so sorry for your loss and I hang up.
To conclude had it not been for OBAMA, HILLARY, CAMERON, SARKOZY, ERDOGAN, QATAR AND ALL OTHER ARAB STATES who illegally attacked a sovereign country this would have never happened. Muatez would still be alive.
Had these monsters not bombed Libya back to the stone-age we would still have hospitals not a barn or on the street to do any kind of operation.
I know you will say it’s not only Libya that was destroyed also Syria and Yemen only today it was announced that over 1 million people have cholera, true there is a lot of destruction all over the world and especially in the Middle East. But other arabs can travel the foreign embassies are still in their country and there is no instruction that no Arab can travel. Libya is the only country that has no embassies in the captive capital nor consulate in Benghazi. Only Libya has these kind restrictions.
So now I salute my dear friend Muataz may he rest in peace.
Remembering Muataz and his gentle soul will forever remain in my heart.
For the first time since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi regime of the Libyan Human Rights Commission has explicitly accused France and Qatar have directly sponsored his assassination. In the text published in full by the Libyan news agency, namely the Commission accuses the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the former emir of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, of having ordered the murder of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and his son Mouatassim shortly after their capture by French mercenaries, German and Turkish, following the bombing of the Libyan convoy near Sirte by NATO bombers and drones.
After his capture, the killer commando handed to Qaddafi Misrata militia to a lynching filmed giving the impression to the world that it is the rebellion that is responsible for his murder. A bad remake calculated execution of the Duce Benito Mussolini Guilino di Mezzegra (Italy) in April 1945.
All the rebels appeared in the video of the lynching of Gaddafi was removed between 2011 and 2015 by the tribal vendetta triggered by Warfalla and their allies which their opponents in retaliation.
Germany played a major role in the location of Gaddafi, paving the way to the bombing of his convoy by NATO planes.
More than six years later, Libya is still in chaos with two rival governments and dozens of free cities fighting for the division of the country’s resources.
Since 2011, Libya has become one of the main departure ports for millions of African migrants to Europe, a very lucrative business whose profits fuel very large local fortunes with those of the militia leaders and strong men trying to monopolize power.
The supporters of the old regime no longer hide and hold power over ten localities around Bani Walid, a stronghold of the powerful Warfalla tribal confederation, whose leaders assist Haftar against the Tripoli government and the republic Misrata.
In Libya, the money does not bring happiness and for some it’s hard to raise a new army. The son of Colonel Gaddafi is facing some difficulties to create the nucleus of a new armed force with which he intends to return to Tripoli.
However, Seif Al-Islam Gaddafi has strong advantages not least the support of the powerful tribal confederation Warfalla whose stronghold was never busy and always wears the green flag of the Libyan Djamahirya dismantled by NATO in 2011. alongside Warfallah Seif has the discreet but decisive support of certain factions of Zentene, a powerful military force of Tripolitania who held since 2011 and the Touareg and Toubbou Fezzan.
Seif Al-Islam Gaddafi has managed for now to raise funds and to reconnect with his old contacts in Ukraine for the supply of weapons in a country formally embargoed arms (not all since Marshal Haftar seems to have some facilities). He already has a relatively well-armed militia. One among thousands who swarm in Libya in the shadow of two rival governments manipulated by foreign powers. The challenge facing Seif al-Islam is to transform the militia into a powerful enough military force to impose and federate other power poles or face them. One thinks here of the Free Republic of Misrata, a bitter opponent of former loyalists or the Islamists who hold the capital Tripoli and its surroundings. Relations with powerful units Hafter Army still to be defined and still be a huge challenge for the future of Libya.
Another problem is the support of foreign powers in Gaddafi son project is far from over even if the latter eyeing towards Moscow and Beijing. Exit therefore France, South Korea, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, Qatar and Turkey, all countries contributed to the destruction and the spread of chaos in Libya.
“These countries don’t have a milime (Penny) of dinar in the vast programme of contracts to rebuild the country once peace restored” swear those close to Seif.
It is therefore quite normal that the return of Gaddafi on the Libyan scene worried to no end the countries that supported the war in that country.