Isolation Law will not Benefit Libya
Mahmoud Jibril calls on Libyan people to implement a developmental vision
LONDON, Asharq Al-Awsat—Mahmoud Jibril, who served as Libya’s interim prime minister and chairman of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC), informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the country’s post-revolutionary focus on a political isolation law will not lead to the establishment of a secure and stable state.
Jibril, who is the leader of the liberal National Forces Alliance, called for the implementation of a “developmental vision” for post-revolutionary Libya, which is suffering from a number of political, economic, and security issues, not least due to the proliferation of arms on the scene and presence of armed militias.
Libya’s draft political isolation law applies to all those who worked with the Gaddafi regime over its final ten years in power. Should this law be passed, it will affect all the officials who defected from the Tripoli regime to join the revolution that ultimately toppled the Gaddafi regime in 2011.
Responding to claims that this political isolation law is seeking, specifically, to prevent him from assuming a future governmental position, Jibril told Asharq Al-Awsat, “If this is what the Libyan people want, then I have no problem with that. I choose whatever the Libyan people choose.”
The political isolation Law, which enjoys broad support among Libya’s Islamists, was scheduled to be discussed at parliamentary session last week but was postponed over safety concerns after hundreds of protesters besieged the building. Reports indicate that the protesters were calling for Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) to pass the controversial law.
GNC president Mohamed Magrif informed the press that “the GNC expects Libyans to express their demands by legitimate means rather than violence and force.”
Libya is facing a number of tough challenges just five months after the Ali Zeidan government assumed power. Zeidan was supported by Jibril’s National Forces Alliance, among other liberal and moderate parties.
Sources within the National Forces Alliance claimed that Libya’s Islamists are afraid of Jibril’s popularity and are seeking to prevent him from holding any official post in any future government.
Jibril clarified, “There is talk that this law aims to exclude me … if this is true then there is no justification to exclude [other] statesman … and I would withdraw.”
As for when or how he would withdraw from public life, Jibril told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The decision to withdraw is a personal one … and could be taken at any time,” adding, “I hope that whatever law is issued will take the national interest into account.”
With the country still in the midst of rising instability, some sections of Libyan society have opposed the isolation law, calling for political reconciliation and the beginning of a new era. These voices have largely been silenced in the recent period in the face of accusations of treason and counter-revolution.
Jibril asserted that “voices calling for reunion and reconciliation are present, but such voices are not being heard amid desire for revenge and score-settling.”
Jibril emphasized that political isolation will not solve the problems that the country is facing, adding that Libya must focus on its national priorities, not political marginalization.
The draft political isolation law applies to anybody who held an official position over the final ten years of the Gaddafi regime, which includes Mahmoud Jibril and many others who have played a prominent post-revolutionary role in Libya. However, there are calls for this draft law to be expanded to include anybody who held an official post over the last twenty years of Gaddafi’s rule, which would exclude the majority of governmental and parliamentary figures.
There are also other proposals that go even further than this, calling for the marginalization of anybody who has dealt with the Gaddafi regime since it took power in 1969. This hardline stance would ban the majority of Libya’s ministers and parliamentarians from public life, including many Islamist figures, in addition to Jibril and the majority of his National Forces Alliance.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Jibril asserted that “isolation should not be the biggest concern of the Libyan people, we must not abandon our main agenda, and that is our need for an army, police force and courts, as well as a developmental vision regarding the problems that have accumulated over the past forty-two years.”
Jibril also emphasized that “we can work to implement our primary agenda for the state, while at the same time continue with the isolation law,” adding, “I hope that isolation is not our only concern … isolation does not create a state.”
He said, “We must talk about a new state and how to secure this for a better future for all Libyans.”