General Khalifa Haftar, Commander of the Libyan National Army, and a number of officers attentively following presentations of military plans immediately before launching the operation of freeing oil terminals from outlaw militias, 9 September 2016.
Tripoli—Libyans to hold mass demonstrations and vigils on Friday all over the country to express their support for the Libyan National Army and its Commander General Khalifa Haftar, and to voice their strong rejection of foreign intervention in their country’s internal affairs.
The mass demonstrations will be in support of the latest national army’s successful move to retake control of the four important oil terminals of Es-Sider, Ras Lanuf, Brega and Zueitina ending over three years of militia’s blockade of much needed oil exports.
The theme of these demonstrations is “We Go Out For Our Sovereignty”.
Placards carry statements such as “No sovereignty for a people without their army,” “the West is against national sovereignty” and “Jadhran is a criminal who takes orders from the West to blockade oil exports in order to starve the people”
Another social media post in support of Friday rallies says “Allah willing, we are all going out to city squares in support of the national army and in rejection of European and American occupation. At last, truth has been revealed that America supports terrorism and Al-Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood]”.
These social media postings reveal a trend that a vast number of Libyan intellectuals, educated individuals have become more critical of foreign mingling in internal affairs of their country. They now blame Western powers for the chaotic situation in Libya, particularly NATO and the US.
They have strongly condemned the “Joint Statement on Libya by the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States” of 12 September for being siding with the militias and against the national army which aims to bring order and security to the country.
The Joint statement said it “condemns this weekend's attacks” on oil terminals and adding that “the Presidency Council (PC) is the sole steward of these resources”.
Western governments’ insistence on imposing a Presidency Council and a so-called Government of National Accord on the Libyan people in spite of their objection is further strengthening nationalist sentiment, and paving the way for a deep suspicion about the real intentions of these governments toward Libya.
The cheer failure of the Presidency Council in tackling the economic problems and lack of various necessary service has made it a disgrace in the eyes of the public. Almost every citizen is asking just why Western powers keep on supporting a defunct political institution that leading the country into further chaos.
Meanwhile, Western powers’ courting of militias including ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates is not passing unnoticed by Libyans. These include the outlaw Ibrahim Jadhran, a militia leader and self-appointed head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), who was saluted by the UN Libya Envoy Martin Kobler at a meeting of the Security Council as recently as Tuesday 13 September 2016.
Jadhran militia blockaded the four oil terminals since 2013 costing Libya over $100 billion in lost revenue.
Also, the news reports that Italy is sending 200 soldiers along with a military hospital to Libya to set up a military base in the city of Misurata is deepening the fears of the Libyan people of a new era of foreign colonialism. Especially as the Italian move has been announced at the 86th anniversary of the hanging of the national hero Omar Al Mukhtar on 16 September 2016.
Al Mukhtar led the national resistance against Italian colonialism in eastern Libya. He was captured in after got wounded in the battle field on 11 September 2016 by the Italian forces. Within three days Mukhtar was tried, convicted, and, on 14 September 1931, sentenced to be hanged publicly on 16 September.
Whether it is a coincidence, or not, that the Italian government has chosen the date of 11 September to announce that it was sending two hundred soldiers with their supporting military field hospital to Misurata remains to be confirmed.
The national army’s retaking of the strategic oil terminals from the control of rag tag outlaw militias and placing these terminals under the full control and full management of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) is seen here as a most waited positive development.
Consequently, the negative reactions coming from Western powers and the UN Envoy toward these developments are leaving a bad and bitter after-taste among the great majority of Libyans insofar as the NATO’s military intervention in the country in 2011 is concerned.