Muslim Brotherhood the Pre-Determined Winner in Libya’s Coming Elections

*Franklin Lamb
Tripoli

It appears, from interviews and discussions with a wide range of Libyans including students, lawyers, judges at the Ministry of Justice, shopkeepers and casual acquaintances that the Muslim Brotherhood currently has very little popular support among this pious conservative, Sunni Muslim society. Widely expressed opinion is along these lines: “The Brotherhood are different from how Libyans view Islam,” and “They represent outsiders and interference in our country” , “Our revolution was not about replacing one autocratic regime with another.”

That said, the Muslim Brotherhood is odds-on favorite to win the June elections, in the view of many observers here in Libya.

The reason the MB is in such a relatively strong position is that is has the support of Qatar, assistance from the well-established MB organizations in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Turkey. The flights arriving in Tripoli from Egypt are always full and some of the passengers are MB operatives according to Professor “Dr. Ali”, a pro-Gadafi political scientist who has so far managed to keep his teaching post.

The MB is far more organized, well-funded and is working today in the neighborhoods of Libya’s main cities recruiting members and campaign organizers, while trying to keep a low profile. They have asked members to shave their beards, talk about clean government, avoid arguments, and remind anxious Libyans that “Libya is not Afghanistan” and all we want is security, domestic peace and no foreign interference.

Nonetheless, a new edict issued by General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt, Dr. Mohammad Badih, in which he writes about the possibility of his movement imposing an Islamic Caliphate in accordance with the principles laid out by the Muslim Brotherhood founder, Imam Hassan al-Banna, created wide controversy in political circles in Libya just as it did in Egypt.

The US, UK and France are currently just watching and guessing at developments, according to the Ambassador from one southern African country. The US State Department is believed even by some National Transition Council officials, lawyers and Judges, (who I met with during two days of meetings this week at the Libyan Ministry of Justice inquiring about certain individuals in NTC and Militia custody,) to be unsure what the US policy should be because they have mixed feelings about the MB.

Some US officials are reported to believe that an unstoppable Muslim Brotherhood arc or crescent is quickly jelling across the Maghreb, as it grows also in Turkey and that the MB will dominate in Syria when and if the Assad government is toppled.

The potential utility for Washington of the MB does not end there. Some in Congress and the Obama administration, as well as the Zionist lobby in and outside of Congress, hope that after all the failures of the US administration to spark a Sunni-Shia war, that the MB might just be the best and unexpected weapon in achieving this goal which has been US policy since the late 1980s.

These forces are said also to hope that after achieving a substantial share of the next government of Syria, the MB will quickly build itself up in Lebanon, and give the Sunni community strong effective leadership that has been lacking the past nearly seven years following the assassination of PM Rafiq Hariri, and take on Shia Hezbollah.

In short, NATO countries may sit on their hands regarding the coming elections, drop the current attachment to NTC officials that has only have six months left in office anyhow, and let the MB control Libya’s next government.

The MB in Libya is actually quite good on the issues that are increasingly concerning potential voters as the latter learn how to vote and participate in political parties, which have been outlawed since 1972 when Revolutionary Committees were established to make legislative and administrative decisions.

Those issues are many and include the following:

– Lack of security due to the militias being viewed as increasingly aggressive with the public and fighting among themselves, as they did this week;
–growing rumors and even evidence of corruption.

One example being that there is still not money in the Central Bank of Libya to supply local banks around the country. It’s an issue that is expected to explode here once the facts become known. During the uprising this summer, the Gadhafi government limited bank deposit withdrawals to 500 dinars per month (about $475). The new “government” has raised it to 750 dinars per month and it is not enough, given approximately 18 per cent rise in prices since this summer when the Gadhafi government enforced anti-gouging rules. Those rules are no longer being enforced and prices continue to rise.

Where suspected corruption enters the bank withdrawals problem is that according to one Central Bank official who has spent more than 15 years in the CB office that monitors the receipt of payments for Libya oil shipments, even though oil is being shipped today as well as the pay few months, zero payments have been received at the CB. The reason is said to be that NATO countries are being shipped oil, (also to gas and oil rich Qatar) free of charge under a payback arrangement with NATO for its regime change services.

This issue is quickly becoming a scandal. I asked the official is he was sure of his information and he brought over the lady who keeps the records and she verified it and said Central Bank officials are outraged because the money is needed at the local banks where long lines of desperate account holders often wait hours only to be told to return another day for their monthly allocation of 750 dinars of their own money. This week, I saw ugly, sad scenes at banks in the neighborhood south of Green Square and Omar Muktar Street, as I tried in vain to find a working ATM machine. One cannot but feel bad for elderly citizens standing in the rain waiting half the day to get a meager monthly withdrawal of their funds, only to be told to return another day when, enshallah, there will be money for them. Citizens have reported that they should have taken all their money out of their bank account as soon as there were signs of trouble last February. Now it’s too late and anger is growing.

Qatar’s favorite candidate, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and a former leader of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, (who is suing UK ministers and M-16 for the part he claims they played in secretly sending him and his wife to Libya in March 2004 where he claims he endured seven years of torture,) has promised to fix the banking problem. Qatar is expected to play a major role as the June elections draw near.

Another issue that the MB is championing is the need to pay the salaries of the military, finding or creating jobs for militia fighters, many of whom are deeply suspicious of Belhaj just as the eastern militia continue to skirmish with those from the west.

Even women’s rights are being supported by the MB….sort of. Repairing war damage, garbage pickup, organizing traffic which has brought some crowed streets in downtown Tripoli to a near halt, (given the more than one million Libyans and others have flooded into the capital city from around the battered country with few showing signs of wanting to leave) are issues the MB is talking about while calling for sectarian dialogue.

Disarming the militias and pressuring young men to go back home, give up their arms, join the police force or a new Libyan army or get a real job are very sensitive issues that the MB does not address with much conviction. Privately the MB, as well as the NTC, admits that there will be no disarmament of militias anytime soon. A few young men I chatted with during a demonstration at Green Square yesterday actually said they miss the fighting and want to fight some more. “It was really exciting and fun most of the time and I made some great friends!” one kid from Benghazi told me. He plans to stay in Tripoli with his militia buddies.

Another development that will favor the Muslim Brotherhood in the coming Libyan elections is the draft Election law that was adopted last Monday. It eliminates many of the strongest opponents of the MB. The legislation regulates the election of a national assembly tasked to write a new constitution and form a second caretaker government. It is expected to be finalized within a month.

It bars, with loosely all-embracing language, “former members of Gadhafi’s regime” from being candidates in the election. Among the judges I spoke with at the Ministry of Justice some expressed dismay because they said that 80 per cent of the current staff at their Ministry, and most other Ministries, worked there, lawyers and judges included, under the Gadhafi regime and were patriotic Libyans. There is going to be lots of confusion concerning the scope of the new law and its application. The new election law also bans anyone who got a degree based on academic research on the Green Book — Gadhafi’s political manifesto that laid out his theory of government and society declaring Libya a “republic of the masses.” Thousands are covered by this exclusion because in order to get a good position it helped if one’s CV showed studies relating to theories of government espoused in the Green Book. The same idea as in China when it was a good idea to study Mao’s little Red Book and add that fact to one’s CV. Academics who even wrote about Gaddafi’s Green Book, which discusses politics, economics and everyday life, will also be barred from running under the law.

The draft election law has outraged women because it restricts them to only 10 per cent of the 200 election seats and the law does not indicate how many seats will go to which tribal areas. One woman angrily told me, “Ten percent is about what the Brotherhood thinks we are worth.”

The NTC officials will not offer much of an electoral impediment to the MB as it is increasingly under attack as it begins its last six months of existence. Last month, an umbrella group claiming to represent 70 per cent of militia fighters demanded that the NTC grant them 40 per cent of its seats which it failed to do and instead appointed fairly random technocrats with some exceptions.

Mustapha Abdul Jalis plans on retiring in June and is still being criticized for reneging on his earlier pledge to resign following the fall of Sirte.

Franklin Lamb can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com‬

*Franklin submitted this article to Libya 360° by email.

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5 Comments

  1. Muslim Brotherhood has no convictions because it is a front organization for imperialist governments and corporations.

    This ‘government’ cannot be allowed to take power. They will destroy Libya beyond what they have already done, making it nearly impossible to repair the damage in the future. They will irresponsibly drill all of Libya’s oil and then keep the profits for themselves. They will continue with a program of murderous ethnic cleansing and dismantle every institution and every freedom that made Libya a great country. Slavery is the worst fate imaginable for any person and make no mistake, slavery is what is being offered to the Libyan people by MB & the imperialist governments.

    Every effort by these exploiters to seize or consolidate power needs to be thwarted… at all costs and with all options being considered.

  2. Meena says:

    The Muslim BrotherHood are a CIA-MI6 front. Mossad uses them too when it’s convenient. They are playing the same game in Syria as in Libya.

    Quoting Webster Tarpley,
    “What average Syrians of all ethnic groups say about this is that they are being shot at by snipers. People complained that there are terrorist snipers who are shooting at civilians, blind terrorism simply for the purpose of destabilizing the country. I would not call this civil war – it is a very misleading term. What you are dealing with here are death squads, you are dealing with terror commandos; this is a typical CIA method. In this case it’s a joint production of CIA, MI6, Mossad, it’s got money coming from Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and Qatar,” he explained.”

    “After Libya becoming a bloodbath with 150.000 dead and now with Egypt showing what it was all along – there was no revolution there, it was a complete failure and now people are beginning to understand that. Still, Mrs Clinton and Ms Rice (sic) continue to push this bankrupt model of the colour revolution, backed up by terrorist troops – people from Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. There is a growing movement inside the Islamic community, which says ‘We want reconciliation, we want law and order, and we want legality’,” he said.

    http://rt.com/news/syria-terrorism-cia-destabilization-863/

    The globalists orchestrate a crisis then provide a pre-packaged solution to seal the deal. The people are tired of war, chaos and crime. The Brotherhood promise solutions, law and order.

    Whose side is Franklin on anyway?

  3. souare says:

    This Franklin Lamb is a suspicious character–given his unmolested travels in Libya. There are strong suspicions that the overthrow of the Gaddafi government was really about a racist ethnic cleansing. This really outrageous given that Libya is an African country.

  4. Deanna says:

    “The MB in Libya is actually quite good on the issues that are increasingly concerning potential voters as the latter learn how to vote and participate in political parties, which have been outlawed since 1972 when Revolutionary Committees were established to make legislative and administrative decisions.”

    This is a shill piece and shame on Lamb for stooping so damned low.

    Mossad armed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the power elite always back them. They’re a useful weapon in the globalist’s arsenal.

    “Another issue that the MB is championing is the need to pay the salaries of the military, finding or creating jobs for militia fighters, many of whom are deeply suspicious of Belhaj just as the eastern militia continue to skirmish with those from the west.”

    Nonsense. The Muslim Brotherhood is with al Qaeda. Just research to see it’s true.

    Read this about the Brotherhood, Mossad and 9/11
    http://www.opinion-maker.org/2011/01/british-intelligence-reports/#

    The sham elections are between one terrorist faction and another and all genuine opposition is being eliminated.

    “The US, UK and France are currently just watching and guessing at developments, according to the Ambassador from one southern African country.”

    Who does Franklin think he’s kidding? These same entities launched a criminal war to create this precise situation and planted their pieces on the chessboard. They know damn well how things are going to go if the resistance doesn’t disrupt their plans.

  5. This is what he wrote in “Bad Moon Rising Over Great Sirte Bay” https://libyadiary.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/bad-moon-rising-over-great-sirte-bay/

    “They discussed the possibility that Libya may experience what the Congo went through after the fall of the dictator Mobutu. Samal noted some parallels and the possibility that Libyans may actually regret Gadhafi’s departure as many in the Congo have misgivings regarding the absence of the 33 year rule of strong man Mobutu, since Gadhafi also gave his fractionalized country a sort a unity, a sense of being Libyan, free education, free medical aid, subsidized housing and woman’s rights …”

    So he calls Mobutu a dictator and then actively compares him to Gaddafi making no mention of the direct democracy that Gaddafi gave to Libya. Lamb seems hostile to the machinations of Jamahiriya as was mentioned in this pro-MB line:

    “The MB in Libya is actually quite good on the issues that are increasingly concerning potential voters as the latter learn how to vote and participate in political parties, which have been outlawed since 1972 when Revolutionary Committees were established to make legislative and administrative decisions.”

    He does not mention that this means the people hold the power and it will be taken away from them if a sham ‘representative’ system is imposed that offers no real opposition and categorically excludes women and black Libyans from the political process and damages the tribal system.

    In fact with this article and the last I am growing suspicious of Lamb too. He is trying to paint the ‘rebels’ as sympathetic by showing them opposing NATO.

    “Yes but remember, and for sure we admit this, without NATO we would not have lasted one month. Please don’t think we are in love with NATO although many Libyans seem to want our country to join NATO and some in NATO and our interim government wants this also. NATO knows that our country could be a perfect AFCOM base to re-colonize Africa and end progressive projects for African countries. Please do not think we are not aware of what NATO countries want from Libya and our neighbors. They want from Libya and this whole region oil and natural resources, they want military bases on our soil, and they want us to accept Israel. How they plan to achieve all this is by getting Arabs to fight and kill Arabs and Muslims to Muslims.”

    If a real ‘rebel’ said this and believed it why would they ever turn on their leader Gaddafi?

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