Libya has fallen into turmoil with its internationally recognised government and elected parliament on one side and a self-styled administration holding Tripoli on the other each backed by regional, tribal or Islamist armed factions.
At what point did Libyans agree on establishing the national reconciliation government that would unite them and end the current conflict in their country? The dream of a stable and secure country has been shattered for Libyans because of internal division and the spread of armed groups, highlighting the weakness of the government.
In this interview Mohammed Shaikhibrahim talked to the head of the political council of Borqa in Libya, Ibrahim Al—jadhran.
Mohammed Shaikhibrahim , euronews: “First of all, how do you describe the situation in Libya these days and what’s your position with your armed groups?”
The political council of Borqa Ibrahim Jadhran: “We can describe the situation in Libya by saying the country is at a crossroads. Either the national reconciliation government will succeed to save Libya from what is happening nowadays, or the country will go towards further division and fragmentation, but we hope that Libya under the auspices of God, plus the existence of the government will succeed in achieving security and stability for this country.”
euronews: “From your speech can we expect this government in which the names of its members were agreed that it will achieve what the former Libyan governments failed to?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “There is no doubt about this, and I am confident that this government is moving in a clear and explicit manner, so it works strongly and quickly to restore the prestige to the Libyan state and its sovereignty, in addition to achieve social justice and to re-activate the work of the judiciary and security institutions in Libya, such as the army and police.”
euronews: “If the government begins to exercise its tasks on the ground as you said, what are the main challenges that it may face?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “There are several challenges, including the political differences among the Libyan people, as well as the tribal and social differences, plus the presence of Islamist groups on the ground, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, who could not understand that they are part of the Libyan people, thus they vanquish the public interest on their interest.”
euronews: “But you yourself did not comply with the decisions of the former Libyan government, you with your armed group extending your control over many oil fields containing massive quantities of oil, so how do you ask the other parties to comply with the decisions of the current government and you have not done so with the former governments?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “I do not have any armed group. I am working as a leader to guard oil installations and I’m in charge to work with this force in the central region of Libya, it’s a security force such as police and other security forces, but let me tell you that the previous government tried to give me a big financial bribe, and I was threatened by that government in order to work under their own terms and regulations. I totally refused and demanded an investigation into the exporting of oil since the revolution in 2011 until the pending of exporting the oil, and this is the real cause of the dispute between me and with the former government.”
euronews: “Don’t you think what you did will be motivation for each ground leader to control – with his armed groups – the available oil fields and regions, therefore you yourselves become a key-factor in the division of Libya and that is what Libyans are afraid of?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “It’s worth mentioning that we participated strongly in the fight against the Gaddafi regime and we were able to liberate those cities and oil fields from Gaddafi’s forces. Moreover, we were at the forefront of the people who were fighting to liberate these areas, and the tribe to which I belong was in this area according to virtue and the social combination in Libya, this region called Crescent oil in Libya, along with these areas and our brothers in other tribes such as Al-Ebidat in Tobruk where the port al-Hariqa is located.”
euronews: “You accuse the former government of oil smuggling and corruption. You are currently in control, as you said of five oil harbours in the country with its huge wealth. So who is watching your export of oil and the billions earned by you?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “We exported oil because the previous government hadn’t done its duties and did not respond to our demands neither in the conduct of investigations, nor the achievement of social justice, therefore we were authorized by concerned people in these regions to export oil, and act within what is subjected in Law No. 58 of the 1951 Constitution. Therefore, we have commissioned the Executive Office of Burqa to export oil and they have already exported a large oil tanker in the past in front of the whole world.”
euronews: “Nowadays, to whom do you export oil?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “We have not exported oil since that day, it was the only oil that we have exported and it was supervised by oil installations’ guards and they protected it. It was on its way to Greece and not North Korea, even though it was flying the North Korean flag.”
euronews: “So how do you respond to the accusations that you still smuggled oil illegally during those days?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “We did not export any single drop of oil or gas from Libya since the incident of the oil tanker Morning Glory.”
euronews: “If you do not export oil as you say, then how do you pay your twenty-thousand fighters who work for you?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “We were funding our people in the past and in the period of the crisis with the government through business men and contractors who have worked with the oil installations’ guards, and I guaranteed to pay this amount of money personally, through clear legal proceedings with the oil installations’ guards. After that I reached a political settlement with the Government headed by Abdullah al-Thani through which he is obligated to pay this amount of money for the businessmen. The political settlement also included a full years salary for workers in the oil installations’ guard. We finally concluded a deal with the defense minister in the government of Abdullah al-Thani to continue funding this force.”
euronews: “How would you estimate the chances of achieving peace in Libya in light of what is happening?”
Ibrahim Jadhran: “Achieving peace is possible in Libya if the international community stands seriously along with the national reconciliation government, however, this government also has to work seriously with the necessary files in Libya without delaying and holding up the implementation. I want to emphasize once again that the chances of achieving peace are there, especially as the Libyan citizen has suffered a lot and knows now very well the political conspiracies, so of course they aspire to achieve security, stability and comfort in their lives.”