The commander of the self-styled Libyan army in eastern Libya, Khalifa Haftar, said “Libya is not ready yet for democracy,” adding in a statement to Jeune Afrique magazine that elections are now priority in the country, saying “if they failed, then our forces will seize control of the entire country.”
Haftar slammed the Head of the Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sirraj as a weak person that is controlled by Tripoli militias, saying Al-Sirraj “has no free hands” and cannot make decisions or execute any orders.
“He only gives verbal orders with no long term plans. We tried to push him into being strict but in vain.” Haftar added.
Haftar explained that Algeria could be a neutral mediator that can play a peaceful role in Libya’s crisis, adding - after being asked whether or not Algeria would side with Al-Sirraj - that he is certain that if Algerian wanted to mediate a solution, then they will do it neutrally.
“It is necessary that elections be held before the elected officials manage to agree on the Libyan constitution, the voting shall be obligatory for all Libyans and the elections must be held as soon as possible with clarity and transparency.” Haftar, whose loyalists tore down elections registration posters in areas under his control, further explained.
Haftar, who is walking in the footsteps of his ally in Egypt Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, also stressed the need to keep Muslim Brotherhood away from the organization of the elections as “they are linked to terrorists, whom they help in Libya.”
“Ghassan Salame must be aware of this and take into account.” Haftar remarked.
He added that the priority is now for the political process, saying once they saw a chance in the elections to resolve Libya’s crisis, they stopped and wanted to avoid any more bloodshed in Libya.
“But our patience is being tested and if we find the elections leading to a deadlock again, then we will use our sleeper cells in the areas not under our control to seize the entire country.
We now control 90% of Libya, we have 75000 soldiers and we can control Libya’s south, borders with Egypt and Tunisia.” Haftar told Jeune Afrique.
Haftar also slammed Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, who is said to be preparing for a role in the elections, as a poor man that is being used by some people for money, adding that “some naïve people still believe in him.”
“We hail the Egyptian role in Libya and the understanding we have with the President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who knows the threats posed to the country, especially the threat of Muslim Brotherhood on Libya, neighbors and the Europeans.” Haftar added.