Faraj Adam Al-Obaidi thinks Tobruk MPs are just visitors to his own property
They call him the unelected member of House of Representatives. Faraj Adam Al-Obaidi, in his seventies, roams freely inside the parliament halls with no restrictions. He claims that Dar Al-Salam Hotel, where MPs are meeting, is his because it was built on his own land.
Faraj, known as one of Cyrenaica's senior elders, can disrupt parliament meetings at anytime. MPs are dissatisfied with his frequent presence at the hotel but they have no choice but to welcome him because of his influence and followers in Tobruk.
Hajj Faraj is a big supporter of renegade General Khalifa Haftar and an opponent to Skhirat agreement. Last November, he stormed the parliament during a heated debate on the signing of Skhirat agreement. He broke in, disrupted the meeting, and threatened to gun MPs down if they sign the agreement. Only other Tobruk elders managed to calm him down and take him out.
On Monday, Hajj Faraj repeated the same scenario and threatened to use force against the MPs if they approved Skhirat government.
Tribalism has strong, deep roots in east Libya. Tribe elders have infiltrated politics and have big influence on decision-makers there. Law and state regulations are also influenced by tribalism while some powerful tribes have their own tribal codes.
Last week, Al-Tayeb Al-Safi, one of the Gaddafi henchmen, returned to Tobruk from exile. He is now under the protection of his tribe and attacking him can trigger a tribal fighting.
In January, Dignity Operation spokesperson Mohammed Al-Hijazi defected from Khalifa Haftar's military command but Haftar could do nothing against him because of his tribal protection.