Libya: Muslim Brotherhood's New Prime Minister
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Libya's interim Congress on May 5 confirmed the appointment of new Prime Minister, Ahmed Maiteeg, a young businessman backed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Maiteeg's election was controversial. As described by the Libyan Herald, Maiteeg was elected after Congress members persuaded the deputy President to re-run a vote of confidence in him. In the earlier vote of confidence, Maiteeg gained 113 votes, seven short of the figure needed to make him Prime Minister. The Libyan Herald explains that the second vote took place after a number of absent Congress members were summoned by colleagues to come and vote. At that point, apparently, members of Congress started shouting at each other. As a consequence, First Deputy President and independent Congressman from Cyrenaica, Ezzidden Al-Awami, who had chaired the session, decided to close proceedings and departed.
It was at this point that Muslim Brotherhood congressmen took advantage of the chaotic situation. Muslim Brotherhood member and Deputy President Saleh Makhzoum decided that it was wrong to end the session, so he continued with the election. Maiteeg passed the 120-vote threshold by one vote. The next day, Makhzoum administered the oath of office to Maiteeg.
The day of the PM's swearing in, Libyan writer Mohammed El-Houni gave an interview, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), to the Saudi-owned satellite channel Al-Arabiya, on the political situation in Libya.
In the interview, El-Houni stated that the Muslim Brotherhood is striving to establish a Libyan Islamic emirate. "I believe that they are on their way there," he said. In a second part of the interview, El-Houni said that Maiteeg is not himself an Islamist, but that he is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, to which he owes his rise to power.
Islamist militants in Libya now feel free to act. The new government about to be formed and the religious institutions in Libya seem willing to lead the country into becoming an Islamist emirate. In the meantime, the jihadist movement Ansar Al-Sharia is becoming stronger, under the blessing of Libya's religious highest authority.
A few days before Maiteeg's appointment, Ansar Al-Sharia stormed the Benghazi security service headquarters before dawn, and slaughtered nine soldiers. Despite the attack, the Libyan grand mufti, Sheikh Sadiq Ghiryani, defended Ansar Al-Sharia. He stated that to condemn the movement is unacceptable; according to him, there is no proof of their responsibility for the attack.
Ghiryani, however, is known for his extremist positions. In 2012, Ghiryani also asked the Ministry of Education to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks. Recently, he urged Libya's government to stop importing overly racy lingerie and undergarments, as they contradict the virtue of Islamic modesty.
According to Mohammed El-Houni, "Libya cannot possibly see the light at the end of this dark tunnel unless hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets, and say to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Al-Qaeda: 'enough'. The simple people must take to the streets. Hundreds of thousands of people must take to the streets, demanding an end to this foolishness, and calling for the international community to protect them, and to help them establish their state."
The future of Libya looks grim now that the Muslim Brotherhood managed to put in power a man loyal to it. In neighboring Egypt, the ex-military chief and presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has said that there would be no future for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood if he wins in the upcoming presidential elections. In a recent interview, Sisi also declared that the Muslim Brotherhood was finished. "I want to tell you that it is not me that finished (the Brotherhood). You, the Egyptians, are the ones who finished it." However, Muslim Brotherhood members from Egypt now have just to cross the Libyan border to find a safe haven and from there build a new base, to threaten the whole of North Africa and the Middle East.
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