By Sufyan Maghur.
The incident of Wednesday 31 October, the blockade of the GNC and effectively putting a pause on Libya’s democratic sail, in addition to other events of Armed Militia members staging any type of demonstration and or strike against the government is increasing.
This is a clear indication that Libya is not heading towards a democracy and that the government is not really free and representative of the people – in my opinion.
I wrote in a previous op-ed that any government in Libya can not survive nor operate with the existence of any group of Armed Militias on the ground. There have been many brandings of some militias as “Legitimate” and “Working under Government Authority” but all of this is simply a misconception.
Militias work with the government when their agendas and goals are met but can and will be an enemy and dangerous threat when their demands are not agreed upon.
This is not the first time where a group of Armed Militia Members storm a government building or a Ministry. But, for a group of men to stall the legitimate work of the General National Conference the ONLY democratic elected body in Libya and prevent them from entering their building and working sends a strong signal that Libya is not free.
It in fact sends the signal that Libya is ruled by these militias and their agenda comes before the Libyan people.
It is obvious and clear that any politician with the existence of these entities what ever you want to call them Legitimate or Il-legitimate Armed Militias will always have a guideline to abide by and another interest group (influential and armed) to refer back to before taking any decision.
Their interests come way ahead of the Libyan people and the problem is that there are many of them with different ideologies and goals. How will we expect the government to focus on Libya when it has these groups watching over.
The difference between an Armed Militia (even legitimate) is that is operates with it’s own group and serves it’s purpose and leader. On the other hand a Police Force or a National Army serves the government which is elected by the people and this where the line is clear.
Militias will work with the government on occasions but can work against it, while the Police and Army is always there to serve the government without any political interest nor influence.
The Armed militias if not integrated completely under the government will eventually act as Guardians of the Revolution and it’s principles without giving a clear guideline to what they are. They can always be clear of responsibility and as they have no official (Government) role but will rather hold the ultimate approval of the government performance.
We see this example clearly in Iran where the High Revolutionary Guards operate as Guardians of the Revolution and their power surpasses the elected government and in Lebanon where the Militias control the appointments and operations of the government having the ability to bring it to a complete HALT if they do not agree with it.
Does Libya still need a Guardian of the Revolution? Or does it need a Government? Are these Militias protecting the revolution or themselves?
I believe in the revolution and in the vital role the revolutionaries played and sacrifices for Libya and it’s freedom but it is time for all to put their arms down and to join the elected government in building Libya. Otherwise we will always be faced with an Armed protest (Even if called a peaceful demonstration) as there is no such a thing as Armed members protesting peacefully, and Libya needs co-operation not confrontation.
The reality is that our government and elected body are hostages to these Armed Militias and while they exist we will never have democracy in Libya.
The views expressed in Opinion articles do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Herald.