Through bold, yet measured analysis of naked truths and obvious facts, one could characterize the bloody incidents that transpired in Benghazi on Saturday June 8 — collectively known as the “Black Saturday” incidents — as forming a pivotal turning point in the course of the murderous conflict.
This conflict began in Libya after sundown on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, and ended with the death of former President Moammar Gadhafi on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. Following the latter incident, a new track was drawn in the struggle for power between various factions that stand diametrically opposed in their respective existential battles against one another.
They stand together, however, knowingly or through ignorance, to serve the plans and agendas of foreign factions jostling for control over Libya. This plan is not to share its riches, but to completely appropriate them at the expense of others, thus intensifying the conflict and making its resolution slip further away.
Some of those internal factions — living in a state of extreme polarization that reflects itself on Libya as a nation, people and quasi-state — are identifiable and known. They take the form of political parties and entities, most prominent among them the coalition of national forces that espouses moderate nationalistic modernistic tendencies. This coalition is described, or even branded, by its opponents as being secular, and therefore apostatical, worthy of scorn, against which the populace must be incited.
Then there are the political Islam’s factions, most famous among them the Muslim Brotherhood, sedate on its exterior, but fierce and violent in its essence and actions. This group seems to be at loggerheads with the many different forms of Salafist factions, yet plays the role of godfather to them all, in the face of the nationalist ideology that conflicts with the impossible to believe myth of globalizing the religious state.
These aforementioned parties that are politically battling one another to the point of annihilating and not only marginalizing others, exceed their desire to break other parties’ resolve to seek breaking their bones. Meanwhile, they are in fact the least influential by virtue of their force and capacity to act, in light of the fact that battlegrounds inside elected official institutions have been infiltrated and abused by a third relatively unknown faction comprised of a plethora of rebel brigades, unions, security committees and shields. Regarding the latter, despite their differences and incongruencies, all [Libyans] agree on the illegitimacy of their existence and their negative impact upon the state and society.
Yet, they can all be described and characterized similarly for:
- Being incapable and unwilling to transform themselves into legitimate political entities that can peacefully compete for power, according to the norms, laws and restrictions that govern the political process.
- Being incapable and unwilling to merge with larger, better organized and disciplined entities and organizations, despite acceptance of their nature as militias. This can be explained by the absurdity that led to their formation; and their existence as factions obsessed with plundering and driven by gang mentality in the absence of a nationalistic one.
- Their almost complete lack of charismatic nationalistic political leaderships, cultural, intellectual, and media abilities, as well as cohesive programs and discourses.
- Their regional, tribal and ideological distribution that completely strips them of a unifying national framework.
- Their deep immersion into the swamp of corrupt finances and interests, despite false claims of purity and morality. Meanwhile, they are increasingly delving into condemnable criminal activities, and falling victim to their lust for money and their need of past and present defalcations of public funds.
- Their adherence, even if to varying degrees of effrontery, to a demagogic desperately clownish discourse predicated on a multitude of lies that all originate from one single great lie that affirmed “we toppled Qadhafi’s regime and liberated Libya.” It is as if NATO warplanes never flew over Libyan skies and NATO troops never remained on the ground for 200 days, and all those who rode the revolutionary wave were actually revolutionaries. As if the regime remained steadfast and was not split apart by the defection of its symbols or the servants of its holy [Qadhafi-led] temple.
- Their and their sponsors’ shock and subsequent rejection of the political electoral process’ results on July 7, 2013, and them resorting to pressure tactics, intimidation and threats against the fragile ruling council and dysfunctional interim governments. They ultimately succeeded in overturning the results and imposing a fait accompli that endowed them with added zeal.
- The involvement of many of the militias and armed factions’ leaders and members in illegal activities.
- Safeguarding agreed upon front lines, in order to prevent clashes between them, despite their great and apparent discrepancies in term of numbers, armament, abilities, support, financing, and influence. This confirms the presence of invisible controls that carefully govern their mutual relations, and proves the hypothesis that a godfather or maestro commands them all.
- Many of them controlling civilian, military and security sites and facilities inside the capital, despite their lack of affiliation with them, solely because of their desire to maintain an influential presence near the centers of power, money and government.
- The weakness and fragility of their leadership and security frameworks, which facilitates their penetration and exploitation by international intelligence services.
- Their subordination, directly or indirectly, to foreign countries that affect Libya in various ways and have manifold goals that implicitly agree with their own: in perpetuating the state of chaos and wantonness for as long as possible, in order to exhaust civil forces, undermine nationalistic ideologies, and distort religious beliefs, by making them the subjects of suspicion, dispute and conflict, as a prelude for the control of Libya on the long term. In addition to the fact that a number of Arab players are tacitly in agreement regarding the need to prove the failure of revolutions as tools for radical change for the better.
- The association of many militias and factions, especially those espousing political Islam as an ideology, with media and social communication tools. The latter defend them and conduct brainwashing campaigns on their behalf, meant to paint them as the only true saviors. Meanwhile, they characterize their opponents — the popular majority — as being anti-revolutionary, desirous of restoring Qadhafi’s rule, conspirers with fugitives, infidels even, if the need arose to utilize a stronger accusatory tone that justifies murder, similar to what occurred before and after Benghazi’s black Saturday.
The preceding was a description, analysis and study of the elements and characteristics of the violent militia dominated state of affairs as it appears and stands. But Benghazi’s second rebellion against oppression, corruption and servitude, will not be a mere summer storm cloud, despite that it occurred in summer and rained down blood, tears, sadness and body parts. It was only the beginning, as history will prove; for what’s coming will be greater. Benghazi has, once again, and maybe not for the last time, broken the wall of silence and restored to Libya’s conscience the unwithering flame of anger, from this western part of the country that most tolerates death in its perpetual search for life.
Above anything else, [Benghazi] comes to identify Libyan stubbornness against foreign intervention; even if it were compelled to accept it, it will not consent to it ad infinitum. This is a reality that foreign players have come to realize, but not before a heavy price was paid by Benghazi, the nation’s conscience. Benghazi paid the ultimate price on its Black Saturday, from whence Libya’s bright future will shine.
Another important truth remains, which Libyans must come to realize and which will motivate them to challenge the militias and break their resolve:
These militias do possess a brutish power predicated on the implements of death and destruction, but they completely lack the cohesion that one would expect to find in those who choose the path of violence instead of political authority.
These militias’ capacities might be great, but their ability to use them is extremely fragile. For the much feared and dreaded Libya Shield Force fled from the Kuweifiya encampment in Benghazi mere hours after being confronted by the people. It fled after killing and suffering casualties, the blood shed by either side being exceptionally dear; yet it left in a hurry, taking with it whatever equipment it could. However, the truth remains that it no longer is present in Benghazi, nor will it ever return.
A real triumph written in precious blood, but, since when were the fates of nations written in ink alone?
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