Militias Allied With Muslim Brotherhood Seize Libyan Prime Minister’s Office


Saudi-owned pan-Arab media is reporting that Libyan militias tied to the Muslim Brotherhood have stormed the offices of the country’s prime minister. According to an Al Arabiya News report:

June 3, 2014 Libyan militias loyal to new Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq, who is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, stormed the prime minister’s office on Monday ahead of a planned Supreme Court session to adjudicate the dispute between him and interim Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni.

Al-Thinni last week refused to hand power to Maiteeq because of questions over his appointment, and demanded that divided lawmakers resolve the political standoff.

Thinni referred to a decision by a justice ministry legal department that ruled Maiteeq’s election early this month was illegal.

The Supreme Court was due to reconsider the case on Thursday, but before it does, Maiteeq’s allies moved Monday to impose a fait accompli.

The Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, known to be close to Islamist lawmakers and Maiteeq, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, urging support for Maiteeq.

Islamist militias from the Libya Shield Force were quick to respond, storming the prime minister’s office. The military move was followed by a statement by Maiteeq’s government announcing that it had taken office.

Read the rest here.

The Economist has described the relationship between the Libya Shield Force and the Muslim Brotherhood as follows:

To some extent, the struggle is between Islamists and more secular-minded Libyans. If the Misratans are indeed pushed back to their home town, it will be a setback for the Islamists. At the heart of the retreating forces is the Libyan Shield, hitherto the most powerful of the militias, both in Misrata and in the country at large. It is allied to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party, which came second to a relatively secular front in last year’s election to the congress but has proved more effective in the legislature than its rivals and cannier at using the militias to promote its cause. In the summer the Shield was deployed in Tripoli by the congress’s pro-Brotherhood speaker, Nuri Abu Sahmain, amid fears of violence against the Justice and Construction Party just after the president of neighbouring Egypt, a fellow Muslim Brother, had been overthrown by the army.

Last month the GMBDW recommended a new report on the current situation facing the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya which concluded that the Brotherhood organization does not have high levels of public support.

 Other GMBDW coverage of events in Libya has included:

  • The GMBDW reported in January 2014 that the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood has withdrawn its five ministers from the government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. 
  • The GMBDW reported in July 2013 that protestors had attacked the offices of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood yesterday following demonstrations over the assassination of a prominent critic of the Brotherhood. 
  • In June 2013, Libyan lawmakers elected a Parliament chief strongly supported by the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Justice and Construction Party.
  • In July 2012, the Libyan Brotherhood suffered what appeared to be a major loss when they finished a distant second place in national elections.
  • In 2011, the New York Times reported on what they called  the “growing influence of Islamists in Libya”, identifying Qatari Muslim Brotherhood figure Ali Sallabi (aka Ali Salabi), already known to be the Revolution’s “spiritual leader and a close associate of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, as well as for the first time Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar who was said to lead the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council and is described as a “Muslim Brotherhood figure.” Our predecessor publication had reported on Ali Sallabi and his association with Qaradawi.

For analysis and background on the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, go here and here.

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