Sasha Toperich, a Senior Fellow at the John Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations has published a look at what he calls “the intent of the [Libyan] Muslim Brotherhood and their allies to gain by force what they had lost at the ballot box in the general elections of June 25 this year. The article, titled “Libya: Tougher UN Sanctions a Welcome Move, Yet More to Be Done to Curb Muslim Brotherhood” begins:
August 28, 2014 Since July 13, Tripoli has been subjected to vicious attack by Muslim Brotherhood-supported militias from the city of Misrata in what they called Operation Libya Dawn (OLD). The attack centered mainly on Tripoli International Airport where a rival militia, labeled as ‘liberal,’ has been in control of the airport for three years since Gaddafi’s ouster. The attack destroyed most airplanes and airport facilities, as well as the main fuel depot that lies near the airport, burning millions of gallons of fuel and sending clouds of dark smoke all over the city and miles beyond. Thousands of families were forced to flee the fighting. Long power outages became a daily occurrence and fuel shortages reduced traffic to a crawl, leading to shortages in all aspects of life. Practically all foreign embassies evacuated.
With Force and Fear, Muslim Brotherhood Clings to Power
What led to this unprecedented level of violence since 2011 was the intent of the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies to gain by force what they had lost at the ballot box in the general elections of June 25 this year. The new elections dealt the Islamist groups a severe blow. Less than 15 percent of the elected House of Representatives (HoR) members were Islamists in a wide rebuke to their agenda by the Libyan people. Furthermore, the new HoR convened in Tobruk in eastern Libya, about 1000 miles away from Tripoli, where the Muslim Brotherhood militias had little influence. Now they are trying to intimidate the families of the HoR delegates, to force them to back down and accept a clear coup. They also burned the home of Prime Minister Althinni and other political opponents to exercise pressure.
Read the rest here.
The article goes on to note that Aly Bozakouk, who led rallies in Misrata and Tripoli against the elected parliament and in support of the Muslim Brotherhood, had been financed by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED):
Aly Bozakouk spent two weeks in jail during Gaddafi’s time, afterwards fleeing Libya to the United States where our country later granted him citizenship. After the Libyan revolution, Bozakouk went back to Libya, where he founded the “Citizenship Forum for Democracy and Human Development,” an NGO based in Benghazi and funded, among others, by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED), with a grant intended to promote civil society and democracy in Libya.
Other recipients of NED funding have included the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), founded in 1998 in what appears to have been a cooperative effort among the US Muslim Brotherhood, the US State Department and Georgetown University academic Dr. John Esposito. CSID has long argued that the U.S. government should support Islamist movements in foreign countries. Also known to have been funded by the NED were elements of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in exile during 2007-2008.
The GMBDW reported in June that unknown gunmen had kidnapped a leading member of a Libyan political party described as affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. We also reported in June that Libyan militias tied to the Muslim Brotherhood had stormed the offices of the country’s prime minister. In May, 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.