By Aboul Fadl El-esnawy
The brotherhood in Libya seeks to convey the model of the Tunisian Renaissance, to separate the party from the religious movement and to re-delineate itself with the change that Ghannouchi uses in Tunisia.
As it fears from its isolation and its concern about the issue of coexistence between religious and social aspects.
The moves on the foreign level and attempts to satisfy the internal Libyan parties:
The strategy of the Brotherhood in Libya was not limited to announcing internal reform attempts, but accompanied by movements in the foreign level and attempts to persuade the internal parties to the extent that there were statements by its leaders towards the Libyan army commander Khalifa Hafter.
We focus primarily on the movements on the foreign level of the group, and then we address its attempts to satisfy the internal parties affecting the Libyan scene, as follows:
1- The movements of the group on the foreign level, represented by the tours of its party leaders:
The tours carried out by the leaders of the Justice and Building Party, apart from the group, were aimed at early marketing to re-engineer the internal situation in the group. Trying to benefit from the victory of Khalid al-Mashri headed by the Supreme Council of the Libyan state.
The most important moves carried out by the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood abroad, in addition to the permanent visits of the Renaissance Movement in Tunisia, are defined at two levels, one regional and the other international.
At the regional level, the most important group tours were in Algeria. Where they met with the President of the Justice and Building Party and the head of the political department of the party in mid-February 2017.
They also met with Minister of Maghreb Affairs, African Union and League of Arab States (Abdelkader Messahel). The meeting concluded by exchanging views on how best to support the consensus course in Libya.
The party’s targeting of Algeria after its visit to Tunisia, which preceded it ten days in advance, is due to the group’s attempt to put itself on the map of the Libyan parties that Algeria has received before.
Where Algeria held a series of meetings with a number of Libyan parties, the most important of which was former defense minister Osama Joueili, in addition to Khalifa Hafter and a number of deputies of the House of Representatives and the State.
In addition to the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood in intermediate countries such as Algeria, there are extended bridges with Turkey and Qatar. Turkey sees its intervention to help the brothers of Libya is a necessity,
“The Islamists in Libya are not terrorists, they are a political fact, denying them means that they can not be persuaded to negotiate,” the Turkish envoy told Libya in remarks.
As for Qatar, its support continues to the Brotherhood in Libya. The Brotherhood met in March 2017, with Qatari officials to obtain Qatari support in the face of the Libyan army.
On the international level, the Libyan Brotherhood has conducted several tours, most important of which are the meeting of the leaders of the Justice and Building Party, Nizar Kawan, head of the party’s political department, Abdel Salam al-Safrani, head of the party bloc, and Mansur al-Hasadi with the EU mission in December 2017.
It was emphasized that the group supports the democratic process, it is a key part of the political process, and it wishes to make all concessions in order to reach an agreement that takes into account the principle of balance and partnership.
One of the most important moves of the group, is a meeting between the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and a number of officials of the Libyan American Council for Public Affairs (LAPAC), in July 2017.
The group sought to confirm what they described – the destructive role of Khalifa Khalifa Haftar, in addition to their attempt to persuafe the council to accept them as part of the political process.
One of the most important results of the moves of the Libyan Brotherhood to return to the political scene through tours of regional and international parties, is the emergence of a document put forward by a Finnish organization, known as «a code of honor between some parties and organizations Libyan».
This document was published by some media outlets in mid-April 2018, which aims to bring the Brotherhood back to the Libyan political scene.
2- Attempts to persuade the internal parties:
The Brotherhood in Libya takes an opposite situation to its firm situations, on the part of the main Libyan parties or situations that run counter to the Brotherhood’s ideology. In order to convince the interior of its unfinished transformations.
The group has sacrificed some of the more radical figures and organizations that support it, to benefit from the victory of Khaled al-Mashri, head of the Supreme Council of the Libyan state. And then provided the opportunity to participate in the upcoming elections.
It was also one of the most important attempts by the brothers of Libya to convince the internal parties, which was considered by some observers as a surprise by the group, is the tribute of the President of the Justice and Construction Party the role of Hafter forces and their families in the fight against terrorism.
“The fighters under the leadership of Khalifa Hafter and their families who were trying to fight terrorism in Benghazi and other parts of eastern Libya would be welcomed for their sacrifices, we considered them as martyrs” Sawan told Arabs 21 in mid-April 2018.
This statement at this time is tantamount to the party’s attempt to get closer and create a friendship with the commander of the Libyan army, who rejects their presence in the Libyan equation.
It was considered an attempt to be closer to the Libyan army, which is fighting their friends, and a kind of political deal that could bring them to power.
Specific factors for the brotherhood re-emergence to the scene (opportunities – challenges):
The situation of the regional and international powers, in addition to the main internal parties, remains the determining factor of the Brotherhood’s ability in Libya to achieve its strategy of political re-positioning and avoiding political isolation.
This is will not done without the group, represented in its party (Justice and Construction), facing all its internal challenges, including the crisis of its internal wings, and the number of factors determining the extent to which the group can achieve its goal. The most important challenges the brotherhood are facing:
1- The regional and International parties:
Some foreign parties consider the Brotherhood’s role to be identified in the Libyan political scene. Considering that the ideology of the Brotherhood is not rooted in the Brotherhood in Libya, such as the brothers of Egypt and Tunisia.
There are international circles that do not support this vision. Especially in view of the legislative elections law, which is being prepared in one of the European countries, proposing an electoral system that guarantees 80% of seats for political entities, 20% of the individual from outside the parties.
Which means that, in case of achieving such a proposal, the brotherhood will have an opportunity, which was a concern for those parties to re-escalate the brotherhood.
It is possible to say that the foreign powers (USA, Italy, Algeria, Turkey, Qatar, Russia, Egypt, the UAE, and France) will be united, or that their lack of agreement will be one of the main determinants of the Brotherhood’s chances.
2- The local parties and forces:
If some international parties support the participation of the Justice and Building Party in the next political process in Libya. Recognising the party’s archives, as it contributed strongly to the negotiations that preceded the signing of the Skhirat Agreement in August 2015.
The situation of the main parties in Libya remains a bulwark against the group’s ambition, especially the leader of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Hafer, and his Salafist allies.
In an interview with the French magazine John Afrique in February 2018, Hafter stressed that “the Brotherhood should be cut off.” The Brotherhood, which is responsible for the arrival of terrorists in Libya, should not take any responsibility for the electoral process, he said.
Therefore, the situation of the general leadership of the Libyan National Army remains a main determinant to the political future of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the group is seeking through its party to resolve this situation by creating friendship with Hafer. Where recently praised the operations of the army and considered the dead of the Libyan army as martyrs.
3- The flexibility of the brotherhood itself and its ability to avoid its internal challenges:
It is clear that the Justice and building Party is trying by all means to strengthen the confidence of international and local parties.
Khaled al-Mashri, immediately after his election, invited the United Nations to work in Libya and help the Libyans reach a political solution.
This means that the group favors dialogue and persuasion in order to achieve its political interests and to be considered as a key partner in the upcoming electoral process.
The group, according to some of its writers, is keen to announce its review within a short period, in order to improve its image on the Libyan street.
However, despite the attempt of the group to show flexibility in its situations, as shown by the change in the position of Mohammed Sawan of the process of military dignity carried out by the Libyan army led by Khalifa Hafter since July 2014 against terrorist organizations. His attempt to appease the affected groups of the policy of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya.
There are a number of conditions, the imbalance in their implementation limits the chances of the political group, namely: the extent of the group’s ability to market the idea of separation of religion from politics, and the size of concessions to be provided for reassurance parties inside and outside.
In addition to the extent of the ability to resolve problems, in the presence of a new challenge, the most important of which is the return of forces belonging to the regime of Gaddafi and anti-Muslim Brotherhood.
In the end, it is possible to say that the Brotherhood’s return to the political scene in Libya faces many challenges, including internal ones. As well as, the situations of regional and international parties that are influential in the equation of the Libyan scene.
The political repositioning strategy drawn up by the leaders of the Justice and Building Party (AKP), the political arm of the Brotherhood in Libya, remains subject to the limits of the situation of the main parties within Libya and the seriousness of the group.
Aboul Fadl El-esnawy– Expert’s of North Africa and Morocco’s affairs