NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil talks post-Gaddafi Libya
By Khaled Mahmoud
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, chairman of the Libyan National
Transitional Council [NTC], has said that the cost of getting rid of Col
Muammar Gaddafi, and of toppling his regime, has been exorbitant by all
criteria. This is in reference to the thousands of killed, wounded, and
missing as a result of the military operations fought by the revolutionaries
along the past eight months to topple Gaddafi's regime.
In an interview via the telephone with Asharq Al-Awsat from the NTC
headquarters in Benghazi, Abdul-Jalil hints at his displeasure with the way
in which Gaddafi was killed at his arrest in his birthplace in Sirte.
Abdul-Jalil says that personally he would have preferred to arrest Gaddafi
and send him to trial, rather than killing him. He denies that Gaddafi's
corpse was mutilated. Abdul-Jalil reveals that Gaddafi might have died as a
result of shooting by one of his armed companions or the armed
revolutionaries, who succeeded in besieging him at the last moments before
his fall in Sirte, where he was hiding.
Abdul-Jalil urges Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Yemeni President Ali
Abdullah Saleh to respond to the aspirations of their two peoples by
officially abandoning power. He considers that the era of dictatorships in
the Arab world is over, and that the rulers have to take this into
The following is the text of the interview:
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What comes after the announcement of the Liberation of
[Abdul-Jalil] Of course we have presented a road map since March 2011 for
the transitional period after the liberation. It is a clear map, the world
knows it, and the media organs have relayed it.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Who has been selected to occupy the post of prime minister
of the new government?
[Abdul-Jalil] No one has been agreed upon yet. Within a month after the
announcement of the liberation, a transitional government will be formed.
God willing, everything will be done on time.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Is there no chance that Mr Jibril will return to his post
[Abdul-Jalil] I believe so.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Are you satisfied with the way in which Gaddafi was
[Abdul-Jalil] Everything is God Almighty's will. God has ordained, and what
He wants, He does.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But many countries and human rights organizations have
criticized mutilating his corpse in this way. You in the past have
threatened to resign if any such things happened?
[Abdul-Jalil] First of all, his corpse was not mutilated. He was arrested,
this arrest was sudden, he was carrying arms, and there was an exchange of
fire; perhaps he was wounded by one of the revolutionaries, or by one of his
aides whom he asked to kill him so that he would not be captured. Perhaps
Muammar Gaddafi himself chose this end.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But is this the fate or what you personally wished for
[Abdul-Jalil] I would rather have had him put on trial, but I have expected
and I was certain that he had pride that would always make him defend
himself, and not surrender.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] After the death of Gaddafi, are you going to ask Niger and
Algeria to hand over the rest of his family, who are residing there?
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Have you already submitted an official request for this?
[Abdul-Jalil] With regard to the Niger Government, we have submitted an
official request. With regard to the Algerian Government, God willing, we
will do so by the middle of next week.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] How do you expect Algeria to reply, as its stance is well
[Abdul-Jalil] We have to follow the diplomatic ways, the amicable ways, and
every way that leads us to our aim.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Eight months have passed since the eruption of the
revolution on 17 February 2011 until now. How has this period been for you?
[Abdul-Jalil] Praise be to God, this stage is a gift, which God Almighty
wanted to be this way; it has included many difficult hours, and many happy
hours. The fact is that what the fighting heroes have offered at the
fighting fronts was the basis of this revolution.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But the bill of getting rid of Gaddafi has been
[Abdul-Jalil] Of course it certainly has been exorbitant.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Are there final statistics of the numbers of those killed,
wounded, and missing?
[Abdul-Jalil] I cannot confirm this categorically, but the number of the
martyrs exceeds 20,000, and the number of the wounded according to the
current statistics exceeds 50,000; as for the missing, so far, we cannot
count them, because even the commanders of the Gaddafi's battalions have
declared their sons as missing.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you fear a security chaos in Tripoli? Has there been a
controversy over the location of the declaration of liberation, is it going
to be Tripoli, Misrata, of Benghazi?
[Abdul-Jalil] First of all, the constitutional declaration is clear on this
issue. With regard to the last point, the NTC has adopted Benghazi as
temporary headquarters until the liberation of the capital Tripoli. When
Libya is completely liberated, we will announce the Liberation, and then the
NTC as a whole will move to Tripoli, i.e. the announcement of the liberation
will take place from Benghazi. There is no controversy or dispute over this
issue. As for security, I wager on the Libyans. Everything will be in the
interest of the Libyan people.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you not fear that the Libyan street will be divided
between the Islamists and the liberals?
[Abdul-Jalil] Not at all, I am confident that this will not happen. I have
no fears in this respect.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What do you say now to the Libyan people, and to the
international and the Arab worlds?
[Abdul-Jalil] I say to the Libyan people: "Be patient, persevere, stand
fast, and fear God, may you succeed." Patience is the basis of everything.
We have many requirements, and we have priorities. What we ask the Libyan
people is to be patient. As for the Arab world, I say that the era of
dictatorships has passed, and all the rulers ought to take this into
consideration, and to relinquish their thrones, on which they have been
sitting for years, and through which they have oppressed their peoples.
Perhaps some of them are similar to Muammar Gaddafi, and it will not be easy
to get rid of them. We urge the Syrian President (Bashar al-Assad) and the
Yemeni President (Ali Abdullah Saleh) to respond to the demands of their
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What are the guarantees that there will not be another
"Gaddafi" in Libya?
[Abdul-Jalil] The guarantees come from the Libyans themselves, as they ought
not to allow another "Gaddafi" to come after this quandary in which they
have lived for more than 40 years.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Certainly Libya needs a huge development plan?
[Abdul-Jalil] Yes, certainly the least that Libya needs is not less than
four or five years to return to what it was before the 1969 coup d'etat.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] In the upcoming stage, how are you going to deal with the
countries that supported Gaddafi at some point in time?
[Abdul-Jalil] We will try to extend bridges of peace and amicability with
all countries, whether they have supported Muammar Gaddafi, or the
revolution. However, there will be priority given to the countries that have
offered a great deal to this revolution.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Perhaps someone might ask you, and I know your good
character, whether you have dreams of power, and desire to rule, especially
as the throne is vacant?
[Abdul-Jalil] Never, this has never occurred to me.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Are you going to resign from your post after you conclude
[Abdul-Jalil] I wish I can do this, even tomorrow. However, this is
impossible particularly during this period.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] Are you satisfied with what you have achieved all along
the past eight months?
[Abdul-Jalil] To some extent.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But it seems that your family has paid an exorbitant price
for your political preoccupation?
[Abdul-Jalil] Yes, certainly.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] But you do not regret this?
[Abdul-Jalil] No, this is God Almighty's will. This is a transitional stage,
and whoever is patient God Almighty will reward him greatly.
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Received on Mon Oct 24 2011 - 17:07:17 EDT