By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 22 November 2013:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan reacted angrily to suggestions that the well publicized militia pullout from bases . . .[restrict]was possibly a coordinated sham in response to public anger and opinion, in view of the bloodshed at the Gharghour incident.
Answering questions Thursday at a press conference held at the end of the Sawaiq militia handover of its base at the Islamic Society Complex, Zeidan was angered by a media question, airing public suspicion that the pullouts may be a charade coordinated by the government and the militias in order to dissuade public anger.
“We are serious”, Zeidan retorted to the question in a raised voice. “We are not here to play. Up to this point, we trust the militias, as they have kept to their word”, he explained.
“If they don’t, we will say so”, he promised.
As Head of the Law 27 Implementation Committee, Electricity Minister Ali Muhairig, backed his Prime Minister, adding that the handovers were real and that the Law 27 Technical and Inspection Committee carries out audits and stock takes of the handed-over sites with a signed handover report.
There have been unconfirmed reports that some of the militias had not in fact returned to their homelands, but that they had withdrawn only to the edge of Tripoli, with the possibility that they might either sneak in quietly under the radar of the public’s gaze, or storm back in whenever it suited them.
Equally, there were public fears that this pullout was too smooth and easy, in view of the previous reluctance by militias to leave their bases in Tripoli, and that it was a short term political deal all along between the government and the militias in order to calm uncontrollable public anger.
Asked the key question of where would militias originating from within Tripoli have to go, the Prime Minister said that that was an administrative issue that needed to be organised.
“The Law applies to all militias”, Zeidan stressed, answering much aired public fears that militias originating in Tripoli might use this as an excuse not to leave their bases or the capital.
More importantly, the Prime Minister was also, knowingly or unknowingly, answering fears that the whole Gharghour militia incident was planned by certain political forces in order to eject the Misratan-militias in order to tip the power balance within Tripoli in their favour.
However, the pullout on Thursday by the publicly perceived Zintani Qaaqaa militia and the publicly perceived Islamist leaning Nawasi from Maetiga base, as well as the Prime Minister’s assurance that all militias, including those originating from within Tripoli, some of which are deemed Islamist leaning in their political stance, should calm public fears that the militia pullout was somehow all along a pre-planned conspiracy, whose invisible strings were being manipulated by one political trend or another. [/restrict]