By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 19 June 2016:
Sadik Ghariani, still viewed by many in western Libya as the country’s grand mufti, has given his blessing to yesterday’s attempted attack in Ajdabiya by exiled Benghazi militants.
Speaking on his Tanasah TV station, the controversial cleric called on all revolutionaries able to do so to go east and join the fight.
In a related development suggesting that they too supported the attack, the two Islamist members of the Presidency Council, Mohammed Al-Ammari and Abdussalam Kajman, have disassociated themselves from the Council’s statement published yesterday condemning it.
In his own three-page declaration, Ammari said he had not been consulted about the Presidency Council statement. He criticised the description of the attackers as terrorists.
The latter were members of the Benghazi Defence Brigades led by Ziyad Belam, the former head of the Omar Mukhtar Brigade in Benghazi and widely considered an extremist. The attackers have also been labelled as terrorists by the GNA’s defence minister, Mahdi Al-Barghathi.
Separately, Abdussalam Kajman is also reported to be angry about the statement, complaining that there have been others recently issued in the name of the Presidency without the approval by all members.
Yesterday, he issued his own one-man statement condemning the bombing of civilians in Derna.
He is now said to be planning his own statement on the Ajdabiya attack.
To add to the divisions, boycotting Presidency Council member Ali Gatrani has also issued a statement about Ajdabiya. He blamed the council, accusing it of supporting the attack.
The declaration by Ghariani has come as little surprise. Widely detested and ridiculed by the general public, especially in Tripoli, he had already on numerous occasions said that the real fight in Libya ws against Hafter and his Libyan National Army and that fight against the so-called Islamic State was of lesser importance
Those by Ammari and Kajman are seen as more serious, as they indicate a major and unbridgeable fault line over security within the Presidency between pragmatists and Islamists.