On the occasion of Libya’s 71st Independence Day, Crown Prince Mohammed El Senussi gave a touching speech to the people. The Crown Prince, Alamin Abolmagir (deputy chairman of the Libyan Rally for Constitutional Legitimacy), reflected on the country’s past with pride and pain. He celebrated King Idris I, the first king in Libya,’s accomplishment of unifying the country into one peaceful land.
He reminded the Libyans of the hope and promise that the early years of independence had brought, hope for a peaceful future and prosperous nation. Prince Mohammed contrasts this hope with the dire situation on the ground right now, which clearly causes him great pain. He empathises with the suffering of the Libyan people.
Although no one believed the ground situation could get worse, 2022 saw Libya’s political and security situation worsen. December 2021 saw elections being postponed indefinitely. There is little to suggest that the political impasse will soon be solved peacefully. Today’s divided Libya lacks both unified national institutions, and more importantly, a coherent sense of national identity.
The Crown Prince called out domestic spoilers as well as international actors for their role in aggravating an already dire situation. Although he did not name any names, foreign involvement has been documented from many countries since 2011. Late 2019 evidence showed that Russia was sending mercenaries in support of Libya’s National Army (LNA). Turkey responded by sending troops to support the Government of National Accord in January 2020. This is just one example. However, it has served to prolong the period of division in Libya by supporting different factions rather than uniting.
The Crown Prince was harsh in his criticism of internal spoilers. He highlighted how greedy individuals have been a major factor in the conflict in our country. The Crown Prince made clear that he does not blame only the international community for the current dire situation. If Libya is to be stable and prosper, it must remove domestic self-interested players from power.
The Crown Prince demanded an end of this “dark period in our history”, stating that the Libyan people must be free from the pain and suffering they have suffered over the past decade. It is striking that the Crown Prince appears to have played a greater role in Libyan affairs in this speech.
Prince Mohammed actively discussed the steps needed to bring about stability and peace in Libya. According to his address, he had spent the past months meeting with international and Libyan representatives to listen to their concerns but also to explain the best way forward to the country, which is the restoration of a democratic constitutional monarchy through the 1951 Independence Constitution. This initiative’s hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters, like myself, will also confirm that this proven system is the best way to secure liberty and safety for Libyan citizens and the best structure for restoring order in the current chaos.
This development is important and must not be underestimated. While the Crown Prince has been actively involved in all things Libyan, he has not yet taken part in Libyan politics. He has not sought to pursue power positions, but he has chosen instead to be a leader from behind and encourage those in power to think first and foremost about the country’s needs. This is evidently not the case. A variety of actors have pushed their agendas at the expense and well-being of our people.
Prince Mohammed would be more than happy to take on a more active role, if asked. The 1969 military coup that overthrew the monarchy created an atmosphere of fear and stress for the Crown Prince’s families. The Crown Prince was just 7 years old when tanks surrounded his home and his family were arrested. His father, the former-Crown Prince Hassan was imprisoned by the leaders of the military coup without any judicial process. Prince Mohammed spent most of his childhood under house arrest, which was constantly monitored by soldiers from the regime.
The family home was set on fire and all relatives were banned from leading prayers. The fear that the family would pose a threat to the regime’s authority was the basis for this calculated policy. This was perhaps not surprising, considering that the family of the Crown Prince had been illegitimately removed and are still popular with the Libyan people. The powers that be have an identical interest in keeping the sole legitimate ruler of our country from their political games.
The future of Libya will be greatly impacted by the Independence Day speech speech this year. It is time that the international community made pressure on actors on the ground to allow Libyans return to their past and embrace the only legitimate ruler of our country, who can restore peace and security and instill pride and national identity in our nation. The world should not have to shed blood to accept that this is the only way forward.
Alamin Abolmagir serves as the vice chairman of the Libyan Rally for Constitutional Legitimacy. He currently lives in Tripoli, Libya. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Tripoli University in Finance and a Doctorate in Finance from University of Wales.
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