With Libya in turmoil and militias on the march, Magharebia sat down with Benghazi legislator Dr Younes Fannouch to hear his thoughts on the House of Representatives and where the country goes from here.
Magharebia: The House of Representatives says it will dissolve the militias. How will this happen?
Fannouch: We hope that the army will gradually start replacing these armed groups. And we hope to have an institution that is able to accommodate the people coming from these armed groups and wanting to join the police or the army. Therefore, we need to begin taking operational steps on the ground in relation to building the military institution first, in order to finally be able to implement this decision.
Magharebia: When is this supposed to take place?
Fannouch: We have set December 31st, 2014 to be the deadline for the implementation of this decision with all its details.
Magharebia: Talking about militias, what are your thoughts about Ansar al-Sharia?
Fannouch: It is an illegal armed group, which will be targeted by this decision, because this decision is aimed at all armed organisations that are outside the Police and Army institutions.
Magharebia: Will the House of Representatives legitimise Operation Dignity and its fight against Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi?
Fannouch: The council has not made any decision regarding this issue to this day. But on a personal level, and according to my convictions, I am strongly in favour of this approach. And I hope that the House of Representatives will make a decision to adopt this operation as a step for the Libyan army to fight terrorism.
We are currently pushing for the approval to issue the law on fighting terrorism, which was proposed by the government to the previous National Congress that did not make any decision in this regard.
I personally will push for the council to adopt a resolution to order the army to fight terrorism and continue the war against terrorism in the operation that is now called Operation Dignity.
Magharebia: Parliament has requested international assistance to protect civilians and state institutions. What’s your opinion?
Fannouch: I have clarified this in numerous media interviews, and I said that we all agree on the rejection of any direct intervention on the ground. In the sense that we do not want ground troops in the country, but we may actually be in need of technical military assistance, possibly to carry out strikes against specific targets but not with a direct intervention on the ground.
Magharebia: Will the House of Representatives return to Benghazi?
Fannouch: God willing, yes. We have great hope that once we cleanse the city and secure it entirely from the elements that are spreading chaos and terror, we will return directly to Benghazi, where the official headquarters of the House of Representatives is located, in the Tibesti Hotel.
By Ali al-Gattani in Benghazi for Magharebia – 28/08/2014