News / Africa

Opposition Member: Liberated Libya Will Remember its Friends

Ali Tarhouni, member of the Economic and Oil Committee in liberated Libya says pro-democracy Libyans want a no-fly zone

Libyan rebel fighter
Libyan rebel fighter

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  • Libyan opposition member Ali Tarhouni speaks with Butty

James Butty

A Libyan opposition member says those opposed by Moammar Gadhafi will be disappointed with the United States and the rest of the international community if they fail to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

Ali Tarhouni, member of the Economic and Oil Committee of the Provincial Council running the liberated areas of Libya, says the days of the Libyan leader are numbered and the people will remember those who supported them in their time of need.

“I think it is actually a shame that the Western world, particularly the United States, that advocates for democracy [and] human rights, and now we see more of a cowardly position. The Libyan people are not asking for much. All they are asking for is for no-fly zone,” he said.

A rebel fighter sits on a truck as he fires an anti-aircraft gun during an air strike at a rebel fighters checkpoint in Al Ugaila area along a road between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, March 12, 2011
A rebel fighter sits on a truck as he fires an anti-aircraft gun during an air strike at a rebel fighters checkpoint in Al Ugaila area along a road between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, March 12, 2011

Tarhouni says President Obama is not living up to his June 2009 speech to Muslims in Cairo.

“It’s a dramatic contrast between calls for democracy, Obama stood in Cairo and called for democracy and freedom, and now the least he can do is support the no-fly zone. The blood of the Libyan people is not cheap; it’s very expensive for us,” he said.

The United States and United Nations have imposed sanctions on Gadhafi’s regime and froze at least $30 billion in Libyan government assets based in the United States.

Tarhouni says freezing assets alone will not stop Gadhafi’s warplanes and tanks from killing Libyans.

“I don’t understand what they mean by sanctions. Gadhafi has his airplanes and they are bombing cities about 50 or 100 kilometers from here. To tell you, as a supporter of Obama, I’m totally, as most of the Libyan people are, disappointed. And here is a simple equation; it is not really complicated – Gadhafi will go sooner or later, and I think the Libyan people will remember who their friends are [and] who stood by them in their hour of need,” Tarhouni says.

He says Libyans in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi are not afraid of pro-Gadhafi forces because they know it’s only a matter of time before Gadhafi is removed from power.

“Trust me, there’s no fear of Gadhafi and his forces. We know he’s gone. It’s just a question of hours, days, maybe months. The question is how many innocent lives he’s going to take with him,” Tarhouni said.

 

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