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Libya Has Bright Democratic Future, Says Transitional Government Official

Libyans celebrate the liberation of their district of Qasr Bin Ghashir in Tripoli, Libya, August 27, 2011.
Libyans celebrate the liberation of their district of Qasr Bin Ghashir in Tripoli, Libya, August 27, 2011.

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  • Clottey interview with Abdul Karim,national security advisor and general secretary for Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC)

Peter Clottey

The national security advisor for Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) says he’s optimistic about the country’s future following the reported death of long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Abdul Karim, who is also general-secretary of the NTC, said the transitional government will soon establish a body to reconcile Libyan citizens divided by Gadhafi’s four-decade rule.

Gadhafi’s demise

“Today is the most important day [ever] because we closed the chapter in one worse and disastrous periods in Libya’s history,” said Karim. “Now that I believe all Libya has been liberated from this dictatorship [there will be] no hope or no chance of anybody connected to him [causing trouble].”

Karim said before Gadhafi’s death, the NTC was concerned his loyalists would form a “movement in the south” that he said could create problems for neighboring countries including Chad, Algeria and Niger.

Karim said the NTC will cooperate with its international partners including the United States to help Libya in its journey towards democracy..

“We are looking for democracy in our future. And we are going to do our best to [achieve] that,” said Karim. “I trust the Libyan people… I believe all [tribes] will combine to build the new Libya, which will be justice with democracy and [equal] rights for everybody.”

Islamic extremists

Some analysts have expressed concern that the fall of Moammar Gadhafi will create a haven for hard-line Islamic extremists. But, Karim said despite the concerns Libyans will have the right to choose the direction the country goes.

“Libyans are mostly Muslim, and I believe it’s up to them, and up to the election and the referendum to decide whatever they want,” said Karim. “Libyans paid a lot [under] the dictatorship. They paid with thousands of lives…I don’t think Libyans will give a chance to any other dictator under any circumstances to rule them again.”

Divisions

Observers say getting rid of Gadhafi was a unifying factor that brought many of the fighters together. But they say after the former leader’s demise, potentially destabilizing divisions among Libyans could be exposed.

Karim echoed similar concerns but said that he has confidence in Libyans to, in his words, do the right thing.

“I trust the Libyan people who commanded the revolution. [With] all these young highly educated people, I don’t think they will be in a battle for separation,” said Karim. “There would be a big dialogue through elections and through parliament and will also decide how to run a government up to the fundamentals of our hope…and that is freedom for everybody. I am optimist that there will be a brilliant future for Libya.”

Speaking Thursday at the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama said Gadhafi’s death proves “definitively” that the four-decade authoritarian government has come to an end. He said a year ago the notion of a free Libya seemed impossible and congratulated the Libyan people for demanding their rights.

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