The Muslim Brotherhood may have lost elections in Libya, but that hasn’t stopped it from pushing on with a bid to take over Libya. Around the time that it was denouncing anti-government protesters in Egypt for attacking democracy, its own armed militias were launching a bid to take power in Libya.
They haven’t won completely yet. But they are gaining ground.
The Muslim Brotherhood seems to be gaining influence amid the crises shaking the country, the analysts say, and the army ousting of Egypt’s Islamist government may have prompted some Libyan radicals to step up violence against secular critics.
The legislature, or General National Congress (GNC), can hardly deal with these challenges because it is deadlocked in a standoff between its largest bloc, the secular National Forces Alliance, and the second-largest led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The NFA is not secular by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s not the Brotherhood.
Another Libyan expert, who also requested anonymity, said the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party had grown in influence in the GNC since the Alliance boycott began.
GNC President Nouri Abusahmain, an independent member, has boosted Brotherhood influence in Tripoli by bringing in men from the so-called Libyan Shield militia to boost security in the capital after a wave of violence there.
“They are mostly from Misrata and under the command of a Muslim brother,” the expert said.
Which is to say that under the pretext of preventing a coup, Nouri turned the Libyan capital over to forces loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Guardian, of all sources, has a somewhat more accurate account of events.
The president of congress, Nuri Abu Sahmain, has summoned militias allied to the Brotherhood to the capital, deploying troops across the city to forestall what his commanders say is the threat of a coup.
This emergency measure has prompted the main opposition party, the centre-right National Forces Alliance, to desert congress, followed by several smaller ethnic parties, leaving the Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party heading a government with crumbling authority. “Congress has basically collapsed,” said one diplomat in Tripoli.
If all this sounds a bit like Germany during the rise of the Nazis, you’re not far wrong. The Brotherhood traces some of its political maturity back to its Nazi connections.
Critics of the Justice and Construction party accuse it of building up the Libya Shield, a militia organisation, as a parallel force to the army.
Much of Libya is resisting the so-called Isolation Law, which was directed at purging Gaddafi-era officials from the army, police and government, amid accusations that Brotherhood officials will replace them.
Which was the whole point.