Former Libyan minister calls for introduction of martial law there

‘Actual power is in the hands of the militias’

Dr Fatima Hamroush at the Institute of International and European Affairs. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Dr Fatima Hamroush at the Institute of International and European Affairs. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Libya’s former health minister has called for the introduction of martial law in that country and the setting up of a coalition government.

Speaking in Dublin yesterday, Dr Fatima Hamroush told The Irish Times that “in my opinion, I am the daughter of a military man and I trust military when they are fair. There should be martial law. This anarchy has to stop.”

She also hoped “a coalition government will be formed [in Libya] with the support of the UN and Europe” and without the interests of other country’s being put first.

Dr Hamroush, an Irish citizen who has been in the state since 1996, is an ophthalmologist at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda. She was briefly minister for health in Libya’s transitional government from November 2011 to November 2012.

Her father, Col Abdullah Hamroush, was held for four years in jail after Col Muammar Gadafy took over the country in a 1969 coup.

Dr Hamroush took part in a seminar on Libya’s Descent into Civil War at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin on Monday afternoon.

Her plea was “just make peace happen and then things can go well for everybody.”

Coalition help

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“Once this is done their interests will be served through good relations.”

Today there is no state in Libya, she said, just two competing governments and two parliaments that have no power “because the actual power is in the hands of the militias. What should be done is enforce disarmament,” she said, while serious attempts are made to form a coalition involving all sides.

Europe should assist the Libyan people in this, as should the UN, but based on the best interests of the Libyan people, she said. However, any decision involving the deployment of peacekeepers should be made by the Libyan people, she said.

“If peacekeeping forces are to come, they should be clear they are not occupiers. Once foreign boots come on the ground it’s very hard to get them out, and that’s the fear of Libyans,” she said.

The priority must be “disarmament and dialogue.”

Media blamed

“Media led it. Social media, al-Jazeera, and other channels, but al-Jazeera and social media were at the top of it. They spread fear at that time [2011] and that’s what led to the army raid of Nato and France. “

Media propagated baseless rumours about the rape of thousands of women by Libya’s army; that it was using mercenaries; and that it was on its way to conduct a massacre in the east of the country, she said.

“There was no basis whatsoever,” for the Nato air raids that followed, she said.

“The damage was the destruction of all the defence force of Libya, total destruction,” she said. “On top of that, because the army forces were given orders not to attack civilians, they had no choice but to leave the camps, just evacuate and go, and left all the artillery behind. [This] was then taken by militias and Islamic extremists and criminals who fled the jails.”

There was also the intervention of Qatar, which involved “training revolutionaries in crash courses and also sending arms to Libya”, she said. This further “fuelled and strengthened the militias.”

Other speakers at the seminar included journalist Mary Fitzgerald and Libya analyst Peter Cole. Ms Fitzgerald was a contributor to The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath, a book edited by Mr Cole and doctoral student Brian Quinn, which was launched in Dublin last night.