x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Qaddafi translator contends Nato driving Libya to civil war

Col Muammar Qaddafi's English translator says that Nato forces are driving Libya towards civil war rather than sending observers for mediation.

Abu Dhabi // A top Libyan official and long-time English translator for Col Muammar Qaddafi said the government would remain defiant in the face of "foreign intervention" on behalf of an uprising in the east of the country.

Fuad Zlitny, who was described recently in confidential US government cables as "Qaddafi's translator and personal aide", said in an interview from Tripoli yesterday that Nato forces were "driving the country towards a civil war, rather than sending observers for mediation".

"The feel here is that there is a foreign intervention. There is injustice. There is cowboy business," Mr Zlitny said. "It's a plot by the Arab League, by the secretary general of the Arab League, by Al Jazeera."

The government, he said, would continue to "resist" foreign intervention in Libya.

Mr Zlitny's defiant comments came as a team from United Nations was in Tripoli to investigate allegations of human-rights violations since a crackdown on protesters began in February and armed conflict with rebels took place across the country.

The three investigators are charged with probing alleged abuses from all parties: the Libyan regime of Col Qaddafi, the rebels and Nato forces. There have been of reports over the last two months of disappearances, torture and murder at the hands of Col Qaddafi's forces, but his aides deny they have committed violations of human rights.

Mr Zlitny said that Western forces and their allies across the Middle East and North Africa were in violation of the UN-sanctioned military assault on the Libyan regime after a bombing earlier this week of Col Qaddafi's official residence in Tripoli, and other attempts on his life.

"The whole compound was destroyed," said Mr Zlitny, whose office was inside the compound. "It has been there for almost 50 years. It has nothing to do with military operations. Everybody knows it; all the ministers, all of the heads of state, they know this. (Former British prime minister) Tony Blair came and had a cup of tea here."

The attack on the offices, located in the Bab al-Aziziya compound, amounted to an assassination attempt on Col Qaddafi, he said, echoing concerns raised by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

The countries enforcing a no-fly zone and pressuring Col Qaddafi to step down as leader of Libya have "no morals, no ethics, no Security Council resolutions", Mr Zlitny said.

"For them, might is right and underline it 10 times," he said. "What I am saying reflects the feeling of the normal Libyan citizen. Any Libyan would say that. It's a plot from day one."

"Give me one reason why Qatar goes to war with Libya?" he said. "Why are the Emirates going to fight Libya?"

bhope@thenational.ae