The Muslim Brotherhood Sunday warned the Egyptian military against involvement in the conflict in Libya and from supporting retired general Khalifa Haftar to avoid “catastrophic consequences”.
The Egyptian military’s involvement in the conflict “to fulfil foreign agendas” is a threat to national security, ruins the military’s reputation, and weakens its ability to face “real enemies”, the outlawed group said in a statement.
The Muslim Brotherhood condemned an incident earlier this month when foreign planes killed innocent Libyan civilians, which Misrata forces blamed on Egypt but which was denied by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. They called on Egypt and all Arab countries to openly reject “foreign interference in killing Libyans”.
“The two million Egyptian workers in Libya and their families will gravely suffer from the [Egyptian] coup regime’s stance, and their return represents a catastrophe for the Egyptian economy during a time when it is on the verge of collapsing and adds millions to the unemployed that Egypt suffers from,” said the statement.
The statement added that Egypt’s historical role and its relationship with neighbouring countries “criminalises supporting a side rebelling against the Libyan revolution” and entails the expulsion of the “criminal coup leader” Haftar from Egypt to face justice.
The Muslim Brotherhood called the Arab League to play its natural role of reconciliation between Libyans, to maintain the unity of the country and to achieve security.
The Brotherhood statement said that following the 2011 revolt against Muammar Gaddafi and his regime, some regional and international actors strived to make the revolution fail. The statement added that these elements introduced the “criminal coup leader” Haftar to lead a coup against the revolution, and to cause the Libyan people and army to enter a civil war.
After the appearance of cracks in Haftar’s efforts in the face of the Libyan people’s persistence, “it was reported that Al-Sisi’s coup regime and its Gulf sponsors support the counter-revolution in Libya”, said the Muslim Brotherhood in their statement.
Violence has flared in Libya at various times since the overthrow of former president Gaddafi who was killed in October 2011 by militant fighters.
Once seen as heroes, ex-rebels, particularly Islamists, have been blamed for attacks that killed dozens of security force members, judges and foreigners in Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 revolt.
Violence surged once more earlier this year when Haftar began a campaign to root out “terrorism” in Benghazi. Libya’s government denounced his actions and declared him an outlaw.
Haftar, who led ground forces in the 2011 uprising that toppled Gaddafi, sees himself as the chief of the “national armed forces”. He has the support of rogue officers and army units as well as warplanes and helicopter gunships.
The army says Haftar is backed by tribes, army defectors and ex-rebels who are opposed to the central government. He defected from Gaddafi’s forces in the late 1980s, spending nearly 20 years in the US before returning home to join the uprising, and has faced accusations of being under US pay.