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Tripoli military commander discusses security

By Essam Mohamed for Magharebia in Tripoli – 15/09/11

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Mahdi al-Harati was an Arabic teacher in Dublin, Ireland before he returned to his homeland to support the February 17th revolution. He helped form the Tripoli Brigade, which he then led in the fight to liberate the capital. Now, as deputy commander of the Tripoli Military Council, al-Harati is in charge of overseeing security in the city. Magharebia caught up with the rebel leader during victory celebrations in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square where we asked him about the state of security and where the revolution goes from here.

Magharebia: What are the priorities for the military council with regards to security in the capital?

Mahdi al-Harati: We're about to form committees to withdraw weapons through the military council of Tripoli in agreement with the primary local military councils that were existing. God willing, we shall prepare new cards in the name of the military council that will abolish all previous arrangements in this regard. We came to have a civil state and not a military state. In a civil state, people live in justice and harmony, like other countries. Libya is a civil state and not a military state. However, what's happening now is an extension of what Kadhafi did in terms of injustice and fighting. It's a matter of time, and God willing, all things will return to normal.

Magharebia: What about the revolutionaries from other areas who contributed to freeing Tripoli? When do you expect them to return home?

Al-Harati: The return of other areas' revolutionaries will be in terms of security. The young revolutionaries of Tripoli will have security control, and we have already formed security committees, and you'll hear about that in the near future.

Magharebia: What about control of the checkpoints?

Al-Harati: There's no doubt it's a revolution now. However, civil society will arrive very soon. What you're seeing in the streets is an extension of what happened during the revolution. Thank God, stores and institutions started to return to work; stores are now open and people are very happy, and God willing, everything will return to normal soon.

Magharebia: What about the accusations that the leaders of the Tripoli military council belong to al-Qaeda?

Al-Harati: We're the sons of Tripoli and we represent the Libyan people across the spectrum. We're not radicals; rather, all Libyans are kind people who follow al-Maliki school. We've fought against Kadhafi for seven months, and they have seen us only, I mean 'us' as the young people of Tripoli. Therefore, I confirm that we're not belonging to any organisation. We're the young people of Tripoli who came from Tripoli, and we entered it with the people of Tripoli, its young people and families. Our dealings and statements now show that we're a civil state.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    mitshu nasser 2012-2-1

    Elias, you should be respectful, don’t hurt the feelings of others!


  2. Anonymous thumb

    Elias 2011-10-11

    Slaves of NATO nothing more, nothing less. These are the guys that are responsible for the death of 100.000 Libyans, these are the guys that let NATO destroy Libya. Libya was fine before this revolution, and the majority of the population are against the Rebels/Thieves/Rats/Criminals. May Allah grant victory for the Libyan Army not the army that was created by Western agencies. I'm talking about the Libyan Green Soldiers.


  3. Anonymous thumb

    مصطفى 2011-10-10

    May God grant victory to rebels in Bani Walid, Sirte, rebels of Sirmane!


  4. Anonymous thumb

    أخوكم من ليبيا 2011-10-7

    First of all, I would like to thank brotherly Maghreb people who supported rebels in Libya. The majority of the Libyan people support the transitional council led by councilor Mustafa Abdel Jalil and Mr Mahmoud Jebril. The number of religious groups supported by Qatar is very low. The Libyan people have experience with the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood who has made an alliance with the son of Kadhafi for long years. The Libyan people want to build a democratic country which has a modern constitution compelling the state to respect human rights. Revolution of February 17th is a popular revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood group joined it only when they made sure it was victorious.


  5. Anonymous thumb

    رويدا 2011-9-20

    In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful. Peace be upon the most honourable messenger and prophets. We pray for the mercy of all martyrs in all parts of dear Libya. We wish quick recovery to our wounded, God willing! We say to all rebels of Libya, may God grant you victory against the tyrant and his assistants. Keep up your efforts! God willing, you will be victorious!


  6. Anonymous thumb

    مروان 2011-9-20

    My greetings to all readers. I would like to say my comments about Mahmoud Jebril. Why does the respectable sir Mahmoud gather all portfolios outside the public sectors? Why don't they conduct an election through the same sector since they have effective and administrative experience? Why do people go out in protests against Mr Sellabi? Is it not his personal freedom? I agree with him about these comments. No, respectable sir Mahmoud Jebril reminds us of what the tyrant did. He should be careful about what he says and does. We don’t want the blood of martyrs to be wasted. We don’t want him to forget young people who led this revolution because no one should claim credit for this revolution.


  7. Anonymous thumb

    mohammed 2011-9-19

    Rebels are fighting for justice in Libya. Some others want to spread strife, others are still looking for a position and power after all these wars and crises in Libya. We tell them we are still here! The blood of martyrs won’t be wasted! Salam alikum.


  8. Anonymous thumb

    ليبية وافتخر 2011-9-15

    God bless you! May God protect rebels of Libya. In reality, they are great in action, wisdom and respect principles of our tolerant religion.