Tripoli military commander discusses security
By Essam Mohamed for Magharebia in Tripoli – 15/09/11
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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