2011-03-04 10:30:00

Ex-ambassador warns about radical Islamists seizing power in Libya

Moscow, March 4, Interfax - Chances of radical Islamists seizing power in Libya are very high and the consequences will be sad, Alexey Podtserob, a senior analyst with the Center for Arabic Research of the Institute of Oriental Studies, said in an interview for Russia Today television.

"Here, there is a danger, a serious danger coming from the fundamentalists. There are two major opposition organizations in Libya and chances of their coming to power are fairly high," he said.

"The first organization is the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. Its leader, Al-Magariaf, is not an Islamist but the Muslim Brotherhood dominates some of its member groups," the analyst said.

"The second group is the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group supported by Libyan emigres in Europe. In 1996, it sent militants to Libya in an attempt to unleash a guerrilla war in Cyrenaica," he said, adding that separatist moods are fairly strong in that eastern Libyan province.

"Third, al-Qaeda has been closely watching, seeing Libya as a weak spot, as a country where it might succeed. I do not rule out that al-Qaeda has had a hand in all this," the ex-ambassador said.

If the fundamentalists come to power, the consequences will be pretty sad, Podtserob feels, because "those aren't moderate fundamentalists as in Egypt or Tunisia, but extremists and radicals who will attempt to impose dictatorship on their own people from within to be able to fulfill their principles, namely an Islamic state and an Islamic economy".

In the analyst's opinion, Libya faces such problems as regionalism and tribal rivalry.

"Rivalry between various regions on the one hand and between various tribes on the other hand might blow up Libya. It's a challenge not to be ignored," Podtserob said.