Staunch loyalists of the radical religious sect, Salafi Madkhali, which is completely owned and orchestrated by Saudi Arabia’s intelligence, are now everywhere to be found in Cyrenaica (Barqa) region – eastern Libya – spewing hardline rhetoric, radical and extremist religious views as well as calling their opposition kharijites (renegades) and infidels.
One of the most prominent figures of such a background in eastern Libya is the Commander of Madkhali “Al-Tawheed Brigade” Ashraf Al-Mayar. The Madkhali sheikh has been giving hand to the bloodthirsty warlord Khalifa Haftar since the outset of his Karama Operation (Dignity Operation) in 2014, as Haftar has given him the military rank of a Major.
Gaurdian of Sharia Law
The alliance between Haftar and the Madkhali-linked Brigade doesn’t seem blooming at present. After years of utter loyalty, Al-Mayar has published a video statement, rejecting the popular mandate claimed by Haftar who aimed to use this step to become, as he put it, the ruler of the country and to topple over the UN-backed Libyan Political Agreement, which was seen by observers as a coup against Tobruk-based House of Representatives to keep out of the seizure of power equation in the region of Cyrenaica.
The Madkhali figure has voiced his loyalty to the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Tobruk, Aqila Saleh, saying anyone who opposes him is a traitor and commending the initiative proposed by Saleh, who called for forming a new Presidential Council that involves a structure of the three Libyan regions.
The radical Madkhali organization operates in similar ways to those of ISIS as it appoints a representative in every region after dividing the country into three targeted regions. Al-Mayar himself is the Madkhalis’ reference for all decisions in eastern Libya, while in central Libya and Tripoli, is Majdi Hafala – A.K.A. Abu Musaab – who is said to have defected from the Madkhali organization lately. Westward, Madkhalis have appointed Tariq Durman – A.K.A. Abu Al-Khattab – as the representative. Durman is know for his extreme and radical views as he doesn’t only urge his staunch blinded followers to go on jihad against the legitimate Government of National Accord, but also doesn’t think twice about legitimizing the killing of his foes or those who have different ideological views from his.
Most of the Madkhalis speak with an Arabic dialect similar to that of Saudi Arabia so that they imitate their leaderships who are all under the command of Saudi cleric Rabee Al-Madkhali, who is backed and funded by Saudi authorities, along with his followers and loyalists in Libya and other countries. The aim for the Saudi support of Madkhalis is to call for “never opposing the oppressive and tyrant rulers” and for “demonizing the Arab Spring revolutions”.
The Madkhali sheikhs once said: “Even when the ruler appears live on TV drinking alcohol for half an hour, if you are facing him, oppose this even with a loud voice, but if you are not with him and if you are speaking behind his back, you mustn’t mention his name or call for his opposition”.
A Religious Cover
Madkhalis in Libya have been in what could be described as “marriage with benefits” with Haftar, who has been giving them religious platforms to spread their ideology, as they continue to fight within his militias and preach at mosques, urging people to be loyal to Haftar. The Madkhalis aren’t likely after ending their relationship with Haftar, but are indeed trying to coax him into being under the authority of HoR Speaker Aqila Saleh, which was clear in the latest statement by Al-Mayar, who spared no chance to hint at the religious background of foreign support received by warlord Haftar, alluding to “the blasphemous use of infidels”.
The Saudi-intelligence-linked sheikh Al-Mayar went too far when he described Haftar’s foreign support – Arabs and Westerners – as wise so that not a single country can control Libya or dictate its policies.
Crimes against Opposition
Madkhalis are known for their complete obedience even if the ruler is a tyrant, that is why Moammar Gaddafi used them before he was ousted in 2011; deep inside, they know they like to follow a dictator: they know they are the “scholars of the sultan”; the ones who advise the rulers with things that are music to their ears.
Madkhalis are accustomed to killing or “legitimizing the killing” of their opposition, so that their loyalists killed Libyan clerics who are followers of Maliki school of Islam. They also urged for destroying Sufi shrines since 2012 and called Ibadi sect followers, who are mostly Amazigh, Kharijites and infidels.
Elections by Allegiance
In a broken record scenario, which is styled to the ISIS militants, Al-Mayar uses the same rhetoric to call for taking away Libyans’ right to vote in elections; a right they earned themselves after February revolution, in order to give “Baya’a (An oath of allegiance to elect Haftar)”.
Haftar’s loyalists, such as Durman and Al-Mayar and others, have the same view on elections, as Madkhalis believe not all citizens are entitled to pledge allegiance to the ruler; only the elite, thus throwing all civil and democratic state traits in the gutter and bringing Libya backward so that Haftar and his militias control the country.
Haftar is using armed groups that are linked to racial Madkhalis, especially Al-Khamseen (50) Brigade led by the serial killer, Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity – in addition to Al-Tawheed 210 and Tariq bin Ziyad Brigades.
Madkhali militias include Al-Adiyat Brigade from Zintan, Subol Al-Salam Brigade from Al-Kufra, Al-Radaa (Deterrence) Force of Ajdabiya, Surman Criminal Investigation Department, and Al-Wadi Brigade of Sabratha, which both have been kicked out of the two cities after GNA forces have seized control and pushed out Haftar’s militias.
All these brigades are are accused of war crimes with evidence in videos, footage and photos for their leaders urging their fighters to to commit extrajudicial executions of captives, in the name of religion.
Meanwhile, in areas under the control of the legitimate Government of National Accord, Madkhalis are operating with silence and are mostly laying low as their fate is directly linked to the fate of Haftar, knowing that cities like Al-Zawiya, Gharyan, Al-Khoms, Sabratha and Surman saw a public refusal of such radical ideological groups leading to kicking them out of those cities.
Madkhalis are diehard enemies to the international community and civil state institutions, calling them Masonary. All such institutions have now ceased to exist in areas under Haftar’s control and they have been conducting arrests of civil activists for years in those areas.
Al-Mayar mentioned in his latest video statement the word “Masonary” 13 times, using it to describe the UN and its organizations, which he called “the invisible hand ruling the world”.
The Madkhali figure said Haftar’s militias and his staunch radical followers are fighting “those Masonary people” in this conflict.
Such farfetched comments by Madkhalis show the real ideology and the true radical face of this Saudi-linked-and-funded religious sect, which is now posing a threat to Libya’s future and its relations with foreign powers.