Primary sources in Benghazi, Libya, inform that an invitation is being sent by the leadership of the Senussiyyah movement — the biggest Muslim sect in Libya — to the leaders of all 40 or so Libyan tribes to meet at the Zawia Baida, the “white monastery” in Bayda (fourth largest city in Libya), northern Cyrenaica, on June 19 and 20, 2014. The purpose of the meeting is to hold a “prayer for peace and unity”. The purpose is being specifically stated in the invitations being prepared as not a call to discuss how to achieve peace, but merely to gather to “pray for peace”. The concept was stated as an opportunity to get the tribes to a point where they could merely meet in civil circumstances.
The Senussi family inside Libya is working together on this, but the principal architect is Prince (Sayyed) Idris al-Senussi.
The process, as stated privately by the principals, was to begin harmonizing the tribes so that they could ultimately (but soon) effectively begin work to oppose, and remove, the radical jihadist/salafist/takfiri elements who were brought in to Libya by external powers (mainly the US, Qatar, and Turkey) to fight Qadhafi. Even at the time, in early 2011, their introduction was opposed by the tribes of Cyrenaica (the main Senussiyyah area). Now the jihadist groups in Libya have, to a large extent, rallied around the Ikhwan (Muslim Brothers) to create a “Free Egyptian Army” (FEA), modeled on the “Free Syrian Army”, which has been supported by the US, Qatar, and Turkey. The FEA, based in Cyrenaica, is reportedly poised for attacks on Egypt.
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The Cyrenaicans began their “counter-coup” in February 2011 against the 1969 coup by Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi against the Government of King (Sayyed) Idris I (al-Senussi) and against the 1952 Constitution. The Cyrenaican commencement of the conflict against Qadhafi used the old Libyan (royal) flag and specifically called for the revival of the 1952 Constitution, which had been approved by the United Nations and all 140 tribes. Qadhafi at that time declared that anyone who discussed the Constitution would be executed. That Constitution agreed that the head-of-state of Libya would be a Senussi, given that the Senussi were not a Libyan tribe, but, as sharif (descendants of the Prophet), would provide a neutral, non-tribal leader who would represent the interests of all Libyans. In, and since, 2011, the US has not discussed this issue because of the general State Dept. hostility toward all traditional forms of governance.
Several tribal leaders, involved in planning the prayer gathering at the traditional founding place of the Senussiyyah movement in Libya (the Zawia Baida), have already indicated that they would participate. An invitation would go to all tribes, the source confirmed, including the Qadhadfa, the tribe of former leader Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, and the tribe of Qadhafi’s former partner, Maj. ‘Abd al-Salam Jallud, the Megarha.
The French Government, which is in close touch with Sayyed Idris al-Senussi, has indicated that it supported the gathering and the possible (and intended) outcome, which was the implied leadership it would return to the Senussi.
The Government of Saudi Arabia, which is also in close contact with Idris, has also reportedly indicated it would support a Senussi-led revival of control in Libya, or would recognize a partition of Libya. This, despite the traditional hostility of the Wahhabi movement to the Senussi movement (but not surpassed by their common opposition to the Qatari-promoted salafists and Ikhwan in Libya, which now threaten Egypt, which is of profound strategic importance to Saudi Arabia in the absence of a close US-Saudi relationship.
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Many elements in the Senussi and pro-Senussi tribes of Cyrenaica and Fezzan have indicated that they were at the point where they would be ready to declare separation from Tripolitania if unity did not emerge soon. Cyrenaica and Fezzan have the bulk of the Libyan resources. Sayyed Idris has been in close contact with the Elysee Palace for some time, and French sources appear to confirm that they would support a separate state (of Cyrenaica, or Cyrenaica plus Fezzan) if it was to declare itself.
Sayyed Idris has committed to working to (a) stop the illegal flow of weapons out of Libya from the former Qadhafi stockpiles, particularly to Syria, and southward to Chad, Niger, and Nigeria; (b) stop the illegal flow of immigrants from Africa to Europe via Libya; and (c) work with Egypt to stop the use of Libya has a safe-haven for Ikhwan/salafist fighters (such as the “Free Egyptian Army”).
Sayyed Idris has indicated that he would attempt to meet before the “prayer gathering” with the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, to discuss the situation, and possibly with Chadian Pres. Idriss Déby Itno. Significantly, Sayyed Idris’ grandmother was reportedly of Chadian origin. It was understood also that Idris could also try to visit Nigeria before the gathering to meet with Pres. Goodluck Jonathan and other officials. He reportedly had intermediaries working to set up the Nigerian meeting, but it is not known yet whether these contacts have initiated an attempted contact.