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Many Libyans want secular leadership following end of Gaddafi era

Tripoli, Sun, 06 Nov 2011 ANI

Tripoli, Nov 6 (ANI): Majority of Libyans who participated in secret meetings organized by top rebel commanders who toppled the Gadhafi regime over the last week have reportedly sought for a secular leader.


According to four officials who attended the meetings, no choice has yet been made about Libya's new defense leadership.


However, many of the approximately two dozen participants in these meetings have aligned around a short list of candidates without significant links to the country's Islamist fighting groups to lead the new armed forces and to fill the post of defense minister, The Wall Street Journal reports.


Among the handful of names are a respected dissident ex-military officer and a controversial Libyan who lived in the U.S. and is believed to have close ties to American defense agencies.


This emerging bloc of like-minded commanders is not looking to keep the Islamists from the military, but instead to limit their influence over the formation of the new security institutions. They want all fighters, regardless of ideology, to join a national command structure and help smooth conflicting loyalties, the paper said.


"We don't want a Party of God here in Libya, like Lebanon or Afghanistan," Omar Salem el-Ghaied, the deputy head of the Misrata military council, said, referring to Hezbollah and the Taliban.


"We want to build a state on normal, modern organizational terms. The best man for the job [of leading the national army] would be a man who is a patriot with skills and experience, not someone who counts how many times he prays each day," he added. (ANI)


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