New AJCS book sheds light on Operation Libya Dawn in the context of the revolution and counter-revolution

1 February 2021

Al Jazeera Centre for Studies released a new e-book entitled, Operation Libya Dawn: Introductions, Contexts and the Chronicle of the Counter-Revolution, by Libyan writer and researcher Abdulrazag Elaradi on Monday, 1 February 2020.

The book documents Operation Libya Dawn, which took place in 2014, was one of the most important military operations that protected the 17 February 2011 revolution, and was not defeated by the counter-revolution. In this context, the book presents an analysis of the reasons and motives behind the operation as well as its most important stages, putting that into domestic, regional and international context with the help of the testimonies of its political and military participants.

According to the author, the book does not champion a tribe, religious ideology or Libyan party over another or promote political competition. Rather, it is an attempt to highlight an important milestone in the contemporary history of Libya and a continuation of effort exerted by the author years ago, especially as he was a witness to these events and an actor in some of its turns.

The book is divided into an introduction, five chapters and a conclusion. In the introduction, it presents some of the notions and definitions of the revolution and counter-revolution and explains how they apply to the situation in Libya.

The first chapter, “Haftar and the seeds of counter-revolution,” delves into the life of the retired general, Khalifa Haftar, describing how he became the most prominent military name in Libya’s counter-revolution. It also sheds light on the development of the counter-revolution and its different labels and slogans.

The second chapter, “The shift in conflict: war instead of politics,” examines the manifestations of resistance to Libyan institutions that transformed the conflict from a political one with democratic tools to an armed one, looking into the mechanisms used by state institutions after the revolution and civilian political elites to confront the counter-revolution, the attempts to spare Libya from a civil war, and the continuation of the constitutional experience. This chapter also reviews the presuppositions that preceded Haftar's announcement of his successive military coups, and analyses the attempts to import the Egyptian model of overthrowing elected and legitimate authority and apply it in the Libyan case despite the respective differences in social and political conditions in Libya and Egypt.

The third chapter, “The Libyan case after Libya Dawn,” discusses the internal and external scene after the launch of the operation and how the overlap of internal and external factors affected the situation in Libya, pushing it to the brink of a military coup that Libya Dawn came to stop.

In the fourth chapter, “Disrupting the constitutional path,” the author explores the reasons that led to the disruption of the constitutional path, touching on the legal legitimacy of Operation Libya Dawn in-depth and providing legal evidence and court rulings to confirm his premise.

However, in the fifth and last chapter, “Operation Libya Dawn: findings and conclusions,” Elaradi studies the effects of the operation from the perspective of national security, arguing that it was the first operation launched for the defence of Libyan national security.

Abdulrazag Elaradi is a Libyan writer and researcher who got involved in politics early on during the reign of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. He joined the ranks of the Libyan opposition abroad during his stay in the United States. After his return to Libya in 1988, he continued his opposition work and writing within the narrow margin permitted at the time. Following a campaign of arrests launched by the Gaddafi regime, he left to Canada in 1998, returning in 2004. He was one of the first activists in the February 2011 revolution in Tripoli and joined the interim National Transitional Council as a representative of the capital. After the council handed power to the General National Congress in 2012, he went back to writing and research.

Elaradi’s intellectual project focuses on building a memory of the Libyan revolution. He has published three books: Khamas shidad min ajl al-huriya wa laha (“Five hard years for freedom and her”), Libya: sira’ al-huriya wa al-istibdad(“Libya and the struggle of freedom and tyranny”), and Ath-thawra al-libiya: mafasil wa tada’iyat (The Libyan revolution: milestones and inmplications). ‘Amaliyat fajr libya muqadimat’ha wa siyaqat’ha: safahat min waqa’e ath-thawra al-mudhada (Operation Libya Dawn: Introductions, Contexts and the Chronicle of the Counter-Revolution) is his fourth book in which he chronicles the overcoming of the counterrevolution in Libya.