Yemeni Activist Tawakkol Kerman Stirs Controversy Over War in Libya


The Yemeni human rights activist Tawakkol Kerman, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has sparked widespread controversy on social media after posting a Tweet that seemed to allude that forces affiliated with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) should pursue a military campaign into eastern Libya.

The Tweet follows recent gains by GNA forces in western Libya. The activist posted “I have to visit Benghazi, [before] long, I still miss the capital of the February revolution in Libya.” The post came only hours after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced a peace initiative to solve the Libyan crisis.

Some social media users expressed their resentment over Kerman’s tweet, saying that it encourages further foreign intervention in Libya. They added that the Tweet is an explicit call to expand war and destruction in Libya.

Kerman has strong affiliations to Qatar and Turkey, the GNA’s main foreign backers. She owns a channel in Turkey, Bilqis TV, as well as other charitable institutions that receive funding from Qatar.

Karman was appointed to the Facebook Oversight Board weeks ago, a development that sparked widespread criticism. Many have accused the Yemeni activist of supporting the agenda of the Islah party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen.

Kerman has severed ties to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Yemeni branch, an Islamist movement founded by Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani. Al-Zindani figures in Washington’s Specially Designated Global Terrorist list.

Facebook’s choice has prompted outrage on social media networks, with many worried that it will bring the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideas right into the heart of the biggest social networking company in the world.

On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced Cairo’s plan for a ceasefire in Libya, beginning June 8, after a tripartite meeting with commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar and Speaker of Libyan Parliament Aguila Saleh.

Sisi said that the political initiative, which he called the “Cairo initiative”, would pave the way for a return to stability in Libya.