Saturday, April 6, 2019

Libya - From Gaddafi To Hafter

By Moon of Alabama - April 06, 2019 at 04:05PM


In March 2011 the United Kingdom, France and the US set out to destroy the government of Libya. Muslim Brotherhood militia and al-Qaeda aligned forces, equipped by Qatar and supported by Britain, took the eastern city of Benghazi. The US airforce destroyed government troops on the ground and helped the militants to capture and murder Muhammar Ghaddafi. Chaos ensued as various tribal forces, local militia and Islamist fought over control of the cities and the spoils.

One person who tried to insert himself into the chaos as new leader of Libya was the former general Khalifa Haftar. He had taken part in the coup that brought Ghaddafi to power but later fell out with him and changed sides. The CIA sponsored him to launch a coup against Ghaddafi. The coup failed and since 1990 Hafter lived in Virginia where he also became a US citizen.

Haftar's attempt to take power among the chaos of 2011 failed. The Muslim Brotherhood aligned militia saw him as a secular Ghaddafi follower and rejected him. The situation changed in 2014 after the military in Egypt ousted the Muslim Brotherhood aligned president Morsi from power. Egypt, under the new president Sisi, feared the Islamist gangs in Libya and wanted to eliminate them. Hafter was called up to build an army and to take over Benghazi. The United Arab Emirates financed the project. With UAE money, Egyptian air support, Russian supplies, French intelligence and special forces support Hafter slowly defeated the various Islamist gangs and took control over Benghazi.

It took him more than three years to consolidate his control and to build up his Libyan National Army (LNA) that would allow him to take the western parts of Libya.

Those western parts, including the capital Tripolis, are controlled by various feuding families, clans and tribes, each with their own militia. There is also a nominal Government of National Accord under Fayez al-Sarraj. It is recognized by the UN but has no forces of its own. It depends on the support of local militia in Tripoli and support coming from the coastal city of Misrata. That city has a strong tribal militia which even operates a small air force.

Libya - January 1 2019

Misrata is also what blocked Hafter from moving his troops from Benghazi in the east along the coast towards Tripoli in the west. The blocking force made it necessary for Hafter to move through the thinly populated south and then west and again north towards Tripoli. An attempt to do so in 2018 failed when local forces in the southwest (pink), supported by Algeria's military, resisted Haftar's move.

This year Algeria has its own problems as mass protests forced its president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down. The Algerian military is busy at home with installing a new ruler. Hafter, with the help of UAE money, bought off the southwestern forces and thereby opened the roads towards Tripoli. He also took control of Sirte in the north and the El Sharara oil fields near Wasi al Hayaa in the south. The field produces some 300,000 barrels of oil per day which can be exported through Sirte's ports. Control of these assets gave Haftar a huge power boost.

Libya - April 6 2019

Haftar's LNA is now some 20 miles from Tripoli but resistance from local militia and from forces sent from Misrata is building up. Yesterday Haftar's military briefly took the defunct international airport of Tripoli but was soon ousted. Today fighter jets launched from Misrata attacked his forces.

Tripoli - April 6 2019

If Hafter wants to succeed he will have to take the road between Tripoli and Misrata to split his enemies. He could then take Tripoli and announce his own national government. There are rumors that some of the warlords in Tripoli are willing to change sides and to join Haftar.

Hafter has open support from France, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia. The Trump administration is not interested to step into the mess. Hafter is an old CIA asset and if he takes control there is a good chance that the US will have influence over him. As long as Libyan oil flows and keeps the global oil price down Trump will be happy. Russia is trying to stay in the background to not give the anti-Russian forces in Washington an excuse to intervene.

The Muslim Brothers, supported by Turkey and Qatar, are still in play in Misrata but have otherwise lost their influence on the ground.

Hafter and his troops seem to have nearly all advantages on their side. Their supply route from Benghazi through the south towards Tripoli is too long, but France is helping to protect it by keeping rebels from Chad and Mali in Libya's south under control. The Egyptian air force may well help again and destroy whatever planes Misrata has left.

But war is unpredictable and militia in Libya have often changed sides on a moments notice. It may take 10 days to take Tripoli without many casualties or 100 days of intense fighting. The attempt could even fail.

Libya is a divers tribal country that is unlikely to function as a democracy. A strongman like Muhammad Ghaddafi can control it by distributing the income from its mineral resources and by keeping the Islamists down. Hafter may be able to replicate that.

But he is 75 years old. A years ago he was evacuated to France for some medical emergency procedures. His sons, two of which lead some of his militia, are of unknown quality. Another problem is brewing in Benghazi where Wahabbi preachers, trained in Saudi Arabia, replaced Muslim Brotherhood preachers and now introduce Saudi style rule over women and local culture.

A strongman ruling all of Libya from Tripoli is certainly better for Libya and its people than the long chaos that ensued after the war the US, Britain and France waged against the country. Given some time Hafter may well achieve that. But he is not a long-term solution. The best one can hope for is that he wins enough time for Libya to come back to its senses and for the civil war to die down. 

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.

from Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles


No comments:

Post a Comment


Ron Paul America Cloud

Site Credits

Ron Paul America

is voluntarily affiliated with

Liberty Operations Group


Site created, maintained and hosted by

Liberty Web Services


#TurnOnTheTruth 2008 2012 4th amendment 911 ACTION Afghanistan war Agency Aggression Principle al-Qaeda Alan Colmes Alert America America's Fault Americans antigun AR 15 assault weapon Audit Authoritarian bailouts Believe Big Brother big government bill of rights Blame blowback bubbles Bush Campaign for Liberty Career Politician Eric Cantor Central Bank Charity China churches collapse Collectivism Commission committee Compassion Congress Conservative constitution Crash dangerous person Democrat Democrats Donald Trump Donald Trump. Planned Parenthood drones economic Economy Edward Snowden End the Fed European Union Federal Reserve Floyd Bayne floyd bayne for congress force foreign interventionism free market free markets GOP Nominee GOP Presidential Debates Government Great Depression gun control House of Representatives housing bubble HR 1745 I like Ron Paul except on foreign policy If ye love wealth better than liberty IFTTT Individual Individualism Institute Irag Iran Iraq war ISIL ISIS Judge Andrew Napalitano libertarian Liberty Liberty Letters Liberty Report Lost mass Media meltdown metadata Micheal Moore Middle East Mitt Romney nap National Neocons New Ron Paul Ad New York Times Newsletters Newt Gingrich No Non non-interventionism NSA NSA Snooping Obama Overreach overthrow Patriot Act peace Peace and Prosperity politicians Pope Francis President Presidential Presidential Race programs prosperity Race Racist Racist Newsletters Rand Paul Read the Bills Act recessions redistribution of wealth refugee crisis Repeal Obamacare Report Republican Republican Nomination Republican Nominee Republicans Revolution Rick Santorum Rick Santorum Exposed Ron Ron Paul Ron Paul Institute Ron Paul Institute Featured Articles Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity Ron Paul Institute Peace and Prosperity Articles Ron Paul Next Chapter Media Channel Ron Paul Racist Newsletters ron paul's foreign policy Ronald Reagan Rosa DeLauro russia Samuel Adams Saudi Arabia Second Amendment Security Senate Senator September 11th attacks Show Soviet Spying stimulate Stock Market surveillance Syria tech bubble terrorist The the Fed the poor US US foreign policy Us troops USA Freedom Act Virginia Virginia Republican Primary voluntarism. Liberty Voluntary Warner Warning warrantless wiretaps YouTube