Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Libya: Khalifa Haftar orders his troops to take Tripoli

07.04.2019
Article from AFRIC editorial
Libya is one of the North African countries that have experienced severe political instability since 2011. The on-going military crisis in Libya began on 2nd February 2011 with street protests for political leadership change in the Capital city Tripoli and later extended to Benghazi by the 9th February 2011. During the protest, the security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters killing a multitude and leaving others fatally wounded. The protesters retaliated against the military with arms and this later on escalated into a civil war described as ‘The Libyan Revolution of Dignity” or “Uprising of Dignity” which finally spread throughout the country.

Despite the military assistance from France, USA, UK, the UN and other world powers, armed groups have persisted. About 200,000 migrants and asylum seekers have fled Libya according to United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) since 2011.

Most Recent Happenings in Libya

Field Marshal, General Khalifa Haftar since his appointment in 2015 as commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) under a former UN recognized government, has led the Libyan military till present that is supposed to be defending Libya against rebel forces. The LNA has gained control over 70% of Libya especially in Fezzan towards the South where there are many oil fields and heavily populated.

On April 4th 2019, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who is presently in Libya for peace talks urged Libyans to cease from violence and seek for peace. He had a series of talks with General Haftar and just hours after the talks, Haftar without consulting the acting government ordered an attack on Tripoli in a public statement on social media through a video saying,

“To our army which is stationed at the outskirts of Tripoli, today we complete our match …we are going to start shortly”, he continued, “Today we shall shake the land under the feet of their suppressors”. He told the army not to engage with civilians during the attack. He called it “Operation to liberate Tripoli”.

In this attack, Haftar used the Air Force to strike Gharyan some kilometers South of Tripoli on Saturday 6th April 2019 in the morning, but the number of casualties is yet to be determined. This decision by Haftar to use the LNA in his recent attack without the consent of the UN backed government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has been described as launching a Coup D’état in his TV address saying,

“We have extended hands of peace, but General Haftar will not be met with nothing but strength and firmness”.

Rebel Activities Before 2019

The rebels constitute the Levant ISIS and other Islamic sects such as the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, Ansa al-Sharia, the Islamic State of Iraq and The Shura Council of Mujahhideen have been leading the different rebel groups in Tripoli and other areas especially the oil fields (Al-Waha, Al-Mabrouk, Al-Dafa oil fields).

There has been a series of bombings and attacks by rebels down the years like that of the Bayat al-Radwan Mosque in Benghazi where about 40 people were killed and the Mitiga Airport in Tripoli leading to its shutdown. Parliamentary elections which were scheduled to take place in December 2018 were postponed after an agreement between Fayez al-Sarraj, Khalifa Hafter, Aguila Saleh Issa and Khalid al-Mishri to 2019.

Libya has been the highest oil producer in Africa for over 50 years now, and the outbreak of another civil war will continue to deteriorate their economy. At this point in time, a renewed civil war is likely to breakout. The UN alongside other stakeholders is currently spearheading a peace talks with parties concerned in a bid to prevent another war which will be devastating to the citizens and the nation at large.

Article from AFRIC editorial.

Credit image/google images.

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