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General Haftar’s push for Tripoli, who is behind the War in Libya?

12.04.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
There exist a common saying that, ‘’ A country which is rich in natural resources attracts militancy instead of investors, ’this statement is so ironical and problematic at the same time. In the same light, as asserted by academics from the Universities of Portsmouth, Warwick and Essex in 2015, ‘’foreign intervention in a civil war is 100 times more likely when the afflicted country has high oil reserves than if it has none.’’ This same report cited oil as a pull for in the war.

These assertions wind down to the present scenario in the North Africa Nation of Libya. The unending political turmoil in Libya seems to be more than what the human mind can comprehend. At this juncture, one can categorically say the fall of President Muammar Gaddafi was the worst thing that ever happened to that country. The 2011 Uprising that ended the rule of one of Africa’s strong Leader, made Libya to become vulnerable and exposed to all forms of militancy. Peace is a rare thing in Libya. Libya can be described in present-day Africa as a ‘’war zone’’.  The country is now divided between the UN-backed Government headed by PM Fayez al-Serraj, which is based in Tripoli and the eastern part under the control of General Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Efforts to quell the tension has remained futile.

WHO IS BEHIND THE WAR IN LIBYA?

The latest flare-up in Libya orchestrated by General Khalifa Haftar and his forces has pushed many pundits to ask the question, ‘’who is funding the war in Libya’’.  Haftar recently unleashed his Libyan National Army LNA forces on Tripoli that has attracted global concern.  The latest fighting has caused the UNSC to postpone the April slated National Conference to a later date, as they strive to subdue the prevailing tension in Libya.  Responding to the above question, Daniel Mumbere, a journalist and political critic said, to test the veracity of the accusation, one must explore the interests of these countries in Libya, and where they are better served by Haftar rather than the UN-backed government. Almost all three will give security and stability in Libya and the region as their official interests in this crisis. According to Mumbere, Haftar’s ability to position himself as the only man who can crush the Islamists and stabilize Libya has won him support from Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and beyond. Tunisian ex-president Moncef Massouki bemoaned that Libya’s wealth would be extinct if Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar succeeds in taking over Tripoli.  According to one Muslim cleric, ground investigation needs to be conducted to ascertain the veracity of the claims that Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt are backing Libyan warlord Haftar, he also blamed the West for being the reason Libya is in Limbo today. ‘’ all those who planned and schemed to bring down Ghaddafi was the west. All other actors were puppets used as intermediary for various reasons.’’

In the same light, pundits have pointed fingers at France, Germany, Russia and the US for having played a role in the latest fights. Pundits based their analysis on the fact that General Haftar visited Moscow some time ago before the Conference in Italy that sought a ceasefire for the fighting parties. In reaction, the Kremlin has refuted the claims, proving its neutrality in the War. Moscow has expressed willingness to solving the political turmoil in Libya.

EFFECTS OF THE LATEST OFFENSIVE

The most disheartening effect of the war is the postponement of the April slated national Conference. A UN-supported national conference which was supposed to discuss a new table for elections has just experienced a push due to the squabbles between General Khalifa Haftar and the UN supported GNA in Tripoli. The conference was expected to run from April 14-16, 2019. However, while UN chief Antonio Guterres has cautioned that no military solution can stop the fighting in Libya, Ghassan Salame, the UN representative to Libya has noted that the National conference will hold immediately the flare-up is quelled. Tripoli is longer save for Libyans and foreigners who reside there.  The ‘’war for wealth’’ is tearing Tripoli apart.

WHO IS GENERAL KHALIFA HAFTAR?

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is one of the renowned figures in Libya. The 75- year old general Haftar is the present head of the Libya National Forces.  Haftar actively participated in a coup that brought then-President Muammar Ghadaffi to power in 1969. During the 2011 war to oust President Ghadaffi, Khalifa Haftar led the army that finally terminated the reign of Ghadaffi. General Khalifa Haftar is also known for his braveness in war fronts. He fought the Yom Kippur war against Israel in 1973. Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar was at the war front during the Chadian-Libyan war from the years1978-1987. The General was however captured by his Chadian opponents.  In 1990, he walked a free man with the help of the George Bush led administration of the United States of America. This earned him a US citizenship as he lived in Langley, Virginia for almost two decades. He also took part in the 2014 civil war experienced by Libya, a nation without debts. In present-day Libya, General Haftar controls most of the oil terminal and has remained defiant in a quest to take total control of the city of Tripoli.

Conclusively, the Arab spring that hit North Africa has effected enormous changes in nations such as Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. But when it comes to a nation like Libya, it is but normal to attest that the wind of change that blew across Libya in 2011 defined the start of misery for Libyans. The fall of Muammar Gadhafi only exposed the oil-rich nation (Libya) to the world of militancy, grief or agony.  Notwithstanding, if the Libya National Army led by Khalifa Haftar and the UN-backed government of NATIONAL Accord (headed by PM al Fayez Sarraj) can go for a cease-fire and the elections conducted, this would be the beginning of a new Libya.

 

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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