Troops of the “Libyan National Army” loyal to General Hafter are advancing from east Libya towards the capital Tripoli. Warfare is expected to break out any moment between forces loyal to the UN-recognized government of Libya based in Tripoli and headed by Fayez as-Siraaj, and the advancing Haftar forces.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
When the Arab spring broke out in Libya in 2011, the Obama administration “led from behind” in conjunction with the NATO allies of Britain and France, to destroy the existing Libyan army, and bring down the corrupt, dictatorial Mu’ammar Qadhafi regime. The primary reason for the Obama administration’s move was to “create a condition of chaos so that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) could seize control of Libya.”
What resulted was total chaos with multiple terrorist groups, of which the Muslim Brotherhood was only one, competing for turf. The infamous Benghazi scandal occurred in the midst of that situation. So, the Obama-Hillary chaos came back to bite them. (Except that it was because of a video.)
In the end, the EU hand-picked one Fayez as-Siraaj to head a Libyan “unity” government in hopes of bringing some sort of badly-needed peace and stability to Libya. This turned out to be a joke.
So, General Haftar, who had retired from Qadhafi’s army prior to the Arab spring, came out of retirement to re-assemble some sort of effective Libyan fighting force from the rubble left by the NATO bombing and the Terrorist rampages. At first, Hafter’s army was nothing but a rag tag group barely hanging on by a thread.
Meanwhile, Egypt overthrew it’s Obama-Hillary supported Muslim Brotherhood (MB) government in Egypt, and the new regime headed by General as-Sisi fearful of the terrorist chaos in neighboring Libya (especially after 21 of its citizens were beheaded by ISIS on a Libyan beach) began to support Haftar’s army with equipment, training, and air raids against terrorist targets.
WHO SUPPORTS WHOM
When Siraaj was fingered by the EU to head the new Libyan “government” in Tripoli, there were suspicions raised in some circles that Siraaj was close to the MB, if not an actual member–sort of a poor man’s Muhammad Mursi. In addition to the EU, the Siraaj government was supported by the Obama administration and the UN.
Meanwhile, General Haftar’s army, which set up headquarters in Benghazi after clearing most of the city of its terrorist groups, came to be supported by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in addition to Egypt.
More recently, the U.S., under Trump, has shifted its enthusiasm from Siraaj to the Egyptian-supported Haftar.
LATEST ARABIC NEWS REPORTS FROM THE SCENE.
The Qatar-based, pro-MB TV channel Al-Jazeera is reporting on the Haftar movements towards Libya in a very negative light, and as an attack against the “internationally recognized legitimate government of Libya.”
The Dubai-based and Saudi-owned TV channel al-arabiyya, on the other hand, has reported favorably on General Haftar’s movements. Following are a gist of reports from a pair of Libyan experts on terrorism interviewed by an al-arabiyya news anchor on 04 April 2019:
The capital, Tripoli, is controlled by the MB and other terrorist gangs including al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Ansar ash-shari’a (of Benghazi scandal fame).
Siraj is considered too weak to handle the situation, so the people of Tripoli have asked General Haftar to relieve them of the terror gangs.
All of the terrorist gangs based in Tripoli are gearing up to resist Haftar’s advance on the city. The militia forces of MB-controlled Masratta (a coastal town east of Tripoli) have vowed to come to the defense of Tripoli.
Tripoli is now at a stage of heightened alert.
The UN’s Gutierez is in Tripoli at this moment showing the UN’s support for the failed Siraaj government and pleading for dialogue rather than military confrontation.
U.S., Russia, EU, and even the U.A.E. are all urging all sides to refrain from violence.
Yet, both the Trump-led U.S. administration and Russia now favor Haftar as the best available solution for Libya. Even Europe is now beginning to realize that the only solution to Libya’s chaos is a strong man with an effective military.
Haftar has proved his effectiveness by seizing vast territories in southern and western Libya, including some oil wells, from the terrorist groups.
It will be interesting to see how CNN and other U.S. media outlets (that usually take dictation from the pro-MB al-Jazeera and Qatar) cover the Libya situation.