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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Is Haftar In Libya Another Sisi?

Libya's rogue general Khalifa Haftar for the second time in less than four months mounted a coup against Tripoli. Haftar's opportunism has accompanied the man for the last 45 years, and at 71, he is determined to harness the security chaos in Libya to his advantage. On May 16, Haftar staged several bloody attacks against other Libyan Militias in the name of eradicating terrorism by leading a paramilitary force evasively named Libyan National Army. His well-equipped brigades were rapidly joined by officers from national army bases in the eastern parts of the country. Units from the air force also joined in, along with tribal gunmen and other militias, particularly the strong and the notorious Zintan. The well-coordinated attacks, named operation Karama, or Dignity resulted in heavy casualties. Then with unprecedented audacity, he struck the parliament sending Libyan lawmakers from the General National Council (GNC) fleeing for their lives. Among his demands are: the dismissal of the parliament and for the judiciary to take control of the country's affairs until the next elections scheduled for June 25. The man is supposedly a proponent for the democratically elected civilian government, a contradiction that is becoming quit common in post "Arab Spring" Middle East. During the attack on the parliament and seizure of the government buildings, Haftar's forces were backed by warplanes and helicopters. The show of forces was massive, even for post rebellion and NATO -led war Libya where guns are available in abundance. Needless to say, Haftar is not a rogue general alone. He is supported by former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, and has strong and rich Arab backers. His long history of relations with CIA is neither 'misleading' nor 'old' news, as suggested by a recent article in British Guardian.

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