Can a military parade help Libyan Haftar stay relevant?
Regional experts say warlord Khalifa Haftar is making desperate attempts to prolong his existence in the country, but the ground is slipping under his feet.
Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, the so-called commander of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), recently invited members of the national unity government, including Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, to attend a military parade to commemorate the “Seventh anniversary of Operation Dignity at Benina Air Base in Benghazi on May 29.
During the Libyan conflict, the breaking of the truce became one of the main features of the warlord’s threatening presence in the east of the country. Despite violating dozens of peace and ceasefire agreements, Haftar has made desperate attempts to sabotage and uproot the UN-recognized government of national accord.
For Libya observers, Haftar cares little for the consolidation of peace and stability in the North African country, his only goal having always been to seize power in the country.
Although he was supported by armed groups and foreign fighters full of the criminals and mercenariesFar from Haftar’s description that his men are disciplined and professional, he claims that he and his men fought against Daesh in 2014 under the name “Operation Dignity”.
Haftar’s alleged fight against Daesh became one of the main factors for which he won Western sympathies, which ultimately helped him to entrench himself in eastern Libya.
To commemorate “Operation Dignity”, Haftar wanted to demonstrate force by organizing a military parade on Saturday, May 29. Manfi, the head of the Libyan presidential council, swept his invitation, claiming that they were visiting Algeria and Tunisia respectively on Saturday. Many Libyan observers believe it was a smooth rejection of Haftar’s parade, revealing just how weak his position is in the grand scheme of things.
Abdulkader Assad, editor-in-chief of The Libya Observer and Libya Alahrar English, told TRT World that Haftar used to use so-called Operation Dignity to “cover up his crimes” and stay relevant in determining the future from Libya.
“Dbeibah and Manfi announced that they would travel to Algeria and Tunisia respectively on Saturday as a sign of their escape from the Haftar parade,” Assad said.
Although they distanced themselves from the parade, Assad criticized the prime minister and army chief’s shyness over Haftar, the man who committed “heinous crimes” against the Libyans.
According to Dr Guma el Gamaty, who heads the Taghyeer political party in Libya, Haftar invited state officials to attend the parade ceremony only to gain some legitimacy in the eyes of ordinary Libyans and the world.
“His military parade tomorrow is not endorsed by legitimate political leaders and I do not expect Al Manfi, who is visiting Tunisia, to attend or any other member of his council,” Gamaty said.
Gamaty said Haftar controls the east and parts of the south by “de facto force”. not by any legitimacy, and yet he “claims to be a leading player” in Libya despite accusations of committing war crimes against the country’s internationally recognized ruling factions.
Gamaty said that Haftar’s thirst for power would push him to take the election route since he failed to get anything from the military route.
He will run for president himself or put one of his sons in the fray, Gamaty added.
Assad, another expert, said Haftar had no respect for the electoral process supported by the UN and Libya’s GNU.
“Warlord Khalifa Haftar has publicly stated that his so-called General Command and his so-called Libyan National Army have no military or political ties to the Government of National Unity (GNU). He announced through his spokesperson, Ahmed Al-Mismari, that if the GNU wants to enter the city under its control, it must be informed in advance, ”Assad said.
“Visit to Benghazi earlier this month is living proof of Haftar’s rejection of GNU, as his militias surrounded Benina airport and banned GNU from entering the city to convene the third regular government meeting at the time ”.
“As a soldier and a person who seeks to bring Libya back to family rule and authoritarianism, Haftar never believed in elections and his only role since his return to Libya during the 2011 revolution against Gaddafi was to hold high-level military posts. and then move forward with his ambitions as a military junta, ”continued Assad.
“He saw opportunities in eastern Libya, where major tribes supported his plans for military strength, and he received unchallenged support from Egypt, United Arab Emirates, France, Arabia. Arabia, Jordan and Russia. “
The UN has repeatedly called for foreign fighters and mercenaries to leave Libya “without further delay”, but Haftar refuses to pay attention. It continues to fund and administer foreign mercenaries deployed in eastern Libya, ignoring calls from the international community. This decision undermines the ongoing political process.
For Assad, Haftar’s insistence on keeping the mercenaries deployed on Libyan soil is a stark reminder that the warlord does not respect the Libyan aspiration for peace and stability, which may be possible with a fair and transparent election. in December of this year.
“One of its main supporters, the Russian mercenaries of the Wagner group, are still digging trenches in Sirte, while the Janjaweed mercenaries roam inside Al-Juffra. His plans never changed. He wants to rule Libya and wants his sons and his tribe to be his heirs to the military regime, just like Gaddafi, ”Assad said.
Like Haftar, Aguila Saleh, the head of the House of Representatives (HoR) in eastern Libya, is also reluctant to follow the UN-led peace process. Saleh is Haftar’s main supporter. While Haftar likes to display his military fatigues in public, Saleh is known to be his “in costume” version.
“Aguila Saleh is still the head of the HoR and he is under pressure especially from the US government to approve the budget and the constitutional basis for the elections. But Aguila Saleh is pursuing her own political ambitions, possibly also running in the presidential elections. It is mainly controlled and manipulated by the Egyptians and the Russians, ”Gamaty said.
According to Assad, the maintenance of Saleh in Libya’s power politics is essential to Haftar’s future existence. It is with the support of Saleh that he claims to be the so-called commander-in-chief of the “Libyan national army”.
“Saleh is taking advantage of the chaos created by Haftar through his militias. In fact, he remains in the HoR presidency as long as the unrest continues, while Haftar’s interest in Saleh is conversely the same. He is using Saleh as a political cover-up for his illegitimate military presence in the eastern region, ”Assad said.
“Saleh and Haftar are fighting for power, they want to stay in the political and military arena as long as they can live, then pass it on to their families; it is as if the tyranny of Gaddafi is running through their veins. Saleh works for his interests by hampering two essential needs of the government of national unity: the budget and the constitutional base, ”he added.
Source: TRT World