Faraj Abohashem, the spokesman of the House of Representatives (HoR) has criticised news from one of the international media outlets, the news stated that the retired General Khalifa Haftar, and one of his biggest officers, Saqir Eljoroushi have been placed on the list of people to be sanctioned by the European Union (EU); they are seen as figures attempting to sabotage the political and peace accord.
Abohashem expressed his feelings openly on this issue, he believes that inside Libya, the people have accepted the fact that the international community has given little or no help in regards to exterminating the threat of terrorism, and that these allegations are false.
On the other hand, it is important to note what Haftar has said on the relationship between the Libyan army and the political dialogue, he said “we, the army, want no relationship with the dialogue”. He has made it clear that the Libyan army cannot be a part of any political dialogue, and he described the Libyan army as a “red line”. Haftar added that they will not accept any inclusion of the Libyan army in any political dialogue. He warned that if the dialogue does reach an agreement that is against the Libyan people, this agreement will not be recognised, and that it will be as if the dialogue has never existed.
He also criticised the performance of the HoR, he said that there are groups within the House which do not support him and his movement at all, and they work against him. However, he said on the other hand, there is also a group in the HoR that supports his movement, this group is effective and can take decisions inside the HoR on behalf of the Libyan people.
In other news, a video of one of the leading commanders under Khalifa Haftar, Khaled Bulagheeb, has been leaked on social media, in the video, he criticises Haftar and his actions. He begins by saying, since the Dignity operation (Karama operations) began just over a year ago. Bulagheeb said that, the main aims of the operation, were to protect Benghazi from terrorism and fight extremism, and to bring an end to all the assassinations and the chaos. Our target was not to bring in people like me or anyone (hinting Haftar) in a position of power, to make them the new tyrant.
He added, we fight for the homeland and not for persons (figures or leaders), we fight for our people and not for persons. Haftar is our leader, but there is an issue, the other commanders are professionals, they are fighting for our people and the homeland, but they are not sufficiently armed, there aren’t enough weapons for them to advance on their front lines.
This begs the question of, why? Bulagheeb says that, Haftar has given orders to move the artillery of the Libyan army to the western side of Libya, light, medium and heavy weapons as well as fighter jets have been moved to the army base of Al-Watya to fight there. He uses this as evidence to say that, the goal of the Dignity operation has been disillusioned, and has changed. Bulagheeb says that, the Dignity operation has been going on for over a year, but only a few places have been liberated. He gave the example of the region called Al-Sabri in Benghazi, soldiers of the Dignity army cannot advance further to diminish the threat of terrorism there, because of the lack of supplies, the soldiers cannot advance, similarly in the region of Al-Layti in Benghazi, for over a year Dignity forces cannot advance because of the same reason.
Bulagheeb raised the question, has Haftar got a secret agenda that is supported by international governments? Does he want to become a political leader in Libya? If this is the case, then we cannot accept this; we are fighting for our people and our homeland, we do not want to fight for Haftar so he can use us as a means to reach his own end. We need someone who is willing to fight for the people and the homeland, and not for a secret agenda. This is the main reason why we started this operation. He also added, it is not fair that leaders order other people’s sons to fight in the battlefield, when their sons are away from the heat. For example Haftar, has his son in Al-Marj, in peace and harmony, when our boys are dying, if this is the case, then Gadhafi was better than Haftar, at least his sons stayed, and there are ones that died and ones in jail.
In regards to Haftar, his spokesman has announced on social media that, Faraj Elbarasi, one of the leading officers of the Libyan army, has been dismissed from his post, and he ordered the soldiers and the volunteers under Elbarasi’s orders to not obey him anymore, as he is no longer their leader. However, reports do state that Elbarasi wanted to leave, due to the fact that the goals set out at the start of the Dignity operation have not been reached, even after more than a year.
Notwithstanding, in the political dialogue, the side of the GNC and the boycotting members of the HoR, oppose the idea of keeping Haftar as the leader of the army, some of them also say that, the issue with security cannot be solved unless Haftar leaves the leadership of the army, but the Dialogue Committee of the HoR, are still insisting on Haftar to be the head of the army, and to lead the fight against terrorism.
The main questions here are, is it true that Haftar and Eljoroushi’s names were mentioned in the EU meeting to be sanctioned against, or is this a manoeuvre by the media? From what we see with these arguments mounting against Haftar, will Haftar be the leader of the Libyan army after the accord government is created, or will he be removed? And what consequences will be expected if Haftar remains as the head of the Libyan army, or will he be replaced by someone else?