After the recent problems between the leadership of the Libyan army, Khalifa Haftar and his supporters, LIBYAPROSPECT tries to explore the details of the problems and to raise questions on it by bringing together the views of Ibrahim Jadhran, a military leader in Ajdabiya, who was one of the closest people to the retired General Khalifa Haftar, and Zeyad Dogheam, a member of the HoR.
Jadhran has made it clear that tensions have risen between himself and Haftar. In a video posted on social media, Jadhran begins to talks about the problems between him and Haftar.
He begins by saying that he and his team of Petroleum Defence guards, were on their way to Tobrok from Ajdabiya in five cars, he said that before they left Ajdabiya, they phoned their friends in Tobrok telling them that they were on their way. When they were about 100km from Tobrok, they found their friends waiting for them and welcoming them, then they went together to Tobrok.
They approached a checkpoint, and were flagged to be stopped and searched, their friends refused to allow the checkpoint guards to search the vehicles, they were then allowed to get passed the checkpoint. He said that after they passed that checkpoint, they approached a Military Police checkpoint. He said that there were many cars and tens of soldiers armed who tried to stop them by shooting. One of the people who tried to stop them was the nephew of the head of the HoR. After shots were exchanged the other side began to fall back.
In Tobrok, Jadhran said that the guards at the checkpoint got their orders from the General Military office in the city of al-Marej, which is under the leadership of Khalifa Haftar, he said that all the groups that were present at the second checkpoint were meant to follow the commands of the HoR but instead they took their commands from Haftar rather than from the HoR.
He said that when he left Tobrok he was surprised to see the air force flying above them, trying to bomb them, then, they discovered that they were the Petroleum Defence Guards. He then said that when he got to Ajdabiya, he phoned a friend of his in the HoR, who is a part of the Defence and Security Committee, he told him that the pilots told the member of the committee that they got the orders from Saqr Joroushi. The pilots also said that Joroushi even called for everyone to be ready to fight IS, he was manipulating people to bomb in order to bomb the ‘convoy’ (which was Jadhran).
According to Jadhran, Saqr Joroushi admitted that he got the orders from the captive, defeated, Colonel Khalifa Haftar (as Jadhran described him). When commenting sarcastically on Haftar, Jadhran said that Haftar is the man from the glorious times of Wadi Aldoum in Chad, every Libyan knows about it, and that was the beginning of the failure of the Libyan army. Jadhran also said that the Libyan army is weak, one which we wish becomes stronger to protect our country and our people, and not be a bunch of gangsters fighting to reach the leadership of the country, and use the army as a means to achieve their personal end.
It seems as if, even the HoR is one of the reasons for this chaos in Libya, Haftar should take orders from the HoR, not for him to order the brigades himself. In a televised interview with a member of the HoR called Zeyad Dogheam, spoke to Libya Channel on Wednesday. He spoke about the corruption of the Libyan army, and how Haftar cannot lead the Libyan army. He also spoke about Haftar’s failure in his fight against IS and terrorism. Dogheam used to be one of the supporters of Haftar but now is against him.
The government of the HoR in Tobrok has taken about 1.5 billion Libyan Dinars out as local loans over the past ten to twelve months. He said that over 100 million dinars went straight to the Libyan Army. Dogheam also said that 51 million went towards paying the salaries for over 54,000 soldiers and leaders of the Libyan Army, he said that an army of over 54,000 soldiers should not just be able to free Benghazi from terrorism, but it should be able to free Libya as a whole from terrorism. He said that the budget of development was set at 390 million Libyan Dinars, of which the HoR gave 290 Million Libyan Dinars to the Libyan army, this means that over 50% of the budget for development went to the Libyan army.
Dogheam said that we must bear in mind that Abdulrazaq al-Nathouri, the Head of the Military ranks in the Libyan Army said at the start of the campaign against IS that the Libyan army only needs 150 Million Libyan Dinars in order to free Benghazi from terrorism. He received the 150 million Libyan Dinars he asked for, last November, maybe they spent the money on nonsense. Dogheam says that we haven’t witnessed the freedom of Benghazi, so where did the money go?
Dogheam said that he will not expose or talk about the amount of money spent outside of Libya, as it will embarrass friendly countries. But, he raised a question, he says 35,000 full military uniforms, from the hat to the boots, were given as a present from a friendly country, where are they? He said that he needs the headquarters of the military ranks to answer this question. If Haftar cannot unite the leaders of his brigades, then how can he free Benghazi?
He then said that 80% of the budget went straight to the army. He then calculated the total. He said that if we add all the military spending of the army, it will surpass 500 Million Libyan Dinars without a doubt.
Dogheam said that even when the Libyan army decided to attack the city of Benghazi without the consent of the HoR, they made no progress, when the HoR asks them about the situation in Benghazi, their only reply was “the situation is bad”. He also said that the Court of Audit should provide a detailed report of where the money went, on what it was spent on and was the spending worthwhile. He added, when the HoR asked the head of the Military Ranks for a report, he refused to provide one. Dogheam says this raises a question, why would head of the Military Ranks refuse to provide the report? Is he trying to hide something?
He also says that the file of the wounded Libyan soldiers is a very unclear file. He said that he cannot say that it is corrupt but there is no clarity in it. Many members of the HoR have begun to talk about getting rid of the current head of the Military Ranks, Abdulrazaq al-Nathouri, and replace him with someone new and better.
All that was mentioned above raises essential questions on the Libyan army under the leadership of Khalifa Haftar, and questions around Haftar himself. Is he qualified to lead the Libyan army in Benghazi, and is his army starting to realise the weaknesses of Haftar? If all of this is applied to the attitude of the HoR regarding the Libyan political dialogue, what can one expect? Will Libya remain in chaos, or will the Libyans look at the problems and focus on the next step of the dialogue, which will gather the security and armed factions in Libya.