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No time for strength fantasies…It is nation’s time

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By: Abdurrahman Shalgam*

The general Khalifa Haftar summarizes the story of Libyan

Abdurrahman Shalgam
Abdurrahman Shalgam

generation.

We say a story to avoid other expressions.

He is of the generation that grown up around Arab leaders who decorated their suits with stars and medals.

He grew up in the fiftieth of the past century on the revolutions chants, when we say revolution we mean coup, like one of its experts, Michelle Aflag, used to call it.

The Arab revolutions in the fiftieth are called for by intellectuals, and military move at night under its title towards radio stations to announce declaration number 1.

Haftar joined the military cell formed by Gaddafi of military college students in Benghazi in 1964 under the name of the organization of free unionist officers. He was remarkable inside the move.

Next morning, after royalty was downed; Gaddafi divided his fellow officers into 2 groups; members of revolution leadership council of 11 members and him on top of it, and the other free officers who are the rest members of the organization who didn’t get the membership of the council.

Gaddafi chose the council members among the central committee officers of the original move, but several members of the civil committee said Gaddafi formed the leadership council after the revolution succeeded and reached Tripoli from Benghazi. He took the headquarters of the Libyan news agency in Tripoli as his office and the central committee didn’t exist the way its name was used later.

Gaddafi formed the leadership council based on tribal and regional balances, he chose members based on readiness for obedience and excluded individuals of ideologies and strong personalities. He controlled the members in all ways and used them inside the nations institutions and military formations.

Qaddafi divided them into 3 groups

First, who had major rules in attracting members for the movement in the secret organizational phase before taking over power.

Second, who appeared to have managerial, military or security ability.

Third, the obedient sector with no discussions at all, the group that does whatever it is ordered; tools the governance machine needs.

Where was Khalifa Haftar?

He was in the lead of the free officers. He had much more powers than other members.

He is amongst officers who leave their camps and never take off the military suit. He took part in several qualifying military courses inside and abroad. He was known for strong personality and pride in himself to the point of arrogance.

He clashed with many of his colleagues and Gaddafi was always his defender and motivator.

He was of the sector that Gaddafi put in the military leadership circle since day 1.

In the eightieth of the last century, Chad was the field Gaddafi sewed with the seeds of military action for the political and intellectual dream; the trans boundary leadership.

The Libyan military machine moved all, soldiers, officers, tanks and jets with all humanitarian abilities for the fight. Major Libyan officers became leaders in the Chad fight; the free officers Gaddafi put in group 2 today.

Chad under the rule of Hussain Hebry became a very personal case in addition to the past 2 factors, but the game went larger.

France intervened strongly. From strategic, cultural and even economical point, government of François Mitterrand believed Gaddafi has crossed lines. Gaddafi knew confrontation with France helps him to enter the national Arab leadership factory, even the African and international too. Wasn’t it the war between Egypt, France, Britain, and Israel that launched Jamal Abdunnasir’s leadership?

Gaddafi and Mitterrand met in Cyprus to tackle peacefully the matter of Libyan intervention in Chad, they reached agreement. In the second day, Gaddafi preached it, which angered France and made it turn into a direct party in this war. Gaddafi pushed his last machinery and man power in support for Chadic forces against the forces of President Idris Debbi and put Haftar as a leader on it.

Wadi Al-Doom battle was in the Libyan modern history. Where Libyan forces centralized couldn’t be easily preached by the strongest armies the way little Chadic forces did.

No doubt French satellites and air force played a magical role in these few horrible hours in which around 1269 Libyan soldiers were killed and 384 were captured, among them was Haftar, on 22 March 1987.

Gaddafi denied the existence of Libyan forces in Chad; he denied knowledge of Haftar when asked about him. “Maybe he is one of shepherds who lost their way searching for his sheep”, he laughed. Haftar after that moved between Iraq and America.

Haftar joined National Front for the Salvation of Libya with political and military elites and that was the first serious opposition move against Gaddafi.

After settling disagreements between Libya and the West in 2000, Libyan opponents abroad started to communicate with the Gaddafi regime. Amongst them was Haftar who communicated with Abu-Zaid Dorda, who worked as Libya’s representative at the UN.

The regime didn’t trust Haftar and it was the way back. He didn’t come back to Libya till February 17th revolution. It was then announced the return of “the first Khalifa Haftar”, the proud person who sees himself as Libya’s savior, and who is more important than Abdul-Fatah Yunis, who was appointed as the chief of staff of rebels’ army. He refused to deal with major general Omar Al-Hariri, who once was his comrade in the movement before being accused of coup attempt and sent to prison, in the time of Gaddafi regime.

Haftar is still carrying the stars of fiftieth men over his shoulders and medals of national heroism delusion on his chest.

We say to Haftar: think, think, think; you gave years to the nation, were taken off it and carried the dream of free nation.

Be a voice of wisdom. There is no time for strength fantasies. This is the time for nation. Do you remember Aziz Al-Ahdab? who made a comic coup in Lebanon, who drank coffee while reading the first declaration, then went back to his home calmly. Think about history, please Haftar.

*A Libyan retired politician and writer

Translated By LIBYAPROSPECT: Source