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Reasons for Haftar’s escalation in Benghazi

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LIBYAPROSPECT – Editorial

News from Benghazi confirm that the Libyan Army is succeeding in freeing Benghazi from the Islamic State group (IS), and the people are very happy for that, as they defeated the terrorism in the city.

In this context, sources mentioned that there are number of reasons that made the retired General, Khalifa Haftar, escalate his military operations in Benghazi, especially after attempts of the Presidential Council (PC) to meet with the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk to adopt the unity government.

Those reasons are as follow: 

First: The political agreement; according to article 8 of the political accord, the position of the supreme council of the Libyan army, granted to Haftar by the HoR, is considered empty once his term ended.

It seems that the political accord angered Haftar and his allies, as he usually tries to impede any reconciliation that could be achieved between Libyans, via his representative inside the PC, Ali Al-Qatrany.

According to article 8, Haftar is officially out of the political scene, and may face international legal charges and humanitarian accusations, which some parties inside Libya prepare for.

It is noticeable that the last operation, dubbed “Operation Martyrs Blood” was launched in Benghazi the same day of voting on the PC, which is regarded clear political message that expresses Haftar’s anger and disappointment from the government formation. He also pushed his ally inside the PC, Al-Qatranh, to withdraw from Shkirat sessions and declare war against the PC.

Second: military and tribal fractions; any observant could see that the military commander suffered lately internal fractions among his axis commanders, especially after two commanders, Faraj Al-Barasy and Mohamed Al-Hejazi, defected from his army.

Such escalation came in time when Haftar begun to lose tribal and popular support, after disagreements appeared between axis commanders, who mostly belong to big tribes like Al-Abaidat, Al-Barasa and Al-Awageer tribes.

It is obvious that the last operation was a reaction from Haftar on nominating, Mahdy Al-Barghathi, from Al-Awageer tribe, as defense minister at Al-Sarraj’s government, which Haftar tried by all means to oppose, but Al-Barasa and Al-Awageer tribes met and announced their support to Al-Barghathi and the government formation.

Third: More victims; the latest escalation reflects anger and concern of Dignity Operation commander, Haftar, due to political, military and tribal failure that threaten his existence and continuity of his position, which justifies Haftar’s personally arrival to Benena base, and justify number of victims and dead among his troops, that reached in three days 60 officers from Barqa tribes that lost around three thousands during a year and a half of war.