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FP: Haftar exacerbates Libya’s conflict

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LIBYAPROSPECT – Aya Khalil

The already dangerous situations in Libya could turn worse with even broader conflict if the biggest obstacle, General Khalifa Haftar and his motley band of Gaddafi-era soldiers and militias known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), is overlooked, Foreign Policy Magazine (FP) stated.

An article by Tarek Megrisi viewed Haftar as an odd and much-misunderstood piece in the wider Libyan puzzle as he is backed by a several political and community leaders who have much to gain by aligning with him.

Haftar who rejected the internationally backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the army loyal to it and his allies are, in short, exacerbating the country’s existing political divide, FP stated.

It noted to recent kidnappings of the Haftar’s critics in territory under his control in Benghazi and Tobruk, as well as the prominence of Gaddafi-era personalities and secret police operatives in his administration, and pointed that such facts offer clues about the type of state he aims to form.

“Haftar may not be quite the force for stability that he claims. Until very recently his camp was showing signs of fragmentation, both politically and militarily; there are many reasons to suppose that his supporters are much less cohesive than they may at first seem,” FP said.

The writer stated that the GNA’s inability to distinguish itself from previous transitional administrations is leading an already suspicious population to trust in the devil they know (Haftar) rather than risk supporting yet another weak government that is heavy on rhetoric and light on substance.

It concluded that Haftar is a man whose popularity is a direct product of Libya’s post-revolutionary vacuum of leadership. Confronting him with militarily or threats of sanctions will only reinforce his position while casting the GNA as just another faction in the country’s continuing power struggles rather than as a legitimate national government.