April 15, 2019

VOA’S IMAGE ESSAY ON LIBYA’S LATEST STRONGMAN: 46 seconds long, images and text, no voice over. Most of VOA’s quick takes hit the essential details. This one strikes me as a reasonably quick intro to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar. His forces are now preparing to attack Tripoli.

RELATED: StrategyPages’ April 11 update on the looming battle for Tripoli. Note StrategyPage uses the spelling “Hiftar.”

A few of the complexities to ponder:

The LNA (Libyan National Army) and its commander Khalifa Hiftar are on the verge of taking the capital and ending eight years of factional fighting that has left Libya broke and chaotic. Haftar has the support of most Libyans along with Russia, most Arab states (especially Egypt and the UAE) and a growing number of European countries. The UN opposes Hiftar, as does ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), the Moslem Brotherhood and pro-brotherhood nations like Turkey, Qatar and Iran.


There have been two rival governments in Libya since 2015. The GNA (Government of National Accord) has since late 2018 become more amenable to working with Hiftar. But the many militias the GNA presides over wanted nothing to do with losing their power to a unified government.

Possible collusion?

Hiftar had been an early supporter of Kaddafi and was a colonel in the Libyan army when, in the late 1980s, he and Kaddafi became enemies and Hiftar was declared a traitor. Hiftar got support from the CIA to form an opposition force (the first LNA) but no African nations were willing to host it for long and by 1990 Hiftar was living in the U.S. and seeking citizenship. Hiftar spent 20 years living in the West before returning to Libya after Kaddafi was overthrown in 2011.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Hillary and Obama’s record on Libya: From “Responsibility to Protect” to Slave Markets.

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