A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is General Haftar Channeling Field Marshal Sisi?

Libyan General Khalifa Haftar is sounding a lot like his next-door neighbor. Consider:

1. His intervention, he keeps saying, is "not a coup."

2. He is acting to "stop terrorism" in Libya.

3. Though his  original targets were Jihadist militias, he is also denouncing the Muslim Brotherhood and promising to eliminate it from politics..

4. He keeps talking about a new constitutional "road map."

5. He says he wants to restore security and stability.

6. Though he disclaims any personal ambition, he conceded in one interview that he might run for President if the Libyan people insisted.

Admittedly the parallels only go so far. Sisi had the Egyptian Deep State behind him; over 40 years Qadhafi destroyed any power center that might threaten him; the anarchy since his fall attests to that.

But Haftar does seem to have tapped into a yearning for order. In just the past day, much of the Air Force, air defense forces, Navy, and the Intelligence service and at least some of the Interior Ministry have rallied to Haftar's "Operation Karama."


David Mack said...

You have to admire his PR operation, if nothing else, especially the band wagon effect of citing new adherents to his cause on a daily basis. Unclear how much is real and how much is puffery. Haftar's long military record includes, according to Yahoo account, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Egyptian military in the 1973 War. I am reasonably certain that Libya was a no-show in that conflict, since Sadat did not trust Qadhafi.

Anonymous said...

Another foreign policy victory in the promotion of "democracy" in the Middle East?

But at least he's our SO()

David Mack said...

For some Washington right wing think tanks, he may look like a great alternative to the mess in Tripoli, but I've not detected much enthusiasm for him on the part of the Administration. On the positive side, so far Haftar has not assumed the title of Field Marshal.