A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, May 19, 2014

Is the Momentum Shifting to General Haftar?

Since my post earlier today the momentum seems to be shifting, with support for General Haftar's movement growing. The air base in Tobruk, which joined Haftar's movement earlier, was followed by the Special Forces Commander in Benghazi, and more recently, the Thuwar Fashloom militia(Revolutionaries of Fashloom, a southern suburb of Tripoli) in Tripoli.

Meanwhile the interim Libyan Cabinet suggested that the General National Congress, the Parliament, should suspend itself until after new elections. Haftar has demanded it be replaced by a constituent assembly to prepare a constitution.

Internationally, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Turkey have pulled out their diplomats for security; the US is positioning Marines in Sicily if needed; and Algeria has recalled SONATRACH (Algeria's stat oil company) workers from Libyan oilfields, and also closed its land borders.

The US has also announced it is sending veteran diplomat David Satterfield to offer to help political reconciliation.

The interim government seems to have lost ground today with more defections to what Haftar has called "Operation Karama (Dignity)" and the spreading international concern. Those who laughed at his fizzled "coup" in February (including me) are not laughing now.

1 comment:

Al said...

"It is around this time that links between Haftar and the CIA first begin to emerge. According to a New York Times report from 1991, American intelligence services under the approval of then resident Ronald Reagan funded and assisted the training of Haftar and his 350-strong contingent of troops in "sabotage and other guerrilla skills" in Chad as part of efforts to bring about the overthrow of Gaddafi."