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Trump's Support for General Haftar in Libya Is a Good Thing - He Will Probably Take Tripoli in a Bloodless Transition

And the search for ISIS's Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Libya intensifies.

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The ‘international community’ recognises their past initiatives over the last seven years have all failed and ‘the West’ now needs, as a matter of urgency, an end to the Libyan debacle.

However the fact is ‘the West’ is much divided over what should happen in Libya, notably France and Italy, who each have vast economic interests that are at odds with one another. While the US and UK of course have an eye on their potential economic interests in a future liberated Libya, theirs is more of a anti-terrorism effort aimed at eradicating ISIS’s presence in Libya and specifically to find Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is thought to have recently moved to Libya and set up a new ISIS HQ.

Field Marshal Haftar

Meanwhile the battle to take Tripoli continues by Field Marshall’s Haftar’s Forces.

Following on the heals of a vote by several members of the East Libyan parliament on Monday to label the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, while Washington contemplates the designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, the verbal attacks against Turkey have intensified.

The London based pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat

reported on Tuesday that Haftar is directly accusing the Muslim Brotherhood government in Turkey of supporting extremist militias, that include ISIS, and that further, that Turkey is supplying arms on Libyan Airlines planes that regularly fly from various airports in Turkey to the city of Misrata.

One must acknowledge the change in Haftar’s fortunes occurred after he received a telephone call of support, on Monday 15th April, from President Trump, despite the fact that that call instigated wide spread criticism from the ‘international community’s’ main stream media (MSM).

The MSM and Libya pundits have got it absolutely wrong....again.

The opposite is true. The consequence of Trump’s emboldening Haftar actually creates the potential environment for a relatively bloodless take over of Tripoli.

Let us analyse the criticisms in particularly from two of the MSM newspapers about the call.

In a Bloomberg article called

‘Trump Backed Libyan Strongman’s Attack on Tripoli, U.S. Officials Say’ of 24th April, there contains several criticisms of the call.

In The Guardian, they encapsulate their opinion by their heading “No Coherent Policy: Trump’s Scattergun Approach Plunges Libya Deeper Into Peril” published 30th April.

In the Bloomberg piece, it says “President Trump indicated in a phone call with Libyan strongman Haftar last week that the U.S. supported an assault on the country’s capital to depose its United Nations-backed government, according to American officials familiar with the matter” continues.. “The revelation that the U.S. President had tacitly recognised Haftar and addressed him as “Field Marshal” in the statement, as a Libyan leader abruptly undermined the country’s internationally-recognized government led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj.”

The response to that is Serraj has zero legitimacy and zero credibility with the Libyan people. He is merely a ‘Patsy’ for the U.N. and ‘international community’.

Back in 2006 (24th August) The Guardian published a piece titled ‘What the hell is the international community?’ with a byline “If it only means the west, the great majority of the world is being ignored.”

Back then when the Guardian had teeth, it said “We all know what is meant by the term "international community", don't we? It's the West, of course, nothing more, nothing less. Using the term "international community" is a way of dignifying the West, of globalising it, of making it sound more respectable, more neutral and high-faluting. "

Now that’s honest writing, honest journalism.

Back to Trump’s telephone call, the Bloomberg piece added “Trump also spoke with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a Haftar supporter, the day before the White House issued the statement acknowledging the call with Haftar.”

I say, so what? The UAE Crown Prince is a major player, maybe one of the most influential, if not the most, in MENA politics today. His word carries tremendous weight and for many important and good reasons.

The Guardian piece stated “ for Haftar’s offensive, directly contradicts a formal statement a few days earlier from the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.”

All that confirms to us is something we already know; that America has no consensus amongst its political establishment on what should be their foreign policy in any country, not just Libya.

Having I hope put into perspective the inaccuracies of the MSM’s reporting and analysis, I feel able to set out a prediction of what many believe is about to happen in Libya, possibly even before the end of Ramadan.

That Serraj’s resignation is imminent; that the selection of a competent, educated, essentially secular, Prime Minister will happen, endorsed by his outgoing predecessor (Serraj) and, this being the critical part, a man that Haftar accepts to be the new PM.

I point out that Haftar will never choose to be a dictator, if for no other reason than, at 75 years of age, he knows he’s too old.

Yes he will continue to be a powerful player in Libyan affairs and for the rest of his life. He will go down in history as the man who militarily saved his country. A well deserved legacy.

To vindicate this prediction, I refer to a small number of common sense points, in vain perhaps, knowing that most people have forgotten what common sense is.

  • Haftar has always been very careful to limit civilian collateral deaths and injury.

  • The Serraj GNA Forces are NOT a cohesive force but rather a collection of extremists; militias that include former senior Al Qaeda, ISIS and Muslim Brotherhood members. These many militias will dissipate under military pressure from Haftar’s Forces.

  • Serraj’s militias in Tripoli and more so, in Misrata, employ many mercenaries, most vividly and very embarrassingly, exposed by the downing last week of ‘an alleged Portuguese fighter pilot’ over Tripoli by Haftar’s Forces. That might have been ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ for the Libyan people; the discovery of that fact.

  • The Libyan people’s patience is at an end. They demand a solution. All want peace and many see Haftar’s Forces able to deliver that peace.

  • Haftar wants a coalition of the majority of the people not just by fighting, but more importantly by ‘negotiation’ with many of his adversaries, a very Libyan solution!

  • So far, Haftar has not allowed Russia a military base in East Libya, which Russia wants. This appeals of course to the Americans. But Haftar, with the East Libyan Parliament (the HOR), could change it’s mind if Trump’s America changes ‘dilly-dallys’ over its support for Haftar.

The hope is that the end of Libya’s ‘slow burning’ civil war is finally, maybe even weeks away.

The conclusion, of course, is that the morale support given to Haftar by Trump’s call to him was therefore extremely important and significant to Haftar and may prove to yet tip the balance of power in the civil war in Haftar’s favour.

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