Five years after the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow and brutal murder (on October 20, 2011) the situation is now far worse than it was five years ago, as rival militias fighting for control.
Libya has been split between rival parliaments and governments, each backed by a loose array of militias and tribes. Now five years on, Libya is caught between two rival governments, with the western recognized parliament forced into exile in the eastern city of Tobruk in 2014, following a military uprising from the opponent group known as ‘Libyan Dawn’, who have since set up parliament in the capital, Tripoli.
While accurate figures are hard to ascertain, estimates suggest tens of thousands have died in Libya as a result of the conflict since 2011.
Libya’s conflict has left 1.9 million people with serious health needs in a country that lacks medical professionals, medicines and vaccines, according to the World Health Organization.
CIA-Backed General Khalifa Haftar Seizes Control Of Libyan Oil Fields (The African Globe)
In a dramatic development, on September 12, 2016, forces loyal to CIA-backed General Khalifa Haftar took control of two key oil ports. His troops seized Al Sidra and Ras Lanuf terminals on Libya’s Mediterranean coast and hoped to seize a third terminal, Al Zueitina, said Brigadier General Ahmed Al Mosmary, a spokesman for General Haftar’s forces.
General Haftar, has refused to endorse a UN-backed national unity government in Tripoli and remains loyal to the rival administration based in the east of the country.
His forces took the Ras Lanuf and Al Sidra terminals, together capable of handling 700,000 barrels of oil per day, from a militia loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA). The majority of Libya’s oil exports went through the three terminals before the militia, known as the Petroleum Facilities Guards, seized them more than two years ago.
If the terminals are operational again and oil exports resume, the revenues, together with a continuing political impasse, could provide the eastern region an extra incentive to declare self-rule.
Following the capture of the oil ports, the House of Representatives has promoted Haftar from general to field marshal.
General Haftar was a military chief under Muammar Gaddafi before turning against him and calling for his overthrow from exile in the United States. In 2011, General Haftar returned to Libya and commanded some of the rebel units that defeated Gaddafi, aided by Nato air power.
According to The New Yorker, as military commander of the Salvation Front, he plotted an invasion of Libya—but Gaddafi outflanked him. The C.I.A. had to airlift Haftar and three hundred and fifty of his men to Zaire and, eventually, to the United States. Haftar was given citizenship, and remained in the U.S. for the next twenty years.
Leaked tapes expose Western support for renegade Libyan general
General Haftar enjoys the support of several Arab nations, including Egypt, the UAE and Jordan, as well as others in the West.
General Haftar’s air force commander, Saqr Geroshi, was quoted as saying by the UAE newspaper The National in July, that along with 20 French personnel, small units of British and American Special Forces were also deployed with the Tobruk army at Benghazi’s Benina airport.
A multinational military operation involving British, French and US forces is coordinating air strikes in support of a renegade general battling militia groups from a base near Benghazi in eastern Libya, according to air traffic recordings obtained by Middle East Eye reveal.
The leaked tapes appear to confirm earlier reports suggesting the existence of an international operations centre that is helping General Khalifa Haftar in his campaign to gain control of eastern Libya from groups he has declared to be “extremists”.
The leaked tapes feature pilots and air traffic controllers speaking in Arabic and English. British, American, French and Italian accents can be heard.
The presence of foreign special forces in Libya has been known for several months, but until now they were thought to be working only with the western recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). In May, the Pentagon confirmed it had units advising local forces. Pro-GNA militias from Misurata have said British special forces were helping them to capture the extremist group’s main base in the town of Sirte. What is new is that western Special Forces are also on the ground supporting General Haftar.
The French connection
In July last, it was reported that three French special forces operatives killed in Libya were working with General Khalifa Haftar.
France first admitted that its units were in the country. Hours later president Francois Hollande said three operatives on a “dangerous reconnaissance mission” had been killed in a helicopter crash there the previous.
French newspaper Le Monde has reported that the three men were not soldiers but agents from its elite intelligence service, Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure (DGSE).
The Associated Press reported that France had launched air strikes on the militia that claimed to have shot down the helicopter, the Benghazi Defense Brigades, killing at least 14 fighters.
Five years after Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal murder the situation is now far worse than it was five years ago. While accurate figures are hard to ascertain, estimates suggest tens of thousands have died in Libya since 201,1as a result of the NATO’s intervention to depose Gaddafi.
The militants attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 remains a burning issue among Republicans, who hold the former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, partially responsible for the deaths of four Americans, including the ambassador John Christopher Stevens.
Libyan strongman met an undignified and horrific end that was deliberate to send a strong message to the western client leaders in the Muslim world that they can meet the same fate as Gaddafi and the Iraqi President Saddam Hussain who was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, December 30, 2006
Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) email: asghazali2011 (@) gmail.com