And so begins our look at CIA operative Khalif/a Hafta/ir
Khalifa Haftar’s army now controls much of the eastern half of the country._____________________
Early last year, General Khalifa Haftar left his home in northern Virginia—where he had spent most of the previous two decades, at least some of that time working with the Central Intelligence Agency—and returned to Tripoli to fight his latest war for control of Libya. Haftar, who is a mild-looking man in his early seventies, has fought with and against nearly every significant faction in the country’s conflicts, leading to a reputation for unrivalled military experience and for a highly flexible sense of personal allegiance. In the Green Mountains, the country’s traditional hideout for rebels and insurgents, he established a military headquarters, inside an old airbase surrounded by red-earth farmland and groves of hazelnut and olive trees. Haftar’s force, which he calls the Libyan National Army, has taken much of the eastern half of the country, in an offensive known as Operation Dignity. Most of the remainder, including the capital city of Tripoli, is held by Libya Dawn, a loose coalition of militias, many of them working in a tactical alliance with Islamist extremists. Much as General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has boasted of doing in Egypt, General Haftar proposes to destroy the Islamist forces and bring peace and stability—enforced by his own army.
Haftar greeted me in a spotless office with a set of beige sofas and a matching carpet. Wearing an old-fashioned regimental mustache and a crisp khaki uniform, he looks more like a retired schoolteacher than like the American-backed tyrant his enemies describe. In a deliberate voice, he told me why he had gone back to war. After participating in the 2011 uprising against Muammar Qaddafi, he tried to find a place for himself in Libya’s new politics. When he didn’t succeed, he said, he went home to Virginia for a time, “to enjoy my grandchildren.” All the while, he watched as Libya floundered under a succession of weak governments, and the country’s militias grew more powerful. Last summer, Islamist extremists moved to seize Benghazi; in a merciless campaign aimed at the remains of civil society, assassins killed some two hundred and seventy lawyers, judges, activists, military officers, and policemen—including some of Haftar’s old friends and military colleagues. “There was no justice and no protection,” he said. “People no longer left their houses at night. All of this upset me greatly. We had no sooner left behind Qaddafi’s rule than we had this?”Haftar goes back to Libya, 2011, assists in the overthrow and goes back home to Virginia......
Haftar reached out to contacts in what remained of Libya’s armed forces, in civil society, in tribal groups, and, finally, in Tripoli. “Everyone told me the same thing,” he said. “ ‘We are looking for a savior. Where are you?’ I told them, ‘If I have the approval of the people, I will act.’ After popular demonstrations took place all over Libya asking me to step in, I knew I was being pushed toward death, but I willingly accepted.”
Like many self-appointed saviors, Haftar spoke with a certain self-admiring fatalism. But his history is much more complex than he cares to acknowledge. As an Army cadet in 1969, he participated in Qaddafi’s coup against the Libyan monarchy, and eventually became one of his top officers. “He was my son,” Qaddafi once told an interviewer, “and I was like his spiritual father.”Self appointed saviour?
In 1987, as Libya fought with Chad over a strategic strip of borderland, Qaddafi chose Haftar as his commanding officer. Haftar’s base was soon overrun in a Chadian attack—part of a conflict that became known as the Toyota War, for the Land Cruisers that Chad’s troops drove into battle. The Chadians killed thousands of Libyan troops, and took Haftar and four hundred of his men prisoner. When Qaddafi publicly disavowed the P.O.W.s, Haftar was enraged, and called for his men to join him in a coup. By 1988, he had aligned himself with the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a Chad-based opposition group supported by the C.I.A. Soon afterward, he was released from prison.If Haftar and Qaddafi were as close as Haftar suggests why would Qaddafi leave him in prison?
Perhaps Qaddafi left him there because he had became aware Haftar was a traitor & had allied himself with the CIA?
Afterward, two of Haftar’s fellow-prisoners reported that those who refused to join his coup were left behind in their jail cells. As military commander of the Salvation Front, he plotted an invasion of Libya—but Qaddafi outflanked him, backing a disruptive coup in Chad. 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.Interesting Haftar was more then willing to leave behind his 'brothers in arms' when they wouldn't go along with his coup plans?
Zaire? Isn't that curious? Readers here might recall an extensive post on Zaire/Congo and an obvious intelligence linked cult- Africa- Past and Present: AIDS, Banksters, CIA, CULTS, EBOLA & Hollywood
|So we can visualize the geography being discussed|
For a time, Haftar stayed involved with the C.I.A., and with the Salvation Front’s abortive efforts to topple Qaddafi, including a plot in which a number of Haftar’s fellow-conspirators were captured and executed.** According to Ashur Shamis, a former leader of the Salvation Front, Haftar lived well in Virginia, though no one knew how he made his money. **But he did not return to Libya, fearing that he would be executed.Haftar lived well in Virginia but no one knew how he made his money?
After the U.S. invaded Iraq, in 2003, Qaddafi, who had been among America’s most vitriolic enemies, suddenly agreed to give up his nuclear-weapons program and attempt a rapprochement. By then, the C.I.A. had evidently loosened its ties with Haftar, and, when he returned to Libya, in March, 2011, he was on his own. Nevertheless, Haftar’s enemies accuse him of being a C.I.A. plant, a traitor, and a vicious killer, and of seeking to install himself as a latter-day Qaddafi.I definitely do not believe that in 2011 Haftar went back to Libya on his own- He has clearly been a CIA asset for many, many years-
For Haftar, the east was the obvious place to begin his offensive. “Benghazi was the main stronghold of terrorism in Libya, so we started there,” he said. An old Libyan maxim holds that everything of importance happens in Benghazi. In 1937, Benito Mussolini came there to solidify his colonial power. In 1951, the newly crowned King Idris I broadcast a radio address from the city to proclaim Libya independent. When Qaddafi launched his military coup against the monarchy, he was a young officer based in Benghazi. In February, 2011, the uprising against his rule erupted there, and the following month the West intervened there to prevent him from massacring the city’s revolutionaries and its civilian population.Read at the link about Bernard Henri Levy- one of the most disgraceful alleged humanitarians on the planet- He cares, ya know? Joking! Levy, the harbinger of massacre.
Lévy said that he returned to Paris and told President Nicolas Sarkozy that humanitarian intervention wasn’t enough. “The real objective had to be to topple Qaddafi,” he told me. Sarkozy agreed, and Lévy became his emissary. Lévy accompanied a Libyan opposition leader to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to lobby for U.S. involvement.* “It was hard to convince the Americans,” he said. “Robert Gates was totally opposed. Obama as usual was hesitating. But Hillary got it.”
Late that month, as Qaddafi dispatched a convoy to attack the rebels in Benghazi, French warplanes began bombing. The U.K. and the U.S. followed, in an arm’s-length operation that the Obama Administration described as “leading from behind.” From warships in the Mediterranean, they launched a withering strike of a hundred and twelve Tomahawk missiles, but within days Gates had announced that the French and the British would take the lead. The coalition kept fighting for seven months, with American forces in a lower-profile role. In the end, Lévy was pleased with the intervention. “The NATO mission, as far as I am concerned, was as it had to be.”Six or seven paragraphs, left out, addressing the Ambassador Stevens incident and more- Read them at the New Yorker link- There are also a number of posts concerning the death of Ambassador Stevens here at the blog.
Haftar watched the country’s decline with growing anger. On February 14th, he appeared on television to announce the unilateral dissolution of parliament and the creation of a “Presidential committee” and cabinet, which would govern until new elections could be held. His move had the hallmarks of a coup, yet Haftar had no apparent way to enforce it, and he was publicly taunted for his hubris. Prime Minister Zeidan called the attempt “ridiculous.” But Haftar had a strategy. He had embarked on a series of “town hall” meetings around the country, while he secretly built an army, with the support of old comrades from the military. In May, he launched Operation Dignity, with attacks against Islamist militias in Benghazi, which he said were intended to “eliminate extremist terrorist groups” in Libya. Not long afterward, his forces occupied the parliament building in Tripoli.
Haftar’s offensive resonated with many Libyans, who had grown frustrated with the G.N.C. and the violence that had flourished during its rule. At around the same time, the G.N.C. agreed to convene a new legislative body, the House of Representatives. The Islamists performed poorly in the elections, in June, but, before the new parliament could take office, the Islamists, strengthened by militiamen from Misrata, attacked Tripoli’s international airport, in an attempt to seize it from Haftar. The airport, including one and a half billion dollars’ worth of aircraft, was destroyed, and about a hundred fighters were killed. With Tripoli a battlefield, the U.S. pulled out of Libya entirely, moving its Embassy to Malta, separated from the besieged capital by two hundred miles of water.
With the fighting in Tripoli, two opposing armies took shape. The group aligned against Haftar, Libya Dawn, is an uneasy coalition; it includes former Al Qaeda jihadists who fought against Qaddafi in the nineties, Berber ethnic militias, members of Libya’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a network of conservative merchants from Misrata, whose fighters make up the largest block of Libya Dawn’s forces. Haftar’s army is composed mainly of Qaddafi-era soldiers and federalists seeking greater autonomy for the eastern region of Cyrenaica, mixed with tribal fighters from the west and the south.________________________
As the standoff worsens, regional powers have stepped in. Haftar’s army reportedly receives weapons and financing from Egypt, led by the vehemently anti-Islamist General Sisi; from Saudi Arabia; and from the United Arab Emirates. (The Emiratis and the Egyptians have gone so far as to covertly bomb targets on Haftar’s behalf, eliciting an unusual public rebuke by the U.S. government.) Libya Dawn is backed by Qatar and Turkey, which support the Muslim Brotherhood. Their involvement has given the conflict the dimensions of a proxy war.Two sides fighting with the goal of splitting Libya apart- As planned long ago.
Muslim Brotherhood being, of course, an intelligence asset going way, way back!
The regional implications of Libya’s breakdown are vast. The southern desert offers unguarded crossings into Algeria, Niger, Chad, and Sudan, where armed bands—including human traffickers and jihadists from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb—roam freely in four-wheel-drive convoys. Huge numbers of migrants, mostly Africans but also some Middle Easterners, are being smuggled through Libya. At the Mediterranean coast, they are placed in overcrowded boats and pointed toward Italy, where the fortunate ones are picked up by the coast guard or by passing cargo ships. Last year, the number of migrants reaching Italy in this fashion rose to a hundred and seventy thousand; more than three thousand are believed to have drowned at sea. In early February, another three hundred died.___________________________________
Haftar says that he intends to take on Derna’s extremists once he has conquered Benghazi. “We will use all the means at our disposal to exterminate them,” he assured me. Haftar possesses a small air force—an advantage he holds over Libya Dawn, which has only one or two aircraft—and every few days his fleet of vintage MIGs carries out bombing sorties over Benghazi, or, farther afield, in Ajdabiya, Misrata, Sirte, and Tripoli.
Haftar said that he planned to bring the war to Tripoli, and to Misrata, but dismissed the possibility of widespread carnage. “Tripoli will be overrun quickly, because the people will rise up, and we have forces inside the city,” he said.
“What about dialogue?” I asked.
“There will be no dialogue with terrorism,” Haftar replied. “The only thing to say about terrorism is that we will fight it until it’s defeated, and we have purified the country.”
In Washington, Haftar’s absolutist tactics have caused discomfort. The senior Administration official told me emphatically, “The U.S. government has nothing to do with General Khalifa Haftar. Haftar is killing people, and he says he is targeting terrorists, but his definition is way too broad. Haftar is a vigilante. And the predictable result of his vigilantism is to unite the others”—giving common cause to extremists and non-extremists within Libya Dawn. “It is almost as if one part of Libya were controlled by White Russians—that’s Haftar—and another part were controlled by Bolsheviks.”I don't believe for one second the US is not behind Haftar!
In early February, representatives of the G.N.C. and the H.O.R. began new talks in Libya, but Haftar and his military opponents didn’t join them. Many of Haftar’s men welcome the chance for more fighting. I spoke to Colonel Abdul Raziq al-Nadori, Haftar’s rough-hewn chief of staff, at a sprawling base outside Tobruk. “Dignity started because our soldiers were being slaughtered and beheaded,” he said. “We had no intention of fighting our brother revolutionaries, but they joined those terrorists, so we had no choice.” Like Haftar, Nadori believed that the war would have to be won in Tripoli, but he hoped that civilian casualties could be kept to a minimum, if people fled the city. He regretted the reticence in Washington. “We want good relations with the U.S. It was Qaddafi, may God not rest his soul, who prevented us from having those relations. But the U.S. sees the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate force. We see them as snakes with smooth skin.” Nadori had been trying, without success, to schedule a meeting with David Rodriguez, the head of the U.S. Army’s Africa command. “There are ISIS training camps here in Libya—Rodriguez himself has said so,” he told me. “So what are you waiting for? We’re not asking you to bomb them. We’ll do it. Just give us the military equipment and backup support we need to do the job, like you’re doing in Iraq.”
Haftar is not fighting for democracy; he is a military man at heart. But, in a country full of militias and increasingly hospitable to Islamist extremists, his offensive may yet provide a small hope for stability. If military pressure can persuade the moderate members of Libya Dawn to break with the extremists in their ranks, it might help to create two mainstream factions that are at least willing to agree on the terms of negotiations. But, many Libyans told me, if Haftar does not prevail over the jihadists in Benghazi and Derna, the country will lurch closer to being what the British special envoy Jonathan Powell described to me as a “Somalia on the Mediterranean.”Two mainstream factions, so called, to agree on terms of negotiation to split Libya into pieces- That is the agenda.
On January 22nd, Haftar’s men made a sudden advance in Benghazi, taking over the city’s central-bank branch and most of the port. When I saw Haftar at his base, he had spoken confidently about his plan to “purify the country.” But there was more fighting ahead, and he lamented the lack of help from the United States. The aid from Egypt and the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia had been modest, and, as his army grew, its demands were outstripping supplies. “We are a very rich country,” he reminded me. “We want our people to have good homes, good schools. We had hoped for Libya to be God’s heaven on earth. But we need infrastructure, new buildings, factories. We have oil, gold, uranium, and seas of sand. We need a superpower to help us develop these things. It is impossible for Libya to stay on this planet alone.” He added, pointedly, “There are great benefits to those who stand by us in our time of need.”Much more to read at the New Yorker , the link is embedded at the end of Post #1
When I asked about his personal ambitions, he said, “My ambitions are the people’s needs.”
“Once you’ve purified the country and it’s at peace, if the people asked you to run for President would you agree?”
“I would have no problem with that,” Haftar said, and smiled. ?