Haftar's coup began earlier this year. Hafter was supposed to have taken over control of Libya's main institutions on the 14th of February. He managed to appear on TV announcing that the parliament, the General National Congress(GNC) and the government had been suspended. He claimed that he was not attempting a coup but "a correction to the path of the revolution." He claimed also that there were troops loyal to him in Tripoli.
Then-Defence Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni claimed that Haftar had no legitimacy and that there were no forces loyal to him in Tripoli. He also noted that there was a warrant out for Haftar's arrest for plotting a coup. While Haftar forces did not attack the GNC at this time, neither was the warrant for his arrest ever carried out. Abdullah Al-Thinni is prime minister of the new government in Tobruk. Al-Thinni now supports General Haftar and his second round of attacks on Islamist militias who have controlled Benghazi for several months.
The first round in the present clash of what until now had been described as conflicts between militias loyal to Haftar and Islamist-dominated militias, began on May 16 when Haftar's forces began what he called Operation Dignity, as he attacked two Islamist bases in Benghazi. Later on May 18
the Zintan brigades, his allies, attacked the parliament and ransacked the legislature and declared the body suspended again. While Haftar has denied seeking power,
he has indicated that he would be interested in running for president.
A few — but very few — commentators have bothered to piece together what was transpiring with the actions of Haftar. An excellent summary of the career of Haftar is given in a long article in theWashington Institute
issued in August. The author, Barak Barfi, has advice for the US near the end:
"Washington and its partners should persuade the new Libyan government to appoint Haftar as chief of staff. Respected by his troops, he has the military skills and combat experience necessary to create a modern army. But most important, he is the sole Libyan willing to take on the Islamist militias that are preventing the establishment of a modern state"
Another instructive commentary in early June this year is by Dr. Theodore Karasik, Director of Research and Consultancy at the Institute for Near East and Guly Military Analysis(INEGMA) in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Karasik has a PH.D in history from the U. of California in Los Angeles. Karasik speaks of Hafter making small but important gains in his Operation Dignity. He notes that his forces have struck the Libyan parliament as well as Islamist groups. Attacking and burning the elected parliament does not elicit any disapproval from Karasik but is part of the small but important gains that Haftar was making. Karasik also makes the interesting observation that among Haftars' loyal followers are a group of 500-1000 special forces troops who received training somewhere in Eastern Europe according to an Arab official. Karasik suggests that Haftar's actions will curry favor with those who want a future state like that in Egypt and that Egypt could very well help Haftar by sending in Egyptian special forces to help out against Islamist militias.
Mysterious air bombings during the Islamist takeover of Tripoli were attributed to the UAE and Egypt by the rebels and at first also by the US. Recent air attacks in Benghazi against Islamist militias are also attributed to Egypt. Karasik was prophetic. Near the end of the article Karasik
Will General Haftar be the next charismatic, nationalist leader of Libya? General Haftar’s vision for Libya seems to be already in place and his appeal to a good number of Libyans is evident. With additional victories and the wiping out of the opposition, General Haftar’s portrait will soon be posted not only on buildings and streets but across cyberspace. General Haftar has already congratulated President Sisi for his victory. Will President Sisi congratulate a President Haftar in the near future? Only time will tell, especially with a pending legislative election on June 25, 2014.
This would all be to the good according to Karasik since Egypt along with Haftar he claims are reversing Libya's decline with back-up support from the US.
Haftar's militia have suddenly dissolved and in effect he is now the recognized Libyan army. He even has a green light
to "liberate" Benghazi and Tripoli:
Libya’s internationally recognized government ordered on Tuesday its military, led by renegade General Khalifa Haftar, to advance on the capital Tripoli and called for a civil disobedience there against armed Islamist groups. Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani’s cabinet said in statement posted on Facebook that the armed forces have the green light to “liberate” Tripoli “and state institutions from the grip of armed groups.”
Apparently, the arrest warrant issued against Haftar for his attempted coup is now void.
The European Council
recently set out its position on the current conflict.
The EU urges all parties to urgently observe an unconditional ceasefire. The EU is convinced that there is no military solution to this conflict. Only a political solution can provide a sustainable way forward and contribute to peace and stability in Libya.
Don't expect the Council to now condemn the attacks ordered by the Tobruk government on Benghazi and Tripoli. Most of the document is meant to provide legitimacy to that government. The peace process is all a sham and most of the Council document is rhetorical garbage. There is a civil war which will be turned into a war against terrorism by the media and by western officials and their allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.