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article imageOp-Ed: Libyan government Deputy PM reassured of US support

By Ken Hanly     Jun 7, 2019 in Politics
Washington - In an interview with NBC, Deputy PM Ahmed Maiteeq of the UN-sponsored Government of National Accord GNA asked for the US to stand behind his government as its main ally.
GNA often receives mostly nominal support
A UN resolution makes the GNA the only officially recognized government of LIbya. However much of the territory outside of Tripoli and its environs and eastern Libya is all under the control of Marshal Haftar and the rival government who appointed him. The GNA government has never been able to build its own substantial army and has had to rely on often unreliable militia groups. Turkey's President Erdogan has shown support for the GNA.
Haftar's support
The main supporters of Haftar are Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as Egypt. Some air attacks by the LNA appear to be carried out by planes from Egypt and the UAE. However Russia also supports Haftar and he has visited several times. Russia as with others also claims to support the GNA.
President Trump also has shown support for Haftar even after he started an attack on Tripoli which others have condemned.
Maiteeq was happy when he was reassured by the US State Department that the US continues to back his government. after what Maiteeq called Trump's confusing comments in April.
Two days after the call in April the White House issued a statement: "A White House statement said that in the phone call on Monday, Trump “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system”." Instead of criticizing Haftar's attack on Tripoli directly acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said that a military solution is not what Libya needs. He said he supported Haftar's role in counterterrorism. However his attack on Tripoli is part of his Operation Dignity and is meant to liberate Tripoli from his opponents whom he terms terrorists. He also said that the US needed Haftar's support in building democratic stability in the region. However, Haftar has for years been sabotaging UN attempts to bring peace and stability to the area and continue military conquests. At one time the EU was ready to sanction him.
Trump has not called for a ceasefire of Haftar's offensive that is backed by Egypt and the UAE. The US support for the GNA is very much nominal as the US has never done anything to help the GNA counter Haftar.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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