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article imageOp-Ed: CIA-linked General Haftar strikes Islamist militia in Tripoli

By Ken Hanly     Aug 19, 2014 in World
Tripoli - Many reports speak of airstrikes in the Libyan capital Tripoli as being launched by an unknown party against Islamist militia from Mistrata on Monday August 18.
Actually there should be no mystery about who launched them, especially since the target was a militia group linked to Islamists. CiA-linked General Khalifa Haftar some time ago launched Operation Dignity by attacking from the air two Islamist bases in the eastern city of Benghazi. Khalifa is a US citizen having lived in the US almost two decades. Since the Haftar attack the Islamists have fought back and driven Libyan Special Forces allied with Haftar out of Benghazi and have seized several bases. Haftar's forces appear to be hemmed in at an airport on the outskirts of Benghazi. However, elements of the Libyan Air Force have allied with Haftar allowing him to make attacks from the air.
Reuters reported that one of Haftar's commanders said that Haftar's "air force" was responsible for the attack. His "air force" are simply members of the Libyan air force such as it is who simply allied themselves with Haftar and brought a few planes with them. Most of the Libyan air force was destroyed during the uprising against Gadaffi. Many sources said that it was unknown who was responsible for the strikes including the Boston Globe and ABC news. The strikes are reported to have killed six people. Some speculated that the attack must have come from a foreign country such as Italy. The Libyan government ordered an investigation: In a statement, the government demanded the chief of staff and military intelligence to investigate the predawn strikes Monday morning targeting positions of militias originally from the coastal city of Misrata and its Islamist allies.
General Haftar himself added to the confusion according to this source: Gen. Hifter himself claimed the attacks were part of a “joint operation” between his troops and the international community, aiming to target Islamist-leaning militias. The "international community"? Why are not other sources reporting on this and trying to find out what is going on?
The new parliament is said to have a majority of anti-Islamists in it although it is hard to see how this can be known, since all those elected ran as independents. It seems hard to believe that the parliament has no idea what is going on. I expect that Haftar has many in the new parliament who support him. The new parliament met in the eastern city of Tobruk because of worry about security conditions in Benghazi where it was slated to convene after the caretaker government decided to move it there.
General Haftar not only launched attacks on Islamist bases in Benghazi, his allies the Zintan brigades raided, occupied, and burned the parliament in Tripoli and then kidnapped several Islamist legislators and government officials. This is the same group that provided security for the Tripoli international airport. However that control was challenged by militia from Misrata and elsewhere who have been fighting pitched battles with the Zintan militia that destroyed much of the airport and many planes and residential areas near the airport.
The Libyan parliament recently asked the UN to intervene and take measures to protect civilians. This is reminiscent of the earlier UN resolution for a no-fly zone to protect civilians from Gadaffi air attacks. So far the UN has not indicated that it will act in Libya except to pull out most of its staff for security reasons. Many foreign embassies are closed down for security reasons as well. Maybe Haftar will claim that he is carrying out his duty to protect the people by attacking Islamist militias. An attempted coup is taking place in Libya while the newly elected parliament looks on helplessly. The former government had accused Haftar of mounting a coup and ordered him arrested. The arrest was never carried out. The appended video gives some of the history of 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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