As was predicted, when Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar returned from his supposed brief – two weeks departure from the Libyan scene, allegedly in hospital – he launched a major operation to take control of the last main bastion of ‘Islamists’ in the East, in Derna ….and he is winning.
Haftar declared from his HQ that this was “the zero hour to liberate Derna” from the control of self-styled ‘Derna Mujahideen Shura Council’ (DMSC). Note DMSC has been rebranded DDF and is in actuality a coalition of armed Islamist factions.
In the coming days, it appears that Haftar will succeed in taking Derna, which will mean that Haftar will finally have the entire eastern region completely under his control, making him undisputed leader of the oil rich eastern region. Additionally, by taking Derna, he will have succeeded in eradicating Islamist extremists from the whole of the eastern part of the country. Haftar can then truly present himself to all Libyans and his foreign backers – headed by Russia, not America – as the only real power in the whole of Libya worth dealing with.
Moreover, Haftar will be perceived as an unstoppable force, able to defeat even the most hardened and entrenched Islamist extremists in Derna, which was considered as Libya’s militant Islamist stronghold, even for American/British covertly-supported ISIS.
This is likely bring the other parts of Libya into line, even past Tripoli to the Tunisian border. While Haftar has some supporters in these areas, they are likened to ‘a silent majority’ the famous phrase used by a previous US President.
Importantly, former Gaddafi regime members, of whom there are many, could put their full support behind Haftar, especially those who are disillusioned by a weak and ineffectual Saif Gaddafi, a potential leader with no vision, strategy nor any significant ground forces of any kind.
Apart from Russia, if Haftar gets the support from regional players, namely Egypt and the UAE, to also vanquish all remnants and networks of the Muslim Brotherhood Sect, who are supported by Turkey and Qatar, Haftar will become the de facto, undisputed ruler of Libya.
The writer believes Haftar should be very wary of continuing to accept too much support from Saudi Arabia for many good reasons, too numerous to mention here. Where Saudi goes there follows military and intelligence advisors from Israel, which is risky for Haftar; his greatest error would be to accept help from Israel, despite that country’s current partial rapprochement with Egypt.
A very notable humiliation by the British was last week’s admission by the UK government to their ‘mishandling’ of a well known admitted Al Qaeda terrorist, Abdul Hakim Belhadj, even publicly apologising to him, over actions taken 15 years ago on Tony Blair‘s Labour’s watch. This, what amounted to grovelling, was given emphasis by Conservative Prime Minister May’s government, as she also stayed silent about the devastation her predecessor Cameron wreaked on Libya and its people, by the unprovoked destruction of a nation using the NATO organisation. Is that the new reality of Orwellian ‘newspeak’ to describe NATO’s new role as ‘humanitarian interventionists’ advocated by these self-styled ‘liberal democrats’, everyone to a man/woman a hypocrite?
Given this ultimate British humiliation, Haftar’s most important individual target would be the capture or the execution of Belhadj, which would provide a tremendous psychological defeat in every way to Islamic extremists and their masters in the West, namely USA and UK.
Such action would reverberate beyond Libya’s borders, throughout the MENA region, particularly in Tunisia. It is worth remembering that Tunisians make up the majority of ISIS fighters who, simultaneously, are followers of the Muslim Brotherhood sect, a British imperialist creation from the 1920s.
The ‘fashion’ for a 21st century revival of a version of imperialistic colonialism by countries such as USA, UK, France and now Israel, is a passing fad that is doomed to failure. In a multi-polar world it should be crushed and eliminated whenever it rears its ugly head, whether in Libya or for that matter, anywhere on the planet.