Will Khalifa Haftar’s army be wiped out by the end of Ramadan? - YASIN AKTAY

Will Khalifa Haftar’s army be wiped out by the end of Ramadan?

The whole world has united with a common understanding of awareness and security in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic; they have understood the criticality of the situation and are seeking ways of solidarity in pursuit of a joint strategy in this regard. Everybody knows that this is the world’s problem as a whole; and regardless of how successful a country has individually been, there is no way to eliminate the problem unless it is solved simultaneously worldwide. There must be a simple emergency measure naturally required by this circumstance. People must focus on this common and most urgent problem and postpone their disputes and fights.

Nevertheless, it appears that some countries and individuals haven’t a care in the world. As a matter of fact, they are more concerned about profitting from the shortcomings of others, let alone be concerned.

In the south of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is carrying on step by step its plans and operations to divide Yemen without any regard for all the human crises happening there. In fact, the number of people dying from COVID-19 worldwide, which is presently the most important topic on our agenda, is still not more than the number of children that died from hunger within the matter of a couple of months alone in the war conditions in Yemen that are continuing to worsen because of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Of course, a defense mechanism has been activated all over the world regarding those who have lost their lives as a result of the virus. Yet the children in Yemen are dying, not due to a virus for which we have nobody to blame for, but because of the so-called saviors who personally went there with the excuse to rescue it and are now trying to plunder the country by dividing it.

Meanwhile in Libya, taking advantage of the world’s occupation with the epidemic crisis instead of taking a break due to the virus and remembering that he is human and should be in solidarity with other humans, UAE-backed putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar launched an attack on Tripoli. As always, he struck civilian targets again, adding to his previous crimes. Yet, he had declared – even if with pressure from Russia – that he would abide by the latest ceasefire announced with the Berlin Agreement. There is currently no justification for his violation of that agreement. The sole reason is that since the world and Turkey, in particular, are preoccupied in the fight against coronavirus, he assumed there was nobody left to prevent him from taking over Libya on his own.

However, he was forced to grasp the fact that, with the incredible resistance and counterattack he faced that he terribly miscalculated. Turkey might be busy tackling the coronavirus epidemic, but it is still very much alive. The world’s attention is currently on Turkey as one of the countries carrying on the fight against coronavirus in the most successful manner. Its success does not lie in the number of recovered patients and curbing the disease but also in the ability to prevent the flow of life from coming to a complete stop and demonstrating the high capacity of the state to deal with problems.

Thus, with the technical and military support Turkey is providing to Libya within the scope of its most legitimate agreement – as a matter of fact, the sole legitimate agreement – with Libya’s internationally-recognized government, Haftar realized that he most likely staged his final big coup and made the greatest mistake of his life.

The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) forces that thwarted the attacks and were quick to counterattack took over a total of seven cities in addition to Sabratha, Surman and Al-Ajaylat in western Tripoli, gaining control over its neighboring Tunisian borders once again. The GNA forces have now diverted their attention towards Tarhuna, located 50 kilometers south of capital Tripoli.

Tarhuna is the most important base in western Libya, where Haftar has been continuing his campaign aimed at taking over Tripoli and all of Libya after launching his coup in the country’s east. The fact that this center is currently surrounded has given rise to public hope in the south of Libya that Haftar’s end has come. The fall of the base in Tarhuna will lead to all of Haftar’s support in the West to collapse. The GNA forces are now doing the chasing, and it seems that once Tarhuna is taken over – which can happen any moment now – it will be time to take over Al-Jufra in the south and then Ajdabiya in the east, which is located in Haftar’s actual area of control.

Libya State High Council President Khaled al-Mishri said the GNA is planning to completely eliminate Haftar’s army by the end of Ramadan.

In this case, Libya has now entered a period in which the end of the road is visible for Haftar who relies on his armed forces alone. Right at this point, Haftar made a surprising move two days ago. Haftar, who staged a coup against the Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk, on which he bases his own legitimacy with support from the UAE, declared himself the sole ruler of the whole of Libya and demanded that the entire Libyan nation recognizes his authority.

This move is surprising because as someone constantly facing defeat on the ground and on the verge of losing everything, he has nothing to show for it. As a matter of fact, with this move, he has reminded everybody once more his own putschist history. Of course, all factions of the Libyan people, from whom he demanded obedience, were quick to show their reaction more severely than in the past. This move drew harsh reactions from the international community as well Europe and the U.S.

This picture actually shows that Haftar is at the end of his legitimacy, which was non-existent but which he was able to continue until now with his physical forces and the support of the UAE, Egypt and France.

Though there is no logical explanation to this move he made while on the brink of defeat, it could be said that he is trying to hold onto the opportunity to continue his reign over east Libya if he can manage to divide the country. The forces supporting him, primarily the UAE, already had such a plan from the very beginning. This means that even though he may not be able to reign over all of Libya, he could make do with at least a part of it.

Of course, a significant aspect of it all is that such a move aimed at dividing Libya coincides with April 26, the date when King Idris al-Senussi passed the constitutional regulation that united federal Libya in 1963.

Although Haftar’s intention is to divide Libya on the date it was united, it seems that his move is going to lead the country to unite again, even if inadvertently.

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