Haftar is Being Supported by the West, Analysts Say
According to various analysts, General Khalifa Haftar is well-oriented to the interests of the West, in respect of helping to control oil supplies in Libya. Libya produces the desirable "sweeter" version of petroleum, which contains less sulfur.
News Sources spoke to a number of observers about Mr. Haftar's interests being aligned with those of the West.
For example, until the outbreak of the Libyan civil war in the early part of 2011, Mr. Haftar had been living in exile in Virginia. At about the time the civil war broke out numerous reports circulated that Mr. Haftar had been vetted and trained by the CIA since the time he was disowned by Muamar Gaddafi, the former who Libyan leader who was slain by rebels and whose death was joked about and celebrated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As well, during that time, the former Secretary of State presided over Saudi-sponsored conferences. Saudi Arabia was one of the most significant supporters of regime change in Libya.
During the civil war, multiple reports indicated that various countries, including the United States, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and France had been supporting the overthrow of Mr. Qaddafi. Great amounts of funds and war materiel were being funneled to rebels, many of whom had connnections to militant Islamist groups, according to reports at the time.
During the civil war reports abounded that Mr. Haftar was implicated in the assassination of a fellow rebel leader.
At present, a number observers assert that the General will resort to various military means to achieve his goal of taking over Libya or, at least, of taking over Tripoli.
Although the UN has called for a negotiated settlement that would redound to the benefit of the Government of National Accord, or the GNA, which represents the official government recognized by various Western governments, the latter are also maintaining good relations with Mr. Haftar's group, because he control much fo the oil resources in the war-torn country, analysts say.
As well, although candidate Trump criticized the Mrs. Clinton's handlining of the Libyan civil war and the Benghazi tragedy in which the U.S. ambassador and consulate staff were killed by militants in September 2012, this past week President Trump praised Mr. Hafter by citing his "significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources".
Some analysts say that the President is adhering to well-entrenched opinions in the security establishment that helped Mr. Hafter come to power in late 2011.
Since that time, Libya has been divided between the eastern part of the country controlled by Haftar's forces and the western part of the country ostensibly controlled by the GNA.
General Hafter seeks to control Tripoli, in part, in order to control the money transfers relating to Libyan oil. Observers say that the General has a strong desire to control those finances and thus to control Tripoli itself.
Once he controls all of Libya, Mr. Haftar will control not only petroleum supplies, but he will control the money that flows from that resource, they maintain.
Analysts say that President Trump favors a strong leader like the General and is critical of a leader like Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, who is seen as week; they say that Mr. Trump has an aversion ot the UN, in general.
This past week GNA officials accused France of supporting General Haftar, a charge French officials denied.
However, France uses in its refineries extensively the better grade oil that comes from Libya, analysts say.
There have been reports that, as it did in 2011 during the civil war, France is supporting Mr. Haftar's forces, in terms of funds and military equipment. They show that France's intelligence agencies have been providing support to the General's forces.
Still, even if Mr. Haftar has drawbacks as an ally, he has a long history of CIA and U.S. support, analysts argue.
News Sources & APS Radio News
UN Says Fighting Over Libya's Capital Has Displaced 18,000
The U.N. migration agency says recent clashes between rival Libyan militias for control of Tripoli have displaced more than 18,000 people.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday in New York that the International Organization for Migration reported that 13 civilians are among the 146 killed so far in clashes since the self-styled Libyan National Army launched a major military offensive on April 5.
Dujarric says around 3,000 migrants remain trapped in detention centres in and close to conflict areas.
The fighting pits the Libyan National Army, led by commander Khalifa Hifter against militias affiliated with Tripoli's U.N.-backed government.
The clashes threaten to re-ignite civil war such as the 2011 one that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Libya is split between rival governments in the east and west.
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