A Libyan exile has claimed that Khalifah Haftar is making history and restoring dignity to the Libyan Army, even though the government in Tripoli accuses the retired brigadier general of leading a coup attempt. Ahmad Qadhaf Al-Dam , the former coordinator of Egypt-Libya relations under the regime of the late Colonel Mu'ammar Gaddafi, told Libya First TV that Haftar is "resuming" the heroes' jihad. "He is leading the battle with great support from all Libyans and from the children of the Eastern Region, from the displaced in the diaspora, from the supporting sister state Egypt and from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia," he claimed from his home in Egypt.
Gaddafi's cousin said that he expects that "Libya will return to the bosom of its sons and we shall see the second republic, God willing", in light of the "Battle of Dignity" that is led by Haftar. "Thanks to these heroes, we shall soon crush the NATO revolution and all those claiming to be Islamists."
Haftar's forces, which call themselves the "National Libyan Army", are fighting Islamic battalions loyal to the Libyan Army's joint staff. The Libyan authorities describe this fighting as "a coup attempt" whereas Haftar calls it "a response to a call from the Libyan people and the battle of defending the people and protecting the souls of the officers and soldiers of the Libyan Army who have been killed on a daily basis".
Libyan press reports have linked Haftar's moves against the armed Islamists in Libya to what happened in Egypt when the leaders of the army there, supported by popular, political and religious powers, toppled elected President Muhammad Morsi last year.
However, the Foreign Ministry in Cairo has denied that the Egyptian army supported Haftar's forces in the fighting that took place in the city of Benghazi last Friday and Saturday which left 75 dead and 136 wounded. The ministry denounced what it called "attempts inside and outside Libya to embroil Egypt in the current developments there."
It is worth noting that Haftar, together with Al-Dam, led the Libyan battalion which supported Egypt during the 1973 war against Israel and he led most of the major military exercises that took place in the country. He was also awarded the Golden Star, led the Libyan forces in the war with Chad in 1980 and was promoted to the rank of Colonel that same year despite the fact that Libya lost that war under the leadership of Haftar and suffered many losses. It was during that war that Haftar was accused of perpetrating "war crimes" against the people of Chad.