Libya’s was the only Arab Spring revolution that had complete components and was going down the path of powerful revolutions against all things old and corrupt before demolishing them in order to build something new. However, the evil forces plotting in the region, controlled by Israeli and American hands, did not give the Libyan revolution time to rebuild the country. Instead, they pushed Libya into civil conflict, causing the rebels of yesterday and their partners to fight against each other. The tribes became involved and civil war ensued.
Hence, the revolution was lost amongst those dividing the spoils, who allowed the remnants of the Gaddafi regime to breathe a sigh of relief. They emerged from their holes and took advantage of the division amongst the rebels. Libya was divided into two and remains so, with each side having its own government. The eastern part of the Libya has a government under the premiership of Abdullah Al-Thani, which is backed by the House of Representatives in Tobruk. The other side of the country, which includes the capital Tripoli, has the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is the internationally-recognised government under the premiership of Fayez Al-Sarraj
Tripoli, the Libyan capital and centre of the revolution, was attacked by retired General Khalifa Haftar, who was arrogant, despite not winning any wars in his life; the only war he ever fought saw him defeated in Chad and taken prisoner. However, he went against his own people with his mercenaries and fought them in what he called Operation Dignity. He managed to take the city from the rebels and control it, annexing it to the others under his control.
Haftar succeeded in presenting himself overseas as the opponent of the Islamists in Libya, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. This earned him the support of America, France, the UAE and Egypt, as these countries have been, from the outset, looking for a figure with a crazy dictator personality similar to Gaddafi’s that would fight anything Islamist and rule the country with an iron fist. They did not need to look far for Gaddafi’s replacement; they found what they wanted in Khalifa Haftar, a man dreaming of leadership and authority. He was an especially good choice for them because he was groomed by the CIA following his release from Chad and abandonment by Gaddafi, his one-time companion in the Fateh Revolution.
Haftar became the counter-revolution’s man in Libya, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and backed by Israel and the US. He has taken control of the main petrol plants and even imposed himself on the international community, making himself difficult to exclude from discussions and negotiations regarding the solution to the Libyan crisis. Delegations from the UN and Western countries have approached him, while governments have opened their doors and welcomed him, not only as an army commander, but also as a leader combatting terrorism, which is a useful commodity in the world today.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame both said recently that Haftar’s presence in Libya is important in the fight against terrorism, boosting his arrogance even more. He is overconfident when he meets them and his tone is challenging and threatening, as if he were the commander of the world’s strongest army. The former US envoy to Libya, Jonathan Winer said in a tweet, “In summer-fall of 2016, Haftar twice expressly rejected this formula in meetings with me. He was not willing to subordinate himself to any civilian govt, or to anyone else, period. He said he would rule by decree until Libya was ready for democracy at some future date.”
This is the mentality and way of thinking of the man who wants to rule Libya. It is not far from that of Gaddafi; there is an obsession with power and authority and both have the blood of Libyans on their hands.
The capital has remained the only obstacle in the way of the General, who promoted himself to Field Marshal, giving himself badges and ribbons, and an eagle on his back, despite his relevant lack of military success. In order to achieve his dream of being Libya’s President, Haftar attacked Tripoli in a surprise operation which must surely have been given the green light by the forces of evil and leaders of the counter-revolution, as he visited Saudi Arabia a week before the attack, where he met the King and Crown Prince.
The operation also occurred a few days before the national Libyan dialogue conference, which was scheduled to be held in the country under the auspices of the UN. However, Haftar knows that this will not fulfil his dreams of leadership, so he took advantage of the world’s preoccupation with the Algerian revolution to hit two birds with one stone; in addition to his personal goal, he wanted to create turbulence on the Algerian border that would distract the protestors from their demands to overthrow the regime and their calls for democracy. The counter-revolutionary forces’ top priority is to abort the second wave of Arab Spring revolutions, which continue to haunt and worry them.
Haftar thought that as soon as he delivered a statement which included quotes from Prophet Muhammad’s speech after the conquest of Mecca — “He who lays down arms will be safe. He who locks his door will be safe” — the people of Tripoli would surrender the city to him. Instead, there was a fierce battle that cost him soldiers amongst the dead, wounded and captured. Once the rebel forces confronted Haftar and thwarted his militias, he saw no other way but to strike civilians and civilian buildings. The forces opposed to him united and his efforts to divide them failed. Even his allies in Tobruk held their meeting for the first time in Tripoli and condemned Haftar’s attack on the Libyan capital.
The Arab League has been absent from the proceedings, as usually happens when serious events occur in Libya. The situation is being managed by the counter-revolutionary forces in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which control the Arab League and its decisions. Moreover, the Western colonial countries also failed to condemn Haftar’s attack. Even the UN Security Council did not condemn the attack, but instead called for dialogue between the two sides. Such international leniency surrounding the attack on Tripoli appears to be implicit approval in the hope that it will rid them of the “terrorist” Islamists. We should not be surprised that Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin and their boys in the Arab capitals back Haftar; his is the ideal model that they want to rule in Arab countries.
The Libyan revolution did not get rid of Gaddafi in order to be ruled by another Gaddafi, and so the Libyan rebels will defend their revolution valiantly with all their might and crush Haftar’s sick dreams of controlling Tripoli. The forces of evil will spend hundreds of billions of dollars on Haftar and his militias so that the power-hungry General can emerge victorious and eliminate the Islamists in the Libyan capital. The battle of Tripoli is a critical fight between the revolutionary forces and the counter-revolutionary forces. It is also the dividing factor in the struggle between right and wrong.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.