Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 19, 2019

Libya - U.S. Reveals Support For Hafter's Side

The situation on the ground in Libya has changed little since we last looked at it two weeks ago.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) troops of General Hafter attack the militias which support the UN recognized government in Tripoli from the south. The LNA still lacks forces for a larger break through. Several objects at the front changed hands several times. There are bloody skirmishes but no big fights. Those are still to come.

Map by South Front - bigger

Some people doubt that Hafter can be successful:

Analysts believe that Haftar over-estimates the strength of his LNA.

They say the controversial field marshal, who backs an administration rival to the GNA based in eastern Libya, was counting on a quick collapse of Tripoli militias.

But pro-GNA reinforcements from around Tripoli rushed to assist in driving back his forces.

It was never clear if Hafter really hoped that a lightning attack on Tripoli would achieve a fast victory, or if his sudden move was intended to rally support from outside. He is now certainly getting such support and that will be to his decisive advantage in the longer play.

As we described it:

Hafter has open support from France, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia. The Trump administration is not interested to step into the mess. Hafter is an old CIA asset and if he takes control there is a good chance that the U.S. will have influence over him. As long as Libyan oil flows and keeps the global oil price down Trump will be happy. Russia is trying to stay in the background to not give the anti-Russian forces in Washington an excuse to intervene.

The Muslim Brothers, supported by Turkey and Qatar, are still in play in Misrata but have otherwise lost their influence on the ground.

Since then the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia pledged tens of millions of dollars to support Hafter's move on Tripoli. During the last week Hafter visited President Sisi of Egypt.

Europe is disunited over the issue. Italy wants to keep its influence in its former colony Libya and its historical position in the Libyan oil industry. It is also concerned about a new wave of refugees. It supports the government in Tripoli. France is supporting Hafter with an eye on taking over some oil business. It is also concerned about Islamist activities in former French colonies west and south of Libya. With Italy and France in a clinch, the European Union only issued a weak statement that called for a stop of fighting without naming any side.

Concern over the militias which support the Tripoli government increased too. They not as harmless as many seem to have thought:

A week after an aspiring strongman launched a surprise attack on the Libyan capital, an assortment of criminal gangs and extremists are rushing into the fight against him, raising new questions for the United States and other Western powers that have condemned his attack.
But an increasingly unsavory cast has joined the coalition against him, including a group closely tied to a militia sanctioned as a terrorist organization by the United States and the United Nations; an extremist warlord sanctioned for undermining Libya’s stability; and other militia leaders sanctioned for migrant trafficking. That mix so alarms Western powers that some may deem General Hifter the lesser evil.

Yesterday the U.S., which had said little when Hafter launched his assault on Tripoli, came out of the closet:

The United States and Russia both said Thursday they could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, diplomats said.

The United States gave no reason for its position on the draft resolution ...

Today we learn that Trump spoke with Hafter several days ago:

President Donald Trump spoke on Monday with a Libyan strongman whose forces are advancing on the nation’s capital, the White House said, in a move that may undermine support for the country’s internationally recognized government.
Trump discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya” with Haftar, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. Gidley called Haftar by the title “field marshal.”

“The president recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system,” Gidley said.

The key point for Trump is the oil price. His administration put sanctions on sales of Iranian and Venezuelan oil. Since the beginning of the year crude oil prices rallied from the low $50 per barrel to over $70 per barrel. Trump plans to reduce waivers he gave to some of the countries that continue to buy Iranian oil. That would further decrease Iran's output. Any additional disruption of Libya's oil production would increase the oil price and harm the U.S. economy. It would thereby make Trump's plan for total sanctions on Iranian oil impossible.

Hafter controls most of Libya's oil supplies. With open backing from the U.S., Russia and France, support from the military in Egypt, and with enough Saudi cash to finance his army, he surely has all the needed support to sustain a longer fight.

His next move will likely be against the small air force the Misrata gangs assembled. The U.S. might give him a helping hand in that. Hafter could then close down the airspace for flights from Turkey and Qatar. That would cut into the resupply Misrata and Tripoli need for a longer fight.

Those who say that "there is no military solution" to the situation in Libya will likely be proven wrong. Hafter has all he needs to win the fight.

Posted by b on April 19, 2019 at 17:30 UTC | Permalink


This was bound to happen, announcement was not needed...Israel and Saudi were already supporting Haftar so their lapdog would obviously do the same. Only thing messing my mind is why is Russia supporting Haftar?

Posted by: AG17 | Apr 19 2019 17:37 utc | 1

@ 1, AJ17

It may be the Russians have concluded that no one other than Haftar has any chance and so if you can't beat them, join them. That's my guess anyway.

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 19 2019 17:43 utc | 2

Nice reporting as usual b

I read somewhere that the US was complaining about SA support of Hafter in Libya but my point is more that the propaganda is thick and getting thicker.

Once lying is normalized the doors open to covering all sides with intention to act or provide support.

Is it an understatement to posit that Trump has done much to normalize lying?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 19 2019 17:44 utc | 3

@Lysander I expect better from Putin. Russia allies Turkey n Qatar are supporting GNA.

Posted by: AG17 | Apr 19 2019 17:56 utc | 4

Russia's been supporting Haftar for years. He was a guest on the Admiral Kuznetsov on its way back home after its Syrian deployment.
Perhaps the primary motivation is that he's strong, independent and no Islamist.

Posted by: Jono | Apr 19 2019 18:08 utc | 5

I'm not qualified to answer since I don't know anything about the man, but here goes..

Hafter may or may not have been USA's man in Libya at the time of Gaddafi's murder, but Libya fell apart as a result,and all parties want it back together, since it's an oil state and currently a refugee sieve. The world economy needs oil security, afterall.

He aparently freed the gaddaffi children from whatever persecution they were under, so he's possibly a military-only guy that can be 'worked with', and not necessarily an idealogue.
He's also 76 years old, so he's not going to be a ruler of Libya for long, if he were to even become the ruler upon military victory.
I predict that the Gaddafi name will come back to rule, albeit in some form of republic instead of the multi-decade, semi-dictorship government under Muammar.

Posted by: aaaa | Apr 19 2019 18:17 utc | 6

No surprise - Haftar is CIA.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Apr 19 2019 18:52 utc | 7

Posted by: AG17 | Apr 19, 2019 1:56:52 PM | 4

Neither Qatar nor Turkey are Russia's allies. Turkey switched to Russia by the US supporting YPG (and presumably the coup against Erdogan). They also have Iran as neighbour and don't want to destabilize their country for the US/Israel vendetta against Iran (which, I am sure, also involves Kurdish parties). If in doubt, Russia is Egypt's ally against the Muslim Brotherhood. And Haftar is supported by Saudi and Egypt, mainly, but also by France (not by Italy, I hear).
Russia most definitively was NOT Turkey's and Qatar's ally in Syria.
Haftar is a US citizen, his daughters living in Virginia. Russia says they have no dog in the fight.
Whatever, the oil price is going to rise with the US targeting Venezuela, Iran and, now, Libya.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 19 2019 18:53 utc | 8

The US doesn't care what murderous thug is in charge. All they care is that at the end US companies are sucking the money out of the country and the Chinese aren't. For that they will support and run propaganda against the American people for any atrocity committed to make allow Americans to feel good about all the suffering created.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Apr 19 2019 19:22 utc | 9

The situation in Syria is concerning. Meyssan has a piece on the geopolitics of oil. An excerpt:

"The attitude of the White House towards Syria is different, insofar as this country is currently unable to exploit its reserves, and Russia is allowing time to pass. The aim is to prevent reconstruction and therefore make life impossible for its people. The CIA is implementing an intense strategy of sabotage against any form of energy supply. The majority of the population, for example, has no more gas for heating their homes, nor for cooking purposes."

War by other means...

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Apr 19 2019 19:57 utc | 10

The military offensive against Tripoli is more political than in fact a military offensive to overwhelm the enemy. Of course battles are fought but just the fact that heavy weapons (tanks, artillery etc...) were not used in the first few weeks could indicate that the attack was somehow aiming to be fast, to aim fo tribal allegiance shifts or just to make a point. Only in the past week or so we have seen tanks and air strikes taking place, which seems an escalation of the conflict.
Haftar's LNA has won this war, though many battles will be fought ahead, the LNA has brought a very united support from Egypt, KSA and UAE and with that it brings France, Russia and now the US in supporting it, either as opportunistic, individual agenda or simply to speed up the peaceful process.
The fact is the GNA is becoming seriously isolated, very few support besides Turkey, Qatar and Italy, all the indication that there is a good chance for Tripoli to saved from destruction in a mix of military/political solution in weeks to come. Key tribal vocal and on the ground support, like Zittan's, will be crucial for this peace process.
Then Misrata will be a totally different animal, here Muslin Brotherhood/al Qaeda and ISIS are packed and strong, support from Turkey and Qatar is abundant, there is no peaceful solution for Misrata, only annihilation of the filthy terrorists, like in Idlib in Syria.

Posted by: Canthama | Apr 19 2019 20:17 utc | 11

Trump is supporting Haftar because he is STILL a CIA asset and to keep Russia's hands off Libya. Haftar is also friends with the Egyptian Zionist Sissy and likewise, MbinSaw.

So now, there's only one smart thing for Putin to do; support THE OTHER SIDE. If he doesn't do this, the U.S. has a CIA stooge ruling Libya, who is friends with all its allies including the most lunatic state of the 3 -- Israel, though all three are ruled by despot nutjobs.

Putin should at worst remain neutral or support the other side to mess with Trump's geo-engineering.

Now that Putin and Kim will be holding a summit soon; it would be nice to see Putin up U.S. plans in Libya too!

It's about putting up roadblocks to the Empire's geopolitical grab. That's the way you balance power. If ever war breaks out, you want to have as many allies, friendly air space and allied ports as possible. It doesn't mean a World War will happen again, but it could, and geostrategy is good INSURANCE. The U.S. will never be Russia's natural ally, not even close, therefore Putin better play it smart always planning for the worst while hoping for the best.

Alas, I'm not sure what Putin's thinking lately allowing the lunatic state to attack Iranian military assets in Syria! Too many Zionist oligarchs in Putin's sphere. One day Putin will utter Caesar's last words: Et tu, Brute? Because you sure as hell can't trust a Zionist when it comes to securing your own power!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 19 2019 21:07 utc | 12

this could get interesting as it might shed some light on Libya..

Posted by: snake | Apr 19 2019 21:10 utc | 13

So if we want to find who to blame for the increase in oil/gas prices, we should look at Trump's actions?

AP points to a "rogues' gallery of militias" fighting "Hifter"

But only the LNA and GNA are mentioned. I thought there were 3 governments in Libya - one west, one east, and one pushed by the UN. Wikipedia's Libyan Civil War entry adds the National Salvation Army to the LNA and GNA. But the NSA may no longer play a part with the militias rising to the fore. And do the militias support the UN-backed GNA? From what I've read the militias are working together against "one-man rule" of Haftar.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 19 2019 21:27 utc | 14

Circe @12

Libya is a broken country, Haftar brings stability, the end of the militias, Islamists and slavery. Haftar has already won that is why the US are now supporting him.

Russia has had a long standing dialogue with Haftar. Haftar will probably gain some sort of independence by balancing these conflicting powers (Russia and US). The US will get oil at the price they want (need) but I expect that Russia will gain most from Haftar coming out on top.

Haftar was part of the revolution that brought Gadaffi to power - I doubt that he is a CIA poodle.

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 19 2019 21:30 utc | 15

Haftar was part of the revolution that brought Gadaffi to power - I doubt that he is a CIA poodle.

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 19, 2019 5:30:50 PM

Hogwash. You left out the part where Haftar joined the revolution that deposed and murdered Gaddafi after returning to Libya from Langley! Haftar is a ruthless power-lusting butcher and not trustworthy at all!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 19 2019 21:42 utc | 16

Prestigious Valdai Club offers two new papers about the Libya situation, "Tripoli: Haftar’s Blitzkrieg Failed. What's Next?" from today, and "Libya: Tug of War and Foreign Policy Aspects" from yesterday.

Keep abreast of this important Think Tank's numerous papers, presentations and discussions by watching its Twitter account for announcements.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 19 2019 22:35 utc | 17

Circe @16

Yes he was part of the forces that overthrew Gaddafi and also connected to the CIA - I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. I would very much prefer Gaddafi to still be in power - Libyans almost certainly feel the same (the vast majority felt the same when the uprising happened).

But Haftar has won and the alternative to Haftar is criminal gangs and Islamist militias. So what choice is there really? Haftar brings a much greater likelihood of peace and stability. But, he won't be bringing back the life that Libyans had when Gaddafi was in charge.

It appears that he instigated his war in 2015 without the agreement/support of US & CIA and this may well indicate that he is his own person - but this might just be a smokescreen. Regardless, what real choice is there for ordinary Libyans - continuing war, chaos and conflict or accepting that Haftar has won?

Posted by: ADKC | Apr 19 2019 22:36 utc | 18


But Haftar has won and the alternative to Haftar is criminal gangs and Islamist militias. So what choice is there really?

Wrong. It's not an either Haftar or terrorists situation, dynamic whatever. This falsehood is UAE, SAUDI bullshet propaganda. Wahhabism is trying to take over Libya and Sudan! Wherever the Saudis are involved trouble follows lest you forget Syria and Yemen!

Haftar is bad for Libya PERIOD. More proof is that before Trump called Haftar to offer his support, he spoke with UEA's MBZ. It all stinks! Leave Libya alone -- hands off! All foreign influence out! That's the best option.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 19 2019 23:05 utc | 19

Nice to see Russia and the US on the same side actually fighting real terrorism. This is a win against the deep state.

Posted by: financial matters | Apr 19 2019 23:08 utc | 20

The US doesn't care what murderous thug is in charge.
Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Apr 19, 2019 3:22:46 PM | 9

My first thought was -- now they are telling us?

Of course, HRC put it nicely in a debate with Trump: "you will never see me singing praises for a dictator or strongmen who does no love America." Qaddafi, RIP, did not love America, so he had to go once an opportunity emerged. Maduro does not love America. Sisi may have a kind word now and then etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 19 2019 23:11 utc | 21

@20 financial matters

This is not a win against anything or a fight against real terrorism. Quit the bull propaganda!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 19 2019 23:13 utc | 22

If you don't love the boot heel of Capitalism on your neck, then you don't love the USA. If you don't love the USA, you will be severely punished. Self-determination allows Capitalism only. Nothing which has the slightest scent of Socialism is allowed by the USA and its NATO poodle allies.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 19 2019 23:27 utc | 23

I'm not in the least surprised by Haftar having some US support, US support for the UN appointed unity government (which never even fully controlled Tripoli) was always lukewarm at best. Also Haftar may have launch his attack against the Tripoli government without US permission, but he hasn't attack US interests, nor has he violated the big red lines (like nationalizing the oil industry) or expelled US businesses so it looks like he and the US were able to reconcile their differences and the Haftar will become just another generic US backed despot.

As for Putin, he's making the right call, backing Haftar alongside the US. Haftar's a mercenary at heart so Putin will always be able to bribe Haftar so that he won't be a total US puppet. Also, from Putin's point of view keeping Libya in perpetual crisis doesn't benefit Russia one bit, it destabilizes all of Europe, North Africa, Syria (lots of weapons from Libya were smuggled into Syria to support the US/Saudi proxies).

Posted by: Kadath | Apr 20 2019 0:39 utc | 24

BNW said @ 9;"The US doesn't care what murderous thug is in charge. All they care is that at the end US companies are sucking the money out of the country and the Chinese aren't. For that they will support and run propaganda against the American people for any atrocity committed to make allow Americans to feel good about all the suffering created."

Yep!!! Well said, and true...

Posted by: ben | Apr 20 2019 1:12 utc | 25

What are Circe's thoughts on the Muslim Brotherhood?

Posted by: Sister Goodhope | Apr 20 2019 1:13 utc | 26

It seems US will get the Oil, Russia will get the military base in Libya. Win Win

Posted by: AG17 | Apr 20 2019 2:14 utc | 27

@17 karlof1 Txs for the Twitter links. Btw, what is your handle if I may?

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 20 2019 2:24 utc | 28

@26 Sister Goodhope

What are your thoughts on Salafis?


Haftar is not in charge of Libya! He has not conquered Tripoli yet!

Kadath, you are naive if you think Putin will come between Haftar and the U.S. You're kidding yourself. Haftar is an Empire stooge! He is allied with the butchers in KSA and UAE destroying Yemen and committing war crimes every week! The hypocrisy here on this disgusts me!

Don't cry croc tears over Yemen again! You sicken me! You have no moral integrity at all!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 2:38 utc | 29

Lozion @28--

I merely browse the twitter accounts of others, initially to get better info about happenings in Syria. What began with a half-dozen accts in my twitter favs has grown to 50, which is close to unmanageable to review all on a daily basis. It will be difficult to whittle down. I may eventually get an account as there are times when I really want to tick my oar in, particularly with the politicians on my list. Check out the open thread for more great links, especially the last one to Hudson's new video!

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 20 2019 2:49 utc | 30

I offer a meta observation.

Thread after thread lately has been swamped in noise as a few commenters attack each other, and take enormous percentages of the entire written commentary, to argue over positions that don't advance the general discussion at all, but simply derail it.

It's a shame. When I first came here there was a peacefulness to the threads, a sequential offering of views and links, working towards agreement and even consensus. Now there is argument, and these are two very different things.

Thus, my observation.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 20 2019 2:50 utc | 31

@Grieved. Yep. Has turned into a giant circecus. Still MoA is definitely less noisy than most other bars online. B's work, yourself and a few others here definitely make regular visits worthwhile.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Apr 20 2019 3:05 utc | 32

@31 Sigh..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 20 2019 3:24 utc | 33

@31 grieved.. i agree... perhaps the idea that people can have different views and that one particular view is not the only answer would help.. this would require folks see the relativity of their own position.. intolerance to alternative viewpoints prevents this..

Posted by: james | Apr 20 2019 3:27 utc | 34

Putin's betting on the wrong horse here. Even if Haftar gets control of Libya and that's a really big IF, seeing as he's in bed with the Saudis, UAE, and now the Orangutan administration, he could turn on Russia on a dime like he did on Gaddafi. He's that kind of CIA double agent. Putin wants what he lost with Libya precisely for trusting when he shouldn't have. The British are feeling threatened by Russia's moves in Eastern Libya. The U.K. being a NATO member will ensure that Haftar, should he come to control Libya, marches to NATO's orders. There is no way things will turn out in Russia's favor in Libya. Libya seems to be the stone against which Putin will stumble twice.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 4:15 utc | 35

So, what we have here is yet another in the ongoing series of "coincidental" partnerships among:

Saudi Arabia

Posted by: donkeytale | Apr 20 2019 4:20 utc | 36

@ Grieved with the comment about MoA comments

I agree but don't want to inhibit folks like Circe doing their rant like I do mine occasionally....but I agree that the volume is counterproductive.

@ Lozion with the question to karlof1 about moniker...don't want to speak for him but first name is karl.....of...1

Blessings to karlof1 for MoA volume that is not counterproductive, IMO

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 20 2019 4:31 utc | 37

Nice work, b, and timely too. After the Trump 'bombshell' I came here expecting to see a Libya thread.
Yesterday, CCTV limited its daily, brief, Libya coverage to a cryptic remark in the scrolling headlines "White House reports Trump spoke to Libya's Haftar on Monday."
Al Jazeera, the only other (en) news outlet with regular Libya updates, was far less circumspect than CCTV and began with a comprehensive summary of the US backflip from Mike Hanna (Washington, DC), which included the observation that "only two weeks ago, Mike Pompeo had spoken out about US objections to Haftar's role in Libya." A-J then switched to their rep in Tripoli who said (circa) "people here in Tripoli are shocked and dismayed over the US backflip."

So this looks like Trump trampling on The Swamp's Libya policy, and his prattle about "oil" is intended to minimise blowback from The Swamp for praising Haftar for his anti-ter'rism efforts (and siding with Putin?).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 20 2019 4:49 utc | 38

Grieved @31

I think the conversation has been civil and some readers may have learned something.

At the same time, I think a focus on US Presidential candidates when elections are 18 months away is ridiculous.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 20 2019 5:07 utc | 39

The US has connections with Haftar well beyond the CIA. Some of Haftar's forces that are fighting Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood were assets in Obsidian Lotus and other JSOC "counter terrorism" operations. The US is still on the right side in this one. Haftar is the lesser of two evils.

Posted by: investigate311 | Apr 20 2019 5:23 utc | 40

Libya as a bargain chip for Yemen?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 20 2019 7:34 utc | 41

Looking at Haftar's connections to the US, plus his meets with Russian officials, it seems Hafter lives in the multi polar world. Like erdogan and a few others.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 20 2019 9:04 utc | 42

For there to have been a UN appointed government of Libya, the GNA, it must have been approved or pushed by the US admin of the day - the Obama admin. The Trump admin is scrapping this and going against Turk, Qatar backed MB. I take it Muslim Brotherhood is an anti Israel group.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 20 2019 9:18 utc | 43

For all this stuff about Haftar being a CIA asset, the western propaganda has been very much against him, at least in Britain. The BBC reports have all spun how he is a violent schismatic and divisive, while the legitimate government in Tripoli is forced to fight to defend itself, etc, etc.

I don't see quite how Haftar can be a US agent, but also heavily condemned by the West. I remember when he first showed up on the scene, he was much supported by the West, but then lost popularity with the west, and replaced by Sarraj and the government in the naval base outside Tripoli, which has never had much legitimacy within Libya. What was it that happened, for Haftar lose to western favour? I don't remember. At any rate this history needs to be added in to the story.

Sounds like he has the best chance of reuniting Libya, so should be supported, as not particularly evil. Libya needs peace and stability, above all.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 20 2019 9:42 utc | 44

@41 Mina

Huh? What nonsense.


I seem to have entered the MOA twilight zone on these Libya threads.

This euphoria over a despot general, a CIA asset who helped murder Gaddafi and fulfill Hillary's wet dreams and who's now razing hell and going to bring Russia and the U.S. together over Libya is about as DELUSIONAL as Trump playing 4D chess against the Neocons and draining the Swamp when he's the slimiest lizard of all. This is all bonkers!

The outlaw Empire is suddenly the benevolent Empire at MOA! You're really off the deep end now.

@36 donkeytale,

Don't mind the grammar in some spots at the beginning, but here's an article that makes way more sense than most of what I'm reading here.

Here's an excerpt worth noting.:

Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa and its production is important in keeping prices low especially when the US is trying to shut down shipments of Iranian and Venezuelan oil to world markets.

[sidebar: I guess Iran and Venezuela should worry that Russia appears to be facilitating this endeavor!]

It seems the patrons here have gone from railing against foreign intervention, the CIA and Empire stooges to forcing this bizarre fit and twisted incongruity to feed their Trump-loves-Russia delusion. Never mind Trump collusion! That's a minor syndrome compared to this derangement affliction!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 10:11 utc | 45

What is going on with Saif? He would appear to be the one with the most legitimacy.

Posted by: paul | Apr 20 2019 11:00 utc | 46

Here's a short but sweet synopsis on what the U.S. does best for everyone here suffering from either convenient or delusory amnesia.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 11:04 utc | 47

Who called who? Did Haftar call Trump or was it the other way around? I read that Bolton was in on the conversation and talked to him first. He may be the future leader of the country and the powers that derive the US decided to talk to him as they see no other alternative or their old asset is stepping in to take over the country.

As I said before Haftar's actions will be the tell of who he is going to align with. One's past does not necessarily predict one's future. We make mistakes and sometimes we change paths.

Like ben @ 25 said. The US leadership does not care what murderous thug is in charge as long as the companies that support them can operate.

One thing is certain, the life of the Libyan has changed forever. No matter who sits on the throne going forward, I am sure the oil resources will not be shared with them at the level Qaddafi once did to maintain order and stability.

That being said, the West has accomplished their mission no matter what happens.

Posted by: dltravers | Apr 20 2019 11:27 utc | 48

I am curious to know what kind of "open" support Russia is actually giving to Khalifa Haftar's offices if this linked article can be considered credible:

"Moscow denies giving support to Haftar's attack on the Tripoli government. Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov told reporters today that he hopes that the crisis in Libya will not lead to "renewed bloodshed", adding that Moscow is not helping General Khalifa Haftar, the troops of which ... are marching towards the capital of the country in an attempt to take control of the whole of Libya. Peskov added that it is "necessary to continue all possible efforts to completely resolve the situation by peaceful political means".

When asked if Russia considered Libya's military support, Peskov replied: "No, Moscow is not taking part in any way", adding: "We are closely monitoring the situation in Libya"..."

It seems that the Wagner Group, a private mercenary organisation supposed by Western mainstream news media to be connected to the Kremlin, in the way that just about every businessperson who heads a sizeable company in Russia is Putin's best buddy, is actually assisting Khalifa Haftar's forces instead.

Libya Observer is quoting a Daily Telegraph article that was co-authored by Alec Luhn who has also written for The Guardian, The Independent and The Moscow Times among other mainstream news media, so he is not necessarily an objective observer.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 20 2019 11:36 utc | 49

Hister is a creation/creature of the CIA, what more do you need to know?

Posted by: librul | Apr 20 2019 11:55 utc | 50


Make that Hifter, ( ... in old German script they look the same )

Posted by: librul | Apr 20 2019 11:58 utc | 51

Get this: John Bolton, the connivingest conniver in Trump's Neocon FP Cabinet ALSO spoke with Haftar by phone before Trump did! John Bolton once admitted after he was was part of the previous White House criminal gang that the U.S. didn't invade Iraq because it was suspected of having WMDs; they invaded Iraq to take down Saddam Hussein, as in have him executed.

So, Hafter, who was manufactured at Langley's school for U.S.-made puppet dictators and was sent several times into Libya to take down Gaddafi and led forces against Gaddafi (it was a persistent mission still ongoing) is now receiving the blessing of his benefactors.

Gaddafi was a socialist who was moving away from the Petri dollar. The U.S. had him murdered at Hillary's direction and now you all are the cheering squad for the U.S.-groomed replacement. To think you've reduced yourselves to the same side as the she-devil and now...Bolton?

Now don't tell me Trump and Bolton were against Haftar before they were with him? The best way to give an asset cover for a mission that requires deniability to fool the rest of the world is to pretend he's a rogue agent first so it doesn'appear that Wasington was all this time orchestrating the future dictatorship coming to Libya.

Here was the plan: get Gaddafi to give up nukes. Quietly groom a leader for the insurgent fake revolution to overthrow Gaddafi. Murder Gaddafi so there's no chance the Russians will help him rise again. Pretend a falling out with the asset you groomed to replace Gaddafi. When everyone starts throwing their support behind your asset, act like you're just following everyone else's lead and therefore not really in control. Once your asset asserts power--screw whoever thinks they own your asset.

If Bolton is talking to Haftar privately and then Trump is greenlighting his Libya offensive while Saudi Arabia bankrolls, you know it's dirty, but hey, keep trying to whitewash it. God knows you've gotten enough practice with the other shet Trump has pulled!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 12:37 utc | 52

Correction: petro-dollar

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 12:39 utc | 53

It was Hifter for more than two decades. Then he got the attention of the PR section at the CIA. They noted that
Hifter was way too close to Hitler so they rebranded their CIA creation to Hafter, and then slowly and carefully to Haftar.

Try not to participate with the CIA.

Hifter is a creature of the CIA.

Posted by: librul | Apr 20 2019 13:03 utc | 54

@38 Hoarsewhisperer

So this looks like Trump trampling on The Swamp's Libya policy, and his prattle about "oil" is intended to minimise blowback from The Swamp for praising Haftar for his anti-ter'rism efforts (and siding with Putin?).

No, his prattle about oil is intended to minimize blowback from his swamp-infested regime change efforts in Venezuela and Iran.

The key point for Trump is the oil price. His administration put sanctions on sales of Iranian and Venezuelan oil. Since the beginning of the year crude oil prices rallied from the low $50 per barrel to over $70 per barrel. Trump plans to reduce waivers he gave to some of the countries that continue to buy Iranian oil. That would further decrease Iran's output.


Sounds like he has the best chance of reuniting Libya, so should be supported, as not particularly evil. Libya needs peace and stability, above all.

IOW, peace through war crimes, imprisoning political opponents and torturing or killing them into submission. Why else is he using war to negotiate, la guerre?

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 13:14 utc | 55

According to this French gov radio program, Moscow is selling weapons to Heftar (paid by UAE/KSA).

Posted by: Mina | Apr 20 2019 13:43 utc | 56

@57 Mina

That's nice, everyone's supplying the stooge dictator while saving the U.S. money!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 13:50 utc | 57

" The US is still on the right side in this one. Haftar is the lesser of two evils." investigate311@40

No, the lesser evil is the one opposing the US Empire. The Empire is the greater evil.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 20 2019 13:54 utc | 58

Jen @49

Very interesting.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 20 2019 14:24 utc | 59

For your information, Haftar is a fluent Russian language speaker. he does not need a translator when talking to Russians. One does not become fluent in Slavic languages over the night. This fact may explain a lot to armchair generals analysing Libya play.

Posted by: anon | Apr 20 2019 15:04 utc | 61

To librul:
Hister? The CIA might love that, maybe they'll "correct" his name to it later?

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Apr 20 2019 15:05 utc | 62

one thing is very clear... the usa turned libya into a nightmare - failed state... it's hard to square that with the usa lending some positive hand in all of this...their track record has been full on destructive.. what are they gaming for now while happily in bed with ksa-uae and etc??? it can't be anything good.. of that much we can be sure..

Posted by: james | Apr 20 2019 15:19 utc | 63

Circe @ 52
Now don't tell me Trump and Bolton were against Haftar before they were with him? The best way to give an asset cover for a mission that requires deniability to fool the rest of the world is to pretend he's a rogue agent first so it doesn'appear that Wasington was all this time orchestrating the future dictatorship coming to Libya.

That theory has no legs. Every intelligence agency on the planet knows this guys past and would take appropriate caution. If we know then they know and they know far more than we know. No country would fall for that "orchestration" unless they wanted it to happen.

Every country has a motive. Sometimes rivals agree on something and they want the same outcome. Russia may want nothing more that to stop the flow of radical Muslim immigrants into Europe. They clearly want the destruction of jihadist elements that will affect their nation as the jihadists grow in strength. Maybe the Russians want more than that, who knows?

The US and the West wants what it always wants, unfettered access to cheap resources. That is not speculation but fact. Taking resources off the market is part of the game as well. If the West controls a portion of a resource, lets say oil, then taking their enemies resources off the market makes them money and makes their enemies lose money. Supply and demand.

If Venezuela, Iran, and Libya were pumping oil full bore then oil would be certainly far cheaper than what it is now.
Oil Price History The prices seen high right now when compare to a few decades ago.

Posted by: dltravers | Apr 20 2019 15:20 utc | 64

@37 psycho, txs but I meant karlof1's Twitter handle so I could follow his posts but he replied already @30..
@46 A very important question.

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 20 2019 16:18 utc | 65

I’m genuinely entertained and informative by reading everyone’s speculation and disagreements. Three cents:

1. Just because a country says they’re officially supporting “X” doesn’t mean they’re not quietly undermining “X”.
2. Just because a country directs its propagandists to vilify “X” to the home crowd doesn’t mean they’re not quietly supporting “”X” and using X for “dirty work”.

We sometimes won’t learn what new realities the Rovian Empire was creating in the dark until we judiciously study more evidence in the light. To me, the evidence seems sparse so far.

3. I consider Circe’s contributions to be interesting and civil, in the absolute sense and especially within the context of discussing the pain and death empires inflict on us.

Posted by: olaglalla | Apr 20 2019 16:25 utc | 66

paul says:

What is going on with Saif? He would appear to be the one with the most legitimacy

or Ayesha, Muammar's favorite? didn't she form a secret government somewhere? wasn't she supposed to continue the opposition?

Posted by: john | Apr 20 2019 16:35 utc | 67

A small addition. This morning - around, I don't know, 3.00 a.m.-ish - the Beeb's World Service was up to its usual, acting as the state media shill for the corporate-capitalist-imperialist west and Orwellian best. Leaving aside the constant blah-blah garbage about Barr and Mueller and Russiagate that won't die (Mr Assange being forgotten, at least for now), the presenter or news reader said - and I kid not - about Libya that the *cause* of its present chaos, failed state condition was a result of: The Arab Spring!

Not a whisper about the deliberate, concerted effort by FUKUS to destroy the richest North African state whose wealth was used to support its population and to further more general African unity, create the present chaos after ensuring Gaddafi's murder.

Nope. It was the Arab Spring as done it. Our hands are clean, dontcha know. The Orwellian mis/disinformation couldn't get more blatant if it tried. Well, on further consideration, oh yes it could and is with *the Russia lies behind everything, they meddle in everything* insanity.

Posted by: AnneR | Apr 20 2019 17:08 utc | 68


That theory has no legs. Every intelligence agency on the planet knows this guys past and would take appropriate caution. If we know then they know and they know far more than we know. No country would fall for that "orchestration" unless they wanted it to happen.

So then, they know now like they knew then. Let's not be selectively delusional. The Russians know like they knew in 2011, that the Libya Resolution they abstained from blocking at the UNSC, really meant that all options were on the table. Putin even stated so himself at the time the Resolution was to pass comparing it to the Crusades, and even if he was PM at the time, he sure as hell wasn't powerless! You should only pretend outrage after the fact. They walked right into it eyes wide open, Gaddafi be damned. Same here.

It's as I stated before, why is Russia playing footsie under the table with Israel in Syria allowing the lunatic Zionist gangster's air force to take out Iranian military installations? This is not merely a game of appeasement. Appeasement of a lunatic state is serious business.

As far as the oil business, Trump wants to do maximum damage to Venezuela and Iran; Iran being the ultimate target. You can't spin that. He's made it clear from the start, so suffocating Iran's oil industry is a paramount objective. Russia knows this too.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 20 2019 17:09 utc | 69

Personally, I'm wondering about that corridor from Ghat to Sabha/Brak. That's a clear waterway-corridor for supplies coming from Algeria, and also THE key point that locks up control of the Zawiya pipeline head-points.

Tripoli is a notable feather in a European cap; but what actual power does it confer, when ISIS is boiling up and threatening one's core support?

Yet another example of NATO back-bench Generalissimos coaching a local war in the worst imaginable way.

Posted by: Personally... | Apr 20 2019 18:04 utc | 70

Posted by: librul | Apr 20, 2019 9:03:25 AM | 55

It was Hifter for more than two decades. Then he got the attention of the PR section at the CIA. They noted that Hifter was way too close to Hitler so they rebranded their CIA creation to Hafter, and then slowly and carefully to Haftar.
You do understand, I hope, that the name is written in Arabic script, which doesn't indicate the short vowels. So those versions are in fact all the same, just depending on pronunciation. It's not a conspiracy.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 20 2019 18:24 utc | 71

All this theorising about who is in the pocket of who doesn't seem to me very convincing. If my memory is correct that initially the west was keen on Haftar (evidence of Haftar's relations with the CIA), then Haftar was dropped, and the Sarraj regime was inserted under the UN flag, a very feeble regime dependent on outside support, and now, perhaps, Haftar is supported again, then it's obvious that relations between Haftar and the US are by no means simple, and he's annoyed them. I.e. Haftar is running an independent game, and he's exploiting the US, rather than the reverse. Of course he's looking for help from elsewhere, such as Putin.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 20 2019 18:52 utc | 72

@73 Laguerre - "Haftar is running an independent game, and he's exploiting the US, rather than the reverse"

I suspect this happens a lot, that puppets cut their strings at such times as external opportunity or power come along. I also suspect that the CIA is institutionally easy to trick, if you're clever.

I recall a discussion here with Daniel several months ago about the coming to power of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, and throwing the Shah out. The literature of the event, what little I studied of it, seemed to suggest that the CIA/State Dept. thought that Khomeini was their man, and supported him or at least gave their green light to deposing the Shah (not that they could have stopped it, I believe, but they thought it suited their purposes to let it happen). Once Khomeini came into power, the revolution became something the CIA couldn't touch, and Iran became the fierce opponent of the US that we know her as today.

I suspect a lot of this preliminary illusion and delusion with Khomeini had to do with oil and gas, as it probably also does today in Libya. These are just musings, but is it possible that if the oil companies find that the man in power falls in line with their plans, then the political things simply fall into place behind?

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 20 2019 21:12 utc | 73

It would be a very good thing for Libya to be reunited and end its chaos.

But when I see the one attempting it, supported first by Macron's France and then by Trump's United States, I really have to wonder whether something really foul is going on here.

Support from thugs?

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Apr 20 2019 22:04 utc | 74

@74 Grieved. Yes, I would posit the CIA dropped the Shah once it became clear the revolution would wipe him and his cronies and supported Khomeini, recently given free passage from France, only insofar as he would be preferable through his radicalism to a genuine secular civil society movement a la Mossadegh. Fast forward to Egypt's events around Morsi's removal by Sissi as a replay and its not hard to see something similar happen in Libya or Algeria for that matter..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 21 2019 1:31 utc | 75

@59 Bevin "No, the lesser evil is the one opposing the US Empire. The Empire is the greater evil."

Obviously I oppose the US empire. In fact, I wish we would be focusing on Yemen and South Sudan. Those are examples of the US setting the world on fire while the media yawns.

That simply isn't the case in Libya. It's Haftar vs the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. All the choices are bad, but Haftar is the only secular option at the moment. Also, if it means anything, the US used to support the Tripoli govt. up until 2 mins ago. We are changing sides because we see the writing on the wall.

Posted by: investigate311 | Apr 21 2019 3:01 utc | 76

@investigate311 #77
Your comment implies that there are only 2 sides: Haftar vs. the Muslim Brotherhood.
I doubt this is the case since the conflict in Libya is primarily tribally based.
Seems more like an argument via false dichotomy/false choices.

Posted by: c1ue | Apr 21 2019 16:31 utc | 77

@77 investigate311

Perfect example of a morally dishonest interpretation.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 21 2019 18:31 utc | 78

@78 C1ue @79 Circe So what are the viable options? How is this a morally dishonest interpretation? The Tripoli government is sectarian and is in league with Islamist groups. Most of Libya is just fighting between various Islamist gangs and war lords. The country is broken (thanks to NATO and the US). It needs a non-sectarian leader. Haftar is a snake, and is obviously power hungry.

What are your solutions? Qatar and Turkey (and Iran by extension through Turkey), are still trying to prop up the former LIFG and friends. I'm sure you'll remember, The CIA and MI6 were originally in bed with these takfiri lunatics when we were running guns with Qatar to topple Gaddafi and collapse Libya after Gaddafi started to renege on oil contracts with Europe in favor of China.

What is the viable alternative? Libya is in shambles right now. I see war lords, a UN puppet government, and militias selling slaves.

Posted by: investigate311 | Apr 21 2019 21:45 utc | 79

@80 Well said but dont expect rational counter-arguments from those who hold a fishing rod..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 22 2019 2:40 utc | 80

My take on it is Russia will support Hafter because he's secular and probably represents the best chance for stability, similar reasons to why Russia supported Assad in Syria. As you may know, Russia has a big problem with Islamic terrorism on its southern flank. A lot of which has been stirred up by the U.S. and the West, the vast majority (of Islamists),of course, being peaceful and posing no threat.

If the U.S. supports him (Hafter) now it seems to be more of a tactical move. The U.S., of course, having no objection to using Islamic terrorism on principle, will use whatever it deems will advance its interests. In this case, it seems like the consideration of oil prices and their broader strategic objectives concerning Iran has prompted them to throw in with Hafter, even if he may not be their first choice.

Of course, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will oppose the Muslim Brotherhood and would would also probably prefer a stable government, so long as its not one that might eventually pose problems for them.

Posted by: Steverino | Apr 22 2019 16:44 utc | 81

Here are a few more pieces of the Libya puzzle.


Posted by: b4real | Apr 23 2019 1:50 utc | 82

@83 b4real.. thanks.. that was interesting.. i agree with his conclusion at the end too..

Posted by: james | Apr 23 2019 4:19 utc | 83

@ b4real with the link about US/Libya

Thanks for that.

To me it again speaks to the undefined factions of the elite that are in global conflict in the West. And this internal strife is going on while being made irrelevant by China from the outside....

Libya is another of the spinning plates of late empire trying to corral resources for it last stand as the wagons circle.......POOF!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 23 2019 5:26 utc | 84

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