While Libya was on the brink of an important meeting aimed at providing the grounds for a national election, General Haftar began his major military operation to dominate the Libyan capital Tripoli. He captured the settlements and villages around Tripoli one after the other arguing that the operations aimed to rout terrorists and liberate Libya from their movements. The move, according to news agencies, sparked the outset of a serious military confrontation between the two governments located in the east and west of Libya. It also meant that General Haftar has decided to dismiss the national consensus government headed by Fayez al Sarraj.
Meanwhile, news agencies report widespread support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for General Haftar; on the other hand, there are talks about the presence of France, Egypt and some other regional and European countries in the conflict.
In any case, the military operation of General Haftar continued by the armed forces he describes as the Libyan National Army and formed three years ago. The operations resulted in the killing of nearly 300 people and wounding of 1,500 others mostly civilians in the settlements around the suburbs of Tripoli. This occurred while the devastating promises of General Haftar on capturing the capital city in a swift operation within a few days were not realized.
Interestingly, during this time Washington voiced open support for General Haftar and Donald Trump, in a telephone conversation with Haftar hailed his operations as effective in protecting Libyan oil resources. Meanwhile, the fighting continues around Tripoli and there is no clear perspective on how the current trend would continue.
Many questions have been raised as to why General Haftar has re-launched military operations to occupy Tripoli at this juncture. Simultaneously, the goals of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in their unsparing support for these operations are open to question. Likewise, many questions are raised about the role of Turkey and Qatar in this connection and political experts and regional analysts have come up with different points of view in answering these questions.
Most of the answers given to these questions relate to the current situation in Libya on the one hand and to the concerns and worries the West has over North Africa due to the monitoring and preservation of oil resources and oil and gas transmission lines, on the other hand.
As for the first section, most experts believe that Haftar’s military movement is directly linked to the election process in Libya and previous efforts aimed at providing the groundwork for these elections. In fact, General Haftar designed and implemented his military mission to “stop such a process and create new trends in Libya.” From the perspective of the West, on the one hand, and in view of the Persian Gulf reactionary regimes, on the other hand, holding elections and formation of a democratic establishment in Libya will be in contrast with their interests and will serve as a destructive model for other Arab nations.
In other words, during the military operations over the past few weeks to occupy Tripoli, General Haftar has not decided consistently and based on personal or group interests. Instead in addition to assigning a mission to prevent the establishment of democracy in Libya, he has received incentives from the governments of France and some other Western countries. These incentives per se expose the other realities in Libya which are related to the existence of very rich oil reserves, as well as significant reserves of oil and gas in Algeria (neighbouring Libya). It also unveils the goals of the United States and European governments in extending widespread support for General Haftar and their resolve to prevent the coming to power of an elected government which would block foreign firms from dominating over these rich oil and gas resources.
Despite employing all his efforts, General Haftar has not succeeded in accomplishing his mission at an acceptable level and this has caused his scenario of taking power and embarking on a new process of formation of a Western-backed state in Libya has failed.
Therefore, in such circumstances, there are other scenarios about the future of Libya, including the continuation of bloody and destructive clashes and the insistence and persistence of Haftar on the implementation of his military plans.
But there are other scenarios regarding the future developments in Libya, such as the establishment of a ceasefire between Haftar and the national consensus government headed by Fayez Sarraj, followed by joint effort to crush Muslim groups, some of whom are backed by Turkey and Qatar who would not tolerate any domination of the West or the reactionary Arab states on Libya.
The scenario of the West’s intervention and the presence of European armies in the Libyan scene are among the assumptions cited in some analyses because as pointed out by experts on North African affairs if Libya’s oil-rich resources fall into the hands of Muslim groups and popular organizations, European governments will inevitably begin to engage in direct military intervention in Libya; Of course, such an assumption seems highly unlikely considering the problems the West is now facing.