World, Africa

‘Libya's Haftar just working as proxy for other actors’

Decision to sign cease-fire not in Haftar's hands, says former Libyan army chief of staff

Burak Dag, Nazli Yuzbasioglu   | 15.01.2020
‘Libya's Haftar just working as proxy for other actors’


Renegade Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s move to not sign an agreement on the terms of a cease-fire and leave Moscow early Tuesday was decided by other parties, especially foreign ones, according to the country’s former army chief of staff.

“I think it is clear that the decision is not in his hands. I do think he is just working as a proxy for other actors,” Yousef al-Mangoush told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

Mangoush stressed that Haftar had said that he accepted the cease-fire agreement, which he received two days before coming to Moscow.

“He came to Moscow just to sign this agreement that he had already received,” said Mangoush, an army veteran who served as Libya's chief of staff from 2012 to 2103.

“But at the last minute, when the time came to sign the agreement, apparently he wasn’t able to sign it. And he asked to postpone the last signature just to call back his backers or supporters.

“Apparently Haftar’s axis -- especially the United Arab Emirates and Egypt -- are refusing to sign this agreement, so they asked him not to sign and he followed their request.”

“Unfortunately, we see that Haftar and his supporters are focused on military solutions rather than political ones. We saw this clearly yesterday.”

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and the other in the capital Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Turkey’s key role in Libya

Mangoush also underlined that Turkey’s role in Libya would be very important on many levels of the crisis.

“We do think that Turkey will give its open support to Libya’s Tripoli government. And this support, of course, will aim to end the war, prepare the situation, and rebuild the state and its institutions.”

He went on to say that the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli has the military power to stop the attacks but lacks air power and air defense, while the other side is supported by other countries. He stressed that Haftar’s forces use the air force capabilities of Egypt and the UAE to attack civilians in Libya.

Warring parties in the Libyan conflict gathered Monday in Moscow to discuss a cease-fire to end the hostilities in Libya and start a political dialogue.

Although the GNA in Tripoli welcomed the call for a cease-fire, Haftar and his supporters left Moscow without signing the truce agreement.

On Jan. 12, the warring sides of the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Moscow meeting was meant to sign and formalize the deal.

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