Those who watched BBC News last Thursday morning, January 29, were treated with a rare interview with Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan general whose name in de media often is preceded by the words “renegade” and “rogue”, which in essence refers to Haftar’s betrayal of the Al-Fatah Revolution that he once was a part of. And even though those words may not point directly at the work he did for the CIA between 1991 and 2011 from the town of Falls Church in suburban Virginia, just a few miles away from the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, the fact remains that Haftar obviously specialized himself in CIA tricks and tactics, including Orwellian doublespeak. In the BBC interview, he made the following statement:
We fought about 25 battles against them [the Libya Dawn militias] and we damaged them; that’s exactly what we’ve been looking for. Actually, we are working to completely destroy these groups. Now only a small number of them are still remaining. In fact, we destroyed about 95% of their troops. They started to depend on snipers in the suburbs, on top of buildings and in tight streets. In addition to battles in the tunnels, this kind of thing is new to us. They don’t have the courage to fight in open areas inside the cities so we started to fight them in streets and in tunnels.
Now doesn’t that sound a bit too eerily similar to Muammar Gaddafi’s speech of February 22, 2011, less than a week after the armed rebellion against the Jamahiriya broke loose, the speech in which he vowed to hunt down the NATO-backed terrorists house by house, door and alley by alley? Wasn’t it actually the handful of “pro-democracy” terrorists that had to depend on “snipers in the suburbs, on top of buildings and in tight streets”, and above all on NATO? And indeed, those “rebels” actually were the ones with no courage, no power and above all no morals, so that NATO had to bomb them into to “victory”. The results of this “victory” are showing increasingly and overwhelmingly throughout Libya, and the only way NATO could more or less save its behind was by dividing their terrorist rebels into ‘extremists’ and ‘moderates’, just like they did in Syria. General Haftar has become one of the ‘moderate’ rebels the West is still able support without totally losing its mask. But once this Orwellian cover is stripped off, what’s underneath is an alliance of enemies of the Jamahiriya, fighting each other like the perfect modern version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The West has to maintain the lie of the cruel dictator killing its own people in order to maintain their support for their “rebels”, and that is why Gaddafi’s defiant speech was globally ridiculed and Haftar’s words are widely backed by those responsible for the illegal war on Libya.
In the interview, Haftar also said:
If this ambition [to become Libya’s next president] suits the will of the people, it’s welcomed. We only move for the will of the people. I won’t be late for anything the people asked for.
The big question is: who are “the people” this time?, since during the 2011 war some 1,000 armed rebels as well as a hodgepodge of foreign mercenaries with a negligible percentage of popular support were considered to be the Libyan people, while the rest of the population of over 6 million in an Orwellian twist was ignored. Lately Haftar did gain some support, but for questionable reasons, as many inhabitants of war-torn Libya who are sick and tired of being hunted down by terrorists, embrace him as the lesser of all evils. But while Haftar as a professional military man initially was supposed to only set up a national military establishment under the control of the Tobruk government, on February 3 the spokesperson of Haftar’s “Operation Dignity” declared that Haftar has the right to seek any political role in the future. Therefore the next few weeks could be crucial for Libya’s future. Haftar’s ambitions crossing the line would cause an irreparable rift between him and the Tobruk government, which could mean a home run for Fajr/Libya Dawn, Ansar al-Sharia, IS and related terrorist groups, and a further division of the country. In the other case, if the co-operation between Haftar and Tobruk sustains, where does that leave the Great Tribes and the supporters of the Jamahiriya of whom some have sought rapprochement with the Tobruk government?
If Haftar really wants to listen to the people, he should listen to the 2.5 million exiled, to the ones that are silenced by grief, to the physically and emotionally tortured in his NATO master’s war and in the ongoing aftermath, and to the wretched who lost their state with nothing left than a sweet dangerous dream, currently taking shape in the Libyan Popular National Movement. But in the end, Haftar most likely will become another embodiment of the so-called February 17 revolution: his own worst enemy and the snake that bites his own tail. And then the ultimate question remains: was this a silly mistake of an elderly military man getting ahead of himself, or was it all part of the long term plan? Are the orchestrators of the war on Libya already gloating over the division of the country in two or three politically and geographically weak regions that will stand no chance of dealing with any (terrorist) threats?
God forbid, but as things are now, I’m seeing Libya heading in that direction.