The ally of the ruling regime in the UAE in Libya, Major General Khalifa Hafer, threatens the capital Tripoli with chaos and sabotage, as it is practiced in the rest of the provinces under the direction of Abu Dhabi.
A few days after the announcement of the launch of a military operation in the south this month, suddenly, a new military operation under the name “cordon of Hamada,” was announced this Sunday. It aimed at controlling the areas of the southern belt of the capital Tripoli, led this time troops loyal to the city of Hafter Zintan mountain.
Parallelly, military sources confirmed that General Usama al-Juwaili, commander of the Western Military Zone, who was appointed by the presidential council of the Al-Wefaq government, had formed a new force known as the Tarhouna Protection Force. The force was created in preparation for the storming of Tarhouna (93 km south-west of Tripoli) and take over the seventh brigade, under the pretext of removing the danger of the capital.
On the other hand, there is still uncertainty about the positions of the militias of Tripoli. While many reports indicate contacts conducted by the UAE commander of the Brigade of the revolutionaries of Tripoli, Haitham Tagouri, and tendencies of the special Salafist deterrent force in Tripoli to Hafter, some other military forces are still rejecting Hafter. Among them are the political leaders of Tripoli that increase the density of the clouds that surround the reality of the situation in the capital.
In the town of Zawia, only 30 kilometers west of the capital, the village of Awlad Saqr, one of the strongest armed tribes in the city, has announced its support for Haftar’s operation in the south.
Apparently, Haftar’s plans are to exploit the divisions and fights between the fighters. In addition to the divided south regarding Hafter’s progress between refusers and supporters, the dispute seems clear in Zintan, the largest city in the Western Mountain. There is a force of the city led by Major General Usama al-Juili to the western military zone of the Wifaq government, and it is preparing to wage a war against Harouna to disrupt Haftar’s plans. There is also a force led by Major General Idris Madi, the commander of the “Cordon of Hamada” operation aimed at controlling the southern belt of the capital.
In Zawia, which is one of the most prominent areas of opposition to Hafter, which belongs to the President of the Supreme Council of State, Khalid al-Mashri, the statement of the tribe of Awlad Saqr who are supporters of Haftar operation in the south to the tribe implicit loyalty to Hafter.
The aim of the operation is to control the strip from Qurayat, in the south, which is the main window of Tripoli to the south, through dozens of villages, and up to Ghadames border with Algeria. The distribution of these areas topographically confirms that they form a cordon on the capital from the south.
But what is common of Haftar’s new movement with the preceded ones, is the ambiguity that prevails in all its movements and the parties that he relies upon. In addition to the unclear results of its battle in the south so far, no clear results were announced to the “Cordon of Hamada” despite the passage of three days on the announcement that general Madi will lead the operation.
On the level of the political leaders of Tripoli; in contrast to the declaration of the President of the Supreme Council of State, Khaled al-Mashri, his opposition to the movements of the new military Haftar, no presidential statement was issued. However, observers believe that the behavior of the Minister of the Interior, Fathi Pasha, confirm that there are some negotiations and connections with Musurata. In addition to a relationship that appeared clear between him and the militias of the seventh brigade, which is suspected of having links to Hafter, he confirmed publically that he has contacted Haftar’s security regarding unifying the security apparatus in the country.
All these moves cannot be separated from regional and international parties supporting Hafter or his opposition. During a press conference at Chatham House in London, the president of the National Oil Corporation, Mustapha Sinnallah, referred to one of them. “This situation has been complicated further by the launch of an international counter-terrorism mission which has expanded into an attempt to seize control of territory, including potentially, national oil infrastructure,” Sanalla said, referring to the LNA campaign.
Military sources from the south of the Libyan has confirmed on previous occasions that there is French support for the movement of the south in coordination with Chad. Media reports also mentioned a French-Emirati endeavor to support the presence of Haftar in the Libyan west near Tripoli, amid opposition from Egypt and Algeria. The reports say that the visit of the French President Makron and his Egyptian counterpart Abdul Fattah al-Sisi finally decided to end their dispute with the UAE over Hafar’s trip to Tripoli. At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Algeria last week to soften its rejection of Haftar’s approach from its eastern borders.
But what about the opponents of Hafter like those militants in the west, local political leaders, and countries that oppose Hafter like Italy? How would the statements of general Abdelrazzaq Natori be understood? He said that ” The army (Hafar forces) will not enter Tripoli as fighters, “and the assurances of the spokesman of the forces of Hafer, Ahmed al-Mesmari, that Haftar does not have troops in Tripoli and that he will deal with Tripoli “in a decent manner”? And what about Haftar’s own statements about his desire to be in Tripoli, most recently in October, he said: “Our move towards Tripoli will be at the right time and through the right shape?”