Western media outlets are once again in throes of panic as they report on the latest developments in Libya. According to French newspaper Le Monde, while the world was following NATO’s Jubilee Summit, held in Washington, there was a turning point in the civil war in Libya. Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who controls Libya’s eastern territories, ordered his army to capture Tripoli. Quite naturally, Western experts who believe the world revolves around them have been unable to forgive themselves as the latest events did not go according to their predictions. And not surprisingly, European leaders are currently in a state of complete confusion and do not know what to do next in this African nation.
Tripoli is currently ruled by Islamic forces, and the UN-endorsed Government of National Accord, a puppet interim government headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Officially, Khalifa Haftar’s aim is to expel insurgents and Islamic units from the western part of the country. But if he manages to capture the capital, there are bound to be problems for the UN-supported government too. In the long-term, the Field Marshal could use the support from his powerful army to unite Libya and become its sole ruler.
Such developments will completely change the regional geopolitical landscape, which does not work for Europeans. After all, European nations, led by France, did not crush this county and topple its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, only to then face a unified prosperous nation yet again. The entire world remembers that former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was unable to conceal her pleasure at seeing the cruel death of the leader of the Arab Jamahiriya.
European media sources are alarmed for yet another reason. Military operations in Libya will naturally result in a new wave of refugees arriving in Europe. At present, a flood of refugees is, by force of habit, moving towards Tunisia, where they intend to wait out their ordeal. But many are tempted to make their way to Europe under any pretext. What will Europeans leaders do then? We can look at some examples from the past. For instance, key criticism addressed towards the “Iron Chancellor” of Germany, Angela Merkel, stemmed from the arrival of a new wave of refugees in her country.
European leaders seem to have forgotten the wonderful proverb “measure twice, cut once”. After all, under Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was a prosperous nation with every Libyan enjoying high income levels and a solid standard of living. At the time, none of the nation’s citizens wished to move to Europe on a permanent basis. Only numerous Libyan tourists visited Europe and spent substantial sums of money there. But then Europeans, driven by greed, brazenly violated international laws and attacked Libya, thus bringing chaos, suffering and pain to its people.
Who ultimately won in this conflict? Was it France whose then President Nicolas Sarkozy led yet another “crusade” against Arab people? He actually had compelling motives to end Muammar Gaddafi’s reign, as the latter sponsored the former French President’s election campaign, gave him expensive gifts as well as vast sums of money.
But what benefits did Europe receive? All it got was a new wave of Libyan refugees, and the hatred of Arabs towards Europeans, who yet again flagrantly interfered in Libyan affairs and destroyed its sovereignty. German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung recently reported, with some regret, thatEurope made a mistake when it left Libya to its own devices after ousting Muammar Gaddafi, with NATO’s support, in 2011. The article added that the African nation had entered a state of chaos in 2014, and not in 2011 or 2012, and, recently, fierce competition for the mediator role has been observed between the former colonial power Italy and France. The report also said that rival regional powers were waging a war in Libya via third parties without any resistance from the West. The newspaper concluded that, in all probability, Khalifa Haftar received support from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and also France. Turkey and Qatar, on the other hand, backed the opposite side, primarily Islamic forces from Misrata.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte expressed his concern about the ongoing hostilities in Libya in his interview with newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano. He said that resolving the conflict in Libya by military means would exacerbate the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, and increase the risk that the nation would transform from a transit destination to a point of departure for these vulnerable people. The Prime Minister emphasized the crisis in Libya was a strategic issue for Italy, and that he had been following the developments there personally in order to ensure all the steps taken in various spheres were part of a precise unified strategy. The Italian politician also highlighted Libya was at serious risk of being engulfed in a humanitarian crisis that would lead to starvation among its population, which had already lived through 8 years of instability.
Currently, Western media outlets are engrossed in the latest Libya-related discussion “In whose interests will the new leader rule?” In their latest display of Anti-Russian sentiments, these media sources attempted to put the blame for all the unfortunate events in Libya squarely on Russia’s shoulders. They have already introduced a red herring into discussions. These outlets claim that Moscow had already established its own military bases in Tobruk and Benghazi, supplied weapons to Khalifa Haftar’s forces, and sent its elite units to Libya. The reports have also speculated about whether or not the Libyan studied in the USSR in the past, and if he speaks Russian or not. And it is actually true that he was a student in the USSR. From 1977 to 1978 Khalifa Haftar finished officer training course Vystrel, and in 1983 he attended lessons at the Frunze Military Academy. Khalifa Haftar says that he has fond memories of the USSR and its people. As for the military bases in Tobruk and Benghazi, for some reason (?!) US and NATO (and not Russian) war ships have been spotted in these areas. As the saying goes, hide your own devious intentions by casting a shadow on someone else.
Still, somehow the fact that the Libyan had close ties with the CIA for many years has been forgotten. In 1987, while Libya was at war with Chad over a strategically important portion of the border, Khalifa Haftar became a military head. However, his Libyan base suffered a devastating loss, as Chadian soldiers killed thousands of Libyan combatants, and took the General and 400 of his subordinates prisoner. In 1988, Khalifa Haftar was released from jail at the request from the CIA, which then began preparing him for ousting Muammar Gaddafi. But the Libyan leader was not caught unawares and staged a coup in Chad in retaliation. The CIA then had to help the General and his 350 supporters escape to Zaire, then to Kenya and finally to the United States. In the 1990s, Khalifa Haftar received his American citizenship and then settled in Vienna (the state of Virginia), where he lived and continued to cooperate with the CIA for 20 years. Russ Baker, who is quite familiar with this story, wrote about Khalifa Haftar in US publications.
We could add another significant piece to this puzzle, as it was the Pentagon that quickly withdrew its forces from Libya so that they did not impede the military attack on Tripoli. Certain sources even report that Americans are now part of Khalifa Haftar’s military units in the capacity of military advisors. After all, the Libyan Field Marshal had not lived in the United States for approximately 20 years and cooperated with the CIA in vain. Therefore, it is not surprising that both sides actively communicate with each other and coordinate plans together. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning at this point that Khalifa Haftar prefers not to talk about his life in the United States, which contrasts with his willingness to speak of his fond memories of his stay in the Soviet Union.
The West does not seem to grasp the concept that there are people who live and fight for other causes and not some unfamiliar interests of foreign powers. Patriots simply want to unite Libya once again and ensure that the nation prospers for the sake of their motherland. People from the West, let alone their leaders, are simply incapable of comprehending this idea. Western powers are much more accustomed to establishing puppet governments in other countries, which they then subsequently ruin. There are many examples of this, including events that transpired in the long suffering nations of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya at present. All of these countries were destroyed by Western leaders.
It is, therefore, not surprising that many people have begun to fully grasp one simple but fairly obvious truth that volatility in Libya is fueled by external interference from regional and international players, which provide political as well as military support to opposing factions in the conflict. The ongoing hostilities have had a negative impact on Libyans themselves, but this effect can also be felt in neighboring countries and the entire region, as well as in Europe and the USA. The ongoing conflict has resulted in migrants and refugees flooding Europe, and in the spread of terrorist units, which are using Libya as their base. External players are the ones currently responsible for bringing peace and stability to Libya, which is actually in their own interests too.
Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”