Tobruk: Haftar’s raising influence

General Khalifa Haftar


The visit of Libyan National Army Commander Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar at board of Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier reportedly to discuss the anti-terrorist strategy, stirred a whirlwind of comments concerning the future political reconstruction of Libya. The move interpreted by many experts as a sign of Kremlin’s definite choice to support Haftar as a future leader of the reconciled country.

Reportedly  during this week visit of the Russia aircraft carrier (10/01/2017) Haftar discussed with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu the ‘urgent issues’ of ongoing struggle against terrorism in Libya and Middle East.  The Russian Defence ministry issued a short statement without revealing of further details.

However the publicity surrounding the move stands for decisive step from Russian side to throw their support to a player  they consider the most successful and capable in the post-Gaddafi fragmented Libya.
The late visit continued a series of encounters between Russian government and Libyan Marshal, who already  travelled to Moscow to meet foreign minister Lavrov, requesting help in fighting Islamists.
Marshal Haftar diplomatic activity engaging  also France, Egypt and Arab Emirates at his side complimented his military success, has elevated him to highest ranks among political figures to lead the nation, becoming an architect of reconciled and stable Libya.
At present the National unity, or National Accord government based in Tripoli and backed by the UN,  is torn by internal struggle for influence and overall legitimacy. While the field general Kahlifa Haftar firmly established his power in the Eastern provinces (historical Cyrenaica), backing Tobruk parliament – House of representatives,  refusing to accept the power of Tripoli  establishment in the Parliament’s vote.
The Italian government hurried to reopened Embassy in Tripoli this week to context the growing Russian influence in the region.
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