Associate Press (AP) reported yesterday that the head of Operation Dignity, Khalifa Haftar, has “vowed to seize control of the western section of the country, including the capital of Tripoli.” According to sources, Haftar claims the army is in control of 1,730,000 km of Libyan territory and there are only 30,000 square meters left, as he told a gathering of LNA commanders in Benghazi last week.
Haftar has claimed that the army is in control of the area extending from the west of Tripoli, and during the next few days, the city of Zawiya will also be under the control of the army. According to a military source, “military reinforcements arrived in the outskirts of Zawiya, with the maximum readiness of the army units, especially in the areas of Bir al-Ghanam and Garyat Naser in the southern outskirts of the city. The coming few days will see limited progress towards the city pending order of the General Command of the army (Haftar), to start invasion and launch a major operation to regain control of the city.” The source also added that there is coordination within Zawiya with a number of army officials and support groups for the army, adding that they are waiting for orders to attack strongholds of terrorist and outlaw groups.
Libya’s western region has seen an increasing number of armed groups claiming affiliation with the GNA after the success of Albonyan Almarsous in Sirte and most recently the expelling of the terrorists from the cities of Sabratha, Sorman and Ajailat.
It is not the first time Haftar threatens to attack Tripoli. But it is highly unlikely that Haftar would attempt such confrontation; if he did it could result in civil unrest.
Hafter’s threat to trigger a war in Tripoli comes as representatives from different factions are meeting in Tunisia to discuss and finalize amendments to Libya’s political framework. Haftar on one hand claims to entertain the solution of dialogue, and on the other hand prompts for a war within Libya.
Haftar has been described as is a serious obstacle to Libya’s political stability. He claims to have military control, but his military strength is limited to the East and is diminishing. Operation Dignity does not have the vast stronghold over Libya, as he claimed.
As the LPA amendment committee progresses in its political dialogue in Tripoli, including the amendments of Article 8, the question that remains to be answered is whether the amendment is in favor of Haftar’s military control, and how much further will Haftar support the UN plan towards a peaceful, stable and democratically elected state if its note.