A retired Libyan general whose movement launched an assault on Islamist militias in Benghazi and demanded the suspension of parliament has called for a new council to take over the running of the country. CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh reports.
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“Khalifa Haftar said Wednesday that the General National Congress, the interim parliament, had failed the people and that its mismanagement of the country had turned Libya into “a state sponsor of terror… and a hideout for terrorists.”
He made his call for a new, civilian council to take its place during a televised news conference in Benghazi.
On Sunday, armed men claiming allegiance to Haftar’s newly formed movement, known as the Libyan National Army, stormed parliament and announced they had suspended it….”
US distances itself from renegade Libyan general (channelnewsasia, May 21, 2014)
“The United States on Tuesday distanced itself from a renegade general who has vowed to rid Libya of jihadists and said it was watching events in the country closely.
Khalifa Haftar led a deadly assault on Islamist militia in Libya’s second city Benghazi last week and has been accused by some of attempting a coup, in the latest unrest in the North African country since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moamer Gadhafi.
“We have not had contact with him (Haftar) recently. We do not condone or support the actions on the ground, and nor have we assisted with these actions,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington.
“So we are continuing to call on all parties to refrain from violence and to seek resolution through peaceful means,” added Psaki, declining to say whether Washington viewed Haftar’s actions as a coup attempt…
Gunmen from the ex-rebel Zintan brigade, who say they back Haftar, attacked the parliament building in the capital Tripoli on Sunday, while Haftar has been branded an “outlaw” by Libyan authorities….”
Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya? (businessinsider, Apr 22, 2011)
“As the United States and its allies get deeper into the confrontation with Qaddafi in Libya, it’s worth stepping back to consider what is actually taking place—and why.
We’ve been told very little about the rebels seeking to supplant the dictator. But one in particular deserves our attention. General Khalifa Hifter, the latest person to head the rebel forces…..
A New York Times report of May 1991 shed more light on the CIA’s sponsorship of Heftir’s men. “They were trained” it said, “by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerilla skills, officials said, at a base near Ndjamena, the Chadian capital. The plan to use the exiles fit neatly into the Reagan administration’s eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi”….
In March 1996, Heftir returned to Libya and took part in an uprising against Gaddafi. Details of what happened are scant but the Washington Post reported from Egypt on March 26th that travelers from Libya had spoken of “unrest today in Jabal Akhdar mountains of eastern Libya and said armed rebels may have joined escaped prisoners in an uprising against the government….
What part the CIA played in the failed uprising and whether the then US president, Bill Clinton had given the operation his approval are not known. By coincidence or not, three months later, Gaddafi’s forces killed some 1200 political prisoners being held in Benghazi’s Abu Simal jail. It was the arrest of the lawyer representing many of the prisoners’ families that sparked the February 17th uprising against Gaddafi and with it, the return of Khalifa Heftir. As usual, the back story is complex…..”
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