Libya: A New Twist to Haftar’s Power Play
Turkey would like the world to think that the resignation of the eastern government this week signifies the weakening of General Haftar. The opposite is true. This clears the way for Haftar and weakens Turkey’s power in the country.
Protests that are engulfing Tobruk in eastern Libya—Haftar’s stronghold—may not be what they seem. This week has seen the resignation of the eastern interim government of Abdullah al-Thani. That resignation will make it impossible for Speaker of Parliament Aguila Saleh to agree to any sort of a peace deal with the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Also take note that the protests--particularly intense in the eastern city of Benghazi--have a very specific emphasis: Corruption. And protesters are conveniently calling on the military (read: Haftar) to sort out that corruption—hence al-Thani’s resignation. In other words, al-Thani is linked to Saleh, and Haftar wants them out of the way, which opens the door for the military to assume full control in Benghazi.
Saleh has been a thorn in Haftar’s side since he began jockeying for power by trying to push for a peace deal with the GNA that would sideline Haftar. Saleh mistakenly thought that because growing ranks of Western officialdom were calling for a ceasefire and peace agreement that he would be able to win this game. He will not win, and this is now clear.