Libya’s Perpetual Chaos

Why Haftar’s Tripoli Offensive Could Break the Country’s Deadlock

Soldiers from Haftar's LNA in Benghazi, April 2019 Esam Al-Fetori / Reuters

Earlier this month, as the United Nations prepared for yet another conference to end Libya’s nearly eight-year-long conflict, General Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), ordered an assault on the capital, Tripoli. Whether Haftar’s forces will succeed in taking the city is still unclear. But a decisive victory for the general would likely bring relative order to Libya, at least for the time being.

The international community has sporadically condemned the LNA’s offensive, asking on “all parties” to adhere to the UN process and support Haftar’s rival, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined the chorus, calling on Haftar to “halt” his advance. Despite these condemnations, it is clear that some countries, including France and the United Arab Emirates, are saying one thing publicly while privately hoping that Haftar’s actions

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