Haftar resentful of Cairo’s position: No to evacuating “Oil Crescent”


Cairo | Mystery spoils the scene in Libya, in light of the increasing tension on the ground, especially in the capital, Tripoli, which is witnessing an unprecedented state of insecurity, as a result of demonstrations against the “reconciliation” government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, and some of which demand to stop granting money to Syrian mercenaries who have arrived in the country During the past weeks, the security forces were unable to control these movements, and they also lost control of some armed militias. At this time, and after his government announced a ceasefire and the start of political negotiations in order to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by next March, Fayez Sarraj appeared in a televised interview in which he promised to reshuffle the cabinet “based on competence”, announcing the return of Turkish companies to work and granting them their financial dues within The coming days, which raised questions about the man’s next steps.On the other hand, and contrary to what is expected, retired Major General Khalifa Haftar did not welcome the move of the “reconciliation” government, nor was he enthusiastic about starting the political path. Rather, he announced that his forces had monitored suspicious Turkish military movements near regional waters, which indicates the possibility of a direct confrontation with the Turkish forces. On the Sirte axis – Al Jufra within weeks. According to well-informed Egyptian sources who spoke to Al-Akhbar, Haftar “did not welcome the path proposed by Al-Sarraj, because of its unjustified haste and lack of clarity.” Rather, he “criticized the speedy Egyptian and Gulf welcome of the announcement that included conditions that would not be accepted by the National Army.” The sources add, “From some point of view, the matter does not exceed a new maneuver by Sarraj to stay in power, whether by running in the upcoming elections or by a temporary calm until the internal problems related to the discontent in the militias are resolved.”

Haftar informed his allies of his displeasure at their welcoming of Al-Sarraj’s initiative, and set forth his conditions for a solution

On the ground, Haftar follows the tension in Tripoli, estimating that the continuation of this will push Sarraj to more concessions in the coming days. The current ally of Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia believes that there is no need to respond to all that was proposed in the “reconciliation” initiative, especially with regard to the evacuation of the Sirte-Al-Jafra axis, whether in the interest of foreign or joint forces. Hence, Haftar did not conceal his anger at the rush of his supporters to welcome Al-Sarraj’s initiative without conditions, informing them of the need to discuss the details first through mediators, before reaching a common vision, claiming that there are “pending files that must be resolved before heading to the polls.” Likewise, he did not conceal his intention to run for the presidential elections in the event of an agreement to hold them. He raised pivotal points related to spending from the Bank of Libya, the fate of oil revenues, and other economic files that are supposed to be determined before any welcome to the ceasefire, as he sees it, stressing that « Al-Sarraj’s move came against the background of the problems he faces, even with his allies and supporters, and the army (Haftar’s forces) should not appear as if it was awaiting the decision of the “reconciliation” government. Based on the foregoing, Haftar put together a list of his conditions for agreeing to a ceasefire – which will continue in theory, while on the ground clashes continue between the two sides – the most prominent of which is “pledging to set a timetable for the removal of mercenaries and handing over their weapons, in addition to securing the oil crescent region, and not withdrawing from it. Under any name as a red line that cannot be waived. ”
Concerning this, Cairo seeks to persuade Haftar to participate in the forces of “Al-Wefaq” in securing the Crescent area with light weapons, but this proposal has not been finalized yet, while the joint vision of any meetings that could be held soon to start negotiations is absent, amid French attempts to hold a meeting between Haftar and Al-Sarraj in the Paris, could pave the way for drawing up the political road map, which is still faced with reservations from Ankara, which wants the meeting to be part of broader talks in Berlin.

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