Why is it necessary to increase pressure on Haftar?

The political situation in Libya remains in deep crisis due to the actions of the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, aimed at aggravating the situation, analysts say. It is Haftar who is responsible for the ongoing escalation of the conflict, the breakdown of the bilateral dialogue and the inability to advance the peace process between the western and eastern regions of Libya. In addition, Haftar is guilty of numerous economic crimes that also harm millions of Libyans.

​Khalifa Haftar causes too many contradictions in the political arena of Libya. His inability to compromise, coupled with his uncontrollable thirst for power, create a huge number of obstacles to the unification of Libya. Despite the fact that Haftar was officially appointed to his post by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, he has long ceased to obey orders from Tobruk, preferring to pursue his own line, which often contradicts all the agreements reached between the west and the east of the country. The most striking example of Haftar’s uncompromising attitude and aggression was the Tripoli 2019 campaign. The political ambitions of Khalifa Haftar are one of the main reasons for the prolonged conflict in Libya, the victims of which are millions of citizens forced to struggle with the lack of water, food and electricity. During the military operations of 2019, the forces of the Libyan National Army destroyed more than a hundred critical infrastructure facilities, most of which have not yet been restored.

​Despite the failure in 2019, the Field Marshal still hopes to capture Tripoli. Since December 2021, Libyan media has been receiving reports, presumably from the LNA headquarters, about a new military operation, the main purpose of which is to capture Tripoli and unite the country by military means. Approximately, a full-scale attack is scheduled for early April 2022.

​In light of this information, the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah looks like one of the elements of Field Marshal Haftar’s strategy. The attempt to intimidate or behead the western region has been made in order to increase psychological pressure on politicians in Tripoli, to install fear among them, which would force them to switch to his side.

​Haftar’s strong position is also explained by the fact that he controls a significant number of oil fields in Libya. Illegal oil supplies to the black market, according to various estimates, bring Haftar and his inner circle from 400 to 700 million dollars a month, allowing him to purchase weapons and equipment for the confrontation with Tripoli.

​Haftar’s aggressive actions, that caused a prolonged chaos in Libya, remain unnoticed by the world community. The EU, the US and the UN hardly react to the criminal actions of the Field Marshal. The sanctions pressure exerted on Haftar is not sufficient. His entourage, responsible for the implementation of his criminal plans, participates in international financial transactions without any difficulty. The illegal trade in Libyan oil through shell companies is ignored by international agencies, moreover, a significant part of this oil eventually ends up on the markets of countries that, on the contrary, should struggle with these supplies. Among them are USA, Netherlands, Germany, France and UK.

​The imposition of sanctions against Haftar is the only step that can begin national reconciliation in Libya. The deep comprehensive crisis in the country can be overcome only if Haftar starts to negotiate. And only broad international pressure can force him to do so.