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Haftar has clearly been given the green light to conquer Tripoli

11 6 18

When the Libyan National Army (LNA) launched its current offensive on Tripoli on the orders of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, his regional backers as well as international sympathisers were quick to deny any prior knowledge of what he was doing. France, in particular, a major European Union (EU) member and Haftar supporter, vehemently denied Italy’s accusation that it was conspiring with eastern Libya’s strongman. The United States as well as other major countries also wanted to distance themselves from the onslaught on Tripoli as soon as it started. Britain, notably, never liked Haftar from the start so it was spared the clatter of its western allies.

Even Haftar’s main backer, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), denied any prior knowledge or involvement in what happened. To distance itself further from the attack on Tripoli, the UAE signed up to the G7’s ministerial statement issued by the group’s foreign ministers during their meeting in France on 5 April.

A week before, the UN Security Council had also called for restraint in a press statement, because it failed to adopt a more formal stance. Nor could it agree on a full resolution, for which Britain had lobbied, in the face of a Russian veto as long as the draft text named the LNA as the aggressor.

READ: If Haftar pulls back now, he could spell his own demise

Despite all the denials, though, many countries not only knew what Haftar was doing beforehand but also promised him that they would look the other way while he headed for Tripoli. Without actually saying anything they were telling him to do what he had to do, but to do it quickly.

The US, for example, withdraw its military contingent from Tripoli on 7 April, just........

© Middle East Monitor