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Battle for Tripoli: What Awaits Libya?

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The sound of machine gun fire in Tripoli after the start of Khalifa Haftar’s military campaign to “liberate the city” is accompanied by a bitter squabble between two conflicting sides aired by media outlets and on social networking sites.

These opponents are Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), which controls the capital and a number of regions in the West, and the government in the East (in Tobruk), supported by the Libyan National Army (LNA) headed by Khalifa Haftar.

The GNA camp has generated a powerful groundswell of discontent towards the Field Marshal, as he is the leader of the “military camp” who undermines civilian authority. His actions have been portrayed as an attempted “coup”, aimed at returning the country to its authoritarian past, which shaped and “raised” the 75-year-old veteran.

Khalifa Haftar’s opponents allege that the Field Marshal intended to capture Tripoli via an attack from the North in previous years. But his plan failed because his forces encountered resistance in the city of Misrata, and a densely-populated enclave in this region stood in their way. He then headed to Tripoli via the South, which is much more scarcely populated.

The leadership in Tobruk is directing its bursts of vitriol at the vulnerabilities of Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj’s regime. It has accused factions of Tripoli’s........

© New Eastern Outlook