The Address | Benghazi – Libya
MILAN – The Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), the oldest think tank in Italy specialized in international affairs, has published a series of articles under the banner ‘What awaits us in 2019?’ in which the Institute offers ten predictions for the year 2019.
One article, written by ISPI members Federica Saini Fasanotti and Arturo Varvelli, is titled ‘The Year of Haftar’.
In the article, the writers discuss the rise of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, General Commander of the Libya National Army (LNA), as a key figure in the Libyan and international scenes and his role in influencing the country’s political future.
“Yes. Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, a high-ranking military with deep political ambitions, in many ways represents Libya and its controversial nature,” reads the article’s first line.
Since the Libyan uprising in 2011, “the name of Haftar, connected more and more to the fate of Cyrenaica… has been able to resist civil wars, tribal conflicts and international pressures.”
“Day after day he was able to overcome the clutches of the Cyrenaica tribes, to attract the interest and material support also of foreign powers of a certain caliber, such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russia.”
“His voice has become increasingly heard, even in Europe, as evidenced by the case of Italy, deaf in front of its initial calls for a revolution that ended, has changed clearly, as was evident at the last conference for Libya, held in Palermo last November, where the Libyan military was able to be a star performer.”
The articles also asserted that the influence of Field Marshal Haftar transcends the political level to reach the territorial level
“Haftar has not only gained space at the political level, but also at the territorial level. Militarily he did not give up his grip on the Libyan desert, reaching up to some cornerstones of Fezzan, at the gates of the Tripolitania.”
The article also stated that Field Marshal Haftar was able to accomplish what no one has accomplished in Libya in the past eight years, and that is unity by fighting terrorism.
“Haftar has managed to accomplish what no one in the last eight years in Tripolitania and Fezzan has managed to do: unify – albeit militarily – a vast and heterogeneous territory,”
The articles concluded by predicting that if Field Marshal Haftar wins Libya’s elections next year, he “could boast a clear leadership” in the country and help bring it out of chaos.
“If a majority, albeit a relative, came out from the next election, close to Haftar, the game would be done. The general could boast a clear leadership role supported by renewed international legitimacy.”