Libya’s warlord Khalifa Haftar has got some nerve! - YASIN AKTAY

Libya’s warlord Khalifa Haftar has got some nerve!

A decade ago, the people of Libya launched a revolution to utilize their right to determine their own destiny. The aim of this uprising was to end the autocracy, which was the last gift given to them by the colonialist occupation administrations that has been imposed on them for a century. Yet, the discourse presented by Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled the country for four decades under ruthless autocracy, was utterly national, and his actions were strangely idiosyncratic. This initially flattered the Libyan population and, in fact, all Arab nations, whose pride was wounded during the colonial years. During his visit to France, he had a tent set up in the garden of Hotel Marigny, and held his official meetings there. This allowed Arabs the opportunity to look down upon Westerners, even though it was all a charade.

However, the price of this façade turned out to be quite high. The Arab public started to ponder more over the great purchases made from France, and that Libyan money was being poured into France. The falsity of these images, with the addition of the disgrace they hid, was even more shameful. Such displays of arrogance against the West were nothing other than a charade aimed at concealing an exacerbated form of colonialism.

The French left, and in fact, even the entire opposition’s objections against being humiliated by this demonstration signified nothing. At the end of the day, the only thing that concerned French colonialism was its gains. A guaranteed economic exploitation discourse could allow such relations. This was not the first and only disgraceful situation in which the French national identity became involved.

The Arab Spring gave the Libyan people an important opportunity to overcome this contradiction, and save their country and honor from this hypocritical autocracy. Thus, they took advantage of this opportunity and gave birth to a revolution.

Libya’s Khalifa Haftar, who is now striving against this revolution to restore the Gaddafi order even more ruthlessly, with backing and funding from those exploiting him, accuses Turkey of colonialism – a country that is present in Libya upon the nation’s invite which prevented his putschist, invader desires from being fulfilled. Forgetting that he fled the Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) only a few months ago, he took to the lectern at the ceremony organized by the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Benghazi, commemorating the 69th anniversary of Libya’s independence, and challenged: “Independence has no value, and freedom means nothing while Turkish troops disrespect our country’s sanctity. There is no security or peace either. The enemy has no other option; it is going to leave voluntarily and in peace, or we are going to have to force them to do this through an armed and powerful will.”

Turkish troops are there not to disrespect Libya’s sanctity but against Haftar, who is ready to hand the country over to occupiers.

Haftar spoke at the Benghazi ceremony, however, we proved in a recent article that even the people of Benghazi do not support him. At least 150,000 people who were forced to migrate from Benghazi also serve as proof of Haftar’s complete lack of legitimacy. Haftar, who is in the position of an occupier everywhere he sets foot, who disregarded the Libyan people’s sanctity, who served his country on a silver platter to France, the Gulf gang, the sons of Zayed, and Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, is raving on about independence and freedom. Obviously, the independence he mentions is not Libya’s independence, and the freedom he mentions is not Libyan people’s freedom.

Even in Benghazi, where he is able to somehow stand today, the people are looking for ways to get rid of him and be liberated. Essentially, he is the one who has no legitimacy at all based on the way he conducts his operations. He came to power through a coup he orchestrated against the elected and legitimate administration with weapons he was somehow able to obtain. He initially displaced 250,000 people who opposed this coup from Benghazi, killed thousands, and imprisoned thousands more.

All these actions are within the scope of crimes against humanity and must be tried in international criminal courts. The dozens of mass graves he left behind as he withdrew from Tarhuna, which he was able to seize during the coup he was subsequently intending to expand to the West as well, illustrate the magnitude of the crimes he commits daily. This alone is enough to reveal in all its colors the reign in Tobruk and Benghazi, areas where he is currently positioned.

However, it would be wrong to think that this criminal’s audacity to challenge us, despite being put in his place by Turkey, stems from his own self-confidence.

It is clear that there are those who are recently provoking Haftar and trying to drive him into another conflict against Turkey. Why? To make him lose what he barely managed to get away with? Or are the forces that have taken advantage of the ceasefire period as a chance to amass troops and weapons now seeking the opportunity to exact revenge against Turkey?

Regardless of their pursuits, they will only get their comeuppance against Turkey, which is simply taking action in accordance with the desire and will of the Libyan nation.

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar’s recent visit to Libya was a clear presentation of this message. Akar drawing attention to warlord Haftar’s massacres with the 21 mass graves found in Tarhuna was critical.

Surely it is extremely strange and unacceptable for the world to continue to remain silent against Haftar, who is constantly tried to be presented on international platforms as a legitimate party in Libya. However, Mr. Akar expressed his belief that the GNA will not let Haftar walk free for his crimes.

This is extremely significant, because if he is taken to the International Criminal Court, it will be a step towards reestablishing the distribution of the legitimacy of the parties in Libya.

Those who commit crimes against humanity against the people of Libya, who have no respect for them, cannot have a say in its future. Yet, as Akar also clearly stated, in Turkey’s eyes, Libya belongs to the Libyans, and Turkey is present there only upon the the request and will of the Libyan people.


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