. He immediately gained the loyalty of regular army units deployed there and soon controlled Benghazi. The Islamic terrorist groups fled the better trained and determined Hiftar Forces and most non-Islamic militias (especially nationalists but also tribal groups) pledged to follow Hiftar. The attraction here was that Hiftar opposed Islamic radical efforts to establish a religious dictatorship in Libya and an end to the anarchy created by the fact that the many Islamic terrorist groups could not agree on which of them should be in charge.
Over the last week a new civil war has broken out. The leader of the rebels is Khalifa Hiftar a retired army general who seeks to destroy the Islamic militias and Islamic terrorist groups that have prevented the establishment of law and order and blocked rebuilding and economic progress. Over the past year Hiftar organized like-minded militias and former soldiers and moved into Benghazi on the 16
Hiftar was once a general in Kaddafi’s army, but disagreed with the dictatorship and fled to the United States in 1990 with the help of the CIA. When the Libyan revolution broke out in 2011 Hiftar returned to Libya and joined the rebels. is opposed by a coalition of largely Islamic radical militias and politicians. Hiftar remained on the sidelines after Kaddafi was defeated and various attempts (culminating in the GNC) were made to form a workable government. Sometime in 2013 Hiftar apparently began planning a new revolution.
One motivation for Hiftar was the growing strength of Islamic terrorist groups. Islamic conservatives, radicals and terrorists were well enough organized to prevent the GNC (General National Congress) from creating a new government that controlled the entire country. The Islamic politicians were a minority in the GNC but very active and disruptive. The GNC was originally formed in mid-2012 to create a new constitution for the country to vote on and rule until that was done. At the end of 2013 the deadlocked GNC extended its power for another year. The separatist activity in the east prevented any national vote and that had to be dealt with before a constitution could be completed and approved. The various factions in the GNC could not agree on much, although there was a consensus that the new constitution would use Islamic (Sharia) law. This was an effort to placate the many Islamic conservative groups. This made local Christians (native Copts, who have been Christian and present for 2,000 years and are five percent of the population) nervous.
The GNC is now being defended by Islamic radical and terrorist militias and some tribal and more secular groups. In Tripoli the GNC has long depended on the LROR (Libyan Revolutionary Operations Room) militia coalition to defend it against hostile militias. The GNC also has the support of most Islamic radical groups, the largest of which is Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi. This group was responsible for the 2012 attack that killed the American ambassador. Many of the militias in Misrata (east of Tripoli) militias support GNC, but many back Hiftar or are neutral.
Hiftar has struck a chord with most Libyans, who are still divided by tribal loyalty, religious beliefs and political views. What all Libyans now want is peace and prosperity, especially after witnessing both slip away over the last year. There is general agreement that the Islamic radical and terrorist groups are one of the main reasons for this, although tribal loyalties are a close second. While tribal loyalties are flexible enough to support a nationalist like Hiftar, religious beliefs tend to be absolute and unchanging. That is the problem with all the Islamic groups. Not only are they inflexible but there no agreement about exactly what “true Islam” is. So the Islamic groups, as has been the case for over a thousand years, are not really unified except by their general acceptance of Islam. That belief is not concerned with Libya as much as it is with larger issues, like forcibly converting the entire world to Islam. Hiftar is taking advantage of this weakness to get new national elections held (that will legitimize the current desire for peace and prosperity) and finally get a new constitution created. Many Libyans fear, however, that Hiftar may turn out to be a new dictator, for the late Kaddafi started out as the leader of a populist revolution that turned into a bizarre dictatorship that lasted more than four decades.
The U.S., and some other Western countries, have taken the position that Hiftar is not carrying out a coup but is merely trying to get a working democracy established. This is something the GNC has obviously failed at. If Hiftar does get new elections and does not seek dictatorial power for himself, he will continue to have foreign support. But for the moment Hiftar has to worry about surviving the wrath of the many Islamic terrorist groups in Libya. Hiftar is now a primary target for assassination.
May 22, 2014: Pro-GNC militiamen from Misrata were seen entering the capital and taking up positions to defend GNC and the parliament building. There are already pro-Hiftar groups inside Tripoli and they are awaiting reinforcements before making a major move.
In neighboring Tunisia police arrested eight men who had recently arrived from Libya and accused them of being Islamic terrorists, trained in Libya and come to Tunisia to assassinate government officials and aid the Islamic terrorist groups there. Tunisia has been successful in suppressing (but not completely eliminating) Islamic terrorist groups (especially Ansar al Sharia) trying to exist and expand in Tunisia.
May 21, 2014: Hiftar called for the formation of a Presidential Council to take over from the GNC controlled parliament and organize new elections. Hiftar is apparently in Abyar, an inland town 50 kilometers east of Benghazi. Meanwhile the GNC is calling for new elections for the GNC controlled parliament on June 25th. That is unlikely to happen as pro-Hiftar forces gain control of more and more of the country. Many senior government officials are openly backing Hiftar. That can be dangerous. For example, the pro-Hiftar chief of staff of the navy was wounded in an assassination attempt today. Assassination is a popular weapon for Islamic terrorists.
May 19, 2014: More army and police units are joining the pro-Hiftar forces. There was some fighting in Tripoli between pro and anti-Hiftar militias, leaving two dead and fifty wounded. The UAE and Saudi Arabia ordered some of their diplomatic personnel out of Tripoli as a precaution.
May 18, 2014: In Tripoli pro-Hiftar gunmen entered the parliament building and declared the GNC controlled parliament dissolved.
May 16, 2014: In Benghazi pro-Hiftar forces battled Islamic terrorist militias, leaving at least 79 dead and over 140 wounded. The Islamic terrorists soon realized they were in trouble against the pro-Hiftar forces and fled the city. Hiftar had already gained the allegiance of several army and air force units, who assisted in attacking the Islamic terrorist groups. A large number of army and air force units had been sent to Benghazi over the last year to confront the Islamic terrorists there and now, with the Hiftar forces they were making major progress. Meanwhile the GNC controlled government in Tripoli called Hiftar’s actions a coup. It all began when the Hiftar forces rolled into Benghazi, surrounded the compounds of some of the largest Islamic terrorist militias and demanded that those inside surrender.
Near the border angry (at not getting paid) militiamen freed 250 Egyptian truck drivers who were detained the day before in an attempt get their late wages. The militia men apparently received convincing assurances that the money was on the way. It is common for senior officials to steal wages for subordinates (and blame it on someone, or something else.)
May 14, 2014: The el Feel oilfield resumed production after being shut down by anti-GNC militias for months.
The U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) aircraft and 200 marines to Sicily in case they are needed to rescue Americans in Libya.
May 13, 2014: Jordan revealed that it had freed an Islamic terrorist it was holding in order to obtain the freedom of one of its diplomats (ambassador Fawaz Aitan) who had been kidnapped in Libya.
May 12, 2014: The government reached an agreement with eastern separatists to allow oil fields at el Sharara (340,000 barrels a day), el Feel (35,000 barrels a day) and Wafa (natural gas).
The government warned Europe that if they did not assist Libya (give billions of dollars) then the flood of Africans using Libya to get to Europe illegally would continue. So far this year ten times as many illegal migrants (over 22,000) have reached Italy from Libya compared to last year. In 2010 deceased dictator Kaddafi has made a similar demand to Europe and had asked for $7 billion.
May 11, 2014: In the east (Benghazi) four people were killed and twenty wounded when armed anti-Islamic terrorist protestors (in a crowd of angry locals demonstrating outside a compound used by an Islamic terrorist group) returned fire at men inside the compound firing at the largely unarmed civilians. The Islamic terrorists do not tolerate criticism well. The demonstrators wanted the Islamic terrorists to leave the city and stop abusing people (usually for not being Islamic enough or to coerce “donations” for their group.)
May 9, 2014: In Benghazi the head of intelligence for Eastern Libya was murdered by gunmen (probably from one of the many Islamic terrorist groups in the city.)
May 8, 2014: In Tripoli gunmen, in a stolen government car, killed five policemen as they escaped with the stolen vehicle.
May 7, 2014: In the east tribal militia leaders are refusing to deal with the newly selected prime minister. These tribal militias made a deal with the previous prime minister to get closed (by separatist tribal militias) oil export ports reopened. These closures, since mid-2013, have cut Libyan oil exports this year to 250,000 barrels a day. Normal flow is 1.4 million a day.
May 4, 2014: In Tripoli the parliament selected Ahmed Maiteeq as the new prime minister. Many members of parliament were bitterly opposed to Ahmed Maiteeq, a businessman with close ties to many Islamic radical groups. Members of parliament opposed to Maiteeq accuse him and other pro-Islamic radical members of rigging the vote in parliament that made Maiteeq the new prime minister. The previous prime minister had resigned because of Islamic terrorist threats against his life and those of his family.
May 3, 2014: In Benghazi a senior military officer escaped an assassination attempt by Islamic terrorists.
May 2, 2014: In Benghazi Islamic terrorists attacked a police station before dawn, killing nine of the soldiers and police there.
April 30, 2014: In Benghazi a cat bomb went off outside a compound used by army commandos, killing two soldiers and wounding three.
April 29, 2014: In Tripoli gunmen invaded the parliament building and fired shots. This delayed efforts to select a new prime minister. The old one quit because of Islamic terrorist death threats. In Benghazi a suicide car bomb went off outside an army base, killing two people and wounding two others.