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Hifter campaign reveals power of Libyan Islamist militias

Khalifa Hifter's war against Islamist militias in Libya has revealed to the world how powerful these Islamist militias really are.
Ex-general Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference after surviving an assassination attempt, in Al Marj, east of Benghazi June 4, 2014. Gunmen in Libya shot dead a Swiss national working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), fired a grenade at the prime minister's office and tried to kill Haftar, in a series of attacks on Wednesday. A suicide bomber blew up a sports utility vehicle packed with explosives at retired general Haftar's base in Benghazi, according to his spokesman, Moha

Khalifa Hifter has done it again, but this time, perhaps a little bit more wisely. Last February, the same man appeared on TV to announce what amounted to a coup d’état, declaring the General National Conference annulled, suspending the government and calling for new elections. But nothing actually happened, and the general disappeared into thin air. He suddenly reappeared on May 16 to launch what he called Operation Dignity to rid Libya of Islamist militias suspected of being behind many assassinations, particularly in Benghazi.

Hifter seems to have learned a lesson from his last attempt, but still misses the point, lacks political vision and is hardly aware of what chaotic Libya needs. When he intelligently declared his "war on terrorism," a catchy slogan domestically and abroad (particularly in Benghazi, where murder is a daily occurrence), he never anticipated the kind of support he would command inside the divided country.

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