Skip to main content

What's next for Gen. Hifter after moving into southern Libya?

Libya’s eastern military strongman recently launched an offensive to clear out militias from the southern region of the country, in what could be seen as a move to stabilize the whole of Libya.
Self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) Chief of Staff, Khalifa Haftar arrives for a conference on Libya on November 12, 2018 at Villa Igiea in Palermo. - Libya's key political players meet with global leaders in Palermo on November 12 in the latest bid by major powers to kickstart a long-stalled political process and trigger elections. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

I recently made the five-hour drive from Tripoli to the little town of Harawah, home to the Awlad Suleiman tribe, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Sirte in eastern Libya. Just before reaching Harawah, I passed through the last checkpoint manned by the Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by Gen. Khalifa Hifter. The single guard in military uniform at the checkpoint waved me through without question.

Libya has been torn between two would-be leaders: Hifter in Tobruk in the northeast, and Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli in the northwest. The UN recognizes the GNA; Hifter's LNA has the support of Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.