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Attempted coup d’état in Libya

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In an 11-minute video statement broadcast Friday, 14 February 2014, on Libyan state television, General Khalifa Belqasim Haftar said he intended to take control of the political institutions and called for the country’s government and parliament to be suspended.

For his part, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan appeared on the Saudi Al-Arabiya channel announcing General Haftar’s dismissal and his resolve to continue in the exercise of his functions.

General Haftar said that the army was not moving to rule, but was acting in the national interest to put an end to the reign of the militias. He announced consultations with the main political forces to appoint a president and an interim civilian government.

In fact, General Hafter is coming out, at Washington’s request, at a time when several towns, mainly in the southern part of the country, have fallen into the hands of nationalist forces. [1]

A former general of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in the Chadian-Libyan war, Khalifa Haftar suffered a heavy defeat in 1987 and defected. He fled to the United States and received training from the CIA. He created the National Liberation Army of Libya, under the orders of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, but failed to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. With his men, mostly coming from his own Farjani tribe, he became a mercenary and went to Democratic Republic of the Congo to fight for Washington. Landed in Benghazi in March 2011 in NATO’s suitcases, he became second in command of the "rebel forces" and their leader after the assassination of General Abdul Fatah Younis by Al Qaeda. After NATO’s victory, he was imposed by the alliance as chief of staff of the Libyan Armed Forces.

[1] “Nationalist insurrection in Libya”, Translation Alizée Ville, Voltaire Network, 20 January 2014.

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