Whoever Controls Benghazi Controls Libya

the Atlantic Council
July 1, 2017
Haftar appears poised to move beyond Benghazi and take to the national stage. He has made no secret of his intention to move west to Tripoli to topple the Islamist militias holding sway in the capital. He’s already grabbed oil facilities in the central Sirte Basin and recently seized southern airfields from his opponents. He’s also sought international endorsement.
Last fall, Haftar sent envoys to Washington and pitched to the United States the idea of ruling Libya through a military council, only to be rebuffed. The redline for Washington, according to a senior U.S. official present at those meetings, was civilian control over the Libyan military. More recently, Haftar has shifted tack to accept a civilian position overseeing Libya’s military in a three-person governing council, or to run as a candidate in Libya’s presidential elections, currently scheduled for early 2018. His critics remain suspicious, seeing in this switch a back-door route to dictatorship.