Haftar Extends His Power in the East with the Assistance of Egyptian Armed Forces

Many Libyans were shocked by the latest statement of Abdel Razek Al-Nazoury, the chief of General Khalifa Haftar’s army, when he revealed in an interview with an Egyptian newspaper, that “Haftar granted the Egyptian army easements on Libyan soil and territorial waters without obtaining the approval of any political institution in Libya, including the House of Representatives (HoR), “according to Libya Prospect.

Libya Prospect reported that, “According to the Egyptian newspaper, which published the statements of Al-Nazoury, who is also known to operate under the instructions of Major General Abbas Kamel, the director of the Office of Egypt’s Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The agreement between Haftar and Cairo occurred in the absence of any organization representing the Libyan public.”

It seems that Gen. Haftar is extending his power in the east with the assistance of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The first move, taken by Haftar in the east, was when the mayor of Benghazi, the largest city in eastern Libya, was replaced by Colonel Ahmed Larabi and the council was suspended. The appointment was made by the Chief of Staff  of Gen. Haftar’s army Abdel Razek Al-Nazoury.
Later, Al-Nazoury took the second move when he replaced  the mayor of Ajdabiya, Salim Jodran, brother of the head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) Ibrahim. He was replaced by retired colonel Embarek Al-Manafi, as commander. Al-Manafi is a supporter of Haftar’s Operation Dignity  launched in May of 2014 to clear Libya of Islamists, which also includes the militia groups supporting the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Now Al-Nadhouri has acted a third time replacing the elected mayor of Al-Kufra by Colonel Saleh Al- Zarrouq.
In alignment with Gen. Haftar’s moves in the east, Egypt’s Armed Forces have been mandated to protect the joint borders from the sea to the Libyan-Sudanese borders. Haftar requested the Egyptian army to protect Libyan/Egyptian borders from Imsaad, in the north, to the Libyan/Sudanese borders, as well as the maritime boundaries between both countries, “meaning that Haftar has granted Egypt unprecedented authority on Libyan territory,” said Libya Prospect.
Moreover, the oil tankers transporting Libyan petrol from Haftar-controlled regions in the east will be under Egypt’s authority in practice, the oil tankers will only be able to carry the oil and export unless Cairo approves, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Libyan Prospect considered Haftar’s move as a precedent saying that “Haftar’s waiver of Libyan territorial sovereignty can only be explained in the light of a very controversial history, where Haftar appeared to be a man willing to make concessions to those who can help him claim the throne so to speak.”

Gen. Khalifa Haftar is a major ally to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt who led a military coup in 2013 against the first democratically elected President. He has got also many followers and supporters who believe that he fights the terrorist groups in Benghazi and other eastern Libyan cities.

After the victories of the forces of the Presidential Council (PC) against the Islamic State (IS) in Sirte with US air strikes’ assistance, a struggle of power has escalated between Gen. Haftar and the PC. The House of Representatives(HoR) in Tobruk refused to give a confidence vote to the Government of National Accord. Tobruk government supports Haftar against the he Government of National Accord(GNA) known as the UN-backed government.