Defected Journalist Says Haftar Used Hundreds of Men as Cannon Fodder in Benghazi

On the third anniversary of Haftar’s Dignity Operation, being celebrated in eastern cities, that are governed by military rule, journalist and political activist Mansour Abied who abandoned the operation, has crashed the party with heavy criticism and allegations that would rock any boat, according to Libya Observer.

Abied, a media performer who has interviewed most Dignity Operation commanders and enjoyed access to all areas of the conflict in eastern Libya under the protection of Khalifa Haftar’s militias, called by the Libyan General as Libyan National Army (LNA), took part in a debate in his newly established Libya Al-Watan TV.

He covered all aspects of Dignity Operation, from the reasons for its launch in 2014 to the way it was managed and the results after three years of death and destruction in Benghazi.

Abied started by giving testimony to the fact that the LNA had let ISIS escape Benghazi last May and used media propaganda as a cover up.

He stated that,”We know from our contacts that ISIS was able to travel freely from Benghazi, in May, at the crack of dawn travelling the Sluq road all the way to Ajdabiya.”

Abied confirmed that these facts are true and that nobody can refute them. He said that the LNA had issued a fabricated excuse of an attack 48 hours later in Ajdabiya, parading some dead bodies, saying the army had caught up and dealt with the fleeing ISIS elements.

When he was asked why he thought the LNA would commit such an act, Abied replied, “It is not the soldiers of the LNA, it is the Command that wants to move the chess pieces to other places on the board and keep the game going.”

Abied said ISIS convoys from Derna and Benghazi had reached Sirte untouched prior to Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos Operation, which defeated the extremist group from the coastal city.

He claimed that other ISIS convoys from Benghazi had arrived in south Bani Walid town, removed their black ISIS flags and dressed in LNA uniforms before joining the Sirte Liberation Room of the LNA.

He also revealed that over one hundred men had died due to poor planning, effectively used as cannon fodder in Benghazi so that Khalifa Haftar could stand on his platform and say he has an army.

Then, Abied shifted his attention to the mysterious assassinations that plagued Benghazi before the launch of Dignity Operation.

He said witnesses have come to light recently about the role played by foreign intelligence services at that period and have either been silenced, distanced or even murdered which opened the door to doubt as to who was the benefactor of these assassinations.

He questioned,”How long are we going to be used in such a way just so the Sultan (Haftar) can sit on his chair?”

As Abied is completely aware how Khalifa Haftar’s inner circle works, he anticipated that a smear campaign would be launched against him in retaliation for his open attack on the Command of Dignity Operation.

He remarked,”Their media campaign is quite obvious at this stage, they use social pressure on anyone who opposes them by going to his family and threatening his mother or father; it is an undignified war.”

He concluded,”Everyone who criticizes them is either an agent for Qatar or to the British or the Muslim Brotherhood.”

On Tuesday, Khalifa Haftar staged a large military parade for the third anniversary of his campaign to control Benghazi.

Haftar’s militia known as Libyan National Army (LNA) has become the dominant force in eastern Libya over the past three years, though it continues to face armed resistance in Benghazi and other regions, and to take heavy losses.

The LNA is aligned with a government and parliament based in eastern Libya that rejects a U.N.-backed government known as the Government of National Accord(GNA)in Tripoli.

Haftar, Libya’s military strongman, claimed he has launched “Dignity Operation ” against Islamist militants who had carried out a wave of bombings and assassinations in Benghazi, though he has also fought former rebels opposed to his military rule.

Haftar is backed from foreign powers including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

According to many observers, Haftar has been portraying himself as a Libya’s military leader who is launching war against terrorism,however, while forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) were busy battling to eradicate ISIS in Sirte, Gen.Haftar militias were waging war against his political enemies in Derna and Benghazi,under the banner of war on terrorism.

In May 2016, Haftar launched Operation Volcano in Derna, which has been viewed as an extension of Operation Dignity, to allegedly liberate the city from terrorism and Islamist control.

In May 2014, Operation Dignity was launched by Haftar’s militia to eradicate Islamists from Libya, who he considers to be terrorists and his political enemies.

It is worth to mention that Derna’s Shura Council has openly opposed Haftar, and although they were able to drive out ISIS from the city without his help in April 2016,he attacked them.

One of the reasons why Haftar has launched a war against the eastern city, despite the fact that the Derna Shura Council has maintained that they are not affiliated with any terrorist group, was because Haftar aimed at that time to establish full control in eastern Libya as political leverage.

In fact, Mansour Abied’s latest testimony highlights the fact that Haftar’s battles were mainly to consolidate his power and influence, which he can use to spread his power all over Libya and portray himself as the only solution for Libya’s stability and union.