The failed state of Libya has seen an important victory from the only responsible faction of the four that are currently competing to be the legitimate government in the country.
The Tobruk based Libyan House of Representatives is the only secular, organised and modern governing force in Libya. Crucially it is the one allied with supported by Egypt and its leaders maintain positive contacts with Russia.
Today the Libyan National Army which is the armed force loyal to the House of Representatives has just claimed victory in the city of Benghazi over jihadist forces which have ruled the city in various guises ever since the illegal 2011 NATO war on Libya. In 2014, jihadists which included ISIS and al-Qaeda loyalists formally took control of the entire city.
Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Army, the estranged former General once loyal to Gaddafi’s Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, has issued a statement congratulating his troops on liberating the city.
In televised remarks, Haftar stated,
“After a continuous struggle against terrorism and its agents that lasted more than three years…we announce to you the liberation of Benghazi from terrorism.
Today Benghazi enters a new era of peace, security, reconciliation…and reconstruction”.
The struggle to unite Libya is however, far from over. Recent months have seen ferocious fighting in the once undisputed capital of Tripoli. The main groups vying for power are the western backed Government of National Accord and the more extreme National Salvation Government. In this mix are many terrorists including ISIS factions.
In the city of Misurata, a Salafist faction has emerged which is generally backed by both Turkey and Qatar. Meanwhile, the Libyan House of Representatives has joined Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in boycotting Qatar, a symbolic move which demonstrates the loyalty of the House of Representatives to Egypt.
As none of these groups will voluntarily relinquish power to the Tobruk based government, Field Marshall Haftar still has a great deal of work on his hands even after the liberation of Libya’s second largest city.
What the victory in Benghazi demonstrates however is that of all the factions in Libya, the one that the once most radically jihadist infiltrated city in Libya is now celebrating the victory of, is the one lead by a former officer in Gaddafi’s revolutionary forces. Furthermore, the Tobruk government is the the closet to that of Gaddafi’s Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya than any other. The myth that Libyans somehow hated their now assassinated revolutionary leader has been fully discredited.