Putschist General Khalifa Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) will not be subordinate to the current Libyan government, the warlord said on Monday.
In a speech marking the 81st anniversary of the founding of the Libyan army, Haftar emphasized that his militia “will not be subject to any authority other than an authority that will be directly elected by the people.”
Haftar, who is based in the eastern city of Benghazi, added that his militia would resist any pressure sent in its direction and suggested that it would hinder the city’s attempts to work with the current Libyan authorities.
In February, Haftar declared his support for the new transitional government and a “peaceful and democratic change of power” in Libya, according to a statement from his office. He welcomed the appointment of the new government and hailed its leaders as “national figures”. But his latest actions contradict his words.
Haftar continues to work independently of the legitimate government and continues to lead armed militias and calls himself the commander of the Libyan army.
Libya has been worried since 2011 when a NATO-backed insurgency overthrew dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. The country was then divided between rival administrations in the east and west.
Haftar’s offensive in 2019, supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia, collapsed in June 2020 when the Tripoli government, with support from Turkey and Qatar, gained the upper hand. A UN-mediated ceasefire was reached in October that stopped hostilities.
The oil-rich Libya is now ruled by a transitional government tasked with preparing the nation for elections in December.