Tripoli – The forces of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar announced the closure of the border with Algeria and the establishment of a “military zone”, days after Algerian President Abdel Majid Taboun’s statements to Al Jazeera about his country’s role in preventing the fall of the capital, Tripoli, in the hands of Haftar in 2019.
This is not the first time, as Haftar threatened Algeria in September 2018 to enter into a war with it if the Algerian army repeatedly penetrated the borders between the two countries.
Member of the Supreme Council of the State and the Forum for Political Dialogue Abdul Qader Huwaili believes that the south is an open area in light of the neglect of the Presidential Council and the National Unity Government.
And he considered – in statements to Al-Jazeera Net – that the Presidential Council should be decisive with regard to the south, and prevent any armed militias from threatening neighboring countries, and work to ensure their stability in coordination with the leaders of neighboring countries.
influence at the expense of Algeria
The military expert, Adel Abdel Kafi, confirmed that Haftar is trying to expand his influence by declaring control of a border crossing with Algeria, to show the weakness of the Presidential Council in light of the national unity government’s preoccupation with the budget file.
Abdel Kafi believes that Haftar’s current “hostile” actions in the southern border areas come in response to President Tebboune’s statements regarding Algerian interference in the event of mercenaries and Haftar’s militias approaching the capital, Tripoli, and promoting himself in the upcoming elections at the expense of threatening neighboring countries.
He added, “Haftar’s escalation with Algeria coincides with Algeria’s response to work with the national unity government in order to reopen and secure the borders, facilitate the movement of citizens between Algeria and Libya and provide services to citizens in the border areas, and this is what Haftar does not want.”
Abdel Kafi told Al Jazeera Net that the Presidential Council – as the supreme commander of the army – had to clarify and name the cause of these “hostile” acts, in addition to the fact that these military build-ups lead to a clear violation of the ceasefire because they are provocative acts in the truce that Libya is going through.
He pointed to the need to take a strong position from the international community against those obstructing the political process in Libya, especially those who seek to violate the ceasefire by moving forces from one place to another without referring to the Presidential Council, the Supreme Commander of the Army.
Political analyst Moussa Tehousay considered that closing the border between Libya and Algeria is media propaganda because Haftar cannot continue to stay in the border areas with Algeria.
“Algeria has previously warned Haftar against approaching the Libyan-Algerian border or trying to change an existing situation there by threatening the residents of the border cities,” Tehousay told Al Jazeera Net.
He stressed that Haftar’s launch of a military operation in the south has dual objectives, including control of all electoral districts in the south, and the expulsion of anyone who is not loyal to him to elect a parliament that is obedient to Haftar, which leaves him with the status of commander-in-chief of the army to act outside the authority of the state.
Tehousay pointed out that the previous experiences of all of Haftar’s military operations launched in the south were aimed at securing loyalties only, including outlaw militias and engaging in absurd wars.