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With Libya’s surprise vote result, a defeated Haftar is back in the saddle

By Samer Al-Atrush
Posted on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 13:59

Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar gestures as he speaks during Independence Day celebrations in Benghazi
Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar gestures as he speaks during Independence Day celebrations in Benghazi, Libya December 24, 2020. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Libya's weak new government needs to strike a deal with strongman Haftar to stay afloat.

A businessman with Gaddafi regime ties, Abdelhamid Debaiba defied the odds when a UN-led dialogue chose him as prime minister earlier this month, despite French and Egyptian backing for a rival list led by the east Libyan parliament speaker Aguileh Saleh and west Libyan interior minister Fathi Bashagha. One powerbroker, however, breathed a sigh of relief. Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who launched a devastating war on Tripoli in 2019 only to be defeated and increasingly marginalised, was back in the saddle.