Op-Ed: General Hifter may plan to be Libya’s General el-Sisi
Tripoli – The Libyan election commission on Tuesday has slated parliamentary elections for next month. The move may be intended to defuse the crisis caused by General Khalifa Hifter’s move to disband the legislature for its alleged support of Islamic extremists.
An attack by allies of Hifter on the legislature resulted in a fire and the kidnapping of 20 officials and lawmakers. As a result, the lawmakers met in a supposedly secret location in a hotel. A missile was fired at the hotel but there were no injuries.
The US has said that it does not condone or support the coup bid by Hifter. Neither Hifter nor the US describe the Hifter attacks as a coup attempt even though the government is supposed to be suspended indefinitely and 20 officials and lawmakers were kidnapped. However, in a speech at the Stimson Center US Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones defended Hifter’s actions as an anti-terrorism move. She says the action is not against political Islamists but is directed against terrorists such as those that attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi. This makes no sense when applied to the attack upon parliament since the Islamist members of parliament are not at all associated with that attack which is usually attributed to Ansar al Shariah. The largest group of Islamists in parliament are the Muslim Brotherhood and Hifter explicitly criticized them and claimed he wanted to crush them.
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