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A New Revolution Against The Islamic Terrorists
by James Dunnigan
June 11, 2014

In Libya during May a new civil war broke out. The leader of the rebels is Khalifa Hiftar a retired army general who seeks to destroy the Islamic militias and Islamic terrorist groups that have prevented the establishment of law and order and blocked rebuilding and economic progress. Over the past year Hiftar organized like-minded militias and former soldiers and moved into Benghazi on the 16 th . He immediately gained the loyalty of regular army units deployed there and soon controlled Benghazi. The Islamic terrorist groups fled the better trained and determined Hiftar Forces and most non-Islamic militias (especially nationalists but also tribal groups) pledged to follow Hiftar. The attraction here was that Hiftar opposed Islamic radical efforts to establish a religious dictatorship in Libya and an end to the anarchy created by the fact that the many Islamic terrorist groups could not agree on which of them should be in charge.

Hiftar was once a general in Kaddafi’s army, but disagreed with the dictatorship and fled to the United States in 1990 with the help of the CIA. When the Libyan revolution broke out in 2011 Hiftar returned to Libya and joined the rebels. is opposed by a coalition of largely Islamic radical militias and politicians. Hiftar remained on the sidelines after Kaddafi was defeated and various attempts (culminating in the GNC) were made to form a workable government. Sometime in 2013 Hiftar apparently began planning a new revolution.

One motivation for Hiftar was the growing strength of Islamic terrorist groups. Islamic conservatives, radicals and terrorists were well enough organized to prevent the GNC (General National Congress) from creating a new government that controlled the entire country. The Islamic politicians were a minority in the GNC but very active and disruptive. The GNC was originally formed in mid-2012 to create a new constitution for the country to vote on and rule until that was done. At the end of 2013 the deadlocked GNC extended its power for another year. The separatist activity in the east prevented any national vote and that had to be dealt with before a constitution could be completed and approved. The various factions in the GNC could not agree on much, although there was a consensus that the new constitution would use Islamic (Sharia) law. This was an effort to placate the many Islamic conservative groups. This made local Christians (native Copts, who have been Christian and present for 2,000 years and are five percent of the population) nervous.

The GNC is now being defended by Islamic radical and terrorist militias and some tribal and more secular groups. In Tripoli the GNC has long depended on the LROR (Libyan Revolutionary Operations Room) militia coalition to defend it against hostile militias. The GNC also has the support of most Islamic radical groups, the largest of which is Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi. This group was responsible for the 2012 attack that killed the American ambassador. Many of the militias in Misrata (east of Tripoli) militias support GNC, but many back Hiftar or are neutral.

Hiftar has struck a chord with most Libyans, who are still divided by tribal loyalty, religious beliefs and political views. What all Libyans now want is peace and prosperity, especially after witnessing both slip away over the last year. There is general agreement that the Islamic radical and terrorist groups are one of the main reasons for this, although tribal loyalties are a close second. While tribal loyalties are flexible enough to support a nationalist like Hiftar, religious beliefs tend to be absolute and unchanging. That is the problem with all the Islamic groups. Not only are they inflexible but there no agreement about exactly what “true Islam” is. So the Islamic groups, as has been the case for over a thousand years, are not really unified except by their general acceptance of Islam. That belief is not concerned with Libya as much as it is with larger issues, like forcibly converting the entire world to Islam. Hiftar is taking advantage of this weakness to get new national elections held (that will legitimize the current desire for peace and prosperity) and finally get a new constitution created. Many Libyans fear, however, that Hiftar may turn out to be a new dictator, for the late Kaddafi started out as the leader of a populist revolution that turned into a bizarre dictatorship that lasted more than four decades.  

The U.S., and some other Western countries, have taken the position that Hiftar is not carrying out a coup but is merely trying to get a working democracy established. This is something the GNC has obviously failed at. If Hiftar does get new elections and does not seek dictatorial power for himself, he will continue to have foreign support. But for the moment Hiftar has to worry about surviving the wrath of the many Islamic terrorist groups in Libya. Hiftar is now a primary target for assassination.



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