On Thursday, April 26, his private plane landed in the eastern city of Benghazi and Gen Khalifa Haftar emerged onto the runway in apparent good health.
His Libyan National Army (LNA) controls the bulk of Libya’s oilfields as well as the four export terminals in the oil crescent helping the Libyan National Oil Corporation to produce more than 1m barrels a day.
Gen Haftar has won the support of Russia, Egypt and the UAE by presenting himself as a reliable ally against Libya’s Islamist factions.
[ September 12 2014 Libya breaking up into fiefdoms ]
For their survival, the uprooted parliament and the army forces in Benghazi have allied themselves with retired general Khalifa Haftar, whom the government had previously accused of trying to stage a coup.
With the army and police existing mainly on paper, parliament needs Haftar, who commands air bases in the east, to confront Ansar al-Sharia and the Misrata-led armed factions. There is a likelihood of Libya breaking up into fiefdoms run by competing factions — a Misrata-led one in the west, an Islamist-dominated east and a powerless rump government in the far-east. In the south September 11, the Tabu ethnic group declared its backing for the Tobruk government after rival Arab tribes in the area gave their support to the Tripoli government.
[September 4 Missing Libyan Airlines fleet a security matter]
“There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing,” said one U.S. official. “We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.”Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack in September 2014 on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.
The state-owned Libyan Airlines fleet until this summer included 14 passenger and cargo jetliners, including seven Airbus 320s, one Airbus 330, two French ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, and four Bombardier CJR-900s. Libyan state-owned Afriqiyah Airways fleet is made up of 13 aircraft, including three Airbus 319s, seven Airbus 320s, two Airbus 330s, and one Airbus 340.
The aircraft were reportedly taken in late August following the takeover of Tripoli International Airport, located about 20 miles south of the capital, by Libyan Dawn.