Egypt cooperates with Haftar as it becomes more involved in Libya

Egypt appears to be extending its involvement in Libya by plans for a joint operation against the besieged city of Derna with the forces of Marshal Khalifa Haftar commander of the Libyan National Army(LNA).

The LNA are the armed forces associated with the House of Representatives (HoR) government based in Tobruk. The HoR government is a rival to the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli recognized as the legitimate government of Libya by the UN and many countries. Haftar does not recognize the GNA and regards many of the militia that defend it as his enemies, although recently he has called some who are fighting Islamist forces in Tripoli patriots for fighting Islamist militias he considers his enemies.
The New Arab, an Egyptian opposition website, claims that military special forces backed up by military intelligence members are involved in military preparations in cooperation with the LNA forces of Khalifa Haftar to attack the besieged city of Derna and have Haftar and his Dignity Operation take control of the city. The site also claimed that Egyptian troops had been moved to Haftar military camps by Egyptian airplanes. Egyptian plans are to to provide cover for an upcoming land and there will be two more weeks of additional operations after the attacks according to the New Arab which said: "The attack will target all anti-Dignity Operation groups without any pick and select operations." During the last few days Egyptian planes have attacked Derna twice but also the towns of Hun and Jufra where forces loyal to the GNA are located. This is an obvious extension of the attacks and shows that el-Sisi's explanationfor bombing Derna, that it was bombing camps, where terrorists trained who attacked a bus killing 28 Coptic Christians does not seem to be correct. The attack has been claimed now by the Islamic State which was driven out of Derna ages ago. The subsequent attacks on two new sites in Libya having no connection with Derna or the Coptic attack show that the real reason for Egypt's attack on Derna was simply to help out Haftar whom Egyptian president Abdel el-Sisi strongly supports. The new revelations if true simply confirm that alleged attacks on camps associated with the Coptic camps was just a feeble excuse to cover up the real reason for el-Sisi's act.
The attacks on Derna come days after the LNA announced: "The Libyan National Army (LNA) is to ease its blockade of Derna during Ramadan. Food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel will be allowed into the town which has been under siege for two years." Most press reports forget this. Haftar simply lied. He applauded the Egyptian bombings and it would seem is planning more bombings and a land invasion. This is Haftar's way of easing the blockade of Derna.
Although there is supposed to be a dialogue coming up that will seek to amend the Libya Political Agreement(LPA) according to UN envoy Martin Kobler., no date has been set and events on the ground may make any such meeting irrelevant. Haftar is obviously busy strengthening his position on the ground while others are busy talking. He is even threatening to occupy Tripoli and drive out Islamist militias. He would like to be welcomed by the militias that are loyal to the GNA, the reason he praised the same Tripoli militias he claims need to be routed or disbanded, but that is unlikely.
Haftar says that forces loyal to him in western Libya should be ready to move into Tripoli to free the capital from "Islamist political parties". Haftar made the same call last December. He has also called for cooperation with the PC. The Zintan brigades have answered Haftar's call by announcing that they accompany displaced people(IDPs) returning to Tripoli and defend them. However, the PC of the GNA claims that it had already taken measures for the safe return of IDPs and that the return should be coordinated with security authorities in Tripoli saying: “We warn any group of entering the capital, under any reason, without coordination with the government and its security services.” Haytem Tajouri leader of the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigades said the IDPs were welcome but also warned that they would not allow any armed group in Tripoli. It remains to be seen if the Zintani brigades will try to enter Tripoli. They were driven out back in 2014. Haftar is clearly continuing to pursue a military solution while the UN's Kobler is still promising a dialogue that never seems to actually take place.


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