Wounded Libyan fighter is rushed to a hospital in Tripoli

Khalifa Haftar overreaches in Libya

  • Khalifa Haftar hoped his attack on Tripoli would end Libya’s civil war by a military knockout
  • Its objectives were to seize the main levers of power: oil output and the capital
  • The LNA commander overreached, however, putting himself in political jeopardy

 In 1871, British general Garnet Joseph Wolseley wrote in his “Soldier's Pocket Book for Field Service” that time and distance are the two elements on which all military movements are based. To these constraints, all good soldiers must adapt. 

Based on this advice, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar has got it all wrong.

The military leader of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives, which is battling the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) for control of Libya, launched an attack on the country’s capital, Tripoli, on April 4. The offensive began just 10 days before the National Conference, which should have brought together Libyans of all factions to discuss a constitutional framework for elections to unify the country, was scheduled to convene at Ghadames, in the southern region of Fezzan.

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Dr. Federica Saini Fasanotti
Haftar’s assumption was that the road to victory lay in outflanking the GNA to the south, in the desert tracts of Fezzan
read more about it in the report
What's inside
  • Khalifa Haftar hoped his attack on Tripoli would end Libya’s civil war by a military knockout
  • Its objectives were to seize the main levers of power: oil output and the capital
  • The LNA commander overreached, however, putting himself in political jeopardy
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