Protests erupt in Libya after Trump praises Warlord Haftar

Tripoli, April 2019 – Birds of a feather flock together.  The President of the United States  Donald Trump, has praised an armed warlord, Hafter, a renegade general who killed dozens of innocent civilians in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on Friday chanting anti-Trump slogans. A White House statement said Trump and Haftar spoke by phone on Monday “to discuss important bilateral issues”.

On April 4, Haftar and his forces launched an offensive against the country’s internationally recognised government, which is based in Tripoli.

In their phone call, Trump “praised Field Marshal Haftar and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system”.

It was unclear why the White House waited several days to announce the phone call. Such a call shows support by Trump for Haftar’s offensive.

The praise by Trump for Haftar was seen in Tripoli as a reversal in US policy on Libya, as earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded an immediate halt to Haftar’s offensive.  Was it hypocrisy?

According to Aljazeera journalist in Tripoli, People are very angry, thousands of people have come out here on the main streets and squares especially in Tripoli and they are calling on the international community to stop the military aggression by Haftar forces.

Abdelrizaq Musheirib, a protester criticised Trump’s call to the commander, telling Reuters news agency: “The call has no meaning but we will respond to it.”

Analysts say the offensive is threatening to reignite a full-blown civil war in the oil-rich country, which has been mired in chaos since the NATO-backed toppling of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The fighting on the outskirts of the city has killed at least 213 people and wounded more than 1,000 people, the World Health Organization said on Friday. More than 25,000 have been displaced, according to the UN.

Haftar backs a rival administration in eastern Libya that refuses to recognise the authority of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.

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