Libyan Warlord Khalifa Haftar plans to form 'Berber Brigade'

Libyan Warlord Khalifa Haftar plans to form 'Berber Brigade'
Amazigh tribal elders had been held, to build a militia brigade made up of members of the minority group.
2 min read
05 December, 2019
Khalifa Haftar arriving in Palermo, Italy for a political conference in November [Getty]
Rogue General Khalifa Haftar has discussed plans to form an all-Berber "infantry brigade" to partake in his offensive to seize Tripoli, according to local media.

A spokesman for his forces, Ahmed Al-Mismari, told Libyan reporters in a press conference on Tuesday that a meeting had been held in Haftar's headquarters in Ar-Rajma, west of the country.

According to Al-Mismari, Arab and Amazigh - also known as Berber - officers from the Nafusa mountain range in Northwestern Libya would lead the brigade, set to be comprised of fighters from the region.

In response, the Amazigh Supreme Council, an organisation representing the Berber community in Libya, declared those "who had met the war criminal represented no one but themselves".

They denied all media reports that Libya's Amazigh were joining Haftar's ranks.

While the present move to mobilise an indigenous ethnic group is unprecedented, Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army has frequently employed the services of foreign mercenaries.

Ukranian and Belarusian mercenary pilots and technicians have assisted Haftar's airstrikes on the Libyan capital. Russia's Wagner group, a private Russian millitary organisation, has seen scores of its fighters perish next to Haftar's troops.

Read more: Rogue warlord Haftar employing Russian-affiliated ‘mercenary pilots’ to bomb Libyan capital

Yet Libyan political expert Marwan Thaweeb has told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site that Tuesday's press conference points to a possible crisis in manpower and legitimacy faced by the rogue general's forces. 

"Haftar has held dozens of meeting with Berber tribes, why are we only hearing about this one now?”

Libyan Warlord Khalifa Haftar and his militia are based primarily in eastern Libya and have been waging a campaign to take the capital Tripoli away from the internationally-recognised government in Tripoli since April this year.

The ensuing conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 people. 

Evidence for Haftar's complicity in war crimes are mounting. Amnesty have reported that the rogue general's forces have engaged in indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as residential areas and medical facilities. 

Read more: It’s time for the ICC to indict Haftar for war crimes

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