After conquering Benghazi, what will Libya’s new strongman do next?


STUBBORN and self-serving, Khalifa Haftar has long been seen as a spoiler of efforts to end the conflict in Libya. The forces under his command in the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) have mostly added to the chaos, not helped to resolve it. Yet General Haftar was greeted like a statesman by Emmanuel Macron, the French president, in Paris on July 25th. There he encountered Fayez al-Serraj, a rival who leads the UN-backed government based in Tripoli, the capital. Their first meeting, three months earlier, produced nothing. So it came as something of a shock when the two leaders announced a ceasefire and their intention to hold elections in 2018.

“The cause of peace has made great progress,” declared Mr Macron. In fact, the deal is but a small step. More agreements are needed before elections can be held and the fighting, which now involves myriad groups, is likely to continue. As it is, the LNA, which backs a separate government in the east, rarely battles the forces aligned…

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