Saudi Arabia Funds Hafter’s Invasion of Libyan Capital

Stalled Tripoli offensive likely to continue with foreign commitments

Khalifa Hafter’s recent attack on the Libyan capital of Tripoli was something of a surprise. Hafter has long imagined he’d eventually end up ruling Libya, but it wasn’t clear what the instigating event was for this particular huge offensive.

Recent indications, however, are that Hafter’s attack was directly solicited by the Saudi kingdom, with one advisor saying that they offered “tens of millions of dollars” to pay for the campaign, and were “quite generous.”

Hafter was quick to accept, because in Libyan military terms that really is a lot of money. The Saudis are just the latest to support Hafter’s ambitions, with the UAE and Egypt among a list of other regional powers backing him in the past.

The offensive hasn’t gone as smoothly as Hafter, or the Saudis, had hoped, and seems to be getting bogged down in Tripoli’s south. While the UN is trying to resolve the situation, Hafter has enough foreign backing that they can’t put any real pressure on him to stop the offensive. Hafter spent the weekend in Egypt, meeting with their junta, and it’s likely that he came out of that just further encouraged about the endgame of Libya.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of