Egypt, Saudi Lobbying Convinced Trump to Back Libyan Warlord

US stopped all talk of ending hostilities in Tripoli

According to Saudi officials familiar with the situation, President Trump’s dramatic reverse on the fighting in Libya in early April came as a direct result of lobbying by Egypt’s junta leader and the Saudi Crown Prince.

The US had long publicly backed the unity government in Libya, and when the Egyptian-backed Khalifa Hafter attacked the capital, the US was quick to call for an end to all hostilities. Then Trump got calls from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Trump followed this up by declaring himself to have a “shared vision” with Hafter, and presented his self-proclaimed army as key to a “democratic political system.” Since then, the US has stopped all calls to end fighting in the area.

Hafter has a long history in Libya, and some of that history involved being a CIA-backed rebel leader. At this point, however, he seems to just be a convenient leader of a move against the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned political factions which have been successful in Libya’s elections. If this means installing another military strongman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are comfortable with that, and President Trump can clearly be persuaded.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.