Hafter’s Army Gives Libyan Militia Three-Day Deadline to Leave Tripoli

LNA threatens to attack key city of Misrata if militia doesn't leave

Looking to end the 8-month stalemate in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, Gen. Khalifa Hafter, the head of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), has issued an ultimatum to the Misrata militia, one of the main allies of the Tripoli-based government, ordering them to leave in three days.

Specifically, the LNA wants the militia out of both Tripoli and the key port city of Sirte within the three days, and is threatening to attack Misrata directly if they don’t do so. With a lot of international allies on the fence about the LNA and the Government of National Accord (GNA), the Misrata militia has been the main fighting force backing the GNA.

The loss of the militia could sway the battle for Tripoli in the LNA’s favor, and the LNA’s international support, mostly from Egypt and the UAE, means they could try to launch airstrikes against Misrata if they don’t get their way.

The Misrata militia was one of the main west Libyan militias rebelling against the Gadhadi government. The group’s religious leanings has the LNA viewing them, like many of the GNA’s backers, as tantamount to Islamists.

There has been no direct comment on the LNA’s ultimatum, though Turkey’s President Erdogan has reiterated his support for the GNA. Erdogan has also said Turkey will have a military base in Libya to support them if necessary, which may be why the LNA is suddenly desperate to get the battle over Tripoli wrapped up in a 3-day weekend.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.