As Haftar consolidated power over much of the country's war ravaged east, also making huge gains in the past year over the south, he's all along enjoyed the political backing of an unlikely assortment of powerful countries that include the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France, and Russia. But the new WSJ report reveals his latest major external backer with endlessly deep pockets:
Days before Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to seize the capital and attempt to unite the divided country under his rule, Saudi Arabia promised tens of millions of dollars to help pay for the operation, according to senior advisers to the Saudi government.
Citing senior Saudi officials, the report reveals further the offer came during a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, as part of a broader trip which took Haftar to European capitals where the perception was that the renegade general now militarily challenging the UN-backed Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) was crucial to negotiating a lasting power sharing settlement between the eastern and western halves of the country.
The diplomatic meetings bolstered his status and resolve to take the whole country, even as lately the US and EU have vehemently called on him to halt the LNA's military advance, which lately included airstrikes on suburbs of Tripoli.