Why Haftar can't capture Tripoli
Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has announced a second attack on Tripoli. “The LNA secured the territories and determined the main and secondary positions of the PNS (the Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Faiz Saraj), after which it launched the second phase of the attack on Tripoli, already with the use of infantry, the spokesman for the LNA, Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Mismari, told the Libyan portal Al-Wasat.
In the morning on Tuesday, four successive explosions thundered in the eastern part of Tripoli, local residents reported. Later, strikes were made on the western suburbs of Tripoli. The LNA Aviation bombed the PNS camp in the Janzur region. The purpose of the raids were warehouses with weapons and ammunition. According to the television channel Al Hadath, several powerful explosions thundered at the site of the attack.
At the end of last week it became known that on the outskirts of the capital of Libya, heavy fighting began with the use of aviation.
LNA already has experience of a long-term siege of large cities. The siege of the cities of Benghazi and Derna lasted for a year and a half. Moreover, the storming of Dern led to heavy losses among the townspeople, since heavy artillery and aircraft were used. With Tripoli, this option will not work - the city is very populated. About one fifth of the total population of Libya lives there. If the level of casualties among the townspeople in Derna was managed to hide, then in Tripoli this will not work.
It is unlikely that Haftar will decide on similar methods of street fighting in the capital. In Libya, the struggle for power is not confessional, not ethnic strife, so both sides are striving to reduce civilian casualties.
Both Haftar and his opponents actively use the method of negotiations, bribes to avoid direct confrontation and large losses.
Now Haftar's Forces are mobilized much better than it was at the first stage. The fact that Haftar blocked the road from Tripoli to Misurata allows him to reduce the supply of his opponents with ammunition and manpower. At the same time, the supply of Saraj supporters with new resources is still being maintained through other channels. Moreover, according to the expert, the opponents of Haftar had a high motivation: they realized that they had nowhere to run.
However, the balance still leans in favor of the marshal, since around him a favorable international environment is created. In particular, France is already in support of Haftar. And Paris causes it by the fact that Haftar is fighting against terrorism. This is not rhetoric, but true. In Tripoli and elsewhere in Libya, extremists and terrorists confront Haftaru.
In addition, President Donald Trump of the United States recently called field marshal. This indicates that he is positively considering the prospects for LNA. He sees the future result.
From among the neighboring countries, Haftaru still plays along with Egypt, which supports the field marshal for the real fight against terrorism. Many terrorist actions in Egypt are carried out using Libyan territory as a rear base. Militants receive weapons from Libya, finance, staffing. For Egypt, it is very important to plug this hole at the border so that Cairo could then strike a blow at its terrorists.
Obviously, the advantage is on the side of Marshal Haftar. He has more strength. He has long been engaged in the creation of his army. The basis of the PNS army opposing the marshal is the former insurgents who fought against the troops of Muammar Gaddafi, they are well fired.
Nevertheless, the fact that earlier he managed to occupy almost the whole of Western Libya without a fight also speaks in favor of Haftar. When at the beginning of April the marshal ordered to attack Tripoli, his troops quietly drove 1000 kilometers to the capital, no one stopped them. The decisive factor in the struggle for the capital will not be the military, but the diplomatic factor - it is he who demoralizes the defenders of Tripoli.
Haftaru receives financial assistance from the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, moral - from Egypt.
France also provides diplomatic support. Now in the LNA believe so: even if the capital and not be able to take, anyway. If it succeeds in blocking it from the land from all sides, Saraj and Tripolitan elites will soon have to agree with the marshal. Maybe this is not the maximum of what Haftar dreamed. But at least he can make a profitable deal for himself.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening, it became known that unknown persons had abducted the Deputy Minister of Defense of the PNS in Tripoli. His name is not yet called. This was reported by the TV channel Al Arabiya, citing its own source. If the message is confirmed, it may mean the appearance of the "fifth column" of the troops of the Caliph Haftar in the city.