By Robert Cusack
General Haftar has appointed a number of leaders loyal to previous dictator Gaddafi to his army – which one military council says is totally against the original revolutionary vision.
East Libyan military strongman General Khalifa Haftar has betrayed the vision of Libya’s 2011 revolution by appointing members of the old regime to lead his army, the military council of a west Libyan town has said.
Haftar recently appointed Brigadier al-Mabrouk Sahban, once a general in Gaddafi’s army, to head the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) protection force in Gaddafi’s hometown, Sirte.
“The LNA’s aims are radically different from the aims of the 17 February revolution, as shown by its decision to appoint from military and security leaders from members of the previous regime,” the Revolutionary Military Council of Zintan said in a statement.
“The revolution of 17 February 2011 was against a corrupt regime that made living conditions for Libyans unbearable.”
Sahban played a key role in the brutal suppression of the 2011 revolution, particularly in the siege of Zintan – which he personally oversaw.
Sahban’s forces reportedly deployed dozens of tanks to bombard the town over a series of days, killing tens of children and innocent civilians.
The Zintan militia later took their revenge on 19 November 2011 when they captured Gaddafi’s son, Safi al-Gaddafi during his escape to Niger.
Brigadier Sahban was appointed to replace Mukhtar Al-Madani, the mayor of Sirte who was kidnapped in February after only three months in office.
A 2012 law issued by the Tripoli government ordered an asset seizure for al-Mabrouk Ibrahim Sahban al-Megrahi, along with another 233 people who were linked to the Gaddafi regime.
A number of the people on this list were found to have been hiding in London in a 2016 investigation by Buzzfeed News.
The LNA was formed in 1988 to overthrow Gaddafi without success and Haftar was forced into exile in North Virginia, allegedly under the CIA’s employ for the next twenty years, prior to his return to Libya in 2011.
The Washington Post reports he lived in two Virginian towns, Falls Church and Vienna – located only 7 miles away from the CIA headquarters.
In a 1992 interview, deposed Libyan dictator, Gaddafi, said he felt “like a spiritual father” to Haftar, who had been like “a son” before he was captured in a 1980’s war against Chad.