Report: CIA Secretly Arranged Call Between Trump, Libya's Haftar
Story Code : 918690
The newspaper reported on Thursday, citing former administration officials, that the intelligence agency had put through a call between Trump and Haftar in April 2019, in which the US president praised Haftar's "significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources" before his failed offensive on Tripoli.
The CIA also arranged a call with the Libyan commander and former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who urged Haftar to be "very cautious" but notified him that the US would not intervene in the country, The Post reported.
Haftar, who controls much of the country's East, including lucrative oil fields, launched an operation in 2019 to seize control of the capital but it ultimately failed, leading to a stalemate with the Government of National Accord (GNA).
Since disputed elections in 2014, Libya has been divided between competing administrations, with the UN-recognised GNA supported by Turkey, while the UAE, Egypt and Russia have supported forces loyal to Haftar.
During the administration of Ronald Reagan, Haftar was reportedly a CIA asset who Washington hoped could help topple longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. Prior to being recruited to US intelligence, he was an aide to the strongman.
Haftar turned on Gaddafi in 1987, but an attempted coup never came to fruition, and he eventually came to the US for protection and resided in the state of Virginia.
Haftar returned to Libya following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Gaddafi and initially served as the head of the military for the GNA. He later turned on Tripoli, accusing the UN-recognised government of being a safe haven for armed groups and militias.
The Libyan commander is currently facing lawsuits in the US by Libyan families who accuse Haftar of rights abuses and war crimes committed in territory under his control.