11/08/2021, 19.21
ISRAEL – LIBYA
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Haftar's son in Israel seeking 'military and diplomatic' support

Haftar reportedly made a stop on 1 November on his way back to Libya from Dubai, delivering a message from his father asking for help in return for normalising relations with, in the background, the Abraham Accords and the region’s balance of alliances.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Saddam Haftar, son of Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, reportedly visited Israel last week for a secret meeting with Israeli officials.

During the short visit, he delivered a message from his father asking for military and diplomatic assistance from the Jewish state, in return for the normalisation of ties and the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

According to Haaretz, Saddam Haftar landed at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, on 1 November, during a flight between Dubai and Libya on a private Dassault Falcon jet.

The younger Haftar is said to be aiming for Libya's presidency in the 23 December election.

At present, it is not known which officials he met, but the Israeli paper notes that he had previously contacted the “Tevel” department of Israel’s Mossad agency, which is responsible for countries that have no official relations with Israel.

Haftar delivered a message from his father asking for Israeli “military and diplomatic assistance” in return for a commitment to normalise relations, like some Gulf countries did a year ago when they recognised Israel in the so-called Abraham Accords.

At present, Israel has no official ties with Libya, formerly a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause during the long reign of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Since the latter was overthrown and killed in 2011, the country has been divided between rival eastern and western administrations, each backed by armed groups and foreign powers.

General Khalifa Haftar, who launched an offensive to capture Tripoli in 2019, has the support of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government is aided by Qatar, Italy and Turkey.

Israel has so far not taken a clear-cut public stance on the conflict, despite allegations that it is involved behind the scenes in support of Egypt and the Gulf states.

In fact, last ago, a senior official with Haftar’s rebel government had asked for Israel’s help.

Speaking to Makor Rishon, an Israeli newspaper, Abdul Salam al-Badri, deputy prime minister in the Haftar-affiliated government, said: “We never were and never will be enemies, and we hope you will support us. It is only circumstance which has separated us up until this point.”

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