Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to halt their advance on Tripoli ‘immediately,’ somewhat ironically saying there’s ‘no military solution’ to the conflict NATO helped to start.
“We have made clear that we oppose the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s forces and urge the immediate halt to these military operations against the Libyan capital. Forces should return to status quo ante positions,” Pompeo’s statement read.
Libya remains a fractured land, with no centralized power, ever since the ‘humanitarian’ NATO intervention and airstrike campaign in 2011 decimated the country’s military and helped armed rebels assassinate strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
But, in 2019, “a political solution is the only way to unify the country and provide a plan for security, stability, and prosperity for all Libyans,” the US State Department believes in all earnest, while urging all involved parties to urgently de-escalate the situation.
Pompeo’s plea comes as the Pentagon pulled its remaining small contingent out of Libya, saying it was too dangerous for American troops to stay on the ground.
There are two main competing forces in Libya at the moment: a rather defunct, UN-recognized government in the capital Tripoli and its allied militias, and a rival parliament in Tobruk, supported by Haftar’s forces, who control most of the country. Their military commander ordered his troops to move on the capital in an “anti-terrorist” operation last week, forcing Tripoli to mobilize their own forces. So far, at least 11 people have reportedly been killed in clashes in the outskirts, even though Haftar’s forces have reportedly yet to make any serious move on the capital itself.