The Assad government in Syria has joined forces with rebel General Khalifa Haftar in Libya to fight against Turkish influence in North Africa and the Levant. Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) is utilizing Russian mercenaries to dislodge the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad reopened the Libyan Embassy in Damascus on Tuesday after an 8-year hiatus and handed it over to the “government” of east Libya-based renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, reported Turkish news outlet Anadolu Agency.
The embassy was given to Haftar’s government after the two signed a memorandum of understanding to reopen embassies, the official SANA news agency reported.
The Syrian regime has become the first to recognize Haftar’s government, which does not have international recognition.
An American lobbyist for the GNA, Brad Gerstman, founding partner of Gotham Government Relations & Communications, issued a press release on the situation.
“This week, representatives of renegade warlord Khalifa Haftar met in Syria with officials of the Assad regime to announce ‘diplomatic’ ties,” Brad Gerstman said, noting that Haftar’s group “has no international standing or diplomatic status to open embassies or consulates anywhere.”
“Both Bashar Assad and Khalifa Haftar stand accused of mass atrocities, and the regions under their control are repressive police states. Their premise of cooperation against ‘terrorism’ would be ridiculous if it weren’t so perverse. Assad’s main backers include Iran — designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. Government — and Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, which is defined by many governments as a terrorist movement.”
Gerstman warned, “This new alliance speaks volumes about Haftar’s intentions, as does his heavy reliance on Russian mercenaries. His war against the GNA and his rejection of any path to a political solution poses a clear and present threat to the Libyan people and to U.S. interests.”
“Haftar is a modern-day Muammar Qaddafi, a man who rejects peace and eschews democratic values. He doesn’t want a life for his people. His only desire is to return Libya to the destabilizing terrorist power it once was, to join Iran in threatening the world and the region.”