Tactics Institute: Haftar use of Salfi Fighters Dangerous and Alarming 

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Tactics Institute has written to several major counter-terrorism institutions to express alarm and urge action over the joining of the forces in Libya between General Khalifa Haftar and Salafi and Jihadi extremist terrorists in the country’s civil war. Tactics wrote to Europol; the EU’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove; the US House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism and the US Treasury’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. The text of the letter is printed below:


Tactics Institute is alarmed by the use of Salfi and Jihadi fighters in Libya. General Khalifa Haftar is employing Salafi and Jihadi extremists alongside his armed militia in his faltering but ongoing bid to oust the internationally-recognised government in Tripoli.

In a speech broadcast on his TV station, Haftar is seen saying telling assembled fighters: “ You are the Salfists. You are nationalists and part of the nation. Fight with no mercy”

The speech was made at a graduation ceremony of hundreds of fighters with Salfi ideology who now form a significant part of his army. Tactics Institute is concerned that Haftar’s push to win the civil war using radical mercenaries will only exacerbate the dire situation in Libya. Haftar is also reportedly using Russian mercenaries, bankrolled by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Tactics Institute warns that Haftar is offering leverage into North Africa for extremist ideologies which could spiral out of control and encourage members of Isis and Al Qaeda to join the conflict in Libya and beyond.

The Atlantic Council has revealed that Haftar is using Salafi Madkhalists to counter Takfiri groups like Ansar al-Sharia (which announced its dissolution recently), political opponents like the Muslim Brotherhood and to counter the Salafi scholarly discourse adopted by the Mufti of Tripoli, Sadiq al-Ghariani, and Salafi groups in Libya’s west, such as the Rada forces led by Abdelraouf Kara.

Salafi Madkhalism—named after the Saudi Sheikh Rabi al-Madkhali—was present under Libya’s former leader Colonel Gaddafii, who tolerated it because it was opposed to democracy and called for absolute obedience to national authority. Even after the February 11 revolution, Madkhalist leaders rejected taking part in Libya’s elections, although many of its members participated anyway, believing it was the pragmatic thing to do.

The video, which can be viewed here, sees Haftar effectively encourage the recruits to commit war crimes such as those recently revealed in Tarhona, from where Haftar forces withdrew, leaving behind a number of mass graves.


For more of our analysis of Libya click here

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