Libya’s Hafter Leaves Russian Peace Talks Without a Deal

Turkey threatens to teach Hafter a lesson if fighting continues

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Russian hopes to resolve fighting in Libya with a ceasefire deal look remote, as the head of one of the factions, Gen. Khalifa Hafter of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), left the talks early, and departed from Moscow entirely without a deal in hand.

A former CIA asset, Hafter has tried to carry out several coups d’etat in Libya over the years. His longest lasting began in April, when he besieged Tripoli, held by the Government of National Accord (GNA). That fighting is still ongoing.

Hafter’s LNA is supported broadly by Gulf nations, along with Egypt’s military junta. Russia is also believed to favor them, while Turkey is one of the few nations with more than a token level of support for the GNA.

Turkish officials bragged that Hafter leaving the talks puts Russia in “a tight spot,” and Turkish President Erdogan has threatened to teach Hafter a lesson militarily. The GNA has agreed to let Turkey establish a military base inside Libya and Turkey’s parliament also seems to favor that plan.

For Turkey, the deal is primarily about a maritime exploration deal with the GNA, and offshore oil and gas. Hafter has presented himself as an alternative to Islamists, and suggested his rule would return stability to Libya.

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