Monday, 4 February 2013

Mystery of why Libya's General Hifter is in Algiers

The second is the mystery of the Libyan general in Algiers. General Khalifa Belqasim Hifter was one of Colonel Qadhafi's top commanders in Chad in the late 1980s where he and his men were captured. Angered at Qadhafi's handling of the campaign, Hifter was given refuge in the USA, where he became an advisor to the CIA. In 2011 he returned to Libya to take a top command post in the rebel army. He was widely suspected by many Libyans of being the “CIA?s man in Libya”.

Around October 2012 he is believed, with the US? apparent blessing, to have formed an armed „anti-terrorist? unit. In December, Hifter and his unit where reported to us as being in Algiers where they had been sent by the US and placed under the command of the DRS. Jordan's anti-terrorist group was said to be either with them or about to join them. Their mission was said to be in Mali, although all the signs are that it never took place, which was presumably because of the French intervention.

The DRS and Hifter go back a long way and have a close relationship. For example Qadhafi was causing Algeria a lot of trouble in 1993 by very publicly saying that he wanted to broker a deal between the FIS and the Algerian regime. He was also giving the impression of helping the FIS although FIS sources deny that he was doing so.

In that year Hifter was brought, with US assistance, from his new home near Langley (Virginia) to Tebessa, where he was used to send a very strong message to Qadhafi saying that Algeria would help Qadhafi's opponents in Libya unless he stopped interfering in Algeria's affairs. Qadhafi stopped his meddling. Our current question is: What was Hifter?s planned US/DRS mission in Mali? We hope this will be revealed to us in the next few weeks.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

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