Libya: Defend Tripoli! Defeat Haftar!


For Popular Militias to organize an independent struggle against the counterrevolution!


Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 9 April 2019,




1.             The 75-year old, self-proclaimed “field marshal” Khalifa Haftar has launched an attempt to conquer Tripoli, the capital of Libya, and to impose his rule over the entire country. This has resulted in the biggest escalation of the ongoing civil war since the fall of the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. For now, the attack of Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) has been stopped by a counter-offensive of militia forces from Tripoli, Misrata, Zentan and Zawiya.


2.             The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) calls for the defense of Tripoli and for the defeat of Haftar’s troops. We lend no political support to the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA) – a weak bourgeois government based in Tripoli having little authority. While this government is formally recognized by the United Nations, it receives only lukewarm support from the Great Powers.


3.             It is evident that General Haftar represents, by far, the most serious threat to the remaining gains of the unfinished democratic revolution of autumn 2011. Haftar is a former officer of the Gaddafi regime with a shady record (after deserting Gaddafi in 1987 he joined the CIA; he returned to Libya in 2011 but returned later to the U.S. after a brief career in the ranks of the Libyan Revolution; recently he also played a role in trading Libya’s oil to Russian state corporations). In 2014 he launched the so-called Operation Dignity, a sustained and ongoing military campaign against various petty-bourgeois militias that emerged out of the revolutionary process. General Haftar is the henchman of those forces in the Middle East that express the most rabid hostility to the gains of the Arab Revolution: the arch-reactionary monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as the bloody, military dictatorship of General Sisi in Egypt. Without the massive financial and military support of these regimes, Haftar would have no chance at succeeding in his plans. Haftar has also received crucial support from imperialist Russia as well as other Great Powers. The RCIT warns: if Haftar wins and conquers all of Libya, he will try to impose a dictatorship based on the current Egyptian model. Faced with the alternative between a weak bourgeois GNA government and a strong, counterrevolutionary Haftar regime, revolutionaries have no difficulty in recognizing the lesser evil. The immediate task now must be to defeat the Libyan version of General Sisi!


4.             General Haftar’s journey of changing loyalties reflects the changing relation of forces between the Great Powers. Without doubt he is a long standing traitor and reactionary agent of imperialism. He always has been looking to find the best buyer of his political service. When the decline of the U.S., and Western imperialism in general, became manifest resulting in their reduced political influence in the Middle East, General Haftar – like Sudan’s Bashir, Egypt’s General Sisi, Barzani and others – started to work with Russian and Chinese imperialism in order to get substantial military, political and infrastructure support to maintain their bloody dictatorships. Corporations like Rosneft have become main actors in these diplomatic games, because all these regimes have significant oil reserves and other natural resources, which would be extracted and sold by Russian and Chinese monopolists.


5.             It is no accident that various Stalinist sycophants have sided with the Haftar forces. This is only consistent with their support for other similar representatives of contemporary counterrevolution such as Assad, Putin, and Sisi. The Stalinists and numerous pseudo-leftists failed to support the Libyan Revolution in 2011 on the basis of the foolish claim that Gaddafi had not been toppled by the revolutionary masses but by NATO. It is not without irony that such self-proclaimed “anti-imperialists” who denounced the Arab Revolution from early on as “CIA-backed color revolutions” have ended up now in supporting now long-time pro-US forces like General Haftar, the Kurdish YPG in Syria or the occupation regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. They justify such grotesque caper by welcoming the struggle of such pro-imperialist forces against which so-called “Islamofascism”. They are unaware of the bizarre character of their claims given the fact that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the alleged main supporters of “Islamism” in the region, are actually the main sponsors of Haftar’s forces!


6.             In fact, NATO’s limited intervention in 2011 was neither the decisive factor in the Libyan Revolution nor did the Western imperialists succeed in subjugating the country. This became obvious when the US and European imperialists failed to install a loyal and powerful regime of lackeys. A particularly visible manifestation of this failure was the explosion of riots in Benghazi in September 2012 following the release of an anti-Islamic film produced by right-wing, American racists. In the course of these riots, the US consulate was stormed and burned down, leaving the American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and a number of embassy officials and security forces dead. Since then, nearly all Western embassies and foreign companies have fled Libya. In the wake of that “disaster” the Great Powers have been preoccupied with a project of pacification and stabilization. This has translated into, among other efforts, the disarming of tens of thousands of militants and the attempts to dissolve the numerous militias which sprang up with the civil war eight years ago. Libya is a critical country for the big oil corporations as it has the largest proven reserves of oil in Africa. It has become a key supplier of light, sweet crude to European markets. Transforming Libya into a large concentration camp (like Egypt is today) would additionally allow the imperialist EU to better secure its southern border and arrest the flow of migrants.


7.             No one should trust the bourgeois GNA government, the businessmen in Misrata, or the various, petty-bourgeois Islamist forces. They should trust, even less, any call from the United Nations for “de-escalation”. It is crucial that the workers and poor in Libya organize themselves independently in popular militias in order to defeat the counter-revolutionary forces of General Haftar. Such a struggle must be combined with putting the significant oil industry under workers control coupled by the creation of a workers and popular government.


8.             The struggle in Libya is part of the ongoing Arab Revolution. The RCIT calls on revolutionaries to intensify their support for the liberation struggles against the capitalist dictatorships and Great Powers aggression in the Middle East. We call for uniting the popular struggles in Algeria, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Palestine, and Iran into a single Intifada in order to liberate the whole region from reactionary dictatorships, super-exploitation by imperialist monopolies, and Great Power domination. For a socialist federation of workers and peasant republics in the Middle East!




International Secretariat of the RCIT




For our analysis of the Libyan Revolution we refer readers to:


RCIT: Stop the US Bombing of Libya! Mobilize against the Expansion of the Imperialist War! Defeat the Imperialist Aggressors and Their Lackeys in Libya! 23.2.2016,


RCIT: General Sisi, Hollande, Obama: Hands Off Libya! Defeat General Haftars’ Imperialist Lackeys! Down with the Daash-Gang of Killers! For a Workers’ and Popular Government! 26.2.2015,


Michael Pröbsting: Liberation Struggles and Imperialist Interference. The failure of sectarian “anti-imperialism” in the West: Some general considerations from the Marxist point of view and the example of the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011, in Revolutionary Communism No. 5 (2012),


RKOB: After the collapse of the Gaddafi regime: Where now for the Libyan Revolution? in Revolutionary Communism No. 1 (2011),


Michael Pröbsting: The intervention of the imperialist powers in Libya, the struggle of the masses against Gaddafi’s dictatorship and the tactics of revolutionary communists, in Revolutionary Communism No. 1 (2011),