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The White House confirms that Trump is on the phone with military leaders in eastern Libya

The White House confirmed on the 19th that President Donald Trump had a telephone conversation with Libyan Haftar, the eastern military leader of Libya, on the 15th to recognize the latter’s efforts to combat terrorism.



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Some United Nations diplomats have determined that the phone call indicates that the United States supports Haftar.

The White House issued a statement on the 19th confirming that Trump and Hafftal talked about "anti-terrorism efforts."

The statement said that Trump "recognized the important role played by Field Marshal Haftar in combating terrorism and ensuring the security of Libyan oil resources."

The two men talked on the 15th, and it is not clear why the White House delayed the release of the news.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on the 19th that he supports Haftar’s "playing role in counter-terrorism." The United States needs Haftar to "provide support" in achieving Libya's stability. He also said that "military means is not the solution Libya needs."

The reporter asked if Trump had discussed with Shanahan before the call. Shanahan replied that the Pentagon and the White House "consistently agree on Libya."

Haftar is based in Benghazi, the second largest city in Libya. His "National Army" launched an offensive against the capital Tripoli on the 4th, with the goal of obtaining a national unity government recognized by the United Nations.

The National Unity Government and its armed forces control parts of the western part of Tripoli.



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The suburbs of Tripoli continued to be shelled in the past, killing 2 children on the 19th and killing at least 7 on the 17th. At least 2,000 people took to the streets of Tripoli on the 19th to protest against Haftar’s attack.

Demonstrator Abdul Rizak Musherib was dissatisfied with Trump's call with Haftal and told Reuters: "It doesn't make sense to call, but we will respond to it."

Sky News TV's Arabic Channel broadcasted an exclusive interview with the National Army spokesperson Ahmed Mismiri on the 19th. He said: "Trump's words mean that the United States is convinced that the Libyan army plays a key role in combating terrorism... (call) will have a positive impact on combating extremists."

On the 18th, the United States did not agree to support the Security Council draft resolution proposed by the United Kingdom calling for a ceasefire in Libya, saying that more time is needed for consideration.



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AFP, based on the interpretation of several UN diplomats, Trump’s recognition shows that the United States supports Haftar and can explain why Havtar insisted on capturing Tripoli even if it suffered from multiple European countries and the United Nations.

A UN diplomat who did not want to be named told AFP that Trump’s call "clarified" the US position. Several other diplomats said, "Haftar believes he must fight to the end" and firmly believes that "can win."

Jalil Arsha, a researcher at the Kling Hendal Institute for International Relations in the Netherlands, maintains a similar view and tells Reuters that Trump’s phone is equivalent to demonstrating support for Haftar’s actions.

Haftal followed Muammar Gaddafi to help the latter launch a revolution in 1969 and take charge of Libya. During the Libya and Chad wars in the 1980s, the two broke, and Haftar was once captured by Chad and later rescued by the CIA. He lived in Virginia for 20 years and returned to Libya in 2011 to invest in the anti-Gaddafi war.

Haftar is supported by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia. Agence France-Presse reported that the "support list" is now clearly able to increase the United States. Qatar and Turkey support the Government of National Unity.

In the eyes of many UN diplomats, Haftar will not launch an attack without the support of the supporters, and whether he can give him back is also related to the will of the supporters to a certain extent.