The Hill said on Tuesday that the US Congress had passed two important measures that have the potential to help Libyans in their struggle to break through ongoing political gridlock in the country.
The newspaper said that the US Rep. Tom Malinowski introduced amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. The first requires that the president review alleged arms embargo violators for sanctions under Executive Order 13726 (81 Fed. Reg. 23559); the second requires that the Department of State report on war crimes and torture committed by US citizens in Libya.
“This latter amendment has one name written all over it: warlord Khalifa Haftar, U.S. citizen and self-appointed commander of the “Libyan Arab Armed Forces.” It added.
It added that Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army’s “war on terror” in Benghazi brought misery to Libyans who live in fear of Haftar.
“Human Rights Watch reported torture, disappearances, seizure of property, looting and destruction committed by Haftar’s forces in the East. Fully controlled by Haftar’s iron fist, the East of Libya became a police state. Later on, his failed assault on Tripoli left 200,000 people displaced, mass graves in Tarhuna, and an ever more divided country.” The Hill reiterated.
It also indicated that just days before the US Congress passed the amendments, Haftar stepped down from his military role for the next three months, intending to run for president in the elections scheduled for December 24, assigning his chief of staff to assume duties for this brief period.
The Congress passed the Libya Stabilization Act to the Senate and after the Senate approves it, President Biden will have to sign the bill, and then his administration should act fast to sanction and sideline Haftar, who is viewed by many to be the “elephant in the room” preventing Libya’s progress.
The Hill said that the US administration should also coordinate with the EU to block property and suspend entry visas for those committing war crimes and violating the Libyan arms embargo.
“Two days after the House of Representatives passed the Libya Stabilization Act on September 28, a contract with Washington DC lobbyists Haftar hired at the beginning of the month was cancelled.