Rather than resisting the securitization of climate, advocates and policymakers should be promoting the climatization of security. This means highlighting the shortcomings of current security frameworks and promoting gender inclusiveness and local leadership as holistic and long-term solutions for peace and sustainability.
This May 23, 2019 article of Alaa Murabit, Luca Bücken and delivered by Project Syndicate must take many by surprise, mostly because of its angle of vision of the world’s predominant issue of climate change.
NEW YORK – In the years leading up to Syria’s civil war, the country endured three consecutive record-breaking droughts. By forcing internal displacement, the droughts arguably contributed to the social tensions that erupted in popular protests in 2011. But that does not mean that the Syrian conflict is a “climate war.”
As extreme weather events proliferate, it’s becoming increasingly easy to find a link between climate change and violent confrontations. In Sudan, the ethnic cleansing carried out by former President Omar al-Bashir has been tied to the Sahara Desert’s southward expansion, which fueled social unrest by exacerbating food insecurity. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea have also been connected to food-security concerns, rooted in competition over access to fishing areas. Some now warn of a “brewing water war” between Egypt and Ethiopia, triggered by the latter’s construction of a dam on the Nile River.
But the “climate war” narrative is deeply flawed. From Syria to Sudan, today’s conflicts are the result of multiple complicated and interrelated factors, from ethno-religious tensions to protracted political repression. While the effects of climate change can exacerbate social and political instability, climate change did not cause these wars. This nuance is important, not least for the sake of accountability: climate change must not be used to duck responsibility for resolving or averting violent confrontations.
Still, military and climate experts argue, climate change is a “threat multiplier,” and thus remains an important national security issue. Climate advocates and academics, however, have long avoided or rejected discussions of “climate security” – not to diminish the risks that climate change poses, but because they fear that framing climate change as a security issue will undermine efforts to mitigate those risks, by enabling the incremental securitization of climate action.
Securitization is often a political tactic, in which leaders construct a security threat to justify deploying extraordinary, even illegal measures, that infringe on people’s rights. If the fight against climate change is securitized, it could, for example, be used to rationalize new restrictions on the movement of people, enabled by and reinforcing anti-migrant sentiment.
Framing climate as a security issue can also challenge already-strained international cooperation on climate governance while driving investment away from necessary interventions – such as the shift to a low-carbon economy – toward advancing military preparedness. The accompanying apocalyptic discourse, moreover, could well lead to public disengagement, further weakening democratic accountability.
Yet, even as some United Nations member states express concern about linking climate change more closely to security, most countries are moving in precisely that direction. In 2013, the American Security Project reported that 70% of countries view climate change as a threat to their security, and at least 70 national militaries already have clear plans in place to address this threat.
The UN Security Council is also becoming more active in the climate security field. After recognizing the role of climate change in the Lake Chad conflict (Resolution 2349), the Council held its first debates on the relationship between climate change and security, with the participation of a large and diverse group of member states.
Given the impact of climate change on issues like migration and health, decoupling discussions of climate action from national security considerations may never have been feasible. On the other hand, linking climate change to security can positively contribute to mobilizing climate action. The key to avoiding the pitfalls of securitization is to move beyond paradigms – which overemphasize military-focused “hard security” narratives – that continue to shape security policy and public discourse. One way to achieve that is to take a more gender-inclusive approach to conflict prevention and resolution.
Research shows that women are more likely to pursue a collaborative approach to peacemaking, with actors organizing across ethnic, cultural, and sectarian divides. Such an approach “increases the prospects of long-term stability and reduces the likelihood of state failure, conflict onset, and poverty.” When women participate in peace negotiations, the resulting agreements are 35% more likely to last at least 15 years.
Sustainable peace is possible only by recognizing the necessity of local women’s leadership, who have relevant expertise and yet are currently excluded from national and multilateral frameworks. After all, if policy decisions are to meet the needs of the affected communities, members of those communities must have a seat at the table.
For example, in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan has acquired unique insights from years of facilitating community-inclusive forest conversation that respects local stakeholders. In Somalia, Ilwad Elman has proved her ability to navigate intersectional peace-building efforts through her organization, Elman Peace.
Of course, there is also an imperative to give more women the tools they need to join in this process. The interconnections identified in the UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a functional roadmap for delivering the needed equity. In particular, improving reproductive health (SDG 3) and education (SDG 4) of girls and women is one of the most cost-effective ways both to mitigate climate change (SDG 13) and to empower them as community leaders (SDG 5).
Rather than resisting the securitization of climate, advocates and policymakers should be advancing what the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute calls “the climatization of security.” This is best done by using security to increase the salience of climate action, highlighting the shortcomings of current security frameworks, and promoting gender inclusiveness and local leadership as holistic and long-term solutions for fostering local, regional, and international peace.
Luca Bücken is a policy adviser and strategist who focuses on migration, security, climate, and justice.
King is dead, long live the King’: Principle applicable in the MENA region. In effect, all countries of the area, be they republics or monarchies tend to abide by this principle. The consequences of such custom have had bearings throughout millennia. The recent advent of oil exports related revenues brought the limelight to shed a little light in the MENA sunny skies.
Libya’s battle for Tripoli alongside ongoing mass anti-government demonstrations that toppled autocratic leaders of Algeria and Sudan demonstrate that both popular Arab protests that in 2011 forced four presidents out of office and the counterrevolution it provoked are alive and kicking.
Protesters in Algeria and Sudan are determined to prevent a repeat of Egypt where a United Arab Emirates and Saudi-backed military officer rolled back the achievements of their revolt to install a brutal dictatorship or of Yemen, Libya and Syria that have suffered civil wars aggravated by interference of foreign powers.
In Libya, Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, the UAE-Saudi-Egyptian-supported warlord, hopes that his assault on the capital Tripoli, the seat of the country’s United Nations-recognized government, will either end the conflict militarily or at the very least significantly increase his leverage in peace talks.
In all three countries, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two Gulf nations most determined to maintain the Middle East and North Africa’s autocratic structure at whatever cost, have sought to either bolster military resolve to remain a decisive political force or support the rise of forces that fit their agenda.
The aid package contributed to deepening divisions among the opposition that has vowed to continue street protests until full civilian rule has been achieved despite the ousting of president Omar al-Bashir, the resignation of senior military officers, including the intelligence chief, and the arrest of Mr. Al-Bashir’s brothers.
Mr. Al-Hussein returned to Khartoum this month from two years in exile in the kingdom, where he served as an African affairs advisor to the Saudi court, after having been unceremoniously sacked in 2017 on suspicion that he was a Saudi intelligence asset.
Moreover, the head of Sudan’s military council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan and his deputy, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, a paramilitary commander known as Hemeti, developed close ties to the Gulf states in their former roles as commanders of the Sudan contingent fighting in Yemen in support of the Saudi-UAE alliance.
A commander of feared Arab militias accused of genocide in Darfur, General Dagalo is widely viewed as ambitious and power hungry. His Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are deployed across Khartoum.
Western officials privately describe General Dagalo as “potentially Sudan’s Sisi,” a reference to Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who came to power in 2013 in a UAE-Saudi-supported military coup.
Mr. Al-Sisi has introduced one of the most repressive systems in recent Egyptian history. Western diplomats said General Dagalo’s ambitions virtually guaranteed that the military would not fully surrender power in any negotiated transition.
The military’s role in deposing president Hosni Mubarak as a result of a popular revolt in 2011 and subsequently restoring the military’s grip on power coupled with concern about General Dagalo inspired one of the Sudanese protesters’ chants: “It’s either victory or Egypt.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE together with Egypt and Bahrain have diplomatically and economically boycotted Qatar for the past 22 months in a bid to force the Gulf state to tow their geopolitical line.
For now, Mr. Haftar’s offensive has way laid a UN-sponsored peace conference that was expected to achieve an agreement that would have ensured that Islamists would continue to be part of the Libyan power structure.
Mr. Haftar, like his regional backers, accuses the Tripoli government of being dominated by Islamists, the bete noir of the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
On a visit to Saudi Arabia days before launching his attack on Tripoli, Mr. Haftar reportedly was promised millions of dollars in support in talks with Saudi King Salman, and his powerful son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in defiance of a United Nations arms embargo.
The battle for Libya could prove to be Mr. Haftar’s most difficult military offensive. His Libyan National Army (LNA) already controls Libya’s second city of Benghazi and much of rest of the country where it met relatively little resistance.
The battle also serves as a warning to protesters in Sudan and Algeria whose demands for fundamental change risk upsetting the UAE, Saud Arabia and Egypt’s applecart.
With no swift victory in sight in the battle for Tripoli, Libya risks another round of protracted war that could be aggravated by the fact that it is as much a domestic fight as it is a multi-layered proxy war.
Unlike Sudan, Libya has passed the corner. Years of civil and proxy wars have devastated the country and laid the groundwork for further violence. Algeria and Sudan still have a chance of avoiding the fate of Libya, or for that matter Syria and Yemen.
As the battle in Tripoli unfolds, Libya looms large as a live example of what is at stake. Protesters are up against forces whose backers have proven that there is little they will shy away from to achieve their objectives. Libya is but the latest example.
The king’s fate is at stake in the fighting in streets of southern Tripoli. His fate hangs like a sword of Damocles in the balance in the streets of Algiers and Khartoum.
Dr James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, an adjunct senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute and co-director of the University of Wuerzburg’s Institute of Fan Culture.
The World Economic Forum wrote last month that Syria’s revolution of 2011 started as a call for reform and change within the state and, in trying to defeat those calls, accusations of sectarianism and prejudice were used to discredit either side. Most recently, Yemen’s internal struggles have been cast as a sectarian struggle when, at heart, it is one about resources and power. The list goes on.
Almost all republics or labelled as such of the MENA region as opposed to the monarchies, sultanates and / or emirates, are going one way or another through upheaval.
Here is Juliette Harkin, Associate Lecturer, Politics and International Relations atAnglia Ruskin Universitycatching those elements of governance that really count in a Middle Eastern background. A background of generalised state failure or incapacity to share with the rest of the world amongst many things, the benefits of democratic values.
As Syrian president Bashar al-Assad prosecutes his 18th year in office, he is presenting himself as a secular leader in a sea of Islamist extremism and terror. But his record makes a mockery of that claim. However long he stays in office, he will forever be remembered a president who oversaw the devastation of his country and resorted to hideous attacks on civilians in order to remain in power. And as for Assad’s pretentions to secularism, the foundations of his government’s supposed ideology were cast away even before he succeeded his father as president.
The Syrian government’s professed secularism dates back decades, and derives from the school of political thought known as Arab Baathism, the core principles of which were Arab unity, freedom and socialism. In the years after World War II, these were not hollow words, they were political imperatives in the struggle against colonialism and elite rule.
The Syrian branch of the Baathist movement came to power in a coup d’état in 1963. In the 1970s, one of the military officers involved in the coup, Hafez al-Assad, took the helm and steadily entrenched the his family and its political network as the rulers of Syria.
As the Assad family took control, it exploited the infrastructure of the Arab Baath movement and party to retain power. But for all that they paid lip service to Baathist principles, the Assads were less interested in serving the Syrian people than in dominating them. Decades later, the political traditions of Arab Baathism are long dead, and Assadism holds sway in its place.
Government for the few
The gap between these two modes of government is all too apparent. Central to influential strands of Baathist thought was an inclusive definition of what it meant to “be Arab” – a definition that revolved around geographical, cultural and linguistic aspects of being an Arab rather than mere ethnic origin.
Yet the supposedly Baathist Syria was never so inclusive; its Kurds, in particular, have been suppressed for decades. Baathism was supposed to rise above sectarian and ethnic differences among Arabs, but in Assadist Syria, sectarian differences were fanned from the start.
As for notions of equality, the benefits of economic reforms were distributed unevenly and selectively, marginalising communities in the Syrian provinces even as elites enriched themselves.
The older and younger Assads followed similar paths. Where Hafez al-Assad violently crushed dissent in the city of Hama in the 1980s, and nurtured complex social and political allegiances, his son Bashar continued a programme of economic reform that benefited big industry and established a broad patronage network.
In some respects Bashar was a reformist and forward-looking president, introducing the internet and allowing a private media sector to develop. But his reformist agenda ultimately devolved into runaway capitalism and rapacious self-enrichment for a small clique of Syrian families and businesses. Today, it’s these people who are central to the government’s survival.
Locking up power
It didn’t have to be this way. In the early years of Bashar’s reign, there briefly seemed to be a window for civil society to open up – but soon enough, that window was closed. Key opposition figures such as Michel Kilo were imprisoned, and the brief Damascus Spring of 2000-1 was bitterly shut down.
But once we accept that Assadism was never truly concerned with promoting a secular and equal society, it’s easier to understand why today’s government is working so closely with such odd bedfellows as the theocracy in Iran and the religiously conservative Hezbollah.
A longstanding feature of Assadist rule has been a tendency to lock up secular and leftist thinkers and intellectuals. The communists were locked in Syria’s prisons together with the Islamists, and anyone else who spoke out of line. If not imprisoned, anyone who might pose a threat was co-opted. Pockets of space for some Sunni sheikhs to promote their religious thought and practice – notably in the education system – were bartered in exchange for blind loyalty.
Since the 2011 revolution, the government has aligned itself with and promoted a proto-fascist nationalism that encourages an utter disdain for the majority of Syrians, namely the pious Sunnis who live in restive areas of Syria’s provinces and countryside. And any claim the government had to lead a resistance against oppression were severely tested when a new grassroots opposition emerged in Syria’s towns and villages only to be cruelly crushed by government forces.
Claims to resistance and to be the voice of the Palestinian cause merely obscure a politics of pragmatic self-preservation and dictatorial practices. It has always been progressive leftist voices that have posed the most threat to Assad’s rule. The troika of myths about the Syrian state – that it is secular, modern, and leads the resistance against imperial and Zionist threats – simply do not bear scrutiny.
Who actually benefits from the continuation of Assadism? The same people who were embedded in the Assadist networks and enriched themselves before the 2011 revolution and current civil war. They are doing well out of Syria’s war economy, which has made some people very rich. And even as Assad oversees brutal attacks on civilians and one of the world’s worst refugee crises, the war provides disturbing new symbols and ideas to provide a rationale for his continued rule.
The 2 stories below could be appreciated as nothing unusual happening in the Gulf, were it not for the ensuing agreements to be carried out whilst the whole region or specifically Qatar being presently blockaded by its neighbouring countries not only diplomatically but also in its transportation transfers by sea, air and land with the rest of the world.
We all remember, the US President during his visit to Saudi Arabia in May signed $110bn of arms deals. And more recently the US State Department approved the sale of $500m of military equipment and services last Wednesday. This has still to go through the US Congress that has 30 days to review the sale for approval.
In the meantime, Qatar per one of its dailies The Peninsula of January 18, 2018 has agreed to the following.
Qatar signed a security agreement with NATO at the Alliance’s Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, NATO said on their website.
At the signing ceremony, Brigadier General Tariq Khalid M F Alobaidli, Head of the International Military Cooperation Department, Armed Forces of Qatar, and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, stressed the importance of NATO’s cooperation with Qatar in the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI).
This security agreement provides the framework for the protection of exchange of classified information, as defined by all 29 member countries. These agreements are signed by NATO partner countries that wish to engage in cooperation with NATO. This enables the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programmes (IPCP) of the ICI countries with NATO to be implemented as effectively as possible.
London: An agreement to establish a joint operations fleet between Qatar and the UK to ensure mutual combat readiness and increase joint measures in the fight against terrorism and the development of strategic efforts towards stability in the region and beyond, was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs H E Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah.
The fleet will play a vital role in the protection of airspace during the 2022 World Cup, which will be hosted in Qatar despite the efforts of some sides to thwart Qatar’s hosting of the event, the minister said.
Dr Al Attiyah made the remarks during a speech that he gave at the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and touched on several regional and international issues.
At the beginning of the speech, Dr Al Attiyah expressed his pleasure at being at RUSI, which, he said, is a reliable partner in providing training courses for Qatari Foreign Ministry’s diplomats since 2014.
He highlighted the extension of this cooperation to include training program of officers, from which 26 middle- and high-ranking officers have recently graduated to become better equipped to serve the country and advance their defence and intelligence capabilities by applying what they have learned at the leading institute.
The deputy prime minister expressed his delighted to be back in the United Kingdom, which, he said, has a special place in his heart as he flew a warplane during his training at the Royal Air Force base in Wales I.
Despite his retirement, Dr Al Attiyah said he still carries memories of those days and the friendships that he has built with fellow candidates since then.
Dr Al Attiyah said his current visit to London represents a very important moment in Doha’s ongoing efforts to engage with its allies in the U.K. in developing and strengthening their strategic joint military relationship.
He noted that the two sides have recently signed a major agreement on defence cooperation regarding the purchase of 24 Typhoon fighter jets. The agreement, he said, strengthens the historic friendship between the two countries and develops a defence partnership aimed at achieving their common security goals.
Dr Al Attiyah added that the agreement directly contributes to the preservation and creation of tens of thousands of job opportunities in the UK.
The minister spoke about the impact of the arbitrary measures taken by the so-called quartet against Qatar. He said that since June 5, the Qatari government and people have been harassed through the decision of three Gulf counties to cut their economic, political, military and social ties with Qatar.
These abnormal measures, Dr Al Attiyah said, did not stop there as Qatar’s only land border was closed and the people were forced to break away from their families in these neighbouring countries.
In this regard, he said that the recent publication of the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which included humanitarian violations resulting from unilateral coercive actions by the four states, has enhanced the right of the State of Qatar in face of the illegal and inhumane acts towards the people of Qatar.
Dr Al Attiyah expressed his pride in the level of commitment shown by the men and women of Qatar towards its adherence to its sovereignty and freedom. He also expressed his pride in their dignity and determination during these difficult times, pointing out that the four countries tried to underestimate the Qatari people by referring to the size of their country and population.
He stressed that the size of a country is not measured in this way but rather by its contributions to the renaissance of humanity through disciplines such as arts and sciences as well as the values of human rights, tolerance and the rule of law, which, he added, the State of Qatar adheres to.
Dr Al Attiyah said that Qatar has spared no effort in its fight against extremist ideology and the elimination of terrorism in all its forms to ensure that all groups that violate international law, commit grave violations of human rights and terrorize societies, are brought to justice.
“We have provided operational and technical support to our allies and we have taken the fight beyond the battlefield and into education in the fight against terrorism,” he said, pointing to the establishment of educational and development programs in the Arab region and beyond such as the Educate A Child program, which are committed to providing quality education to tens of millions of children around the world.
These programs, the deputy prime minister said, achieved most of their goals by working in 54 countries to date providing quality education to nearly nine million schoolchildren.
Dr Al Attiyah added that the laws and legislations of the state reflect its commitment to supporting and funding the actual international war on terrorism.
A surprising appointment of a New Prime Minister was decided upon yesterday by the presidency of the republic in replacement of the previous three months old government.
Any project is necessarily represented by political, social and economic forces otherwise it would be doomed to failure. The major challenge for Algeria at this conjecture would mean Algeria in need of foresight and adaptation strategies to implement operational instruments capable of identification so as to anticipate changes in the behaviour of the economic, political and social actors at geostrategic level.
There is a dialectic link between development and security, because without sustainable development there is necessarily increase of insecurity that has rising costs. Algeria per the reckoning of many international experts has the full potential, subject to far-reaching reforms, to establish a diversified economy responsible for the creation of sustainable jobs and therefore lead towards more stability not only of the country itself but of the entire region.
In order however to avoid perverse effects that might be harmful to its development, it would be dangerous for the future of Algeria to go into a monologue, fill the void inherited from the rentier culture of the past and allow certain organizations that are unable to mobilize society because of their non-credibility to deliver to activism without real impact.
There is a theory in political science that says 80% of poorly targeted and disorderly actions that are covered by activism have an impact on 20% on objectives and conversely 20% of well-targeted actions have an impact on 80%. The price of oil drop will definitely remain low for at least some medium term duration before being affected by the new on-coming technologies.
This would mean adaptation strategies are urgent and whilst avoiding the illusion of a model of linear energy consumption as of outdated models of the 70s and 80s as based on material development whereas we are at the dawn of the fourth economic revolution. This will predominantly be geared by and through the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, see latest report of the World Economic Forum titled «The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution».
We must imperatively reframe the debate, avoid the utopias of the past and adapt to the new world through a language of truth and tackle the essence and not appearances. As I demonstrated recently in a long interview to the US daily American Herald Tribune of December 28, 2016 and in the French financial daily La Tribune of May 07, 2017, I would like to consider the stability of Algeria, as a strategic element acting in favour of the stability of the entire region, which does not mean some form of status-quo, but to carry out reforms in a positively historical movement. This could be a prerequisite for the recovery of the required national cohesion and the construction of a home front as a solid and sustainable support for political and socio-economic reforms that are in fact challenges of the new world of today and of the future. In the areas of political and economic changes, social and cultural would include the pivot and central element of good governance and the reform of the school taking account of the Foundation of the development era of the 21st century based on knowledge.
The strategic objective must reconcile modernity and cultural authenticity, economic efficiency and a deep social justice if one wants to run to avoid the marginalization of Algeria within the global society with meanings geostrategic implications. Government and Opposition must agree for a national renewal of Algeria.
It will be what the Algerians will want it to be. The devil being in the details it is up to us with regards to healing like involving a broad National Front inclusive of all sensibilities, tolerating all differences of ideas, a source of mutual enrichment. To finish on and regardless of whoever is the appointee as a Prime Minister, prerogative falling exclusively onto the President of the Republic, the important thing is to focus on the best interests of the country.
For this reason I wish every success to Mr. Ahmed Ouyahia, who was head of Government in the past at the time I chaired the National Council on privatization between 1996 and 1999. Gloom apart, Algeria having all potentialities out of the current crisis, because failure would be harmful to the country and thus geostrategic implications of destabilization of the entire region.
Algeria in this difficult environment of fiscal pressures and geostrategic tensions needs stability, to bring together instead of dividing through a productive dialogue and a shared sacrifice generalised to each and every citizen. And through sustainable development, encourage all producers of wealth for the benefit of all its children, taking into account the harsh reality of the world, a world in perpetual motion or any Nation who don’t advance not necessarily stop.
The MENA region is yet again under horrendous pressures not only within the usual northern part of the Middle East and lately in the Gulf area but still in that part of the North African desert. This story is about Libya, a country that has known nothing but unrest and upheaval since its forced change of regime in 2011. More recently a UN report informed that the UAE violated Libya’s arms embargo by secretly supplying the concerned in this article. Would this have any bearing with the outcome as proposed in this article?
Would also this liberation mean reunification and a unique and central authority over the country? Only time can tell but one thing is sure in that all countries surrounding Libya would sight with relief if this is achieved.
Would this be accounted for in the Qatar blockade resolution? In any case, here is the BBC’s story.
The image above is of REUTERS — Benghazi saw fierce clashes between the LNA and Islamist militants this week
The head of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has said his forces “liberated” the eastern Benghazi city after years of fighting with Islamists.
Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar said the city now enters a new era of “security, peace and reconciliation”.
If confirmed, victory would mark a major advance for the one-time commander in the army of late strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
The LNA is not recognised by Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli.
Libya’s unrest since the 2011 ousting of Gaddafi saw extremist organisations, including so-called Islamic State, gain a foothold in the country.
In a televised speech on Wednesday, Field Marshal Haftar said that “after a continuous struggle against terrorism and its agents that lasted more than three years… we announce to you the liberation of Benghazi”.
Image copyright REUTERS – – – – Khalifa Haftar has backing from some foreign powers
His announcement comes after bloody battles this week in Benghazi’s Sabri district in which dozens of LNA fighters and various local Islamist militants died.
Pictures posted on social media sites showed some civilians in Benghazi and other parts of the country celebrating the end of a bitter conflict that left large parts of the country’s second city in ruins and displaced thousands of people in recent years.
But Field Marshal Haftar also has many political and armed opponents in Libya. He does not recognise the government in Tripoli, and instead backs the authorities in the east. Opponents accuse the commander, who has backing from some foreign powers, of trying to impose autocratic rule in Libya.
Divided opinion – analysis by Rana Jawad, BBC North Africa correspondent
Benghazi’s conflict over the last three years at times appeared to have no end in sight, and – as it grew – so too did the Field Marshal Haftar’s political and military ambitions.
This is a significant gain for him, and a city that has been aching for respite from the war. Opinions over the conflict in Benghazi are largely divided; many will be celebrating what they see as a war brought to their doorstep by Islamist militias at a time when political actors in Libya barely acknowledged there was a problem there, despite the near daily bombings and killings in the city.
Others view it as a product of a man who was power-hungry and lumped up all of his enemies under the banner of “Islamist terrorists” to pave the way for a future political role through the might of the gun. His short address dedicated to the people of Libya had an unusually reconciliatory tone, but it is not one that will ease worries over what his, or his opponents’ next move might be.
In Libya today, a military victory in one battlefield often opens the door to conflict in others.