Libya’s putschist general Haftar hires ex-politicians

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Putschist General Khalifa Haftar has hired veteran political insiders to lobby on his behalf for the Biden administration and the US Congress, according to documents.

Haftar has made an advance payment of $ 40,000 to retain the services of former special adviser to President Bill Clinton, Lanny Davis and former Republican House lawmaker Robert Livingston, according to applications from the Foreign Agents Registration Act dated September 3.

The total fees that Haftar will pay amount to approximately 960,000 dollars over six months, according to an engagement letter in the documents from the Ministry of Justice.

Davis and Livingston will hold meetings for Haftar between White House officials, the Pentagon and the State Department, as well as key members of Congress, including the House of Representatives and the Senate, according to the documents.

The duo is also expected to hold further meetings with think tanks such as the left-leaning Center for American Progress and the United States Institute of Peace ahead of Libya’s general election in December.

Haftar intends to travel to the United States “to advocate for the elections in Libya on December 24, 2021” during meetings with US officials, the documents state.

The information comes as Haftar seeks to regain influence in Washington after his military offensive failed to oust the internationally recognized government in Tripoli. He retains control of eastern Libya.

Haftar is the subject of several lawsuits in US courts by plaintiffs who claim that his forces have committed serious violations of rights, including extrajudicial killings, torture and other war crimes.

He is a defendant in three separate federal lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Plaintiffs allege that their loved ones were killed or tortured by Haftar’s forces.

The lawsuit calls for millions of dollars in damages that can be recovered from property that Haftar, a dual American and Libyan citizen, and his family still own throughout northern Virginia.

In court papers, Haftar claimed that he is immune to lawsuits because he is head of state. He also said that the judge should dismiss the cases because a lawsuit that seeks to claim guilt in the country’s civil war is a “political issue” that requires respect for the executive.

But at a hearing on Thursday, the American district judge Leonie Brinkema decided that Haftar can not assert either the head of state immunity or the political question theory as a defense in the lawsuits. She noted that she twice asked the State Department if it wanted to assert interest in the case – once under former President Donald Trump’s administration and once under President Joe Biden’s administration – but declined to do so on both occasions.

According to official sources in Libya, Haftar’s forces and affiliated militias committed war crimes and genocide during the period between April 2019 and June 2020.

His offensive, supported by Egypt, France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia, collapsed when the UN-recognized government for National Accord (GNA) forces took over with support from Turkey.

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