Libya's Haftar in coma after stroke

The 74-year-old general collapsed during a visit to Jordan earlier in the week and was flown to France for treatment

Khalifa Haftar was previously a general in Gaddafi’s army
Khalifa Haftar was previously a general in Gaddafi’s army

Khalifa Haftar, the military strongman who controls much of eastern Libya, is in a coma in a Paris hospital after suffering a stroke, reports say. 

The 74-year-old general collapsed during a visit to Jordan earlier in the week and was flown to France for treatment.

Gen Haftar was reportedly brought to the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris on Wednesday after falling ill in Amman, the Jordanian capital. 

There was some confusion as to whether Haftar is still alive, with various news outlets reporting his death and a spokesman for Gen Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) denying the reports and later declining to comment. 

Gen Haftar’s death or incapacitation would cause further disruption to the chaotic political situation in Libya, which has been in a state of flux since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 

Gen Haftar earned the support of Egypt, the UAE, and Russia by presenting himself as a stabilising force in Libya who could be relied on to confront Islamist factions in the country’s east, but while Western governments had been increasingly open to dealing with the military leader, the Western powers formally supported Gen Haftar’s rivals in the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

It is thought that if Gen Haftar were permanently incapacitated one of sons might try to take up his mantle but that other elements of his coalition - especially local factions from eastern Libya - might go their own way.  

Ahmed al-Mismari, an LNA spokesman, initially denied those reports insisted that the general was in good health. But a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Mismari declined to directly address the issue of the general’s health. 

 

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