US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded an “immediate halt” to the fighting in Libya this week after Libyan National Army (LNA) forces loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar began an offensive against the Government of National Accord (GNA) capital of Tripoli.
Retired Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc, former commander of the US Africa Command’s counterterrorist special operations forces in Libya between 2015 and 2017, has accused the Pentagon and diplomats in Washington of disastrously failing in their efforts to cultivate relations with Haftar, the general whose forces have taken broad swathes of Libya in recent years and now set their sights on the GNA capital.
“We kind of botched it at every single level, both on the [Pentagon] and the Department of State side, the US policy side, on how we should have been dealing with this guy,” Bolduc told Yahoo News.
“Haftar was a very reliable guy, a guy that we could trust, a guy that we knew wasn’t going to sell us out, a guy that we knew was wanting to take it to ISIS [Daesh]* and al-Qaeda and hand them their ass,” the retired officer added.
“We should have been a whole heck of a lot more aggressive in supporting Haftar than we were,” Bolduc lamented. “Where’s the US? The Russians are supporting him, the US is nowhere to be seen, so we’re going to lose strategic influence,” Bolduc said.
The officer recalled that US special forces in Libya were…