The family of Khalifa Haftar, the controversial general commander of the Libyan National Army, has retained Washington lobbying shop Grassroots Political Consulting for U.S. Congressional outreach as well as to provide political and strategic consulting services.
Haftar, who’d lived in exile in the U.S. for decades after leading a failed coup against strongman Col. Muammar Gaddafi, returned to Libya in 2011, where he became a key figure in that country’s 2011 NATO-backed rebellion.
As general commander of Libya’s national armed forces, Haftar embarked on a comprehensive military campaign to push Islamist militants out of the country, which has been torn apart by rival militia groups and terrorists since Gaddafi’s ouster.
Libya’s new internationally recognized body, the Libyan House of Representatives, appointed Haftar armed forces commander in 2015. The HoR, which is now headquartered in the eastern city of Tobruk, came to power after it defeated Libya’s former government, The General National Congress, in a landslide 2014 election.
The GNC rose to power two years earlier, during Libya’s first parliamentary elections since the Gaddafi regime. It refused to recognize its defeat to the HoR, essentially resulting in two rival governments competing for power and plunging the country further into the throes of civil war.
In response, a UN-backed Tripoli-based interim government, the Government of National Accord, was established. Haftar, who's supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, as well as Russia and France, has refused to recognize the GNA's authority.
The International Criminal Court in September issued an arrest warrant for one of Haftar’s military officers, who the ICC claims committed war crimes by ordering soldiers to execute dozens of ISIS prisoners between 2016 and 2017.
According to Foreign Agents Registration Acts documents filed in November, GPC will lobby in the U.S. House and Senate to provide a narrative of the political, military and governmental history of Libya as well as to advocate on behalf of Haftar’s role in strengthening the future political and multilateral interests of the North African nation.
GPC will also provide political and strategic advice to the Haftar family on an ongoing basis.
The pact, which became official November 1, runs through April 30, 2018 and brings GPC a total of $120,000, to be paid in monthly installments of $20,000.