The Muslim Brotherhood’s Campaign Against Libyan Presidential Candidate Khalifa Haftar in the US

August 15, 2022

Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar EPA-EFE/YANNIS KOLESIDIS

by Rebecca Bynum

During the Obama administration, the Muslim Brotherhood first gained and then lost control in Egypt because the people rose-up against the iron-fisted cruelty with which the Brotherhood tried to run the country. Today, the Ikhwan is desperately trying to gain control of the country next door, Libya, where a Brotherhood-dominated Government is installed in Tripoli. The main threat to their power in Libya comes from one of Gaddafi’s former generals, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who led an ultimately unsuccessful push to roll back the jihadi armies and re-take Tripoli by force in 2019.  This effort failed because Turkey entered the conflict on the side of the Brotherhood militias, forcing a stalemate. General Haftar is currently running for President of Libya and elections are scheduled for this year.

General Haftar is being sued in civil court in the Eastern District of Virginia (CASE #: 1:20−cv−01038−LMB−JF), filed on September 3, 2020, under the Alien Tort Claims Act. The General has maintained a residence in the US since the fall of Gaddafi 2011 and it will come as no surprise that Brotherhood operatives here have targeted him through lawsuits ostensibly on behalf of victims of alleged torture by Haftar’s forces during the Libyan National Army’s 2019 campaign referred to above. The lawsuits were largely organized by Virginia surgeon named Esam Omeish who serves as a lead consultant in one of the suits.

To be clear, Muslim Brotherhood operatives do not carry cards in their wallets proclaiming their membership, rather their sympathies must be inferred. Omeish is a former vice president and current board member of the infamous Dar al Hijra mosque (aka “the Al Qaeda mosque”) in Falls Church Virginia. He even recommended Anwar al Awlaki be the mosque’s imam in 2000. (You may recall al Awlaki fled to Yemen and was subsequently killed by a drone strike ordered by President Obama after he tried to blow up passenger planes headed into the US. The underwear bomber was his man.) The mosque has also been associated with “numerous individuals linked to terrorism financing” and was “operating as a front for Hamas operatives in the U.S” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

From 2004 to 2008, Omeish also served as president of the Muslim-American Society, an organization founded by Brotherhood members. The Muslim-American Society was named a terrorist organization by the UAE and Omeish himself was labeled a terrorist by the Libyan Security Committee, a part of the Libyan House of Representatives which stands in opposition to the Brotherhood-dominated authority in Tripoli and claims to be the rightful government.

“These lawsuits were designed for one reason and one reason only,” said AMCD co-chair Tom Harb, “and that is to tarnish the reputation of General Haftar by labeling him a ‘war criminal’ and thus disqualifying him to run for President of Libya. It’s the same tactic American leftists are using against President Trump. Unsurprisingly, too, they are going after the General’s son who is a real-estate investor in the US.”

After Judge Leonie Brinkema issued a default judgement against Haftar for not showing up to court to defend himself, US organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) crowed that Haftar had been convicted of “war crimes,” which could not be further from the truth. When he failed to appear at his deposition, the judge issued a default ruling, allowing the lawsuit to move forward – that is all.

In the latest twist, a reporter for the Middle East Eye, a Qatari publication associated with the Brotherhood, breathlessly speculates that Haftar is “liquidating assets” ahead of the next phase of the case, but on closer inspection, these are properties belonging to the General’s son, Okbar Haftar, who routinely buys and sells property as part of his business. The same publication also reports that Okba Haftar has received an offer from the UAE to relocate to the Emirates, a claim the younger Haftar states is “completely untrue.”

Arab media is also exposing the Brotherhood’s smear campaign against Haftar and his family as well as the UAE, like in this article published in the Palestinian press, among other articles from Egypt and the Arab world, rejecting the slander attacks by the pro-Ikhwan Middle East Eye publication out of London.

“It makes sense that the Ikhwan in the US would be doing everything it could to smear General Haftar,” said AMCD co-chair John Hajjar. “He’s the only candidate strong enough to stand up against the jihadi forces trying to take over Libya. He stands for the people who want a modern, moderate Libya with at least some separation between mosque and state. If elected, he would have the backing of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco and possibly Bahrain as well. Libya could even enter the Abraham Accords with the other moderate Muslim countries and make peace with Israel.”

Is it any wonder, then, that Field Marshal Haftar is the target of the Muslim Brotherhood?

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