The former UN acting envoy to Libya, Stephenie Williams, said the phone call of John Bolton, the former national security advisor of the ex-president of the US Donald Trump, gave Khalifa Haftar the green light to attack Tripoli four or five days before it happened.
Williams told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Bolton told Haftar that if he wanted to do it (take Tripoli) he should do it quickly and with the least civilian casualties, adding that the phone call made Haftar think the road to Tripoli would be easy after getting Trump's green light.
She added that Haftar's entry to the southern region in early 2019 may have encouraged him to attack Tripoli as there were no reactions especially from Tripoli government, saying nobody said to Haftar "what are you doing?"
She also denied that the UNSMIL was aware of Trump-Haftar call and said that the US authorities were not overwhelmingly in consent with that call, especially the State Department, adding that Haftar's loss of Tripoli battle was unfolding when Al-Wattiya airbase was liberated and then "we knew it was a matter of days before he lost all of western Libya positions" thus leading to Tarhouna.
Williams reiterated that there have been 20.000 mercenaries in Libya over the last period, most of whom were from Sudanese Janjaweed, Syrian, and Russia's Wagner Group - seen on the ground even in the south since last September.
She also said the new executive authority in Libya has a chance to take the country to elections on December 24, 2021 as per the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum's roadmap despite the challenges that include vying for power and wealth among many personalities.