I just saw that Egypt launched talks with the UN backed government in Libya and warlord Haftar. Why do news agencies such as Al Jazeera states "Forces loyal to Warlord Haftar attacked Tripoli", undermining the effect, instead of saying "Haftar's forces attacked Tripoli"?

Why are governments supporting warlords, if warlords are not legal? How can a warlord be invited to UN and Egypt?

  • Please provide a link to the article that supports: Al Jazeera states "Forces loyal to Warlord Haftar attacked Tripoli"
    – Rick Smith
    Jun 6, 2020 at 13:06
  • 2
    Welcome to Politics SE! Without a link to the article you cite, you risk your question being seen as an attempt to discredit a political cause, which would lead to its closure. If you can edit your question to provide the link to the Al Jazeera article you cite, you should do so.
    – Joe C
    Jun 6, 2020 at 13:12
  • 1
    @gfdsal In reference to revision 6, the mods pronounced no such judgement. On Stack Exchange users can vote to close problematic questions. Other users can vote to reopen the question. If you wish to have the question reopened, I suggest you try to improve question with edits. Sep 16, 2020 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


A thing can only be "legal" or "not legal" in some system of law. A person cannot be illegal, but a person can do illegal things.

So Haftar isn't illegal, but Haftar might (or might not) have done things that are illegal in Libya.

Now, Libya is in a state of civil war. There isn't a stable government. There isn't a stable set of laws throughout the country. Haftar controls part of the country, in that part he is defacto the local ruler. The LNA controls much more land(pink) than the internationally recognised government(green).

enter image description here (Image from Wikipedia https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Libyan_Civil_War.svg)

Saying "Troops loyal to Hafter" is more accurate than "Haftar's troops". Even though he is local ruler, he doesn't own the soldiers.

If you want to negotiate a peace, you have to negotiate with the people who are doing the fighting. A treaty that excludes some of the fighters will be ignored by those fighters and the war will continue.

Haftar, in particular, has had a role in fighting ISIS that is supported particularly by Egypt. Haftar is aligned to the political stance of the current Egyptian government. Egypt is a sovereign state, and they can invite whoever they want. (And the rest of the world can complain or punish Egypt if the rest of the world wants)

  • This is quite good and comprehensive answer. I didnt mean to say person being illegal when I implied "warlords" being something illegal. But the question is that as you are saying the forces are "independent" so thats why the news media mentions "loyal to" instead of stating "Haftar's forces" But how are those independent forces being supported? I feel that its playing with the terminology to convey a point. In such terminology we can even say "troops loyal to Trump attacked so and so" and not Trump's forces. Right?
    – gfdsal
    Jun 6, 2020 at 13:44
  • 1
    The LNA controls a lot of land and a lot of oil. Where there's oil, there's money for guns.
    – James K
    Jun 6, 2020 at 13:46
  • 1
    You don't say "Trumps troops" or troops loyal to Trump, you say "American troops". But the context is completely different. But even with the current unrest, there is no alternate army of Americans
    – James K
    Jun 6, 2020 at 13:47
  • 2
    @JamesK You don't say "Trump's troops" yet, but it's merely a convention that can always be changed. On the other hand, it's perfectly correct to say "Her Majesty's Armed Forces", even though Her Majesty certainly has less control.
    – Alice
    Jun 6, 2020 at 17:52
  • 2
    Well the origin of the monarchy is Feudalism, and the King is warlord-in-chief
    – James K
    Jun 6, 2020 at 18:38

The phrase "Forces loyal to ..." is generally used to imply an irregular military force without a true command hierarchy, and not integrated into the legal framework of a recognized sovereign nation. The fact the relationship between a leader and the forces they lead are not part of a legal framework doesn't make them illegal, it makes them extralegal (not regulated by law.)

On the other hand, the possessive form when used to describe a military force generally implies that it is part of a regular army, e.g. "Patton's army".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .