Lamine Ghanmi is a veteran Reuters journalist. He has covered North Africa for decades and is based in Tunis.

  • Algeria dismisses Islamist’s role in Libya as Haftar takes centre stage , On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • Going digital is the way for stability, prosperity: Tunisian minister, On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • Maghrebis faced with Quebec terror attack aftermath , On: Sun, 12 Feb 2017

  • Tunisia military, police receive right to vote in local elections, On: Sun, 05 Feb 2017

  • Algeria uses Islamist channels in pursuit of Libya settlement , On: Sun, 05 Feb 2017

  • Algeria puts military on high alert on Libya, Mali borders, On: Sun, 29 Jan 2017

  • Opposition party plans to boycott Algeria’s April elections , On: Sun, 22 Jan 2017

  • Threat of returning jihadists stirs debate in Tunisia, On: Sun, 15 Jan 2017

  • Member of Libya’s UN-backed leadership resigns, divisions deepen , On: Sun, 15 Jan 2017

  • Rumblings of discontent in Algeria’s Bejaia , On: Sun, 08 Jan 2017

  • Uncertainties over Algerian transition continue , On: Sun, 08 Jan 2017

  • A year after peace agreement, Libya’s internecine conflict endures, On: Sun, 25 Dec 2016

  • Killing of drone expert with Hamas connections jolts Tunisia, On: Sun, 25 Dec 2016

  • Algerian journalist dies in jail after hunger strike, On: Sun, 18 Dec 2016

  • The precarious calm of Algeria’s south , On: Sun, 18 Dec 2016

  • ISIS is defeated in Sirte but Libya’s problems remain , On: Sun, 11 Dec 2016

  • Haftar visits Moscow to leverage better fortunes , On: Sun, 11 Dec 2016

  • Tunis investment conference draws $15 billion in pledges , On: Sun, 04 Dec 2016

  • Bouteflika sees mosque as symbol of legacy , On: Sun, 27 Nov 2016

  • Algeria edges closer to fully defeating terrorism, official says, On: Sun, 20 Nov 2016

  • Algerian Islamic reformist Malek Chebel dies at 63, On: Sun, 20 Nov 2016

  • Maghreb neighbours compete over African turf, On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • Sirte battle offers lessons for larger fight against ISIS , On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • Signs of Bouteflika clearing path to fifth term, On: Sun, 06 Nov 2016

  • Draft budget highlights Tunisia’s social and fiscal problems, On: Sun, 06 Nov 2016

  • Tunisia seeks investments, new image with international forum, On: Sun, 30 Oct 2016

  • Bourguiba Institute, an Arab education bridge to the world, On: Sun, 30 Oct 2016

  • Unprecedented infighting divides Algeria’s ruling class , On: Sun, 23 Oct 2016

  • Pride but also frustration one year after Tunisia Nobel Prize , On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • Russian general says Moscow is ‘here to stay’ in Arab world , On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • Islamists challenge attempts at educational reforms in Algeria, On: Sun, 02 Oct 2016

  • OPEC reaches surprise agreement in Algiers , On: Sun, 02 Oct 2016

  • Libyan Investment Authority woes mirror Libya’s chaos , On: Sun, 02 Oct 2016

  • Bill to grant Tunisian military right to vote elicits objections , On: Sun, 25 Sep 2016

  • Drought grips farms in Tunisia, On: Sun, 25 Sep 2016

  • Haftar seizes oil terminals, raises stakes in Libya conflict , On: Sun, 18 Sep 2016

  • Haftar’s military move creates new situation in Libya , On: Sun, 18 Sep 2016

  • Economic considerations surround Eid celebration in the Maghreb, On: Sun, 11 Sep 2016

  • New Tunisian government assumes office, faces uphill task, On: Sun, 04 Sep 2016

  • Algeria dismisses Islamist’s role in Libya as Haftar takes centre stage

    Previously seen as obstacle to resolving Libyan conflict, Haftar is now being viewed as part of solution.

    Woman holding picture of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar during demonstration in Benghazi

    2017/02/19 Issue: 94 Page: 8

    Tunis - If the numerous, albeit un­named, Algerian official sources cited by the media are any indication, the mood has changed in Algiers regarding the role of Tunisian Islamist leader Rached Ghannouchi in mediating a solution to the Libyan crisis on its behalf.

    “Algeria does not need Ghan­nouchi to reach out to the Libyans,” an unnamed Algerian diplomat was quoted as saying by at least six Al­gerian newspapers.

    The denial of any role by Ghan­nouchi signalled a shift in Algeria’s relationship with the Ennahda Par­ty president, who has been a fre­quent guest of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

    Ghannouchi’s supporters have commended the Islamist leader for using his standing to influence regional and domestic policy but detractors have criticised him for “unjustified interference”.

    “Diplomacy is the sole respon­sibility of the president,” the un­named diplomat was quoted as saying. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the tool to implement his policy.”

    “Algeria has no parallel diploma­cy,” he said.

    The comments were said to re­flect the feelings of top Algerian government officials, who were frustrated with Ghannouchi after he gave interviews suggesting he had a direct channel to the Algerian president, said reporters who at­tended an Algerian Foreign Minis­try briefing on February 12th.

    Ghannouchi has appeared to in­sist that Algeria is on the side of the Islamists controlling Tripoli and western Libya. The stand con­trasts to the position of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has backed the anti-Islamist camp in the east led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Haftar has branded Islamists “terrorists” and vowed to eradicate them from the country.

    Previously seen as an obstacle to resolving the Libyan conflict, Haftar is now being viewed as part of the solution by members of the Euro­pean Union and Libya’s neighbours, which, concerned about potential spillover effects, have stepped up ef­forts to bring the conflict to a close.

    Foreign ministers from Tuni­sia, Algeria and Egypt are to meet March 1st in Tunis after talks with Libyan officials over the past four months. They are particularly concerned about the fallout from Libya’s crisis in Egypt, which en­trusted its military’s leaders with handling negotiations between the Libyan factions.

    A scheduled meeting between Haftar and Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the UN-backed govern­ment in Tripoli was cancelled on February 14th. Libyan media re­ported the meeting fell through af­ter Haftar set conditions that Islam­ists and their allies in Tripoli would have no role in the discussions.

    Despite the lingering tensions, the two sides were said to have made progress.

    Reuters quoted Egyptian sources involved in talks in Cairo between Egyptian officials and Libyan lead­ers from the two sides as saying Sarraj and Haftar had committed to creating a joint committee to nego­tiate reconciliation efforts and an election by February 2018.

    “The two sides have agreed. I have doubts about the implemen­tation as the atmosphere between them is… tense but we hope the op­posite happens,” one of the sources told Reuters.

    Sarraj, who also leads the UN-backed government’s Presidential Council, said in a statement on February 15th that he had been in­formed that Haftar refused to meet with him “without the provision of any justifications”.

    “We hoped that it (the meeting) would be an entry point to a solu­tion to end the state of division and lift suffering of the nation and the people,” he said.

    However, Sarraj said, “we are moving forward in our efforts for reconciliation and to end the crisis”.

    It is unclear how the meeting’s failure will affect Cairo, Algiers and Tunis in their efforts to step in but worries are growing that if they fail to do so, Russia and the United States could intervene, especially if Haftar, who is gaining a reputation as an anti-terrorist fighter, acts as a bridge for Russia and the US admin­istration of Donald Trump.

    The European Union warned against empowering Haftar and said appointing him as the military strongman of Libya was no “alter­native” to the current crisis.

    EU diplomats have tried to con­vince Moscow and Washington that allowing Haftar to dominate power in Libya could have lasting conse­quences for the region.

    The leading European voice on Libya has been Italy, whose Foreign minister, Angelino Alfano, has said dialogue with Russia was proving to be constructive.

    Moscow, eager to recover billions of dollars’ worth of oil and infra­structure investments in Libya, has bolstered Haftar’s profile as an anti- Islamist hero and provided medical treatment to his wounded soldiers.

    Editors' Picks

    The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

    From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

    Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

    Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Dalal Saoud

    Senior Editor: John Hendel

    Chief Copy Editors: Jonathan Hemming and Richard Pretorius

    Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

    Opinion Section Editor: Claude Salhani

    East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

    Levant Section Editor: Jamal J. Halaby

    Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

    Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

    Senior Correspondents:

    Mahmud el-Shafey (London)

    Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)


    Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

    Dunia El-Zobeidi (London)

    Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

    Rasha Elass - Thomas Seibert (Washington)

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Contact editor

    Subscription & Advertising:

    Tel 020 3667 7249

    Mohamed Al Mufti

    Marketing & Advertising Manager

    Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

    Direct: +44 20 8742 9262

    Al Arab Publishing House

    Kensington Centre

    66 Hammersmith Road

    London W14 8UD, UK

    Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

    Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

    Follow Us
    © The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved