WASHINGTON (AP) — A Libyan basic who has gained management of the Libyan metropolis of Benghazi and is believed to have ties to the CIA has employed a Texas-based lobbying agency to assist him forge nearer relations with the U.S. as he seeks to defeat rival militias and consolidate his maintain on the North African nation.
Area Marshal Khalifa Hifter and his Libyan Nationwide Military have employed Linden Authorities Options, based mostly in Houston, in keeping with a overseas agent registration doc launched Tuesday by the Justice Division.
Linden, which might obtain about $2 million below the 13-month settlement, additionally will help with “worldwide coalition constructing, and basic public relations” for the Libyan Nationwide Military.
Hifter final month was granted a cellphone name with President Donald Trump and has been gaining worldwide assist in his marketing campaign to take management of an oil-rich nation that has been in turmoil because the rebellion that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
A White Home assertion concerning the name mentioned “the 2 mentioned a shared imaginative and prescient for Libya’s transition to a steady, democratic political system.”
The chaos that adopted the overthrow and killing of Gadhafi resulted in a divided nation, with a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the nation’s west and a authorities within the east aligned with Hifter.
Hifter served as a senior officer below Gadhafi however defected within the 1980s throughout Libya’s ruinous conflict with Chad, during which he and a whole bunch of troopers have been captured in an ambush. He later spent greater than twenty years within the suburbs of Washington, the place he’s broadly believed to have labored with the CIA, earlier than returning to hitch the rebellion in 2011. He ultimately constructed up the forces often known as the Libyan Nationwide Military.
The Linden executives main the agency’s illustration, Stephen Payne and Brian Ettinger, have intensive data of Libya, the corporate mentioned in a press release. Payne, Linden’s president, mentioned he has been in communication with Hifter for the previous 5 years, in keeping with the assertion.
Libya has struggled to rebuild its oil trade — its essential income — since 2011. The agency’s assertion doesn’t point out a particular function for Linden in Libya’s power trade, however each Payne and Ettinger have expertise in worldwide oil and pure fuel markets.
Payne and Ettinger traveled to Libya in 2011 on a humanitarian mission, earlier than Gadhafi was eliminated, and helped negotiate the discharge of a number of imprisoned journalists, the assertion mentioned. Ettinger is Linden’s basic counsel.
A short biography for Payne described him as doing overseas journey advance work for the George W. Bush administration. He additionally served on Bush’s campaigns. Different purchasers Payne has represented embody Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, JP Morgan, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Observe Richard Lardner on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rplardner