It is uncertain if Haftar will emerge able to rule after his hospitalization. One this is sure, his ailing health or death could mean a renewal of violence that could hit the OPEC country’s oil output and create new opportunities for groups like ISIS.
Many fear that the absence of Haftar could create a power vacuum and chaos in eastern Libya where the general has led the Libyan National Army (LNA), as a stabilizing force and a deterrent against the surge of terrorist groups.
Haftar has also asserted control of Libya’s oil crescent. Exports from the four ports under Haftar’s control are Libya’s main source of much-needed hard currency. A return of hostilities in the region would hit hard Libya’s finances.
Up to now there is no consensus on who should replace Haftar within the LNA. The strongman has groomed his two sons, Khalid and Saddam, for succession, granting them command roles and keeping them deeply involved in his diplomatic engagements.
Yet Haftar’s sons lack a deep well of support in the LNA, but given the lack of other candidates, they’re probably the only opportunity for the existing leadership to maintain command.
Egypt’s has most to lose in the demise of Haftar. Sisi regime has invested in Haftar and offered him military support. The UAE and Russia have also seen in Haftar a strongman who will help stabilize Libya.