The US Defense One website quoted a former US official as saying that Aref Nayed, a Libyan politician aligned with Haftar is seeking a western recognition to make him a leader.
During his meetings with US officials of the US National Security Council (NSC) and the State Department, during the past few months, Nayed tried to pitch himself as a transitional political leader for Libya after Haftar, "takes over Tripoli".
He confirmed that Haftar had gave him assurance that he will allow national elections to proceed if he is successful in capturing Tripoli, However, NSC officials were “noncommittal” to Nayed’s proposal, according to a former senior U.S. official familiar with the meetings.
The former US official likened Nayed’s pitch to the case of Ahmed Chalabi, the former exiled Iraqi politician who presented allegations -which later proved to be false- that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and helped propel the Bush administration into invading Iraq in 2003.
The official described Nayed and his team as being "very western" and businesspeople, but he said he "lacked the backing of people on the ground who would vote for him, so he’s looking for the West to make him into a leader.”
While Nayed presents himself as close to Haftar, the US doesn't seem to be sure on where Haftar stands, "There’s an understanding that Haftar is trying to set himself up as the next Ghaddafi,” said Joshua Meservey, a policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation who specializes in Africa and the Middle East.
“He clearly sees the solution to Libya’s problems being a military strongman. He happens to be one, so that works out great for him.” Meservey concluded.