Khalifa Haftar’s assault on Tripoli is described in some circles as a massive failure of judgment, a rash strategy breaking from previous tactical brilliance. This point of view is supported by reports of uncoordinated moves by small units of the LNA, resulting in ambushes and captures of some LNA units by the defenders.
Explanations for Haftar’s risky assault center on alleged defects or new facts of character, based mainly on anecdotes and interviews. To break with one’s own established character is a privilege of free will, but a theory that relies upon it is weak.
At the cost of one more hypothesis, we can avoid this. The hypothesis: Haftar is physically ill. Critical condition is not required; all that is required is a chronic sign of mortality, a signal that he may not have the half decade or required required to finesse all the opposing elements.
Haftar was hospitalized in April 2018 with what was claimed by some sources to be a stroke. Given his short hospitalization, the most likely event is a TIA (transient_ischemic_attack). Other possibilities include the mass effect of a benign tumor, a low grade malignancy, or an early-stage neurodegenerative disorder, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Most neurological disorders in the elderly leave constant reminders of their presence. Sometimes the symptoms are unapparent to others; they may progress in ways that interfere with the image and reality of power. Physical illness requires Haftar to act with haste.
Absent a medical history, Occam’s Razor discourages the addition of this hypothetical to what is known, in order to solve the problem of Haftar’s behavior. But the hospitalization supplies the predicate.
With the predicate, we can disregard Haftar’s hyperbolic speech, which cannot be reliably distinguished from showmanship.