File - Then-General Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference at a sports club in Abyar, east of Benghazi May 21, 2014. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
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In a hotel lit by a generator in the eastern Libyan town of Bayda, Economy Minister Munir Ali Asr outlines optimistic plans to attract investment to a country ravaged by war and political chaos.Growing frustration over the reality of life in eastern Libya, which contrasts with the promises of politicians, is feeding support for a former army general, Khalifa Haftar, who has set himself up as a warrior against Islamist militancy and who some also see as their savior.The internationally recognized prime minister, Abdullah al-Thani, and his government sit in Bayda, while a rival faction, Libya Dawn, has set up its own government in Tripoli, 1,200 kilometers away, after taking over the capital last summer. Haftar tends to pop up whenever there is upheaval in Libya.Military sources say regular army commanders in Benghazi feel sidelined as Haftar's officers say they speak for the government.In an apparent power play, Haftar's forces tried to stop Thani from visiting Benghazi. It is packed with people who have fled Tripoli complaining of threats or attacks from Libya Dawn.
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