Home » News wheel » US citizen and long term CIA aid, Field Marshal Haftar supported by foreign states to rule Libya? USA takes power again
US citizen and long term CIA aid, Field Marshal Haftar supported by foreign states to rule Libya?  USA takes power again

US citizen and long term CIA aid, Field Marshal Haftar supported by foreign states to rule Libya? USA takes power again

The US takes control in Libya once more. Field Marshal Haftar is a US citizen, having lived 20 years in Virginia close to the CIA headquarters, returned to Libya in 2011, holding senior positions in the US backed, post-Gaddafi rebel army, but later returned to his safe haven in the US.

After 2014 he came back to Libya and fought against the GNC and its Islamic fundamentalists. Haftar is currently viewed as a strong ISIS opponent. The EU has actively supported Haftar and according to the BBC, has hoped that Russia could help broker peace in Libya with the help of anti-Islamist and US citizen, Haftar.

Since Wikipedia changes its content all the time, this is a transcript of its current information on Field Marshal Haftar:

Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar (Arabic: خليفة بلقاسم حفتر‎‎; born 7 November 1943) is a Libyan military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army, currently engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War. On March 2, 2015, he was appointed commander of the armed forces loyal to the elected, internationally backed legislative body, the Libyan House of Representatives.[2]

Haftar was born in eastern Libya. He served in the Libyan army under Muammar Gaddafi, and took part in the coup that brought Gaddafi to power in 1969. He commanded the Libyan contingent against Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973.[3] 

As a young army officer, Haftar took part in the coup that brought Muammar Gaddafi to power in 1969, assisting Gaddafi in the overthrow of Libya’s King Idris. Shortly thereafter, Haftar became a top military officer for Gadhafi.[13] He commanded Libyan troops supporting Egyptian troops entering Israeli-occupied Sinai in 1973.[3]

Like other members of the Free Unionist Officers (the junta that toppled the monarchy), Haftar was a secularist and a Nasserist.[12][14] He was a member of the Revolutionary Command Council which governed Libya in the immediate aftermath of the coup.[12] Haftar later became Gaddafi’s military chief of staff.[15] In the late 1980s, Haftar commanded Libyan forces during the Chadian–Libyan conflict, which ended in defeat for Libya.[16]

In 1987, he became a prisoner of war during the war against Chad. While held prisoner, he and his fellow officers formed a group hoping to overthrow Gaddafi. He was released around 1990 in a deal with the United States government and spent nearly two decades in the United States, gaining U.S. citizenship.[4] Haftar lived comfortably in Virginia, relatively close to CIA headquarters, from the early 1990s until 2011.[5] In 1993, while living in the United States, he was convicted in absentia of crimes against the Jamahiriya and sentenced to death.

Haftar held a senior position in the forces which overthrew Gaddafi in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. In 2014 he was commander of the Libyan Army when the General National Congress (GNC) refused to give up power in accordance with its term of office. Haftar launched a campaign against the GNC and its Islamic fundamentalist allies. His campaign allowed elections to take place to replace the GNC, but then developed into a civil war.

Haftar’s campaign attracted opponents to the GNC to join him as well as armed groups including Zintan‘s al-Qaqaa and Sawaaq brigades, regional military police, the Saiqa special forces group in Benghazi, the Libyan air force and Ibrahim Jadhran’s federalist militias.[6]

Haftar has been described as “Libya’s most potent warlord,” having fought “with and against nearly every significant faction” in Libya’s conflicts, and as having a “reputation for unrivalled military.

Haftar was born in Ajdabiya around 1943,[9][10] and is a member of the al-Farjani tribe.[11] He graduated from the Benghazi Military Academy and went on to receive military training in the Soviet Union and Egypt.[3][12]

By 1986, Haffar had attained the rank of colonel, and was then the chief officer in command of Gaddafi’s military forces in Chad in the Chadian–Libyan conflict. During the war, in which the Libyan forces were either captured or driven back across the border, Haftar and 600-700 of his men were captured as prisoners of war, and incarcerated in 1987 after their defeat in the Ouadi Doum air raid.[17] Shortly after this disastrous battle, Gaddafi disavowed Haftar and the other Libyan prisoners of war who were captured by Chad. One possible contributing factor to Gaddafi’s repudiation of Haftar and of other captured prisoners of war may have been the fact that Gaddafi had earlier signed an agreement to withdraw all Libyan forces from Chad, and Haftar’s operations inside of Chad had been in violation of this agreement.[18][19] Another possible reason given for Gaddafi’s abandonment of Haftar was the potential that Haftar might return to Libya as a hero and thus pose a threat to Gaddafi’s rule itself.[12] In any event, Gaddafi’s repudiation clearly served to embitter Haftar towards Gaddafi.

Gaddafi demanded Haftar’s soldiers be returned to Libya, but the Americans arranged for them to fly to Zaire instead. There, half of his soldiers decided to return to Libya. By 1988, Haftar had aligned himself with the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a U.S. supported opposition group.[7] When U.S. financial aid to Zaire was not forthcoming, Zaire expelled the remainder to Kenya.[19] Kenya only provided temporary residence, and the American CIA negotiated a settlement around 1990, enabling Heftar and 300 of his soldiers to move to the United States under the U.S. refugee programme.[13][19]

In March 1996, Haftar took part in a failed uprising against Gaddafi in the mountains of eastern Libya, before returning to the U.S.[19]

Haftar moved to suburban Virginia outside Washington, D.C., living in Falls Church until 2007. He then moved to Vienna, Virginia.[19][21]

In 2011, he returned to Libya to support the Libyan Civil War. In March, a military spokesperson announced that Haftar had been appointed commander of the military, but the National Transitional Council denied this.[22] By April, Abdul Fatah Younis held the role of commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Omar El-Hariri serving as Younis’ Chief of Staff and Haftar took the third most senior position as the commander of ground forces with the rank of lieutenant general.[23][24] Younis was assassinated later that summer.[25] After Abdul Fattah Younis was chosen Jallal Galal, a former spokesman for the rebels, described Haftar’s reaction as “he was like a little child. He was actually trying to become the chief of staff.”[26]

Haftar did not find a settled position in Libya’s new political structures, and returned to the U.S. for a while.[7]

In February 2014, Haftar appeared in a televised announcement to reveal that the General National Congress (GNC), which had recently unilaterally extended its mandate, had been dissolved. Haftar called for a caretaker government to oversee new elections. His announcement was soon dismissed with great skepticism by the then acting Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Haftar’s actions were condemned as a “coup attempt” and “ridiculous”.[27][28]

Haftar’s strategy was to embark on a series of “town hall” meetings around Libya, and with the support of fellow ex-officers from the military to secretly build an army.[7] Three months later on 16 May in Operation Dignity, Haftar began a combined air and ground assault against the pro-Islamic militias of Benghazi, as well as a sustained heavy weapons attack against the Libyan parliament.[29] At the time of the Benghazi assault Haftar, who had already been the target of assassination attempts,[30] reportedly explained to a friend that he was fully aware of the personal safety risks involved in his actions.[31] On 20 May 2014, four days after the Benghazi assault, the GNC announced that it had finally scheduled the long postponed national elections that were to replace the then-interim legislature (the Tripoli-based GNC) with the Tobruk-based House of Representatives. These elections were scheduled for 25 June 2014.[32] Some Libyans, Islamic and non-Islamist, criticized the new body for embracing Haftar’s anti-Islamist military campaign which was seen as an attempt by former regime officials to reassert control in the country.[33]

Later in May, after having been ousted from office by the GNC, Ali Zeidan then endorsed Operation Dignity,[34] along with 40 members of parliament,[35] and the heads of the navy,[36] the air-force,[37] and much of the army. In June 2014, a suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle at Haftar’s residence in Benghazi, killing 4 people and injuring at least 3 others. Haftar was not injured in the attack.[38]

In eastern Libya, Haftar’s air and ground forces remained in place, and seemed to be gaining general support. Over the course of May and June numerous pro Operation Dignity marches were held throughout Libya,[39] and in the June 25 elections, the secularists gained a clear mandate over and against the Islamist agenda.[40] Meanwhile, despite its initial denouncement of Operation Dignity in May,[41] Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani‘s administration has since continued to give no word of any further official endorsement or denouncement of Haftar’s Operation Dignity. However, the newly elected parliament branded Haftar’s enemies “terrorists”.[42]

Haftar remains resolute that one of the aims of Operation Dignity is to completely dismantle the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as what he considers to be any other Islamist terrorist organizations within Libya.[43][44]

On 24 November 2014 and the following day, warplanes affiliated with Operation Dignity forces attacked Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, temporarily shutting down of the airport, but also damaging nearby houses.[45][46] In response to the attack on Mitiga, a court in Tripoli issued an arrest warrant for Khalifa Haftar.[47]

Haftar was made commander of the forces of the internationally recognized Tobruk government on 2 March 2015.[48]

As of August 2016, Haftar has refused to support the new United Nations Security Council endorsed Government of National Accord, which has led the United States and allies to believe he is jeopardizing the stability of Libya. The United Arab Emirates and Egypt continue to support Haftar.[49] Middle East Eye has reported that British, French, U.S. and United Arab Emirates air forces have assisted Haftar’s forces, after analysing leaked air traffic control recordings.[50][51]

In November 2016, Haftar made a second trip to Russia to meet with the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu. It was reported that while he was seeking weapons and Russia’s backing, Russia was holding off pending the new Trump Administration.[52][53] On 26 December, it was reported that Russia had thrown its weight behind Haftar, saying he must have a role in the leadership of Libya.[54]

References.

  1.  “Tobruk’s HoR promotes Khalifa Haftar to a Marshal following capture of oil ports”. Libyan Express. September 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Al-Warfalli, Ayman (March 2, 2015). “Libya’s Haftar appointed army chief for recognized government”. Reuters.
  3. ^ a b c Borzou Daragahi (May 23, 2014). “Khalifa Haftar, a hard-headed Libyan warrior”. Financial Times. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  4. ^ Chorin, Ethan (May 27, 2014). “The New Danger in Benghazi”. New York Times. Archived from the original on May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  5. ^ “The story behind the general who will likely shape Libya’s future”. Al-Monitor. 2016-05-09. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  6. ^ “Analytic Guidance: Gen. Hifter’s Preparations in Libya”. Stratfor. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  7. ^ a b c d Anderson, Jon Lee (February 23, 2015). “The Unravelling: Libya’s New Strongman”. The New Yorker. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  8. ^ “Fighting Islamic State in Libya”. The Economist. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  9. ^ John Pearson (5 March 2015). “Newsmaker: Khalifa Haftar”. The National. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  10. ^ Hamid, Hoda (14 April 2011). “The Real Battle Is Yet To Come”. Aljazeera/ Information Clearing House. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  11. ^ John Ruedy (1996). Islamism and Secularism in North Africa. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 195. ISBN 0-312-16087-9.
  12. ^ a b c d Saadah, Ali (May 22, 2014). “Khalifah Haftar – A New Al-Sisi in Libya”. Middle East Monitor. Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Mohamed Madi (May 20, 2014). “Profile: Libya’s renegade General Khalifa Haftar”. BBC News. Archived from the original on August 28, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  14. ^ Basturk, Levent (May 20, 2014). “Khalifa Haftar: A portrait of a coup general”. World Bulletin. Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  15. ^ Mohamed, Esam (May 18, 2014). “Renegade Libyan general says parliament suspended”. Tripoli, Libya. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  16. ^ Baker, Russ (April 1, 2011). “The Fake Arab Spring, 2011”.
  17. ^ Valiente, Alexandra (August 28, 2011). “Khalifa Haftar: Libyan CIA Asset”. Libya: Libya 360 degree Archive. Archivedfrom the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  18. ^ M. Brecher & J. Wilkenfeld, A Study of Crisis, p. 92
  19. ^ a b c d e Russ Baker (April 22, 2014). “Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya?”. Business Insider. Archivedfrom the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  20. ^ Schneider, Berry. “Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2014”.
  21. ^ Abigail Hauslohner and Sharif Abdel Kouddous (May 20, 2014). “Khalifa Hifter, the ex-general leading a revolt in Libya, spent years in exile in Northern Virginia”. Washington Post. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  22. ^ McGreal, Chris (April 3, 2011). “Libyan rebel efforts frustrated by internal disputes over leadership”. The Guardian. Benghazi, Libya. Archived from the original on April 27, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  23. ^ “The colonel feels the squeeze”. The Economist. May 19, 2011. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
  24. ^ Mark Urban (April 15, 2011). “The task of forming a more effective anti-Gaddafi army”. BBC News. Archived from the original on August 21, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  25. ^ “Mystery over Libyan rebel commander’s death”. Al Jazeera. July 29, 2011. Archived from the original on November 17, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  26. ^ “He went from the D.C. suburbs to lead Libya’s revolt”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  27. ^ Baroud, Ramzy (February 20, 2014). “The Libyan Bedlam: General Hifter, the CIA and the Unfinished Coup”. London, UK: Middle East Online. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  28. ^ Priyanka Boghani (May 31, 2014). “The man at the center of the chaos in Libya: Khalifa Haftar”. Global Post. Archived from the original on May 31, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  29. ^ Elumami, Ahmed; Ulf Laessing (May 18, 2014). “Gunmen loyal to ex-general storm Libyan parliament, demand suspension”. Tripoli, Libya. Reuters. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  30. ^ “Libyan army, ex-rebels clash near airport”. The Washington Times. Associated Press. December 11, 2011. Archivedfrom the original on July 15, 2014.
  31. ^ Oakes, John (May 30, 2014). “Karama – Some Notes On Khalifa Hafter’s Operation Dignity”. Libya Stories. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  32. ^ “Libya announces elections: Will it help calm the violence?”. CNN. May 20, 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
  33. ^ Blanchard, Christopher M. “Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy” (PDF).
  34. ^ “Operation Dignity gathers support” (in English and Arabic). Tripoli: Libya Herald. May 21, 2014. Archived from the original on May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  35. ^ “40 Libyan MPs pledge support to renegade general Haftar”. Istanbul, Turkey: Worldbulletin News. May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  36. ^ “Rogue general gets more top allies”. Cape Town, South Africa: News 24. 21 May 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  37. ^ “Libya’s Interior Ministry Back Rebel General Khalifa Hifter”. Nigeria: Nairaland. May 21, 2014. Archived from the original on June 1, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
  38. ^ Esam Mohamed (June 4, 2014). “Suicide bomber targets rogue Libyan general’s home”. Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  39. ^ Kouddous, Sharif (May 24, 2014). “Thousands march for ‘dignity and reforms”. Gulf News. Dubai. Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  40. ^ “Libyan poll sees Islamists losing”
  41. ^ Alaa al-Ameri (May 17, 2014). “Actually, There Are a Bunch of Benghazi Conspiracies”. Archived from the original on May 21, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  42. ^ “Libya crisis: Tensions rise as Tripoli airport seized”. BBC. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  43. ^ “Liberating Libya: General Vows to Crush Terrorists”. June 13, 2014. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  44. ^ Mary Fitzgerald (June 7, 2014). “General Haftar’s anti-Islamist campaign divides Libyans”. BBC News. Archived from the original on August 28, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  45. ^ “Bombs Hit Sole Civilian Airport in Libyan Capital”. New York Times. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  46. ^ “Tripoli’s Maitiga Airport Hit by Libyan Air Force Jet”. International Business Times. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  47. ^ “Court issues warrant for Libya’s Haftar”. Yahoo News. 26 November 2014. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  48. ^ “Libyan parliament confirms Haftar as army chief”. Al Jazeera. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  49. ^ Missy Ryan (17 August 2016). “A former CIA asset has become a U.S. headache in Libya”. Washington Post. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  50. ^ Karim El-Bar (8 July 2016). “REVEALED: Leaked tapes expose Western support for renegade Libyan general”. Middle East Eye. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  51. ^ Karim El-Bar (13 September 2016). “EXCLUSIVE: UAE pilots flying sorties for Haftar in skies over Libya”. Middle East Eye. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  52. ^ “Libyan Strongman Haftar in Russia for Military Talks”.
  53. ^ “Libyan general Khalifa Haftar meets Russian minister to seek help”.
  54. ^ “Russia Urges Libya Leadership Role for UN-Defying Military Chief”

Further reading:

  1. Anderson, Jon Lee (February 23, 2015). “The Unravelling: Libya’s New Strongman”. The New Yorker.
  2. Barak Barfi (August 2014). Khalifa Haftar: Rebuilding Libya from the Top Down (PDF) (Report). Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Research Notes 22. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  3. Libya: The Djava Khalifa Haftar movement, whose founding leader is reportedly a soldier named Khalifah Haftar, who currently in exile in the United States (May 2006), Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, LBY101307.FE, accessed 19 October 2013, citing Haftar’s previous anti-regime activities and subsequent exile.

One comment

  1. Thanks for keeping us posted on MENA Hanne.. You, Eva Bartlett, and Vanessa Beeley must be some of the hardest hitting and brave journalists/intellectuals of our insane times compared to what you are up against. If future history allows, It will prove especially you three but also many more brave women as the perfect example of what female courage and power is all about.

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