Khalifa Haftar

Libyan Field Marshal leader of LNA (born 1943) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar (Arabic: خليفة بلقاسم حفتر, romanized: Ḵalīfa Bilqāsim Ḥaftar; born 7 November 1943) is a Libyan politician, military officer, and the commander of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA).[3] On 2 March 2015, he was appointed commander of the armed forces loyal to the elected legislative body, the Libyan House of Representatives.[4] He also holds US citizenship.[5]

Quick facts: Field MarshalKhalifa Haftar, Supreme Commande...
Khalifa Haftar
خليفة حفتر
Haftar in 2011
Supreme Commander of the Libyan National Army
Assumed office
2 March 2015
PresidentAguila Saleh Issa (acting)
Mohamed al-Menfi
Prime MinisterAbdullah al-Thani
Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh[lower-alpha 1]
Personal details
Khalifa Belqasim Haftar

(1943-11-07) 7 November 1943 (age 79)[1]
Ajdabiya, British-occupied Libya
CitizenshipUnited States - Libya
AwardsRed diploma (high honours) – M.V. Frunze Military Academy
Military service
Branch/serviceLibyan_COA_used_by_Haftar.png Libyan National Army
Years of service1966–1987; 2011–present
RankLibya-Army-OF-10.svg Field Marshal[2]
CommandsLibyan National Army

Haftar was born in the Libyan city of Ajdabiya. He served in the Libyan army under Muammar Gaddafi, and took part in the coup that brought Gaddafi to power in 1969. He took part in the Libyan contingent against Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973.[6] In 1987, he became a prisoner of war during the war against Chad after being lured into a trap and captured, which was then a major embarrassment for Gaddafi and represented a major blow to Gaddafi's ambitions in Chad. While being 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 living in the U.S. in Langley, Virginia, and gained U.S. citizenship.[7][8] In 1993, while living in the United States, he was convicted in absentia of crimes against the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and sentenced to death.

Haftar held a senior position in the forces which overthrew Gaddafi in 2011, during the First 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 the Second Libyan Civil War. In 2017, Ramzi al-Shaeri, Vice-President of the Derna city council and lawyers Ryan Goodman and Alex Whiting accused Haftar of the war crime of ordering the killing of prisoners of war during the recapture of Derna.[9][10] Haftar has been described as "Libya's most potent warlord", having fought "with and against nearly every significant faction" in Libya's conflicts, as having a "reputation for unrivalled military experience"[11][12] and as governing "with an iron fist".[13]

Although Haftar is reportedly an anti-Islamist,[14][15][16][17] his allies include the Salafi Madkhali militias for geopolitical purposes.[18]

In November 2021, Khalifa Haftar announced his candidacy for the presidential election in December 2021 before it was postponed.[19]

Besides his native Arabic, Haftar also speaks English, Italian and Russian, and is conversational in French.[20] He is a dual Libyan-US citizen.[9] He is expected to renounce his US citizenship prior to the next Libyan election.[21]