|Birth name||Khalifa Belqasim Haftar|
|Born||1943 (age 74–75)
||Libyan Ground Forces|
|Commands held||Libyan National Army|
|Battles/wars||Second Libyan Civil War|
Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar (Arabic: خليفة بلقاسم حفتر; born c. 1943) is a Libyan military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army, currently engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War. On 2 March 2015, he was appointed commander of the armed forces loyal to the elected, internationally backed legislative body, the Libyan House of Representatives.
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. In 1987, he became a prisoner of war during the war against Chad after being lulled into a trap and captured, then a major embarrassment for Gaddafi and represented a major blow to Gaddafi's ambitions in 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 Langley, Virginia in the US, gaining U.S. citizenship. 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 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 experience".
His shifting roles and alliances have also earned him a reputation as a “stubborn”, "selfish" and “self-serving” leader, seeking to advance his own agenda through an opportunist engagement of relevant actors and foreign supporters.
Early life and education
Haftar was born in Ajdabiya around 1943, and is a member of the al-Farjani tribe. He studied at al-Huda School in Ajdabiya in 1957 and then moved to Derna to obtained his secondary education between 1961 and 1964. He joined the Benghazi Military University Academy (also known as Benghazi Royal Military College) on 16 September 1964 and graduated from there in 1966. He later went on to receive military training in the Soviet Union and Egypt. He was also stationed with the artillery corps in a mosque.
Early years in the Gaddafi government
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 Gaddafi. He commanded Libyan troops supporting Egyptian troops entering Israeli-occupied Sinai in 1973.
Like other members of the Free Unionist Officers (the junta that toppled the monarchy), Haftar was a secularist and a Nasserist. He was a member of the Revolutionary Command Council which governed Libya in the immediate aftermath of the coup. Haftar later became Gaddafi's military chief of staff. In the late 1980s, Haftar commanded Libyan forces during the Chadian–Libyan conflict, which ended in defeat for Libya.
War with Chad
By 1986, Haftar 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. 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. 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. In any event, Gaddafi's repudiation clearly served to embitter Haftar towards Gaddafi.
In 1986 and 1987 the Government of Chad accused Libya of using toxic gas and napalm against central government forces and against rebel forces. Libya may have used mustard gas delivered in bombs by AN-26 aircraft in final phases of the war against Chad in September 1987. The wind blew the agent back onto the Libyan forces.
Opposition from the United States
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. In late 1987, Haftar and a group of officers aligned themselves with the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), a U.S. supported opposition group. On 21 June 1988, he declared the establishment of the military wing of NFSL, named Libyan National Army under his leadership. When U.S. financial aid to Zaire was not forthcoming, Zaire expelled the remainder to Kenya. 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. In fact, the end of the Cold War diminished Libya’s geo-strategic relevance and the CIA funding program to Haftar’s brigade was suspended.
Haftar moved to suburban Virginia outside Washington, D.C., living in Falls Church until 2007. He then moved to Vienna, Virginia. From there, and mostly through his close contacts within the American intelligence community, he consistently supported several attempts to topple and assassinate Gaddafi.
Early role in the Libyan Civil War
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. 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. Younis was assassinated later that summer.
Haftar did not find a settled position in Libya’s new political structures, and returned to the U.S. for a while.
In February 2014, Haftar appeared in a televised announcement to reveal that the General National Congress (GNC), the elected parliament which had recently unilaterally extended its mandate, had been dissolved. Haftar called for a caretaker government to oversee new elections, and urged Libyans to revolt against the GNC, the mandate of which was still in force at the time. Ultimately, his appeal did not lead to a general uprising due to the substantial lack of resources and local support for his initiative. 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".
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. 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. At the time of the Benghazi assault Haftar, who had already been the target of assassination attempts, reportedly explained to a friend that he was fully aware of the personal safety risks involved in his actions. 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.
Later in May, after having been ousted from office by the GNC, Ali Zeidan then endorsed Operation Dignity, along with 40 members of parliament, and the heads of the navy, the air-force, and much of the army. On 4 June 2014, a suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle at Haftar's residence at Ghut al-Sultan near Abayar, east of Benghazi, killing 4 people and injuring at least 3 others. Haftar was not injured in the attack.
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, and in the June 25 elections, the secularists gained a clear mandate over and against the Islamist agenda. Meanwhile, despite its initial denouncement of Operation Dignity in May, 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".
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. However, a number of reporters have recently pointed out that, in spite of his formal anti-Islamism mission, Haftar has continuously cooperated with Salafi organizations based in eastern Libya. His ties to these groups have produced a mutually beneficial partnership in the administration of the areas controlled by Haftar’s forces as well as in the military fight against their Islamist counterpart, especially against the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar al-Sharia. Some of the Salafi groups allied with Haftar were part of the militias based in Barqa that have fought under his leadership and eventually spread in Benghazi, Jabal al-Akhdar, and Ajdabiya. As Ahmed Salah Ali emphasized in his June 2017 report published by the Atlantic Council, Haftar needs the Salafi support due to his lack of troops and resources on the ground while his Salafi allies have greatly benefited from their control over religious discourse and their growing military strength in eastern Libya, which have led to an increase in their appeal to unemployed youth.
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. In response to the attack on Mitiga, a court in Tripoli issued an arrest warrant for Khalifa Haftar.
After three years of military campaigns, in early July 2017 Haftar announced in a televised speech that his forces had finally taken full control of Benghazi, the second largest Libyan city. Haftar’s military victory has been regarded by many as the expression of his growing military and political ambitions, and especially of his intention to secure military control over critical areas in eastern Libya. Some of his critics claimed that he deliberately dragged his militias through years of fighting against diverse groups which he framed as Islamist enemies in order to consolidate a future political role through his military leadership.
Similarly, while some have celebrated Haftar’s role in unifying and successfully leading the fight against the Islamic State, several sources have claimed that Haftar’s role in the fighting of ISIS has been largely overstated or motivated by self-serving calculus. For instance, as of early 2016 Haftar’s forces were reported to have bombed an Islamist group known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council who was behind the successful ouster of ISIS from Derna.
Furthermore, experts have questioned whether the LNA could establish its control over the entire national territory, or whether Haftar would allow any military or elected political leader other than himself to guide a national army or government should that opportunity materialize in the future through a new general election.
In July 2017 a video posted online featured the execution of 20 suspected ISIS fighters by Haftar’s forces – an episode that led the United Nations to call for the LNA to investigate summary executions of prisoners. In general, in many areas under his control several sources have denounced the abuses perpetrated by his militias and the several repressive actions undertaken to limit civil liberties.
As of August 2016, Haftar had refused to support the new United Nations Security Council endorsed Government of National Accord, which led the United States and allies to believe that he was jeopardizing the stability of Libya. Libya specialist and RUSI Senior Research Fellow Alison Pargeter pointed out that Haftar may plausibly be regarded as the “biggest single obstacle to peace in Libya” in that he allegedly fears that cooperating with the GNA may lead to the end of his influence in eastern Libya.
The United Arab Emirates and Egypt continue to support Haftar. 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.
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. 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.
Russia has since then treated wounded LNA soldiers, printed Libyan dinars for the Tobruk-based government, and signed exclusive agreements that will allow the Russian government to establish two additional military bases in eastern Libya. Global risk experts Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner recently observed that “Moscow appears to view Haftar – not the weak UN/Western-backed government – as the only realistic bulwark against extremism in post-Gaddafi Libya.”
In November 5, 2017, a former commander in the ranks of Operation Dignity and its former spokesperson, Mohammed Hijazi, described Khalifa Haftar as being “the main cause of the crises that is crippling the country.” Having left Operation Dignity in January 2016 citing corrupt leadership, Hijazi has since spoken our against Haftar, calling him a “tyrant” and describing “his killings, kidnappings, destruction, and forced disappearances.” As a former commander and spokesman for the Operation, Mohammed Hijazi claims to have knowledge that Haftar is deliberately delaying the war, specifically in Benghazi. Hijazi concluded the recent interview by stating that his life is in great danger “especially as he is in possession of formal documents that could damage Dignity Operation forces and their leaders.”
Haftar has at least five sons and a daughter. Captain Saddam Haftar and Captain Khalid Haftar are officers in the Libyan National Army, while Al-Sadiq Haftar is also in Libya. Two other sons, Uqba Haftar, who works in real estate, and Al-Muntasir Haftar as well as his daughter Asma Haftar live in Virginia in the United States.
On 12 April 2018, it was reported that Haftar was in a coma after suffering a stroke and was hospitalized under intensive care in Paris. A spokesman for the LNA initially denied the reports. Local media later reported he was dead, however sources close to him insisted he was alive. On 14 April 2018, rumors spread that Haftar had died of a brain tumor after a two-days coma, however it was dismissed as his death was not confirmed. On 25 April, it was confirmed that Haftar is alive and was transported to Benghazi following treatment in Paris.
- "Tobruk's HoR promotes Khalifa Haftar to a Marshal following capture of oil ports". Libyan Express. September 15, 2016.
- Al-Warfalli, Ayman (March 2, 2015). "Libya's Haftar appointed army chief for recognized government". Reuters.
- Borzou Daragahi (May 23, 2014). "Khalifa Haftar, a hard-headed Libyan warrior". Financial Times. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- 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.
- Anderson, Jon Lee (February 23, 2015). "The Unravelling: Libya's New Strongman". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
- "Fighting Islamic State in Libya". The Economist. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "Profile: Libya's military strongman Khalifa Haftar". BBC News. 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- "After conquering Benghazi, what will Libya's new strongman do next?". The Economist. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- John Pearson (5 March 2015). "Newsmaker: Khalifa Haftar". The National. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Hamid, Hoda (14 April 2011). "The Real Battle Is Yet To Come". Aljazeera/ Information Clearing House. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
- John Ruedy (1996). Islamism and Secularism in North Africa. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 195. ISBN 0-312-16087-9.
- "خليفة حفتر" (in Arabic). Al Jazeera Encyclopedia. 15 October 2014.
- "خليفة بلقاسم حفتر" (in Arabic). Al-Awsat News. 13 March 2015.
- 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.
- "خليفة حفتر" (in Arabic). Sholf. 20 January 2015.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Baker, Russ (April 1, 2011). "The Fake Arab Spring, 2011".
- Valiente, Alexandra (August 28, 2011). "Khalifa Haftar: Libyan CIA Asset". Libya: Libya 360 degree Archive. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
- M. Brecher & J. Wilkenfeld, A Study of Crisis, p. 92
- Russ Baker (April 22, 2014). "Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA's Man In Libya?". Business Insider. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Schneider, Berry. "Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2014".
- Stephen, Chris; Black, Ian; Ackerman, Spencer (2014-05-22). "Khalifa Haftar: renegade general causing upheaval in Libya". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- 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.
- 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.
- "The colonel feels the squeeze". The Economist. May 19, 2011. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2011.
- 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.
- "Mystery over Libyan rebel commander's death". Al Jazeera. July 29, 2011. Archived from the original on November 17, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Libyan army, ex-rebels clash near airport". The Washington Times. Associated Press. December 11, 2011. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014.
- Oakes, John (May 30, 2014). "Karama – Some Notes On Khalifa Hafter's Operation Dignity". Libya Stories. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- "Libya announces elections: Will it help calm the violence?". CNN. May 20, 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
- "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.
- "40 Libyan MPs pledge support to renegade general Haftar". Istanbul, Turkey: Worldbulletin News. May 25, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Libyan poll sees Islamists losing"
- 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.
- "Libya crisis: Tensions rise as Tripoli airport seized". BBC. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- "Liberating Libya: General Vows to Crush Terrorists". June 13, 2014. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
- 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.
- Ali, Ahmed Salah. "Haftar and Salafism: A Dangerous Game". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- "Bombs Hit Sole Civilian Airport in Libyan Capital". New York Times. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Tripoli's Maitiga Airport Hit by Libyan Air Force Jet". International Business Times. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Court issues warrant for Libya's Haftar". Yahoo News. 26 November 2014. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- "Libyan parliament confirms Haftar as army chief". Al Jazeera. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- "Reports about an Israeli raid on ISIS in Sirte". Al-Jarida (in Arabic). August 27, 2015.
- "Libya's Haftar 'provided with Israeli military aid following UAE-mediated meetings with Mossad agents'". Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. July 24, 2017.
- "Haftar: Israeli secret aid to Libya's strongman reveals a new friend in Africa". Middle East Eye. August 4, 2017.
- "Libya's eastern commander declares victory in battle for Benghazi". Reuters. 2017-07-05. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- "Libya strongman declares Benghazi victory". BBC News. 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- "Why is Khalifa Haftar the "biggest single obstacle to peace in Libya"?". Newsweek. 2016-07-22. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- "ISIL fighters executed by Haftar's forces in Libya". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- "Forces loyal to Libya's Haftar 'burn 6,000 books'". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- Missy Ryan (17 August 2016). "A former CIA asset has become a U.S. headache in Libya". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- Karim El-Bar (8 July 2016). "REVEALED: Leaked tapes expose Western support for renegade Libyan general". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- Karim El-Bar (13 September 2016). "EXCLUSIVE: UAE pilots flying sorties for Haftar in skies over Libya". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- "Libyan Strongman Haftar in Russia for Military Talks".
- "Libyan general Khalifa Haftar meets Russian minister to seek help".
- "Russia Urges Libya Leadership Role for UN-Defying Military Chief".
- Editor, Patrick Wintour Diplomatic (2017-02-09). "EU reaches out to Russia to broker deal with Libyan general Haftar". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- Bibbo, Barbara. "What is Russia's endgame in Libya?". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2017-11-01.
- "Former Dignity Operation commander attacks Khalifa Haftar and threatens to expose his crimes | The Libya Observer". www.libyaobserver.ly. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- "Dignity Operation spokesperson defects, brands Khalifa Haftar a tyrant | The Libya Observer". www.libyaobserver.ly. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- "Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar 'in a coma in Paris hospital'". Telegraph. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- "Libyan strongman Haftar in coma after suffering stroke, reports say". Middle East Eye. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- "Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar 'in a coma in Paris hospital". The Telegraph. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Libya's most powerful military leader might be dead and that could impact oil markets". CNBC. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- "Khalifa Haftar dead after stroke per diplomatic sources. • r/arabs". reddit. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
- "East Libya commander Haftar returning after treatment in Paris". Reuters. 25 April 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- "Libyan Military Chief Haftar Returns to Benghazi". Sputnik News. 25 April 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- Anderson, Jon Lee (February 23, 2015). "The Unravelling: Libya's New Strongman". The New Yorker.
- 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.
- 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