Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar: A Timeline of ‘Libya’s Strongman’

Published August 23rd, 2017 - 08:47 GMT

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is a controversial figure. While some see him as a neccessary strongman to tackle Libya's Islamist groups, other believe he is on track to become a military dictator in the fragile, war-torn state.

Here is a timeline of the key moments in his life.

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Haftar and Gadaffi:

Having played a key role in the coup which brought Gadaffi to power in 1969, Khalifa Haftar served in the Libyan military under the dictator, taking part in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Chadian-Libyan conflict of 1978-1987

(Photo: A young Haftar shown with Gadaffi)

Haftar and Gadaffi: Having played a key role in the coup which brought Gadaffi to power in 1969, Khalifa Haftar served in the Libyan military under the dictator, taking part in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Chadian-Libyan conflict of 1978-1987 (Photo: A young Haftar shown with Gadaffi)

Prisoner of War:

Haftar was taken prisoner during the war with Chad and subsequently disavowed by Gadaffi. While there is no consensus on the matter, some analysts believe that Gadaffi was fearful of Haftar returning from Chad and challenging his rule over Libya. 

(Photo: A picture purporting to show Haftar as a prisoner of war in Chad)

Prisoner of War: Haftar was taken prisoner during the war with Chad and subsequently disavowed by Gadaffi. While there is no consensus on the matter, some analysts believe that Gadaffi was fearful of Haftar returning from Chad and challenging his rule over Libya. (Photo: A picture purporting to show Haftar as a prisoner of war in Chad)

The USA and the CIA:

Upon leaving Chad, Haftar aligned himself with the anti-Gadaffi National Front for the Salvation of Libya. He moved to Virginia with help from the US government, and reportedly worked with the CIA in an effort to remove the Libyan dictator from power.

(Photo: AFP)

The USA and the CIA: Upon leaving Chad, Haftar aligned himself with the anti-Gadaffi National Front for the Salvation of Libya. He moved to Virginia with help from the US government, and reportedly worked with the CIA in an effort to remove the Libyan dictator from power. (Photo: AFP)

The Revolution:

In 2011, revolution broke out in Libya against Gadaffi, and Haftar returned to take part. After the fall of the regime, Haftar failed to obtain any high-up political position in the transition government. Reports suggest that there were fears he was attempting to take power and was thus sidelined. 

(Photo: AFP)

The Revolution: In 2011, revolution broke out in Libya against Gadaffi, and Haftar returned to take part. After the fall of the regime, Haftar failed to obtain any high-up political position in the transition government. Reports suggest that there were fears he was attempting to take power and was thus sidelined. (Photo: AFP)

The Military Strongman:

After another brief spell in the US, Haftar returned to Libya and announced that the General National Congress, the country’s elected authority, had been dissolved. Those who opposed him described this as a coup attempt, however he denied the allegation.

(Photo: A woman waves a picture of Haftar. AFP)

The Military Strongman: After another brief spell in the US, Haftar returned to Libya and announced that the General National Congress, the country’s elected authority, had been dissolved. Those who opposed him described this as a coup attempt, however he denied the allegation. (Photo: A woman waves a picture of Haftar. AFP)

Consolidating Power:

Haftar began consolidating his power and established the new Libyan National Army, loyal to the Tobruk-based government. Opposing militias grouped together to become a collective known  as Libya Dawn, which has been described as the army of the Tripoli-based government.

(Photo: LNA forces. AFP)

Consolidating Power: Haftar began consolidating his power and established the new Libyan National Army, loyal to the Tobruk-based government. Opposing militias grouped together to become a collective known as Libya Dawn, which has been described as the army of the Tripoli-based government. (Photo: LNA forces. AFP)

The Fight for Benghazi:

Haftar’s army began an assault on the Islamist-held city of Benghazi in 2014. The operation saw the Libyan National Army fighting jihadist groups such as IS and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. The city was ‘liberated’ by Haftar’s forces by July 2017.

(Photo: A destroyed building in Benghazi)

The Fight for Benghazi: Haftar’s army began an assault on the Islamist-held city of Benghazi in 2014. The operation saw the Libyan National Army fighting jihadist groups such as IS and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. The city was ‘liberated’ by Haftar’s forces by July 2017. (Photo: A destroyed building in Benghazi)

International Support:

Haftar’s actions have gained him support internationally, including from Russia and Egypt. His anti-Muslim Brotherhood position has garnered him support from the Sisi regime and the UAE, while the US, UK and France have aided him in his effort to eradicate hardline Islamist groups.

(Photo: Haftar on a visit to Russia)

International Support: Haftar’s actions have gained him support internationally, including from Russia and Egypt. His anti-Muslim Brotherhood position has garnered him support from the Sisi regime and the UAE, while the US, UK and France have aided him in his effort to eradicate hardline Islamist groups. (Photo: Haftar on a visit to Russia)

International Opposition:

Qatar, with its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, is stanchly anti-Haftar. Al Jazeera, Qatar’s main media outlet, often implies that the “renegade general” supports IS by refusing to attack the extremist group’s positions and letting them flee areas under his control.

(Photo: AFP)

International Opposition: Qatar, with its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, is stanchly anti-Haftar. Al Jazeera, Qatar’s main media outlet, often implies that the “renegade general” supports IS by refusing to attack the extremist group’s positions and letting them flee areas under his control. (Photo: AFP)

The Future:

The UN is increasingly concerned that Haftar might become a hindrance to the formation of a unified Libyan government. With the support of Russia and other powerful nations, it is unclear whether Haftar will capitulate and pledge his support for a new government which excludes him from any position of real power. 

(Photo: AFP)

The Future: The UN is increasingly concerned that Haftar might become a hindrance to the formation of a unified Libyan government. With the support of Russia and other powerful nations, it is unclear whether Haftar will capitulate and pledge his support for a new government which excludes him from any position of real power. (Photo: AFP)

Haftar and Gadaffi:

Having played a key role in the coup which brought Gadaffi to power in 1969, Khalifa Haftar served in the Libyan military under the dictator, taking part in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Chadian-Libyan conflict of 1978-1987

(Photo: A young Haftar shown with Gadaffi)
Prisoner of War:

Haftar was taken prisoner during the war with Chad and subsequently disavowed by Gadaffi. While there is no consensus on the matter, some analysts believe that Gadaffi was fearful of Haftar returning from Chad and challenging his rule over Libya. 

(Photo: A picture purporting to show Haftar as a prisoner of war in Chad)
The USA and the CIA:

Upon leaving Chad, Haftar aligned himself with the anti-Gadaffi National Front for the Salvation of Libya. He moved to Virginia with help from the US government, and reportedly worked with the CIA in an effort to remove the Libyan dictator from power.

(Photo: AFP)
The Revolution:

In 2011, revolution broke out in Libya against Gadaffi, and Haftar returned to take part. After the fall of the regime, Haftar failed to obtain any high-up political position in the transition government. Reports suggest that there were fears he was attempting to take power and was thus sidelined. 

(Photo: AFP)
The Military Strongman:

After another brief spell in the US, Haftar returned to Libya and announced that the General National Congress, the country’s elected authority, had been dissolved. Those who opposed him described this as a coup attempt, however he denied the allegation.

(Photo: A woman waves a picture of Haftar. AFP)
Consolidating Power:

Haftar began consolidating his power and established the new Libyan National Army, loyal to the Tobruk-based government. Opposing militias grouped together to become a collective known  as Libya Dawn, which has been described as the army of the Tripoli-based government.

(Photo: LNA forces. AFP)
The Fight for Benghazi:

Haftar’s army began an assault on the Islamist-held city of Benghazi in 2014. The operation saw the Libyan National Army fighting jihadist groups such as IS and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. The city was ‘liberated’ by Haftar’s forces by July 2017.

(Photo: A destroyed building in Benghazi)
International Support:

Haftar’s actions have gained him support internationally, including from Russia and Egypt. His anti-Muslim Brotherhood position has garnered him support from the Sisi regime and the UAE, while the US, UK and France have aided him in his effort to eradicate hardline Islamist groups.

(Photo: Haftar on a visit to Russia)
International Opposition:

Qatar, with its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, is stanchly anti-Haftar. Al Jazeera, Qatar’s main media outlet, often implies that the “renegade general” supports IS by refusing to attack the extremist group’s positions and letting them flee areas under his control.

(Photo: AFP)
The Future:

The UN is increasingly concerned that Haftar might become a hindrance to the formation of a unified Libyan government. With the support of Russia and other powerful nations, it is unclear whether Haftar will capitulate and pledge his support for a new government which excludes him from any position of real power. 

(Photo: AFP)
Haftar and Gadaffi:

Having played a key role in the coup which brought Gadaffi to power in 1969, Khalifa Haftar served in the Libyan military under the dictator, taking part in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Chadian-Libyan conflict of 1978-1987

(Photo: A young Haftar shown with Gadaffi)
Haftar and Gadaffi: Having played a key role in the coup which brought Gadaffi to power in 1969, Khalifa Haftar served in the Libyan military under the dictator, taking part in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Chadian-Libyan conflict of 1978-1987 (Photo: A young Haftar shown with Gadaffi)
Prisoner of War:

Haftar was taken prisoner during the war with Chad and subsequently disavowed by Gadaffi. While there is no consensus on the matter, some analysts believe that Gadaffi was fearful of Haftar returning from Chad and challenging his rule over Libya. 

(Photo: A picture purporting to show Haftar as a prisoner of war in Chad)
Prisoner of War: Haftar was taken prisoner during the war with Chad and subsequently disavowed by Gadaffi. While there is no consensus on the matter, some analysts believe that Gadaffi was fearful of Haftar returning from Chad and challenging his rule over Libya. (Photo: A picture purporting to show Haftar as a prisoner of war in Chad)
The USA and the CIA:

Upon leaving Chad, Haftar aligned himself with the anti-Gadaffi National Front for the Salvation of Libya. He moved to Virginia with help from the US government, and reportedly worked with the CIA in an effort to remove the Libyan dictator from power.

(Photo: AFP)
The USA and the CIA: Upon leaving Chad, Haftar aligned himself with the anti-Gadaffi National Front for the Salvation of Libya. He moved to Virginia with help from the US government, and reportedly worked with the CIA in an effort to remove the Libyan dictator from power. (Photo: AFP)
The Revolution:

In 2011, revolution broke out in Libya against Gadaffi, and Haftar returned to take part. After the fall of the regime, Haftar failed to obtain any high-up political position in the transition government. Reports suggest that there were fears he was attempting to take power and was thus sidelined. 

(Photo: AFP)
The Revolution: In 2011, revolution broke out in Libya against Gadaffi, and Haftar returned to take part. After the fall of the regime, Haftar failed to obtain any high-up political position in the transition government. Reports suggest that there were fears he was attempting to take power and was thus sidelined. (Photo: AFP)
The Military Strongman:

After another brief spell in the US, Haftar returned to Libya and announced that the General National Congress, the country’s elected authority, had been dissolved. Those who opposed him described this as a coup attempt, however he denied the allegation.

(Photo: A woman waves a picture of Haftar. AFP)
The Military Strongman: After another brief spell in the US, Haftar returned to Libya and announced that the General National Congress, the country’s elected authority, had been dissolved. Those who opposed him described this as a coup attempt, however he denied the allegation. (Photo: A woman waves a picture of Haftar. AFP)
Consolidating Power:

Haftar began consolidating his power and established the new Libyan National Army, loyal to the Tobruk-based government. Opposing militias grouped together to become a collective known  as Libya Dawn, which has been described as the army of the Tripoli-based government.

(Photo: LNA forces. AFP)
Consolidating Power: Haftar began consolidating his power and established the new Libyan National Army, loyal to the Tobruk-based government. Opposing militias grouped together to become a collective known as Libya Dawn, which has been described as the army of the Tripoli-based government. (Photo: LNA forces. AFP)
The Fight for Benghazi:

Haftar’s army began an assault on the Islamist-held city of Benghazi in 2014. The operation saw the Libyan National Army fighting jihadist groups such as IS and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. The city was ‘liberated’ by Haftar’s forces by July 2017.

(Photo: A destroyed building in Benghazi)
The Fight for Benghazi: Haftar’s army began an assault on the Islamist-held city of Benghazi in 2014. The operation saw the Libyan National Army fighting jihadist groups such as IS and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. The city was ‘liberated’ by Haftar’s forces by July 2017. (Photo: A destroyed building in Benghazi)
International Support:

Haftar’s actions have gained him support internationally, including from Russia and Egypt. His anti-Muslim Brotherhood position has garnered him support from the Sisi regime and the UAE, while the US, UK and France have aided him in his effort to eradicate hardline Islamist groups.

(Photo: Haftar on a visit to Russia)
International Support: Haftar’s actions have gained him support internationally, including from Russia and Egypt. His anti-Muslim Brotherhood position has garnered him support from the Sisi regime and the UAE, while the US, UK and France have aided him in his effort to eradicate hardline Islamist groups. (Photo: Haftar on a visit to Russia)
International Opposition:

Qatar, with its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, is stanchly anti-Haftar. Al Jazeera, Qatar’s main media outlet, often implies that the “renegade general” supports IS by refusing to attack the extremist group’s positions and letting them flee areas under his control.

(Photo: AFP)
International Opposition: Qatar, with its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, is stanchly anti-Haftar. Al Jazeera, Qatar’s main media outlet, often implies that the “renegade general” supports IS by refusing to attack the extremist group’s positions and letting them flee areas under his control. (Photo: AFP)
The Future:

The UN is increasingly concerned that Haftar might become a hindrance to the formation of a unified Libyan government. With the support of Russia and other powerful nations, it is unclear whether Haftar will capitulate and pledge his support for a new government which excludes him from any position of real power. 

(Photo: AFP)
The Future: The UN is increasingly concerned that Haftar might become a hindrance to the formation of a unified Libyan government. With the support of Russia and other powerful nations, it is unclear whether Haftar will capitulate and pledge his support for a new government which excludes him from any position of real power. (Photo: AFP)