Haftar, Khalifa

Haftar, Khalifa, 1943–, Libyan military officer. He participated in the 1969 coup that brought Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi to power and then held a variety of posts in the military. In the 1980s he was military commander in Tobruk and also served in Chad, where he was captured (1987) and disowned by Qaddafi, who had denied he had forces there. In the late 1980s Haftar led a Libyan rebel group based in Chad, but improved Chad-Libya relations forced him to move (1990) to the United States. He returned to Libya in 2011 to join the uprising that ousted Qaddafi, but afterward was a marginal figure until 2014 when he organized the Libyan National Army in E Libya to fight Islamists and the Tripoli-based government. Subsequently aligned with and then the dominant figure of the Tobruk-based government elected in 2014, Haftar has refused to cooperate with the UN-backed government established under the accord of 2015 and mounted a military campaign against it. His surname is also spelled Hifter and Heftar.

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