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FACTDROP: CIA’s favourite appointed as chief of revamped Libyan army


CIA’s favourite appointed as chief of revamped Libyan army

According to AFP’s news on Tuesday some 150 officers and sub-officers, gathered in the eastern city of Al-Baida and unanimously appointed Major General Khalifa Belgacem Haftar as commander in chief of the national army “due to his seniority, experience and capacity to command troops as well as the efforts he made to support the February 17 revolution”.

Following the nomination which is to be presented for approval to the head of the governing National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the audience applauded and cried of "God is greatest".

In Tripoli the announcement was not welcomed as the influential Islamist commander Abdelhakim Belhaj, a former Guantanamo prisoner, told AFP he had not heard of the news and declined to make any immediate comment.

Khalifa Haftar was part of the Gaddafi's relatively peaceful coup d'etat back in 1969 as member of the "free officers" movement.

After his capture in Chad during the war (1980 - 1987) and the subsequent denial of his existence on the enemy's ground by Gaddafi he turned to be his keen enemy. He accordingly founded the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), backed by the CIA. NFSL was part of the NCLO that had organized the "Day of Rage".

In the coarse he found refugee in the US where he lived in US Virginia with his big family for several years without any apparent income.

In 2011 he returned to Libya to support the uprising. On March, a military spokesperson announced that Haftar had been appointed commander of the military, though the National Transitional Council denied this.

By April, Abdul Fatah Younis held the role of commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Omar al Hareri serving as Younis's Chief of Staff and Haftar took the third most senior position as the commander of ground forces with the rank of lieutenant general.

Haftar's position and role in the rebels' army is rather confusing as in March, the then murdered Younes was rumoured to have nearly come to blows with him, which saw as rival within the rebel camp, and for a time both men claimed to be in command of the rebel forces as they raced towards Tripoli, only to be thrown back towards Benghazi.

Younes assassination as well as Gaddafi’s summary execution are allegedly still under NTC’s ongoing investigations.

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