Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Hafed Al-Ghwell writes for Al Jazeera on the recent appointment of General Khalifa Haftar as Commander in Chief of the Libyan armed forces:

On Monday, Libya’s House of Representatives, whose legitimacy has been questioned since the day it was elected by a mere 15 percent of the country’s eligible voters, decided to add more gasoline to the already raging fire that is the four-year civil war in the country. Despite the fact that it is missing about half of its members, the House appointed the controversial and divisive General Khalifa Haftar as Commander in Chief of what is left of the Libyan armed forces.

General Haftar, as most know by now, is a former member of Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle, and was captured during Gaddafi’s war in Chad in the 1980s. Haftar then accepted a deal to defect to the United States, which was at that time planning to train a small guerrilla force to help topple Gaddafi. Those plans went nowhere, and although the CIA abandoned its alliance with Haftar in the late 1980s, they allowed him to remain in the US as an American citizen. In 2011, during the uprising that ended with the fall of Gaddafi, Haftar went back to Libya, and got entangled in the rebel uprising in Benghazi, engaging in as many conflicts with other rebel commanders and the National Transitional Council as with Gaddafi forces. He was openly in conflict with others who sided with the uprising, like Abdul Fatah Younis, who was assassinated in the summer of 2011.

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Related Experts: Hafed Al-Ghwell