Northern Va. Man Returns to Libya to Lead Rebel Forces

By Jane Watrel
|  Friday, Apr 1, 2011  |  Updated 9:05 PM EDT
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A man who's lived in Fairfax County, Va., for two decades has returned to Libya to provide military leadership to rebel forces.

Jane Watrel

A man who's lived in Fairfax County, Va., for two decades has returned to Libya to provide military leadership to rebel forces.

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A former general who defected to the United States after a fallout with Libyan leader Moammar Khaddafy has returned to Libya to take on his former boss by leading the rebel forces.

Gen. Khalifa Haftr has lived in the Skyline section of Fairfax County, Va., with his family for the past two decades.

In the 1980s, he commanded Libyan forces when Khaddafy tried to take over neighboring Chad.

"Gen. Haftr is well known," said Ashraf Tulty, an area Libyan-American activist. "He is a man of dignity and decency."

He's also known as a born leader.

"I think Gen. Haftr will bring a huge contribution to the battlefield and to come up with a military strategy how to keep away Khaddafy forces."

Haftr left for Libya several weeks ago to help organize rebel forces.

"This is really a bunch of amateurs who are fighting on the side of rebellion, and that senior military leadership was going to have to emerge as well if they were going to be able to wage anything like an effective, sustained campaign."

"I hope -- with his expertise, with his background -- he's going to make a major contribution in changing the landscape on our underground," Tulty said.

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