Is Khalifa Haftar American? The rumor about his dual nationality resurfaced at the time of his trial in the United States. If this were proven, it could mean the end of his political career in Libya.
On May 9, Khalifa Haftar is due to appear in US court. The Libyan marshal is being prosecuted for war crimes. Beyond the trial, it is a piece of paper that agitates the debates: according to Africa Intelligence, the plaintiffs' lawyers are indeed trying to find out whether the soldier has American nationality. A "detail" that would be important for Haftar's political career.
Indeed, when the Libyan electoral law was passed, it stipulated that candidates for the supreme office must, among other things, have a diploma and a clean criminal record. But above all, they should not have dual nationality, nor even have a spouse of foreign nationality.
Suffice to say that if Haftar has an American passport, he will be automatically disqualified from the race for the presidential election, of which no date has, for the moment, been advanced. But how did the plaintiffs' lawyers come up with the idea of digging into this track?
Rumors about the Marshal's American nationality have been circulating for a long time. It must be said that Haftar was already presented, in 2014, as a character "made in the USA", whose objective was to fight the Islamists for the country of Uncle Sam. In 1987, then captured in Chad, Haftar was released by Gaddafi. After three years in a jail, he was released by… Washington.
An ally of Washington against Gaddafi
Khalifa Haftar then obtains political asylum in Virginia and lines up in opposition to the Guide of the Libyan revolution – he would have considered a coup d'etat in October 1993, which could never be done. Objective: to help the White House overthrow Gaddafi. When he returned to Benghazi in 2011, Haftar then found a leading role. But very quickly, he was accused by certain rebels of belonging to the CIA. Without it being proven. But Haftar, presenting himself as a bulwark against terrorism, is a natural ally of Washington.
The rumor concerning his dual nationality has also been talked about lately. In particular in 2021. Last September, the Libyan Express newspaper assures that the soldier "has dual American-Libyan nationality" and that he even intends "to go to the United States with his family" for an official visit.
He was then to meet elected officials there. But Emadeddin Muntasser, a businessman who presents himself as a "political leader" and "human rights activist" had called on members of the House of Representatives and the Senate not to meet Haftar if he entered the United States as an American.
A year earlier, several American officials also assured that Haftar was a holder of American nationality, which he had obtained in the 1970s.
But difficult to know today if he really holds a blue passport. The track dug by the lawyers could therefore have important consequences, if it succeeds. Because Haftar would be de facto excluded from the next presidential election.