The journey of Khalifa Haftar is custom-made for a Netflix mini-series

The screenplay has written itself; all we are waiting for now is the ending.

LIBYAN COMMANDER Khalifa Haftar meets Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (not pictured) at the parliament in Athens. (photo credit: REUTERS)
LIBYAN COMMANDER Khalifa Haftar meets Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (not pictured) at the parliament in Athens.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There is a civil war playing out in Libya. At its center is a man whose story deserves more attention. Khalifa Haftar is the commander of the Libyan National Army, a band of mercenaries raging war against the UN-recognized government of Libya.
To grasp the significance of this, you must understand who Haftar is. Khalifa Haftar was once a member of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. As a young soldier, he aided in the coup that put Gaddafi in power. He then went on to serve in top positions within Gaddafi’s military, leading troops in Libya’s war against Chad.
 The Chadian-Libyan war forever changed Haftar. On one mission, his unit fell into a trap and was captured by Chadian forces. Gaddafi, utterly embarrassed by the capture of Haftar, who was his chief officer in Chad, disavowed him and his men. Knowing they were left to die, the unit began to plan the overthrow of Gaddafi.
Upon release from prison, Haftar joined the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a group supported by the US, with the goal of regime change.
The men hid out in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kenya before moving to the United States under a CIA agreement in the early ‘90s. By 1993, Haftar had become a US citizen. He then returned to Libya and played a role in a failed coup in eastern Libya before returning to the US
 Once in the US, Haftar made a life for himself outside of Langley, Virginia. He spent the better part of two decades near the CIA, aiding in efforts to overthrow Gaddafi from afar.
In 2011, Haftar went back to Libya in another attempt at a Libyan revolution. This time, Gaddafi was killed. Concerned with his standing in the now leaderless Libya, he once again returned to the US.
The next year set the stage for Haftar to gain a foothold in Libya. The death of Gaddafi led to an outbreak of terrorism and Islamic militias throughout the state. Groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda were able to operate and grow without resistance.
The build-up of these terrorist organizations came front and center when al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Sharia launched the now-famous attack on a US compound in Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack. In the years that followed, terrorist groups seized large swaths of territory, quickly holding Libya hostage through fear and bloodshed. 
In 2014, Haftar would make his most significant push yet for power. Taking advantage of the chaos and confusion, he called for the dissolving of the government, claiming it had overstayed its mandate. A new movement called Operation Dignity was founded, calling for new elections and an overthrow of the national congress.
THE LIBYAN authorities called this a coup attempt, and did their best to ignore the changing political climate. Haftar and allies went around Libya, holding town halls to spread their message of electing a government by popular mandate. The movement picked up steam, and Haftar recruited an army that he then used to go after Islamic groups throughout Libya. His goal was to show Libyans that he could kick out the Islamic state and unify the country.
 By 2015, Haftar was the commander of the Libyan National Army, a group recognized by Libya’s national parliament. These forces later split into the Libyan Army, controlled by the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, and the LNA run by Haftar. After three years of military efforts, the LNA took control of Benghazi, one of the largest cities in Libya.
Currently, the LNA has vocal support from neighboring Egypt, along with what analysts believe to be private support from France, Russia, the United Kingdom, United States and the United Arab Emirates.
There is a UN arms embargo in place for Libya, but that does not seem to be stopping the flow of weapons into the civil war. Turkey voted last month to support the internationally recognized Government of National Accord based out of Tripoli.
 Make no mistake about what Haftar’s goal is in Libya. He wants to establish a new dictatorship with him as the king of kings, as it the ruler’s position is known in Libya. UN-hosted peace talks have been unsuccessful as Haftar appears to have no interest in sharing the nation. It is believed that the LNA controls anywhere from one to two-thirds of Libya with its army of mercenaries.
With Turkey now fully involved in the conflict, and numerous failed attempts to take the capital of Tripoli, the LNA’s path to victory seems bleaker by the day.
In what can only be seen as an act of pure desperation, Haftar declared himself ruler of Libya by popular mandate, and asked for a Ramadan ceasefire. These announcements were rejected by the GNA, and took LNA allies by surprise.
 While no one knows for sure how this conflict will play out, it should be more significant news that a US citizen is leading a civil war with an army of mercenaries. Do not be surprised if a few years from now, Khalifa Haftar is a household name after a Netflix mini-series lays out his seemingly impossible journey.
That journey went from the revolution that put Gaddafi in power, to Haftar’s military career working with the CIA while in exile to overthrow the very dictator he helped put in place, ending with him leading an effort to become the very thing he sought to remove. The screenplay has written itself; all we are waiting for now is the ending.
The writer is the chairman of the Arizona Federation of College Republicans.