KHALIFA HAFTAR: FROM GADHAFI'S BEST FRIEND...TO WORST ENEMY!
(CNN) -- His story reads like a political thriller. Once a confidant of Moammar Gadhafi and then his sworn enemy, he led a band of Libyan exiles trying to overthrow the Libyan regime before being spirited in secrecy to the United States when things went bad. His name is Khalifa Haftar.
He has lived in Virginia for 20 years but now he's back in Libya, trying to knock the rebel force into some kind of shape.
CNN has spoken to several people who know Haftar well, and they agree on one thing: His role will be crucial if the opposition is to mount a serious military challenge to Gadhafi.
For Haftar it's personal. He has never forgiven Gadhafi for letting him rot as a prisoner of war in neighboring Chad after a disastrous military campaign in the 1980s.
By all accounts, Haftar is a soldier's soldier -- respected by junior officers, with a good command of battlefield doctrine. Some detect his hand in the better defensive organization of rebel positions around Ajdabiya, a town critical for the defense of Benghazi but also giving access to the south.
The former Libyan ambassador in Washington, Ali Aujali, describes Haftar as "a very professional military man." READ MORE