Libyan rebel groups’ Al-Qaeda links

ACCORDING to reports, the Libyan leader who is heading the rebel government titled the Emirate of Barq at Derna, has Al-Qaeda links. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Abdel-Hakim al Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”. Mr. al-Hasidi admitted that he himself had earlier fought against ‘the foreign invasion’ in Afghanistan alongside Osama bin Laden, before being captured in 2002 in Peshawar, in Pakistan. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008. US and British government sources said Mr. al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.The LIFG with which Hasidi is associated is not itself an Al Qaeda group but has links to Al Qaeda. Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, has claimed that Al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone. The group had acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.

So there are rebels within the rebel groups who are arming themselves to pursue their own battle. Meanwhile Operation Odyssey is making it possible for them to enter Gaddafi held cities! Earlier this month, Al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for “Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya” had “shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese”. It is not clear how large a group the radicals are. No doubt if there are any boots placed on the ground to enforce the UN resolution they can expect to be killed by these rebels. When Gaddafi talked about Al Qaeda linked groups being involved in the rebellion he was not wrong. No doubt this group will be mindful of the UN resolution and the duty of responsibility to protect civilians. Mr. al-Hasidi, in his interview insisted that his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of Al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

Even though the LIFG is not part of the Al-Qaeda organization, the United States military’s West Point academy, in a detailed report titled: “Al-Qaida’s Foreign Fighter in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records,” has said the two share an “increasingly co-operative relationship Two WikiLeaks documents, which are part of the West Point study, also point towards the same deduction. The first secret cable to the State Department from the US embassy in Tripoli in 2008, entitled “Extremism in Eastern Libya” discloses that this area is not only rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment but many eastern Libyans take pride in their participation in the insurgency in Iraq. The second set of documents, titled the “Sinjar Records”, comprise captured Al-Qaeda documents that fell into American hands in 2007 from the town of Sinjar. These documents were closely scrutinized and analyzed by the Combating Terrorism Centre at the US Military Academy at West Point and conclude that Libya contributed “far more” foreign fighters than any other country. The Sinjar Records” showed that LIFG members made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia. It is becoming a cause for concern that the US, Europe and NATO are facilitating the rebels under the aegis of UN Resolutions to take control of Libya. Oil rich Libya, with its strategic location and vast riches, if comes under the control of groups with Al-Qaeda links, can play havoc with the world. – Dailymailnews