Saturday, March 26, 2011
Please meet Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi. Mr. al-Hasidi is the leader of the Libyan rebels.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr. al-Hasidi said 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, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya.”
But, they also have ties to al-Qaeda. That’s right, al-Qaeda.
Mr. al-Hasidi insisted 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”.
U.S. 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.
Even though the LIFG is not part of al-Qaeda, the United States military’s West Point academy has said the two share an “increasingly co-operative relationship.” In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG members made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.
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.”
Perhaps, when President Barack Obama, Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton are asked to explain why the U.S. is now involved in a war with Libya, we’re backing a rebel force who has ties to al-Qaeda?
According to the the Council on Foreign Relations, al-Qaeda is an international terrorist network and considered the top terrorist threat to the United States. The group is wanted for its September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center which killed nearly 3,000 people.
The al-Qaeda network has cells in 100 countries, including the U.S., and even in the White House.