Ironically, perhaps, Gadhafi has been claiming for weeks that al-Qaeda and drug use were responsible for the uprisings. "Bin Laden ... this is the enemy who is manipulating people," he told state television in late February. "Do not be swayed by bin Laden."
Most observers assumed the allegations were deliberate lies or the delusions of a madman trying to keep the reins of power. But it turns out that the claims of al-Qaeda involvement were at least partially correct.
The man identified in news reports as the leader of Libya’s rebellion, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, actually battled U.S. and coalition forces during the invasion of Afghanistan a decade ago. He was captured in 2002, handed over to U.S. authorities, and eventually released in Libya in 2008. Now, al-Hasidi, with U.S. and international air support, is supposedly leading the anti-Gadhafi revolution.
A Reuters report citing Qatar-based Gulf News said earlier this month — before Western intervention became official — that senior al-Qaeda commander Abu Yahya al-Libi released a videotaped message urging rebels in Libya to continue the battle. He also warned that failure to topple the Gadhafi regime would be unacceptable.
“The Libyan people have suffered at the hands of Kaddafi for more than 40 years.... He used the Libyans as a testing ground for his violent, rambling and disgusting thoughts,” the alleged terrorist leader said in the video. "Retreating will mean decades of harsher oppression and greater injustices than what you have endured.”
The al-Qaeda leader also blasted the U.S. government and other Western regimes — now fighting the same battle he praised — for propping up dictatorships in the region. By press time, Gulf News was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the video posted on Jihadist websites.
More recently, Libyan rebel leader al-Hasidi, who fought U.S. troops in Afghanistan, offered another startling revelation. He admitted in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Islamic warriors from Libya, whom he had recruited to battle Western forces in Iraq, are now actually fighting alongside U.S. and international forces to help topple Kaddafi.
The Daily Telegraph, in an article entitled “Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links,” quoted al-Hasidi as saying that his warriors "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists." He also praised al-Qaeda, saying they are “good Muslims ... fighting against the invader."
According to U.S. and British government sources cited by the paper, al-Hasidi is part of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The organization represents the second largest contingent of foreign fighters in Iraq battling coalition forces.
A study by the U.S. military concluded that the Libyan group had an "increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda.” In 2007, that “culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qaeda.” Al-Qaeda, it should be noted, said earlier this month that the Libyan rebellion would lead to imposition of “the stage of Islam” there.
In 2004, former Director of Central Intelligence at the CIA George Tenet actually warned the Senate Intelligence Committee about the same Libyan group. "One of the most immediate threats [to U.S. security] is from smaller international Sunni extremist groups that have benefited from al-Qaeda links. They include ... the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group," he said.
The organization is officially on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. But according to countless news reports, the U.S. government has been covertly funneling arms to the Libyan rebels for weeks, via Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other nations.
Islamic extremists around the world have actually announced their support of the Libyan rebels as well. And as Raven Clabough pointed out in an article for The New American, a powerful coalition of leftist and globalist forces are also backing the war against Gadhafi’s regime.
During his March 23 show blasting U.S. intervention in Libya, Fox News personality Glenn Beck also claimed that the American military could very well be helping al-Qaeda there. Citing an article in Time magazine, Beck said the Obama administration actually knows the terror group is in the fight and that the terrorists will try to exploit the power vacuum after the Libyan dictator falls.
“This is exactly what we said would happen,” Beck explained. “Time mentioned that we may actually be helping the terrorists with this air campaign.... This scenario just doesn't seem to make sense to me.”
Of course, it’s extremely hard to know what is actually going on in Libya at the moment, or what the true purpose of U.S. and international military intervention really is. Analysts have all sorts of different views.
There are those who believe President Obama and the UN when they claim “humanitarianism” is truly the goal. Others — ranging from liberty-minded U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to socialist despot Hugo Chavez of Venezuela — think it could be about oil. Glenn Beck and others have claimed it could be about setting the stage for a future international invasion of Israel to enforce UN resolutions.
And there are plenty of reasons for the confusion. For example, al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, wanted by the FBI in connection with two American embassy bombings, have not always been the enemies of the U.S. government. In fact, the U.S. government — by its own admission — actually armed, trained, and funded bin Laden and his Muslim warriors in Afghanistan just a few decades ago. Many of those fighters eventually went back to Libya, where they are battling Gadhafi today.
“Al Qaeda is not a centralized organization, but rather a gaggle or congeries of fanatics, dupes, psychotics, misfits, double agents, provocateurs, mercenaries, and other elements,” noted investigative reporter Webster Tarpley in a piece entitled “The CIA's Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq.”
But unlike other active terror networks in the Middle East created and trained by the Soviet Union to promote communism in the region, as detailed in numerous articles for The New American, al-Qaeda is different. Tarpley pointed out in his piece, citing officials and documents, that the terror group was actually founded by the U.S. and British governments to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Even Hillary Clinton admitted this on TV recently. And many of al-Qaeda's leaders, even today, are probably double agents of Western intelligence agencies, Tarpley said.
So the fact that the U.S. government’s Libya campaign may be (possibly unwittingly) helping al-Qaeda — or the other way around — is not that surprising. It also wouldn’t be the first time the U.S. government has been implicated in terrorism, or that Obama has openly offered support for Islamic extremists supposedly at war with America.
In a speech late last year that shocked observers, Obama said the U.S. government would “fully support an Afghan political process that includes reconciliation with those Taliban who break ties with al Qaeda, renounce violence, and accept the Afghan Constitution.” Of course, the Taliban have been killing U.S. and coalition forces for a decade now and, according to the U.S. government, were harboring al-Qaeda prior to the U.S. invasion. Destroying the Taliban was once one of the supposed goals of the Afghan invasion.
But the seeming oddity of the U.S. government’s ever-shifting alliances has not escaped notice. Critics blasted the official narrative about why international forces were being used in Libya, pointing out that the military campaign directly aids known terror groups who supposedly murdered thousands of Americans.
“Protection for the malcontents, including Al Qaeda militants, holed up in Benghazi is the worst rationale for any intervention in the annals of American history,” charged Yoichi Shimatsu, an expert on Islamic militancy in North Africa, in an analysis for New America Media. “If this twisted logic was to be transferred to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Marines should be saving Taliban outposts from the Afghan Army or providing security for car-bomb drivers against the Iraqi police.”
Shimatsu actually claimed it had now become U.S. government policy again to back, arm, and fund the Islamic extremists. “Since the start of this year, under Obama’s ‘Islamic policy’ of wooing would-be terrorists, Washington has plotted with sympathizers and supporters of Islamist militancy to overthrow these three guardians of the West,” he wrote, referring to Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and Libya’s Gadhafi.
Conceding that Gadhafi was indeed brutal and had killed his own people, Shimatsu still called U.S. support for the Libyan rebels a “grotesque affront to the memory of the Americans and the others killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.” He even charged that Washington had “turned its back on justice for those victims by now backing the fanatics who triggered the past decade of senseless warfare, destruction and fear.”
Worse still, there may be an even larger disaster looming in the shadows of the U.S. government’s latest military intervention. Analysts fear that if and when the Gadhafi regime crumbles, al-Qaeda and its affiliates could easily seize power, massive oil reserves, and advanced weaponry.
Prominent figures including the dictator of Chad said in recent days that al-Qaeda has already seized arms — including missiles — from Libyan military depots in areas held by rebels. Chemical weapons may well be involved too, since Gadhafi is known to have produced vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction that were not all destroyed.
Observers believe that those weapons, as well as the arms provided to the al-Qaeda-linked rebels by the U.S. government, could soon be turned against Americans or U.S. allies. That same possibility exists in Egypt, where U.S.-backed despot Mubarak, armed to the teeth with American weapons, has now been deposed by a coalition of socialists, Islamic extremists, and regular people. Depending on who ends up in power — both in Libya and in Egypt — the West and particularly Israel could soon face big problems.
Regardless of what is really happening in North Africa, the point is not that Libyan rebels — some of whom are clearly tied to known terror groups — are wrong in attempting to overthrow a brutal regime. After all, Gadhafi has oppressed the nation for decades.
The real problem, for Americans at least, should be that the Obama administration committed the U.S. military and taxpayer money to the conflict. Aside from the fact that the President lacks constitutional authority to wage war without a Congressional declaration, America has no business getting involved in an internal conflict on the other side of the globe, especially when nobody seems to agree about what is really going on. Plus, the alternative may very well be worse than Gadhafi.
Photo of anti-Gadhaf rebel: AP Images