Analysis: Qaddafi Exits, Al Qaeda Enters
Libya so far follows Egypt’s lead, replacing a dictatorial and corrupt despot with a council that is no less corrupt and against freedom and which is influenced by Al Qaeda – instead of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A senior rebel in Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is none other than Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who once fought with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Also known as Abu Abdullah al-Sadeq, optimists are hoping he has reformed from being a jihad terrorist. Reuters quoted Noman Benotman, a former commander of an anti-Qaddafi group that included Belhadj, as saying, "He has more of a political mindset than a religious mindset. He always managed to keep a distance between bin Laden and our struggle."
Contrary to Bentoman’s views, Pepe Escobar wrote for Asian Times Online , "He’s already made sure in Libya that himself and his militia will only settle for sharia law.” Pepe is the author of “Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War” and other books.
His links with Al Qaeda are deep. He was the de facto leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which trained in Afghanistan in two camps, one of them being for Al Qaeda terrorists, according to Pepe. The LIFG was merged with the AIQM Al Qaeda group in 2007, when the Libyan group called for jihad against Western “infidels” as well as against Qaddafi.
The CIA is believed to have captured Belhadj in 2003, releasing him to Libya in 2004, when he was imprisoned by Qaddafi until he was freed last March.
Pepe reported reported that Belhadj’s men were the key force that conquered Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli. The rebel victory over Qaddafi has left huge amounts of weapons and ammunition in the hands of both the NTC and allied jihadists.
“Western media are being fed portrayals of the rebel leadership as a coherent and responsible political and military force holding sway from Benghazi in the east up to the Tunisian border in the west,” according to DEBKAfile. It added, “This depiction is false. Our military sources report that the bulk of rebel military strength in central and western Libya is not under NTC command, nor does it obey orders from rebel headquarters in Benghazi.”
Pepe asserted that all of the top rebel commanders are from the LIFG, and “it doesn't require a crystal ball to picture the consequences of LIFG/AQIM - having conquered military power and being among the war winners - not remotely interested in relinquishing control just to please NATO's whims.
There are enough Qaddafi loyalists to keep on fighting for weeks, or months, leaving the possibility of a weakened NTC and a hesitant NATO targeted by Belhadj’s organization.
The result could give Al Qaeda a strong political influence in the next Libyan government, just as the Muslim Brotherhood – which spawned Hamas – has a strong voice in the Egyptian provisional military regime that replaced Hosni Mubarak.