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Could Libya's revolution be hijacked by potential Al Qaeda linked jihadists?

Interesting Article: Jihadists plot to take over Libya: U.S. steps up surveillance of suspects among rebels By Bill Gertz /  Washington, DC published Sunday, September 4, 2011

With the Arab spring comes a chance for the Middle East to see a new era in democracy and freedom. The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria have the potential to eliminate dictatorships that were neither pro-west nor pro-freedom. Yet, what if  certain factions of the movement are looking to create islamist states within the country?

A recent article by Bill Gertz in The Washington Times, speaks of a certain jihadist element existing within the Libyan rebel movement.
Specifically, he mentions the emergence of Abu Abdallah al-sadiq (AKA Abdelhakim Belhadj, AKA Abu Abdallah Assadaq, currently known as Abdel Hakim al-Khulidi Belhaj), a former leader/founder (See picture on the right-seated in the center) of the al Qaeda linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). What is scary is that he has now become an emerging leader in what will be the new Libyan government. LIFG was banned worldwide (as an affiliate of al-Qaeda) by the UN 1267 Committee. One of al-Qaeda's most senior members, Atiyah Abdul-Rahman, is purportedly a member of LIFG as well. On 7 February 2006 the UN embargoed five specific LIFG members, one of whom was Abd Al-Rahman Al-Faqih (possibly the same person as the jihadist writer Abdul-Rahman Hasan, wanted in Morocco in connection with the mass murders of 16 May 2003 in Casablanca), as well as the embargo of Sanabel Relief Agency Limited (Alias SARA, a charity front by which LIFG transacted with other al-Qaeda components (including GICM) via its office in Kabul, prior to the fall of the Taliban). The founder and former leader of LIFG, al-Sadiq studied at Al Fateh University, a leading university in Libya, where he earned a civil engineering degree. He tried to get rid Gaddafi since the formation of LIFG, but was unsuccessful. In later years he traveled to Afghanistan and joined the Mujahideen to fight the Soviet occupation and after the defeat of the Soviets he returned to Libya in 1991 and formed LIFG, which since 1994, had continually tried to overthrow Gaddafi. LIFG was not successful and in 1998 al-Sadiq fled to Afghanistan and joined the Taliban. In 2002, the Libyan government issued an arrest warrant, where it alleged that al-Sadiq had developed close relationships with al Qaeda leaders, specifically, Mullah Omar. In 2004, al-Sadiq was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and transferred to Libya with the help of the CIA and MI6. In 2010, Libya released him under the 'de-radicalization' drive and by late August 2011, he was the main commander of the Tripoli Military Council, after the rebels took over Tripoli. In November 2007, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Laith al-Libi claimed that LIFG had joined al-Qaeda. Senior al Qaeda members Abu Yahya al-Libi and Abu Laith al-Libi were LIFG members. Abu Yahya al-Libi is a leading high-ranking official within al-Qaeda, Al-Libi went to Afghanistan in the early 1990s and whilst bin Laden is an engineer and al-Zwahiri is a doctor, al-Libi is said to be an Islamic scholar and it is believed he was sent back to northern Africa to study Islam in Mauritania. He was captured in 2002 in Afghanistan and escaped in 2005. He re-appeared in a July 2009 video from al-Sahab entitled, "Swat: Victory or Martyrdom," about the Pakistani military's campaign against Pashtun militias and jihadi groups in the Swat Valley. On March 12, 2011 al-Libi released a video urging his countrymen to overthrow Gaddafi's regime and establish Islamic rule, expanding the terror network's attempts to capitalize on the wave of unrest sweeping the region. The other senior member of al-Qaeda with links to LIFG was Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior leader of the al-Qaeda movement in Afghanistan and believed to have been active in the tribal regions of Waziristan. On January 31, 2008, Abu Laith al-Libi was reported to have been killed by a targeted killing drone attack from an unmanned CIA Predator drone, either late Monday, January 28, or early Tuesday, January 29, 2008.  Whether the transitional government in Libya will be influenced by jihadist factions is yet to be seen, but with connections like this, I do not see the reality of a pro-US entity coming into the fold, until we can root out those that seek to hijack this revolution for their own jihadist principles. 


References:
"Libya to free 170 Islamist prisoners -charity". Reuters. 12 March 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
Gunaratna, Rohan (March 2010). "Interviews with leadership of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group". Combating Terrorism in Libya through Dialogue and Reintegration. Singapore: International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Nanyang Technological University. p. 18.
"From Holy warrior to hero of a revolution: Abdelhakim Belhadj". asharq alawsat. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
"Profile: Libyan rebel commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj". BBC News. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
"'We Are Simply Muslim': Libyan Rebel Chief Denies Al-Qaeda Ties". Le Monde/Time Magazine. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
Chulov, Martin (5 September 2011). "MI6 knew I was tortured, says Libyan rebel leader". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
Ian Black (5 September 2011). "The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – from al-Qaida to the Arab spring". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
"Who is Abdul Hakim Belhadj, the leader of the Libyan rebels?". Middle East Monitor. 5 September 2011.
Christopher M. Blanchard (July 9, 2007). "Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2008-01-31. "Al Qaeda operational leader Abu Layth Al Libi also has claimed that "the preparations we [Al Qaeda] make and all the fighting in the cause of God we carry out in the east and west is preparation and training for fighting the Jews in the Al Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem].""[dead link]
"Terrorist Recognition Cards: Afghanistan/Pakistan". Defense Intelligence Agency. 2006-10. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
"Senior al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan killed (2nd Roundup)". Monsters and Critics. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
Black, Ian; Siddique, Haroon (2008-01-31). "Top al-Qaida leader 'killed' in Afghanistan". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
"A strike against al-Qaeda". The Economist. 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
Shephard, Michelle (2008). Guantanamo's Child. John Wiley & Sons.
Masood, Salman (2005-05-04). "Suspected Senior Leader of Al Qaeda in Pakistan Is Captured". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-07. "Today's report of the capture of a top Al Qaeda operative, Abu Farraj al-Libbi, represents a critical victory in the war on terror. Now al-Libbi was a top general for bin Laden. He was a major facilitator and chief planner for the Al Qaeda network. His arrest removed a dangerous enemy who was a direct threat to America."
Rehab El-Buri, Jonathon Karl (January 31, 2008). "Top Al Qaeda Leader Killed". ABC News. Retrieved January 31, 2008. "A jihadi Web site today carried a banner congratulating the Muslim worldwide community for the 'martyrdom of Sheikh Abu Al-Laith Al-Libi.'"
New York Times, Rising Leader for Next Phase of Al Qaeda’s War, April 4, 2008
Scheuer, Michael F. Part1 and Part 2
BBC News: Key 'al-Qaeda militant' surfaces
SITE Intel Group: SITE Publications - Names and Information of Twelve Detainees in Bagram Prison in Afghanistan from Sheikh Abu Yehia al-Libi
"Al-Qaida escapee from U.S. detention in Afghanistan lashes out at U.S. Saudi allies". Boston Herald. May 30, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-05.

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