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Al Qaeda in Libya Rises!

Interesting Article: "Al Qaeda sends fighters to Libya" By Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank / Libya published Friday, December 30th, 2011

An interesting article mentioned that Al Qaeda's leadership has sent experienced jihadists to Libya in an effort to build a fighting force there, according to a Libyan source briefed by Western counter-terrorism officials. The jihadists include one veteran fighter who had been detained in Britain on suspicion of terrorism. The source describes him as committed to al Qaeda's global cause and to attacking U.S. interests. The man arrived in Libya in May and has since begun recruiting fighters in the eastern region of the country, near the Egyptian border. He now has some 200 fighters mobilized, the source added. Western intelligence agencies are aware of his activities, according to the source. What other information is there about Al Qaeda in Libya?

The individual now trying to establish a bridgehead for al Qaeda in Libya is known as "AA." His name has not been made public because of UK law on terrorist suspects who are detained but not charged. "AA" has been close to Ayman al-Zawahiri since the 1980s and first traveled to Afghanistan in the early 1990s to join mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation - as did hundreds of Arab fighters. "AA" later moved to the United Kingdom, where he began spreading al Qaeda's ideology to younger Muslims. He was an admirer of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who emerged as leader of al Qaeda in Iraq after the U.S. invasion and who led an especially brutal campaign that targeted civilians and promoted sectarian hatred between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The al Qaeda leadership has included several Libyans - among them Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, who was killed in August, and Abu Yahya al-Libi. In a video message to fellow Libyans distributed on jihadist forums earlier this month, al-Libi said: "At this crossroads you have found yourselves, you either choose a secular regime that pleases the greedy crocodiles of the West and for them to use it as a means to fulfill their goals, or you take a strong position and establish the religion of Allah." Militant groups have long had a presence in eastern Libya, even if they were ruthlessly suppressed by the Gadhafi regime. Al Qaeda documents discovered in Iraq in 2006 showed that many of the fighters who had joined the insurgency had come from eastern Libya. "Despite early indications that the Libyan revolution might be a largely secular undertaking ... the very extremist currents that shaped the philosophies of Libya Salafists and jihadis like (Abd al-Hakim) Belhadj appear to be coalescing to define the future of Libya," wrote Michael S. Smith II, a principal and counterterrorism adviser for Kronos LLC, the strategic advisory firm that prepared the report. On Nov. 3, 2007, senior al Qaeda leaders announced that LIFG had officially joined Osama bin Laden's network, according to the State Department which designated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group or LIFG as a terrorist organization (Founded in 1995 to set up an Islamic state or emirate inside Libya, it waged jihad against the regime of former Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi). Within Libya's new transitional government is (Abd al-Hakim) Belhadj, who is considered one of the most powerful militia commanders in Libya as head of the Tripoli Military Council. As Fox News reported earlier this year, Belhadj is reported to be a former emir of an al Qaeda affiliate known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group or LIFG (founded in 1995 to set up an Islamic state or emirate inside Libya, it waged jihad against the regime of former Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi). The fact is, now We must consider whether the transitional government in Libya is showing a willingness to cooperate with U.S. counterterrorism operations and whether the number of al-Qaeda affiliated militants has grown in Libya since the death of Qaddafi. It’s a lot easier to take down a regime, as we learned in Iraq, than it is to establish a new order. And yet in Libya, the forces trying to establish that new order are far weaker, in security terms, than the U.S. had been in Iraq, even if some of their leaders —most notably NTC President Mustafa Abul Jalil—enjoy the advantage of a legitimacy never accorded to the U.S. in Iraq. Given the mounting threat of chaos, Jalil’s authority may not be enough to stem the flow of al Qaeda into Libya.



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