The al-Qaeda Islamist Spring behind the Libyan Rebellion
Yesterday was the official one-year anniversary of the “February 17th Revolution,” the Libyan rebellion against the rule of Moammar Qaddafi, with a massive helping hand from NATO.
Although the rebellion was initially presented in the Western news media as a “protest movement,” it is clear from both video evidence and firsthand accounts that the “protests” were extremely violent from the start. In virtually every city or town where unrest broke out, police stations and other government buildings and installations were attacked and set on fire. Such attacks were recorded in Benghazi, Derna, Tobruk, al-Bayda, and al-Zawiya, among other places.
The violence of the “protests” is hardly surprising, given what we now know about the involvement of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in the rebellion. At least three al-Qaeda-linked militants who had at one time or another been in U.S. custody played leading roles in the anti-Qaddafi uprising:
- Abdul-Hakim Belhadj – Following the fall of Tripoli, one of them, the historical leader of the LIFG, would emerge as the military governor of the Libyan capital.
- Abd Al-Rahman al-Faqih – Moreover, little-known evidence cited in a British court case indicates that there was nothing spontaneous about the violence. By the middle of the last decade, the LIFG had in fact elaborated a plan for destabilizing the Qaddafi regime by using many of the same tactics that would be employed at the outset of the rebellion in February 2011. The plan was discovered on a CD seized by British police during an October 2005 raid of the home of a Libyan political refugee in Birmingham. The ruling notes that Abd Al-Rahman al-Faqih was a member of the LIFG’s governing Shura Council and that his name was added to the United Nations list of al-Qaeda-linked individuals and entities on February 7, 2006. The U.N.’s summary of reasons for al-Faqih’s inclusion on the al-Qaeda sanctions list notes, furthermore, that he is “assessed to have had connections to the terrorist network in Iraq which was led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.”
- Abu al-Munthir, a.k.a. Sami al-Saadi – The author of the plan discovered on al-Faqih’s CD was LIFG chief ideologue Abu al-Munthir, a.k.a. Sami al-Saadi.
When viewed in conjunction with all the other evidence of the Islamist roots of the Libyan rebellion, the existence of the LIFG plan leaves little room for doubt: Whatever may have transpired in the rest of the Arab world, the uprising in Libya was the realization not of democratic aspirations, but of the longstanding ambitions of Islamic extremists.
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