Even as the Obama administration celebrates the killing of American-born al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki and his traitorous friend Samir Khan in Yemen, its analysts are beginning to admit their war by decree in Libya empowered Islamic extremists bent on exporting jihad throughout the region. Thanks to Obama’s policies, al-Qaeda-linked radicals may be pillaging Muammar Qaddafi’s stockpile of weapons and receiving shipments of contraband from overseas.
In the closest thing to an admission Obama administration figures lied us into war, Reuters reports:
During the half-year campaign by rebels to drive Muammar Gaddafi from power, U.S. and NATO officials downplayed fears that al Qaeda or other militants would infiltrate anti-Gaddafi forces or take advantage of disorder to establish footholds in Libya.
Since then, however, the assessment of top experts inside the U.S. government has sharpened.
Former CIA asset and Obama adviser Bruce Riedel summarizes, “There is a great deal of concern that the jihadi cadre now are going to be exporting their ideas and weapons toward the east and west.”
This author reported the cause of their alarm a month ago (and predicted it even earlier). The National Transitional Council (NTC), the body the United States now exclusively recognizes as the official government of Libya, elected Abdel Hakim Belhaj commander of the Tripoli Military Council in late August. Belhaj is the co-founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which the State Department designated a foreign terrorist organization in December 2004. The New York Times relates that LIFG members received “combat experience in Iraq or Afghanistan” — fighting the United States. Belhaj, who met Osama bin Laden twice, now commands 8,000 troops, Libya’s largest fighting force.
U.S. analysts, who covered up the links the “rebels” have to Islamic fundamentalists, now worry Belhaj and his LIFG warriors have raided Qaddafi’s arsenal, despoiling it of anti-aircraft weapons that could one day be turned against U.S. or NATO planes.
The radicals may not need Qaddafi’s weapons, as other nations in the area are reportedly replenishing their cache. Rebels in the city of Zintan intercepted a cargo shipment to Belhaj from the nation of Qatar, which Belhaj insisted contained food and milk. Those who opened it say it contained weapons. Taking note of the interference Mohamed Benrasali, a leading figure in the Libyan government, replied, “We are very sorry the Qataris have taken the decision to support Belhaj’s brigade. This will backfire on our Qatari friends.”
Despite Benrasali’s tough talk, one suspects the fire will aimed in his direction.
Qatar was influenced to support the rebels by Sheik Ali Salabi, a Libyan Islamic scholar who lives in the monarchy. The Washington Times states, “Mr. Salabi has close ties to Mr. Belhaj. The sheik’s brother, Ismail, is the commander of a powerful rebel brigade in eastern Libya.”
With Belhaj’s control of Libya’s strongest militia and the apparent backing of a foreign nation, the nation’s self-proclaimed “Islamists” are well-positioned to topple any provisional government and seize power by force. The current prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, is under fire from all sides. Sheik Salabi has denounced the NTC’s leadership as “rabid secularists.” Even Benrasali said the rebels’ inability to form a permanent government is “testing our patience.”
Despite all the evidence, some American politicians have a different assessment. The story broke the same day a delegation of four Republican senators met with Libya’s (temporary) government to tell them they “inspired the world.” The quartet included Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mark Kirk — all confirmed RINOs — and the much-hyped Marco Rubio, whom the Beltway GOP establishment has anointed as the next vice presidential nominee. The senators stressed, as have European diplomats, that the new government must continue its cooperation with the U.S. war on terrorism. Although McCain said, “This is Libya’s revolution, not ours,” he instructed his hosts to ensure “that past wrongs do not become a license for future crimes, especially against minorities” — which, in fact, they already have.
Even if Libya’s leadership were not ideologically committed to the destruction of the West, it seems unlikely it would heed any further American entreaties. Two of the four senators who visited this week, McCain and Graham, met with Muammar Qaddafi and his son Muatassim on August 14, 2009. Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins joined them. All four assured Qaddafi his new relationship with the United States would be a long-lived affair and they would attempt to help him improve his military capabilities, especially getting new C130s. They requested that he continue to cooperate with the war on terrorism and allow the U.S. to build a more secure embassy.
Less than two years later, the same senators were the most outspoken in supporting Qaddafi’s ouster. McCain went on to blast his own party’s alleged “isolationism” for refusing to help Belhaj, et. al, conquer Tripoli.
No national leader would cooperate with “allies” like this. Libyans have every incentive to stand against the United States. We’ve given it to them.