Libya rebels have al-Qaeda links, US pulls back support role

You need to be cautious when supporting any Mideast groups, the chances are, they might be linked to terrorist organizations. This just happened in Libya. With documentation coming out on possible direct links between the rebels and radical groups, Americans support for intervention in Libya have fallen to new highs. Gaddafi may be bad, but the rebels which are currently propped up by the West… don’t look good either.

Libyan Rebel Leader Admits Links To Al Qaeda Fighters

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.

Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military’s West Point academy has said the two share an “increasingly co-operative relationship”.

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.

The extremist group al-Muhajiroun, banned in the UK, celebrates the disaster in Japan

British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for “Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya” had “shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese”.

al-Qaeda among Libya rebels, Nato chief fears

Admiral James Stavridis, Nato’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said that American intelligence had picked up “flickers” of terrorist activity among the rebel groups. Senior British government figures described the comment as “very alarming”.

The admission came as the American, Qatari and British Governments indicated that they were considering arming rebel groups, who yesterday suffered a series of setbacks in their advance along the Libyan coast towards Tripoli.

The plan is likely to spark further splits in the international coalition, with Nato and Italian sources indicating the move would require another United Nations resolution.

Can Gaddafi survive?

On Tuesday more than 40 ministers from around the world met at a conference in London to discuss the situation in Libya.

Britain and America first signaled they would allow Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to seek exile rather than face a war crimes trial if he agrees to step aside immediately.

However, the emerging plan being discussed for the political future of Libya was undermined by the growing military doubts over the make-up of the rebel groups.

“We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces,” Admiral Stavridis said in testimony yesterday to the US Senate.

The US has begin pulling back its troops, leaving the leadership role to NATO. US official said at least one of the Navy submarines that fired Tomahawk missiles into Libya have left the area, and a further reduction of naval forces was likely.

Tripoli, Libya

Libya has the highest GDP per capita in Africa, its relatively better-off living standard attracted immigrants and expatriates all over from Africa. The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which constitute practically all export earnings and about one-quarter of gross domestic product (GDP).

In the early 1980s, Libya was one of the wealthiest countries in the world; its GDP per capita was higher than that of developed countries such as Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and New Zealand. This changed after Gaddafi began funding terrorist activities around the world which resulted in UN sanction. Libya today remains African wealthiest country (in per capita) The country initiates an economic project few years back in attempt to create a separate duty free and economic zone along its coast, with ambition to build a ‘Hong Kong in Mediterranean’. The project never succeed though.

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