The Islamist Factor in Post-Gaddafi Libya: Will Libya Become "Libyastan?"

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Jacques Neria - The U.S. and the West's military intervention in Libya finally succeeded in toppling Gaddafi's 42-year reign in Libya and brought to power an amorphous body called the National Transitional Council (NTC). There are plenty of reasons to fear that the military action undertaken by the West might be playing into the hands of its worst foes and ideological enemies. A statement released on February 24 on the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Fajr media website quoted the group known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM): "We declare our support for the legitimate demands of the Libyan revolution." Abdelhakim Belhadj, today the commander of the Libyan rebel Tripoli Military Council, emerged as a leader during the Libyan rebel operation to liberate the Libyan capital from Gaddafi's control. Belhadj, is also a former Emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). In 1988, he joined the Afghan jihad against the Soviet occupation forces along with other Arab volunteers, many of whom would form the core of al-Qaeda. Abdel Hakim Al-Hasidi declared that his jihadists had fought the American coalition in Iraq and "now they are fighting Gaddafi." Al-Hasidi is a current member of the NTC.

2011-08-30 00:00:00

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