by Pepe Escobar
“Threat of al-Qaeda and its followers is still strong but we have not learnt lessons from the pas yet…” (The citation from the letter of Republicans Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee and Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia to the US Secretary of State; September, 2012).
Al-Qaeda is an jihad legion of the USA and NATO
Political scientists note that the Barack Obama administration pursues the thoughtless policy in Middle East. Fostering and actively supporting Islamic fundamentalists, the USA and their NATO-allies expect to put under control all Muslim World and to direct an edge of dagger of Islam against their rivals.
Until recently in Middle East there were only two states Libya and Syria, where Islamites were of no real threat. In these countries ruling regimes have excluded Islamic radicals from political life and completely kept situation under control. However, after known events of “Arabian revolution”, subsidized by the USA and NATO, situation in region has sharply become aggravated.
It’s not a secret that for overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi regime and other national governments the USA and NATO have conspired with al-Qaeda, against which they ostensibly conduct “total counterterrorist war”. In March, 2011 Barack Obama signed classified document which has allowed CIA to train and arm Libyan “revolutionaries” including jihadists from al-Qaeda. It is known, that CIA sent its agents to support rebels from Bengasi. According to US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney Libyan rebels resisting Gaddaffi were represented as multinational groups of Islamic rebels from al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations that went through combat training in CIA and other intelligence services of Allies. After downfall of Gaddafi regime great number of al-Qaeda influential members such as Abdel Hakim al-Hasidi, Abu Ubaidah Al Jarrah, Ali al-Sallabi and others held key posts in Transitive National Board of Libya and also in other government institutions of the new Libyan power. Thus, all most unpleasant fears and doubts concerning growth of radical Islamites influence in Libya are going to come true.
It is hardly possible to find more impressive example than the most influential Islamite in Libya Abdelhakim Belhaj who is right-hand man of al-Qaeda ideological leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and head of the terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG is the North African wing of al-Qaeda, forbidden by the United Nations, the USA and European Union), and also one of leaders of revolt against Gaddaffi.
Now al-Qaeda leaders having full support of the Allies in the name of the USA and other “sponsors of the Libyan revolution” actively promote a nominee of “bearer of democratic ideas” Belhaj on key post of the Libyan Minister of Interior.
Abdelhakim Belhaj: who is he – “a hero of Libyan revolution”, “terrorist number one” or “an agent of intelligence services”?
Libyan jihadist and the protégé of Qatar Belhaj also known by his military nickname Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq took a standard way of Arabian terrorist. He began anti-governmental activity during his study at Alfateh University. Belhaj has mastered Jihad in 80th of last century in Afghanistan being at war together with mojaheds against the Soviet army. In 90s he created the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which actively called subsequently for jihad against Gaddaffi and also against the USA and the West.
In 2003 field commander Belhaj was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan against US and NATO contingents and headed a fighting group of al-Qaeda. Terrorist activity of Belhaj and its rebels was rather highly appreciated by International Anti-Terrorism Coalition. The CIA Director George Tenet has especially noted a group of Belhaj in his report to the US Senate Investigatee Committee as representing “a direct threat” to the coalition forces and new Iraq statehood. In turn, al-Zawahiri characterized Belhaj as the real “emir of Mojaheds” and “warriors leader”.
In 2004 due to MI6 data Belhaj was arrested by CIA in Kuala Lumpur where he arrived to meet with representatives of Islamic terrorist groups. He was placed in CIA secret prison in Guantanamo where he was ostensibly tortured by Americans and Britons. Belhaj was asserted to be recruited by CIA and MI6 after abduction in Malaysia, interrogations and tortures.
The same year Belhaj was “presented” to Col. Gaddaffi and released under personal order of Saif Gaddaffi in 2010. According to Libyan authorities Belhaj was af “no threat even on the contrary desired to turn over a new leaf”.
After beginning of a civil war in Libya in winter 2011 Belhaj became one of the most influential field commanders of rebel forces. His brigade took active part in release of Tripoli from Gaddaffi army. Besides, Belhaj and his rebels were the first who entered with fights into the governmental complex Bab-el-Azizia.
After overthrow of Gaddaffi regime Belhaj has begun new era of his life. Transformation of the terrorist number one into the hero of the Libyan revolution has begun. In the Libyan Transition government he was appointed head of Tripoli Military Council. In spite of the fact that Belhaj party won a scanty percent of voices on recent elections to the General National Congress, he continues to be a key person in political life of Libya.
It is remarkable, that the US and British Governments, which were officially accused of tortures and cruel treatment by Belhaj, have made excuses there and then. In particular, the US Department of State made it clear that inclusion of LIFG in the list of the forbidden terrorist organisations was the erroneous step dictated by political grounds. In turn, the British authorities try to buy him off offering £1 million (!). They are truly afraid that in case of judicial hearings under his claim evidence of MI6 officers could be demanded so that some information concerning “national security” will be opened. Curiously, what information they are talking about?
Secrets of the Libyan revolution hero Abdulhakim Belhaj
Recently many experts have started to put natural question: why the USA and NATO treat favourably and in every possible way patronize a radical Islamite Abdulhakim Belhaj who actively opposes the western democracy and considers jihad as a unique way to achieve victory? Why one of the most influential al-Qaeda’s warlords and Osama bin Laden’s close associates in 2004 was hasty released from CIA Guantanamo Bay detention camp and transferred as “a gift” to Muammar Gaddafi “under guarantees of his live preservation”? Why till the beginning of civil war in Libya Belhaj hasn’t caused any damage to Gaddafi’s regime?!!!
So, why Libyan dictator hasn’t put to death the person considered the terrorist number one in Libya, and on the contrary, has granted him his freedom?
It seems that exact answer to these and other questions can be found in CIA as well as SIS archives and other western intelligence services.
The full protection of Belhaj, provided by USA and NATO, as well as his promotion on key state posts can be considered as "payment" for assistance in course of liquidation both of Libyan dictator and of his authoritative regime. Few people know that, in fact, colonel Gaddafi was captured by US special task forces and then the dictator was given for savage reprisal by Belhaj and his insurgents. Belhaj has a huge experience in punishment of his opponents. It is he who is behind the murder of general Abdul Fatah Younis – the most high-ranking officer of Gaddafi army. Younis was withdrawn from fields of battles in Benghazi, ostensibly for check of “close relations with Gaddafi”. Then his heavily scorched body with a bullet in a skull has been found in suburb. Belhaj is very vindictive: he hasn’t forgiven Younis that the latter had headed group of the governmental forces which successfully battled with Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the period since 1990 to 1995. According to one of the versions, Younis murder was a joint operation of Islamites and the British intelligence services, aimed to press the French competitors.
Many authoritative experts don’t exclude, that a guarantee of life preservation for Belhaj, given by the government of the USA, is a payment “for delivery” of bin Laden’s personal courier. As a result, CIA succeed to establish the secret site of the terrorist number one in the north of Pakistan and to liquidate him in May, 2011. As you know, identification of al-Qaeda’s couriers was one of the basic priorities of CIA investigators in secret prisons of Guantanamo as bin Laden communicated only through a narrow circle of the entrusted people, carefully hiding his site. In 2002 for the first time US investigators received information on al-Qaeda’s courier under a pen-name Abu Ahmed al-Kuwait.
In 2004 one of al-Qaeda’s field commander informed CIA investigators that al-Kuwait was really close to bin Laden, however he hadn’t been seen for a long period of time. The fact suggested an idea that the courier was together with "the terrorist number one". Due to this information, in August, 2010, CIA found al-Kuwait and tracked him to bin Laden’s secret shelter in Pakistan. After death of al-Qaeda’s leader Washington did the best to hide the source of information. So, some high-ranking officials from Bush’s administration, such as, for example, former general public prosecutor Michael Mukasey declared that the information on a pen-name of personal courier had been ostensibly provided by one of field commanders – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Influential US lawmakers, in particular, a republican John McCain and democrat Dianne Goldman have declared, that these statements were erroneous, referring thus on the report of CIA director Leon Panetta stating that a pen-name was provided by a mysterious prisoner of Guantanamo prison. The letter of the CIA director of Leon Panetta to Senator John McCain tells that "a full real name and a concrete site of the courier were received by other means of investigation". Thus, we see unpersuasive US attempts to hide the obvious fact, that a true source of the intelligence information on which basis the terrorist number one was liquidated, the most likely was Belhaj. This is testified by his fast release from Guantanamo prison in 2004.
Many experts consider that previous secret joint operations of CIA and al-Qaeda give the bases to assume that Belhaj and his 35-thousand Islamic army are considered by the USA as the effective tool for violent overthrow of political regimes in Syria and Iran, for creation of "manageable chaos" in the region of Middle East, necessary for realisation of "vested" interests. Overthrow of the national governments can break the established balance of forces of the given region and to project evident superiority of the main US allies – Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In Syria Belhaj actually supervises over the foreign terrorist groups camouflaged under the name of "fighters of the Syrian resistance".
New al-Qaeda’s “terrorist war” against the USA
In August radical Islamites from al-Qaeda, being earlier so-called “allies” of the USA and NATO, started to emphasize publicly their presence in Libya by means of organization of terrorist attacks, directed principally against diplomatic representations. On September, 11, at the Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance the jihadists shelled the grenade the building of US consulate in Benghazi (they called it a revenge for murder of infamous terrorist Abu Yahya al-Libi in Pakistan). Chris Stevens, the ambassador of the USA in Libya, and other three American diplomats were killed. On August, 19 in Tripoli two powerful explosions near government agencies (Ministry of Interior and Woman’s Military Academy) thundered. At the same time salafistes from al-Qaeda started to struggle for “purity of Islam” in Libya and tried to establish rigid Islamic governing in some provinces. On August, 24 and 25 Islamites destroyed two Sufists’ tombs in Zliten and Tripoli. Series of powerful explosions was heard during last several months at Libyan territory.
The pro-American government of Libya refuses to recognise obvious strengthening of Islamites in the country. The Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib asserts that recent terrorist attacks against US consulate and other foreign mission are carried out not by jihadists but fellow fighters of Muammar Gaddafi. At the same time, Washington recognized recently the fact of fulfilment of terrorist attacks by jihadists of al-Qaeda. According to official statement of US Director of National Intelligence, the attack against US consulate in Benghazi was the conscious and planned act of terrorism, executed by extremists. As specified herewith, the organizers of terrorist attack were related to the alignment, being in close concerning or sympathy for al-Qaeda.
It seems the worst fears of experts, unanimously warning that after accession to power in Libya of jihadists like Abdelhakim Belhaj, assisted by “western sponsors”, militant al-Qaeda will start a new chapter of terrorist war against the USA and Allies. Some experts have already predicted real possibility of repetition of 9/11 tragedy. God Bless America!
Pepe Escobar, the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. My new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).