On July 15, without much fanfare, and barely a few lines in the New York Times, President Obama formally recognized the rebel leadership in Libya, the Transitional National Council (TNC), as the country’s legitimate government. This American recognition is no formality, and far more than merely an encouraging pat on the back to the rebel forces. This recognition allows the rebels to access the $30 billion in Libyan assets held in the USA. Most of those assets are not liquid, but about $3.5 billion is liquid and can be provided to the TNC immediately.
In the early stages of the war, western allies hesitated to extend recognition to the rebels because of uncertainties about exactly who they were and about their connections or allegiances to el-Qaeda or other terrorist groups at war with the USA or European countries; but protestations by rebel leaders calmed these fears as TNC spokespersons assured the West that their goal is a democratic state. No one seems to have the perspicacity to ask just how reliable these assurances are.
On February 15, 2008, long before the revolt against Gaddafi began, the US embassy in Tripoli (capitol of Libya) sent a secret cable to Washington warning our government that eastern Libya, the area from which the revolt started and where the rebels have their strongest base and greatest number of supporters is rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment. Three years later, with the revolt in full swing, we learn that Gaddafi is accusing al-Qaeda of fomenting the revolt. Of course Gaddafi is such an erratic personality, as well as a tyrant in trouble, that it might be hard to take him seriously; except that in addition to the warning that our State Department received in 2008, al-Qaeda documents captured in Iraq in 2007 reveal that almost 20% of all al-Qaeda fighters coming to Iraq to fight Americans came from Libya.
Moreover, one of the Libyan rebel leaders, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, stated in a March, 2011 interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, that he and his troops are allies of al-Qaeda who came from eastern Libya to Iraq to fight the Americans, and now they are back in Libya to fight Gaddafi, and they are still allies of al-Qaeda.
The original fears of the western allies may have been well founded; but President Obama seems not to be concerned that the $3.5 billion in cash that his recognition of the TNC will put at the rebels’ disposal might end up in the hands of al-Qaeda operatives or their allies.
He should be concerned because the Libyan rebels are already supplying large quantities of sophisticated arms to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, using the same subterfuges and smuggling routes across Egypt and the Sinai that serve smugglers operating out of Sudan. These are not peaceful folks who want a western-style democracy and egalitarian society. They march arm in arm with Hamas and al-Qaeda.
Moreover, Ayman az-Zawahiri, now the leader of al-Qaeda, has come out in support of the Libyan rebels and declared that al-Qaeda forces are fighting in the mountains of Libya against Gadaffi.
To understand the significance of az-Zawahiri’s support, we must recall that over the past few years, Abu Yusuf el-Qaradhawi, az-Zawahiri’s colleague and now number two in al-Qaeda, has adumbrated al-Qaeda’s priorities by urging all Muslims to acquire nuclear weapons in order to terrorize Muslim enemies and urging them to kill Israeli women because they serve in the Israeli army. He has frequently expressed his support for suicide bombers, promised a second holocaust for the Jews, this time at the hands of “the believers;” and he has expressed his great longing for an opportunity to personally kill Jews so that he might acquire the blessing of true Islamic martyrdom. These are not the kind of guys we want supporting our new friends among the rebels of Libya in their quest for what we hope will be the first successful democratic secular state in the Arab world.
Now let’s connect the al-Qaeda and Hamas dots listed above with another set of dots: Obama plans to establish formal contact with the Muslim Brotherhood.[i]\
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