The Islamic Republic of Libya?

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Taking advantage of the ongoing chaos in Libya, a large group of Islamist gunmen, believed to be members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), recently seized a weapons depot in the eastern Libyan port city of Derna. The incident underscores the increasing danger posed by militant Islamic terror groups to fill a potential power vacuum created by the disintegration of the Gadhafi regime.

Calling itself the “Islamist Emirate of Baraqa,” the group, assisted by Libyan Army Colonel Adnan al-Nwisri, seized over 250 weapons. The cache included a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, three anti-aircraft guns, 70 assault rifles, and over 70 military vehicles.

The gunmen also took both civilians and Libyan soldiers as hostages in the nearby port city of Al-Baida, threatening to kill them unless the siege of that city was lifted by Libyan security forces. The same group was also accused by Libyan officials of hanging two soldiers only days earlier.

While concerns abound that Islamic fascists will eventually take control of both Tunisia and Egypt in the aftermath of their revolutions, the chances of it first occurring in Libya may be much greater. Unlike those two countries, which have a semblance of military and civilian institutions to at least temporarily fill any power void, Libya has nothing comparable. According to one US intelligence analyst, “Everything is controlled by Qaddafi and his clique. The country could quickly become a failed state if it collapses.”

Complicating the issue is Libya’s complex tribal structure. These tribes have been played off each other by Gadhafi during his entire forty year reign, embroiling them in volatile rivalries. Fears exist that Libya could suffer the same fate as Somalia, where fighting between tribes and al Qaeda forces have plunged the nation into near anarchy.

In fact, the LIFG attack on Derna as well as the recent takeover of Libya’s second largest city Benghazi by Gadhafi opponents occurred in anti-Gadhafi tribal strongholds. According to a released wikileaks document: “Residents of eastern Libya in general, and Derna in particular, view the al-Qadhafa clan as uneducated, uncouth interlopers from an inconsequential part of the country who have stolen the right to rule in Libya.”

Now, added into the chaotic mix, is the added potency of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Formed in the early 1990s, the LIFG has waged an intense and bitter fight against Gaddafi. Formed by Libyans who had fought against Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan, the group is dedicated to two principle objectives: “To overthrow Qaddafi and to contribute to the international jihadist campaign.”
By November 2007 the LIFG had merged with al Qaeda. A statement by al Qaeda’s second in command, Ayman al Zawahri, read at the time: “Today, with grace from God, the Muslim nation witnesses a blessed step. Honorable members of the Fighting Islamic Group in Libya announce that they are joining the al Qaeda group to continue the march of their brothers.”

Yet in March 2010, after three years of secret talks between imprisoned leaders of the LIFG and Libyan security officials, Seif al-Islam, son of Gaddafi, announced the LIFG had rejected al Qaeda’s violent ideology and had produced an alliance with the Libyan government against al Qaeda.

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  • Wesley69

    Why is this a surprise? Gadhafi is done for. All that’s left is the hanging. Libya joins the ranks of Tunisia and Egypt. Islamic Jihadist Fundamentalism is sweeping the Mideast. Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia may be next. But, it is not the moderate Arabs that are organized politically and ready to take charge. The Fundamentalists are both armed and organized. The word democracy is something they can use to get into power. Expect this type of transformation and it doesn’t bode well for US interests. A reestablished Caliphate, that is a Muslim's dream, is closer to reality.

  • morristhewise

    Anonymous sources that refused to be identified for fear of death claim that negotiations are now going on between Gadhafi and opposition leaders. One deal that is spoken about is for Gadhafi to remain in power for another six months until a transition is made.

  • Nick Shaw

    I absolutely love that line, "after three years of secret talks between imprisoned leaders of the LIFG and Libyan security officials, Seif al-Islam, son of Gaddafi, announced the LIFG had rejected al Qaeda’s violent ideology and had produced an alliance with the Libyan government against al Qaeda." It is too funny when you think of it. Seif "rivers of blood" al-Islam had secret "talks" with "imprisoned" members and they voluntarily, obviously, changed their minds about who they like! Hahahahaha!

  • Randy

    Let's hope the U.S. at least has plan. But using the military to fight against tribes will not be pretty, especially with unknown numbers already inside the gates. And consider that if a failed-state and dirt poor country like Somalia can send pirates out 500 miles and with 14 country's warships patrolling the are, still disrupt transportation, what will Libyan's try to do? The distance across the Med. Sea is much shorter.

  • morristhewise

    Mother Nature made a mistake by locating most of the worlds oil reserves in the wrong place. The mistake can be rectified by building a gigantic pipeline from the Middle-Eastern oil fields to a Haifa oil hub, from there it could be loaded into supertankers. The pipeline would be protected against terrorists by Israeli`s settlers who would build towns and roads along the path of the pipeline. No longer will the industrial powers suffer from the anxiety of losing control of Middle-Eastern oil. 14th centuries cultures would then be at peace, they no longer would be fighting to own oil they cannot use.

    • Randy

      Extra, Extra, read all about it!
      Israel, soon to become:
      "The Middle East's New Energy Giant"
      The significance of Israel's natural gas deposits:

      • MixMChess

        One can only hope, anything to wean us off Arab oil and stop the funding of the Arab lobby.

      • ziontruth

        Already coveted by the Arab imperialists. Hezbollah (the state of Lebanon, but let's not kid ourselves who's in charge) insist that those deposits are in Lebanese territory. And why not? I mean, if Palestine doesn't belong to the Jews but to some cooked-up "nation," then surely claiming the natural gas deposits for Lebanon is peanuts.

        There will be the usual Israeli Leftist suspects who will shout, "No war for gas!", but I think Israeli Jews in general will be a lot less sympathetic to that slogan than Americans. For America has its own oil to extract (which Obamarx doesn't permit–but don't let that prevent someone like Medved from saying there's no evidence he wishes to weaken America), but Israel here has gotten its chance in a million and a gift from HaShem to support us in troubled times.

  • morristhewise

    After Gadhafi steps down thousands of his henchmen will be out of a job. Most are members of his security forces who have been raping , robbing, and pillaging for over 40 years. They must be arrested, hanged, and buried in unmarked graves, it would set an example for others who take orders from brutal dictators.