Libya: The New Al-Qaeda Stronghold

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank's work at his blog,www.politicallyunbalanced.com.


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One of the most serious and immediate problems facing the interim leaders of the NTC — absent a strong and unified national military force — is disbanding the disparate armed groups of former revolutionary fighters that are in charge of security in the areas they control. Thrown into that anarchic mix is the still active presence of armed militia brigades that once protected Gadhafi during the uprising.

The threat these groups pose to the security of the interim government is being witnessed in the increasing frequency in which these groups are engaging each other in armed conflict.

The most recent of these fights took place 50 miles south of the capital of Tripoli when fighters from the town of Gharyan engaged in machine gun and rocket attacks with a militia from al-Asabia, 10 miles to the southwest, an encounter which left several dead and wounded.

That firefight had been preceded days earlier in a battle in the center of Tripoli between the militias from Tripoli and those from the Libyan city of Misrata, a confrontation which left at least four fighters dead.

The severity of that fight led Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, the head of the NTC, to worry it could lead “into a civil war.” That feeling was equally shared by Mohammed al-Gressa, a Misrata military council member, who said “I am not optimistic because blood has been spilled. I feel this looks like a civil war.”

To avoid that fate, the NTC has recently announced plans to spend $8 billion to reintegrate fighters into civil life in an effort, according to Moustafa al-Sagizli, head of Libya’s Warriors Affairs Committee, “to ease their transition from the fighting environment into society to build and develop the country.”

According to al-Sagizli, over 200,000 fighters from all over Libya are expected to sign up for the committee’s programs, including those fighting on the front lines and guarding oil fields and other vital facilities.

While al-Sagizli may be confident of the program’s potential for success, those soldiers currently serving in the fledgling Libyan national army are less so, complaining that militia groups were not interested in joining a new national army. As one Libyan soldier said, “The revolutionaries don’t want to join an organized military. They want to keep their current situation.”

In fact, the NTC may be better served to use some of the $8 billion it has earmarked for recalcitrant rebels to instead pay current Libyan army soldiers. In particular, a protest was recently held in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi by hundreds of Libyan soldiers demanding that they be paid three months’ worth of back wages.

Unfortunately, the unsettling prospect of sectarian civil war comes just as the NTC has finally proposed a draft law for electing by June a 200-member assembly to draft a new constitution, the first step to setting up a new government.

So, in a desperate effort to establish a central military authority on the ground to provide security before the June election, the NTC has pushed ahead with its announced efforts in December to have a working army and police force up and running in 100 days,

To that end, the NTC, in early January appointed Youssef Mangoush the new military’s chief of staff, a former Special Forces commander under Gadhafi. However, his appointment was met with instant disapproval from two armed groups in eastern Libya which said they will not accept Mangoush as commander-in-chief given his former service to the Gadhafi regime.

Undeterred by that rebuff, Mangoush said he hopes to train some 25,000 soldiers in the next several months, the first phase in building “a modern army.” While Mangoush did not say when that long-term plan would be complete, the commander of the Libyan national army, General Khalifa Hifter, said it would take at least three to five years.

By that time — with warring militias and a strengthened al-Qaeda presence — that modernized Libyan national army may find there is nothing to left to defend.

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  • UCSPanther

    After being ruled by a madman for over 40 years, the Asylum we all know as Libya is going to be taken over by a new pack of lunatics.

    • Critic

      Ghadaffi aligned with the America during the war on terror and now America has replaced him with Al Qaeda. I look forward to seeing what will come of this enlightened new policy.

  • GreenLibyaFighter

    idiot>UCSPanter. the only madman in libya was the USA.

    • UCSPanther

      Well, well, well. Looks like we have a member from one of the factions of inmates trying to take over Libya.

      Either that, or a Gaddafi loyalist who is lost because his leader was wasted in a drainage ditch outside of Sirte.

      • Critic

        A black American president who bombs an American ally in order to help black-hating (look up the "Brigade to Purge Slaves, Black Skins in the WSJ), anti-American (sent more Jihadists to fight the Americans in Iraq per-capita than any other region in the Arab world) Al Quaeda rebels is clearly even more of a madman than an idiot like Ghadaffi who gave up his WMDs and cooperated with Bush.

        • mrbean

          Maybe the black American president is realy a clandestine hating whitey muslim who is trying to destroy western civilization?

  • LindaRivera

    Gaddafi was reformed and cooperating fully with the US and other Western powers. Gaddafi had his picture taken many times with American, British and European leaders. Gaddafi referred to President Obama as his son. Why did US/NATO go to war against Gaddafi and Libya? Gaddafi was fighting against Al-Qaeda.

    Frontpagemag: Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the commander of the U.S. European Command told the U.S. Senate
    that Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah fighters are among the Libyan rebels
    currently receiving support from the US and its NATO allies. This was
    confirmed by one of the Libyan rebel officers, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, who leads one of the Al-Qaeda units.
    (US Aid to Israel’s Enemies, Oct 13th, 2011, frontpagemag)

    U.S/NATO joined with Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah terrorists to wage relentless war for months. Bombing Libya back to the stone age.
    Barbaric Al Qaeda and Hezbollah who MURDER our troops in Iraq were considered desirable for placing in power in Libya. Making the world a safer place for Muslim terrorists. US/NATO have great guilt in making the world a far more dangerous place.

  • LindaRivera

    UK DAILY MAIL
    7,000 held in Libya's new reign of fear and torture.

    UN raises concerns of torture and ill-treatment
    Many held simply because they have darker skin

    By Tom Leonard
    24th November 2011

    Thousands of people including women and children are being held illegally and tortured by rebels who helped oust Colonel Gaddafi, according to a UN report. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2065570/7

    President Obama cited the new military doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” as a justification for bombing Libya. The new military doctrine is extremely frightening for the world's innocents.

    Blacks were SAFE under Gaddafi and did not live under a reign of terror !
    Horrifying atrocities and genocide of Blacks by anti-Gaddafi forces has been going on for many months. ALL of this was made possible by US/NATO who waged war for many months and won the war for anti-Gaddafi rebels. US/NATO are RESPONSIBLE for rescuing the many thousands of terrified Black men, women and children held captive by cruel monsters. US/NATO must not be so ruthless as to ignore the terrible suffering their military intervention has created. God help the Black people!

  • LindaRivera

    There is mostly silence about the horrors taking place against Libya's blacks.
    STOP the GENOCIDE of Blacks by the U.S. backed cruel anti-Gaddafi Libya rebels!

    The Obama-supported rebels left in charge are now conducting a “large scale cleaning in the areas under their control with the extermination of all blacks in the capital”, according to The Independent.

    Barbaric atrocities, kidnappings and ruthless genocide of blacks in Libya by US/France/NATO backed Al-Qaeda/Hezbollah rebels has been going on for many months.

    Blacks must have human rights!
    STOP THE GENOCIDE!

  • LindaRivera

    The Jerusalem Post
    Rights group condemns Libya visit by Sudan's Bashir
    By REUTERS
    01/07/2012 18:59

    Sudanese President al-Bashir, wanted by the ICC for orchestrating Darfur genocide, pays an official visit to Libya.

    TRIPOLI – Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges, arrived in Libya on Saturday, drawing criticism from a human rights group.

    Bashir, wanted by The Hague-based court on charges of orchestrating genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, was met by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of Libya's ruling National Transitional Council, at Tripoli airport.

    Abdul Jalil, who visited Khartoum in November, has said Sudanese weapons and ammunition helped Libya's former rebels oust Muammar Gaddafi last year and take control of the North African country.

    Relations between Khartoum and Tripoli were strained during Gaddafi's rule because of his support for rebels in Sudan's western Darfur region and in South Sudan, which gained independence in July under a 2005 peace deal. http://www.jpost.com/VideoArticles/Video/Article….

    Gaddafi was AGAINST the genocide in Sudan and SUPPORTED the innocent Black Muslim and Christian victims of barbaric atrocities and genocide perpetrated by Sudan's Arab Muslim Bashir.

    Gaddafi was hunted down by NATO, enabling his capture. He was then violently sexually and physically attacked and murdered by anti-Gaddafi Muslims. On youtube. Pictures of Qaddafi's son, captured at the same time showed Qaddafi's son sitting up, very much alive. His murdered body was later displayed next to his father. His other son has been captured. It has been reported he is being "interrogated". Only God knows what the barbarians are doing to him.

    • Ghostwriter

      To me,Gaddafi was a monster who deserved what he got. I'm not shedding any tears for him.

      • LindaRivera

        This was an IMMORAL war that US/NATO fought on the side of our barbaric ENEMIES! The US/NATO war produced terrible suffering and horrific atrocities on MANY THOUSANDS of innocents by anti-Gaddafi Muslim monsters.

        Human rights investigations
        evidence-based, independent and rigorous investigation of human rights abuses
        Libyan rebel ethnic cleansing and lynching of black people

        Posted on July 7, 2011 by HRI Mark
        http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2011/07/07/l

        Click on the above link. Absolutely horrifying. All made possible because of the totally unprovoked, illegal US/NATO war. Shocking ongoing barbaric atrocities and genocide of Blacks by the US backed Muslim rebels has been going on for several months. Under Gaddafi, Blacks lived in safety. G-D help them.

        "the brigade for purging slaves, black skin"
        - slogan seen painted in rebel country.

  • 9-11 Infidel

    One of the largest factions that were killing our troops in Iraq came from the very places where the Libyan civil war began. So, we helped our enemies kill our enemy who we had under control. More R2P nonsense? Ghaddafi was a scum bag who deserved what he got. But who are you replacing him with? Trading one secular Marxist dictator for an Islamic one? Yeah..that's exactly right. There is no good outcome here.

  • 9-11 Infidel

    "The Libyan revolution has not been kind to Mahmud al-Arabi. Last March, forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi ransacked his grocery store in Zuwara after he fled to Tunisia, stealing about $6,000 worth of supplies. When he returned in September, facing mounting debts, al-Arabi turned to selling beer and liquor — an illegal enterprise in a country where alcohol has been banned for four decades. His new business drew the attention of Islamist rebels who helped to overthrow Gaddafi. After they threatened the store's landlord, they blew up Arabi's shop. Out of money and out of work, Arabi spends his days in his trailer home lamenting the turn his country has taken. Says he, "I got nothing but suffering from this revolution." He concludes by saying:
    "I just want my life back," he pleads. "I fought in the mountains here against Gaddafi. My payback is blowing up my shop, – Steven Sotloff for Time 1/18/2012