Nous n’avons pas créé une révolution pour faire baisser le prix du melon. Khomeiny
Nos peuples et sociétés doivent comprendre que leur principal ennemi à l ‘étranger est les Etats-unis et la bande sioniste et que leur principal ennemi intérieur est Israël. Tout le monde doit tenir compte de cela et doit être conscient que tel est l’ennemi qui nous guette au sein de la société du Moyen-Orient. Yussuf Al-Qaradawi (Le Caire)
Les Saoudiens et les Libyens constituent le plus gros des contingents de terroristes étrangers qui sont entrés en Irak de juillet 2006 à août 2007. C’est ce que vient de révéler une étude rendue publique sur Internet par le Combating Terrorist Center (CTC), de la célèbre université américaine West Point. (…) Sur les 595 dossiers cités dans cette étude, 244 étrangers viennent d’Arabie Saoudite, ce qui représente 41%. La Libye avec 112 combattants, ce qui représente 18,8%, vient en seconde position. Ces deux pays sont suivis par la Syrie qui vient en troisième position avec 49 terroristes, soit 8,2%, puis le Yémen avec 48 terroristes, soit 8,1%. (…) il est souligné l’importance du contingent de terroristes libyens qui a toujours été sous-estimé dans les précédents rapports. Abordant le volet inhérent aux villes d’origine des terroristes, l’étude relève que sur les 591 dossiers, 440 contenaient des informations sur les quartiers et les villes des différents contingents qui ont rejoint l’Irak. 52 terroristes viennent de Darnah en Libye, 51 de Ryadh en Arabie Saoudite, 43 autres de la ville libyenne de Benghazi … Vitaminedz
But this dogma begs any number of questions and looks more like wishful thinking rather than a sober understanding of reality. In the past, we have liberated oppressed Muslims in the Balkans, oppressed Muslims in Kuwait, oppressed Muslims in Afghanistan, oppressed Muslims in Iraq, and now we’re going to liberate (maybe) oppressed Muslims in Libya. And how much goodwill has that bought us in the Muslim world? Did liberating millions of Shiites from a murderous tyrant in Iraq make Shiite Iran stop regarding us as the Great Satan? Of course not. We have to free ourselves from this curiously arrogant assumption that the whole world determines its policies and beliefs simply in reaction to what we do. Muslims have a religious worldview and sensibility that condition their actions and interests, and we must understand those spiritual beliefs in their own terms rather than reducing them to the materialist determinism that dominates our thinking. As the Ayatollah Khomeini said, he didn’t start an Islamist revolution to lower the price of melons
According to a Stratfor report, jihadist personnel files captured in Iraq revealed that on a per capita basis, Libyans comprised the largest percentage of foreign insurgents, and 85% were suicide bombers. Finally, the majority of these fighters listed their hometowns in Libya as Darnah and Benghazi, the latter the de facto capital of the rebellion.
Events in Libya reveal once again the danger and hypocrisy of internationalist idealism. After all, murderously mad, illegitimate regimes are as common as flies, many of them much worse than Gaddafi. This means our interventions abroad must clearly be in the service of our own interests. But intervening in a civil war in service to other nations’ interests and our own misplaced idealism — without a clear knowledge of the rebels’ aims, or a reasonable estimation of what sort of regime will be in place when the smoke clears — endangers those interests and puts at risk our national security. Bruce Thornton
In the new Middle East multilateralism, America supplies the firepower, Europeans the policy and high profile, Arabs the public cover, and the international community the legitimacy — as long as the campaigning is brief, the losses small, and the rebels supposedly somewhat Western in outlook. But no one yet has told us why we must not “meddle” in Iran, must ignore the Saudis going into Bahrain, should continue “outreach” with Assad, must support the ouster of Mubarak and Ben Ali, but are so far mum about further challenges to pro-American authoritarians in the Gulf and Jordan.
There is no longer a “war on terror,” and we are to understand that its former components — tribunals, renditions, preventative detention, Guantanamo, Predator assassinations, Iraq, the Patriot Act, wiretapping, and intercepts — were as subversive to the Constitution under Bush as they are essential to our security under Obama. Whatever happened to the impending civilian trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Victor Davis Hanson
Dans une interview au journal italien Il Sole 24 Or, [le leader de la rebellion libyenne] M. al-Hasidi a admis qu’il avait recruté « environ 25 hommes » de la région de Derna, dans l’Est de la Libye, pour lutter contre les troupes de la coalition en Irak. Certains d’entre eux, dit-il, sont « aujourd’hui sur les lignes de front dans Adjabiya ». M. al-Hasidi affirme que ses combattants « sont des patriotes et de bons musulmans, pas des terroristes », mais il a également ajouté que les « membres d’Al-Qaïda sont également de bons musulmans et se battent contre l’envahisseur ». Ses révélations ont eu lieu au moment même où le président tchadien Idriss Deby Itno annonçait qu’al-Qaeda avait réussi à piller des arsenaux militaires dans la zone contrôlée par les rebelles et acquis des armes telles que des missiles sol-air qui avaient ensuite été introduites illégalement dans leurs sanctuaires. M. al-Hasidi a admis qu’il avait déjà lutté contre « l’invasion étrangère » en Afghanistan, avant d’être « capturé en 2002 à Peshawar, au Pakistan ». Il a ensuite été remis aux États-Unis, puis détenu en Libye avant d’être libéré en 2008. The Telegraph (25.03.11)
Attention: une révolution peut en cacher une autre!
A l’heure où, grâce aux bombardements de nos armées et sous les acclamations générales, deux nouvelles villes auraient été reprises par les insurgés libyens …
En ces temps nouveaux où, dans le meilleur des mondes multilatéralistes comme le rappelle l’analyste militaire américain Victor Davis Hanson, « les Etats-Unis fournissent la puissance de feu, l’Europe la doctrine et les discours flamboyants, les Arabes la couverture publique et la communauté internationale la légitimité » …
Et où au nom de la libération des peuples nos forces militaires peuvent se permettre à peu près tout ce qui du temps de Cowboy Bush avait soulevé l’ire de nos médias soudain bien silencieux et indulgents …
Mais où l’on ne sait toujours pas pourquoi l’on doit fermer les yeux sur la situation des peuples iraniens, syriens, jordaniens ou du Golfe où comme au Bahrein les forces saoudites peuvent intervenir à leur guise …
Pendant que derrière leurs images et leurs téléjihadistes comme leurs fonds et à présent leur couverture militaire, les qataris tirent les ficelles de la révolution tout en continuant à désigner à la rue arabe les ennemis de toujours à savoir les Etats-Unis et la « bande sioniste », elle-même contrainte à la « retenue » contre les incessantes attaques palestiniennes …
Retour, avec le site d’intelligence militaire Stratfor, sur ces enjeux pétroliers ou électoraux étrangement absents de nos médias (même le décidément très enchainé palmipède que fête ce jour-même le NYT) et sans lesquels pourtant on ne comprend pas la passion soudaine de nos Sarkozy et Cameron aujourd’hui à l’avant-garde du mouvement.
Sans compter cette incroyable concentration de jihadistes (rien de moins, darwinisme stratégique oblige, que les fameux Al-Libby des campagnes d’Irak ou d’Afghanistan!) jusque-là tenus à bonne distance par Kadhafi mais que l’actuelle libération de la région de Benghazi semble sur le point de fournir en armes lourdes voire de libérer dans la nature …
Feb 24 2011
As George Friedman noted in his geopolitical weekly “Revolution and the Muslim World,” one aspect of the recent wave of revolutions we have been carefully monitoring is the involvement of militant Islamists, and their reaction to these events.
Militant Islamists, and specifically the subset of militant Islamists we refer to as jihadists, have long sought to overthrow regimes in the Muslim world. With the sole exception of Afghanistan, they have failed, and even the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan was really more a matter of establishing a polity amid a power vacuum than the true overthrow of a coherent regime. The brief rule of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council in Somalia also occurred amid a similarly chaotic environment and a vacuum of authority.
However, even though jihadists have not been successful in overthrowing governments, they are still viewed as a threat by regimes in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In response to this threat, these regimes have dealt quite harshly with the jihadists, and strong crackdowns combined with other programs have served to keep the jihadists largely in check.
As we watch the situation unfold in Libya, there are concerns that unlike Tunisia and Egypt, the uprising in Libya might result not only in a change of ruler but also in a change of regime and perhaps even a collapse of the state. In Egypt and Tunisia, strong military regimes were able to ensure stability after the departure of a long-reigning president. By contrast, in Libya, longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi has deliberately kept his military and security forces fractured and weak and thereby dependent on him. Consequently, there may not be an institution to step in and replace Gadhafi should he fall. This means energy-rich Libya could spiral into chaos, the ideal environment for jihadists to flourish, as demonstrated by Somalia and Afghanistan.
Because of this, it seems an appropriate time to once again examine the dynamic of jihadism in Libya.
A Long History
Libyans have long participated in militant operations in places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq. After leaving Afghanistan in the early 1990s, a sizable group of Libyan jihadists returned home and launched a militant campaign aimed at toppling Gadhafi, whom they considered an infidel. The group began calling itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 1995, and carried out a low-level insurgency that included assassination attempts against Gadhafi and attacks against military and police patrols.
Gadhafi responded with an iron fist, essentially imposing martial law in the Islamist militant strongholds of Darnah and Benghazi and the towns of Ras al-Helal and al-Qubbah in the Jabal al-Akhdar region. After a series of military crackdowns, Gadhafi gained the upper hand in dealing with his Islamist militant opponents, and the insurgency tapered off by the end of the 1990s. Many LIFG members fled the country in the face of the government crackdown and a number of them ended up finding refuge with groups like al Qaeda in places such as Afghanistan.
While the continued participation of Libyan men in fighting on far-flung battlefields was not expressly encouraged by the Libyan government, it was tacitly permitted. The Gadhafi regime, like other countries in the region, saw exporting jihadists as a way to rid itself of potential problems. Every jihadist who died overseas was one less the government had to worry about. This policy did not take into account the concept of “tactical Darwinism,” which means that while the United States and its coalition partners will kill many fighters, those who survive are apt to be strong and cunning. The weak and incompetent have been weeded out, leaving a core of hardened, competent militants. These survivors have learned tactics for survival in the face of superior firepower and have learned to manufacture and effectively employ new types of highly effective improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
In a Nov. 3, 2007, audio message, al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri reported that the LIFG had formally joined the al Qaeda network. This statement came as no real surprise, given that members of the group have long been close to al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Moreover, the core al Qaeda group has long had a large number of Libyan cadre in its senior ranks, including men such as Abu Yahya al-Libi, Anas al-Libi, Abu Faraj al-Libi (who reportedly is being held by U.S. forces at Guantanamo Bay) and Abu Laith al-Libi, who was killed in a January 2008 unmanned aerial vehicle strike in Pakistan.
The scope of Libyan participation in jihadist efforts in Iraq became readily apparent with the September 2007 seizure of a large batch of personnel files from an al Qaeda safe-house in the Iraqi city of Sinjar. The Sinjar files were only a small cross-section of all the fighters traveling to Iraq to fight with the jihadists, but they did provide a very interesting snapshot. Of the 595 personnel files recovered, 112 of them were of Libyans. This number is smaller than the 244 Saudi citizens represented in the cache, but when one considers the overall size of the population of the two countries, the Libyan contingent represented a far larger percentage on a per capita basis. The Sinjar files suggested that a proportionally higher percentage of Libyans was engaged in the fighting in Iraq than their brethren from other countries in the region.
Another interesting difference was noted in the job-description section of the Sinjar files. Of those Libyan men who listed their intended occupation in Iraq, 85 percent of them listed it as suicide bomber and only 13 percent listed fighter. By way of comparison, only 50 percent of the Saudis listed their occupation as suicide bomber. This indicates that the Libyans tended to be more radical than their Saudi counterparts. Moroccans appeared to be the most radical, with more than 91 percent of them apparently desiring to become suicide bombers.
The Libyan government’s security apparatus carefully monitored those Libyans who passed through the crucible of fighting on the battlefield in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and then returned to Libya. Tripoli took a carrot-and-stick approach to the group similar to that implemented by the Saudi regime. As a result, the LIFG and other jihadists were unable to pose a serious threat to the Gadhafi regime, and have remained very quiet in recent years. In fact, they were for the most part demobilized and rehabilitated.
Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam oversaw the program to rehabilitate LIFG militants, which his personal charity managed. The regime’s continued concern over the LIFG was clearly demonstrated early on in the unrest when it announced that it would continue the scheduled release from custody of LIFG fighters.
The Sinjar reports also reflected that more than 60 percent of the Libyan fighters had listed their home city as Darnah and almost 24 percent had come from Benghazi. These two cities are in Libya’s east and happen to be places where some of the most intense anti-Gadhafi protests have occurred in recent days. Arms depots have been looted in both cities, and we have seen reports that at least some of those doing the looting appeared to have been organized Islamists.
A U.S. State Department cable drafted in Tripoli in June 2008 made available by WikiLeaks talked about this strain of radicalism in Libya’s east. The cable, titled “Die Hard in Derna,” was written several months after the release of the report on the Sinjar files. Derna is an alternative transliteration of Darnah, and “Die Hard” was a reference to the Bruce Willis character in the Die Hard movie series, who always proved hard for the villains to kill. The author of the cable, the U.S. Embassy’s political and economic officer, noted that many of the Libyan fighters who returned from fighting in transnational jihad battlefields liked to settle in places like Darnah due to the relative weakness of the security apparatus there. The author of the cable also noted his belief that the presence of these older fighters was having an influence on the younger men of the region, who were becoming radicalized, and the result was that Darnah had become “a wellspring of foreign fighters in Iraq.” He also noted that some 60 to 70 percent of the young men in the region were unemployed or underemployed.
Finally, the author opined that many of these men were viewing the fight in Iraq as a way to attack the United States, which they saw as supporting the Libyan regime in recent years. This is a concept jihadists refer to as attacking the far enemy and seems to indicate an acceptance of the transnational version of jihadist ideology — as does the travel of men to Iraq to fight and the apparent willingness of Libyans to serve as suicide bombers.
Trouble on the Horizon?
This deep streak of radicalism in eastern Libya brings us back to the beginning. While it seems unlikely at this point that the jihadists could somehow gain control of Libya, if Gadhafi falls and there is a period of chaos in Libya, these militants may find themselves with far more operating space inside the country than they have experienced in decades. If the regime does not fall and there is civil war between the eastern and western parts of the country, they could likewise find a great deal of operational space amid the chaos. Even if Gadhafi, or an entity that replaces him, is able to restore order, due to the opportunity the jihadists have had to loot military arms depots, they have suddenly found themselves more heavily armed than they have ever been inside their home country. And these heavily armed jihadists could pose a substantial threat of the kind that Libya has avoided in recent years.
Given this window of opportunity, the LIFG could decide to become operational again, especially if the regime they have made their deal with unexpectedly disappears. However, even should the LIFG decide to remain out of the jihad business as an organization, there is a distinct possibility that it could splinter and that the more radical individuals could cluster together to create a new group or groups that would seek to take advantage of this suddenly more permissive operational environment. Of course, there are also jihadists in Libya unaffiliated with LIFG and not bound by the organization’s agreements with the regime.
The looting of the arms depots in Libya is also reminiscent of the looting witnessed in Iraq following the dissolution of the Iraqi army in the face of the U.S. invasion in 2003. That ordnance not only was used in thousands of armed assaults and indirect fire attacks with rockets and mortars, but many of the mortar and artillery rounds were used to fashion powerful IEDs. This concept of making and employing IEDs from military ordnance will not be foreign to the Libyans who have returned from Iraq (or Afghanistan, for that matter).
This bodes ill for foreign interests in Libya, where they have not had the same security concerns in recent years that they have had in Algeria or Yemen. If the Libyans truly buy into the concept of targeting the far enemy that supports the state, it would not be out of the realm of possibility for them to begin to attack multinational oil companies, foreign diplomatic facilities and even foreign companies and hotels.
While Seif al-Islam, who certainly has political motives to hype such a threat, has mentioned this possibility, so have the governments of Egypt and Italy. Should Libya become chaotic and the jihadists become able to establish an operational base amid the chaos, Egypt and Italy will have to be concerned about not only refugee problems but also the potential spillover of jihadists. Certainly, at the very least the weapons looted in Libya could easily be sold or given to jihadists in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, turning militancy in Libya into a larger regional problem. In a worst-case scenario, if Libya experiences a vacuum of power, it could become the next Iraq or Pakistan, a gathering place for jihadists from around the region and the world. The country did serve as such a base for a wide array of Marxist and rejectionist terrorists and militants in the 1970s and 1980s.
It will be very important to keep a focus on Libya in the coming days and weeks — not just to see what happens to the regime but also to look for indicators of the jihadists testing their wings.
Terrorism/SecurityScott StewartLibyaSecurity Weekly
The Libyan War: Full Coverage
Special Series: Europe’s Libya Intervention
March 25, 2011
Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a four-part series publishing in the next few days that examines the motives and mindset behind current European intervention in Libya. We began with an overview and now follow with an examination of the positions put forth by the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Russia. Our next installment publishes Monday, March 28.
France and the United Kingdom have led the charge on the intervention in Libya. For a month, both pushed the international community toward an intervention, ultimately penning U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 authorizing the no-fly zone on March 17.
Paris’ and London’s interests in waging war on Libya are not the same, and Libya carries different weight with each. For the United Kingdom, Libya offers a promise of energy exploitation. It is not a country with which London has a strong client-patron relationship at the moment, but one could develop if Moammar Gadhafi were removed from power. For France, Tripoli already is a significant energy exporter and arms customer. Paris’ interest in intervening is also about intra-European politics.
Paris has been the most vociferous supporter of the Libya intervention. French President Nicolas Sarkozy made it his mission to gather an international coalition to wage war on Libya, and France has been at the vanguard of recognizing the legitimacy of the Benghazi-based rebels.
French interests in the Libya intervention fall into two categories: domestic politics and intra-European relations.
The domestic political story is fairly straightforward. At the onset of the unrest in the Middle East, Paris stalled on recognizing the protesters as legitimate. In fact, then-French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie offered the Tunisian government official help in dealing with the protesters. Three days later, longtime Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country. It was revealed later that Alliot-Marie spent her Christmas vacation in Tunisia; during the trip, she used the private jet of a businessman close to the Ben Ali regime, and her parents were negotiating a business deal with the same businessman. Needless to say, the whole episode was highly embarrassing for Paris both internationally and domestically, and Sarkozy was essentially forced to fire Alliot-Marie and replace her with the veteran Alain Juppe. Additionally, Paris has its own Muslim population to consider, including a sizable Tunisian minority — though nowhere near as large as its Algerian minority — of around 600,000 people. This audience had a particularly negative reaction to Paris’ handling of the revolution in Tunisia.
The French intervention is more than just overcompensation for an initially disastrous handling of what Europe now perceives as a groundswell of agitation for democracy in the Arab world. Rather, Sarkozy has a history of using aggressive foreign relation moves to gain or maintain popularity at home. In August 2008, for example, he attempted and succeeded in negotiating a Russo-Georgian cease-fire without being invited to be a peacemaker. After the September 2008 financial crash, he called for a new “Bretton Woods.” While to the rest of the world “Super Sarko” seems impulsive and perhaps even arrogant, at home these moves boost his popularity, at least among his existing supporters. Sarkozy could use such a boost, as the French presidential election is barely more than a year away and he is trailing not just the likely Socialist candidate, but also far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. His supporters are beginning to gravitate toward Le Pen, who has worked hard to smooth over her father’s hard-right image. This could prompt Sarkozy’s party to choose a different candidate before it is too late, particularly as his own prime minister, Francois Fillon, gains ground.
There is more at play for France than just domestic politics, however. France also is reasserting its role as the most militarily capable European power. This has become particularly important because of developments in the European Union over the past 12 months. Ever since the eurozone sovereign debt crisis began in December 2009 with the Greek economic imbroglio, Germany has sought to use the power of its purse to reshape EU institutions to its own liking. These are the same institutions France painstakingly designed throughout and immediately after the Cold War. They were intended to magnify French political power in Europe and later offer Berlin incentives that would lock united Germany into Europe in a way that also benefited Paris.
Germany has worked to keep France appraised of the reforms every step of the way, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel huddling with Sarkozy before every major decision. However, this has not concealed the reality that Paris has had to take a backseat and accept most of Germany’s decisions as a fait accompli, from the need to pursue severe austerity measures, which caused widespread rioting in France in October 2010, to largely giving Berlin control over the new bailout mechanisms being designed to support lagging eurozone member states. This shift has not gone unnoticed by the French public, and criticism has been leveled against Sarkozy of having been reduced to Merkel’s yes-man.
The intervention in Libya therefore is a way to reassert to Europe, but particularly to Germany, that France still leads the Continent on foreign and military affairs. It is a message that says if Europe intends to be taken seriously as a global power, it will need French military power. France’s close coordination with the United Kingdom also is an attempt to further develop the military alliance between London and Paris formalized on Nov. 2, 2010, as a counter to Germany’s overwhelming economic and political power in the European Union.
In asserting its strength, Paris may cause Berlin to become more assertive in its own right. With the very act of opposing the Franco-British consensus on Libya, Berlin already has shown a level of assertiveness and foreign policy independence not seen in some time. In a sense, France and the United Kingdom are replaying their 19th century roles of colonial European powers looking to project power and protect interests outside the European continent, while Berlin remains landlocked behind the Skagerrak and concentrates on building a Mitteleuropa.
As for interests in Libya, France has plenty, but its situation could be improved. French energy major Total SA is involved in Libya but not to the same extent as Italian ENI or even German Wintershall. Considering Libya’s plentiful and largely unexplored energy reserves, French energy companies could stand to profit from helping rebels take power in Tripoli. But it is really military sales that Paris has benefited from thus far. Between 2004 — when the European Union lifted its arms embargo against Libya — and 2011, Tripoli has purchased approximately half a billion dollars worth of arms from France, more than from any other country in Europe. However, the Italian government was in negotiation for more than a billion dollars worth of more deals in 2010, and it seemed that the Rome-Tripoli relationship was overtaking Paris’ efforts in Libya prior to the intervention.
London has not been as aggressive about pushing for the Libya intervention as France, but it still has been at the forefront of the coalition. For the United Kingdom, the domestic political component is not as strong as its energy interests.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government initially came under strong criticism for being slow to evacuate British nationals from Libya. Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and leader of the coalition Liberal Democratic Party, was on a ski vacation in Switzerland when the crisis in Libya began and later told a reporter he “forgot” he was running the country while Cameron was on a trip to the Persian Gulf states. Later, the rebels seized a Special Air Service diplomatic security team, dispatched on a diplomatic mission to establish contact with anti-Gadhafi forces in eastern Libya, because they did not announce their presence in the country.
Therefore, the United Kingdom is motivated to recover leadership of the intervention after an otherwise-bungled first few weeks of the unrest. There is also, as with most of the Western countries, a sense that decades of tolerating and profiting from Arab dictators has come to an end and that the people in the United Kingdom will no longer accept such actions.
London has another significant interest, namely, energy. British energy major BP has no production in Libya, although it agreed with Tripoli to drill onshore and offshore wells under a $1 billion deal signed in 2007. The negotiations on these concessions were drawn out but were finalized after the Scottish government decided to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on humanitarian grounds in August 2009. He was expected to die of prostate cancer within months of his release but presumably is still alive in Tripoli. The Labour government in power at the time came under heavy criticism for al-Megrahi’s release. British media speculated, not entirely unfairly, that the decision represented an effort to kick-start BP’s production in Libya and smooth relations between London and Tripoli. BP announced in 2009 that it planned to invest $20 billion in Libyan oil production over the next 20 years.
The May 2010 Macondo well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has made BP’s — and London’s — Libya strategy even more urgent. The United States accounted for a quarter of BP’s total hydrocarbon production in 2010. The disaster cost BP $17.7 billion worth of losses in 2010, and the company also has had to set up a $20 billion compensation fund. Estimates of potential further spill-related costs range between $38 billion and $60 billion, making BP’s future in the United States uncertain. The disaster also allowed BP’s competitors to complain about its potential future offshore operations, something Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini stressed, arguing that until the investigation into the Macondo well disaster is completed, BP should refrain from drilling off Libya’s shore in the Mediterranean Sea. The complaint was more than likely an attempt by ENI to complicate BP’s Libya operations by questioning its environmental record in North America.
Ultimately, London could gain the most by the removal of Gadhafi or winning the allegiance of a rebel-controlled government in some kind of semi-independent state in eastern Libya. With no oil production in Libya and arms sales that lag those of France and Italy by a considerable margin, the United Kingdom could substantially benefit from new leadership in Tripoli or even just Benghazi.
In sum, the United Kingdom and France have two main points to consider in terms of what would be an appropriate strategy to the current intervention. First, how palatable will it be for their publics if Gadhafi remained in power after the considerable vilification that justified the intervention in the first place? It is true that both Paris and London have in recent days stepped back from arguing that the military intervention is supposed to oust Gadhafi, but that tempered rhetoric may have been forced on them by criticism from within the coalition that they have overstepped the U.N. mandate. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said March 21 that the direct targeting of Gadhafi by coalition forces was a possibility.
Second, will France and the United Kingdom be satisfied with a solution in which Gadhafi withdraws to the west and rebels take control of the east? The United Kingdom and France could live with that solution because they would still benefit from their patronage of the eastern rebels in both new arms deals and energy deals in the oil-rich east. For Italy, the situation is more complex, as it would be left to deal with an indignant Gadhafi across the Mediterranean.
Next: Italy has far “more to lose” than anyone else involved in the American-European coalition. Italy’s business, energy and national security interests are directly impacted by what happens in Libya.
Les Saoudiens et les Libyens constituent le plus gros des contingents de terroristes étrangers qui sont entrés en Irak de juillet 2006 à août 2007. C’est ce que vient de révéler une étude rendue publique sur Internet par le Combating Terrorist Center (CTC), de la célèbre université américaine West Point.
L’étude contient des informations sur les terroristes qui ont rejoint l’Irak via la Syrie durant la période allant de juillet 2006 à août 2007. L’étude présente des dossiers sur ces terroristes étrangers, à savoir leurs pays et villes d’origine, leur âge, leur profession, les noms de leurs agents recruteurs et même l’itinéraire qu’ils ont pris pour rejoindre l’Irak. L’étude précise que les dossiers de ces terroristes ont été récupérés par les forces de la coalition en octobre 2007 suite à un raid près de la ville de Sinjar le long de la frontière avec la Syrie.
Dans ce rapport, le CTC révèle que la plupart des terroristes étrangers en Irak sont d’origine saoudienne. Sur les 595 dossiers cités dans cette étude, 244 étrangers viennent d’Arabie Saoudite, ce qui représente 41%. La Libye avec 112 combattants, ce qui représente 18,8%, vient en seconde position. Ces deux pays sont suivis par la Syrie qui vient en troisième position avec 49 terroristes, soit 8,2%, puis le Yémen avec 48 terroristes, soit 8,1%. Outre la Libye, deux autres pays du Maghreb sont cités dans cette étude. L’Algérie avec 43 terroristes, soit 7,2%, vient en cinquième position suivie en sixième position par le Maroc avec 36 terroristes, soit un pourcentage de 6,1. La Jordanie avec 11 terroristes, soit 1,9%, occupe la septième place.
Dans l’une des observations faites par le Combating Center, il est souligné l’importance du contingent de terroristes libyens qui a toujours été sous-estimé dans les précédents rapports. Abordant le volet inhérent aux villes d’origine des terroristes, l’étude relève que sur les 591 dossiers, 440 contenaient des informations sur les quartiers et les villes des différents contingents qui ont rejoint l’Irak. 52 terroristes viennent de Darnah en Libye, 51 de Ryadh en Arabie Saoudite, 43 autres de la ville libyenne de Benghazi et 21 terroristes de Casablanca au Maroc.
Contrairement aux idées reçues, le rapport souligne que la moyenne d’âge de ces terroristes se situe entre 24 et 25 ans. La majorité d’entre eux sont des universitaires. En grande partie, ce sont les opérations kamikazes qui leur sont confiées. Aussi, lit-on dans ce rapport que 56,3%, soit 217, sont des kamikazes et 1,8%, soit 6, sont chargés des volets juridiques, médiatiques et de la médecine.
Toujours selon ce même rapport qui cite une récente étude, sur 94 opérations kamikazes perpétrées en Irak, 44 étaient l’oeuvre de Saoudiens, 7 de Koweïtiens, 6 de Syriens et le reste de kamikazes originaires du Proche-Orient ou d’Afrique du Nord. L’étude précise que ce sont beaucoup plus les Marocains et les Libyens qui rallient les opérations kamikazes.
Enfin, le CTC a annoncé l’élaboration d’une étude plus approfondie sur les terroristes étrangers en Irak en 2008.
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham
25 Mar 2011
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited « around 25 » men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are « today are on the front lines in Adjabiya ».
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters « are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists, » but added that the « members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader ».
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, « including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries ».
Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against « the foreign invasion » in Afghanistan, before being « captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan ». He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.
US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.
Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military’s West Point academy has said the two share an « increasingly co-operative relationship ». In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG emmbers made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of « the stage of Islam » in the country.
British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for « Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya » had « shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese ».