One Libyan Rebel Commander Fought Alongside Al Qaeda And The Taliban
One of the common comments from critics of the intervention in Libya has been that we don’t even know who the rebels are. Well, now we’re starting to learn about them, and it’s not entirely good news:
Shortly after unrest broke out in eastern Libya in mid-February, reports emerged that an “Islamic Emirate” had been declared in the eastern Libyan town of Darnah and that, furthermore, the alleged head of that Emirate, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, was a former detainee at the American prison camp in Guantánamo. The reports, which originated from Libyan government sources, were largely ignored or dismissed in the Western media.
Now, however, al-Hasadi has admitted in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that he fought against American forces in Afghanistan. (Hat-tip: Thomas Joscelyn at the Weekly Standard.) Al-Hasadi says that he is the person responsible for the defense of Darnah — not the town’s “Emir.” In a previous interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail, he claimed to have a force of about 1,000 men and to have commanded rebel units in battles around the town of Bin Jawad.
“I have never been at Guantánamo,” al-Hasadi explained to Il Sole 24 Ore. “I was captured in 2002 in Peshawar in Pakistan, while I was returning from Afghanistan where I fought against the foreign invasion. I was turned over to the Americans, detained for a few months in Islamabad, then turned over to Libya and released from prison in 2008.”
There have been several reports that at least one element of the rebellion in Libya’s eastern regions included Islamists who had fought in Afghanistan, but we hadn’t had any confirmation of this until now. If this guy is among them, how likely is it that he’s the only one? Not very, I would think. Gaddafi is a horrid human being, but how’s it going to feel in a few years if he’s gone and replaced by something worse?
This is a huge mistake.