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.

H/T: Steve Hynd on Twitter

FILED UNDER: Africa, Terrorism, World Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    This is the most legitimate point of attack against this policy.

    I’ve thought the “shoulda sooner” argument was stupid, and the “this is another Iraq” argument was overblown, and the “we’re just following the French” argument was ignorant and clueless and the “why isn’t everything flawlessly organized” argument was just partisan nonsense.

    But this is a key issue. Are we just trading thugs? And are we trading down?

    That’s a big question. I’d love to believe that we have some assurances on this. After all, Egyptian intelligence must be all over this. But we’ve bought lines of “freedom-loving” b.s. before.

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    It’s not so much a matter of the freedum luvin’ crowd as it is one of strategic myopia.

    When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. We (meaning the U.S.) no longer have th

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    It’s a problem of imperial mindset and strategic myopia.

    When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. We (meaning the U.S.) no longer have the capability for influencing others via soft power channels. Dollar diplomacy is over because we’re broke, and we’ve squandered what goodwill was left from the end of the Cold War.

    What we do have left to us is a big military, so every problem looks like it has a military solution. Regardless of the subtlties, such as who the rebels really are, we continue to insist on Doing something.

  4. Ben Wolf says:

    Oops, duplicate post.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    We (meaning the U.S.) no longer have the capability for influencing others via soft power channels. Dollar diplomacy is over because we’re broke, and we’ve squandered what goodwill was left from the end of the Cold War.

    I disagree with that on the grounds that we just assembled a pretty large coalition, got the Chinese and Russians (is it only me who has to stop himself from writing “Soviets?”) to let a UNSC resolution through, and one hopes, got the neighbors signed on. And we did it in days, not even weeks. That’s big league diplomacy and big time “soft power.”

  6. Ben Wolf says:


    I don’t mean in terms of assembling coalitions, I mean in terms of our ability to influence specific goverments. China has had much greater influence with countries like Iraq, Iran and Libya because China has a fat wallet they’re willing to open to get their way. Our reflexive response to problems with these countries is to flex milItary muscle, because that’s about all we have left.

    It’s pretty clear the Obama Administration signed on to the intervention pushed by Britain and France because the President and his advisors think it is a chance to demonstrate to the world our good intentions. I am suggesting they think military power is a good solution because they have no other options, not because military intervention is the optimal response.

  7. For more on this go to
    We thought it was odd that Obama kept saying ‘We don’t know who the rebels are.’ Sure. Real funny. Another scam.
    This is UN Agenda 21.
    They (NATO nations) contract with Al-Qaida to start a rebellion in Libya, we pay for it. If you’ve read John Loftus’ books regarding the Nazi/British creation of Al-Qaida in Africa (Hitler trained the forces), you know that between the CIA, the British intelligence and others, these rebels for hire have been created to manipulate the political situation in the Middle East.
    We will pay.
    Oil-rich countries who won’t play ball are destroyed and rebuilt in the Agenda 21 model. Coalition government controlled by facilitators; kind of like your local council.
    Iraq? Same story.
    Afghanistan? Same story.
    They don’t have the lights on or the water running in Bagdad, but you can bet the oil is flowing.
    You read 1984, right? Eternal war. Orwell had it right.
    Hey. Sustainability is just the green mask. The oil guys are still running everything, and they’ll run the cap and trade/alternative energy/smart transportation and they’ll still get government subsidies for everything.
    Go with the flow. Of money. Of oil. Of whatever they can get. Oh, they were so concerned about humanitarian violations? Where were they with Rwanda? No oil.
    Tibet? No oil.
    Kosovo? That was drugs. Yep, 90% of the world’s heroin goes right through Kosovo. It was a drug war. So is Afghanistan…it’s a two-fer.
    UN Agenda 21 is really the ruse. Even what they say it is isn’t it. What it really is–is that there is a dictatorship, a world dictatorship in place RIGHT NOW. No benevolent dictator. Nope.
    Put all the small private companies and businesses under, give subsidies to the guys who play ball, create more and more government entitlement programs (and you’ll need em, baby), and then, when you’re good and hooked, when you’ve been out of work for 5 years, when you’re watching Who’s Dancing With My Wife, and smoking your legal spliff, they’ll cut the programs. Poverty will be the world wide norm. And no one’s going to feel sorry for you, brother, since you’ve had it good for too long.
    So says UN Agenda 21.
    You know what?
    All this anxiety crap about how the planet is being destroyed is the way for programs that you would never agree to, to be implemented. This is the world’s biggest public relations scam ever. Manipulation, fear-mongering–it’s the justification for big government grants, and new regulatons, and ultimately the regionalization/globalization/one world government. And they say we’re fear-mongering.
    Talk to your kids. They’re being brainwashed.

  8. Jamie Smith says:

    And the Americans want to arm them. Look what happened the last time they did that in Afghanistan and now they are getting their arses kicked with the weapons they sold the Mujahadeen.

    All these uprisings have a hardcore conservative Islamic basis to them, the reason they overthrew their dictators in the first place was because they were Western Puppets. We’re now looking at a future with Anti-Western pro Islamic democracies in the middle east in which Al-Qaeda and other Militant groups play a part.

    The West, in particular the “Team America” should stop trying to police the world and look after their own backyard. If things like 9/11 happen again America will have brought it on themselves.

  9. gasso says:

    There is no such thing as good Muslim. Islamic law oppresses women in a horrific manner. If you support this kind of religion, you cannot claim to be good.