March 20, 2011
Statements of support for Libya’s revolution by al-Qaeda and leading Islamists have led to fears that military action by the West might be playing into the hands of its ideological enemies.
WikiLeaks cables, independent analysts and reporters have all identified supporters of Islamist causes among the opposition to Col Gaddafi’s regime, particularly in the towns of Benghazi and Dernah.
An al-Qaeda leader of Libyan origin, Abu Yahya al-Libi, released a statement backing the insurrection a week ago, while Yusuf Qaradawi, the Qatar-based, Muslim Brotherhood-linked theologian issued a fatwa authorising Col Gaddafi’s military entourage to assassinate him.
But they also agree that the leading roles in the revolution are played by a similar cross-section of society as that in Egypt next door – liberals, nationalists, those with personal experience of regime brutality and Islamists who subscribe to democratic principles.
The WikiLeaks cables, initially revealed by The Daily Telegraph and dating from 2008, identified Dernah in particular as a breeding ground for fighters in a number of causes, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
This article was posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 5:40 am