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Anorak | Libya – The War: Allies Are Fighting For Al Qaeda And Other Good Eggs

Libya – The War: Allies Are Fighting For Al Qaeda And Other Good Eggs

by | 24th, March 2011

LIBYA – The war :  The good news for Gaddafi is that just with the war without meaning a week old, it’s bene kicked off the front pages by news that petrol prices are still high (Daily Mail) , Elizabeth Taylor has died (everyone) , Alan Titchmarsh has bulbs for sale (Daily Express) , there another march by those with State-worker pensions to end “Tory Cuts” (Daily Mirror) , a photo of Ashley Cole spitting (Daily Star) and the i’s insightful headline: Why it’s ok to like eggs again .”

Meanwhile, you might laugh that despite this tabloid’s assertion that the Brits are in charge of the German-style blitz , no-one is:

FRANCE, Britain and the US have agreed NATO should play a “key role” in the command of military operations in Libya, but uncertainty remains about who will lead coalition forces.

But we are fighting al Qaeda. Oops! Sorry. We meant to say that the fascist rebels we are supporting might be backed by Al Qaeda, those other Nazis. Might it that Gaddafi is the rebel here, cocking his snook at the West and the Islamists?

The West Point study of the Sinjar Records calculates that of the 440 foreign al-Qaeda recruits whose home towns are known, 21 came from Benghazi, thereby making it the fourth most common home town listed in the records. Fifty-three of the al-Qaeda recruits came from Darnah, the highest total of any of the home towns listed in the records. The second highest number, 51, came from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But Darnah (80,000) has less than two per cent the population of Riyadh. So Darnah contributed “far and away the largest per capita number of fighters”.

And then there was the leaked cable:

* Sermons in eastern mosques, particularly the Friday ‘khutba’, are laced with “coded phrases” urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere through direct participation or financial contributions.

The full cable is below:

As we asked : who will the rebels kill when they win?

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) accused Gaddafi of hiring African mercenaries and ordering aircraft to fire on protestors, the SITE Intelligence Group reported.

And, as we told you: Gaddafi Has Already Won The War In Libya.

Viewing cable 08TRIPOLI120, EXTREMISM IN EASTERN LIBYA

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin

08TRIPOLI120 2008-02-15 12:12 2011-01-31 21:09 SECRET Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO9451
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0120/01 0461250
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 151250Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3080
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0731
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0420
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0011
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3559
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 TRIPOLI 000120

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/MAG, S/CT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2/15/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL KISL PTER LY IZ
SUBJECT: EXTREMISM IN EASTERN LIBYA

TRIPOLI 00000120 001.2 OF 004

CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, Embassy Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C) Summary: A U.S.-Libyan dual national who regularly visits family members in eastern Libya recently described for us social, political and economic factors that have contributed to and facilitated participation by a disproportionately large number of eastern Libya’s native sons in “martyrdom acts” and other insurgency operations in Libya and Iraq. A reportedly deliberate GOL policy to keep the east poor as a means by which to limit the potential political threat to Qadhafi’s regime has helped fuel the perception among many young eastern Libyan men that they have nothing to lose by participating in extremist violence at home and in Iraq. The prospect of financial compensation for their impoverished families motivates some, but local pride in eastern Libya’s historical role as a locus of opposition to occupying forces of various stripes is also an important factor. The fact that eastern Libyan mosques are more numerous and remote, together with tight local social networks, has reportedly circumscribed the ability of GOL security organizations to monitor and control the activities of radical imams as effectively as elsewhere in Libya. Unlike the rest of the country, sermons in eastern Libyan mosques are laced with phraseology urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere through direct participation or financial contributions. While senior regime figures, including Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, appear to have recognized that the east merits more attention and investment, the reported ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad despite GOL security organizations’ efforts suggests that claims by senior GOL officials that the east is under control may be overstated. End summary.

2.(S/NF) In a meeting February 5, U.S.-Libyan dual national xxxxxxxxxxxx(strictly protect) told P/E Chief that eastern Libya remains a locus of extremist activity over which GOL security services have comparatively limited control.

GOL KEEPS EAST POOR TO KEEP IT POLITICALLY DISENFRANCHISED

3.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx said eastern Libya suffers from a disproportionately high level of unemployment, particularly for young men between the ages of 18 and 34. “At least half” of the young men in that demographic are unemployed or only intermittently employed. The situation reflects in part the Qadhafi regime’s belief that if it keeps the east poor enough, it will be unable to mount any serious political opposition to the regime. Explaining the rationale, he cited a Libyan proverb: “If you treat them like dogs, they will follow you like dogs”.

BUT RECENT VIOLENCE SUGGESTS GOL’S APPROACH FLAWED

4.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx said recent events in Benghazi and Derna suggest that the GOL’s premise is flawed. Family members with whom he is in regular contact told him during his visit that there were violent clashes between local extremists and GOL elements late last year. In one incident, extremists opened fire in proximity to a Benghazi hospital in connection with their attempts to secure medical assistance for a sick or injured comrade. In another, there was an explosion or an exchange of gunfire (accounts differed) at a traffic circle in a Benghazi exurb in connection with an attempt by a police officer to stop a vehicle being used by extremists. (Note: Both incidents were reported late last year in other channels. This is the first mention we’ve heard of these events from other sources. End note.) xxxxxxxxxxxx also offered non-specific accounts of raids by extremists, whom they understood to be affiliated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, on police and military installations to secure weapons.

“NOTHING TO LOSE”

5.(S/NF) Citing conversations with relatives, xxxxxxxxxxxx said the unemployed, disenfranchised young men of eastern Libya “have nothing to lose” and are therefore “willing to sacrifice themselves” for something greater than themselves by engaging in TRIPOLI 00000120 002.2 OF 004 extremism in the name of religion. “Their lives mean nothing and they know it, so they seek to give meaning to their existence through their deaths”, he said. The lack of jobs and dim prospects for future employment, together with increased costs of living, mean that many young men lack the means to marry, leaving them without a key measure of social status and stability in what remains a traditional society. As in parts of neighboring Egypt, the average age at which men marry has increased in many parts of eastern Libya. Many now marry in their early to mid-30’s, which would have been considered “middle age” in the not too distant past.

COMPENSATION FOR MARTYRS’ FAMILIES AN INCENTIVE FOR SOME

6.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx flatly stated that some young men, particularly those from more impoverished clans, are motivated by the promise of long-term financial compensation for their families should they complete “martyrdom acts” in Iraq or elsewhere. Noting that incomes in the east are low, he offered that extremist networks are able to incentivize young men to kill themselves by offering comparatively small payments of 150-200 Libyan dinar/month (approximately 120-160 USD/month) to families of “martyrs”. (Note: As a point of reference, most government salaries range from 250 to 330 Libyan dinar per month. End note.)

“PERVERSE PRIDE” AS GEOGRAPHICAL LOCUS OF RESISTANCE A DRAW FOR OTHERS

7.(S/NF) The fact that the east has been comparatively disenfranchised, together with its historical role as a locus of opposition to the Ottoman and Italian occupations, contribute to a “perverse sense of pride” among eastern Libyans in their role as a main supplier of young men for jihad efforts in Iraq and elsewhere, xxxxxxxxxxxx said. He recounted a large dinner in Derna hosted by a family friend that he attended in summer 2007. Conversation among the mostly middle-aged male group of guests focused on news that two young men from Derna had recently killed themselves in suicide operations in Iraq. Dinner guests offered a mix of “condolences and congratulations” to the two young men’s relatives.

8.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx said he was struck by the level sentiment against Coalition forces in Iraq, and by the obvious pride the dinner guests took in the fact that two of their native sons had “struck

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Posted: 24th, March 2011 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink