Libya rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

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
Telegraph [UK]
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…

The article continues at the Telegraph.

H/T New Zeal

At ABC News Jake Tapper reports, President Obama Authorizes Covert Help for Libyan Rebels. Head of House Intel Committee Says Arming Unknown Rebels May Be a Mistake

Related: Lawyer-in-Chief Obama Explains Libyan War That Isn’t a War at

…All of Obama’s rhetorical flourishes and soothing delivery style can’t mask the lack of principle that goes along with American power. Last night, we needed not a lawyer-in-chief, but a commander-in-chief.

Today, we still do.

And, at The American Spectator, Obama Congratulates Himself.

In his speech on Libya Monday evening, President Barack Obama demonstrated why self-congratulation is an awful basis for foreign policy. The stated aim of the address was to tell the American people “what we’ve done [in Libya], what we plan to do, and why this matters to us.” That might have been a genuinely interesting bit of oratory. It is not what we actually heard.

Perhaps the wrong speech got loaded onto his teleprompter, because the preachment Obama delivered fudged the past, gave us weasel words in place of real goals, and substituted a vigorous Nobel Peace Prize-winning pat on the back for any good reason to make this our fight. The evasions of fact and friction were so breathtaking that they need to be cataloged for posterity…

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