Using what Libya claims is an invalid and illegal UN resolution as a pretext, a coalition of crusaders, including the U.S., Britain, France and Spain is bombing the North African country with a military might that has not been seen since the Gulf war.
The real and illegal goal of what is called Operation Odyssey Dawn, is regime change. Replaying the nightmarish Gulf war scenario, the plan is clear: to disable Libya’s defense ability, and to arm and strengthen the reactionary conglomerate of rebel forces in Benghazi, in the hope that this rag tag bunch will roll back, once and for all, the Libyan revolution.
This is not the first attempt by the former slave-holding and colonial powers to lynch Qaddafi and bring Libya to its knees. In 1986, the US falsely accused Libya of bombing a discotheque in Berlin. President Ronald Reagan attempted to assassinate Qaddafi by bombing his residence at Bab al-Azizia in Tripoli. Qaddafi’s daughter and over one hundred Libyans were killed. Next, Libya was falsely accused of the 1988 Pan Am Lockerbie bombing as an excuse for initiating sanctions, in order to economically cripple the country.
In 1996, British intelligence employed the services of an al Qaeda cell inside Libya, paying them a huge fee, reportedly over $100,000, to assassinate Muammar Qaddafi. A bomb, intended for Qaddafi, was detonated under the wrong car in his hometown, Sirte. Several civilians were killed.
Former MI5 operative, David Shayler, revealed that while he was working on the Libya desk in the mid-1990s, British secret service personnel collaborated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group(LIFG), which is connected to one of Osama bin Laden’s trusted lieutenants. LIFG is now considered a terrorist group in the United Kingdom.
Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan revolutionary forces were the first to issue an arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden. The Libyan government spent years warning the world about the very serious threat posed by these Islamic deviants. According to Shayler, western intelligence turned a deaf ear to Libya’s warnings because they were actually working with the al Qaeda group inside Libya to bring down Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution.
Anas al Liby is a member of the Libyan al-Qaeda cell. He remains on the U.S. government’s most wanted list, with a reward of $5 million for his capture, and is wanted for his involvement in the U.S. African embassy bombings. Al Liby was with bin Laden in Sudan before the al Qaeda leader returned to Afghanistan in 1996. Surprisingly, correction, not so surprisingly, despite being a high-level al Qaeda operative, al Liby was granted political asylum in Britain and lived in Manchester until May of 2000.
The claims by Qaddafi and the Libyan revolutionary forces that the rebels in Benghazi are inspired by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the serious threat this poses, not only to Libya but to the entire region, are once again falling on deaf ears. Why? Because British intelligence forces, among others, are clearly in collaboration with the rebels in Benghazi – those referred to all over Libya as the “bearded ones” – who have close ties to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The evidence for this is overwhelming. The British have a long-standing relationship with the al Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, based inside Libya. The British also have an historical relationship with the Wahhabi/Salafi brand of Islam, espoused today by Ikhwan al Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood) and their offshoots, including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
In 1744, an alliance was formed between the founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad ibn Abdal-Wahhab and the ruthless tribal leader, Muhammad ibn Saud, whose descendants rule Saudi Arabia up to today. This reactionary brand of Islam was the perfect theological foundation for the colonial creation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Wahhabism remains the official Islamic tendency in Saudi Arabia to this day.
In 1915, the British entered into a treaty with the House of Saud, protecting their lands and supplying them with weaponry, as part of the colonial project to establish the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At the same time, the British did everything they could to help the Wahhabist doctrine to flourish, recognizing it as the perfect ideological tool to further their imperialist objectives. Some scholars have argued that the British actually helped to create Wahhabism.
Today, the British are calling on the descendants of Muhammad ibn Saud, the current Saudi regime, and their present day army of Wahhabis in the form of al Qaeda, to join in a medieval crusade to crush a bastion of revolutionary Islam, which is present day Libya. And the contradictions verify this. We have to wonder why a Saudi government official can say on BBC that “to allow the people to choose their own government is a very bad thing”, and why, with all the Western outcry about women’s rights in the Muslim world, the Saudi regime, which does not even allow women to vote or drive, is never challenged. Instead, they are the ones that the Americans, British, and French are calling on to join them in the destruction of Libya which has liberated women and struggled to bring real democracy to its people.
As early as the mid-19th century, Wahhabi fundamentalism was imported into Benghazi by the reactionary and feudal Senussi fraternity. The influence of this tendency has been passed on from generation to generation, and Benghazi has been the center for those who have consistently opposed liberation Islam articulated by Qaddafi and implemented by the Libyan revolution.
The Muslims of Benghazi, who embrace the same ideology as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb(AQIM), have been reinvigorated in the last few years by AQIM’s presence on Libya’s borders. There is a renewed interest in the possibility of achieving the stated goal of AQIM, which is the establishment of a Wahhabi Islamic Emirate in the Maghreb, stretching over the entire North African region. When we understand the history of this region, we realize why the former slave-holding and colonial powers have not gone out of their way to find Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, and how and why these reactionary forces and doctrines are being encouraged.
Gerald A. Perreira lived in Libya for many years. He served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Libyan revolution and was an executive member of the World Mathaba, based in Tripoli.