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Rebel Commander in Libya Fought Against U.S. in Afghanistan

On his own admission, rebel leader Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi fought American troops in Afghanistan and recruited Libyans to fight American troops in Iraq. (And don't miss Rosenthal on "Gaddafi and Corruption: WikiLeaks vs. WikiLeaks" at the PJM Tatler.)

by
John Rosenthal

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March 25, 2011 - 12:00 am
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On February 25, al-Hasadi had issued an ambiguous statement claiming that he had been a “political prisoner” and accusing the “Dictator Gaddafi” of spreading “lies.” Al-Jazeera provides an English translation of the statement here. (Scroll down to “12:46pm”.) A video of al-Hasadi reading his statement is available here.

In his more recent remarks to Il Sole 24 Ore, al-Hasadi admits not only to fighting against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but also to recruiting Libyans to fight against American forces in Iraq. As noted in my earlier PJM report here, captured al-Qaeda personnel records show that al-Hasadi’s hometown of Darnah sent more foreign fighters to fight with al-Qaeda in Iraq than any other foreign city or town and “far and away the largest per capita number of fighters.” Al-Hasadi told Il Sole 24 Ore that he personally recruited “around 25” Libyans to fight in Iraq. “Some have come back and today are on the front at Ajdabiya,” al-Hasadi explained, “They are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists.” “The members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader,” al-Hasadi added.

The revelations about al-Hasadi’s involvement in the anti-American jihad are particularly troubling in light of clear evidence that Western forces are coordinating their attacks on Libyan government targets with rebel forces.

Reporting from the outskirts of Ajdabiya on Wednesday, Antoine Estève of the French news channel i-Télé noted that just “minutes” after rebel positions had been hit by artillery fire from Libyan government forces, the Libyan government positions were then bombarded by coalition aircraft. (Estève’s report can be viewed here.) In a March 19 dispatch from Benghazi for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, correspondent Lorenzo Cremonesi cites rebel leaders as saying that they were given the opportunity to provide NATO with a map indicating enemy targets that they wanted bombed.

Editor’s note: Also read “Gaddafi and Corruption: WikiLeaks vs. WikiLeaks” at the Tatler.

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John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook here.
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