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Saving the Libyan Islamists

American troops are today providing support to some of the very same forces that were recently fighting against them in Iraq. (Related: "Libyan rebels: 'Now is the time of Jihad!'')

by
John Rosenthal

Bio

March 20, 2011 - 11:09 am
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According to the West Point study of the Iraqi Sinjar Records, of the 440 foreign al-Qaeda recruits whose hometowns are known, 21 came from Benghazi. This makes Benghazi the fourth most common hometown listed in the records. Fifty-three of the al-Qaeda recruits came from Darnah. That is the highest total of any of the hometowns listed in the records. The second highest number, 51, came from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, the population of Darnah (80,000) is less than 2% the population of Riyadh. This is to say that in per capita terms more the fifty times more foreign fighters joined al-Qaeda in Iraq from Darnah than from Riyadh. As the authors of the study put it, Darnah contributed “far and away the largest per capita number of fighters.”

It is virtually unthinkable that al-Qaeda and/or the local Libyan affiliate of al-Qaeda (the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) are not today involved in the Cyrenaica-based insurrection against the rule of Muammar al-Gaddafi. This is even more unthinkable when one considers that the North African branch of al-Qaeda — al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – has declared its support for the rebellion and vowed to do “everything we can” to aid it.

Barack Obama rose to prominence as a ferocious opponent of the war in Iraq. With barely any objection from either the left or the right, he is now deploying American military power to support some of the very same forces — in all likelihood some of the very same fighters — who were just recently fighting and killing American troops in Iraq.

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Editor’s Note: Related: “Libyan rebels: ‘Now is the time of Jihad!”

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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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