Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Al-Qa’ida is a proxy force

The conflict in Libya has shed new light on the true nature of al-Qa’ida, the shady, ubiquitous terror franchise purportedly responsible for the events of 9/11. This amorphous group had its origins in the Afghan covert war against the Soviets, where the CIA armed, trained and sponsored Islamic "freedom fighters".

Testifying before the 2002 Joint Inquiry into 9/11, DCI Tenet described the intelligence community's ongoing engagement with al-Qa'ida, which he said included the "recruitment of well-placed agents" and efforts to "infiltrate terrorist groups". A transcript of Tenet's testimony is available on the CIA's website.

In 2007, the Pentagon commissioned a study by the Combating Terrorism Center of the US Military Academy at West Point, which produced a report entitled Al-Qa’ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq.

In that report, below a chart entitled Foreign Fighters: Country of Origin, the authors state that "Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality". Most of the Libyan recruits came from Darnah and Benghazi and were "linked to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group" which "had officially sworn allegiance to al-Qa’ida".

This happens to be the very same group Washington is aiding in Libya today. Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the leader of Libya’s armed insurrection, is a member of the LIFG and admits his fighters have al-Qa’ida links. He was captured by US forces in Afghanistan a decade ago, spent time in Gitmo and was eventually released to Libya in 2008. Now, al-Hasidi, with US arms and Coalition air support, is our ally against Qaddafi.

A recent New York Times article describes CIA and MI6 activities in Libya, where Obama has authorised a "shadow force of Westerners", who provide arms and train militia groups to "help bleed Qaddafi’s military".

These militia groups have been deemed terrorists and insurgents to justify sustained military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. But now in Libya, the same motley crew are portrayed as freedom fighters and champions of democracy, deserving our support and justifying yet another military intervention in an oil-rich region.

The very obvious implication to my mind, which may seem bizarre to some, is that al-Qa’ida, in effect, is a proxy force, covertly co-opted and deployed to facilitate the hegemonic agenda of the privatised, corporatist, oil-fired, nuclear-armed military industrial plutocracy.

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