I know, I know, the White House’s preferred terminology is that the U.S. is in a state of “military kinetic action” with the Libyan regime. When the no fly zone was imposed we were assured that it was to protect civilians from genocide and that coalition forces would not engage regime forces to defend or aid the rebels. Recent media reports indicate that this is no longer the case, if it ever was. So, who exactly are these rebels that we are siding with?
It would appear that at least one, like Col. Qaddafi has American blood on his hands. John Rosenthal of Pajamasmedia covers the story of Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi whose troops U.S. forces are aiding in Libya:
Shortly after unrest broke out in eastern Libya in mid-February, reports emerged that an “Islamic Emirate” had been declared in the eastern Libyan town of Darnah and that, furthermore, the alleged head of that Emirate, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, was a former detainee at the American prison camp in Guantánamo. The reports, which originated from Libyan government sources, were largely ignored or dismissed in the Western media.
Now, however, al-Hasadi has admitted in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that he fought against American forces in Afghanistan. (Hat-tip: Thomas Joscelyn at the Weekly Standard.) Al-Hasadi says that he is the person responsible for the defense of Darnah — not the town’s “Emir.” In a previous interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail, he claimed to have a force of about 1,000 men and to have commanded rebel units in battles around the town of Bin Jawad.
Did his efforts against America end when he was captured in Pakistan? Actually, he was just getting started:
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 report also includes the tidbit that British intelligence believes al-Hasadi was released as part of a deal that Qaddafi struck with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group(LIGF), which is affiliated with al-Qaeda. So, if the Brits know who this guy is and what he’s done, shouldn’t the White House?
What evidence is there that U.S. forces are aiding him at all? Here’s some more from Rosenthal:
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.
From the Wall St Journal:
The allies also seemed intent on helping the opposition win back the eastern town of Ajdabiya, the site of back-and-forth fighting between the government and rebels in recent weeks.
“In Ajdabiya to Misrata, our targeting priorities are mechanized forces, artillery…[and] mobile surface-to-air missile sites,” Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber, chief of staff for the U.S. task force in the Mediterranean Sea, told reporters by teleconference from the USS Mount Whitney.
I’ll finish with this quote from the NY Times:
Admiral Hueber also said that the coalition was communicating with rebel forces. But later, when he was pressed on whether the United States was telling rebels not to go down certain roads because there would be airstrikes there, he said he had misspoken. American military officials have said there are no “official communications” with the rebels, which remains a delicate issue. Contact with the rebels would reflect a direct American military intervention in the civil war of another country.
The Obama administration, as usual is not playing it straight with the American people. We deserve to know who we’re supporting and towards what end. President Obama can start by explaining why we are giving succor to someone like al-Hasadi, who rightly should be targeted by our forces as an enemy, not treated as an ally.