Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jihadis who killed Americans get U.S. support in Libya

There's no question that the rebels Americans are currently fighting for in Libya include in their ranks jihadis who in recent years traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to kill Americans. The only question is whether that worries you or not.

Take Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, a leader of U.S.-supported rebels in the fighting for Adjabiya. His hometown, Darnah, has produced many jihadis, and after the Sept. 11 attacks al-Hasidi traveled to Afghanistan to fight the "foreign invasion" -- that is, the U.S. military. According to a report in Britain's Daily Telegraph, al-Hasidi says he was later captured in Pakistan, handed over to the U.S., then held in prison in Libya before being released in 2008.

In addition to fighting the U.S. in Afghanistan, al-Hasidi also says he recruited about two dozen men to fight the U.S. in Iraq.

Now al-Hasidi and his allies are moving toward Tripoli, which would not be possible without the military power of the United States. The men who devoted so much energy to killing Americans are now thankfully watching Americans kill for them.

To some observers, that's no big deal. "No one seems all that frightened by him," the New York Times wrote of al-Hasidi after a visit to Darnah in early March. Al-Hasidi, the paper reported, "praises Osama bin Laden's 'good points' but denounces the 9/11 attacks on the United States." And besides, the Times reported, al-Hasidi finds it amusing that the government of Moammar Gadhafi considers him an al Qaeda terrorist. "He promised to lay down his arms once victory is won and return, he said, to teaching," the Times reported.

Maybe you believe that. Maybe you don't. The problem is, al-Hasidi is by no means alone. We know that from intelligence gained in the Iraq War.