Libya Rising

Cross-posted at www.twelfthbough.com

The other day I wrote about the UN Security Council and concluded that Libya may be acting as a proxy for Russia in stalling sanctions against Iran.

Opposing US and Israeli interests is definitely frowned upon. Something must be done.

Today the LA Times has a long propaganda piece story entitled: Libyans advance in Al Qaeda network. Imagine my shock.

MADRID — The death of Abu Laith al Libi, a Libyan Al Qaeda chief, has cast a spotlight on the rise of Libyan militants in a network dominated by Egyptians and Saudis, Western anti-terrorism investigators say.

Al Libi was killed last week in an American missile strike on a hide-out in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, officials say. In addition to overseeing a paramilitary campaign in Afghanistan, Al Libi had become a top figure in a propaganda barrage on the Internet, according to experts.

The emergence of the Libyans, traditionally a strong but low-profile group, is a result of developments on three fronts: Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although Al Qaeda has suffered setbacks in Iraq, Libyan militants there have proved resilient and adept at moving fighters into combat, experts say. Libyans have become the second-biggest foreign insurgent contingent in Iraq after the Saudis, according to a U.S. military analysis of seized documents.

Al Qaeda’s leaders in Pakistan have rewarded the Libyans with increased power and media presence, experts say.

“There is a rising leadership cadre of Libyans in Al Qaeda,” said J. Vahid Brown, an analyst at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. “Egyptians have really dominated strategic and military operations. The Egyptians are good at keeping control of that, because many of them have military training. Now you have Libyan faces appearing in videos.”

Libya, the new face of evil. Coming soon to a mainstream media outlet near you. This is just a trailer.

This part is kind of funny.

Western investigators say Al Qaeda’s structure is paradoxically fluid and bureaucratic at the same time. The multiethnic alliance survives by evolving on the run, but it also has a penchant for titles, budgets and paperwork.

“What is curious about Al Qaeda is the contradictory nature of the organization,” said a senior British anti- terrorism official. “It is curiously bureaucratic.”

Maybe Al Qaeda is actually run by a big bureaucracy, kind of like the CIA. Hmm? It’s just so curious (scratching head). It’s as if someone was organizing and running the whole thing from the top. But who, WHO?? Will the “Western investigators” figure it out in time??

As they work with a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Libyans have stepped up in the Iraqi theater. Libyan strategists tried to smooth the difficult long-distance relationship with Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian whose campaign of bombings and beheadings in Iraq came to be seen as counterproductive, experts say.

…But Libyan militants have demonstrated tenacity in reaching Iraq despite increased border controls in Syria and other neighboring countries, according to a study released in December by the West Point center.

Hard numbers are elusive in war zones. But the study is based on detailed personnel records kept by Al Qaeda in Iraq of about 600 fighters who entered Iraq between August 2006 and last August. The documents were seized last October by U.S. troops near the Syrian border.

The study found that Libyans constituted 18% of the foreign fighters in Iraq, second only to Saudis at 41%. Previous studies estimated a much smaller percentage of Libyans, suggesting that the ethnic composition has shifted over time, the report says.

Most of the militants cited in the West Point study are from the Libyan towns of Darnah and Benghazi, traditional hotbeds of Islamic extremism, and made their way to Iraq through Egypt and Syria.

Isn’t that funny? Al Qaeda keeps these detailed records (WTF?) of their fighters in Iraq, and by an incredible stroke of luck (because hard numbers are elusive in a war zone), US troops “seized” the records and can now “suggest” to us, via a credible West Point study of course, that Libyan fighters now make up a much larger percentage of foreign fighters in Iraq. Now I ask you, is that a LUCKY FIND? Or what?

Just when it looks like Libya might be causing some political problems for the US and Israel, we find out that the Libyans are rising stars in Al Qaeda. What a coincidence.

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