January 30, 2008

Libya's Son

Iraqi Police Colonel Jubair Rashid Naief claims Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam (whose name means Sword of Islam) is sponsoring a terrorist group in Northern Iraq called the Seifaddin Regiment. This group is allegedly responsible for recent attacks in Mosul that killed and wounded hundreds. The U.S. military so far has no comment on the accusation one way or another. I’ve never heard of this group and am not even convinced it exists. But U.S. military officials believe 19 percent of foreign terrorists in Iraq come from Libya.

Robert H. Reid wrote in an Associated Press article that Seif al-Islam “seems an unlikely figure as a sponsor of terrorism. Touted as a reformer, the younger Gadhafi has been reaching out to the West to soften Libya’s image and return it to the international mainstream.”

Yes, Seif al-Islam is touted as a reformer – by journalists. Perhaps naïve government officials also believe Seif al-Islam is a reformer. His father has certainly been given a pass in the last couple of years even though he barely deserves it – if he deserves it at all.

I visited Libya as soon as the U.S. government lifted the travel ban, after Qaddafi supposedly gave up his weapons of mass destruction program. (Click here to see my photo gallery.) It is by far the most oppressive country I have ever been to. Freedom House ranks it the most oppressive of all Arab countries, lower than even Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Qaddafi’s government structure is modeled after Nicolae Ceauşescu’s totalitarian regime in Romania. His state ideology, the unexportable “Third Universal Theory,” is a merger of The Communist Manifesto and the Koran. His own infamous manifesto, The Green Book, is a daft and sinister pseudo-intellectual excuse for his own absolute power. Don’t be fooled by Qaddafi’s court jester antics and buffoonish charisma. He is only funny and entertaining to watch from abroad. Libya is an Orwellian God-state with only Turkmenistan and North Korea as peers.

Of course none of this means Qaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam sponsors a terrorist group in Iraq. I really have no idea if that’s true or not. What I do know is that he is ideologically committed to preserving his father’s prison state system, and that he wants to export that system to as many countries as possible. Gullible diplomats and journalists may sincerely believe he’s a reformer, but a close look at his own statements proves that he’s lying when he passes himself off as moderate. And he is not even a good liar.

Read the rest at Commentary Magazine.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 30, 2008 10:55 AM

It makes sense to me that Qaddafi's son would do this. Libya is not an available source for meaningful military experience, and fighting Americans is. I'd be interested in seeing at what remove he is involved. I doubt very much that he would be allowed to direct things onsite.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell Author Profile Page at January 30, 2008 11:47 AM

I read a break down somewhere recently of the nationalities of capture/killed jihadis in Iraq and they found that Libya was right at the top.

I have always wondered at a nation that has a colonel for a leader. At least he could promote himself to general. However, you have got to love the hot squad of virgin bodyguards he has.

Posted by: Marc Author Profile Page at January 31, 2008 4:27 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/01/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M Author Profile Page at January 31, 2008 8:58 AM

I immediately thought of your visit, and your description of the concrete, when I read that accusation. Of course I was too lazy, er, busy to look it up.

Thanks for the thoughtful links as both a reminder to your old fans, and to inform the new ones that ME Journal really does cover the Middle East.

I really like the way you state what you know, and what you don't know. You know Q jr. is not a reformer, by having gone there and seen it. You don't know if he sponsors terrorism, but that the US military says 19% of foreign terrorists are from Libya.


Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Author Profile Page at January 31, 2008 9:10 AM

According to a recent London Times report about Saudi Arabia's role as the hub of world terrorism, Libya isn't the worst terror-supporter. They say:

"An analysis by NBC News suggested that the Saudis make up 55% of foreign fighters in Iraq. They are also among the most uncompromising and militant".

However, there are also reports that the prolific Saudi support of worldwide terrorism is aided by our other "friends" who have supposedly renounced their support of terror. Last month, in Thailand the "son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi visited Thailand, and embarrassed government hosts by his implied support for southern militants."

According to the Bangkok Post:

His father, Moammar Gadhafi, was a chief supporter of the southern separatists in the 1970s. Many of the groups in the South were fomented and supported by Gadhafi at that time, especially the dominant anti-government group Patani United Liberation Organisation, known as Pulo. Al-Islam Gadhafi's father gave sanctuary to Pulo leaders when they were first wanted by Thai authorities for murder and terrorism in the South...

...he also was quoted by the Austrian Press Agency last year as warning Europeans against more attacks by radical Islamists.

"The only solution to contain radicalism is the rapid departure of Western troops from Iraq as well as Afghanistan, and a solution to the Palestinian question," Gadhafi was quoted as saying.

More than a year ago, Thai General Panlop Pinmanee said that about 3,000 "core militants" received military training in Libya before joining the Islamic insurgency in Thailand's Muslim-majority south.

There are also reports that Libya has been supporting terrorism in the Carribean. According to the Revista Inter-Forum, which is part of the "International Consortium For Alternative Academic Publications"

A Washington expert on the Caribbean-Libyan connection said that the U.S. “isn’t going to pay much attention to it.” He indicates that Washington “has a tacit agreement with Qaddafi that he can do whatever he wants in Africa, the Caribbean or elsewhere, as long as he stays out of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East.”

Terrorist attacks in Thailand and Libya's support of terrorism both appear to be very underreported in the media.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at January 31, 2008 9:57 AM

Great pictures that you posted on your link. In the picture of you there you look like John Malkovich. Have you ever been told that?

Posted by: Marc Author Profile Page at January 31, 2008 12:24 PM

A few considerations regarding the role of the mini-Qadaffi in organizing terrorist organizations/attacks...

Any country that is oppressed and impoverished is fertile ground for suicide bombers. They are promised a hefty payment for their families after martyring themselves. When you have no hope, this sounds like a good deal.

Any country that is oppressed and impoverished is fertile ground for a militant radical Islamic insurgency. The oppression gives the cause and the tyranny gives the justification.

Given the oppression and poverty in Libya, Qaddafi has an incentive to cooperate with al-Qaeda, in order to satisfy them in hopes that they won't attempt to cause trouble in Libya. What does he care if a few of his impoverished serfs blow themselves up in Iraq, so long as he doesn't get any trouble from al-Qaeda?

This is not a defense of Qadaffi, nor an attempt to portray him as something other than the goon that he is.

Posted by: Saint in Exile Author Profile Page at January 31, 2008 7:03 PM
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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