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  • March 10, 2012

    McCain’s to blame

    Why is McCain and the Obama Admin turning a blind eye to the real nature of the opposition it enables to come to power? How can al Qaeda be better than Gadaffi or Assad? What the US should be doing is picking the opposition it wants to support, and providing it with money and arms and air support to attain power. In the case of Syria, The Syrian Democratic Coalition (SDC) is crying out for support and they can get the job done. Ted Belman

    Al-Qaeda in Rebel Syria

    The Islamist inspiration of the Syrian opposition is obvious.

    By John Rosenthal, NRO

    On Monday, in calling for airstrikes on Syria, Senator John McCain reprised much the same role he played one year ago at the outset of the Libyan war. Last April, during a highly publicized visit to the cradle of the Libyan rebellion in Benghazi, Senator McCain called for increased American military support for the Libyan rebels. The senator famously described the rebels as his “heroes.” Never mind that these “heroes” had been caught on videocommitting horrific atrocities, nor that one of their commanders had openly acknowledged his ties to al-Qaeda. At the time, such details were of no greater interest to the mainstream American media than they were to Senator McCain or to the Obama administration.

    Senator McCain, of course, got his wish. Months of NATO bombing paved the way for the rebels’ conquest of Tripoli in late August. It was only then that the broader American public got some idea of the central role that al-Qaeda had been playing in the rebellion all along. As Tripoli fell, it emerged that the commander of the rebel forces that had taken control of the capital was none other than Abdul Hakim Belhadj, the historical leader of the local al-Qaeda affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). In fact, no fewer than three al-Qaeda-linked militants who had at one time or another been in U.S. custody played key roles in the rebellion. The NATO bombing campaign would continue for another two months, until the last bastions of the old regime had fallen and Moammar Qaddafi had been killed. Just days after Qaddafi’s death in Sirte, the distinctive black flag of al-Qaeda would be seen flying above Benghazi and all along the Benghazi waterfront.

    With Senator McCain again pushing from the right, America risks yet again lending support to its old nemesis on ostensibly “humanitarian” grounds. (For perhaps the only serious attempt yet made to assess the solidity of those grounds, see Sharmine Narwani’s analysis of the Syrian casualty figures here.) If, this time, the senator is not pushing on a fully open door, the door is clearly not shut either. Apparently in an effort to get out in front of the issue, the Obama administration has conceded al-Qaeda’s involvement in the Syrian rebellion. Last month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned that al-Qaeda had “infiltrated” the opposition to Bashar Assad.

    But video evidence emerging out of Syria suggests that “infiltration” is not the right word. At least three such videos depict anti-Assad forces or demonstrators posing unabashedly with al-Qaeda’s black flag — the same flag that was hoisted in Libya, but, in that case, only after the rebellion had triumphed. The flag features the shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith, “there is no god but God [Allah] and Muhammad is his messenger,” plus a circle that is said to represent Muhammad’s seal. It was first made famous by the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    The below video still below comes from a 2007 al-Qaeda in Iraq video. It shows the execution of Iraqi security personnel in front of the al-Qaeda flag.

    The following three stills are taken from recent YouTube videos that appear to have been posted by supporters of the anti-Assad rebellion in Syria. The first of the anti-Assad videos is titled “Demonstration of people of the Tawhid in Deir Ezzor against Bashar’s regime 02/25/12.” The original name of al-Zarqawi’s group was al-Tawhid wal-Jihad or “Monotheism and Jihad.” According to a West Point study of al-Qaeda’s foreign fighters in Iraq, fully one-third of the Syrian recruits came from the city of Deir ez-Zor.

    The latter two images appear to show jihadist brigades from Homs. Note the presence in the last image of both the flag of the Syrian rebellion and a modified version of the al-Qaeda flag.


    Some pro-rebellion onlinecommentators have suggested that thevideo from which the last image is taken is a fake intended to discredit the rebellion. But the fact that it has been linked to on jihadist Internet forums suggests that jihadists themselves regard it as authentic. (See here, for instance, on; note that the poster of the clip uses the al-Qaeda flag as an avatar.)

    In any case, there is abundant corroborating evidence of al-Qaeda involvement in the rebellion. This evidence includes the recent appearance in Syria oflieutenants of the Libyan jihadist leader Belhadj and the statements of Sheikh Louay al-Zouabi, a self-avowed admirer of al-Qaeda who claims to have issued the fatwa that sparked the Syrian rebellion. The Lebanese news site Al-Akhbar recently interviewed a Salafi jihadist leader in Lebanon who made no secret of his group’s support for the anti-Assad rebellion in Syria. Indeed, the Al-Akhbar reporter discovered six wounded members of the Free Syrian Army in the Salafi leader’s hideout. Salafism is the ultra-conservative form of Islam embraced by al-Qaeda.

    Moreover, video footage of public anti-Assad demonstrations in Syrian cities such as Homs and Aleppo persistently reveals the presence of so-called “caliphate flags”: both a simple black flag with the shahada written on it in white, and a white flag that is its mirror image. The black “caliphate” flag was the first flag to serve as al-Qaeda’s banner (before the founding of al-Qaeda in Iraq). The white flag was used by the Taliban.

    While expat figureheads like Syrian National Council chairman Burhan Ghalioun may well keep their distance from Islamism, the widespread presence of caliphate flags in the demonstration footage makes unmistakably clear the largely Islamist inspiration of the anti-Assad forces actually in Syria. See, for instance, the recent footage of a demonstration in a suburb of Aleppo here. Per the translation of Joshua Landis, the crowd chants, “Heroes of Islam, No to Bashar and no to Ghalioun. We want Islam to rule.”

    — John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at or on Facebook.

  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 10:02 am | 9 Comments »

    9 Comments to McCain’s to blame

    1. Max says:

      Oh no, this is sheer twisted Bullocks. McCain got it right before and he got it right now.

      I followed the Libyan Revolution for over eight months through the social media, video, pictures, audio and print , far ahead and far deeper than any MSM reportage.

      I am sure I know more about it probably anyone here or anyone that comes to this website.

      On this Fundamentalist Islam has not been and is not til now a significant issue in Libya.
      It can become, but not now nor has it been. That is going to be the interesting study or perhaps opportunity – but the study is of what happens to ordinary peoples adapting to Democratic culture not of Islamic militant Jihadists.
      Everything the author presented here is twisted and distorted or simply trivia.
      Belhaj has never been linked or affiliated with Al Qaeda, His role was completely non political in the military action, regardless of that Zintan, Misrata and a coalition of other secular oriented militias are sitting in Tripoli, still armed and making sure to shuffle him out. The mainstream doesn’t want any kind of dictatorship religious or otherwise and they are staying armed to make sure of that – which is very wise..

      The revolution is Libya had virtually nothing to do with fundamentalist Islam, it was simply a revolution against tyranny that happened to take place in Muslim Culture.

      It’s too bad the Warsaw Ghetto didn’t have NATO and John McCain. Raw Resistance of a population to tyranny is an identical process. It is only what is is and must be understood and honoured for the heroism that it is.
      It is despicable to twist the highest examples of human conduct, courage, sacrifice and virtue because of some political or religious agenda and/or hatred.

    2. yamit82 says:

      The apparent global strategy and policy of the State Department and the CIA, which seem to be targeting a selection for now of independent countries; who show a kind of independence, sovereignty or the ability to say no either to NATO or to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank or the World Trade Organization (WTO), those countries are targeted. US Aim is the creating of Micro-states, Mini-states, and “Creative Chaos”.

      What’s being attempted here is to institutionalize a kind of a permanent destabilization of the world.

      Trotsky had the permanent revolution. A lot of these Neo-Trosky-ites who run US foreign policy seem to want to have the permanent destabilization of all countries; it’s a permanent revolution against the modern state, that will not spare anybody in the long run.

    3. yamit82 says:

      Belhaj has never been linked or affiliated with Al Qaeda, His role was completely non political in the military action, regardless of that Zintan, Misrata and a coalition of other secular oriented militias are sitting in Tripoli, still armed and making sure to shuffle him out. The mainstream doesn’t want any kind of dictatorship religious or otherwise and they are staying armed to make sure of that – which is very wise..

      Al Qaeda Commander of NATO’s Bloody Reign of Terror in Tripoli is the Monster Abdel Hakim Belhadj, aka Abdel Hakim al-Hasadi, Friend of Osama Bin Laden, former US POW, and Infamous Killer of US Soldiers in Afghanistan

      According to the London Daily Telegraph of March 26, Darna (also transliterated as Derna or Darnah), a key city in the rebel heartland between Benghazi in Tobruk, is commanded by al-Hasidi, an al Qaeda terrorist controller who trained and hobnobbed with Osama bin Laden at the Khost terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. Hasidi boasts of having sent 25 fighters to fight US and NATO forces in Afghanistan; one wonders how many they managed to kill. Hasidi was a US prisoner of war after being captured by the Pakistanis, but tells the Wall Street Journal of April 2 that he now hates the US only “less than 50%” hinting that Americans can redeem themselves by appeasing Al Qaeda with arms, money, political power, and diplomatic support. At his side in the city leadership is Sufian bin Kumu, Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur, another terrorist who was an inmate at Guantánamo Bay for six years. Also among the Darna city fathers is al-Barrani, a devoted member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which merged with Al Qaeda in 2007.

      This gaggle of fanatics, psychotics, and criminals is billed by the CIA media as an effective ruling elite for the future democratic governance of Libya. In reality, the Benghazi rebel council, heavily larded with al Qaeda terrorists, could only preside over the descent of the country into a chaos of tribalism, warlords, and criminal syndicates which would spell the end of civilization itself in the area. Precisely this appears to be the goal of US policy, and not just in Libya.

      See London Daily Telegraph, March 25, 2011: “Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links: Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime,”

      See also Wall Street Journal, “Ex-Mujahedeen Help Lead Libyan Rebels,” April 3, 2011, at

      See also Il Sole 24 Ore, ‘Reportage. «Noi ribelli, islamici e tolleranti,»’ March 22, 2011 at

    4. Max says:

      Al Qaeda Commander of NATO’s Bloody Reign of Terror in Tripoli

      Say what?
      Oh I get it this is from a still extant pro-Gaddafi Anti Libyan Revolution site.

      You’ve got a mish mash of facts and hysterical half truths from pro Gaddafi anti-NTC websites copied into Western feeds.

      I’ll go by the Wiki entry which is not all that great but it’s not the portrait you painted. And of that in here I only go by the proven , not the “alleges” because much was a propaganda war between Gaddafi and NTC.

      This gaggle of fanatics, psychotics, and criminals is billed by the CIA media as an effective ruling elite for the future democratic governance of Libya. In reality, the Benghazi rebel council, heavily larded with al Qaeda terrorists

      That’s just ravening rhetoric but i take it it’s not yours , just copied and pasted.
      That’s no more true than saying Toronto is ruled by Islamic Fundamentalists just because there are some there
      The description is some anti-NTC propaganda back from last year. If you know who is in charge in Libya you should be able to describe the names the functions the positions and the backgrounds of the people. If you knew anything you would know the NTC has brought in a lot of overseas Western Management like University Professors and academics from USA and the West brought back to hold temporary posts until elections are held.

      Belhaj is the only problem I know about ,but he’s not as you pretend, or as that propagandist pretended, and he wasn’t chosen for political reasons and his appointment is opposed by a coalition of the regional militias.Nobody knows what will happen yet or if Belhaj will enter politics as a politician – but a military threat is not extant. The situation is far more complex and not as you think or are presenting it. It’s a situation of civilian politics and economic businessmen and very little to do with Islam or ravening Jihadists,

      Her is a list of Libya’s current rulers: Can you point out to me which are the “psychotics,criminals and Jihadists?”
      (Big long list)

      Heh I think not..maybe we can call in the CIA here?

      Or how about here: Here’s the parties up for the election:
      (Big long list)

      Which are the Islamofascist?


      You are being imaginative Yamit or projecting fears. The situation is very hard to know right now because there are so many players, but if you can figure out the true details I would be glad to know.

    5. Max says:

      Max says:
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      March 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      it’s been replied

    6. Max says:

      Interview with Belhaj after the Fall of Tripoli

      It doesn’t seem to me at the present that Belhaj is now anything but a policeman of a legitimate security force in a legitimate country, after having achieved his lifelong goal of overthrowing Gadaffi. He has no political position and can be removed by the Executive Branch.
      At face value he seems to have no political ambitions or activities, at present that is. His appointment however, is protested and opposed by Zintan and other powerful militias.

      Over the next two years there will be much politicking and elections. Who and what will be the issues, whether Belhaj will have nay importance of maybe there will be someone else who is in the spotlight , at this point is not known.

      Time Interview,8599,2091744,00.html

      Do you belong to al-Qaeda?

      A lot of false information is circulating concerning this subject. Yes, I was a member of the Islamic Fighting Group whose area of operation was always and exclusively Libya. The goal of this organization was to deliver the Libyan people from the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. We never had any interest outside of our country. The Islamic combat group was never a part of al-Qaeda, neither from an ideological viewpoint, nor at an operational level, nor in its goals. It happened that we found ourselves in the same place at the same time as al-Qaeda: in Afghanistan, where we sometimes fought next to them when it was to liberate the country, but we were never at their service.

      On the contrary, when Osama Bin Laden founded the Global Islamic Front to fight against the Jews and crusaders, in the autumn of 1998, we refused to become members of it.

      How could we want to kill all Christians? Or all Jews? That’s absurd! And why not the Chinese or Japanese? Christians and Jews are the people of the Book, we have to protect them.

      Do you want to have any responsibilities in the new Libya?

      As far as I am concerned, I am under the authority of the Transitional National Council, its executive body, and its ministry of defense. I assure you that the fighters do not have any particular agenda. Have no doubts! There is nothing to fear, we are not al-Qaeda. I never was. I say this in complete freedom and peace, and not even from prison. We do not want to lead this society that is already Muslim.

      Are you in favor of the establishment of an Islamic State in Libya, or of Sharia?

      We are members of the Libyan society and we are simply Muslim. We do not distinguish the application of justice. All that we want is protection, security, and confidence for our country, our neighbors, and all countries with which we have relations.

      In Libya, we have lived 42 years without a constitution, without law, without justice. That’s what led to the fall of this dictatorial regime. We want a civil state that respects the law and rights, a state that applies justice. As far as the form of the regime and of the government, that is up to the Libyan people. We will give back our weapons; we are not here to establish a Taliban-like regime through a coup d’état.

    7. Max says:

      Here is the reason for the disinformation and distorted profile of Belhaj circulating the news. And this misinformation is a result of the West supporting Gaddafi.

      Here it is important to note that the claims of connection between the LIFG and al-Qaida originally emanated from the Libyan government, whom along with many other regimes took the opportunity of the American “War of Terror” to link domestic opposition to the international bogeymen as represented by Osama bin Laden and co. as a way to curry favour with the Bush administration through developing security and intelligence links on the basis of fighting “terrorism”. Later statements by Ayman al-Zawahiri announcing that the LIFG had joined al-Qaeda were rejected by LIFG leadership at the time. Therefore the current reports which claim that Belhaj represents al-Qaida in Libya are inaccurate and largely appear to be attempts to de-legitimise the popular uprising against the Gaddafi regime

    8. Ed Katz says:

      They are all, part and parcel, of the same hate groups, who would rather cut your throat than look at you. The dislike us more than they love themselves.

    9. Max says:

      Bigotry will get you nowhere.
      These countries and people exist and problems won’t be solved by such irrationality.
      It’s necessary to know who’s who, who is good or at lest less harmful, and respond appropriately to support the useful and discourage the bad.

      Zintan militia is handing over the Tripoli Airport to NTC this Thursday. The new national security forces just graduated 25,000 members and the NTC now has the clout to disband the militias. At present there is no evidence of any Jihadist movement by any Libyan Authority that wishes to go out and cut Western throats.
      I think that would take some kind of extraordinary political event, the majority of Libyans are peaceful and pro-Western. There will soon be elections and we will see what will happen.

      Israel recognized Libya NTC, 16th September 2011. NTC pledged several times to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
      So there is something at stake in the Middle East in the developing political process and what kind of political party will take over in the coming elections.
      We will see what will happen, Hate mongering is not a useful approach.

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