Sunday, July 31, 2011

The War on Libya: Divisions within The Transitional Council and Rebel Forces

Global Research
Michel Chossudovsky and  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The death of General Abdel Fattah Al-Younes, Commander in Chief of Rebel Forces was announced on July 28. Younes was Colonel Qaddafi’s former interior minister who defected to the rebels. Younes was also key leader of the Transitional Council based in Benghazi.

His death has created a vacuum in the military command structure, which will inevitably contribute in the short-run to weakening the military capabilities of the insurgency. It will also have repercussions on the timing of NATO operations.

Unconfirmed reports state that Younes died in the battlefield in fighting on the ground against the Libyan military. For several days there were rumors that Al-Younis was dead. These reports stated that he was fighting in the Western Mountains and he could have been killed in battle. Other reports state that he was killed by the Transitional Council.

Even within rebel circles there are claims that Al-Younes was killed "because he was a traitor".

The official release of the Transitional Council states that  General Al-Younes and two top military commanders aides were killed by gunmen.on Thursday July 28.

"Abdel Fattah Younes was killed after being summoned to the de facto rebel capital of Benghazi to appear before a judicial inquiry, opposition leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil announced at a press conference late on Thursday night."

Secret Negotiations with Tripoli?

Al-Younes may have been attempting to return to Tripoli. There have also been reports regarding secret negotiations between Transitional Council members and the Libyan government. A faction within the Transitional Council may have been searching for a negotiated solution with Tripoli.

Barely two weeks earlier, top level talks were held in Brussels (Wednesday, July 13) between a Transitional National Council delegation and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The delegation also met with the North Atlantic Council, NATO's governing body. Fogh Rasmussen confirmed that "NATO would continue its bombing campaign in Libya as long as Gadhafi's forces threaten civilians". "As long as that threat continues, we must continue to deal with it,"

While in Brussels, rebel NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jabril categorically denied the holding of talks with Tripoli: "All this talk about negotiations taking place between the regime and the National Transitional Council are totally false claims," The Associated Press: Rebels deny talks with Gadhafi, July 13, 2011)

Divisions within the Transitional Council and the Military

The death of Al-Younes has resulted in internal fighting within the Transitional Council. The leadership of  Mustafa Abdel Jibril is being questioned, particularly by members of Al-Younes' Obeide tribe. Jibril had been seeking a surge in NATO's bombing campaign in support of "a military advance" on Tripoli by rebel forces.

Following the death of General Younes and two top military commanders, rebel forces are in disarray. Factional divisions are developing within rebel forces.

The CIA Connection

There have also been accusations that Younes was assassinated by a rival faction of the insurgency headed by military commander Khalifa Hifter, who is known to be a CIA asset:

General Hifter retired to suburban Virginia, where he has lived for the last 20 years in Vienna (a small town) which is five minutes from CIA headquarters in Langley. ... Manipulations Africaines, a book published by Le Monde Diplomatique in 2001, traces Hifter's CIA connection back to 1987, stating that he was then a colonel in Gaddafi's army and was captured fighting in Chad against the U.S.-backed government of Hissène Habré. Hifter defected to the Libyan National Salvation Front (LNSF), the main anti-Gaddafi group, which was CIA-backed. He organized his own militia, which stopped functioning once Habré was defeated by Idriss Déby (supported by France) in 1990. ....  "The Hifter force, created and financed by the CIA in Chad, vanished into thin air with the help of the CIA shortly after the government was overthrown by Idriss Déby." The book quotes a U.S. Congressional Research Service report dated December 19, 1996, to the effect that "the U.S. government was providing financial and military aid to the LNSF, and that a number of LNSF members were relocated to the United States."  (Asad Ismi The Middle East Revolution: The Empire Strikes Back: Libya Attacked by the US and NATO, Global Research, May 18, 2011)

Commander Khalifa Hifter tends to support the Islamic faction of the rebellion which is integrated by members of the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).

Supporting the Libyan Jihad

Affiliated to Al Qaeda, the LIFG  (Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya) was founded in Afghanistan with the support of the CIA by Veteran Libyan Mujahideens of the Soviet-Afghan war.

From the outset in the early to mid-1990s, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) performed the role of an "intelligence asset" on behalf of the CIA and Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Starting in 1995, the LIFG was actively involved in waging an Islamic Jihad directed against the secular Libyan regime, including a 1996 attempted assassination of Muamar Qadhafi. (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Our Man in Tripoli": US-NATO Sponsored Islamic Terrorists Integrate Libya's Pro-Democracy Opposition,

The Jihadists, covertly supported by Western intelligence are now on the front lines of the insurgency:

Mr al-Hasidi [A Veteran Mujahideen] insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader [Qadhafi forces]”. (Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links, Daily Telegraph, March 25, 2011, emphasis added)

Abdul Hakim Al-Hasadi, is a leader of the LIFG who received military training in a guerrilla camp in Afghanistan. He is head of security of the opposition forces in one of the rebel held territories with some 1,000 men under his command. (Libyan rebels at pains to distance themselves from extremists - The Globe and Mail, March 12, 2011)

The US-NATO coalition is arming the Jihadists. Weapons are being channelled to the LIFG from Saudi Arabia, which historically, since the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war, has covertly supported Al Qaeda. The Saudis are now providing the rebels, in liaison with Washington and Brussels, with anti-tank rockets and ground-to-air missiles. (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Our Man in Tripoli": US-NATO Sponsored Islamic Terrorists Integrate Libya's Pro-Democracy Opposition, April 3, 2011)

The Kosovo Model

The assassination of General Younes, while creating divisions within the insurgency, tends to reinforce US-NATO control over the Islamist faction of the insurgency, which is supported covertly by the CIA and MI6.

What is unfolding  in Libya is the "Kosovo Model". The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was integrated by Islamic brigades affiliated to Al Qaeda, not to mention its links to organized crime. The KLA was supported covertly by the CIA, German intelligence (BND) and Britain's MI6.

Starting in 1997, the KLA was behind the political assassinations of civilian opposition forces within Kosovo, including members of the Democratic League of Kosovo headed by Ibrahim Rugova. It was then used as an instrument in NATO's 1999 war against Yugoslavia. And in the wake of the 1999 war the KLA was spearheaded, with the support of the UN and the EU, into heading an independent "democratic" Kosovo "Mafia State".

The "War on Terrorism" Supports "The War on Terrorism"

In a bitter irony, the US-NATO coalition against Libya is "on both sides" of their own "war on terrorism".

They say that they are "fighting terrorism", when in fact they covertly supporting and financing terrorism.

They are fighting with rather than against the terrorists.

They are also on both sides of "The Big Lie". They wage a holy war against "Islamic terrorism", while also supporting Al Qaeda affiliated jihadist forces within the Libyan "opposition".

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya in Tripoli and  Michel Chossudovsky in Montreal contributed to this report.

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