30 October 2012

The Management of Savagery: Arab Spring, Libya, and beyond

For those unfamiliar with al Qaeda doctrine, my first intro to it was via The Management of Savagery: The Most Critical Stage Through Which the Umma Will Pass by Abu Bakr Naji, Translated by William McCants (hosted at Harvard here for pdf).  I did a quick review of it as a first hit and a bit more, and looked at its views towards Nation States, particularly weak ones.  This is a multi-step system of proselytizing, getting sharia law put in place:

As for the current of popular jihad (like the movement of Hamas and the Jihad Movement in Palestine), in comparison with the four previous programs and what you have learned about this current, you can understand the nature of its program. In short, it resembles the program of the current of jihadi salafism, except that it goes further in its political thought, in the manner of the archetypal Brethren and the Brethren of Turabi. Furthermore, it is deficient in disseminating the correct scientific method among its followers when implementing the pedagogical method. One of two fates is feared for it: either the loss of the fruit (of its labors) in the end and its falling into the hands of the secular apostates and the nationalists, or the establishment of a state resembling the state of al-Bashir and al-Turabi in Sudan. The explanation of the details of all of that takes a long time...

The text was written prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan and looks at a pre-9/11 world which is still most of the world, today, in the Middle East and Africa.  The Management of Savagery is aimed at establishing a Caliphate via the encroachment of radicalized, jihadist Islam into States, shifting the law basis of States and, when that is not possible, fracturing States so as to spread jihad violently into neighboring States.

The management of savagery is the next stage that the Umma will pass through and it is considered the most critical stage. If we succeed in the management of this savagery, that stage (by the permission of God) will be a bridge to the Islamic state which has been awaited since the fall of the caliphate. If we fail – we seek refuge with God from that – it does not mean end of the matter; rather, this failure will lead to an increase in savagery!!

This increase in savagery, which may result from failure, is not the worst thing that can happen now or in the previous decade (the nineties) and those before it. Rather, the most abominable of the levels of savagery is (still) less than stability under the order of unbelief [niz?m al-kufr] by (several) degrees.

Again, this mindset sees violence due to Islam as better than being in a secular State.  This continues since jihadism is not an end, in and of itself, but a means to an end.

Despite the violence of Satan, a small group of thinkers and noble people remain who oppose tyranny and seek justice. This group wants to use the power they possess to change this reality for the better in accordance with their belief system. However, a second consideration that occurs to them is the existence of a criminal force in these armies which does not pay heed to values. Even if, in the best of circumstances, there is a clear plan for uniting [lit. encircling] the disharmonious elements of the (military) power, one or both of the superpowers will, under the cover of the United Nations, compel the new regime – through trickery, force, pressure, or all of these – to continue circling in the orbit of one of the superpowers and they will force new beneficiaries upon the new regime. This honored person who came to power comes to resemble those who went before him, like al-Bashir in Sudan.

Continued a bit later:

Therefore, the two superpowers must resort to using a deceptive media halo which portrays these powers as non-coercive and world-encompassing, able to reach into every earth and heaven as if they possess the power of the Creator of creation.

But the interesting thing that happened is that these two superpowers believed, for a time, their media deception: that they are actually a power capable of completely controlling any place in the entire world, and that (this power) bears the characteristics of the power of the Creator. According to the media deception, it is an all-encompassing, overwhelming power and people are subservient to it not only through fear, but also through love because it spreads freedom, justice, equality among humanity, and various other slogans.

When a state submits – whatever the extent of its ability – to the illusion of the deceptive power and behaves on this basis, that is when its downfall begins. It is just as the American author Paul Kennedy says: “If America expands the use of its military power and strategically extends more than necessary, this will lead to its downfall.”

Now do remember how easily the UN became the umbrella to Libya was quite astounding.  With that said the cover by the Arab League Nations gave it a patina of legitimacy and allowed Russia and China to abstain from vetoing the move.  On the ground, however, this has a different view not just to the 'rebels' but to al Qaeda.  Kaddafi had an air force which could only be countered either by MANPADs or by an opposition air force.  With Kaddafi's forces neutralized in the air, the rest is pretty simple since the UN forces weren't 'boots on the ground'.  This allows multiple elements, not just the rebels, to act freely in Libya.

The organization used to establish a toehold: Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.  From - 

Country Reports on Terrorism 2006

Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
April 30, 2007

Concentrating on Chapter 6 – Terrorist Organizations.

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) 1

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) emerged in the early 1990s among Libyans who had fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan and the Qadhafi regime in Libya. The LIFG declared Libyan President Muammar Qadhafi un-Islamic and pledged to overthrow him. Some members maintain a strictly anti-Qadhafi focus and organize against Libyan government interests, but others, such as Abu al-Faraj al-Libi, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2005, are aligned with Usama bin Ladin and believed to be part of al-Qaida's leadership structure or active in the international terrorist network. The United States designated the LIFG a Foreign Terrorist Organization in December 2004.

Libyans associated with the LIFG are part of the broader international terrorist movement. Spanish media in August 2005 linked Ziyad Hashem, an alleged member of the LIFG's media committee, as well as the imprisoned amir Abdullah al-Sadeq, with the Tunisian Islamist Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, the suspected ringleader in the 2004 Madrid attacks. The LIFG is one of the groups believed to have planned the Casablanca suicide bombings in May 2003. The LIFG continues to target Libyan interests, and attempted to assassinate Qadhafi a total of four times; the last attempt was in 1998. The LIFG engaged Libyan security forces in armed clashes during the 1990s.

Probably has several hundred active members or supporters.

Location/Area of Operation
Since the late 1990s many members have fled to various Asian, Arabian Gulf, African, and European countries, particularly the United Kingdom. It is likely that LIFG maintains a clandestine presence in Libya.

External Aid
Unknown. The LIFG has used Islamic charitable organizations as cover for raising and transferring money and documents.

This group is thought to be defunct as of 2007 and formally announced its end in 2009.  In that 2009 update there is also indications that LIFG had gotten into organized crime for external aid.  And utilizing that 2009 report the next group to stand up can be seen:


aka AQIM; formerly known as Group for Call and Combat; GSPC; Le Groupe Salafiste Pour La Predication Et Le Combat; Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat

Description: The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002. The GSPC officially merged with al-Qa’ida (AQ) in September 2006 and subsequently changed its name to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in January 2007.

Despite its affiliation, AQIM remains largely a regionally-focused terrorist group. It has adopted a more anti-Western rhetoric and ideology and has aspirations of overthrowing “apostate” African regimes and creating an Islamic Caliphate. AQIM numbers under a thousand fighters and is significantly constrained by its poor finances and lack of broad general appeal to Sufi Muslims in the region. Some senior members of AQIM are former GIA insurgents.

Activities: AQIM has not been able to conduct spectacular attacks in over two years since it bombed the UN building and Algerian government buildings in 2007. AQIM continued to conduct small scale attacks and ambushes in northeastern Algeria against Algerian security forces and regularly used improvised explosive devices there. AQIM in northeastern Algeria was under significant pressure by Algerian security forces. AQIM’s goals of expanding into Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Europe have failed thus far.

AQIM factions in the northern Sahel (northern Mali, Niger and Mauritania) conduct kidnap for ransom operations and can conduct small scale attacks and ambushes on security forces there. The target for kidnap for ransom is usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of making concessions in the form of payment of money or release of operatives in custody. Last year, one citizen from the United States and the United Kingdom were murdered in Mauritania and Mali respectively.

Strength: AQIM has under a thousand fighters operating in Algeria with a smaller number in the Sahel. Abdelmalek Droukdel, aka Abu Mus’ab Abd al-Wadoud, is the leader of the group.

Location/Area of Operation: Northeastern Algeria (the Kabylie region) and northern Mali, Niger, and Mauritania. AQIM aspires to expand into Europe but its efforts to do so thus far have failed.

External Aid: Algerian expatriates and AQIM members abroad, many residing in Western Europe, provide some limited financial and logistical support. AQIM members also engage in hostage-taking for ransom and criminal activity to finance their operations.

And who are the IG?  Why a Muslim Brotherhood off-shoot!


aka al-Gama’at; Egyptian al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya; GI; Islamic Gama’at; IG; Islamic Group,

Description: Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. IG, once Egypt’s largest militant groups, was active in the late 1970s, but is now a loosely organized network. The majority of its Egypt-based members have renounced terrorism, although some located overseas have begun to work with or have joined al-Qa’ida (AQ). The external wing, composed of mainly exiled members in several countries, maintained that its primary goal was to replace the Egyptian government with an Islamic state.

IG announced a cease-fire in 1997 that led to a split into two factions: one, led by Mustafa Hamza, supported the cease-fire; the other, led by Rifa’i Taha Musa, called for a return to armed operations. IG announced another ceasefire in March 1999 that the majority of its leaders have held to through the end of 2009, but its spiritual leader, Sheik Umar Abd al-Rahman, sentenced to life in prison in January 1996 for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and incarcerated in the United States, rescinded his support for the cease-fire in June 2000. IG has not conducted an attack inside Egypt since the 1997 Luxor attack, which killed 58 tourists and four Egyptians, and wounded dozens more. In February 1998, a senior member signed Usama bin Ladin’s fatwa call for attacks against the United States but may not have been acting as part of the IG.

In early 2001, Taha Musa published a book in which he attempted to justify terrorist attacks that cause mass casualties. Musa disappeared several months afterward and the United States has no information about his whereabouts. In March 2002, members of the group’s historic leadership in Egypt declared the use of violence misguided and renounced its future use, prompting denunciations from much of the leadership abroad. The Egyptian government continued to release IG members from prison as part of its rehabilitation program; approximately 900 were released in 2003 and most of the 700 persons released in 2004 at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan were IG members. In August 2006, Ayman al-Zawahiri announced that IG had merged with AQ, but the group’s Egypt-based leadership quickly denied this claim which ran counter to their reconciliation efforts. Supporters of Sheikh Abd al-Rahman still remain a possible threat to U.S. interests as both ‘Abd al-Rahman and his supporters have previously called for reprisal attacks in case of his death in prison.

Activities: Before the 1997 cease-fire, IG conducted armed attacks against Egyptian security and other government officials and Coptic Christians. After the cease-fire, the faction led by Taha Musa launched attacks on tourists in Egypt, most notably the 1997 Luxor attack. IG claimed responsibility for the June 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. IG was dormant in 2009.

Strength: At its peak, IG probably commanded several thousand hardcore members and a similar number of supporters. Security crackdowns following the 1997 attack in Luxor, the 1999 cease-fire, and post-September 11 security measures and defections to AQ have probably resulted in a substantial decrease in what is left of an organized group.

Location/Area of Operation: The IG maintained an external presence in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, and France. IG terrorist presence in Egypt was minimal due to the reconciliation efforts of former local members.

External Aid: AQ and Afghan militant groups provide support to members of the organization to carry out support on behalf of AQ but not in conjunction with the IG. IG also may have obtained some funding through various Islamic non-governmental organizations.

Thus AQIM has direct ties to al Qaeda and through them the Muslim Brotherhood, and the IG is also part of the AQIM, which has relations to the Blind Sheikh.  With AQIM displacing or absorbing the LIFG, the inroads into Libya are made prior to the 2011 uprising.  This explains some of Kaddafi's worries about al Qaeda:

17 MAR 2011 - Gaddafi fears Bin Laden's occupation of Libya (Source: RIA Novosti via GlobalSecurity document cache)

16:58 17/03/2011 MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi fears that number one terrorist, al-Qaeda's Osama Bin Laden, will take control over Libya making it "the second Afghanistan," Gaddafi told Russia Today (RT) satellite TV channel on Thursday.

"Al-Qaeda will establish Jihad in Northern Africa and the West will have to oppose the dangerous challenges, triggering a new crusade," Gaddafi said in an interview with RT.


Early on in the conflict was a military worry about the MANPADs (Man Portable Air Defense systems, aka shoulder launched SAMs) in Libya:

30 MAR 2011 - US Lawmakers Vent Frustrations About Libya (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)


Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland said he did not believe Libyan rebels have requested arms. "Well the first thing, I don't believe the rebels have asked to be armed because I have been to Libya, I have met with Ghadhafi, there is a tremendous amount of ammunition all over Libya. There are over 20,000 manpads [man-portable air-defense systems, commonly known as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles], and the opposition has been able to secure a lot of this. Now whether they know how to use it, that is another issue."

In an interview late Tuesday with NBC news, President Obama said he is not ruling out arming Libyan rebels, but said he has also not made a decision to arm them. He says right now coalition forces are degrading Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces' capabilities.


These are the items that can be used to track the links of terrorists and Nation States.  The majority of Kaddafi's MANPADs are of the SA variety (likely the SA-7 at least), which do require some training to use.  This would explain the likelihood of the CIA being involved ( 31 MAR 2011 - US May Use Covert Action Against Gadhafi (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)) and the CIA with British Intelligence (05 APR 2011 - CIA Secretly at Work Inside Libya (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)).  President Obama issued a memorandum to use FAA reserve funds to be used for the Libyans (26 APR 2011 – GlobalSecurity document cache).

As AQIM follows the AQ doctrine, they sought to gather arms to spread into other areas of Africa, which is part of their area of operations.  First mention of arms going to al Qaeda from Libyan conflict and it will not be the last of these reports. Note ethnic role and which Nation is involved.

30 JUN 2011 - AU condemns French arms drop to Libyan rebels - media

(Source: RIA Novosti via GlobalSecurity)

MOSCOW, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - African Union Commission Chief Jean Ping condemned on Thursday French arms supply to Libyan rebels, world media said on Thursday.

France has confirmed media reports that it dropped weapons to Berber tribal fighters in mountains southwest of the Libyan capital Tripoli without informing the other coalition countries taking part in a military operation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"What worries us is not who is giving what, but simply that weapons are being distributed by all parties and to all parties," Ping said ahead of an African Union summit in Equatorial Guinea. "We already have proof that these weapons are in the hands of al-Qaeda, of traffickers. These weapons will contribute to the destabilization of African states."


It is likely that the Berbers are associated with the GIA (Armed Islamic Group) which has associations with al Qaeda, which developed over the Algerian Insurgency.  Back to the 2009 terrorist group listing:


aka GIA; al-Jama’ah al-Islamiyah al-Musallah; Groupement Islamique Arme

Description: The Armed Islamic Group was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997. The GIA aims to overthrow the Algerian regime and replace it with a state governed by Sharia law. The GIA began its violent activity in 1992 after the military government suspended legislative elections in anticipation of an overwhelming victory by the Islamic Salvation Front, the largest Algerian Islamic opposition party.

Activities: The GIA has engaged in attacks against civilians and government workers. The group began conducting a terrorist campaign of civilian massacres in 1992, sometimes wiping out entire villages and killing tens of thousands of Algerians. Since announcing its campaign against foreigners living in Algeria in 1992, the GIA has killed more than 100 expatriate men and women, mostly Europeans. Almost all of the GIA’s members have now joined other Islamist groups or have been killed or captured by the Algerian government. The Algerian government’s September 2005 reconciliation program led to an increase in the number of GIA terrorist suspects who surrendered to security forces, and the GIA has not conducted attacks since that time. Some senior members of AQIM are former GIA insurgents.

Strength: Almost all former GIA members have accepted amnesty or joined other terrorist groups; precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation: Algeria

External Aid: Unknown.

Well good that its gone, bad that some of it was absorbed by AQIM.  Or morphed into the GSPC and then turned into AQIM:

Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC)

The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on March 27, 2002. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) aimed to establish an Islamic state within Algeria. Addtionaly it sought to destroy western targets. The GSPC had been visible since 1996 and is an offshoot of the GIA.

On March 11, 2004 news sources reported that a firefight had occurred between the Chad military and an Algerian terrorist group, Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). This firefight, which is believed to have resulted in the death of some 43 GSPC members, apparently began in Niger and crossed into Chad. The fighting took place over two days. The group, led by a former Algerian soldier named Saifi Ammari and nicknamed "the Para," had been tracked across the Sahara from its bases in the Algeria-Mali border area. It is not clear if "the Para" was involved in the attack.

After the GSPC officially merged with al-Qa'ida (AQ) in September 2006 the organization became known as al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On February 20, 2008, the Department of State amended the GSPC designation to reflect the change and made AQIM the official name for the organization. Some senior members of AQIM are former Armed Islamic Group (GIA) insurgents.

So the groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the region have been pre-positioned, perhaps weakly in Libya but strongly in Algeria.  The cross-border Berbers do allow for the movement of men and arms throughout the area they are in which includes Libya.
Now there can be some perspective put onto the prospect of French arms sent to the Berbers winding up in the hands of AQIM.  In fact those border regions are extremely susceptible to the movement of men and arms and by putting the Libyan forces under Kaddafi in check, this allowed for the freeing up of other AQIM elements to spread the instability to weaker Nations. More reports of al Qaeda getting weapons from Libya:

08 JUL 2011 - Niger: Libyan Conflict Impacting Sahel Security (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)

Scott Stearns | Dakar July 08, 2011

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou says the longer the Libyan conflict drags on, the worse it will be for Libya's neighbors in the Sahel.

President Issoufou says the Libyan crisis has security consequences for Niger including the spread of arms, sometimes heavy arms into the Sahel.

Security forces in Niger recovered detonators, more than 600 kilograms of semtex explosives and $90,000 in cash during a shoot-out with suspected terrorists last month. President Issoufou's government says the arms came from Libya and were intended for Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM,) which is responsible for a string of kidnappings and ambushes across the Sahel.

Mauritania and Mali are fighting AQIM militants in the Wagadou forest region along their common border. Mauritania, Mali, and Niger all say they are concerned that some of the weapons captured by insurgents in Libya are being sold to the al-Qaida-affiliated group.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the Libyan conflict risks destabilizing the region further.


Libya, Algeria, Mali, Mauritania all start to become an integrated operation with the flow of arms and fighters shifting through Libya to other countries.  More al Qaeda worries going official as the conflict continues:  24 AUG 2011 - West fears Al-Qaeda could seize Gaddafi weapons – paper (Source: RIA Novosti via GlobalSecurity)

15:13 24/08/2011 CAIRO, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - The United States, France and Britain have asked Libya's neighbors to beef up security on their borders to prevent the possible smuggling out of weapons, Algerian paper al-Habar said.

The West is afraid that in the chaos of Gaddafi's downfall the leftovers of his military capabilities could fall into hands of al-Qaeda or other militant groups.

No one can be sure who is now controlling the Libyan government's weapons stockpiles, a stew of deadly chemicals, raw nuclear material and some 30,000 shoulder-fired rockets, the paper said.

The leaders of Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Chad and Niger received letters in which Western leaders requested that measures be taken to prevent such groups obtaining the weapons, the paper said.

Anyone with any illusions as to the point of taking down Kaddafi from the perspective of al Qaeda should begin to  have doubts about them.  In this perspective, the loss of the grip of Kaddafi on Libya means the expansion of al Qaeda influence and terrorism into northern Africa.  The Western perspective doesn't matter much, at all, as this sub-theme becomes an important one for the longer-term consequences in the Middle East.

Getting a handle on Kadaffy's WMDs and those pesky MANPADs is vital to the West, but only one of them is critical to al Qaeda:25 AUG 2011 - US: Libyan Uranium, Chemical Weapons Secure (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)

August 25, 2011

David Gollust | Washington

The U.S. State Department said Thursday it believes that Libyan stockpiles of mustard agent and uranium are secure, despite continuing turmoil there. U.S. officials are less sure about the status of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons that were in Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's military arsenal.

The Gadhafi government, in a bid to escape terrorism-related sanctions and political isolation, renounced weapons of mass destruction in 2003 and later gave up key components of a nascent nuclear weapons program.

But Libya’s continued to possess large quantities of mustard agent -- a potential component of chemical weapons. And a stockpile of low-enriched uranium, or yellowcake, has been a matter of international concern as the country descended into conflict.


“It is at the Tajoura nuclear research facility. It is safeguarded there. We are able, through our national technical means, to assert that we believe it is secure. And in any case, Libya doesn’t have the means right now to turn yellowcake into anything dangerous,’ Nuland said.

Nuland said that in the process that led to the normalization of relations between the United States and Libya in 2006, the Gadhafi government surrendered nuclear weapons equipment it had obtained from Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan network two years earlier. She said it gave up its last highly-enriched uranium in 2009.


Nuland said the main proliferation concern from Libya involves portable shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, or MANPADS -- short for Man Portable Air Defense System. The Gadhafi government is thought to have stockpiled perhaps thousands of the weapons, which could be used to shoot down commercial airliners.

Since the Libyan conflict began, U.S. personnel have been working with countries bordering Libya, and more recently with the TNC, to try to detect MANPAD smuggling attempts.

Nuland decried what she called ”fear-mongering” reporting on the subject, but also said that there is no reliable information on the extent of the Libyan MANPAD problem, if there is one.

MANPADS have rarely been linked to terrorist attacks. One attack was an unsuccessful attempt by an al-Qaida-affiliated group to shoot down an Israeli airliner at the Kenyan port city of Mombassa in 2002.

Actually MANPADs can directly be related to terrorism via the birth of al Qaeda's early military successes with the Taliban in Afghanistan by getting rid of Soviet airpower advantages.  Neutralizing airpower during an insurgency, not during a terrorist attack, is vital and not something lost on AQIM.  Attempts to play down the use of them is misplaced, at best, and inviting disaster, at worse.  Notice that the Israeli airliner most likely had automated anti-missile systems (chaff and flares) that could make them harder to hit.  Name another civilian airfleet that has such defenses on-board their aircraft.

During the Libyan conflict the new Egyptian government (controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood) seeks to help out the new Libyan transitional council (29 AUG 2011 - Egypt ready to help riot-torn Libya – media (Source: RIA Novosti via GlobalSecurity)) although calling Libya 'riot-torn' suggests more of a widespread set of soccer hooligans rather than a civil war.

HRW releases files to show work between CIA, MI6 and Kaddafi regime: 03 SEP 2011 - HRW releases secret files on US, UK ties to hunt Libyan dissidents (Source: GlobalSecurity document cache)

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New York, Sept 3, IRNA -- Secret files released by Human Rights Watch show close relationship between United States, UK and Libyan intelligence agencies to hunt dissidents of Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

They reveal that MI6 and the CIA had a regular dialogue with their counterparts in Libyan Intelligence, in particular Musa Kusa the former head of Libya's intelligence service and foreign minister who defected to the UK earlier this year.

Kusa flew to Britain in March and was allowed to fly to Qatar the following month, despite being accused of rights violations.

The papers reportedly include letters and faxes to him headed 'greetings from MI6' and a personal christmas greeting signed by a senior spy as 'your friend'.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said that the documents were apparently found in Musa Kusa's former offices in Tripoli.


Also among the files is evidence that the United States used Libya as a base for its rendition programme - transporting prisoners it believed to be a threat to its national security for further interrogation on foreign soil.

Human rights organisations claim that the real purpose was to torture these prisoners outside of US jurisdiction.

Bouckaert said the documents about alleged CIA renditions to Libya included some on the man who is now head of the Tripoli Military Council, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj.

'He was captured, abducted together with his pregnant wife and flown on the so-called black flight to Tripoli for his interrogation,' Bouckaert said.

There is no suggestion that the UK was involved in the rendition process but there are allegations from the secret papers that UK intelligence gave its Libyan counterparts information on dissidents to the Gaddafi regime who were living in Britain at the time.

'Libya asked the US to send Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq, an opposition leader, to Libya and a CIA case officer wrote back in March 2004, that 'we are committed to developing this relationship for the benefit of both our services,' and promised to do their best to locate him, according to another document.'

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30546930

Yes it is a Leftist talking point, but this does point to the CIA and MI6 having contacts within Libya and not just with the old regime, either.

Speaking of which, as the old regime started to lose its hold on its forces, those forces started to head to other places:  06 SEP 2011 - Libyan Convoy in Niger Where Gadhafi Has Tuareg Ties (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)

September 06, 2011

Scott Stearns | Abuja, Nigeria

A convoy of up to 200 vehicles carrying forces loyal to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi has crossed into Niger.

The ousted Libyan leader has close ties to Tuareg nomads based in northern Niger who Colonel Gadhafi has supported in the past and who may support him now.

The head of Colonel Gadhafi's security brigade, Mansour Dhao, crossed into Niger hours ahead of a larger convoy which quickly moved on toward the capital Niamey.

Officials in Niger said Colonel Gadhafi is not with the convoy, and it was not clear whether any Gadhafi family members or senior political allies were with it either.

Niger's capital in the far southwest of the country is close to the border with Burkina Faso, where officials offered Colonel Gadhafi asylum about two weeks ago.

It is believed the convoy may have first crossed into Algeria before entering Niger through an area that is home to Tuareg nomads with longstanding ties to the former Gadhafi government.


Less than a week later this movement is confirmed in Niger (Link: RFE/RL).  Tribal alignment is one that crosses religious lines making purely religious designation for inter-tribal conflicts questionable.  Even when not done by AQIM, such activities serve to destabilize countries that have cross-border tribes in their borders.  A tribal uprising can make a country weak against an attack by AQIM. 

From this perspective the West serves the purpose of introducing an abundance of arms, freeing up critical arms from a tyrannical regime and boosting the possibility of inter-tribal conflicts across borders to destabilize more regimes.  All of this for very little to NO time or monetary investment on their part but done freely, at great expense, by the West.

Back to the interim council in Libya.

Now isn't this wonderful? 'Moderate' Islamic rule promised in Libya! Considering that 'moderate Islam' in the Middle East tends to be semi-jihadi with better clothes and hygiene, this becomes an interesting optic. Do the Libyans really want to defang the worst of sharia or just lie about it?

13 SEP 2011 - Libya's New Leaders Pledge 'Moderate' Islamic Rule (Source: RFE/RL via GlobalSecurity)

Last updated (GMT/UTC): 13.09.2011 08:37

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of Libya's National Transitional Council, has made his first public appearance in Tripoli, telling a fervent crowd at Martyrs' Square that there will be "moderate" Islamic rule for the country.

Speaking to thousands of jubilant supporters who gave him a hero's welcome on September 12, Jalil said Libya's new government "will not accept any extremist ideology."

"We are a Muslim nation, with moderate Islam, and we will maintain that so you remain with us and you support us," he said. "You are our weapon against whoever tries to hijack the revolution, from the right or from the left."

Jalil said "moderate Islam" would be the main source of legislation in Libya following the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi from power after a six-month uprising and civil war.

"It is a great honor for anyone to stand before this crowd in this situation and on this occasion, at a time when Libya and all Libyans are getting rid of the tyrants and the Libyan people emerge dignified and honored by their action and courage," Jalil said.


Is there such a thing as 'moderate' Islam?  Does a 'moderate' Islamic State depend on clerics to tell it what its laws should be, or do the clerics only get a veto?  Does that matter?  If it is a secular State, then which tenets of Islam does it keep and which does it reject to allow for religious freedom (even within Islam there are many sects)  and keep the State from dictating religious doctrine?  That is a difficult thing for the US to do with Christianity, can it be done with Islam?

Going back to the arms front, Russia has some problems with Western countries not following the UN mandates they agreed to:

27 SEP 2011 - European, Arab countries violated Libya arms embargo - Lavrov

(Source: RIA Novosti via GlobalSecurity)

15:00 27/09/2011 MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti) - Several European and Arab countries have violated the embargo on arms supplies to Libya introduced by the UN Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"It has already been said openly that Resolution 1970, which was adopted by consensus and stipulated a full embargo on arms trade with Libya, as well as on certain services of a military nature, has been violated," Lavrov said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

"Arms have been supplied [to Libya] from a number of European countries, as well as from several countries in the Arab region," he said.

Earlier this month, the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution to ease an assets freeze and arms embargo against Libyan companies and the government.

Last week, the European Union lifted sanctions on Libya, partially removing the arms embargo, unlocking frozen central bank and oil funds and allowing Libyan aircraft to use European airports and airspace.

"There are data in Western media, which no one has yet denied, that besides instructors, special forces - namely people who planned and participated in military operations - were also working [in Libya]," Lavrov said.

He said "damage has been caused to the UN Security Council," because, "no one had violated understandable decisions so gravely and openly before."

Russia has repeatedly criticized the NATO-led operation in Libya for exceeding the UN mandate by supporting rebel forces in their fight against troops loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi. The colonel had ruled Libya for more than 40 years before he was deposed by rebel forces in August.

While self-serving (that is what such ministers are for, after all, to serve the Nation State) the man does have a point in that such activities are not part of the agreed-upon sanctions regime.  If you must have a treaty organization like the UN, the least you could do is what you agree to do.

Sec. State Clinton promising aid, other countries see concerns, main part is to get the militias into a unified, national force. To date, this continues to be a problem that is unsolved. Also note that the 'scholar' seems to get this idea that autonomy is provided by others... this mindset is a major problem facing the spread of the understanding of liberty and freedom on a global basis.

18 OCT 2011 - Clinton in Libya Vows Support For Democracy (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)

October 18, 2011

Elizabeth Arrott | Cairo

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Libya Tuesday to show support for the leaders Washington and other NATO countries helped bring to power. The visit highlights the struggle of Libya's interim government to prove it is strong enough on its own.


In a press conference with Jibril, Clinton said it was an honor to stand on the soil of a "free Libya" and a privilege to see a "new future for Libya being born."

America's top diplomat offered help for Libya to establish greater security. "I am pleased to announce that we are going to put even more money into helping Libya secure and destroy dangerous stockpiles of weapons. And the administration, working with Congress, is going to provide $40 million to support this effort. We will also work with Libya to destroy chemical weapons stock," said Clinton.

And she promised millions more dollars in aid for a nation trying to rebuild. The help ranges from military equipment to educational and economic programs, medical care for wounded fighters, and archeological help in preserving Libya's Greek and Roman-era ruins.


But such help could come at a cost. The NTC has yet to consolidate either military or political rule.

Libya scholar Ziad Akl of the Ahram Center in Cairo says the various parties contending for power could accuse the NTC of over-reliance on the West.

"There seems to be an agreement on the necessity of the role of the West," said Akl. "It's just the amount of obedience that they have to show and the amount of autonomy that the West should provide. And [it] should not condition its aid to following a specific agenda laid down by the Western allies."


"There is political capital that the West had laid down there, that even the Qataris and Turks cannot ignore or step over," said the scholar.


Clinton and Libyan leaders discussed bringing the numerous anti-Gadhafi militias carrying out those operations under unified, national control.

U.S. officials say she also pushed for a pledge that the new government abide by the rule of law, in particular concerning prisoners' rights. Human rights observers have criticized the NTC for not controlling the abuse of people in their custody.

Here is the problem – if the terrorists have weapons and the government seeks to disarm civilians and the government is weak, then how can terrorism be countered?  This article starts to outline this problem:  19 OCT 2011 - Securing Libya's weapons (Source: NATO via GlobalSecurity)

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

19 Oct. 2011

It’s easy to see where the oil revenues of Libya were squandered over the decades of Colonel Qadafi’s rule. The streets of the country are now awash with weapons that have fallen into the hands of the National Transitional Council as they seized the caches that were built up to suppress the Libyan people.

The looting of these weapons hoards allowed the rebels to quickly acquire the firepower they needed to overthrow the regime, but it has resulted in a highly armed population. It is a problem that will need to be addressed quickly if it is not to create security issues further down the line.

Giving up the guns

The situation is serious and there have been calls for the National Transitional Council to act quickly. Recent advertising on Libyan television and radio has encouraged people to hand over their weapons to the authorities.

“It’s started to be like a daily routine where people come and give up their weapons,” says Abed, a member of the National Transitional Council in Abu Sleem. “Before, we had to go to their homes and collect the weapons, now it’s the other way round.”

It is easy to understand why Libyans are not keen to part with the weapons that have taken them through the revolution and thrown off the shackles of a hated despotic regime. Fear and uncertainty in their future has led many to feel that the time has not yet come when they can return to their old lives and put down the tools of war.

“I won’t hand it over until the country is clear and Qadhafi is captured,” says Osama, who used to be a mechanic before the conflict. “When nothing is wrong with the country, I’ll hand over my weapon.”

Others, who have a deeper trust in their new leaders, are ready to follow orders. “Even now if they want me to hand over my weapon I will happily do it, and I will go straight home. I have no problem with this. The most important thing is to have peace and stability in Libya,” says Mahmoud with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder.

The revolutionary without his rifle

One shouldn’t underestimate the power of the image of a man with a Kalashnikov in Libya now. A sense of bravado has built up around it. Before the revolution they may not have come across a weapon unless they were drafted into the army and a lot of young men had only seen guns in the movies.

“You have to be responsible of what you are doing first,” says Ahmed, “I mean holding a gun is not easy. It’s not like ‘oh look at me I’m holding a gun, I’m showing off.’ That’s not it. You’re doing something for your country, you’re supposed to save people, make people safe.”

However, unlike Ahmed, safety is not at the forefront of everybody’s mind. The recent news of the capture of one of Qadhafi’s sons brought people out onto the streets, firing wildly into the air in celebration. Smashed car windshields attest to the inevitable return of the bullets towards earth and there have been reports of injuries and even deaths.

The wrong hands

Whilst Kalashnikov rifles and other small arms such as rocket-propelled grenades have flooded Libya in their hundreds of thousands, there are weapons which although less numerous could cause an even greater threat.

It’s feared that man-portable missiles, rocket systems and even chemical weapons could fall into the hands of extremists unless prompt action is taken to secure them. Individual nations have taken steps to resolve the issue on a bilateral basis. For instance, a recent Canadian initiative saw the government pledge 10m dollars to help Libya collect and neutralise the threat from these weapons systems, while both the UK and the US also acted to deploy military and civilian personnel on the ground to help secure stockpiles.

With the country awash with weaponry, the National Transitional Council will face a tough challenge in disarming their population and creating a safe future for Libya and the region.

The UN is worried about arms, not tribal or ethnic problems which are the cause of conflicts that can destabilize a Nation. Apparently the cart gets put before the horse on this issue, yet again, in a simplistic formulation of liberty, society and arms. Arms secured for civil self-defense by individuals are NOT a problem. Ethnic strife, tribal conflicts and personal vendettas are a problem, not the positive liberty or right to DEFEND against such conflicts by individuals. Notice that the people, on the ground, have the right idea... NATO does not.

Individuals seeking civil and responsible self-defense are NOT extremists seeking to impose their wishes upon others with force of arms. Depriving a civilian of the ability to defend themselves invites repression by those willing to wage war on their lonesome. This is a human right, a natural right and a bolster for civil society not a detractor from it. In a Nation and region that has seen much turmoil and strife, someone should have figured this out by now.

This is something that al Qaeda has figured out quite well and looks forward to the misplaced trust of the Leftist Western powers in governments being armed and civilians being disarmed.  If you disarm civilians you leave them hostage to terrorists and tyrannical governments, and if you don't seek to have settlements of inter-tribal problems that cross borders, then you guarantee destabilizing conflicts.  In this set of equations the arms are not the problem.

And how do such conflicts start?  Well this might give you an example of a future conflict flashpoint:  24 OCT 2011 - Rights Group to NTC: Probe Apparent Mass Execution (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)

VOA News October 24, 2011

A human rights group reporting from the hometown of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says it has found the bodies of 53 people who appear to have been executed by fighters for the National Transitional Council during the bitter fighting for control of Sirte.

Humans Rights Watch said on Monday it discovered the bodies in an abandoned hotel in an area of Sirte that was controlled by anti-Gadhafi forces at the apparent time of the deaths about a week earlier. The group said bloodstains on the grass, bullet holes on the ground and bullet casings scattered around the site suggest executioners killed some, if not all, of the people at that location.

Sirte residents preparing the bodies for burial said most of the victims were local people and some were Gadhafi supporters. Human Rights Watch is urging Libya's new authorities to investigate the deaths and hold those responsible accountable.

Libya's provisional authority on Sunday declared the country liberated from Gadhafi's 42-year rule. Tens of thousands of jubilant people gathered for the ceremony in the eastern city of Benghazi.

NTC head Mustafa Abdel Jalil told the crowd that Islamic law would shape the new constitution in post-Gadhafi Libya.

Libya's outgoing provisional prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, said consultations are under way to form a new interim government within one month, followed by elections for a constitutional assembly within eight months. Parliamentary and presidential elections would be held within a year after that.

Jibril spoke from an economic forum in Jordan, where he announced his resignation to allow new leaders to oversee Libya's transition to democracy.

Concerns still linger about the circumstances of the death of Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte on Thursday. Cell phone video showed provisional government fighters taunting and beating a wounded Gadhafi shortly before he died.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States would like to see a U.N. investigation of Gadhafi's killing. She said she supports the investigation that the NTC has pledged to conduct, and said it is important for a democratic Libya to begin with the rule of law and accountability.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said Gadhafi's killing had "stained" the image of Libya's provisional government, and that Britain would have liked to see the former leader stand trial for alleged misdeeds.

Libyan doctors performed an autopsy on Gadhafi's body in the city of Misrata and said he died of gunshot wounds to the head and abdomen. Libyan officials say the former leader was shot in crossfire between his loyalists and provisional government forces. Fighters on the scene have acknowledged beating the ousted leader after his capture.

Gadhafi's body remained on public display in a commercial freezer in Misrata Sunday. Details of his burial have not been disclosed.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

But no one will pay attention to it.

The MANPADs, remember those? Where are they? And the WMDs, too. Who has them?  01 NOV 2011 - Security Council calls on Libyan authorities to stem proliferation of arms (Source: UN News Service via GlobalSecurity)

1 November 2011 – The Security Council has called on interim authorities in Libya to take action to prevent the proliferation of arms, missiles and related materiel, warning of the danger they pose to the newly liberated North African country and the wider region.

In a resolution adopted unanimously yesterday, Council members also authorized its committee on Libyan sanctions to draw up proposals for how to keep any stockpiles of arms and materiel away from terrorist groups, including the group known as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

The resolution, adopted hours before the mandate for authorized international military action in Libya came to an end, voiced concern about the proliferation of arms in the region, especially man-portable surface-to-air missiles – otherwise known as MANPADS.

The text said Libyan authorities must take “all necessary steps to prevent the proliferation of all arms and related materiel of all types, in particular man-portable surface-to-air missiles, to ensure their proper custody, as well as to meet Libya’s arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation obligations under international law.”

Council members called on Libyan authorities to work closely with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with the aim of destroying the country’s stockpiles of chemical weapons. In addition, States in the region were asked to play their part to prevent arms proliferation.

The committee set up after sanctions were imposed earlier this year was asked “to assess the threats and challenges, in particular related to terrorism, posed by the proliferation of all arms and related materiel of all types.”

A report will be prepared by the committee on preventing proliferation, as well as on how to ensure that any stockpiles are managed safely and securely, that border controls are strengthened and that transport security is boosted.

Last week Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) declared the full liberation of the country, more than eight months after a popular uprising began against the regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi, and days after his death in his home town of Sirte.

The uprising in Libya was part of the so-called Arab Spring, a wider pro-democracy movement across North Africa and the Middle East that has also led to the toppling of long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

Really, MANPADs and WMDs do need to be kept under lock and key... right? Gotta find them all, first.

02 NOV 2011 - UN Chief in Libya, Seeks Weapons Controls (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)

November 02, 2011

VOA News

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has used a previously unannounced visit to Libya to urge the country's new leaders to secure weapons stockpiled by the former Gadhafi government.

Ban says he raised the issue Wednesday during a meeting in Tripoli with Libya's transitional leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil. The secretary-general says it is particularly important to secure stocks of shoulder-fired missiles and chemical and biological weapons.

Some of those arsenals were left unguarded during the chaotic outcome of the popular uprising this year that resulted in long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi's death last month. The U.N. Security Council warned in a resolution Monday of the risk that terrorists and other armed groups in the region could gain access to the former regime's weapons.

Ban, visiting Libya for the first time since the uprising began in March, told Jalil the U.N. will support the Libyan people in their transition to democracy. He offered U.N. help to Libya in preparing for its first free elections, in drafting a new constitution and in safeguarding human rights and improving public security.

From Tripoli, the U.N. chief goes to the French city of Cannes to attend a summit of the Group of 20 economic powers.

Libya's National Transitional Council on Monday appointed Abdurrahim el-Keib as its new interim prime minister. The American-educated engineering professor said he protecting human rights will be a priority for his interim government, expected to remain in power until elections next year.

Human-rights groups have expressed concern about the NTC's treatment of pro-Gadhafi fighters and African migrants during the eight-month uprising.

In another development, Italy on Wednesday became the first EU nation to resume commercial flights to post-Gadhafi Libya. An Alitalia plane left Rome for Tripoli carrying more than 100 people, mostly Libyan citizens.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini praised the resumption of flights as an "important signal" of the depth of Italy's involvement in Libya, a former Italian colony. Italy was one of several NATO member states that took part in an aerial bombing campaign in support of the anti-Gadhafi uprising.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

And here comes the 'mostly secular' Muslim Brotherhood, in Libya!

18 NOV 2011 - Muslim Brotherhood Holds First Public Conference In Libya (Source: RFE/RL)

Not that they hadn't been sponsoring IG for a couple of decades, mind you. That is why they want the Blind Sheikh: he is the bridge between MB Egypt and MB Libya. It's just another of the terror off-shoots of the MB: HAMAS, al Qaeda, IG. And more.... many, many more.

And after the warm welcome at the UN, welcoming Libya back to being a civilized Nation, there is the problem of the MANPADs.  Still.  It's like no one can find more than 1/4 of those suckers.

28 NOV 2011 - Most pressing task for Libya is consolidation of security, UN envoy reports (Source: UN News Service via GlobalSecurity)

28 November 2011 – Libya’s interim Government faces a number of challenges as it seeks to move past the recent conflict and decades of dictatorship, the most immediate of which is consolidating security, the top United Nations envoy to the country said today.

It has been just over a month since the National Transitional Council (NTC) declared the full liberation of Libya, and more than nine months after the start of the popular uprising against the regime of long-time ruler Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi.

Over the course of the past month, the NTC approved the interim Government headed by Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib.

“They know that they now face great challenges, requiring effective central as well as local governance,” Ian Martin, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said as he briefed the Security Council on the latest developments.

“The first and foremost of immediate challenges is in the area of security,” he added, noting that this includes determining the future of the revolutionary fighters. Another major security issue is the presence and proliferation of conventional and non-conventional weapons and related materiel.

Of particular concern, said Mr. Martin, is the large number of MANPADS [man-portable air defence systems] and ammunition still unaccounted for, which pose both a disarmament problem for Libya and a proliferation risk for the region. Libya has accumulated the largest known stockpile of MANPADS outside those countries that produce such systems.

“The Government will need a little time to work out the different responsibilities of its ministries and other bodies in addressing all these tasks across the security sector – integration and demobilization, training and development of police and a new army, weapons control and border management – but there is no doubt about its sense of urgency,” said the envoy.

He added that the security situation and the way in which it develops in the near future cannot be separated from Libya’s urgent need for liquid funds, noting that “the stabilization of the country, the success of the Government and the perception of the international community are all at stake.”

Other challenges facing the new government are election preparations, fostering national reconciliation, and addressing the legacy of human rights violation and current human rights issues.

The NTC is committed to a first election within eight months, a challenging timeline, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes in his report, in a country where there has been limited or no electoral experience in over 45 years.

The UN has continued to stress that for credible elections for a National Congress to be held by June 2012 early decisions have to be made on a range of issues, said Mr. Martin. Among them are the electoral system, the eligibility of candidates and voters, and the authority, composition and appointment of the electoral commission.

“The challenge of national reconciliation is of overwhelming importance,” writes Mr. Ban. “However deep the anger at the war crimes committed by the former regime, the National Transitional Council must continue its calls to avoid acts of revenge and must investigate abuses by its own fighters.

“I believe that the leaders of the new Libya are truly committed to building a society based on respect for human rights. However difficult the circumstances, it is essential to take the earliest possible action to end arbitrary detention and prevent abuses and discrimination against third country nationals and against any group of Libya’s own citizens,” he states.

Makes you wonder where the MANPADs got to, doesn't it?  While they do disappear into the air, they don't disappear into thin air out of storage bunkers.  One is rocketry, the other magic.

Back to tribalism for a moment.  Remember the Tuaregs? The tribe that Qaddaffy belonged to?

Taking guns away isn't the problem. Tribal and ethnic conflict, is:  13 DEC 2011 - LIBYA: Rocky road ahead for Libya's Tawergha minority (Source: IRIN via GlobalSecurity)

TRIPOLI, 13 December 2011 (IRIN) - A major challenge facing Libya as it emerges from a nine-month civil war will be reconciling and integrating thousands of Tawergha accused of killing and raping residents of Misrata on behalf of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Theirs is the most extreme test of national reconciliation for a government that will have to integrate several groups of Gaddafi loyalists, including those in the towns of Bani Walid and Sirte, if the revolution is to be successful.

“The principle is extremely important,” said Emmanuel Gignac, head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Libya. “The country will not stand if you have rejected communities within it.”

The dark-skinned Tawergha minority - former slaves brought to Libya in the 18th and 19th centuries - resided until recently in a coastal town of the same name 250km east of the capital Tripoli.

With the rise to power of the rebels, the Tawergha are now on the defensive. Their town sits empty - doors hanging open and homes burned; the sign leading to the city has been changed to New Misrata and its population told not to return.

Continued harassment and revenge attacks on this minority threaten to re-ignite conflict, say aid workers.


What actually happened in Misrata?

Part of the problem is that no one really knows what and how much happened in Misrata - estimates of how many people were allegedly involved in crimes range from 1,500 to 9,000 - and for cultural and other reasons, some people are fiercely opposed to any kind of investigation.

“To have the International Criminal Court come and have doctors investigate the rapes… no way,” Maiteeg said.

Others say an acknowledgement of crimes committed would go a long way to diffusing Misratan anger. But any such truth and reconciliation process would require “a strong message and vision by the National Transitional Council (NTC) and the government,” according to Ahmed Safar, a junior minister in the new cabinet, originally from Misrata - something that has so far been absent.

On 10 December, the NTC held its first national reconciliation conference, in which interim Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib said the future “cannot be built with revenge as a base,” Agence France-Presse reported.

But among the interim government’s competing priorities are recuperating millions of dollars in frozen funds to rebuild the country; preparing elections in eight months’ time; collecting weapons which have spread across the country; and providing alternatives to the young men who fought during the war.

“The NTC doesn’t have a plan for the Tawergha,” one aid worker said. “The sensitivities of it are such that no single leader in the NTC can handle this issue without taking some significant political heat from their constituencies.” So far, Safar added, initiatives towards national reconciliation have been piecemeal, lacking a “dedicated effort”.


“We will not leave Tripoli unless it’s for Tawergha,” said Mohammed, the supervisor of the Tawergha site in Tripoli. This stems, in part, from the fear of an existential threat. “Some people will try to disperse us all around, like the Jews… We have to stay put together… If we go elsewhere, they will kill us slowly.”

He said he had hope that the new government would fix the problem - one he characterized as a national issue, not a Misrata-Tawergha issue - and arrange for the Tawergha to eventually return home.

“But if the new government refuses, we will take up arms and take it back by force.”

And, yet again, the rights of the individual reassert themselves.  Almost like it is human nature... because it is.  Peace is not the absence of war, but the building of a civil society and respect amongst societies and Nations.
Now if you are looking at events through al Qaeda eyes, getting arms to groups in northern Africa is a primary goal.  As almost none of the nearby regimes have a decent air force, do you really need MANPADs in, say, Mali or Mauritania or Niger?  Probably not.  Where do you need them?  Where is the next struggle of import?

An important article, which shows that even the loss-leader AK-47 can get a premium price, and citing a WaPo report of CIA help to the Syrian rebels:  22 MAY 2012 - Syrian rebels say Turkey is arming and training them (Source: The Telegraph (UK))

By Michael Weiss

The weekend before last I was in Hatay province, in southern Turkey, interviewing Syrian rebels and activists, who all complained of the lack of foreign assistance in toppling the Assad regime. Even the "non-lethal" aid that the Obama administration had promised hadn't seemed to make it through to these fighters, many of whom had spent as much as $6,000 of their own money to buy black-market Kalashnikovs.

A lot's changed in a week.

Rebel sources in Hatay told me last night that not only is Turkey supplying light arms to select battalion commanders, it is also training Syrians in Istanbul. Men from the unit I was embedded with were vetted and called up by Turkish intelligence in the last few days and large consignments of AK-47s are being delivered by the Turkish military to the Syrian-Turkish border. No one knows where the guns came from originally, but no one much cares.

This news, which has provided a much-needed morale boost to Syria's embattled opposition, does appear to corroborate a recent report by the Washington Post that the United States has been facilitating the transfer of Gulf-purchased weapons to the rebels:

The U.S. contacts with the rebel military and the information-sharing with gulf nations mark a shift in Obama administration policy as hopes dim for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Many officials now consider an expanding military confrontation to be inevitable.

Material is being stockpiled in Damascus, in Idlib near the Turkish border and in Zabadani on the Lebanese border. Opposition activists who two months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said this week that the flow of weapons — most still bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military — has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said this about the Post's scoop: "We continue to provide non-lethal support to the opposition. And while I can only speak for the United States, we know that others are pursuing different types of support, and I'd refer you to them to characterise the nature of their actions."


Why, yes!  Syria!  A place with a despised regime, lots of ethnicities, heavy weapons, WMDs and an air force.  Just the ticket if you are al Qaeda.  Even better, since you don't have any air assets, there will be MANPADs left over if you can get your hands on them.  Wouldn't that be sweet?

Next up: 21 JUN 2012 – C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition (Source: New York Times)


Published: June 21, 2012

WASHINGTON — A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

The C.I.A. officers have been in southern Turkey for several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior American official said. The Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.

The clandestine intelligence-gathering effort is the most detailed known instance of the limited American support for the military campaign against the Syrian government. It is also part of Washington’s attempt to increase the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has recently escalated his government’s deadly crackdown on civilians and the militias battling his rule. With Russia blocking more aggressive steps against the Assad government, the United States and its allies have instead turned to diplomacy and aiding allied efforts to arm the rebels to force Mr. Assad from power.


American officials and retired C.I.A. officials said the administration was also weighing additional assistance to rebels, like providing satellite imagery and other detailed intelligence on Syrian troop locations and movements. The administration is also considering whether to help the opposition set up a rudimentary intelligence service. But no decisions have been made on those measures or even more aggressive steps, like sending C.I.A. officers into Syria itself, they said.


What has changed since March is an influx of weapons and ammunition to the rebels. The increasingly fierce air and artillery assaults by the government are intended to counter improved coordination, tactics and weaponry among the opposition forces, according to members of the Syrian National Council and other activists.

Last month, these activists said, Turkish Army vehicles delivered antitank weaponry to the border, where it was then smuggled into Syria. Turkey has repeatedly denied it was extending anything other than humanitarian aid to the opposition, mostly via refugee camps near the border. The United States, these activists said, was consulted about these weapons transfers.

Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting from Beirut, Lebanon. Souad Mekhennet also contributed reporting.

Why it's the CIA!  They have been missing from the mix just like in Libya.  Gotta have the CIA around to get rid of nefarious regimes.

And leave exploitable chaos in the wake.

All you need is MANPADs. 

16 AUG 2012 - Syrian Rebels Step Up Efforts to Get Anti-Aircraft Missiles (Source: VOA via GlobalSecurity)

by Jamie Dettmer August 16, 2012

ALEPPO, Syria - Syrian rebels are redoubling their efforts to acquire portable anti-aircraft missiles following government airstrikes on cities and towns in the north of the country.
In the latest such strike, a Syrian Air Force jet bombed the rebel-held town of Azaz near the Turkish border, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 100.

Rebel commanders and activists say their buyers are now scouring the arms black markets in the region to get the shoulder-fired missiles that can counter the government airstrikes.

According to opposition activist “Tony” al-Taieb, who works with the rebel military council in Aleppo, representatives with cash from rich Syrian exiles are negotiating to buy the portable surface-to-air missiles, often called SAMS or MANPADS, for “Man-Portable-Air-Defense-System.”

“Don’t believe everything you hear about the Qataris and Saudis supplying us with heavier weaponry,” al-Taieb says. “We are getting hardly anything from them.”

Al-Taieb said acquiring as many MANPADS missile systems as possible was now the highest priority for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the umbrella organization for many of the rebel brigades that have been trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the past 18 months.

He said the government airstrikes on Aleppo, Azaz, Tel Rifat and villages such as Akhtarin and other settlements closer to the Turkish border were apparently designed to menace the rebel enclave in the region and disrupt rebel supply routes from Turkey.

Military analysts say shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles can turn the tide of battle in an insurgency war like the one in Syria.

The example most often cited is the Afghan Mujahedeen insurgency against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan 25 years ago. Many military analysts say U.S.-supplied Stinger portable missiles downed dozens of Moscow’s feared Hind attack helicopters and helped the Afghan guerrillas defeat the Soviets.
According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, many of the casualties in the town of Azaz were women and children buried under piles of rubble. Opposition activists in Azaz said the death toll would likely rise to 25.
Rebel commanders say portable surface-to-air missiles could help them defend towns such as Azaz and even give them the advantage in Aleppo, where forces loyal to President Assad managed to uproot rebels from parts of the city after eight days of bloody fighting.

“We need a no-fly zone and, failing that, anti-aircraft missiles,” says Zaher Sherkat, a 32-year-old commander of the rebel Abu Bakr brigade. The unit is now down to about 120 fighters after losing 20 men in the Aleppo fighting.

“We have had 20 ‘martyrs’ from my brigade and about 30 wounded,” he says.

Sherkat says he established the brigade after Assad’s forces killed half a dozen children in his hometown of Al Bab.

Despite press reports that rebels already have a small supply of MANPADS missiles, rebel commanders insist they don’t. And there have been no verified media reports of rebels firing such missiles.

Last week, rebels in Deir el-Zour province claimed they had shot down a Syrian jet, and activists released a video they said showed the government Soviet-made MiG warplane catching fire after apparently being hit by ground fire.

The jet exploded in flames and rebels claimed to have captured the pilot. Rebels said they shot down the plane using a captured 14.5 mm anti-aircraft gun, the largest weapon in their armory.

“Machine guns were used to shoot at the plane,” says Aref Hammoud, an FSA spokesman in Turkey. “It was in a low range, which made it possible to hit.”

The Syrian government conceded it had lost a warplane, but said it crashed because of “technical difficulties.”

The U.S. and other western governments sympathetic to the anti-Assad rebellion have so far declined to supply the rebels with portable anti-aircraft missiles. One reason cited is that such missiles, capable of shooting down a commercial aircraft, could fall into the hands of terrorists or foreign Jihadists now reported infiltrating into Syria.

At a recent meeting with reporters in Washington, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro said the U.S. government hadn’t seen any evidence of MANPADS missiles getting into Syria from Libya, but acknowledged such a possibility was an area of concern.

U.S. officials estimate that the late Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya may have had as many as 20,000 MANPADS missile systems and that several thousand of them turned up missing during the civil war there last year.

Al-Taieb, the Aleppo opposition activist, would not talk about the possibility that Syrian rebels were buying some of the Libyan missiles.

“In the coming days we will have a consignment of MANPADS, Insha'Allah,” says al-Taieb. Asked whether if rebels managed to secure MANPADS, would they have trouble moving them into Turkey and then across the border, he responded:

“The Turkish government turns a blind eye to some things but not others.”

Why, its magic!

25 OCT 2012 - Syria rebels have US-made Stinger missiles: Russia (Source: AFP via asiaone news)

MOSCOW - Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have shoulder-launched missile systems, including US-made Stingers, Russia's top general claimed Wednesday, prompting a strong denial from Washington.

Russian chief of staff General Nikolai Makarov, whose country is the Damascus regime's top arms supplier and has refused to back the opposition, said it was not clear who had delivered the weapons.

"We have information that the rebels fighting the Syrian army have shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles of several states, including Stingers made in the United States," he said quoted by the Interfax news agency.

"We need to still find out who has delivered them," he said.

The United States vehemently disputed the allegation, challenging Moscow to provide proof.

"We have provided no Stingers of any kind to Syria, nor will we," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "If the Russian Federation has evidence of Stingers in the hands of the opposition, we'd like to see it".

Makarov said it was possible that these and other weapons could have been delivered to the rebels from abroad on several means of transport, including passenger planes.

"For this, all kinds of transport could be activated, including civil aviation. This is a serious matter," Makarov said.

US broadcaster NBC News reported in July that the rebel Free Syrian Army had obtained two dozen surface-to-air missiles (man-portable air-defence systems known as MANPADS), delivered via Turkey.

"The Americans say that they have not delivered anything to the rebels," said Makarov.

"But we have reliable information that the Syrian rebels have foreign-made MANPADS, including American ones."

Nuland, meanwhile, noted that of all the images Washington has seen of MANPADS and MANPAD-like equipment in Syria "has been exclusively of a Soviet Warsaw Pact vintage - the SA-7 type vintage."

"We have not seen evidence of Stingers," she said.

Makarov's comments come as Russia is under sustained pressure from the West, Turkey and Assad's foes in the Arab world to cut its military cooperation with the Syrian regime.

Turkey earlier this month forced a Syrian Air passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus to land in Ankara on the grounds it was carrying an illegal Russian cargo for Syria.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the cargo confiscated by Ankara before the plane was allowed to leave was "war equipment". Russia has insisted the cargo was perfectly legal radar technology.

President Vladimir Putin last week defended Russia's right to trade weapons with whomever it wanted, so long as sales did not break any sanctions from the UN Security Council where Moscow has a permanent, veto-wielding seat.

"In all other cases, no one can on any pretext dictate to Russia or any other state with whom and how it should trade," Putin said.

Moscow has refused to take sides against Assad, condemning the West and Turkey for making clear their support for the rebels battling his regime.

So if the MANPADs aren't US made... might they have come from... Kaddafi's weapons cache.  If you're al Qaeda this is exactly what you want so you can have a nice set of MANPADs left over for your next target.

Jordan, say.  Saudi Arabia, maybe.  Turkey, perhaps?

Lots of weapons, weapons to take out the one sort of asset you can't get nor support, and they suddenly show up just where you want them.

Funny how that works, huh?

And yet, I'm betting that it wasn't magic that got those MANPADs from Libya to 'rebels' in Syria.

Riding out Sandy

Hurricane / Post-Tropical Storm Sandy started showing up on 27 OCT 2012 with clouds and some light winds and by 28 OCT the rain had started late in the day.  Where I'm at in NoVA was in the projected forecast of the storm up to late 28 OCT 2012, before Sandy sped up to make landfall south of Atlantic City, NJ on 29 OCT 2012, which puts it to the north of here.

The main effects in the section of NoVA that I'm in has been a steady wind from 28 OCT at around 30 MPH from the NNW which shifted just late yesterday to come from the NW.  Rain from 28 OCT to this morning has been in the o.5"/hr. range which means low-land flooding and a number of underpasses getting flooded out.  I know what that means heading towards the beltway having commuted that way for years, and it isn't pretty just for a normal storm or melt water flooding scenario.  As I'm up closer to a ridge top the only worry was winds, and those winds have to go over a lot of land to get here, which means friction and slowing of them.  There were some gusts last night as Sandy made landfall and just afterwards that got to about 45 MPH locally, but also brought a lessening of the constant rain.  As of this morning the post-Tropical Storm Sandy sits in West Central PA and is giving us very light winds (10-15 MPH) and mist, not real rain.

There has been only one interruption of power for less than a few minutes and that can be attributed to just about anything, and happened just after 10:30PM on 29 OCT.  The severe wind event this past summer may have helped to clear out trees and branches so that mild but sustained winds and rain had little effect on the local power grid.  Other areas are not as lucky, as swaths of NYC, NJ and other regions in New England and the Mid-West can attest to.

Household preparations for food were only for a few goods that we have duplicates of in storage in dehydrated or evaporated form.  Earlier this month two Sunfrost units came in: one full 19 cubic inch freezer and one 19 cubic inch refrigerator, both with drawer stands.  After getting them set-up and operational, a slow process of moving food to them began and is an ongoing process that would require a bit of speeding up if the power went out for days or a week or more.

To power those units two SUNRNR units were purchased (a 110v and 240v system) through one of their resellers (Alternative Energy).  Since there was a special on solar panels, I got 4 of the Kyocera 140 units and that all arrived on the same week as the Sunfrost units, which has meant a lot of work getting everything set up.  A frame mount for the Kyocera panels had to be found and put up, and they currently are bolted into 6x6 exterior lumber that a neighbor had taken out from their old deck during a replacement of it.  Large cinder blocks with unequal hole spacing allows the 6x6 lumber to fit through the cinder blocks, and they serve as an anti-tipping ballast at the end of the timber.  Three other pieces brace the forward (and lowest part of the panel mount) with two doing that and a third going across them with cinder blocks sitting on the intersection of the bracing pieces.

Together this array with the 2 SUNRNR units should power both the Sunfrost units just enough each day to let the Sunfrost units chill down to storage temps and then sit there utilizing their insulation to keep things cold.

The major drawbacks to this system are two-fold:

1)  First a pass-through for the Anderson cables from the solar panels needs to be installed in the house so that they don't have to go through a partially open screen door.

2)  Lack of much direct sunlight impedes the amount of power that can be collected greatly.  These panels sitting on my deck have much in the way of trees that block out collection space which means not much power is gathered at all during overcast and rainy conditions.  Which isn't to say that none is gathered, just an amount less than what is necessary to run the Sunfrost units.

Part of the reason to get the SUNRNR units was portability and the reseller I went through is getting portable frame mounts fabricated for sale in the near future.  Breaking up the array into two sub-arrays will allow for optimal placement of the panels to get at least 2 optimal panels of collection during daylight hours.  Mounting them on the roof (and having to go through building codes) means that they aren't portable, and that goes for a pole mount as well.  There isn't enough roof space to take the townhome I'm in off-grid in a built-up area and wind is erratic, which means that all alternative solutions for powering the place means either consumables or not running very much.  A whole house generator running off of natural gas (and supplemental LNG input if the natural gas pipeline system goes down) would be good if all building codes allow it.  I expect that my simple 4 panel mount will raise some local hackles, but that 2 mounts of 2 panels each will disappear from view and all questioning.

It seems that providence was on my side for ordering the systems, getting them in and up and running just before this encounter with Sandy.  We also had to get the be replaced, which is less fun than it sounds.  I'm exhausted.

Rain has just picked up a notch, but still not much more than light rain/drizzle.  Sandy isn't done, yet and for those in regions of the Mid-West, Northeast and New England who rarely get one of these storms, my thoughts are with you.  As I watched the tide gauges rise for NYC last night I knew that this was not going to be good...when the one at Providence, RI went off the top of its scale, the full size of Sandy got driven home to me as the gauges in NC were just starting to do down at that point.  This is no Cumbre Vieja event, to be sure, but Sandy is reminding us that the works of man, no matter how great they seem to us, aren't very much to Nature and that we must take heed of warning signs when they are clearly delivered to us.