By S. M. Hali

The war in Libya, which according to AP, is costing US taxpayers nearly $1 billion, has become a conundrum, because it is not clear what the US is trying to achieve and who is it backing.  In the past, the United States has footed the bill for some costly no-fly zones. In the 1990s, the U.S. participated in Operation Noble Anvil, an air assault in Yugoslavia from March to June 1999, which cost $1.8 billion. After the first Persian Gulf War, two no-fly zones in Iraq to protect citizens from Saddam Hussein's wrath cost about $700 million a year—from 1992 to 2003. The US taxpayers are questioning that after having spent over 1,171,123,022,117 $ so far as the cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan, both of which descended into unwinnable quagmires, it is not clear where the US is headed.

The current military attack on Libya has been motivated by UN Security Council resolution 1973 with the need to protect civilians. Statements by President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron, French President Sarkozy, and other leaders have stressed the humanitarian nature of the intervention, which is said to aim at preventing a massacre of pro-democracy forces and human rights advocates by the Qaddafi regime. Simultaneously, many analysts  opine that the anti-Gaddafi forces, which are being strengthened by the Libyan operations, have a definite Al-Qaeda link. A 2007 West Point study by Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman: “Al-Qaida’s Foreign Fighter in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records,” and two WikiLeaks documents strongly back this concern. The first secret cable to the State Department from the US embassy in Tripoli in 2008, entitled "Extremism in Eastern Libya" revealed that this area is not only rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment but many eastern Libyans take pride in their participation in the insurgency in Iraq. The second set of documents, titled the “Sinjar Records”, comprise captured Al-Qaeda documents that fell into American hands in 2007. They were duly analyzed by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point and conclude that Libya provided "far more" foreign fighters than any other country.

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Al-Qaeda is not a centralized organization, but a motley crowd comprising fanatics, psychotics, double agents, provocateurs, mercenaries, and other elements. Webster G. Tarpley, in his recent book: ‘9/11 Synthetic Terrorism: Made in USA’ reveals that Al-Qaeda was founded by the United States and the British during the struggle against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Many of its leaders, such as the reputed second-in-command Ayman Zawahiri and Anwar Awlaki, are double agents of MI-6 and/or the CIA. The basic belief structure of Al-Qaeda is that all existing Arab and Moslem governments are illegitimate and should be destroyed, because they do not represent the caliphate described by the Koran. This paves the way for the Anglo-American secret intelligence agencies to attack and destabilize existing Arab and Muslim governments as part of the ceaseless imperialism and colonialism to loot and attack the developing nations. Al-Qaeda emerged from the cultural and political milieu of the Ikhwan (Moslem Brotherhood), a creation of British intelligence in Egypt in the late 1920s. The US and the British used the Ikhwan to oppose the successful anti-imperialist policies of Egyptian President Nasser, who nationalized the Suez Canal and built the Aswan High Dam, contributing to the development of modern Egypt.

Despite much uncertainty, the United Nations and its several key NATO countries, including the United States, have rushed forward to assist the armed forces of this rebel regime with air strikes. It is high time that American and European publics learned something more about this rebel regime which is supposed to represent a democratic and humanitarian alternative to Gaddafi. Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, who promulgated the Islamic emirate of “Barq” at Dernah, a town about 200 kms east of Benghazi, has been a close companion of Osama bin Laden. The Bush administration policy used the alleged presence of Al-Qaeda as a pretext for direct military attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. Sifting through the fog of war, one must wade through the spin created by the US that the Al-Qaeda is motivated by a deep hatred of the United States and a burning desire to kill Americans, as well as Europeans on the one hand and Obama’s imprudent choice of taking the side of Al-Qaeda backed rebels in Libya on the other. We have to ponder whether the world will be a safer place with the Al-Qaeda taking control of Libya’s oil wealth and Gadhafi’s fabled gold cache? The world has a right to question!

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