ABC NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/libyan-rebels-target-libya-missile-strike-war-us-president-obama-battle-13176688
THE FINANCIAL TIMES: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5bfb98b0-52fd-11e0-86e6-00144feab49a.html
NOLAN CHART: http://www.nolanchart.com/article8465.html
None of this is surprising. The leaked State Department memos describe Eastern Libya (2008) as an area of fervent Islamic sentiment, where "a number of Libyans who had fought and in some cases undergone 'religious and ideological training' in Afghanistan, Lebanon and the West Bank in the late 1970's and early 1980's had returned [...] in the mid to late 1980's". There they engaged into "a deliberate, coordinated campaign to propagate more conservative iterations of Islam, in part to prepare the ground for the eventual overthrow by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of Muammar Qadhafi's regime, which is 'hated' by conservative Islamists". While Qaddafi's position was perceived to be strong, the East Libyans sent jihadis to Iraq, where "fighting against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq represented a way for frustrated young radicals to strike a blow against both Qadhafi and against his perceived American backers".Caroline Glick in THE JERUSALEM POST (ht Martin Kramer)
It is these same religiously and ideologically trained East Libyans who are now armed and arrayed against Qaddafi. Qaddafi's claim that all his opponents are members of Al Qaeda is overblown, but also not very far off, in regards to their sympathies. Anyone claiming that the Eastern Libyans are standing for secular, liberal values needs to overcome a huge burden of proof. First, what is the social basis of such a movement, when neutral observers have been characterizing East Libya as a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism? Second, if the revolt has started on religious grounds, when and how exactly has it radically changed its character?
Then there is Libya. One of the most astounding aspects of the US debate on Libya in recent weeks has been the scant attention paid to the nature of the rebels.
The rebels are reportedly represented by the so-called National Transitional Council led by several of Gaddafi's former ministers.
But while these men - who are themselves competing for the leadership mantle - are the face of the NTC, it is unclear who stands behind them. Only nine of the NTC's 31 members have been identified.
Unfortunately, available data suggest that the rebels championed as freedom fighters by the neoconservatives, the opportunists, the Europeans and the Western media alike are not exactly liberal democrats. Indeed, the data indicate that Gaddafi's opponents are more aligned with al-Qaida than with the US.
Under jihadist commander Abu Yahya Al- Libi, Libyan jihadists staged anti-regime uprisings in the mid-1990s. Like today, those uprisings' central hubs were Benghazi and Darnah.
In 2007 Al-Libi merged his forces into al- Qaida. On March 18, while denouncing the US, France and Britain, Al-Libi called on his forces to overthrow Gaddafi.
A 2007 US Military Academy study of information on al-Qaida forces in Iraq indicate that by far, Eastern Libya made the largest per capita contribution to al-Qaida forces in Iraq.
None of this proves that the US is now assisting an al-Qaida takeover of Libya. But it certainly indicates that the forces being assisted by the US in Libya are probably no more sympathetic to US interests than Gaddafi is. At a minimum, the data indicate the US has no compelling national interest in helping the rebels in overthrow Gaddafi.
The significance of the US's descent into strategic irrationality bodes ill not just for US allies, but for America itself. Until the US foreign policy community is again able to recognize and work to advance the US's core interests in the Middle East, America's policies will threaten both its allies and itself.