With the Debt Crisis chasing other stories from the front pages some important developments have escaped the notice they deserve. Developments in our “kinetic military action” (or, in the words of Sheppard Smith, our non-war) in Lybia are a good example.
Several das ago a leading General in the rebel forces was killed, apparently by competing elements of the rebel forces themselves. It is now believed that these elements may have been radical Islamic rebels with direct ties to Al Qaeda.
In an interview with the New York Times, one of Qaddafi’s sons, Saif al Islam Qaddafi, claims to have reached agreements with the Al Qaeda elements of the rebel forces. In a “radically” changed appearance (please excuse the pun) Saif, wearing traditional garb, sporting a new beard and carrying prayer beads, said that he had reached an agreement with local Islamists to make the rebel-held town of Darna -- a hub of Islamist extremism -- "an Islamic zone, like Mecca."
If this is true, it is a very important development which could, or should, have a significant influence on support being provided to the rebels. The United States has been providing humanitarian aid to the rebels but has refrained from providing direct military aid like weapons and equipment (at least publically). Other countries have not been so circumspect.
Until it is clear what influence Al Qaeda and other Islamic militant elements with ties to terrorist activities (supported by Iran) have on the rebel forces and the new provisional government (being given international recognition as the legitimate government of Libya). Providing them with sophisticated weapons and ammunition is somewhat fool hearted.
I am not saying that the mere presence of Islamic fundamentalist militants within the rebel forces by itself means that we should stop all support of the rebels. Their presence is an inescapable fact in the Middle East. But until we have a more clear picture of the extent of their involvement and influence it is important to move very carefully. Providing them arms and training which could eventually be turned on ourselves or our allies is just plain stupid. We may be stepping into a dark cave before we get our flashlight turned on…..
Live Long and Prosper....