Commander of the Tripoli Military Council, Abdelhakim Khwildi Belhadj, an Al-Qaeda ally. (Tunisia Live)
A treasure trove of secret documents has been obtained by a Libyan source who says that secularists in his country are increasingly wanting to see Mitt Romney defeat Barack Obama on November 6th. This charge is being made despite Muslim Brotherhood losses in Libyan elections last July which resulted in victory for the secularists. One of those documents may help explain this sentiment.
It shows that in supporting the removal of Gadhafi, the Obama administration seemed to sign on to an arrangement that left forces loyal to Al-Qaeda in charge of security at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli from 2011 through at least the spring of 2012.
The National Transitional Council, which represented the political apparatus that opposed Gadhafi in 2011 and served as the interim government after his removal, made an extremely curious appointment in August of 2011. That appointment was none other than Abdel Hakim Belhaj, an Al-Qaeda ally and ‘brother’. Here is a translation of the letter:
National Transitional Council – Libya
Mr. Abdel Hakim Al-Khowailidi Belhaj
We would like to inform you that you have been commissioned to the duties and responsibilities of the military committee of the city of Tripoli. These include taking all necessary procedures to secure the safety of the Capital and its citizens, its public and private property, and institutions, to include all international embassies. To coordinate with the local community of the city of Tripoli and the security assembly and defense on a national level.
Mustafa Muhammad Abdul Jalil
President, National Transitional Council – Libya
Official Seal of National Transitional Council
Copy for file.
As for Belhaj’s bonafides as an Al-Qaeda ally, consider the words of the notorious Ayman al-Zawahiri. In a report published one day prior to the date on the memo above, ABC News quoted the Al-Qaeda leader as saying the following – in 2007 – about the man the NTC put in control of Tripoli in 2011:
“Dear brothers… the amir of the mujahideen, the patient and steadfast Abu-Abdallah al-Sadiq (Belhaj); and the rest of the captives of the fighting Islamic group in Libya, here is good news for you,” Zawahiri said in a video, using Belhaj’s nom de guerre. “Your brothers are continuing your march after you… escalating their confrontation with the enemies of Islam: Gadhafi and his masters, the crusaders of Washington.”
Abdel Hakim Belhaj (center left), a prominent militia commander, walks with Transitional National Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil in Tripoli on Sept. 10. The battle to oust Moammar Gadhafi produced a number of leaders who will have to work together to form a new government. (NPR)
UPDATE: Abdel Hakim Belhaj is still active in Tripoli and leader of the Al-Watan party. He’s also writing opinion pieces at The Guardian warning Westerners to stay away from Libya.