The Pollyanna Principle and Libya

This is a guest post by Andrew Murphy

“Road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Old saying wrongly attributed to Dr. Samuel Johnson

Make no mistake, this is hardly some craven, “anti-imperialist” tirade that one would find from say, on Richard Seymour’s Lenin’s Tomb. Frankly like most sensible people, I would enjoy seeing Gaddafi out of office or better yet, locked in a room with the widows and orphans of Pan AM 103 for an hour. However, there is a very serious concern that what would come in a post-Gaddafi power vacuum would hardly be Libyan versions of Thomas Paine and James Madison. More like what would be to come to power would be people affiliated with the group, the Libyan Fighting Group(LFG).

Over the weekend, one of the Libyan rebel leaders, Abdel -Hakim al-Hasidi dropped a bomshell that many of his rebel soldiers had Al-Qaeda ties. Of course many of us who have been following the events in Libya carefully were not surprised at all. Those who support Western intervention naturally dismiss this story and continue to bury their heads in the sand like an ostrich. In fact, Mr. al-Hasidi is a member of the LFG.

The LFG was formed in the mid-1990s by former Islamic militants fresh from their jihad in Afghanistan against Soviet military forces. Since 2001, the United Nations has banned the LFG worldwide. Their goal is the creation of an Islamic state in Libya. They are primarily responsible for several assassination attempts against Gaddafi. While the LFG and Al-Qaeda have officially split in their allegiances it is a matter of fact that many of the senior leaders of Al-Qaeda are Libyans with ties to the LFG.

One of the most senior Al-Qaeda leaders who was killed last year by the CIA, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman was a member of the LFG. Two of the current living senior members of Bin Laden’s crew, Abu Yahya al-Libi and Abu Laith al-Libi are current members of the LFG. The former sits on Al-Qaeda’s Sharia Committee and the ladder is an official spokesmen for Al-Qaeda and one of their guerrilla warfare experts.

Likewise, according to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Libyans have made up the second largest group of foreign nationals entering Iraq, nearly all of course are there to wage jihad against Americans and destabilize the Iraqi government. As the Asian Times reported recently,

Libyans were more fired up to travel to Iraq to kill Americans than anyone else in the Arabic-speaking world,” Andrew Exum, a counterinsurgency specialist and former Army Ranger noted in a blog posting recently. “This might explain why those rebels from Libya’s eastern provinces are not too excited about U.S. military intervention. It might also give some pause to those in the United States so eager to arm Libya’s rebels.

With this sort of empirical evidence, its hard to imagine why some many intelligent people are applying the Pollyanna Principle to Libya. Gaddafi may be a SOB but if the LFG comes to power, Al-Qaeda may get to accomplish what eluded them in Iraq, a creation of an oil-rich militant Islamic state

The West certainly should not sit on our hands and do nothing. Richard Haass of the Council of Foreign Relations makes the case that the West should be doing what we can to create humanitarian safe harbors for Libyans suffering from the civil war and let it be know the international community will not tolerate war crimes committed by Gaddafi’s forces.

Perhaps the sad irony of all this is that the very people who during the last decade, raised public conscience about the threat that groups like Al-Qaeda and radical Islam posed to the West are now the every people who now dismiss and consider Al-Qaeda a paper tiger in relation to Libya.

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