August 26, 2011 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 730

The Salafi-Jihadi Challenge in Libya Part II: The Role of the LIFG and Its Former Commander 'Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj

August 26, 2011 | By M. Khayat*
Libya | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 730

Since the conquest of Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi's compound in Tripoli by the rebels, Abu 'Abdallah Al-Sadiq (aka 'Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj), the former leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), has frequently appeared on TV and on YouTube. In a highly symbolic interview outside the compound, Belhadj, after arriving in his car accompanied by bodyguards, described the rebels' attack on the compound and declared: "We [i.e. rebels] want security for our country and justice and prosperity for our people... [the justice and prosperity] for which we have been calling over the past 40 or 41 years."[1] Asked about the fate of Mu'ammar Qadhafi and his son, Saif Al-Islam, Belhadj said, "They fled like rats before the rebels' military advancement."

Belhadj's biography includes several significant reversals. After leading the jihadi LIFG, he was jailed by the Libyan regime, later to be "rehabilitated" and freed through the mediation of Qadhafi's son, Saif Al-Islam. Not long after, he reemerged as the rebels' military commander in Tripoli. ...

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