Oh, wait. We already are.
From Jihad Watch:
Algeria is concerned by a noticeably increased Al-Qaeda presence in neighboring Libya and worried militant groups could lay their hands on weapons circulating in the country, a senior official said on Tuesday.Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian Deputy Foreign Minister said he was worried “particularly through the increasingly noticeable presence of AQIM (Al-Qaeda’s north African wing) in Libya and the increasingly noticeable circulation of weapons which can be exploited by terrorist groups.”
Addressing a news conference after meeting Britain’s Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, Messahel said a prolonged conflict in Libya risked destabilizing the Sahel region.
“Everybody has noticed, and we are not the only ones, that there are a lot of weapons circulating in Libya and this situation, if it persists, will aggravate the situation in the Sahel,” he said.
Messahel stressed Algeria’s opposition to foreign military intervention in Libya, which it has said goes beyond the United Nations resolution allowing foreign states to intervene to protect civilians.
Messahel isn’t the only one fearful. Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said that American intelligence had picked up “flickers” of terrorist activity among the rebel groups. From London’s Telegraph via Vlad Tepes Blog:
…[T]he emerging plan being discussed for the political future of Libya [is being] undermined by the growing military doubts over the make-up of the rebel groups.“We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces,” Admiral Stavridis said in testimony [last week] to the US Senate.
Oh, so now we’re examining who those rebel leaders are. Nice to know we’re staying on top of things.
But even aside from our intelligence findings, we’ve got word straight from the horse’s mouth. The East Austin Voice relays this report which also comes from the Telegraph (say, why do we have to rely on the British press to get these stories, anyway?):
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
…al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.
US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.
Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military’s West Point academy has said the two share an “increasingly co-operative relationship”. In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG members made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.
But it gets worse. Regardless of how much or how little “official” overlap there may be between the two organizations, al-Qaeda is taking full advantage, as it always does, of the chaos. Uncoverage has this story which, I must warn you in advance, may make sleep difficult tonight:
Last week, the President Deby Itno of nearby Chad was sounding the alarm that Al Qaeda operatives were taking advantage of the chaos caused by the NATO bombings. They are buying Muammar Gaddafi’s chemical weapons. They are reportedly being sold by the Libyan rebels who were able to pillage the nerve gas shells and other containers after the storage areas were bombed by the coalition.
This week, President Idress Deby Itno tells the weekly Jeune Afrique that Al Qaeda of the Islamic Magreb has also obtained surface-to-air missiles.
“The Islamists of al-Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere,” a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad, Deby said in the interview.
“This is very serious. AQIM is becoming a genuine army, the best equipped in the region,” he said.
His claim was echoed by officials in other countries in the region who said that they were worried that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) might have acquired “heavy weapons”, thanks to the insurrection.
“We have sure information. We are very worried for the sub-region,” a Malian security source who did not want to be named said.
AQIM originated as an armed Islamist resistance movement to the secular Algerian government.
It now operates mainly in Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, where it has attacked military targets and taken civilian hostages, particularly Europeans, some of whom it has killed.
“We have the same information,” about heavy weapons, including SAM 7 missiles, a military source from Niger said.
“It is very worrying. This overarming is a real danger for the whole zone,” he added.”
The U.K. Telegraph also has sources confirming weapons going to Al Qaeda from Libya.
“Eight Toyota pickup trucks crossed into Chad, across Niger and into northern Mali from desert armouries in eastern Libya. Algeria warned that al-Qaeda’s North African wing, al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM), had seized shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles in Libya.
Intelligence reports said Russian-made anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikov heavy machine guns, Kalashnikov rifles, explosives and ammunition were stacked on the pickups.
“A convoy of eight Toyotas full of weapons travelled a few days ago through Chad and Niger and reached northern Mali,” the official said.
“We know that this is not the first convoy and that it is still ongoing. Several military barracks have been pillaged in this region [eastern Libya] with their arsenals and weapons stores and the elements of AQIM who were present could not have failed to profit from this opportunity.”
Of course, Allen West foresaw this kind of thing.
West [cited] three recent operations similar in nature to Libya: Lebanon, Bosnia, and Somalia. In all of these operations, West maintains, the military objectives were not clear and American forces were under different command entities, chosen for political reasons not tactical purposes. Oh yeah, another thing they had in common, West reminds us, was that none of them ended well.
West asks several questions… regarding our operations in Libya:
1) Who are the rebels?
2) Where did the rebels get their weapons from?
3) What is the rebels’ command structure?
4) Why was the attack launched while Congress was on a week-long recess?
… and launched while our “president” was jetting off to Rio. You’d think that in wartime — with not one, not two, but now, three “kinetic military actions” going on — that maybe, just maybe the “commander in chief” could be bothered to spend some time in the War Room.
I just hope our country can hang on until we have as Commander in Chief the man who knows the enemy’s global battle plan better than anyone else — and will go through hell with a gasoline can to save us from it.