Libya's longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi was killed today by rebel forces in the city of Sirte. Gaddafi was a brutal tyrant, oppressor, and terrorist with American blood on his hands. Needless to say, he will not be mourned. Yet I'm seriously concerned about Libya, post-Gaddafi, for a few reasons.
It's been well documented that Al Qaeda terrorists and other assorted jihadis--guys who were killing U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan just a few short years ago--are heavily represented in the ranks of the Libyan rebels, including in the top leadership. It's no wonder, then, that the leader of Al Qaeda's restive North African branch, which is based in the countries bordering Libya, has publicly endorsed the rebels and reportedly taken advantage of the chaos there to acquire some of Gaddafi's weapons.
As I blogged last week, some of those same weapons have been magically appearing recently along the Gaza border. And what becomes of Gaddafi's biological and chemical weapons stockpiles now is anyone's guess.
What is clear is that in Libya, like in Egypt and everywhere else in the Muslim world where there is a power vacuum, radical Islamists and jihadists are the most organized, driven and--key point here--most ruthless faction, willing to do anything and kill anybody in order to seize power.
Islamists have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, in LIbya and elsewhere in the Middle East, and will go straight for the jugular, especially if civil war breaks out. The so-called Arab Spring, which the Obama administration has supported at every turn, has given them that opportunity.
It's no surprise, then, that the Muslim Brotherhood, the group which has most benefited from the regional uprisings, is now enjoying a resurgence in Libya after decades of being shackled by Gaddafi. For all of his evil and anti-American mayhem, Gaddafi did serve one benefit to the U.S., in spite of himself: In order to maintain his iron grip on power, he suppressed his country's Islamic terrorists, who he saw as a serious threat to his rule. (Incidentally, I interviewed one of those former Al Qaeda-linked Libyan terrorists last year.) Now, with the isolated old despot gone, the jihadi genie looks like it's officially out of the bottle.
I'm most concerned, however, about the potential role of Iran in a "new, democratic Libya." Best-selling author and Middle East analyst Joel Rosenberg lays out Iran's various power moves inside Libya in his latest blog. An excerpt, including must read links:
Now there are new concerns: Will Libyan people — so badly oppressed for so many years — truly be set free, or enslaved by leaders as bad or worse than Gaddafi? Where is Libya headed next? Will the rebels ally themselves with the West, or with the radical jihadists of Iran, Sudan and al Qaeda? The mullahs in Tehran have been seizing the initiative and moving strategically in recent months to exploit the chaos in Libya and build an alliance with the rebels.
They are eager to build an anti-American, anti-Israeli coalition throughout the Middle East and North Africa to lay the groundwork for an Islamic caliphate. What’s more, the mullahs in Tehran believe the fall of leaders in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are prophetic signs that the Twelfth Imam’s arrival is soon, as explained in the Iranian documentary film, “The Coming Is Upon Us,” released earlier this year.
Below, I’ve posted some articles from the past several months showing how systematically Tehran has been involved in making sure Libya falls Iran’s way, not America’s or NATO’s. These are stories worth tracking more closely.
- Iran Reaches Out to Libya’s Rebels
- Iran 'Discreetly Aided Libyan Rebels'
- Iran invites Libya rebel chief to Tehran
- Iran hopes Gaddafi domino will fall the right way — “Seen from Iran, Libya is either the latest dictatorship to fall to an ‘Islamic awakening’ that will unite the Muslim Middle East, or a new foothold for the treacherous West to assert its economic and political domination over the region.”
- Iran stole missiles during Gaddafi revolt in Libya
- September: Iran votes to give Libya’s UN seat to NTC rebels
I hope and pray for the best in a post-Gaddafi Libya. But I fear his toppling paves the way for even more dangerous forces that are virulently hostile to the West and Israel and committed to making Libya part of a reformed Islamic Caliphate that we may very well be witnessing the genesis of right now in the Middle East.