Al-Qaeda not as widespread as we think

The recent arrest of Abu Anas Al-Libi by US agents in Libya has sparked a debate not only regarding the manner of his arrest and extradition from Libya, but also over his status as a member of al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda not as widespread as we think

World Bulletin / News Desk

Abu Anas Al-Libi, whose real name is Nazih Abdul Hamed Al-Raghie, was captured during a US raid on Libyan soil and is currently believed to be held on a ship in the Mediterranean where he is being questioned.

Al-Libi fled Libya in the 1990s to escape from former president Muammar al-Gaddafi’s crackdown against Islamists in the country. He later winded up joining an Islamist insurgency in Sudan which was established by Osama bin Laden.

While with bin Laden, it is believed that he helped organize the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed a total of 200 people. After a decade on the run, Al-Libi finally returned to his homeland after the fall of Gaddafi in 2011.

However, there is very little evidence to suggest that Al-Libi has been involved in any Islamist insurgency in Libya since he returned. It is also highly doubted that he has any connection to Al-Qaeda, which was set up by his former master Osama bin Laden and now operates primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In fact, even if Al-Libi was involved in an Islamist insurgency in Libya, there is no reason to believe that these groups belong to Al-Qaeda. Ansar al-Sharia, the group believed to be behind the bombing of the US embassy in Libya in which the US ambassador died, has denied having links to Al-Qaeda, even if they do share a similar ideology.

The rise of Islamist insurgencies in northern Africa and Syria are continuously linked to Al-Qaeda. Al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Signatories in Blood in Algeria have all been linked to the group. Furthermore, both Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are said to be offshoots of al-Qaeda, even though they both operate in Syria.

Indeed, the jihad mentality of Al-Qaeda may have spread, and it may not be inaccurate to suspect links between these groups, but to label all of them as branches of Al-Qaeda seems extremely far-fetched.

As for Al-Libi, there seems to be nothing to suggest that he is anything more than a former member of Al-Qaeda who left over two years ago. It is unlikely that he was still active and that he could provide any up-to-date information about the organization’s operations. 

Last Mod: 08 Ekim 2013, 15:10
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