|Al-qaeda In Libya|
Al-Qaeda terrorists have established a 200-strong fighting force near the Egyptian border in eastern Libya.
|Ayman al-Zawahiri. |
|Abd al-Hakim Belhadj|
The most notable al-Qaeda alum serving n the NTC is Abd al-Hakim Belhadj, head of the powerful Tripoli Military Council and former emir of the LIFG In addition to having to deal with al-Qaeda in Libya, Libya is also plagued by North Africa’s other al-Qaeda terror group, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which has used the chaos in Libya to acquire some of the Gadhafi regime’s most powerful and deadly weapons Their success in this endeavor has prompted one AQIM header to boast that AQIM had been “one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world. As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances".
So, in a desperate effort to establish a central military authority on the ground to provide security before the June election, the NTC has pushed ahead with its announced efforts in December to have a working army and police force up and running in 100 days, To that end, the NTC, in early January appointed Youssef Mangoush the new military’s chief of staff, a former Special Forces commander under Gadhafi. However, his appointment was met with instant disapproval from two armed groups in eastern Libya which commander-in-chief given his former service to the Gadhafi regime Undeterred by that rebuff, Mangoush said he hopes to train some 25,000 soldiers in the next several months, the first phase in building “a modern army.” While Mangoush did not say when that long-term plan would be complete, the commander of the Libyan national army, General Khalifa Hifter, said it would take at least three to five years.