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article imageLibya rebel commander may take legal action against UK

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 9, 2011 in World
Abdul Hakim Belhadj, founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and now rebel commander of troops in Tripoli, is considering taking legal action against the British goverment over rendition.
Abdul Hakim Belhadj, also known as Abu Abdallah Assadq and Abdul Hakim al-Hasidi,the commander of rebel forces in Tripoli, is reported to be demanding an apology from the British government. He may even consider issuing legal action against them for his rendition to the Gaddafi regime by the U.S. and U.K. in 2004.
Belhadj, the founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), has actively opposed the Gaddafi regime for decades. Through the auspices of NATO he has been able to realize his long held aim of overthrowing Col. Gaddafi, as NATO bombing cleared the way for rebel success. Ironically having taken the assistance of the West, Belhadj now plans to possibly make money from them if he goes ahead with a legal action which is speculated to garner a cool one million pounds for the former terrorist.
Belhadj left Libya to join the mujahideen in the Afghan fight against the Soviets. He was linked to al-Qaeda and worked alongside Ayman-al Zawaturi, Bin Laden’s second in command. LIFG’s aims were to overthrow Gaddafi and turn Libya into an Islamic nation under Shariah law. According to the its founding communiqué declared Gaddafi’s government “An apostate regime that has blasphemed against the faith of God Almighty.”
The U.S. listed LIFG as a terrorist organization and in 2007 it formally allied with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terrorist group founded in Algeria and now active in the Sahara. However Belhadj was already in a Libyan prison cell by the time of the merger, courtesy of rendition from the CIA and the British. LIFG was disbanded in an arrangement worked out with Saif al-Gaddafi to release former LIFG members under the terms of the Gaddafi Charity Foundation, with the promise they would retire from fighting.
During a recent interview Belhadj denied that there were links between LIFG and al-Qaeda, yet earlier in the year he admitted that he recruited Libyans from the eastern region to fight in Iraq. He stated in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that the fighters he had recruited “Are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists” whilst explaining that “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader". Libya provided more fighters to Iraq than any foreign country apart from Saudi Arabia.
Thus the circle goes round: from U.S. funding and training of al-Qaeda members to fight against the Soviets, to a former terrorist who was helped to gain the freedoms he wanted from Gaddafi by the joint forces of NATO, now expecting an apology and pay off from those he once organized fighters to fight against.
Abdul Hakim Belhadj now his his place on the rebel National Transitional Council, with its professed aim to establish an Islamic state. Meanwhile weapons supplied to arm the rebels with, in addition to those pilfered from the Gaddafi weapons stocks, are finding their way into the hands of AQIM, former allies of LIFG.
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