Long time enemy of former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Abdel Hakim Belhaj was a founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Groups (LIFG), denoted a terrorist organization by the U.S. Belhaj denies any links to al-Qaeda but a question remains over links between al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and former LIFG members.
Belhaj's career change was reported by the Orsam
. Announcing his resignation from the military Belhaj said the Military Council had fulfilled its role and it was time for the official institutions to take care of security. This leaves Belhaj free to concentrate on establishing Hizb al-Watan and running for office in the June elections.
Belhaj, described as "the member of the al-Qaeda" by Libya Against Super Power Media
, is funding the party "with money from the Libyan people." It reports he is using hotel and conference rooms to gain the confidence of the people.
According to the BBC
reports from MI6 sources that the British government had offered Belhaj one million pounds to drop legal proceedings against government officials accused of being complicit in his illegal rendition to Libya, were denied by the government. Belhaj is proceeding with legal action
over rendition and torture.
Speculation remains high over Belhaj's involvement with the CIA. Citing his previous involvement in Afghanistan, Serbia and Iraq, NSNBC
claims Belhaj is "without doubt is one of NATO Intelligence highest ranking mercenary officers "
Belhaj also enjoys the support of the Emir of Qatar whom Libya's National Transitional Council implied was illicitly arming and funding Belhaj and his Salafist supporters last year. If Belhaj is successful in his bid for political office he will use his power to impose Sharia law on Libyans.