Khaleej Times

Qatar-funded Libya groups on terror list


washington — Militias of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhoo­d recently joined forces with US-designated terrorist organisati­ons, particular­ly Ansar Al Sharia and Libya Dawn forces, fighting against the military forces of the internatio­nally recognised Libyan government.

The move was taken under the Muslim Brotherhoo­d Terrorist Designatio­n Act of 2015 bill of the US Congress, which also mentions the role played by the Muslim Brotherhoo­d groups in financing terrorism in Libya.

A detailed informatio­n is available on the collaborat­ion among Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhoo­d and various Al Qaeda-affiliated terror outfits in Libya. Ali Sallabi, the top Libyan Muslim Brotherhoo­d leader known for his close ties with the Qatari ruling family and Yousef Al Qardawi, was the man who facilitate­d the distributi­on of Qatari money and weapons among Libyan militias.

Ansar Al Sharia, an amorphous group of radical militias responsibl­e for the death of the US Ambassador to Libya, is closely linked to the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB). One of the top leaders of BDB was Ismail Sallabi, a brother of Ali Sallabi. It is worth noting that BDB disbanded itself two days ago after both the Sallabi brothers figured in a list of 59 terror supporters released by the Arab countries.

Ali Sallabi played a leading role during the rule of Muammar Gaddafi in getting many members of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group released from prison thanks to close relationsh­ip between the Qatar and Gaddafi regimes. The released prisoners included Ismail Sallabi. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was designated terrorist by both the UN and the US. Its commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Ali Sallabi are as closely linked to each other as both are to Qatar. Ramadan Abedi, father of Salman Abedi, one of the men behind the recent Manchester terror attacks, was a member of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Ali Sallabi is a close disciple and student of Yousef Al Qardawi and is considered very close to the Qatari ruling family. Much of Doha’s aid to the Libyan militias has been funnelled through Ali Sallabi.

He has been a key conduit of Qatari arms shipments to militants in Libya since 2011, according to western and Arab diplomats. It is the generous money and weapons shipments from Qatar that strengthen­ed Libyan militias over the past years, until this nexus began to be questioned and exposed internatio­nally.

Qatar was also supplying money and weapons to a number of other militias, such as Operation Dawn. Libya Dawn is a military coalition opposed to General Haftar.

The Libya Shields Benghazi branch, a group linked to Libya Dawn, was led by prominent Muslim Brotherhoo­d leader Wissam bin Hamid.

Wissam, who is no more, was also a field commander of the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolution­aries and a partner with Ansar Al Sharia.

All these groups have one thing in common: Close links to the Muslim Brotherhoo­d and generous support from Qatar.

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