Omowale Jabali : The Libyan Origins of the Modern Jihad

Omowale Jabali

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Libya has turned to African fighters in the past. When a massive Italian army arrived on the Libyan coast in 1911 with the intention of seizing the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica for a new Roman Empire, they were met by a small but determined force drawn from all quarters of the Ottoman Empire. [1]

Though Ottoman soldiers were busy with wars in the Balkans and rebellion in Yemen, the defense of Libya became a popular cause in the army, with volunteers from across the empire crossing through the Italian blockade with the help of local people in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. These volunteers, who included Enver Bey (a leading member of the “Young Turks”) and Mustafa Kemal (the founder of modern secular Turkey after the First World War), were largely motivated by patriotism or religion. To the surprise of the Turkish officers and the astonishment of the Italian generals, Libyan tribesmen suddenly began riding into the Turkish camps to offer their services. As the call for jihad spread south, fighters began to arrive from the Tubu tribes of Tibesti and the Tuareg tribes of the Fezzan. The dark-skinned Tubus would later be forced out of Libya into Chad by al-Qaddafi for being inconsistent with Qaddafi’s vision of a purely Arab nation after a member of Libya’s former royal family attempted to recruit Tubu mercenaries for use against Qaddafi in the early 1970s. [2] The Tuareg of Libya were ethnically “reclassified” from Berbers to Arabs.

Many fighters from the African interior had few connections with the Ottomans, but arrived to repel the infidel invaders from a sense of religious obligation, thus setting an example for later jihadis who would travel to the battlegrounds of Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq under a similar sense of obligation.

http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=37551
 

Omowale Jabali

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Chadian mercenaries have been active in the Central African Republic for many years. There are also a large number of anti-government Chadian guerrillas who have recently found themselves unemployed after a peace treaty between N'djamena and Khartoum resulted in their expulsion from bases in Darfur. Many of these gunmen refused offers of repatriation to Chad, leaving them without work. Tensions between Chad and Libya eased after the International Court of Justice awarded the disputed Aouzou Strip to Chad in 1994. Since then, Chad’s President Idriss Déby has cooperated with the Libyan leader on a number of initiatives and agreements. Déby has been away from Chad throughout most of the Libyan crisis, following a state visit to China with meetings in Nouakchott and Abidjan (AFP, February 21).
 

Omowale Jabali

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The Khamis Brigade was supplied with the British-made Bowman tactical communications and data system in a $165 million deal with General Dynamics UK, though the equipment has been modified through the removal of U.S. technology in the system (Defense News, May 8, 2008). [5] The Khamis Brigade has also taken part in joint exercises with the Algerian military (JANA [Tripoli], December 1, 2007).
 

Omowale Jabali

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Libya has turned to African fighters in the past. When a massive Italian army arrived on the Libyan coast in 1911 with the intention of seizing the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica for a new Roman Empire, they were met by a small but determined force drawn from all quarters of the Ottoman Empire. [1]

Though Ottoman soldiers were busy with wars in the Balkans and rebellion in Yemen, the defense of Libya became a popular cause in the army, with volunteers from across the empire crossing through the Italian blockade with the help of local people in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. These volunteers, who included Enver Bey (a leading member of the “Young Turks”) and Mustafa Kemal (the founder of modern secular Turkey after the First World War), were largely motivated by patriotism or religion. To the surprise of the Turkish officers and the astonishment of the Italian generals, Libyan tribesmen suddenly began riding into the Turkish camps to offer their services. As the call for jihad spread south, fighters began to arrive from the Tubu tribes of Tibesti and the Tuareg tribes of the Fezzan. The dark-skinned Tubus would later be forced out of Libya into Chad by al-Qaddafi for being inconsistent with Qaddafi’s vision of a purely Arab nation after a member of Libya’s former royal family attempted to recruit Tubu mercenaries for use against Qaddafi in the early 1970s. [2] The Tuareg of Libya were ethnically “reclassified” from Berbers to Arabs.

Many fighters from the African interior had few connections with the Ottomans, but arrived to repel the infidel invaders from a sense of religious obligation, thus setting an example for later jihadis who would travel to the battlegrounds of Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq under a similar sense of obligation.

http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=37551

Besides the role of the Turks in this early history, Kadafi came into power after a long resistence by an Islamic "brotherhood" which was based in Libya.

SANUSI
or Senussiboth: sənooˈsĭ, Arabic Sanusiyya, a political-religious organization in Libya and Sudan founded in Mecca in 1837 by Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi (1791–1859), known as the Grand Sanusi. Sanusi was concerned with both the perceived decline of Islamic thought and the weakening of the Islamic world. His call for political activism was influenced by the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, to which he eclectically added some Sufi teachings from several different Sufi orders. The Sanusi unsuccessfully fought (1902–13) French expansion in the Sahara, and in 1911 the Italian invasion of Libya forced them to concentrate there. During World War I they attacked British-occupied Egypt. A grandson of the Grand Sanusi became King Idris I of Libya in 1951. In 1969, the king was overthrown by a coup led by Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. A third of the population in Libya, and fewer in Sudan, are still affiliated with the Sanusi organization.
 

Omowale Jabali

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The Khamis Brigade was supplied with the British-made Bowman tactical communications and data system in a $165 million deal with General Dynamics UK, though the equipment has been modified through the removal of U.S. technology in the system (Defense News, May 8, 2008). [5] The Khamis Brigade has also taken part in joint exercises with the Algerian military (JANA [Tripoli], December 1, 2007).

The 32nd Brigade, which is estimated to have as many as 10,000 troops and is commanded by Qaddafi’s youngest son, Khamis, has the best equipment and is the “primary regime protection element,” according to a Pentagon statement.

The brigade is a “premier force for Colonel Qaddafi” that “we have been watching closely,” U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear told reporters at the Pentagon via telephone from his command ship in the Mediterranean Sea. Initially arrayed around Tripoli, the brigade has moved some of its elements around the country to reinforce other Libyan forces under attack, he said.

Increased air-to-ground attacks, based on timely intelligence, will intensify soon, Locklear said. That’s because in spite of the coalition’s success in grounding Libya’s air force, “it’s my judgment Qaddafi and his forces are not yet in compliance with the UN Security Council resolution,” he said.


http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-...i-s-premier-unit-to-attack-locklear-said.html
 

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