September 12, 2012
Four Americans, including US Ambassador Stevens are brutally murdered in Benghazi in a terrorist attack co-ordinated by Ansar-al-Sharia
September 6, 2016
The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee published the findings of its examination into the the UK’s 2011 intervention in Libya and the role this played into Libya’s subsequent collapse into a failed state. Regarding UK intervention empowering Libyan jihadists then Chief of Staff of The Defence Staff Lord Richards confirmed that the Foreign Office had been misled by “respectable Libyans”.
We asked Lord Richards whether he knew that Abdelhakim Belhadj and other members of the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group were participating in the rebellion in March 2011. He replied that that “was a grey area”.62 He added that “a quorum of respectable Libyans were assuring the Foreign Office” that militant Islamist militias would not benefit from the rebellion.63 He acknowledged that “with the benefit of hindsight, that was wishful thinking at best.”
One of these “respectable Libyans” was almost certainly the Quilliam Foundation’s President Noman Benotman. Quilliam’s Maajid Nawaz had boasted of the influence both he and Benotman had over the Government.
Benotman is a veteran of the Cold War era Afghan jihad and one time member of the Shura Council (leadership) of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The LIFG’s primary goal has been the overthrow of the “Infidel” Gadaffi regime but they have been strongly linked to international terrorist attacks such as in Madrid and Casablanca. By most reports Benotman left the LIFG in 2003 – The same year as the Casablanca suicide attacks. While Benotman has renounced terrorism he remains “proud” to have fought alongside Osama Bin Laden whom he describes as “kind” and “humble”.
Proving Kissinger’s claim of there being “no permanent enemies only interests” true the British Government has had a murky on-off love affair with the LIFG since its founding – It granted US Embassy Bombings suspect and leading LIFG and Al Qaeda operative Anas al-Libi asylum where he lived in Manchester from 1995-2000.
According to MI5 and MI6 whistleblowers the UK Government were behind a failed 1996 plot to assasinate Gadaffi – with LIFG members as the assasins. Later the the UK was complicit in the rendition of the LIFG’s Emir Sadeq/Belhadj to Libya. Through the intercession of (Government funded) Quilliam the “deradicalised” Belhadj was to be released from Libya’s Abu Selim prison in time to spearhead (with Al Qaeda fighters) the UK’s Libyan regime-change as Military Commander for the National Transitional Council and today is a leading member of the Salafist Al Wattan Party who are demanding Shariah Law in Libya.
In 2007 Benotman gave evidence before a Special Immigrations Appeal concerning the fates of two LIFG-linked Libyans seeking asylum in Britain where he played down the links between Al Qaeda and the LIFG. His claims were countered by a UK Security official identified only as “Witness D” who said this of Benotman:
Witness D did not accept that this was entirely honest: there were strong connections going back to Afghanistan between the LIFG and the Taleban, and between the Taleban and Bin Laden. There were connections between significant portions of the LIFG and Al Qa’eda in Afghanistan and elsewhere, although in 1992 the LIFG as a group would have been focused on Libya. Benotman’s criticism of 9/11 was not on moral grounds
Later in 2007 Witness D’s assertion that Benotman wasn’t “entirely honest” was to be proven correct as the LIFG swore loyalty to Al Qaeda.
Another to level the “not entirely honest” accusation against Quilliam was their much vaunted supposed success-story and then (and current) far-right leader Tommy Robinson who describes an “I use you. You use me deal” whereby Robinson would receive large monthly cash payments from Quilliam whilst incarcerated in return for being paraded around by Maajid Nawaz as a “reformed” extremist.
Quilliam’s deal with Robinson was to echo the earlier deals Quilliam were to help broker in Libya in the “deradicalisation” and subsequent release of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood and LIFG jihadists from Libya’s notorious Abu Selim prison. As a symbol of reconciliation Muanmar Gadaffi’s son Saif initiated dialogue between the State and jihadist leaders, with Quilliam’s Benotman and Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Ali al-Sallabi acting as intermediaries.
To much fanfare the jihadists, while not renouncing violence did ostensibly revise their jihad “code” and were released in stages. All three parties, Quilliam, al-Sallabi and the MB/LIFG jihadists were to stab Saif Gadaffi in the back metaphorically and his father literally. Al-Sallabi was to be the conduit for the Qatari’s 2 Billion dollar regime-change investment, the jihadists were to fight on the front-lines while Benotman was in London portraying the jihadists as liberators and lobbying intensively for UK intervention in the media. As Quilliam founder Maajid Nawaz explains in his auto-biography, Radical:
Quilliam were “exposing crimes” that weren’t happening as The House of Commons investigation made clear.
The proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.
Exactly why the “anti-Islamist” Quilliam Foundation were such fervent supporters of a jihadist regime-change of a stable and secular police state remains a mystery. Yet they demand regime-change they did, even issuing a press release calling for the targetted assasinations of Gadaffi family members. All the while falsely assuring the public and apparently behind closed-doors the Government ” that militant Islamist militias would not benefit from the rebellion”. Quilliam assured us that:
Most LIFG members have genuinely renounced global jihadism and extreme Islamism, and are unlikely to re-adopt anti-western militancy.
While Quilliam’s list of “deradicalised” radicals includes Islamist extremists such as the LIFG’s Emir Belhadj, the elder brother of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a leading Al Qaeda figure and the LIFG’s spiritual leader Shaykh Abu al-Mundhir who currently issues “deradicalised” fatwas on topics as diverse as if it’s “permissable to blow up Synagogues in European countries”, “The investigation into the sanctity of burning” and “What is the ruling on a pregnant woman doing a martyrdom operation” arguably its most catastrophic “deradicalisation” was the case of Sufyan Ben Qumu/Sofiane Ibrahim Gammu – Bin Laden’s former driver and current leader of the Islamic terrorist organisation Ansar-al-Sharia.
Reuters reported the Al Qaeda trained Bin Qumu’s release through the Saif Gadaffi/Quilliam initiative on August 31, 2010. Less than two years later, four Americans were to brutally murdered in Benghazi by Ansar al-Sharia – A group Benotman would have us believe doesn’t exist
The US State Department disagreed. On January 10, 2014 it registered Ansar-al-Sharia and its leader Bin Qumu as specially designated global terrorists for its role in the Benghazi attacks.
Created separately after the fall of the Qadhafi regime, Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi and Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah have been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, frequent assassinations, and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya, and the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Members of both organizations continue to pose a threat to U.S. interests in Libya.Ahmed Abu Khattalah is a senior leader of Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi and Sufian bin Qumu is the leader of Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah.
Having being directly involved in the “deradicalisation” Quilliam’s response to the Benghazi terrorist attacks of 2012 were predictably self-serving and duplicitious. Libyan jihadists, who according to Benotman were “unlikely to re-adopt anti-Western militancy were now ” uncontrollable jihadist groups. “.
The Quilliam Foundation have never been held to account for their disastrous “wishful thinking at best”.