Libya in 2018 is an unmitigated hellscape; Mad Max couldn’t endure the rabid Islamist faction-led turf wars. Tripoli markets, before 2011 crammed with stalls flogging postcards of Marcus Aurelius statues and knock-off Hollywood DVDs, now function as warehouses to pen West African migrants.
Traffickers moonlight as slave auctioneers to double their income on an almost entirely black market economy: an economy controlled by jihadists who congregate from ISIS enclaves in Iraq, Janjaweed militiamen with vast experience in ethnic cleansing from Sudan and former Afghan Mujahideen.
It’s reached such a dire stage that those who pine for the days of the dictatorial and undoubtedly batshit-crazy Gaddafi are no longer even labelled tankies or terrorist sympathisers by a Western establishment media who shilled the intervention 7 years ago. The country has demonstrably collapsed beyond all argument.
The dissolution of once Africa’s richest nation into the world’s premier broken caliphate through Western intervention does not just endanger the country and its immediate surroundings: there is now clear evidence showing that attempts to foment Gaddafi’s opposition led to terror incidents in the UK and pockets of extremists living across Europe.
For the first time the UK government have admitted that they were “likely” in communications with former members of an al-Qaeda-linked Libyan militant group whom Manchester bomber Salman Abedi and his family fought alongside during the country’s 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.
Salman Abedi and his father Ramadan Abedi fought for a militia linked to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and their splinter organisation the Martyr’s Brigade in the 2011 uprising. Both groups are listed terrorist organisations that previously swore allegiance to Al-Qaeda, and both were ‘likely’ in communication with the British Foreign Ministry as part of a coalition of Libyan opposition forces.
This represented the second time Ramadan Abedi was used by the British government to try and topple Gaddafi’s hold over Libya; he travelled to the country in 1996 to fight on behalf of the LIFG, albeit before they were listed as a terrorist organisation in 2005.
The Libyan opposition forces, who consisted of former LIFG old boys such as Abdelhakim Belhaj, received logistical support from NATO, as well as arms shipments via the infamous Western proxy terrorist broker Qatar. The extent to which LIFG fighters, many of whom came from the Libyan diaspora in Manchester, were enabled to travel to Libya with the assistance of the UK secret service or the Home Office, is a point of contention.
Middle East Eye reported that a British Libyan subjected to controlled movement owing to his history with radical Islamist groups was able to bypass a security check triggered by his flagged passport with a phone call from an MI5 agent. He travelled to Libya, fought and returned without encountering any border issues on his way back.
Several other Manchester-based Libyans with backgrounds in the LIFG told Middle Eastern Eye that the UK operated an ‘open door policy’ between the UK and Libya in the build up to the civil war, even though many of the fighters had previously been subjected to counter-terrorism control orders.
As a passionate and radicalised anti-Gaddafi warrior, Salman Abedi easily travelled back to his native Libya to fight in 2011, and since returned several times in order to participate in terrorist training camps and procure various components he eventually used in his nail bomb that would ultimately rip through 22 young bodies attending an Ariana Grande concert.
The facilitation of a young radical’s yo-yoing between the UK and the global nexus of jihadism designed by the UK’s myopic and ill-conceived foreign policy objectives demands answers from Theresa May, who was Home Secretary at the time, as well as the UK secret services.
The Abedi case is simply another example of the UK and NATO arming or enabling individuals who belong in cages or asylums to use their endless violent thirst for Britain’s own ends. The only difference in this case is that the civilians who ultimately bore the consequences were from Manchester rather than Kabul or Alexandria.