Military Interference In Libya
May Propel Muslim Radicals To Power
Arab leaders fear U.S. and international airstrikes against Libyan leader Moammar Khaddafi’s forces will aid the main Islamist opposition in the country, some of which consist of al Qaeda.
“Doesn’t the Obama administration understand Khaddafi is the one Arab leader who is fighting back against the Islamist revolt threatening his regime?” asked a member of the now deposed regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
A top official in the Palestinian Authority, speaking from Ramallah, told this column it is widely understood in the Arab world that the military strikes against Khaddafi’s positions will aid the Libyan rebels, whose leadership largely comprise of Islamist groups that seek to create a Muslim caliphate.
Indeed, the Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, deplored the broad scope of the U.S.-European bombing campaign in Libya and said he would call a new league meeting to reconsider Arab approval of the Western military intervention.
Moussa’s reservations come after revolts already deposed the pro-Western leaders of Egypt and Tunisia, where Islamist parties form the opposition and stand the most to gain from the leadership vacuum.
Similar Islamist-led unrest threatens Yemen, Algeria, Morocco and other Middle Eastern and North African countries.
The U.S. and European airstrikes targeting Khaddafi’s forces seem most likely to create an advantage for the opposition, with Khaddafi reportedly now offering to engage the rebels in dialogue as opposed to his previous position of cracking down on rebel-held towns.
Much of the opposition consists of Islamist groups, such as the major Libyan Islamist Fighting Group, which, like the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, seeks to create an Islamic caliphate. The group released a statement two years ago claiming to have renounced violence.
Khaddafi himself has stated multiple times that al Qaeda is leading the revolt against his regime. He has pinpointed rebels in Dernah as being led by an al Qaeda cell that has declared the town an Islamic emirate.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a television interview the main goal of the military coalition effort is to protect civilians from further violence by pro-Khaddafi forces, while enabling the flow of humanitarian relief supplies.
The Obama administration has been clear in its stated conviction that the military strikes are meant specifically to avert a humanitarian crisis in Libya.
The timing of the attack, however, opens a slew of questions.
Khaddafi has been accused for weeks of approving so-called massacres in main opposition strongholds, and yet the U.S. did not act.
It wasn’t until Khaddafi’s forces started to take back main swaths of opposition-held territory that the Obama administration and international community finally approved military action in Libya.
In the last few days, Khaddafi’s forces have pushed farther eastward toward a strategic port city, pounding terrain with air strikes and rockets and delivering a setback for Libya’s rebels.
The Libyan leader’s army also retook other rebel-held lands, such as territory 77 miles east of Ras Lanuf, which only two weeks ago was seized by rebel forces who vowed to march on to the capital, Tripoli.
Khaddafi further retook other lands in swift gains that showed his forces possessed superior military capabilities, leading the rebels to call for international intervention.
PA Offers To Place 15,000-20,000
Hamas Security Officers On Its Payroll
The Palestinian Authority has quietly offered to place tens of thousands of Hamas security forces on its payroll if Hamas joins in a unity government, according to information obtained by this column.
The PA is funded in large part by the U.S. and Europe.
Earlier this month, this column reported that the PA has been engaged in an intense effort to convince Hamas to join it in a new unity government.
Now, this reporter has learned that the PA has engaged in intense marathon talks with Hamas this week. As part of its latest list of incentives, the PA has offered to place between 15,000 and 20,000 of Hamas forces in Gaza on official PA salary if Hamas joins in a unity government.
The technical explanation being given by PA sources is that the Palestinian leadership feels it better to maintain one major financial apparatus to pay all security forces, instead of having a separate governmental system in Gaza run by Hamas.
Monthly salaries of Hamas security officers in Gaza typically range from between 800 and 1,500 shekel, or between $244 and $421.
Aside from an accommodation on salaries, the PA is ready to give Hamas full official security control of the Gaza Strip if the Islamist organization agrees to form a unity government.
Iran Behind Recent Rocket Attacks
Iran ordered Hamas to fire the massive barrage of rockets at Jewish population zones launched from the Gaza Strip in recent days, according to a senior Israeli security official.
The official said Iran was concerned Hamas was considering moderating its position during ongoing talks to form a government with the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority.
“Incredibly, the attacks against Israel has little to do with Hamas’s confrontation with Jews and was more about internal political posturing,” said the official.
The projectile onslaught came after Israel seized a ship carrying a large quantity of weaponry that the Jewish state says originated in Iran and was intended for Hamas in Gaza.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for Internet giant WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.