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Geopolitics

Top Libyan Rebel Leader Has Deep Al Qaeda Ties

Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who leads the rebel forces in Tripoli, was a founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and is believed to have been close to bloodthirsty head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Belhadj spoke last week to Al Jazeera
Belhadj spoke last week to Al Jazeera
Jean-Pierre Perrin

For U.S. intelligence services, the man who led the rebel assault on Tripoli, and is now the de facto military governor of the capital, is an old acquaintance. The CIA had tracked down the accused jihadist, and eventually captured him in Malaysia in 2003. The agency is believed to have then transferred him, in total silence, to a "top secret" prison in Bangkok.

At that time, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, identified under the name of Abu Abdallah al-Sadek, born May 1, 1966, was already known for his long history as a jihad operative. This career began in 1988 in Afghanistan, like many other Islamist activists.

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A man walks on a tank left behind by Russian troops, on display in Kyiv’s Mykhailivska Square.

Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Tuesday, which marks three months since the war in Ukraine started. Meanwhile, BoJo is in trouble again, and millionaires at Davos ask to be taxed more. Persian-language, London-based media Kayhan explores what the future of Lebanon could look like after the election defeat of Iran-backed Hezbollah.

[*Swedish]

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