The Blog

The Libyan Terrorist: Muammar Qaddafi

6:00 PM, Feb 24, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

It is not surprising to see Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi use any and all means, including the most savage violence, to hold onto power. Qaddafi is, after all, a terrorist.

The Libyan Terrorist: Muammar Qaddafi

There was a time when Qaddafi’s Libya was one of the world’s foremost sponsors of terrorism. Throughout the 1980s, Libya had its hands in terrorism all over the world. Qaddafi made common cause with just about any terrorist organization that asked for his assistance.  The most notorious Libyan-sponsored terrorist attack during Qaddafi’s terror-sponsoring heyday was, of course, the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.  

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Qaddafi tried to rehabilitate his image a bit, offering some assistance against al Qaeda’s North African franchises. Long before 9/11, in fact, Qaddafi brutally suppressed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al Qaeda affiliate that sought his ouster. And with chaos engulfing Libya today, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has called for Qaddafi’s head.

Al Qaeda would gladly off Qaddafi if given the opportunity. But even with this reality staring Qaddafi in the face, he was not a true partner against global terrorism in the post-9/11 world. The problem with a man such as Qaddafi is that terrorism is in his blood. It is a tool he uses quite naturally in the pursuit of his political and personal agenda, as capricious as that may be.

Terrorism comes so easily to Qaddafi, in fact, that he has even sought to use al Qaeda-affiliated operatives to avenge verbal insults hurled in his direction.

During a televised Arab League Conference in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt on March 1, 2003, Qaddafi and Saudi crown prince Abdullah feuded over the impending war in Iraq.

“King Fahd told me that his country was threatened and he would co-operate with the devil to protect it,” Qaddafi said, condemning the presence of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia.  

Abdullah fired back: “Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and not an agent of colonialism like you and others.” Wagging his finger in Qaddafi’s direction, Abdullah continued: “You, who brought you to power? Don’t talk about matters that you fail to prove. Your lies precede you, while the grave is ahead of you.”

Qaddafi did not take kindly to the prince’s words. The Libyan terror master quickly set about finding a way to kill Abdullah.

Enter Abdurahman Alamoudi, an Eritrean-born naturalized U.S. citizen. Judging by outward appearances alone, many considered Alamoudi a perfectly respectable American Muslim leader. He founded two Muslim organizations in his adopted homeland and had ties to the upper echelons of both political parties. Democrats and Republicans alike befriended Alamoudi, who the Department of Defense asked to help pick chaplains for its Muslim servicemen. The State Department was fond of Alamoudi, too, paying him to help foster interfaith dialogue.

Alamoudi was not all that he seemed, however. If he was not a member of the international Muslim Brotherhood, then he was closely affiliated with it and endorsed its radical way of viewing the world. Alamoudi also endorsed Hamas and Hezbollah. And his terrorist ties were not confined to rhetorical support. Alamoudi assisted a number of bad actors, including a group of Saudi dissidents in the UK who were really al Qaeda-linked operatives.

Qaddafi’s goons knew about Alamoudi’s ties to the al Qaeda agents in the UK. So, they summoned Alamoudi to Tripoli.

On March 13, 2003, less than two weeks after the public altercation between Abdullah and Qaddafi, Libyan officials asked Alamoudi to help them create “headaches” for the crown prince. In particular, they wanted Alamoudi to use his contacts in al Qaeda to find personnel inside the Saudi Kingdom who could help them stir up trouble.

Alamoudi agreed to broker the deal and flew to London to meet with the al Qaeda-linked men. According to court documents, including the plea agreement Alamoudi signed in 2004, al Qaeda said they’d help the Libyans – for a price.

A series of meetings between Alamoudi, the Libyans, and al Qaeda’s UK presence transpired. Over the next several months, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, Alamoudi transferred “approximately $1 million” to the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA), “a U.K.-based Saudi oppositionist organization,” and Saad al Fagih, the “al Qaeda-affiliated” head of MIRA.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers