Abdel Hakin Belhaj masters the art of warfare, and this expertise brings Libya’s rebels great advantage. In spite of this, the West is not thrilled that he, of all people, is Tripoli’s new military chief. Because he acquired his military training in the ranks of an Islamic group that fought in Afghanistan — from time to time even on the side of the terrorist organization al-Qaida.
According to British media, Belhaj was once so suspect that London and Washington entered a pact with the — present day — “devil” Moammar Gadhafi. At that time, Libya’s ruler was no less brutal than in the months of the revolution. However, that did not deter the British and U.S. secret services from collaborating with him to act against men like Belhaj.
To be sure, former CIA Director Michael Hayden assures that the agency only transferred prisoners to other countries if they would not be tortured there. Many things point to the fact that the unscrupulousness of the Libyan and other regimes was utilized to be able to “interrogate” suspects more intensively — a lapse after 9/11, when one believed above all in the U.S., to have to and to be permitted to do everything to fight terror, no matter if one threw one’s own principles of constitutionality overboard.
The case of Belhaj shows, moreover, how quickly alliances change. Only the nefariousness of the foes/friends of yesterday/today remains constant.