So much for the secular revolution in Libya.
But why should this surprise us? The good Muslims in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and even Syria are now being supplanted by extremists. While the secularists fight over the shape of the table they will sit around, the Islamists are organizing politically in order to dominate any post-revolutionary period.
And this is true in Libya.
The Arab Spring may quickly become an Islamist Winter in Libya, reads a new report circulated among federal law enforcement and written for policymakers on Capitol Hill.
An advance copy of the report entitled "A View to Extremist Currents In Libya" and obtained by Fox News, states that extremist views are gaining ground in the north African country and suggests a key figure emerging in Libya formerly tied to al Qaeda has not changed his stripes.
"Despite early indications that the Libyan revolution might be a largely secular undertaking ... the very extremist currents that shaped the philosophies of Libya Salafists and jihadis like (Abd al-Hakim) Belhadj appear to be coalescing to define the future of Libya," wrote Michael S. Smith II, a principal and counterterrorism adviser for Kronos LLC, the strategic advisory firm that prepared the report.
Belhadj is considered one of the most powerful militia commanders in Libya as head of the Tripoli Military Council. As Fox News reported earlier this year, Belhadj is reported to be a former emir of an al Qaeda affiliate known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group or LIFG. Founded in 1995 to set up an Islamic state or emirate inside Libya, it waged jihad against the regime of former Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi.
On Nov. 3, 2007, senior al Qaeda leaders announced that LIFG had officially joined Usama bin Laden's network, according to the State Department which designated LIFG as a terrorist organization.
While it is true that the LIFG published a "retraction" of their terrorist goals in 2009, the report takes the West to task for "misunderstanding" what the extremists were saying:
In its report, Smith writes that a 400-page document authored by members of the LIFG in 2009 and widely depicted as a repudiation of al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism in general was largely misinterpreted by both media and policymakers in the West, and that helped foster support for the revolution in 2011.
"The resultant misapprehensions bolstered by insufficient analysis of the LIFG's 'revisions' have likely influenced decisions made in Washington and Brussels since February 17, 2011," reads the report.
More likely, our policymakers, as they are wont to do with Islamic extremism, interpreted the document through rose colored glasses, putting the best possible face on the leopard who never changese his spots.
Was Libya better off under Gaddafi? Probably not. But the world may pay for the myopic idiocy of western leaders who are making it possible for apocalyptic Islamists to come to power in several countries.