April 3rd, 2011
05:09 PM ET

What in the world: Fareed debriefs former Libyan jihadi

With all the allegations of al Qaeda's involvement with the Libyan rebels, we thought we'd try to separate fact from fiction. So who better to speak with than a Libyan former associate of bin Laden?

Noman Benotman used to be a jihadist - a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which is an associate of al Qaeda. But now Benotman works for the counter-extremism think tank, the Quilliam Foundation.

Fareed asked Noman very simply whether the Libyan opposition was affiliated with al Qaeda. Noman replied that the Libyan opposition was not tied to the terrorist organization - that it was made up of professors, doctors, engineers, cooks, taxi drivers and others coming from all walks of life.

Benotman said: "Yes, there [are] jihadists in Libya, of course. You know, but my point is they are insignificant and there is no way on earth they are going to be like the most powerful or dominant movement behind the revolution."

However, Benotman concedes that if violence simmers in Libya, there is a danger that Libya becomes a magnet for some of al Qaeda's fighters looking to capitalize on the chaos.

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Topics: Terrorism • What in the World?

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. cs

    wingnuts, start your engines.

    April 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  2. chefdugan

    And you believe this guy, of course. If I were bin Laden I would direct his to say exactly the same thing. Believe a Muslim at your own risk.

    April 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      You know I've been watching GPS for over a year now and this is the second time I've seen Noman Benotman on Mr. Zakaria's show. I remember the first time watching the interview a little more than a year ago that Mr. Benotman openly condemned Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda on GPS.

      April 3, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        To be exact, Benotman was interviewed on Fareeds show marking the 9th anniversary of 9/11. He aired his views about Al Qaeda and reveled the content of the letter he wrote to Osama bin Laden, urging his former brother-in-arms to make peace with the West..

        April 4, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  3. Ray

    "Extremism" is in the eye of the beholder.

    I had to laugh at the use of the term "Westophobic" on Quilliam's website. I did not laugh, however, at their endorsement of globalism, the enemy of blood nations everywhere.

    Probably just another CIA front.

    April 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  4. Johnny

    Another Jewish guy posing as 'Al-Qaeda' and the like to spread disinformation. Don't be a sucker.

    April 3, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Reply
    • Zoltan

      You don't have to be Jewish to serve Jewish interests, but you're right about the disinfo.

      FZ is part of that game, too.

      April 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      What do Jews have to do with any of this?

      April 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Reply
  5. Upperhand

    Yeah right!

    April 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  6. Upperhand

    "The Islamofacists of Al-Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere," a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad." – Idriss Deby Itno

    April 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • Whoa There

      Anyone using the Zionist neologism "Islamofascist" reveals themselves to be a dupe, a fool or a tool.

      April 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  7. Old Fool

    Our participation in Libya is a direct front in the war on terror. That's how Bush would have framed it. I think this conversation screams what it does not say. In the power vacuum that Libya will become when Gadhafi is gone we have to be a positive force, a trusted broker. If we are not then the Al Quedas and Hamases will take over the country which will affect the direction other, potentially moderate, North African nations in flux take. This is a good conversation. The next few years will be very interesting when it comes to Libya. Some point soon, I hope, the soldiers in the Libyan Army under Gadhafi will grow tired of killing their own people. Their leaders are in a vice, truely a rock and a hard place. When Obama holds his hand out to the new Libya and welcomes them to the world of nations he will show the world the true spirit of America. It gives us far more power than Bush's military-industrial approach did and at a fraction of the cost.

    April 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • Whoa There

      "World of nations." "Spirit of America." Meaningless, both. Wake up.

      Saying "war on terror" shows you're no better than the Bush people. You're using one of their favorite bits of agitprop.

      The same crowd that controlled the US on January 19, 2009, was still in the driver's seat on January 21st.

      April 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Reply
    • Adam

      i am a Libyan national and I am proud of America`s role in being the moral leader in saving my people

      April 4, 2011 at 1:05 am | Reply
      • Hoda

        I am a Libyan and I am also very proud of America's role in being a moral leader in saving my people. VERY PROUD. Will they benefit financially from helping Libya get away from Gadhafi's strong hold? They should. Should they make agreements with the Libyan council about how they should move forward with building their new democratic government and ask the Libyans to fight Al-qaeda? They should. I don't want Al-Qaed anywhere near my people!

        April 8, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  8. Ted

    I find anything FZ or CNN have to say almost impossible to believe. The people have caught on to the globalist Masonic propaganda.

    April 4, 2011 at 3:41 am | Reply
  9. GeorgeTheEgyptian

    The simple fact of the matter is that EVERYONE from ALL walks of life have had enough of the soap operas orchestrated by no less than the Oligarchy in the Middle East and their counterparts elsewhere (through their owned media outlets) – because afterall such alliances are good for (their) business, NOT their people!

    The problem with the 'revolutionary rebels' is that they had no organised 'socio-political' structure, like Al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood, which is counter-revolutionary leading to demoralisation and stagnation as we are seeing in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. The other thing to remember is that the masses have been denied for so long much needed education (in its broadest sense) for them to be informed when engaging with their democratic role, as we have seen with the vote on the constitution in Egypt.

    The role of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood (or any like minded group for that matter), is subversive. Contrary to what Benotman claims, the facts on the ground highlight the powr vaccuum where the Safaisits in Egypts, for example, have already started showing their sharp teeth. Over the last few days, they have attacked and destroyed some of the tombs of Islam's holymen around Egypt. Naturally the highest Islamic authorities in the land condemned such ignorance. However, the problem is complex because the stage has been set to be between the secular (liberal) system, which had inflicted unimaginable sufferring on the masses, and 'religious' justice which to the minds of the (uninformed) masses must be better than what they have experienced for so long! (This is also why the democratic elections brought Hamas in Gaza).

    This clears the stage for any of the reasonably organised religio-centric groups who is able to pitch the right message to the masses and seize power. This makes me reasonably skeptical of the views expressed by Noman Benotman from the Quilliam Foundation.

    April 4, 2011 at 7:39 am | Reply
  10. Onesmallvoice

    I have a horrible suspicion that this Noman Benotman is aspiring to become the next Hosni Mubarak in the Middle East,this time in Libya. That way NATO gets Libya's oil! How revolting!!!

    April 4, 2011 at 9:22 am | Reply

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