The former chief of the terrorist Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Abdelhakim Belhadj, who led the "rebel" onslaught on Tripoli and on Muammar Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound, is now leader of the newly established Tripoli Military Council.

As reported last Thursday by the Algerian daily El Khabar, Belhadj had been arrested, in 2004, by the CIA in Malaysia for terrorist activities and later handed over to Libya. In March 2010, Belhadj was released by Saif al Islam Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, following a national amnesty which benefited hundreds of Libyan Islamists. Belhadj’s group who, according to the Libyan authorities, was linked to the Al Qaeda terrorist network, was granted amnesty on the promise that it had renounced violence.

According to the Algerian outlet, the very fact that this former emir - linked to a fundamentalist Islamic group - was designated to deliver Tripoli from the "tyrant’s rule" would clearly indicate that Salafism (Editor’s note: an extremist Sunni movement advocating a return to the fundamentals of Islam as laid down in the Koran and the Sunnah.) is rife in the ranks of the Libyan armed opposition, dubbed as "the rebels".

Moreover, Belhadj’s frequent appearances on Al-Jazeera (television channel based in Qatar, a country which participated in the aggression on Libya together with the United States and France) foreshadow the influential role that he will play in post-war Libya. At a press conference on Friday, Belhadj said that the Tripoli Military Council “was the first step in a process to bring the fighters into a new national army.”

It should also be recalled that Abdelhakim Belhadj, now an all-powerful military "rebel" commander in Tripoli, was once hosted in the prisons of the CIA and is well known to the U.S. authorities.

Better known within Islamist circles by his alias "Abu Abdallah al-Sadek," Belhadj boasts a reputation as a very experienced mujaheddin commander. In Afghanistan, before the attacks of September 11, he ran two training camps for Al-Qaeda volunteers coming from abroad. Their current collaboration with Western intelligence services is evidence of the fact that Al Qaeda has always been controlled by the CIA.

Protests against Muammar Gaddafi, in power for over 40 years, erupted in Libya in mid-February before gaining momentum and being supported militarily by NATO countries.

On 22 August the rebels finally took the capital [thanks to the military aid of the Western powers] and are currently believed to control more than 90% of the territory. However, many pockets of pro-Ghaddafi resistance are still being reported in the city.

RT interview with Pepe Escobar, 28 August 2011.