Mohamed Tamalt – Exclusive
Letters obtained in the raid of Osama bin Laden compound on May 2011 revealed that al-Qaeda has been from the beginning a key player in the civil war between supporters of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was not believed when he adopted such a thesis, and the armed opposition backed by NATO and Gulf states.
The letters published by the US Ministry of Justice were used in the trial of the British Pakistani Abid Naseer accused of plotting attacks in New York. One of them revealed that British MI6 incited members of the LIFG (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) to contact their friends in al-Qaeda and ask them if they would abandon targeting Britain in exchange for the latter’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Another leaked letter written by Bin Laden shows that he rejected the offer, although he instructed his aides to remain in contact with the British intelligence to leave the door open for dialogue.
The two correspondences were exchanged between Jamal Ashtiwi Al Misrati known as Atyah Abdul Rahman or Atiyyatullah Al-Liby and Osama bin Laden. Jamal wrote to Osama on 9 April 2011 and Osama replied on 26 April 2011; one week before his murder
and four months before the m urder of his fifth deputy.
In his letter Atyah who nicknmaed himself as Mahmoud, explicitly confirmed that Abdel-Moneim Mokhtar Al-Madhouni (known as Abu Malik and Urwa Al-Liby), founder of Omar Al-Mukhtar in Benghazi on February 2011 was in constant contact with his compatriot from Al-Qaeda few days before he left Iran to Libya to lead the armed rebellion against Gaddafi with Nazih Alruqai’i known as Abu Anas Al-Liby or Anas Al-Subaie as nicknamed in the letter.
Atyah wrote, “Brother Urwa one of the prominent brothers in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group stayed in Iran and did not come to us, but more than a month ago he traveled to Libya … and contacted some of our brothers there, we still hold contact with him through the Internet; we are now waiting for his messages, he is one of the most important brothers in the field and we expect him to play a major role in Libya.”
Atyah Abdurrahman confirmed that he assigned Abdel Moneim Al-Madhouni (who is apparently the older brother of Omar Al-Madhouni, a former commander in Ansar al-Sharia) to negotiate a peace agreement with the United Kingdom on behalf of al-Qaida.
Literally quoted, Atyah wrote: “Brother Urwa sent me an email when he was in Iran two months ago (shortly before going to Libya) and said that some Libyan brothers who live in Britain spoke to him about the following: the British intelligence contacted them and asked them to try to contact those who they know in Al Qaida to tell them that Britain is ready to leave Afghanistan if we explicitly agree not to target British interests, the brothers were asked to get a response from us. I told brother Urwa that we can think about this offer and that I will convey the idea to the commandment. I don’t know what the Libyan brothers did with the British, perhaps Urwa will come back to me, although he is now very busy fighting in Libya”.
Atyah and Urwa knew each other from a long time, they were both in Algeria in the 1990’s. during the Civil War there, Atyah was the messenger of Osama Bin Laden to the GIA and Al Madhouni went to marry an Algerian extremist woman then remained there as the adviser of the Algerian armed group.
In his last letter to Bin Laden, Atiyah Abdurrahman spoke about the Libyan Fighting Group as an organic part of al-Qaeda entity, he said: “for Libya in particular the last thing we received from our brothers was that they started managing their affairs, they have now a major role in the fight”. As for Osama bin Laden, he wrote the following about the British proposal: “about what you mentioned on British intelligence offer to withdraw from Afghanistan if al-Qaeda vows not to target their interest, this shows their embroilment and that they are now looking for an exit. We shall not give them this opportunity nor close dialogue doors with them.”
Born in 1971 in Sabratha (Northwest of Libya), Abdel Moneim Mokhtar Al-Madhouni or Urwa Al-Liby Left Libya in 1990 to Afghanistan, he fought alongside Jalaluddin Haqqani who allegedly introduced suicide bombing in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. He then joined the LIFG before becoming a member of its commandment and then one of its three main leaders. In 1993 he returned to Libya to kill Muammar Gaddafi, one of his five attempts (The Grenade Operation) was funded by the British intelligence according to former MI5 officer .
He fled again at the end of the nineties to Afghanistan, left Afghanistan again after September 11 but was caught by the Iranian intelligence and remained in the prison to the end of 2010. He had regular contacts with number 5 in al-Qaeda (Atiyah Abd al-Rahman) and then returned to Libya at the very beginning of the revolution and founded one of the strongest armed opposition battalions (Omar Mukhtar battalion), which began in Benghazi and Derna and then moved to Ajdabiya the capital of oil in the country.
His group quickly grew up due to its large financial means obtained from the smuggling of arms and oil, Omar Al Mukhtar Battalion was heavily armed with more than 200 tanks for example. With his policy of intimidation and bribing he managed to recruit a large number of the local youth.
Al-Madhouni was killed on 15 April 2011 between Ajdabiya and Brega when he was attempting to take control of the latter. Gaddafi’s government announcment that he was a member of al-Qaeda was never believed by the Western Media. Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyah Channels described him as one of the heroes of the Libyan revolu tion.
When he died, Al-Madhouni left one of the most effective militias which was later called by his young son’s name, Sariyatu Malik (The special force section of Omar Al Mukhtar battalion) is now commanded by Ziyad Balaam and is operating as one of the battalions of the pro-Qatar wing of the Libyan army. On may 2014 Qatar’s supported Libyan government asked Balaam and its well armed battalion to fight in Benghazi against the forces of General Haftar.
While most of the fighters of this battalion never knew that they were commanded by an active member of al Qaeda, MI6 seems to have been aware of this fact when it asked the LIFG members to contact Al Qaida.
Known to be closed to the British intelligence, Noman Ben Othman a former member of the LIFG categorically denied in 2011 any link between Abdel Moneim Al-Madhouni and Al Qaida , he also denied any presence of al-Qaeda in Libya. Today his position has significantly changed.
Few days before he died, Abdel Moneim Mokhtar Al-Madhouni was asked by Associated press about his links with al-Qaida, he completely ignored his contacts with Atiyah Abdurrahman and denied any link with Bin Laden’s organization. But a Lebanese journalist called Ali Hashim said that he asked him when he met him in Ajdabiya: “How come you fought NATO in Afghanistan and fight with it today in Libya?” Urwa laughed and said:“What’s wrong with this? We take advantage of them to overthrow the tyrant. Don’t make it complicated”
Today everyone knows who benefited from the other and is now trying to get rid of him.