US officials reported today that they believe al-Qaeda has sent fighters to Libya in an effort to recruit a meaningful fighting for in the nation after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi. During the Gadhafi regime the group had almost no influence in the nation.
Officials also say that al-Qaeda has been encouraging its regional auxiliary, the al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to “drum up extremist activities” in the region as part of its push for a foothold of its own.
Attempts to install a presence of their own in Libya could be difficult, as there are already significant Islamist factions in the nation to compete with, and which are largely Libya-centric as opposed to having ambitions of global reach.
Indeed during the Gadhafi regime there was considerable support for Islamist militant factions, but the local factions (including the one run by military commander Abdulhakim Belhaj) appeared to keep al-Qaeda from ever establishing any presence of its own.
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