NATO chief expresses fears over presence of al-Qaeda members among Libyan rebelsMarch 30th, 2011 - 4:06 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Mar 30 (ANI): Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, has warned that American intelligence had found “flickers” of terrorist activity among the rebel groups in Libya.
“We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces,” The Telegraph quoted Admiral Stavridis saying in testimony while addressing the US Senate on Tuesday.
While the opposition’s leadership appeared to be “responsible men and women” fighting the Gaddafi regime, Admiral Stavridis said, “we have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hizbollah, we’ve seen different things.”
“But at this point I don’t have detail sufficient to say there is a significant al-Qaeda presence or any other terrorist presence,” he added.
His comments came as the American, Qatari and British Governments indicated that they were considering providing weapons to the Libyan rebel groups.
Some Obama administration officials are of the opinion that supplying arms to the rebels would further engage America in a civil war because they would need to be trained to use weapons, including simple rifles and shoulder-fired anti-armour weapons.
Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said that he was most concerned about how the rebels would use the weapons after a cease-fire.
“Would they stop fighting if they had momentum, or would they be continuing to use those weapons?” he asked.
The French government had been pressurising the United States to provide greater assistance to the rebels, but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said that the administration had not decided on the issue as of now.
During her meeting with senior opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril for the second time, Clinton had said that the rebel groups continue to remain a mystery, adding: ” We don’t know as much as we would like to know and as much as we expect we will know,” she said at a news conference,” she added. (ANI)
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Tags: admiral james stavridis, american intelligence, armed services committee, british governments, carl levin, cease fire, gaddafi regime, hillary clinton, hizbollah, jibril, michigan democrat, nato chief, opposition leader, qatari, rebel groups, responsible men, senator carl levin, supreme allied commander, time clinton, us senate