Challenges

Ex-Mujahideen Lead Libyan Rebels

This might explain Robert Gates' wariness of arming the rebels. Two former Afghan mujahideen and a six-year detainee at Guantanamo Bay are helping lead the rebels in the Libyan town of Darna, raising concerns over the presence of Islamists among Gaddafi's opposition. Abdel Hakil al-Hasady, a former fighter from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was formed by ex-mujahideen returning from Afghanistan, is now training fighters in Darna. Another rebel leader, Ben Qumu, is a Libyan army veteran and former employee at Osama bin Laden's holding company in Sudan. He spent six years in Guantanamo before being released to Libyan custody in 2007. Adm. James Stavridis, the NATO supreme allied commander in Europe, told the Senate Tuesday that there were “flickers” of al Qaeda among the rebels, but said they were a minor element. Hasady, anyway, says he's changed his views since his mujahideen days. "Our view is starting to change of the U.S.," said Hasady. "If we hated the Americans 100 percent, today it is less than 50 percent. They have started to redeem themselves for their past mistakes by helping us to preserve the blood of our children.”