Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile
This report attempts to assess al-Qaeda’s presence in Libya. Al-Qaeda Senior Leadership(AQSL) and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have sought to take advantage of theLibyan Revolution to recruit militants and to reinforce their operational capabilities in an attemptto create a safe haven and possibly to extend their area of operations to Libya. Reports haveindicated that AQSL is seeking to create an al-Qaeda clandestine network in Libya that could beactivated in the future to destabilize the government and/or to offer logistical support to al-Qaeda’s activities in North Africa and the Sahel. AQIM has reportedly formed sleeper cells thatare probably connected to an al-Qaeda underground network in Libya, likely as a way, primarily,to secure the supply of arms for its ongoing jihadist operations in Algeria and the Sahel. Thisreport discusses how al-Qaeda and its North African affiliate are using communications mediaand face-to-face contacts to shift the still-evolving post-revolutionary political and socialdynamic in Libya in a direction that is conducive to jihad and hateful of the West.The information in this report is drawn largely from the Internet and Western and Libyanonline publications. Particular attention has been given to AQSL and AQIM sources, especially propaganda videos featuring their leaders and a written essay from ‘Atiyah al-Libi, an influentialLibyan al-Qaeda leader killed in Pakistan by a U.S. drone strike in August 2011. Although awide range of sources were utilized, including those in French and Arabic, as well as in English,the information found was quite limited and largely presumptive. Given the scarcity of information, further research is needed to better penetrate the organization of al-Qaeda’sclandestine network in Libya, its leaders, areas of concentration, and chain of command. TheWeb addresses presented in this report were valid as of August 2012.