An al-Qaeda leader of Libyan origin, Abu Yahya al-Libi, released a statement backing the insurrection a week ago, while Yusuf Qaradawi, the Qatar-based, Muslim Brotherhood-linked theologian issued a fatwa authorising Col Gaddafi’s military entourage to assassinate him.
But they also agree that the leading roles in the revolution are played by a similar cross-section of society as that in Egypt next door – liberals, nationalists, those with personal experience of regime brutality and Islamists who subscribe to democratic principles.
The WikiLeaks cables, initially revealed by The Daily Telegraph and dating from 2008, identified Dernah in particular as a breeding ground for fighters in a number of causes, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The unemployed, disfranchised young men of eastern Libya have nothing to lose and are therefore willing to sacrifice themselves for something greater than themselves by engaging in extremism in the name of religion,” the cables quoted a Dernah businessman as saying.
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