Abedi was probably NOT a member of Daesh

May 28, 2017

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by Martin Odoni

The details that have emerged about the Manchester Arena Bomber, Salman Abedi, seem to suggest that, in spite of the organisation’s self-aggrandising claims, he was probably not a member of Daesh (ISIS).

The first point that needs emphasising is that, as is so often the case with these forms of terrorism, the bomber was native to the country under attack. Indeed, Abedi was not only British, he was even native to Manchester itself, and lived just three miles from the Arena. The inevitable tidal wave of cries from the xenophobic right in the days after the attack to close the borders and throw out the refugees are therefore, once again, shown to be futile hate-speech. One of the worst examples of this I have seen is this meme on social media; –

Xenophobes taunt Manchester over the Arena Bombing

The xenophobic right think taunting a city while it is in mourning is suitable behaviour.

Taunting a city of people who are in mourning is an oddly British thing to do – just ask the people of Liverpool. But as much as this mentality is disgusting, it is also irrelevant; Abedi was not a refugee, and so turfing out refugees before Monday would have made not a jot of difference. The meme, in short, says far more about the insecurity and fear of the people who made it than it does about the terrorism situation. (It must be terrible to be a member of the Far-Right. To live a life so full of fear, and to be too weak-willed to resist that fear, must be a harrowing existence.)

The point has been made that Abedi’s family were refugees from the Libya of Muammar Ghaddafi. Yes, they were, but they were not the ones who carried out the bombing. So unless evidence is found that they helped Abedi with the attack, this is, again, irrelevant.

But back to the more immediate point, Abedi’s putative links to Daesh look doubtful. The only particular reason for assuming he had any is that he supposedly visited Syria a few weeks ago. But that is a pretty wild assumption, given there are plenty of other factions in the Syrian Civil War than Daesh.

Abedi’s family may have links to a jihadist group in Libya, called the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and it is likelier to my mind that this is the faction that radicalised him; the LIFG is believed to have members in the Whalley Range area of Manchester. The important detail in that is that the LIFG is not an ally of Daesh. LIFG instead regards itself as an affiliate of ‘al-Qaeda’. I have said more than once in the past that the idea of ‘al-Qaeda’ being a single worldwide organisation is a bit of a nonsense. But insofar as the network exists, it is in fact an enemy of Daesh; –

An internal split developed in ‘al-Qaeda’s’ operations in Iraq and Syria during the so-called Arab Spring. The ‘al-Qaeda’ faction in Syria, the al-Nusra Front, broke off from ‘al-Qaeda-In-Iraq’ because its commander, Abu Mohammed al-Jalani, wanted to have a free hand in fighting the Syrian Government. When the ‘al-Qaeda’ supreme leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, gave his blessing to the split, the head of the Iraqi faction, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was so incensed that he revoked his oath of allegiance to Zawahiri, and declared his territory to be ‘The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant’ (ISIS/ISIL) – or ‘Daesh’. Since then, the two Wahhabist armies have been permanently at loggerheads.

With this in mind, it seems unlikely that an apparent LIFG sympathiser – therefore an ‘al-Qaeda’ follower – would take orders from al-Baghdadi. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Abedi had changed sides of course, but if he really had joined Islamic State on his visit to Syria, it would be very interesting and informative to learn why he did so. Until such information comes to light, I am leaning away from the notion that Abedi was with Daesh.

There is one more aspect of the matter of Libya I want to discuss. The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, voted against military action in Libya back in 2011.

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At that same time, the current Prime Minister, Theresa May, was Home Secretary. In that capacity, she was of course working directly with MI5. MI5, at the time, was helping the Libyan jihadists in the war with Ghaddafi, and had been doing so since at least 1996. See this from Mark Curtis; –

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Given the ‘al-Qaeda’ sympathies of the LIFG, it is a pretty big policy-swing in ‘The War On Terror‘ that Britain gave them support at all. This certainly underlines precisely what Corbyn was saying in his controversial speech on Friday. But there is a darker, more personal element in this. If, as seems likeliest, Theresa May was co-operating with the LIFG in 2011, while Corbyn was working to try and keep Britain out of Libya, and if, as also seems likeliest, Abedi really was an LIFG soldier, then May becomes (loosely) implicated in Monday’s attack. She is certainly more heavily implicated in that than Corbyn supposedly is (yeah, right) in Irish Republican terror. Now whether they feel Corbyn was guilty of IRA support or not, people have to recognise that that threat is largely a thing of the past. Whereas Wahhabist militancy is very much in the here-and-now, and the Prime Minister appears to have helped it grow. In that light, the British people have a very uncomfortable question to mull over ahead of the General Election; –

Just what evidence is there that Theresa May would be a better option for keeping Britain safe and secure than Jeremy Corbyn?

So far, I have seen precisely none.

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2 Responses to “Abedi was probably NOT a member of Daesh”

  1. Sophia.George 💋 Says:

    Wow very insightful… x


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