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Al-Qaeda's Strategy Evolves in Libya

Al-Qaeda is establishing a presence in Libya's security and intelligence systems.
Protesters burn a replica of the U.S. flag during a demonstration against the capture of Nazih al-Ragye, in Benghazi October 7, 2013. An elite U.S. interrogation team is questioning the senior al Qaeda figure, better known by the cover name Abu Anas al-Liby, who was seized by special operations forces in Libya and then whisked onto a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea, U.S. officials said on Monday.    REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori     (LIBYA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTX14315

The Libyan government faces an unusual political crisis that threatens to change the course of the revolution, and at the center of it is US policy. The seizure of a senior al-Qaeda operative, Abu Anas al-Libi, by American commandos on Oct. 5, an operation according to the Libyan government conducted without its approval, has triggered a dramatic series of events that could accelerate a massive wave of change across the Libyan political landscape.

The kidnapping of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan on Oct. 10 by the Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room and the bombing outside the Swedish Consulate in Benghazi the following day underscore a new chapter of violence that must be carefully assessed. The story of al-Qaeda in Libya is a complex tale, the understanding of which can benefit from a degree of hindsight. The violent fallout since Libi's capture must be carefully measured to discern where al-Qaeda fits, if at all, in the revolutionary narrative permeating the political and international discourse.

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