Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The strange case of Mahdi Al-Harati and his struggle in Libya and Syria

Yesterday, the New York Times had this passage:  "Not all foreign fighters are jihadists, either. One Libyan-Irish fighter, Mahdi al-Harati, who helped lead the battle for Tripoli, Libya, organized a group of volunteers for Syria, noted Thomas Pierret, a lecturer in contemporary Syrian Islam at the University of Edinburgh. “He is not a jihadi; he sees himself as a Libyan revolutionary there to help the Syrian revolution,” Mr. Pierret said."  I posted this passage and commented on it.  But who is this Mahdi Al-Harati who--we are told by Mr. Pierret--is not a Jihadi and what is he doing in Syria.  Well, I received some information from a source who does not want to be identified at all:

"You criticise the fact that the writer says that "Not all foreign fighters are jihadists” you are right to do so but he may be hinting toward the fact that some are directly US / NATO sponsored and wants to make a distinction but is unable to say it clearly!  This guy, Mahdi al-Harati, is...! He masqueraded as a pro Palestinian activist and was on board the Mavi Marmara (the Gaza flotilla attack 2010)...It was these early boat journeys that were the impetuous for the larger flotillas that occurred later but were stopped from reaching their destination. While I am not so naive as to think that that these journeys were not susceptible to being penetrated by agents working for Israel /US it really does grate on me that a person... I believe at the time of the Mavi Marmara this guy may...  

With reference to your story about Libyan-Irish fighter, Mahdi al-Harati you must read this article from an Irish newspaper from 2011. The paper is a “tabloid” but in Ireland this paper is noted for its good reporting on Irish crime issues. I picked out the most relevant passage from the story


“A GANG of Irish traveller thieves are in the middle of a holy war - after liberating €200,000 cash destined for Libyan rebels ............Astonished officers made contact with Mahdi al-Harati who told them that he had travelled to France, the United States and Qatar the previous month and that representatives of an American intelligence agency had given him a significant amount of money to help in the efforts to defeat Gaddafi.”

Further to this here is a recent story 28/ 07/ 2012 from last week which comes from an Irish “broadsheet” The Irish Times
Syrian minds focused on likely outcome at Aleppo
“Another local man, who gives his name as Abu Mahmoud, is part of a brigade established about three months ago and led by a Libyan-born naturalised Irish citizen Mehdi al-Harati..........Mehdi al-Harati’s brigade, known as Liwa al-Umma (Banner of the Nation), is separate to the FSA and its units are scattered throughout the country............ Liwa al-Umma is made up of more than 6,000 men, 90 per cent of whom are Syrian. The rest are mostly Libyans and other Arabs, including several who live in Ireland.”

Glossary of terms used in the first story you may not understand:
Travellers (An indigenous Irish group equivalent to Bedouins in the Middle East)
“hot press” (the cupboard / storage area usually with some shelving where the water tank is located which provides hot water for the house, it’s the warmest and driest place in an Irish home, Ireland is a damp country LOL)
“Garda” & “Gardai” (Irish language official name for Irish Police Service and police officers)".