American Student fighting in Libya for Alqueda linked Rebels

Discussion in 'Syria, Mali, Libya, Middle East & North Africa' started by Afghan_Kandak, Sep 3, 2011.

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  1. Road trip! American student joins rebels in fight for Qaddafi stronghold
    Bradley Hope
    Sep 1, 2011

    AN NAWFALIYAH, LIBYA // At the centre of a circle of cheering rebel soldiers near Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s hometown this week stood an improbable figure who gives new meaning to the term “road trip”.


    Chris Jeon, a 21-year-old university student from Los Angeles, California,shrugging cooly, declared: “It is the end of my summer vacation, so I thought it would be cool to join the rebels. This is one of the only real revolutions” in the world.

    In a daring, one might even say foolhardy, decision two weeks ago, Mr Jeon flew on a one-way ticket from Los Angeles to Cairo. He then travelled by train to Alexandria and by a series of buses to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. From there, he hitched a ride with rebels heading west towards the Libyan capital of Tripoli. After a 400km (248-mile) trek across the desolate North African landscape, he was now in the town of An Nawfaliyah, the toast of his comrades and a newly anointed road warrior.


    “How do you fire this thing?” he asked on Wednesday as a bearded rebel handed him an AK-47. Locating the trigger of the assault rifle and switching off the safety, Mr Jeon fired it in the air in two short bursts.

    “I want to fight in Sirte!” he proclaimed, using hand gestures and pointing west towards Sirte. Whether the rebels understood him was far from clear. “It’s hard to communicate. I don’t really speak any Arabic,” he said.

    Nevertheless, the rebels have clearly taken to the mathematics student with no obvious political leanings who decided to slum it as an Arab Spring revolutionary before going back to his calculator for fall semester.

    At first glance, Mr Jeon looked like someone who took a wrong turn on their way to the beach or the Santa Monica Pier. He wore a blue basketball jersey emblazoned with a script “Los Angeles” and the number 44. The rest of his outfit, including army camouflage trousers, a grey-and-black kaffiyeh on his head, clear safety glasses and a bullet hanging on a necklace, came courtesy of the rebels, he said. He had been sleeping in the homes of local families or in the open air with the insurgents.

    On Wednesday, Mr Jeon was carrying a Russian-made 12-gauge shotgun, not a typical accessory for a student strolling the country-club campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, where he expects to graduate next May.

    His new mates have even bestowed on him a moniker that is a mish-mash of the names of local tribes and areas: Ahmed El Maghrabi Saidi Barga. When communication invariably reaches an impasse, he merely repeats his name and the rebels erupt in raucous cheers.

    Although Mr Jeon did not arrive in Libya in time to catch the liberation of Tripoli, he has seen history unfold. He was aboard one of the first cars to roar into An Nawfiliyah last weekend, armed with his shotgun and a camera that no longer works because the battery is dead. “I have great footage,” he said.

    As with most students, money is a concern. He did not buy a round-trip airplane ticket, he explained: “If I get captured or something, I don’t want to waste another US$800 [Dh2,900].”

    As he waited along with the rebels this week for what many expect in the coming days will be the climactic battle for Colonel Qaddafi’s stronghold of Sirte, Mr Jeon wondered how he would deal with the inevitable question, “How did you spend your summer vacation?”

    Only a few friends back in Los Angeles knew his true plans, he admitted. His family? Well, they thought he was going on a different trip.

    As he recalled that deliberately vague version of his itinerary, it dawned on Mr Jeon that he might be blowing his cover by speaking with a reporter on a far-flung stretch of desert more than 11,200 kms (7,000 miles) from home.

    “Whatever you do, don’t tell my parents,” he pleaded. “They don’t know I’m here.”

    bhope@thenational.ae

    Road trip! American student joins rebels in fight for Qaddafi stronghold - The National
     
  2. Once again double standards shown on behalf of Nato and the Americans. How many times can we recall the number of Western Students arrested on charges of assisting Islamist militant groups in Africa,Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

    How come this guy gets away with it. Cant people see the blatant hypocrisy!
     
  3. Double standards,brave words from a sponger,who takes my tax money and whinges about the country which lets him stay here,i want to beat your head in.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  4. I seem to recall that there were quite a few Brits among the UCK/KLA in Kosovo fighting the Serbs at one point.

    No one really cared about that either.
     
  5. no, not at all.................






    .................hes on the good side.





    ( yes, yes, of cource its all bloody hypocritical, everything international allways is! ffs, you only just noticed shite like political expediency?? grow up)
     
  6. Seems like a better way for the young to spend their gap year than boring everyone with stories about how amazing Thailand is.
     
  7. Accusations of double standards from a war criminal walt.

    Remarkable.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    He's displaying obvious military skills that the rebels appreciate.
    Why wouldn't they want someone so skillfull?
    Probably a General by now
     
  9. Fair enough - as long as he understands the risks, and it appears he does.

    Slightly different scenario to a couple of lads from Bradford while on holiday just happen to find themselves on the wrong side of a river in Afghanistan and then moan that they're required to take a trip to Cuba.
     
  10. ISTR that one was tortured and killed by Islamic fundamentalists.

    I do hope the American youth isn't too surprised if he finds himself an involuntary participant in a video.
     
  11. When Takfiri are fighting folk we don't like they are an absolutely fine subspecies of ultra-conservatives. On the other hand when they are up on their hind legs against us they are demonic creatures from the pit of Hell seeking a world dominated by Sharia, all wife beating and kiddy fiddling.

    The rhetoric is hypocritical, how we deal with them is largely pragmatic, the latter spin has lead to hysteria and some dunderheaded policy moves. In reality they are an unsuccessful bunch of far right reactionaries and they are probably best countered by other strains of Islamism and progressive values.

    This flexible attitude isn't much different from the one we had with our old chums Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega or Hosni Mubarak.

    I can remember when the NRA gun nut rags where full of tales of the Muhj and their brave Arab allies fighting a glorious Jihad against the 40th Army. In Indonesia and Kosovo our beard allies got less press. There was some babble on the right in the US of intervening on "The Resistance" side in the Chechen wars, that was before 9-11 of course.

    Russian policy wonks were actually grateful to Bush for making al-Anbar into the Jihad destination #1. Meant the Kremlin could get on with more important things... like cornering europe's gas market and invading Georgia.

    I said at the time the Russian Republics were more useful venues for Saudis and Libyans to blow themselves up in. Let the The Bear be distracted in small Caucasian Republics. Make the Kremlin play the Far Enemy. The Russians are a serious strategic competitor, nearly a fifth of the population is Muslim, unrest in the Umma is a genuine strategic concern to them, these rag heads were already folk we'd been using to run some interference on them in a few theaters. Russia remains vastly more powerful than some sad Salafi cave dwellers who got lucky with a lunatic hijack scheme.

    In contrast we have tiny not particularly irate Muslim populations and energy interests in The Persian Gulf that are best dealt with delicately from offshore. Instead we escalated with main force and got tangled up in series of wars, a brief punitive one in Afghanistan being the only unavoidable one.

    The 9-11 attack effectively terrorized our policy makers and distorted their threat calculus. Now we have Pakistan dangerously destabilized by wars on its Northern frontier and Iraq aligned with Iran and Syria. The Russians are back as a major player and Beijing steadily rises.
     
  12. There. That's better.
     
  13. More sensationalism!! Looking for a bite - forget it.
     
  14. Lucky cnut. I was pricing up tickets in August so I wouldn't have to start 6th-form/college but it got discovered and I lost all hope.