TEL AVIV – The Libyan branches of the Islamic State, Al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood are in discussions to complete a “mega merger,” the London-based A Sharq al Awsat newspaper reported.
Leaked documents have revealed that Libya’s biggest Islamist organizations are considering an alliance and the establishment of a joint council of sages, the Arabic language daily reported.
The prospective move comes in the wake of reports of an imminent international effort to form a unity government that would bring Libya’s numerous parties and militias together.
The paper said the Muslim Brotherhood is considering a united Islamic front even though the movement is officially in favor of forming a unity government. However, sources within the movement told the paper that their support for the international endeavor is merely tactical, and they’re waiting for it to collapse.
Negotiations between the three Islamic groups began because of reports of a rapprochement between the internationally recognized government based in Tobruk and the unrecognized government in the capital Tripoli, the paper said.
The groups wish to send a message to the forces coalescing around a unity government that they are not opposed by IS alone, but “all the Islamist opposition elements speak in one voice and should be treated as such,” a source said.
According to the documents, Muslim Brotherhood leaders said that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime “isn’t supported by the Americans because of his close relations with Russia. They can’t wait to see him leave the scene.”
The parties agreed to form a joint Shura (advisory) council and territories that are currently under Islamic control will be divided between them, echoing a similar agreement that is already underway in Benghazi.
Al-Qaida’s representative was quoted as saying that the move would inspire Islamists in Algeria and Egypt to follow suit.
This follows Breitbart Jerusalem’s own exclusive reporting on mediation efforts between the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Hamas in Gaza and Salafists aligned with the Islamic State.
Breitbart Jerusalem previously reported that Shadi al-Menai, one of the leaders of Wilayat Sinai, the Islamic State branch in Sinai, visited Gaza in a bid to mediate between Hamas and local Salafi groups after clashes erupted, resulting in the arrests of dozens of jihadists by Hamas forces.
Earlier this month, a leading Salafi source revealed that Menai mediated a deal whereby Hamas would give the Gaza Salafi opposition groups more leeway in exchange for Wilayat Sinai’s help in bypassing the Egyptian army’s restrictions on smuggling rocket parts into Gaza
This is not the first report of Hamas-IS cooperation in arms smuggling.
A Middle East think tank charged last month that there is information Hamas has been paying off the Islamic State’s Sinai branch to smuggle weapons into Gaza. “Over the past two years, IS Sinai helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment,” stated a report by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Despite the rapprochement between Hamas and IS-Sinai, tensions between the ruling faction and Salafi opposition groups in Gaza are rampant.
The Army of Islam, a Salafi group that aspires to become IS’s sole representative in Palestine, recently released an acerbic video in which it blames Hamas for straying from Sharia law and cooperating with anti-Islamic players, including Shi’ite Iran.