Cain suggests new Libyan regime to contain the Taliban
November 18th, 2011
08:12 PM ET
11 years ago

Cain suggests new Libyan regime to contain the Taliban

Washington (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on Friday seemed to suggest Libya's developing government, which is set to succeed the fallen regime of Moammar Gadhafi, contains elements of the terrorist groups al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The comments came during a media availability in Orlando, where Cain sought to clarify his bungled response Monday on whether he agreed or disagreed with President Barack Obama's handling of the situation in Libya during an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"What they didn't show was I asked the reporter to be more specific. The question was do you agree or disagree with the president on Libya? What part?" Cain said Friday.

"Do I agree with siding with the opposition? Do I agree with saying that Gadhafi should go? Do I agree that they now have a country where you've got Taliban and al Qaeda that's going to be a part of the government?" the former businessman continued.

After his remarks, a Cain spokesperson told CNN the candidate was expressing uncertainty over the makeup of the new Libyan government. The spokesperson also pointed to a Reuters article Thursday that discussed Abdul Hakim Belhadj, a military leader in the National Transitional Council and former Taliban ally. The National Transitional Council is Libya's interim government.

U.S. counterterrorism officials have never indicated any concern about a Taliban presence in Libya.

However, Noman Benotman, a former commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an anti-Gadhafi opposition group and one time ally of Osama bin Laden, told CNN in October that "if there is a power vacuum in Libya, there will be an open market for al Qaeda."

Benotman currently works for the Quilliam Foundation, a counterterrorism think tank based in London and Islamabad, Pakistan.

Although extremists haven't played a major role in Libya's liberation, a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak with attribution, told CNN last month: "It remains to be seen how much influence [al Qaeda] will have in the new Libya, but some will undoubtedly try to make their presence felt."

Since the beginning of Libya's liberation movement last spring, U.S. officials have said there were only a small number of extremists among the rebels. As one official put it, there was a "sprinkling of extremists to perhaps include al Qaeda" among the opposition forces.

- CNN's Pam Benson and Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Libya
soundoff (63 Responses)

    Cluless Herman (Where de white women at) Cain just can't stop digging himself into a deeper hole.

    November 19, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  2. diridi

    Is this Pizza advising Taliban to enter Libya????

    November 19, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  3. W L Jones

    It appears HC have fell from grace and everything I do i cannot get up! Bless.

    November 19, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  4. john

    Well Herman "how do you say delicious in Cuban", I am a leader not a reader" Cain, has stuck his foot in his mouth once again. What is it with Republicans and electing always the most ignorant and backwards candidate. SAme with Perry, Bachman etc. gingrich is smart and prepared but he is a weasle.... Have we not learned after the Bush fiasco???? Please Cain go back to the kitchen....

    November 19, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. Indy

    You didn't expect the pizza pie man to know anything about foreign policy now did you ? Cain is just the opposition towards Romney and he is just to dumb to realize it will all fade away when republicans eventually throw him under the fast moving train.Cain has been having Perry moments galore lately and licking his lips more then a crack addict as he gets stumped on a daily basis.

    November 19, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Hey, he's still better than that Romney guy Rove is trying to cram down our throats.

    November 19, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  7. sensible

    Bye, bye Hermie. Do you hear the fat lady singing?
    ....but do not grope her!!

    November 19, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  8. Mollybee

    Herman, the narcissist, is NOT Presidential material....even though he thinks he is.

    November 19, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Bye Cain

    For a brief moment, very brief moment, I thought that Cain was a breath of fresh air in a room filled with the old stuffy Washington insiders. But quickly I realized that Cain is nothing more than Hot Air and Vapors. Basically, he would stink as President. He is encapable of handling a campaign, his smoking campaign ad shows that he has surrounded himself with a bunch of similarly minded villiage idiots and his song and dance with the media is laughable.

    The media needs to drop his coverage, we need to look away from the train wreck, and Cain needs to get some Help.

    November 19, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. Sad

    Cain did,nt even know what happened with Libya the other day?? Now he,s a complete College professor on the matter???? Cain you are not only an "Ego-Maniac", your also "Gross" with that hat on! Do what you know how, Make Pizza????? LOL

    November 19, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. FIELD1stSGT

    This man is plain old OBAMA IGNORANT and not worthy of consideration as a potential Presidential Candidate.

    November 19, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. LegendRx

    Too late Mr. "Do Over" Cain. We know you do not have a clue about foreign policy or any thing beyond your front porch. Take another good long look at your, Sarah Palin moment, debacle. Your Libya moment, was a sudden and ignominious failure, a fiasco, as it were. You were pitiful, Like most of your fellow republican candidates, inadequate, is the word that best describe the whole lot of ya. I felt bad for you.

    November 19, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. Curt

    Just wondering, are Sarah Palin and Herman Cain related?

    November 19, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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