Representative of Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly captured in Turkey as US Investigates Benghazi Link

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

LWJ, By

An operative who was dispatched to Libya by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri was reportedly captured in Turkey and is now being held in Jordan.

A Turkish daily, the Milliyet, first reported Azzouz’s capture earlier this month. The Milliyet’s reporting was subsequently picked up by other Turkish press outlets.

Azzouz was handpicked by Zawahiri to oversee al Qaeda’s efforts in post-revolution Libya. According to the Turkish reports, Azzouz was detained in mid-November after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Turkish authorities located him in the “summer resort” area of Yalova, which is south of Istanbul. Two laptops and a fake passport were captured along with Azzouz.

According to an account by the Washington Post, Azzouz was soon deported to Jordan, where he is currently being held.

US intelligence officials are investigating Azzouz’s potential ties to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. If he did have a role in the assault, during which four Americans were killed, then his involvement would be yet another strong piece of evidence pointing to the culpability of al Qaeda’s international network.

Fighters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), two formal branches of al Qaeda, are known to have taken part in the Benghazi attack. Both AQAP and AQIM are openly loyal to Zawahiri.

Members of the so-called Mohammad Jamal Network (MJN) were present among the attackers. The MJN, as it is known by Western counterterrorism officials, was founded by Mohammad Jamal, an Egyptian who was first trained by al Qaeda in the 1980s. Like the leaders of AQAP and AQIM, Jamal swore a bayat (oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri.

Fighters from Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked group based in Libya, were also among the jihadists who stormed the embassy. There is abundant evidence tying Ansar al Sharia to al Qaeda’s network and these ties have been formally recognized by the United Nations. [For more on the various al Qaeda groups responsible for the Benghazi attack, see LWJ reports, Senate report: Terrorists ‘affiliated’ with multiple al Qaeda groups involved in Benghazi attack and UN recognizes ties between Ansar al Sharia in Libya, al Qaeda.]

Zawahiri’s man in Libya

In September, the State Department added Azzouz to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Azzouz “has had a presence in Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, and Libya.”

State noted that Azzouz “was sent to Libya in 2011 by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri to build a fighting force there, and mobilized approximately 200 fighters.” Azzouz “is considered a key operative capable of training al Qaeda recruits in a variety of skills,” such as building improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The designation of Azzouz confirmed some of the details previously reported by CNN, as well as by an analysis shop in the Defense Department.

An unclassified report published in August 2012 highlights al Qaeda’s strategy for building a fully operational network in Libya, and it identified Azzouz as playing a key role in these plans. The report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) was prepared by the federal research division of the Library of Congress under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO).

The report’s authors noted that Azzouz had been sent to Libya by Zawahiri and has been close to the al Qaeda leader “since 1980.” Azzouz “first visited Afghanistan in the 1990s to join the mujahedin fight against the Soviet occupation.” In Libya, according to the CTTSO report, Azzouz “has been operating at least one training center” and has hundreds of men under his command. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda’s plan for Libya highlighted in congressional report.]

It is not clear what Azzouz was specifically doing in Turkey at the time of his capture. Turkey is a known crossroads for al Qaeda operatives, including those dispatched by al Qaeda’s senior leadership and fighters seeking to join the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.

The Global Jihad

3682902893By Olivier Guitta:

“Islamic extremism is a Middle East problem but it is quickly becoming the world’s problem too.  It is a transnational challenge, the most destabilizing and dangerous global force since fascism. For certain, the United States and the West have a big interest in this battle.  Now is the time to act.

Any action must begin with a clear plan for direct intervention against ISIS but must address the other dangerous extremist groups in the region.  It is also critical to tackle the support networks, the entire militant ideological and financial complex that is the lifeblood of extremism.”

Who uttered these words? President Obama, PM Cameron or President Hollande? Actually, none of them; it was the UAE Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef Al Otaiba, speaking in September 2014.

From 2001 and a time when Al-Qaeda (AQ) was perceived as our main enemy, the jihadist movement has grown in strength and in numbers. The violent jihad groups we now face include the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, Ansar al Sharia, al Murabitun, Ansar al Dine and AQ itself, which has expanded significantly with franchises in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), East Asia, and now the new Indian franchise as well.

Nor is the threat limited to Sunni groups but includes Shia terror outfits such as Hezbollah that, under Iranian sponsorship, are still very much active on an international scale and will stop at nothing to strike terror against the West. Geographically, the threat has grown from an Afghanistan-centered one to one that spans the globe, with a jihadist presence on nearly every continent.

The Global Jihad should be viewed from two different, but related perspectives: first, the most obvious is the doctrinally-mandated conquest of physical territory in all theaters of war; second, and just as important, is the conquest of our societies from within by way of the civilizational jihad challenges that we face. Therefore, it’s not enough to merely look at terrorist groups, because the role of intellectuals, propaganda operatives, and recruiters is actually at the root of the problem. Jihad groups should be viewed and approached through that prism.

Fighting against the global jihad cannot be effective if focused only on the “armies” but must also confront the “brains” behind them: let’s not forget that inciting terrorism has a multiplying effect.

The Islamic State

Surging to power across national borders in 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has become a household name and supplanted al-Qaeda (AQ) as the vanguard of the global jihadist movement. ISIS announced in June 2014 the establishment of a new Caliphate in Syria and Iraq and changed its name to the “Islamic State (IS)” to signify its global ambitions, claim the allegiance of Muslims everywhere, and emphasize its non-recognition of Western-drawn political boundaries. It also seeks allegiance from jihadist group worldwide and rapidly is winning support from Muslim followers and recruits from over 80 countries around the world.

IS victories in Syria and its spectacular advances in Iraq from Mosul to the fringes of Baghdad, and even advancing to the Saudi and Jordanian borders, have made IS the new “kid on the block”. In mid-September 2014, its Chechen members threatened to march on Amman, Jordan’s capital, while Saudi’s military forces are on high alert for advances toward Mecca and Medina.

By calling itself the Islamic State with no mention of countries, IS leader al-Baghdadi is seeking to bring to his fold all groups that view al-Zawahiri’s brand as passé and see al-Baghdadi as the true inheritor of Osama Bin Laden’s global vision. This is why in the past months, thousands of jihadists around the world announced they were switching allegiances to the Islamic State. The Islamic State’s fighters are young, fluent on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and, unlike al-Qaeda, they are actually setting up the Caliphate and governing captured territory.

Read more at Center for Security Policy

Olivier Guitta is a security and geopolitical risk consultant to corporations and governments. He tweets@OlivierGuitta.

How a Libyan City Joined the Islamic State Group

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2012, a Libyan follower of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades carries the Brigades' flag with Arabic writing that reads, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger, Ansar al-Shariah," during a protest in front of the Tibesti Hotel in Benghazi, Libya. On Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, bearded militants gathered at a stage strung with colorful lights in Darna, a Mediterranean coastal city long notorious as Libya's center for jihadi radicals. With a roaring chant, they pledged their allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group. Many of Darna's militants joined, though some didn't. Part of Ansar al-Shariah, one of the country's most powerful Islamic factions, joined while another part rejected it. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2012, a Libyan follower of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades carries the Brigades’ flag with Arabic writing that reads, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger, Ansar al-Shariah,” during a protest in front of the Tibesti Hotel in Benghazi, Libya. On Friday, Oct. 31, 2014, bearded militants gathered at a stage strung with colorful lights in Darna, a Mediterranean coastal city long notorious as Libya’s center for jihadi radicals. With a roaring chant, they pledged their allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group. Many of Darna’s militants joined, though some didn’t. Part of Ansar al-Shariah, one of the country’s most powerful Islamic factions, joined while another part rejected it. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

ABC News, Nov 9, 2014,  By MAGGIE MICHAEL Associated Press:

On a chilly night, bearded militants gathered at a stage strung with colorful lights in Darna, a Mediterranean coastal city long notorious as Libya’s center for jihadi radicals. With a roaring chant, they pledged their allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group.

With that meeting 10 days ago, the militants dragged Darna into becoming the first city outside of Iraq and Syria to join the “caliphate” announced by the extremist group. Already, the city has seen religious courts ordering killings in public, floggings of residents accused of violating Shariah law, as well as enforced segregation of male and female students. Opponents of the militants have gone into hiding or fled, terrorized by a string of slayings aimed at silencing them.

The takeover of the city, some 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from the nearest territory controlled by the Islamic State group, offers a revealing look into how the radical group is able to exploit local conditions. A new Islamic State “emir” now leads the city, identified as Mohammed Abdullah, a little-known Yemeni militant sent from Syria known by his nom de guerre Abu al-Baraa el-Azdi, according to several local activists and a former militant from Darna.

A number of leading Islamic State militants came to the city from Iraq and Syria earlier this year and over a few months united most of Darna’s multiple but long-divided extremist factions behind them. They paved the way by killing any rivals, including militants, according to local activists, former city council members and a former militant interviewed by The Associated Press. They all spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for their lives.

Darna could be a model for the group to try to expand elsewhere. Notably, in Lebanon, army troops recently captured a number of militants believed to be planning to seize several villages in the north and proclaim them part of the “caliphate.” Around the region, a few militant groups have pledged allegiance to its leader, Iraqi militant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But none hold cohesive territory like those in Darna do.

The vow of allegiance in Darna gives the Islamic State group a foothold in Libya, an oil-rich North African nation whose central government control has collapsed in the chaos since the 2011 ouster and death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Extremists made Darna their stronghold in the 1980s and 1990s during an insurgency against Gadhafi, the city protected by the rugged terrain of the surrounding Green Mountain range in eastern Libya. Darna was the main source of Libyan jihadis and suicide bombers for the insurgency in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion. Entire brigades of Darna natives fight in Syria’s civil war.

This spring, a number of Libyan jihadis with the Islamic State group returned home to Darna. The returnees, known as the Battar Group, formed a new faction called the Shura Council for the Youth of Islam, which began rallying other local militants behind joining the Islamic State group. In September, al-Azdi arrived.

Many of Darna’s militants joined, though some didn’t. Part of Ansar al-Shariah, one of the country’s most powerful Islamic factions, joined while another part rejected it.

The main militant group that refused was the Martyrs of Abu Salem Brigade, once the strongest force in Darna. The fundamentalist group sees itself as a nationalist Libyan force and calls for a democratically formed government, albeit one that must enforce stricter Shariah law.

For the past months, it has battled the al-Battar fighters and the Shura Council. Al-Battar accused the Abu Salem militia of killing one of its top commanders in June and threatened in a statement to “fill the land with (their) graves.”

Meanwhile, a militant campaign of killings in Darna targeted the liberal activists who once led sit-ins against them, as well as lawyers and judges. Militants also stormed polling stations, stopping voting in Darna during nationwide elections in March and June.

In July, a former liberal lawmaker in Darna, Farieha el-Berkawi, was gunned down in broad daylight. Her killing in particular chilled the anti-militant movement, said a close friend of el-Berkawi. “People had done their best (to force out militants) and got nothing but more bloodshed,” she told the AP.

Those who stayed tried to co-exist. Some submitted letters of “repentance” to the Islamic militias, denouncing their past work in the government. Militant group Facebook pages are dotted with letters of repentance submitted by a traffic police officer, a former militiaman and a former colonel in Gadhafi’s security apparatus.

With opposition silenced, militant factions first came together on Oct. 5 and decided to pledge allegiance to al-Baghdadi and form the Islamic State group’s “Barqa province,” using a traditional name for eastern Libya. After the gathering, more than 60 pickup trucks filled with fighters cruised through the city in a victory parade.

Last week, a second gathering in front of a Darna social club saw a larger array of factions make a more formal pledge of allegiance. Al-Azdi attended the event, according to the former militant. The militant himself did not attend but several of his close relatives who belong to Ansar al-Shariah did.

Now, government buildings in Darna are “Islamic State” offices, according to the activists. Cars carrying the logo of the “Islamic police” roam the city.

Women increasingly wear ultraconservative face veils. Masked men have flogged young men caught drinking alcohol, a former city council member told the AP.

Militants have ordered that male and female students must be segregated at school, and history and geography were removed from the curriculum, according to two activists in the city. New “Islamic police” flyers order clothing stores to cover their mannequins and not display “scandalous women’s clothes that cause sedition.”

Opposition to the militants, already scattered, is under threat. During the extremists’ first meeting, a colleague recounted how Osama al-Mansouri, a lecturer at Darna’s Fine Arts college, stood up and asked the bearded men: “What do you want? What are you after?”

Two days later, gunmen shot al-Mansouri dead in his car.

Libyan Army Evicted After Going on Rape Jihad… in the UK

libya-rebels-2_1842327i-450x299Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield:

At least they were the “moderate” Rape Jihadists. Just imagine if they had imported the “extremists”.  Thousands of UK girls would have… oh yes that actually happened too.

Maybe the UK needs some sort of military and domestic police forces to keep these people out. I hear that used to work really well against the vikings and whatnot.

A new generation of the Libyan army was supposed to be trained in the West as part of international efforts to rebuild the country after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi. Hand-picked recruits were invited to rural England for basic infantry and junior command training.

Unfortunately by hand-picked, they actually meant the Islamic rule that any non-Muslim that “your hand possesses” can be raped.

On Tuesday, however, the British Ministry of Defense announced that all 300 trainees would be sent home early after a string of sexual assaults were perpetrated against the residents of Cambridgeshire, culminating in the alleged gang rape of a young man.

That’s a start. Now send back the other few million.

Britain had pledged to train 2,000 Libyan recruits in total, but that commitment is now under review.

Just think of the enrichment. The diversity.

Libyan Army cadets stationed at Bassingbourn barracks are alleged to have left the military camp on raids into the nearby university town of Cambridge, where a spate of sexual attacks were reported on the cobbled streets around the ancient college buildings.

What did the UK think the Libyan Army did? It’s not very good at fighting armies. But it’s moderately decent at raping young men.

Two of the recruits have admitted to two sexual assaults and a bicycle theft in Market Square right at the center of the old town. They also pleaded guilty to threatening a police office. Another cadet, aged 18, has been charged with three sexual assaults.

Real officer material there. I hear ISIS has offered the lad a commission on the spot.

In total, police have investigated reports of 11 sexual assaults in central Cambridge within nine days.

It’s almost like it was an invasion.

The most serious of those took place on Christ’s Piece, which is between Jesus and Emmanuel colleges, on Sunday October 26. A man in his early 20s allegedly was approached by two Libyan soldiers who subjected him to a serious sexual assault. Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abogutila, 22, were charged with rape on Monday.

How symbolic in so many ways.

It has been reported that up to 20 of the cadets have applied for asylum, although the Ministry of Defense and Home Office refuse to discuss those cases.

Give it a little while and it’ll be 2,000 and the courts will rule that they can’t be sent back.

Last year, Britain, the United States and European members of the G8 signed up to train more than 7,000 Libyan troops who would form the heart of a new army that would allow the state to regain stability in the aftermath of a bloody civil war.

Or they’ll just export the bloody civil war to the US and Europe.

General discipline collapsed, with one in ten refusing to obey orders – with one UK trainer reportedly headbutted and another apparently threatened by a Libyan mob.

The trainer was probably an Islamophobe. He wanted them to do things against their religion… like obey a non-Muslim.

To add further insult it has emerged that the Libyan government still owe millions of pounds for the training of their soldiers.

Which Libyan government? There are at least two. And they’re fighting each other.

Peter Robinson, who chairs the parish council, said: ‘I thought Muslims didn’t drink but there has been a run on vodka in the local shop. That’s their favourite trip – going to the Spar and then stealing bicycles.’

It’s what Mohammed would have done.

Downing Street confirmed that the Libyan soldiers are eligible to seek asylum in the UK before they are kicked out.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘Asylum rules apply to everyone. It will be the existing asylum rules that apply.’

It will take the British armed forces to get rid of them at this point.

The Danger of Islamist Terrorists in Libya

libya2By Michael Curtis:

Libya, with its oil wealth and natural resources, could be an affluent and successful country. Instead, it is today a dangerous place and a chaotic society with continual fighting among Islamist terrorists, Arab nationalists, and a host of regional militias. The Obama administration and all democratic governments are now confronted by an increasingly troublesome issue, the growing influence of Islamist terrorism in Libya, Nigeria, and other countries in North Africa.

The terrorist groups, individually and in alliance, have taken advantage of the vacuum of central power and the mixture of rival tribal and regional groups and feuding political organizations in Libya. They control many of the large cities and much of the territory of the country, and are challenging the oilfields. Their tactics and ideology follow those of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, to which many claim allegiance.

It is commendable that the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi is planning as George Orwell once wrote to report on true facts and “not to feel obligated to fabricate imaginary facts and feelings.” At last, we will have the final definitive account of what happened before, during, and after the two attacks on September 11, 2012 by Islamist terrorists. The first on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, and the second, a few hours later, on another compound killed two American CIA contractors and injured ten others.

The forthcoming report will remind the country that the attacks were carried out by organized terrorist groups, and not the result of supposed mass outrage over a video that inflamed passions, as members of the Obama administration suggested. We already know that Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged ringleader of the main terrorist group, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, is being held in the U.S. on an 18-count indictment and multiple charges of murder. The group led the attack with assault rifles, grenades, and other weapons, and plundered sensitive U.S. information.

The Congressional inquiry should lead to further understanding of the dramatic increase of Islamist terrorism in North Africa. This is now a threat not only to neighboring countries in Africa but also to the whole world. Since the popular Libyan uprising in 2011, that followed the April Spring uprisings in Tunis and Egypt in February 2011, and the capture and death in October 2011 of the eccentric dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi who had ruled Libya for 42 years, the country has been in chaos. Gaddafi’s bizarre political system, named in 1977 “Jamahiriya” or “state of the masses”, and run through “revolutionary committees”, was transformed into a republic that did not bring stability and security.

Today, that republic contains not only countless Islamist militia groups but also different political authorities, two governments and two parliaments, the General National Congress and a national parliament. The GNC, that has chosen Omar al-Hasi as prime minister, is dominated by Islamists who belong to a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Libyan party.

The official parliament composed of liberals and federalists, and the elected government and the Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni, recognized internationally, has been forced to move to Bayda in east Libya. The commander of the Libyan army, General Khalifa Haftar, is conducting a campaign against Islamists. To counter their forces, General Haftar started “Operation Dignity,” an air and ground assault against the terrorist groups in Benghazi.  It attacked Islamist bases held by Ansar al-Sharia, the Raf Allah al-Sahati Brigade, and the 17 February Martyrs Brigade.

Read more at American Thinker

Key Republicans push to keep Libyans from training at U.S. flight schools

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the newly-formed Select Committee on Benghazi, walks down the steps of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 30, 2014, after final votes. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the newly-formed Select Committee on Benghazi, walks down the steps of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 30, 2014, after final votes. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Stephen Dinan:

Key Republicans will move Monday to try to prevent Libyans from being able to learn to fly airplanes at U.S. flight schools or train as nuclear scientists, introducing legislation to stop the Obama administration from loosening the rules.

At a time when press accounts suggest Islamist militants may have stolen 11 jetliners from the airport in Tripoli last month, the House Republicans say it’s critical to keep a decades-old ban on Libyans being able to train at U.S. schools.

The White House Office of Management and Budget approved the changes last month and they are awaiting a final signature by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

“Is post-revolutionary Libya secure enough to change the rules? Why now?” said Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who along with Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, is introducing legislation Monday to cancel the Obama administration changes.

Their bill comes almost two years to the day after U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist assault on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city.

The security situation in Libya has been grim since the U.S. provided military power that helped oust former leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Read more at Washington Times

WFB’s Bill Gertz: Obama Administration ‘Trying to Play Down’ Missing Libyan Airliners

 

By Larry O’Connor:

Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz appeared on WMAL radio in Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning to discuss his exclusive story on 11 missing airliners from the Tripoli airport.

“(U.S. Intelligence is) concerned they could be utilized in a 9/11-style attack,” Gertz said of the planes. “If they don’t use them in suicide attacks, they could also be used to transport some of these Islamist groups to expand their reach.”

“It seems like the State Department, the Obama administration, is trying to play down these reports, but the people I talked to were fairly concerned about them,” Gertz said. “Again, they are trying to locate these jets. I don’t think the CIA has a full handle on where all of the aircraft from the airlines were. There are a number of airports in the region that are within close distance to Tripoli International, so they’re obviously looking at these places and trying to get a count of how many aircraft are there.”

When co-host Brian Wilson asked specifics with regard to how Gertz’s sources responded to the reports of the missing jets by saying the “can’t confirm” the reports, Gertz explained that “can’t confirm” in this context was not meant as a denial, but “they’re trying to play down by saying ‘well, we can’t confirm them.’ That’s kind of bureaucrat speak within the United States government.”

“You have to understand the politics of Libya right now,” Gertz said.”You have a congressional inquiry spinning up to look at the 2012 terrorist attack at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. So that would be my only speculation as to why they’re playing it down.”

Also see:

MISSING LIBYAN JETLINERS RAISE FEARS OF SUICIDE AIRLINER ATTACKS ON 9/11

In this image made from video by The Associated Press, smoke rises from the direction of Tripoli airport in Tripoli, Libya, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Rival militias battled Sunday for the control of the international airport in Libya's capital / AP

In this image made from video by The Associated Press, smoke rises from the direction of Tripoli airport in Tripoli, Libya, Sunday, July 13, 2014. Rival militias battled Sunday for the control of the international airport in Libya’s capital / AP

By Bill Gertz:

Islamist militias in Libya took control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners last month, and western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa.

Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.

“There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing,” said one official. “We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.”

The official said the aircraft are a serious counterterrorism concern because reports of terrorist control over the Libyan airliners come three weeks before the 13th anniversary of 9/11 attacks and the second anniversary of the Libyan terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the Benghazi attack, which the Obama administration initially said was the result of a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Muslim video.

A senior State Department counterterrorism official declined to comment on reports of the stolen jetliners.

A second State department official sought to downplay the reports. “We can’t confirm that,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials said Egyptian military forces appear to be preparing to intervene in Libya to prevent the country from becoming a failed state run by terrorists, many with ties to al Qaeda.

Libya remains an oil-rich state and if the country is taken over completely by Islamist extremists, U.S. counterterrorism officials believe it will become another terrorist safe haven in the region.

The officials said U.S. intelligence agencies have not confirmed the aircraft theft following the takeover of Tripoli International Airport in late August, and are attempting to locate all aircraft owned by two Libyan state-owned airline companies, as security in the country continued to deteriorate amid fighting between Islamists and anti-Islamist militias.

Video surfaced on Sunday showing armed fighters from the Islamist militia group Libyan Dawn partying inside a captured U.S. diplomatic compound in Tripoli. The footage showed one fighter diving into a pool from a second-story balcony at the facility.

Tripoli airport and at least seven aircraft were reported damaged during fighting that began in July. Photos of the airport in the aftermath showed a number of damaged aircraft. The airport has been closed since mid-July.

The state-owned Libyan Airlines fleet until this summer included 14 passenger and cargo jetliners, including seven Airbus 320s, one Airbus 330, two French ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, and four Bombardier CJR-900s. Libyan state-owned Afriqiyah Airways fleet is made up of 13 aircraft, including three Airbus 319s, seven Airbus 320s, two Airbus 330s, and one Airbus 340.

The aircraft were reportedly taken in late August following the takeover of Tripoli International Airport, located about 20 miles south of the capital, by Libyan Dawn.

Al Jazeera television reported in late August that western intelligence reports had warned of terror threats to the region from 11 stolen commercial jets.

In response, Tunisia stopped flights from other Libyan airports at Tripoli, Sirte, and Misrata over concerns that jets from those airports could be on suicide missions.

Egypt’s government also halted flights to and from Libya.

Military forces in North Africa, including those from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt have been placed on heightened alert as a result of intelligence warning of the stolen aircraft.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

State Dept: US Embassy in Libya Held by Jihadists is “Secure”

 

Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield:

This seems to be some usage of the word “Secure” that I was not familiar with. Neither was Ambassador Stevens who was assured that the Benghazi facility was secure.

A senior State Department official said Sunday that the U.S. Embassy in Libya’s capital is believed to be secure after reports that an Islamist-allied militia group took over the compound.

“We’ve seen the reports and videos and are seeking additional details,” said the official. “At this point, we believe the Embassy compound itself remains secure but we continue to monitor the situation on the ground, which remains very fluid.”

Considering that the Libya Dawn, a coalition that includes Ansar al-Sharia, responsible for the Benghazi attack, and Feb 17, which was meant to be providing security, holds the residential compound, not to mention the Libyan government, what basis is there for believing it’s secure?

But then again admitting what is really going on would damage Obama’s image and so everyone immediately goes into cover up mode.

That’s what happened in Benghazi and with virtually every event in Libya. Considering that Obama implemented regime change and that the whole thing badly fell apart, the country is a black hole of media coverage.

Now Jihadists are swimming in the pool of the residential compound of the “secure” US Embassy.

Obama Lifts Ban on Libyans Attending U.S. Flight Schools, Training In Nuke Science

Libyan militias parade through Tripoli / AP

Libyan militias parade through Tripoli / AP

By Adam Kredo:

The Obama administration has lifted longtime restrictions on Libyans attending flight schools in the United States and training here in nuclear science, according to a final amendment of the ban recently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Less than two years after the deadly terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is poised to sign off on an amendment reversing the ban, which was enacted following a wave or terrorist attacks in 1980s and prevents Libyans from studying these sensitive trades in the United States.

The original law effectively disqualified all Libyan nationals and those “acting on behalf of Libyan entities” from training in “aviation maintenance, flight operations, or nuclear-related fields,” according to the ban.

DHS said the prohibition is irrelevant now since the United States and Libya have worked to “normalize their relationship,” according to the directive approved by the OMB.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations by rescinding the regulatory provisions promulgated in 1983 that terminated the nonimmigrant status and barred the granting of certain immigration benefits to Libyan nationals and foreign nationals acting on behalf of Libyan entities who are engaging in or seeking to obtain studies or training in,” the amendment states.

“The United States Government and the Government of Libya have normalized their relationship and most of the restrictions and sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations toward Libya have been lifted,” it says. “Therefore, DHS, after consultation with the Department of State and the Department of Defense, is considering rescinding the restrictions that deny nonimmigrant status and benefits to a specific group of Libyan nationals.”

Members of the House Judiciary Committee expressed outrage on Monday about the rollback in the law, maintaining that Libyans continue to pose a security risk to the United States, particularly if they are given access to train in the aviation and nuclear fields.

The terror threat continues and numerous news reports document recent terror-related activities coming from Libya,” the Judiciary Committee said in a statement. “Recently, the employees at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to violence between rival militias near the facility.”

“Since then, many foreign governments have closed their embassies in Libya and evacuated staff as the violence has spread throughout the country,” the statement said.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

LATEST BENGHAZI FOIA LAWSUIT MAY REVEAL WHAT CONGRESS KNEW BEFORE ATTACK

imagescaoeryuz (1)by KERRY PICKET:

Judicial Watch, a Washington D.C based watchdog organization, announced last week, that it filed on May 15, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Departments of Defense and State to get records relating to briefings that any members of Congress’ “Super 8” may have received about “the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi, Libya.”

Breitbart News previously reported how the Benghazi issue is interwoven with U.S. law regarding White House briefings on covert CIA actions the executive branch wishes to authorize.

This general protocol to notify Congress of such covert actions has been the law since the passage of the 1947 National Security Act.  By 1980, legislation was passed and signed into law to give the president the authority to limit prior notification of extremely sensitive covert actions to eight members of Congress.

From their FOIA, Judicial Watch has requested:

a) Any and all records detailing the dates on which any official of the [Departments of Defense and State] briefed any of the following members of Congress on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi, Libya.

    • Rep. John Boehner [Speaker of the House]
    • Rep. Mike Rogers [Chairman, House Select Permanent Committee on Intelligence]
    • Rep. Charles “Dutch” Ruppersberger [Ranking Member, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence]
    • Rep. Nancy Pelosi [Minority Leader of the House]
    • Sen. Dianne Feinstein [Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence]
    • Sen. Saxby Chambliss [Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee in Intelligence]
    • Sen. Harry Reid [Senate Majority Leader]
    • Sen. Mitch McConnell [Senate Minority Leader]

b) Any and all records produced by any official of the[ Departments of Defense and State] in preparation for, use during, and/or pursuant to any of the aforementioned briefings (including, but is not limited to, any and all reports, analyses, presentation slides, and/or notes).

c) Any and all records of communication between any official of the [Departments of Defense and State] and any of the aforementioned members of Congress and/or any of their respective staff members regarding, concerning, or related to activities or operations of any agency of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or the classified annex in Benghazi, Libya.

CNN and the UK Telegraph both reported in August of 2013 that a complex arms operation was happening in Benghazi prior to and during the attack and the White House and the State Department have never confirmed why the CIA annex was in Benghazi to begin with.

Since 2013, Breitbart News has spoken to different members of the Super 8 and each have denied knowing anything about an arms running operation in Libya, but while only one has confirmed that he was aware of the existence of the CIA annex in Benghazi, others were either unaware of the CIA facility or were not willing to say either way.

Some members may try to publicly deny the classified information they are briefed about. Pelosi, a Super 8 member, was snagged in 2009, when it came to light  she was briefed in 2003 by the Bush White House about the administration’s tactic to water-board terrorism suspects during interrogations. Pelosi previously denied she was aware of this fact and attacked the Bush administration for it.

Radio host Laura Ingraham asked Speaker John Boehner on January 24, 2013 about Senator Rand Paul’s gun running in Libya questioning to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Paul asked if the secretary was aware of U.S. involvement in the procuring of weapons that were transferred, bought or sold to Turkey out of Libya. Clinton, seemingly confused, told Paul “nobody [had] ever raised” the issue with her before.

Boehner replied to Ingraham, “I’m somewhat familiar with the chatter about this and the fact that these arms were moving towards Turkey, but most of what I know about this came from a classified source and I really can’t elaborate on it.”

Congressman Rogers (R-MI), though, told Breitbart News in June of 2013, “I get to see all of that stuff. I have seen nothing that would allow me to conclude that the U.S. government was in any way shape or form involved in gun running in Libya. I looked at it all.”

Senator Chambliss (R-GA), when asked in February of 2013 if he knew anything about the gun running issue Senator Rand Paul asked Clinton about a month earlier replied , “I’m not familiar with that.”

Senator Feinstein (D-CA) told Breitbart News in March of 2013 she “didn’t know what” Senator Paul was talking about in regards to his questioning of Clinton and the Secretary’s knowledge about the gunrunning issue in Benghazi.

Congressman Ruppersberger (D-MD) also did not appear to know anything about a gunrunning operation in Libya either, telling Breitbart News in May of 2013, “I don’t know anything about that. The only thing I know is that even before he was ambassador, he knew very much about Libya and he had a lot of good relationships and contacts, trying to resolve issues, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The existence of the CIA annex in Benghazi prior the attack also seemed to not be on some of the Super 8’s radar. In fact, according to the Senate’s Intelligence Committee report (p.27-28) on Benghazi, General Carter Ham– the second Commander, U.S. Africa Command, was not aware of the annex either before the attack happened.

Read more at Breitbart

Also see:

Think Iraq’s a disaster? Read this terrifying dispatch from Libya – the other country our politicians crowed about ‘liberating’

Flames rise during fighting between Islamist militias and forces loyal to general Haftar, in Benghazi, on June 2

Flames rise during fighting between Islamist militias and forces loyal to general Haftar, in Benghazi, on June 2

By ANDREW MALONE:

Death is stalking Sammy. In a flat in a rough part of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, this cadaverous 32-year-old sits on his sofa bed and transfers cocaine from a bag onto a spoon.

With Tom and Jerry on the television opposite, Sammy pours liquid onto the white powder and holds a lighter underneath the spoon until the cocaine starts to bubble, dry out and crack. He places the rocks of crack cocaine he’s made in a pipe, lights them and inhales.

The drugs are free. As a policeman, who joined the new security services in the heady days after Muammar Gaddafi was driven from power by a popular uprising, Sammy, wearing the balaclava that protects officers from reprisals, targets drug dealers and confiscates their contraband at gunpoint.

He’s been using crack for five months. In the past three days, he’s drunk a bottle of vodka and one of whisky. The drugs help him drink more.

This skeletal, depressive figure is not the Sammy I have known for the past three years — not the warm, friendly, family man who, along with thousands of others, risked his life to end the madness of Gaddafi’s 42-year-rule.

After the despot was captured and killed in October 2011, he joined the new police force and pledged to uphold the law. He married, had a baby girl and bought a family home.

But now, like the entire country, Sammy is falling apart. Haunted by memories of war, and traumatised by attacks on the police by armed gangs, he has long endured nightmares that stop him sleeping.

His drunken rages are now so bad that his neighbours have become used to him firing his Kalashnikov in the middle of the night.

Above all, he is in despair over his country. ‘We got rid of Gaddafi — and it’s just exactly the same s***,’ he says. ‘What was it for? It was for nothing — things are worse now than they have ever been. I see it every day. It was all for nothing — absolutely nothing.’

Nor does he think much of David Cameron, who said earlier this year he was ‘proud’ of his work in Libya, having supplied British jets and  warships to oust Gaddafi in what locals deride as a ‘drive-by war’ with no thought for the aftermath.

‘They all fly in and come here in armed convoys, say everything is great, then leave again,’ says Sammy, who casually passes me a grenade and asks how much I would pay for it.

‘We thought the war was about freedom, but not this kind of freedom. Now you can do anything you like — buy guns, people and drugs. The country is in a mess.’

The truth is, there are thousands of Sammys in the new, free Libya. The country is awash with drugs, weapons, warring gangs and Al Qaeda terrorists.

And once more Libyans fear their nation is sliding inexorably into civil war. The parlous state of this benighted nation should act as a terrible warning to those watching with dismay as Iraq — another country where Britain chose to topple a long-standing strongman leader — threatens to tear itself apart along sectarian lines.

A retired Libyan general has launched a campaign against the Islamists that control areas of Tripoli, and against the government — or what passes for it, which is, in reality, a weak and makeshift administration, riven by divisions between hardline Islamists and moderates.

General Khalifa Haftar, who a few days ago survived a suicide bomb attack that killed four other people, has attempted to seize the parliament building and launched an attack with rocket-propelled grenades against the house of disputed Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq, whom he has accused of being in thrall to Islamic groups.

He is calling his campaign ‘Operation Dignity’.

It is a name that might bring a tired smile to the lips of ordinary Libyans. Dignity is in short supply here. Weapons, unfortunately, are not.

There are thousands of truck-mounted missile launchers for sale, as well as rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns.

There are an estimated 15 million Kalashnikovs in a country of just six million people. Guns are available everywhere — from dealers outside the fish market, to a kiosk selling cigarettes on the street near Sammy’s flat, where arms and other contraband goods are kept in cupboards below the counter.

Moody, the kiosk owner, is also a former rebel fighter and was part of the uprising that ended with Gaddafi being buried in a secret grave in the Sahara.

He proudly showed me six Kalashnikov assault rifles, as well as boxes of ammunition.

Murder is also on sale.

Asked how much it would be to have a rival killed, Moody drew on his cigarette. ‘Not much. About 1,000 Libyan dinar (£600),’ he said, as other customers nodded in agreement.

‘We are turning into Somalia,’ said Abdelsalaam, a customer, as he negotiated to buy high-calibre bullets for a sniper rifle. ‘I’ve got a gun to stop myself being killed.’

Read more at Daily Mail

How the Taliban got their hands on modern US missiles

Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with heat-seeking Stinger missiles. Photo: Getty Images

Taliban militia stand in the back of a pickup truck with heat-seeking Stinger missiles.
Photo: Getty Images

The Obama administration isn’t only giving the Taliban back its commanders — it’s giving them weapons.

Miliary records and sources reveal that on July 25, 2012, Taliban fighters in Kunar province successfully targeted a US Army CH-47 helicopter with a new generation Stinger missile.

They thought they had a surefire kill. But instead of bursting into flames, the Chinook just disappeared into the darkness as the American pilot recovered control of the aircraft and brought it to the ground in a hard landing.

The assault team jumped out the open doors and ran clear in case it exploded. Less than 30 seconds later, the Taliban gunner and his comrade erupted into flames as an American gunship overhead locked onto their position and opened fire.

The next day, an explosive ordnance disposal team arrived to pick through the wreckage and found unexploded pieces of a missile casing that could only belong to a Stinger missile.

Lodged in the right nacelle, they found one fragment that contained an entire serial number.

The investigation took time. Arms were twisted, noses put out of joint. But when the results came back, they were stunning: The Stinger tracked back to a lot that had been signed out by the CIA recently, not during the anti-Soviet ­jihad.

Reports of the Stinger reached the highest echelons of the US command in Afghanistan and became a source of intense speculation, but no action.

Everyone knew the war was winding down. Revealing that the Taliban had US-made Stingers risked demoralizing coalition troops. Because there were no coalition casualties, government officials made no public announcement of the attack.

My sources in the US Special Operations community believe the Stinger fired against the Chinook was part of the same lot the CIA turned over to the ­Qataris in early 2011, weapons Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department intended for anti-Khadafy forces in Libya.

They believe the Qataris delivered between 50 and 60 of those same Stingers to the Taliban in early 2012, and an additional 200 SA-24 Igla-S surface-to-air missiles.

Qatar now is expected to hold five Taliban commanders released from Guantanamo for a year before allowing them to go to Afghanistan.

But if we can’t trust the Qataris not to give our weapons to the Taliban, how can we trust them with this?

Also see:

 

Anti-Jihadi Journalist Gunned Down In Libya

jihadiTruth Revolt, By Larry O’Connor:

AFP is reporting that Meftah Bouzid, 50, editor of the weekly newspaper Burniq, was shot dead in Benghazi. Bouzid was an outspoken critic of the Islamic extremists in control of the infamous city.

A journalist and analyst, Bouzid often went on television to criticise Islamic extremists, resulting in threats to his life according to a friend.

Libyan authorities have struggled to stamp out lawlessness in a country awash with weapons from the 2011 revolution which toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Ex-rebels, especially Islamists, have been blamed for deadly attacks on dozens of members of the security forces, judges and foreigners in Benghazi, the city where the revolution was born.

Bouzid and his paper came out openly in support of a military drive launched on May 16 by renegade general Khalifa Haftar to crush Islamists in Benghazi, in a so-called “dignity” campaign.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), condemned the killing, urging authorities “to conduct an investigation as quickly as possible” to identify those responsible for the murder. Last week, the international watchdog group had voiced “deep concern about the fate of the country’s journalists, who are yet again the targets of violence.”

The Times of London reports that witnesses describe the murder as an execution-style slaying:

Witnesses said that a gunman repeatedly shot Muftah Buzeid at close range through his car window after his vehicle was blocked by another car.

A fellow journalist in Benghazi described Mr Buzeid as “a brave man who loved Libya and carried on his work despite receiving threats and being advised to leave the country.”

The message is clear: Oppose Jihad and pay with your life. This is the Libya that has been created by the hands-off, lead from behind policies of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Showdown in Libya Between Opposition and Islamist Militias

 

Libyan militias travel in a convoy toward oil ports. (Photo: © Reuters)

Libyan militias travel in a convoy toward oil ports. (Photo: © Reuters)

Brotherhood victories in the Arab Spring have triggered a backlash against Islamist rule. Now the Libyan people are joining that revolt.

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Libyan population, fed up with radical militias and an Islamist-led parliament, are supporting a counter-revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic extremists. It began with the launch of “Operation Dignity” by General Khalifa Hifter and it sparked the scheduling of new elections on June 25.

Hifter and the secular opposition view the dysfunctional, Islamist-led parliament as being in league with radical militias and terrorists. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Libyan branch, the Justice and Construction Party, lost the 2012 parliamentary elections in a landslide. However, it has brought independents over to its side, giving them a functional majority.

This unpopular interim parliament was supposed to expire in February, but it gave itself another year. The Islamist bloc thenchose Ahmed Matiq as Prime Minister on May 4, the third Prime Minister since Qaddafi’s fall, in a hotly contested vote.

Secularists argue that Matiq is illegitimate because he only won 113 votes in the initial session, seven short of what is required. After the session was officially adjourned, voting resumed and opponents argue that parliamentarians who were not present were illegally allowed to vote. More recently, the Islamist-led parliament voted in his cabinet.

The revolt is about much more than the performance of the interim parliament, though. It is part of a regional backlash against the Islamist movement, and it was triggered by the Libyan people who are fed up with instability caused by Islamic extremist militias and terrorists.

“There is one enemy and that is the Muslim Brotherhood, the malignant disease which is seeking to spread throughout the bones of the Arab world,” Hifter said.

When asked about whether he wants to eliminate the group entirely, he answered, “Yes…completely. I am not looking for reconciliation.”

Read more at Clarion Project