Ansar al-Sharia is a jihadist group that was ultimately blamed for the terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi on 9/11/12.
Authors’ Note: Though the report below may be viewed as a stand-alone body of work, we introduce it as Addendum A to Ironclad: Egypt Involved in Benghazi Attacks. This addendum was initiated in response to the testimony of three expert witnesses at a Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee Hearing on July 10, 2013. We believe that this report further demonstrates enough probable cause exists that Ansar al-Sharia, the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Mursi, and the former Egyptian government were all involved in the attack in Benghazi on 9/11/12.
By Walid Shoebat and Ben Barrack
Jihadist and terrorist groups represent two sides of the same coin; it is a distinction without a difference. Congress must be able to rely on experts who understand this fundamental premise.
Yet, at a recent House Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee hearing, expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization, relied on this distinction when asked about Ansar al-Sharia by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA):
Rohrabacher: So, this (Ansar al-Sharia) is a known terrorist organization?
Gartenstein-Ross: Sir, it’s a known jihadist organization.
If anyone should know about this two-sided coin, it’s Gartenstein-Ross. He converted to Islam in his mid-twenties and worked at the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation but “pulled back” just before becoming radical and left Islam. Al-Haramain was identified in the 9/11 Commission Report as a “Wahhabi-funded organization” that was “exploited by extremists”. Like ‘jihadist’ and ‘terrorist’, ‘wahhabist’ and ‘extremist’ are synonymous terms.
Aaron Zelin, another expert at the hearing, is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute and according to his bio, learned Arabic at various Islamic institutions, including American University in Cairo.
The problem with the likes of Gartenstein-Ross and Zelin, who have collaborated on various reportstogether, is that confusion seems to run amok. Zelin once wrote the following just one day after the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi (we will come back to this article in greater detail later):
Prior to the 2011 uprising, the country’s main organized jihadist movement, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, had already deradicalized and retired.
As evidence of this, Zelin writes:
Following Qadhafi’s fall, the LIFG split into two political factions that contested the July 2012 legislative elections: the broad-based moderate party Hizb al-Watan (HW), which Belhaj joined, and the smaller, more conservative and Islamist-tinged Hizb al-Umma al-Wasat (HUW)…
Zelin misses that motive and not deradicalization is the factor at play. When Muslim terrorist entities gain political power, they simply switch gears, play politics and wait to gain more, which is ultimately followed by even greater violence. In the meantime, Americans, like Israelis, remain fair game.
As experts, Gartenstein-Ross and Zelin should be quite familiar with the volumes of material – in Arabic – on issues of Islamic flexibility, known as Muruna, which was revived two decades ago. Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi – who in 2009 said that the holocaust was “divine punishment… carried out by Hitler” through Allah and that the Jews “exaggerated this issue” – is perhaps its biggest proponent. Yet, Zelin was quoted as saying the following about Qaradawi last month:
“He’s a pretty popular mainstream cleric in the region. He’s not fringe, he’s got weight behind him.”
Dr. John Esposito, a professor at Georgetown University who is very sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, once referred to Qaradawi as having a:
“…reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism and human rights.”
Incidentally, Esposito sits on the board of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA), which wasfounded by an al-Qaeda financier named Abdullah Omar Naseef at the behest of the Saudi Royal family. Esposito has collaborated with a Muslim Brotherhood apologist named Dalia Mogahed, for years.
The third expert witness at the subcommittee hearing was Dr. Daniel Byman, also a professor at Georgetown University and who serves as a senior fellow at the left-leaning Brookings Institute. Byman serves as a Miller Center Fellowship Mentor, as does Esposito. In an article, Byman appeared to further the myth that terrorists and jihadists are very different and even cited Esposito and Mogahed:
“…a 2006 survey by the scholars John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed found that 93 percent of Egyptians favored a constitution that guaranteed freedom of speech. At the same time, however, Esposito and Mogahed found that a majority wanted Islamic law to be the only source of legislation. In contrast, al Qaeda believes that democracy is blasphemous, arguing that it places man’s word above God’s.”
The implication is that Islamic law (shariah) and democracy can co-exist under Muslim Brotherhood rule; they can’t. The ouster of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Mursi, is just another in a long line of examples that demonstrates this.
Read more at shoebat.com