GENERALS CONCLUDE OBAMA BACKED AL-QAIDA

obama-hillary-coffins-benghazi3WND, by Jerome Corsi, Jan. 19, 2015:

NEW YORK – The Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “changed sides in the war on terror” in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded in its interim report.

In WND interviews, several members of the commission have disclosed their finding that the mission of Christopher Stevens, prior to the fall of Gadhafi and during Stevens’ time as U.S. ambassador, was the management of a secret gun-running program operated out of the Benghazi compound.

The Obama administration’s gun-running project in Libya, much like the “fast and furious” program under Eric Holder’s Justice Department, operated without seeking or obtaining authorization by Congress.

WND reported Monday that in exclusive interviews conducted with 11 of the 17 members of the commission, it is clear that while the CCB is still enthusiastic to work with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and hopeful that Boehner is serious about the investigation, various members of the CCB, speaking on their own behalf and not as spokesmen for the commission, are expressing concerns, wanting to make sure the Gowdy investigation is not compromised by elements within the GOP.

The Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi’s interim report, in a paragraph titled “Changing sides in the War on Terror,” alleges “the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the Al Qaeda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion.”

The report asserted the jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy.

“The rebels made no secret of their Al Qaeda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad, according to author John Rosenthal and multiple media reports,” the interim report said. “And yet, the White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress Al Qaeda.”

The report concluded: “The result in Libya, across much of North Africa, and beyond has been utter chaos, disruption of Libya’s oil industry, the spread of dangerous weapons (including surface-to-air missiles), and the empowerment of jihadist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Christopher Stevens: ’1st U.S. envoy to al-Qaida’

In the WND interviews, several members of the citizens’ commission, speaking for themselves, not for the commission, added important background to the interim report’s conclusion.

“In early 2011, before Gadhafi was deposed, Christopher Stevens came to Benghazi in a cargo ship, and his title at the time was envoy to the Libyan rebels,’ which basically means Christopher Stevens was America’s very first envoy to al-Qaida,” explained Clare Lopez, a member of the commission who served as a career operations officer with the CIA and current is vice president for research at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.

“At that time, Stevens was facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-related militia in Libya,” Lopez continued. “The weapons were produced at factories in Eastern Europe and shipped to a logistics hub in Qatar. The weapons were financed by the UAE and delivered via Qatar mostly on ships, with some possibly on airplanes, for delivery to Benghazi. The weapons were small arms, including Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenades and lots of ammunition.”

Lopez further explained that during the period of time when Stevens was facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-affiliated militia in Libya, he was living in the facility that was later designated the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi.

“This was about weapons going into Libya, and Stevens is coordinating with Abdelhakim Belhadj, the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, other al-Qaida-affiliated militia leaders and leaders of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood that directed the rebellion against Qadhafi as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” Lopez said. “Many of the individual members of the al-Qaida-related militias, including the LIFG, and the groups that would later become Ansar Al-Sharia, were Muslim Brotherhood members first.”

According to the interim report, as detailed by Lopez, a delegation from the UAE traveled to Libya after the fall of Gadhafi to collect payment for the weapons the UAE had financed and that Qatar had delivered to the Transitional National Council in Libya during the war.

“The UAE delegation was seeking $1 billion it claimed was owed,” the interim report noted. “During their visit to Tripoli, the UAE officials discovered that half of the $1 billion worth of weapons it had financed for the rebels had, in fact, been diverted by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the Muslim Brotherhood head of the Libyan TNC, and sold to Qaddafi.”

According to information discovered during the UAE visit to Tripoli, when Jalil learned that Maj. Gen. Abdel Fatah Younis, Gadhafi’s former minister of the interior before his late February 2011 defection to the rebel forces, had found out about the weapons diversion and the $500 million payment from Gadhafi, Jalil ordered Abu Salim Abu Khattala, leader of the Abu Obeida Bin al-Jarrah brigade to kill Younis.

“Abu Khattala, later identified as a Ansar al- Shariah commander who participated in the 11 September 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, accepted the orders and directed the killing of Gen. Younis in July 2011,” the interim report noted.

Abu Khattala is currently in custody in New York awaiting trial under a Department of Justice-sealed indictment, after U.S. Delta Force special operations personnel captured him over the weekend of June 14-15, 2014, in a covert mission in Libya. Abu Khattala’s brigade merged into Ansar al-Shariah in 2012, and he was positively identified to the FBI in a cell phone photo from the scene of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

The language of the interim report made clear why the sequence of events is important.

“The key significance of this episode is the demonstration of a military chain-of-command relationship between the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the TNC and the Al Qaeda-affiliated militia (Ansar al-Shariah) that has been named responsible for the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi,” the interim Rreport concluded.

“What we have here is the Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the revolution giving a kill order to a Muslim militia affiliated with al-Qaida, which then carried it out,” Lopez summarized. “This chain-of-command link is important even though it has not yet received enough attention in the media.

A big ‘oh no’ moment

“After Gadhafi is deposed and Stevens was appointed U.S. ambassador to Libya, the flow of weapons reverses,” Lopez noted. “Now Stevens has the job of overseeing the shipment of arms from Libya to Syria to arm the rebels fighting Assad, some of whom ultimately become al-Nusra in Syria and some become ISIS.”

Lopez distinguished that “al-Nusra in Syria still claims allegiance to al-Qaida, while ISIS has broken away from al-Qaida, not because ISIS is too violent, but out of insubordination, after Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, wanted to run his own show inside Syria as well as Iraq, thereby disobeying orders from al-Qaida leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.”

She noted that in this period of time, after the fall of Gadhafi and before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the Benghazi compound, Stevens was working with Turkey to ship weapons out of Libya into Syria for the use of the rebels fighting Assad.

According to the authors of the bestselling book “13 Hours,” on Sept. 11, 2012, before the attack on the Benghazi compound started, Stevens had dinner with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin. Stevens reportedly escorted the Turkish diplomat outside the main gate of the Benghazi compound to say good-bye to Akin at approximately 7:40 p.m. local time, before he returned to Villa C to retire for the evening.

Kevin Shipp, a former CIA counterintelligence expert who worked on the seventh floor at Langley as protective staff to then-CIA Director William Casey, again speaking for himself in his interview with WND, agreed with Lopez that the gun-running operation Stevens managed is a secret the Obama White House and Clinton State Department have sought to suppress from the public.

“The shocking part, maybe even a violation of international law that the Obama administration has been terrified to have fully revealed, is that Stevens as part of his duties as a State Department employee was assisting in the shipment of arms first into Libya for the al-Qaida-affiliated militia, with the weapons shipped subsequently out of Libya into Syria for use by the al-Qaida-affiliated rebels fighting Assad,” Shipp told WND.

“Very possibly, these gun-running activities could be looked at even as treasonable offenses,” he said.

Shipp further noted that in gun-running operations in which the CIA wants deniability, the CIA generally involves a third party.

“The way the CIA works is through a ‘cut-out,’ in that you get Qatar to transport the weapons and you facilitate the transport. So now the third party is to blame,” he explained.

“Qatar probably would have been able to pull this off without any attribution to the CIA if the Benghazi attack had not happened. The attack basically shed the light on this operation the White House, the State Department and the CIA were trying to keep quiet,” he said.

“The attack on Benghazi was a big ‘oh no’ moment.”

Libya spirals downward as the West looks the other way

Libya1Washington Post Editorial Board, Jan. 12, 2015:

WHEN LIBYA’S attempt to construct a new, democratic political system faltered after 2012, the Obama administration and NATO allies who had intervened to support the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gaddafi could still rationalize that they had headed off the mass bloodshed and civil war that the Gaddafi regime threatened and that later overtook Syria. The respite, however, proved to be temporary. As 2015 begins, Libya is well on its way to becoming the Middle East’s second war zone — with the same side effects of empowering radical jihadists and destabilizing neighboring countries.

The sprawling but sparsely populated country of 7 million is now split between two governments, parliaments and armies, one based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the other in the capital, Tripoli. While Syria’s war is fought along the Arab world’s Sunni-Shiite divide, in Libya the contest pits the region’s secular Sunnis against Islamists (along with minority Berbers). Since that same divide dominates the politics of Egypt, Tunisia, the Palestinian territories and much of the rest of the Maghreb, outside powers have predictably picked sides: Egypt and the United Arab Emirates back the secular forces in the east, while Turkey, Qatar and Sudan support the Islamist Libya Dawn in the west.

This mounting conflict is occurring not so much because of NATO’s 2011 intervention, which was limited to airstrikes, but because of its swift withdrawal and subsequent failure to assist in stabilizing the country. Without institutions or trained and loyal security forces, an interim government could not gain control over the numerous militias that had sprung up to fight the Gaddafi regime. As the situation has steadily worsened in the past two years, the Obama administration, France, Britain and other participants in the NATO intervention have reacted not by dispatching aid but by shutting down their embassies and washing their hands of Libya. The task of trying to broker peace has been handed to a U.N. mediator, Bernardino León, who in recent interviews has described his mission as quixotic.

As in Syria, this passivity could soon produce a serious threat to Western interests. According to the U.S. Africa Command, 200 jihadists linked to the Islamic State already have set up a training camp in the eastern Libyan town of Derna. Only 300 miles from southern Europe, Libya could — far more easily than Yemen or western Iraq — become the launching pad for more attacks on Paris and other Western capitals.

The only sign that the Obama administration is conscious of this threat has been the issuance with its allies of empty statements, such as one Saturday that congratulated Mr. León for scheduling talks in Geneva this week among some of the warring parties. Real progress toward ending the fighting would require more energetic action, such as diverting Libya’s oil revenues to an escrow account, enforcing an arms embargo, freezing the international assets of both sides and pressuring Egypt and other outside powers to cease their interventions. Ultimately, an international peacekeeping force probably will be needed to help restore order.

The Obama administration is, as always, reluctant to mount or even support such an effort. Yet doing so now is surely preferable to being forced, as in Iraq and Syria, to conduct another military intervention in the future.

Charlie Hebdo Shooter Possibly Linked to Cell Tied to Terror Recruitment

terroristsCSP, by Kyle Shideler, Jan.7, 2015:

Reports are coming in that at least one of the shooters involved in the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo where ten journalists and two policemen were murdered, may have long standing jihad ties. According to reports the shooters were allegedly Said and Cherif Kouachi both with French citizenship. A third individual Hamyd Mourad, has also been arrested.  In 2008, a French court sentenced a Cherif Kouachi to 3 years in prison for attempting to travel through Syria to Iraq in order to fight U.S. and Coalition troops:

The men were accused of links to the “19th Arrondissement Network,” named for the Paris district where it was based. The district is a diverse, working-class neighborhood, home to many Muslim families with roots in former French colonies in North Africa.

The network was involved in smuggling individuals to fight alongside Al-Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq. AQI would eventually become the group led by Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), which declares itself to be the Islamic caliphate under AbuBakr Al-Baghdadi. But it remains unclear if Kouachi and his accomplices were working on behalf of ISIS. During the attack, the gunmen reportedly yelled, “Tell the media that this is al-Qaeda in the Yemen!” This claim would also seem logical, since it was AQAP which issues Inspire magazine, which carried the 2013 death threat against Charlie Hebdo’s editor Stéphane Charbonnier.

Yet another member of the “19th Arrondissement Network”, Boubakeur Hakim, was linked by French and Tunisian intelligence to Ansar al-Sharia in 2013, for his role in the assassinations of Tunisian politicians Mohamed Brahmi and Chokri Belaid, both of whom were gunned down outside their homes by teams of gunmen. Hakim was also believed to be involved in weapon smuggling from Libya to Tunisia on behalf of Ansar al-Sharia. Belaid supporters would later express a belief that Abdul-Hakim Belhadj, the head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which would form the backbone of the Libyan rebels who overthrow Qaddafi, played a key role in training Ansar Al-Sharia to carry out the attack.  And while Hakim may have been the Ansar Al-Sharia triggerman, the killings were allegedly at the behest of the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ennahada party, as the late Middle East Specialist Barry Rubin noted at the time:

“While Tunisia is being run by a coalition of the Muslim Brotherhood and two secular parties, the Brotherhood’s power is growing, while Salafist groups are free to intimidate people. The most vocal opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, was assassinated; indications are that this killing was backed and even organized by the ruling Islamists. [Emphasis added]”

Whether Hakim and Kouachi remained in touch (which is unknown), it’s clear that the 19th Arrondissement Cell apparently graduated serious terrorist operatives undeterred by prison. Food for thought as the Obama Administration continues to release Guantanamo detainees.

If Cherif Kouachi is indeed the same one linked to the “19th Arrondissement” Cell, more than identifying a particular responsible terror group as the responsible party, it informs us that what unifies jihadists is their motivation. Members of a given cell may head off in different directions and joint new organizations, but the requirement to wage jihad to impose Islamic law, remains the same regardless. In understanding that, the attacker’s cry, “we have avenged the prophet!” may be more notable than any other declaration of responsibility.

Cherif Kouachi, left, 32, and his brother, Said Kouachi, 34, who are suspected in a deadly attack on a satirical newspaper in Paris. Credit French Police

Cherif Kouachi, left, 32, and his brother, Said Kouachi, 34, who are suspected in a deadly attack on a satirical newspaper in Paris. Credit French Police

Also see:

Analysis: Osama bin Laden’s documents pertaining to Abu Anas al Libi should be released

Anas-al-LibiLong War Journal, By

A senior al Qaeda operative known as Abu Anas al Libi has died in the US as he was awaiting trial. Al Libi was captured in Tripoli during a raid by US forces in late 2013. He had been wanted for his role in the August 1998 US Embassy bombings for more than a decade prior to his arrest.

The US government has in its possession numerous pieces of evidence concerning al Libi’s al Qaeda role, including files recovered in May 2011 from Osama bin Laden’s home in Pakistan.

The Long War Journal has consistently advocated for the release of bin Laden’s files. The Obama administration has released just 17 documents, and a handful of videos, from a total cache of more than 1 million files. Many more of these files, if not almost all of them, should be declassified and released. There are no sources or methods to protect, as everyone knows how this information was obtained. The only files that should remain classified are those that have a direct bearing on the US government’s current counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda.

Now that al Libi has passed away, the US government has another opportunity to be more transparent with respect to bin Laden’s files. After all, at least some of the documents probably would have been released to the public during al Libi’s trial.

Just weeks ago, in mid-December, Benjamin Weiser of The New York Times reported that US prosecutors were seeking to use files recovered during the raid on bin Laden’s compound in al Libi’s trial.

A close reading of the Times‘ account reveals that prosecutors intended to use at least five separate letters recovered in bin Laden’s safe house.

It does not appear that any of these letters were included in the set of 17 documents released by the Obama administration through the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. None of Abu Anas al Libi’s letters to al Qaeda’s leaders were released.

The first letter described by the Times is from Atiyyah Abd al Rahman, a senior al Qaeda leader, to bin Laden dated June 19, 2010. Rahman explained that al Libi was one of “the last brothers” to be released from Iran. Al Libi “came only a week ago and I met him and sat with him,” Rahman wrote, according to the Times’ summary. Rahman appointed al Libi to al Qaeda’s security committee. “It is normal for any person after a long absence, especially in jail, that he needs some time to figure out how things work,” Rahman noted. Rahman recommended that bin Laden send al Libi a letter, because al Libi was seeking “reassurance.”

A second letter, dated Oct. 13, 2010, is a five-page missive from al Libi to Osama bin Laden. “Your forever lover, Your brother,” al Libi signs the letter. Al Libi explains, according to the Times, that the al Qaeda “brothers,” including bin Laden’s sons and other al Qaeda operatives, fled to Iran under orders from Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

A third letter from Rahman to bin Laden was written “[a]bout a month later,” according to the Times, meaning it was penned sometime in November 2010. Rahman recommended that al Libi be accepted back into al Qaeda’s leadership ranks. Rahman described al Libi as “determined,” “visionary,” and “difficult somewhat,” but also noted that bin Laden knew him. Interestingly, Rahman complained that al Libi had violated al Qaeda’s operational security regulations by “contacting his family in Libya, despite knowing that we don’t allow any communications.”

Al Libi “knows that he was wanted by the Americans,” Rahman wrote to bin Laden, according to the Times’ summary. “He contacted them via phone repeatedly!”

In a fourth letter, written in March 2011, al Libi requested permission to join some other operatives who were returning to Libya to fight against Muammar al Qaddafi’s regime. It is better to “move out sooner rather than later” al Libi wrote.

Rahman forwarded al Libi’s letter to bin Laden, the Times reported, and Rahman explained to bin Laden that he approved al Libi’s request. This is the fifth letter prosecutors sought to introduce. Rahman noted that al Libi was “a little upset with me for the delay in getting back to him.”

A “builder of al Qaeda’s network in Libya”

Al Libi did in fact return to his native Libya. As a member of al Qaeda’s security committee who returned to North Africa only after receiving permission from his superiors in al Qaeda (Rahman), it is safe to assume that he was doing the terrorist organization’s bidding when he set up shop in his homeland.

Indeed, as The Long War Journal previously reported, an unclassified report published in August 2012 highlighted al Qaeda’s strategy for building a fully operational network in Libya. The report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) was prepared by the federal research division of the Library of Congress (LOC) under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO).

Abu Anas al Libi played a key role in al Qaeda’s plan for the country, according to the report’s authors. He was described as the “builder of al Qaeda’s network in Libya.”

Al Qaeda’s senior leadership (AQSL) has “issued strategic guidance to followers in Libya and elsewhere to take advantage of the Libyan rebellion,” the report reads. AQSL ordered its followers to “gather weapons,” “establish training camps,” “build a network in secret,” “establish an Islamic state,” and “institute sharia” law in Libya.

Abu Anas al Libi was identified as the key liaison between AQSL and others inside the country who were working for al Qaeda. “Reporting indicates that intense communications from AQSL are conducted through Abu Anas al Libi, who is believed to be an intermediary between [Ayman al] Zawahiri and jihadists in Libya,” the report notes.

Al Libi is “most likely involved in al Qaeda strategic planning and coordination between AQSL and Libyan Islamist militias who adhere to al Qaeda’s ideology,” the report continues.

Al Libi and his fellow al Qaeda operatives “have been conducting consultations with AQSL in Afghanistan and Pakistan about announcing the presence of a branch of the organization that will be led by returnees from Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan, and by leading figures from the former LIFG.” The term “LIFG” refers to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group formed in Libya in the 1990s.

One of al Libi’s key allies inside Libya was another senior al Qaeda operative, Abd al Baset Azzouz, who has been close to al Qaeda’s senior leaders for decades.

Azzouz was sent to Libya by Zawahiri and “has been operating at least one training center.” Azzouz “sent some of his estimated 300 men…to make contact with other militant Islamist groups farther west.”

Azzouz was reportedly captured in Turkey last month. [See LWJ report, Representative of Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly captured in Turkey.]

Release bin Laden’s files

The Obama administration made a concerted push to portray Osama bin Laden as a doddering old man who was operationally irrelevant. Citing bin Laden documents shown to him by the White House, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius described the jihadist leader as a “lion in winter.” CNN‘s Peter Bergen similarly reported that bin Laden was in retirement at the time of his death. The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, working off of only those documents provided by the Obama administration, portrayed bin Laden as being sidelined.

What we know about Abu Anas al Libi’s al Qaeda role challenges all of these assessments. He was reintegrated into al Qaeda’s chain of command after his release from Iranian custody. His role was approved by Rahman, who served as one of bin Laden’s top subordinates before being killed in a US drone strike. Rahman made sure that al Libi joined al Qaeda’s security committee — an internal body that is not factored into any public assessments of al Qaeda’s structure or hierarchy. And al Qaeda approved al Libi’s return to Libya. Other evidence subsequently unearthed by the US government shows that al Libi was acting as one of al Qaeda’s top operatives in North Africa at the time of his capture.

This evidence should be released to the public, so we can judge for ourselves how al Qaeda operates.

In addition, any documents or files recovered from bin Laden’s compound that deal with the August 1998 US Embassy bombings should be released as well. After al Libi was captured in Libya, his family claimed he had played no role in the twin attacks, which were al Qaeda’s most successful operation prior to Sept. 11, 2001. However, there is abundant evidence, including testimony given before a US district court, indicating that al Libi was a key player in the bombings. Releasing any bin Laden files further implicating al Libi in the East Africa attacks would only strengthen the US government’s case to the public.

Leading From Behind Case Study: Libya #WeaknessIsDangerous

Published on Dec 17, 2014 by ConcernedVets

The first installment in our Strength and Security Project Leading from Behind Case Study Series focuses on how a lack of a clear national security strategy created a failed state in Libya. For more information visit: http://action.cv4a.org/strength-and-security#video

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

What will it take for us to stop doing business with Qatar?

UN-GENERAL ASSEMBLY-QATAR

We’ve let the desert state face both ways on funding extremism.

The Spectator, Simon Heffer, 4 October 2014:

On 17 June, a meeting of the Henry Jackson Society, held in the House of Commons, discussed (according to the minutes published on the society’s website) how a tribal elder in northern Cameroon who runs a car import business in Qatar has become one of the main intermediaries between kidnappers from Boko Haram and its offshoot Ansaru and those seeking to free hostages. It was alleged that embezzlement of funds going to Qatar via car imports might be disguising ransom payments. It was also alleged that Qatar was involved in financing Islamist militant groups in West Africa, helping with weapons and ideological training, and (with Saudi Arabia) funding the building of mosques in Mali and Nigeria that preach a highly intolerant version of Islam.

This was far from the only time such accusations have been levelled. Yet Qatar is supposed to be one of our allies, supporting air strikes against the Islamic State. Its ruler even thinks his enormous wealth entitles him to blag his way into Her Majesty’s carriage at Royal Ascot. Given Qatar’s questionable role in the current tide of savage Islamism, should its ruler be allowed anywhere near our Queen? And should they be allowed to buy up our country, as they have done relentlessly since the crash of 2008?

After the overthrow of President Morsi of Egypt, Qatar became a place of refuge for the Muslim Brotherhood. However, on 12 September it asked several leading Brotherhood figures to leave. They duly did, not in outrage or indignation, but apologising for causing embarrassment. Clearly, they felt a debt to the Qataris, and a senior Brotherhood spokesman, Amr Darrag, said what it was. He issued a statement thanking Qataris for their support to ‘the Egyptian people in their revolution against the military junta’.

Qatar asked its former friends to leave because of pressure applied by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Some may come to London: there is already a group of Brotherhood members in Cricklewood, under scrutiny from the authorities. But even now, Qatar remains home to an array of exiled Islamists, and thus a focus of suspicion to its neighbours. Bahrain joined Saudi Arabia and the UAE in withdrawing its ambassador from Doha this spring. It has been widely reported that Qatari money funds extremists in Libya, and when these ambassadors were recalled, the Zionist Organisation of America asked the US government to declare Qatar a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Emir of Qatar’s personal fortune and the country’s sovereign wealth fund are rumoured to amount to £50 billion. Qataris own substantial amounts of real estate — such as the Shard, the Olympic Village, One Hyde Park, a part of Canary Wharf, the United States Embassy building in Grosvenor Square, the Chelsea Barracks development and Harrods. They have large stakes in the stock exchange, Sainsburys and Barclays bank. Almost all Britain’s liquefied natural gas comes from Qatar, accounting for a quarter of our gas needs. The desert state has also bought the 2022 World Cup — rather like playing a cricket Test series at the South Pole — in a fashion so seemingly corrupt that there have been widespread calls for a boycott.

Sir John Jenkins, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has compiled a report exposing extremist activity among members of the Brotherhood and their links to jihadis. It named three Muslim charities in Britain that seemed to be sending funds to extremists in the Middle East. At the very least this should lead Britain to expel members of the Brotherhood, close down the charities and sequester their funds; but the problem will never be dealt with until the source of the funding is cut off. At some stage the British government must ask itself a simple question: however much we want Qatari gas, how much longer can we permit commercial relations with such people?

In June the American magazine The Atlantic asserted that Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qa’eda proxy in Syria, had somehow received ‘Qatar’s economic and military largesse’. There is no suggestion this was sanctioned or funded by the Qatari government: but every suggestion it came from interest groups based in Qatar and wealthy Qatari nationals. The problem has been around for years. Wikileaks published a memorandum from Hillary Clinton, when US secretary of state, saying Qatar had the worst record of counter-terrorism co-operation of any ally of the United States.

The Qatari foreign minister, Khalid al-Attiyah, called claims such as The Atlantic’s ‘Qatar-bashing’, and denied the country or anyone in it was bankrolling IS. Certainly, most of the evidence for IS’s funding points to groups and individuals in Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia may provide training camps for anti-IS groups from Syria approved by the Americans. In response to a US request for similar assistance, the Qataris said it would be ‘premature’. Meanwhile, the Americans continue to accuse Qatar and Kuwait of being ‘permissive environments’ for the funding of terrorism, and believe Qatar has unhealthily close links with Jabhat al-Nusra. Certainly, Mr Attiyah has sought to play down its activities by pointing instead to atrocities committed by those loyal to Bashar al-Assad.

Israel has driven America’s scepticism over Qatar, accusing it of funding Hamas and of exporting terror not just through Jabhat al-Nusra but through IS. A German minister, Gerd Müller, then said that when the question was raised about funding IS, ‘The key word there is Qatar.’ This brought an immediate repudiation from the Qataris, who argued they had been among the first to condemn the beheading of the murdered American hostage James Foley.

However, the Americans — whose largest base in the Middle East is, ironically, at Al Udeid in Doha — believe Qatar has funded extremists not merely in Syria and Libya but also in Tunisia, Mali and Iraq. Another Wikileaks cable revealed Meir Degan, a former head of Mossad, telling the US that ‘Qatar is trying to cosy up to everyone’, and warning America to close its bases there.

Qatar’s pretence that it is an honest broker in the Middle East, attempting to see all sides of an argument, may wash in Doha. It won’t, however, resonate in countries such as Britain and America whose citizens are targeted by jihadis financed by people who may be Qataris, and who have enjoyed Qatari hospitality. Qatar needs to be reminded that the civilised parts of the world with which it does business won’t tolerate apologists for savage extremists. It can’t face both ways on this. Britain must expel members of the Brotherhood and sequester their funds. And it must tell Qatar that unless it stops turning a blind eye to some of its people funding murder and extremism, and stops equivocating about extremists, its assets will be frozen and trade with it suspended until it does.

Simon Heffer, is a columnist for the Daily Mail and a former deputy editor of The Spectator.

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

In Search of a Strategy

U.S. President Obama addresses reporters ahead of national security council meeting at the White House in WashingtonNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Aug.30, 2014:

Is it better to have no strategy or a delusional strategy?

The question arises, of course, after President Obama’s startling confession on Thursday that he has not yet developed a strategy for confronting the Islamic State, the al-Qaeda-rooted terrorist organization still often called by its former name, ISIS – an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Al-Sham refers to Greater Syria.

You may have noticed that President Obama calls the group ISIL, preferring the acronym that refers to the Levant to the one referring to al-Sham. After all, anything that invokes Syria might remind you of red lines that turned out not to be red lines and the administration’s facilitation of the arming of “moderate rebels” who turned out to include, well, ISIS. The fact is that the president has never had a Syria strategy, either — careening from Assad the Reformer, to Assad the Iranian puppet who must be toppled, to Assad who maybe we should consider aligning with against ISIS — ISIS being the “rebels” we used to support in Syria . . . unless they crossed into Iraq, in which case they were no longer rebels but terrorists . . . to be “rebels” again, they’d have to cross back into Syria or cruise east to Libya, where they used to be enemy jihadists spied on by our ally Qaddafi until they became “McCain’s heroes” overthrowing our enemy Qaddafi.

Got it?

No? Well, congratulations, you may have caught mental health, a condition to be envied even if it would disqualify you from serving as a foreign-policy and national-security expert in Washington. In either party.

The Islamic State’s recent beheading of American journalist James Foley is not the only thing that captured Washington’s attention of late. The Beltway was also left aghast at the jihadist’ rounding up of over 150 Syrian soldiers, forcing them to strip down to their underpants for a march through the desert, and then mass-killing them execution style.

Shocking, sure, but isn’t that what the GOP’s foreign-policy gurus were telling us they wanted up until about five minutes ago? Not the cruel method but the mass killing of Assad’s forces. Nothing oh nothing, we were told, could possibly be worse than the barbaric Assad regime. As naysayers — like your faithful correspondent— urged the government to refrain from backing “rebels” who teem with rabidly anti-American Islamic-supremacist savages, top Republicans scoffed. It was paramount that we arm the rebels in order to oust Assad, even though “we understand [that means] some people are going to get arms that should not be getting arms,” insisted Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Turns out that quite a lot of people who shouldn’t have gotten arms have gotten quite a lot of arms. And that is because Syria is not the only place as to which Republicans urged Obama to ignore federal laws against arming and otherwise supporting terrorists. They did it in Libya, too.

We have several times documented here that influential Republicans led by Senator John McCain were champions of Moammar Qaddafi before they suddenly switched sides — along with President Obama — in campaigning to oust the Libyan regime they had only recently treated (and funded) as a key American counterterrorism ally. The resulting (and utterly foreseeable) empowerment of Islamic supremacists in eastern Libya directly contributed to the Benghazi Massacre of four Americans on September 11, 2012; to the rise of the Islamic State and the expansion of al-Qaeda franchises in Africa, all of which were substantially strengthened by the jihadist capture of much of Qaddafi’s arsenal; and to what has become the collapse of Libya into a virulently anti-American no-man’s land of competing militias in which jihadists now have the upper hand.

The disastrous flip-flop was no surprise. When Mubarak fell in Egypt, Senator McCain stressed that the Brotherhood must be kept out of any replacement government because the Brothers are anti-democratic supporters of repressive sharia and terrorism. He was right on both scores . . . but he soon reversed himself, deciding that the Brotherhood was an outfit Americans could work with after all — even support with sophisticated American weaponry and billions in taxpayer dollars. The Brothers were in power because, in the interim, McCain’s good friend Secretary Clinton pressured Egypt’s transitional military government to step down so the elected “Islamic democracy” could flourish. When the Brothers took the reins, they promptly installed a sharia constitution, demanded that the U.S. release the Blind Sheikh (convicted of running a New York–based terror cell in the 1990s), rolled out the red carpet for Hamas (the terror organization that is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch), and gave free reign to terrorist leaders — including the brother of al-Qaeda’s leader and members of the Blind Sheikh’s Egyptian jihadist organization — who proceeded to foment the violent rioting at the U.S. embassy in Cairo the same day as the Benghazi Massacre.

I could go on, but you get the point. While ripping Obama for having no Islamic State strategy, Republicans are now reviving the inane strategy of supporting the illusory “moderate Syrian opposition.” Those would be the same forces they wanted to support against Assad. The only problem was that there aren’t enough real moderates in Syria to mount a meaningful challenge to the regime. The backbone of the opposition to Assad has always been the Muslim Brotherhood, and the most effective fighters against the regime have always been the jihadists. So we’re back to where we started from: Let’s pretend that there is a viable, moderate, democratic Syrian opposition and that we have sufficient intelligence — in a place where we have sparse intelligence — to vet them so we arm only the good guys; and then let’s arm them, knowing that they have seamlessly allied for years with the anti-American terrorists we are delegating them to fight on our behalf. Perfect.

There is no excuse for a president of the United States to have no strategy against an obvious threat to the United States. But at least with Obama, it is understandable. He is hemmed in by his own ideology and demagoguery. The main challenge in the Middle East is not the Islamic State; it is the fact that the Islamic State and its al-Qaeda forebears have been fueled by Iran, which supports both Sunni and Shiite terrorism as long as it is directed at the United States. There cannot be a coherent strategy against Islamic supremacism unless the state sponsors of terrorism are accounted for, but Obama insists on seeing Iran as a potential ally rather than an incorrigible enemy.

Moreover, the combined jihadist threat is not a regional one merely seeking to capture territory in the Middle East; it is a global one that regards the United States as its primary enemy and that can be defeated only by America and its real allies. This is not a problem we can delegate to the basket-case governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, or to the “moderate” Syrian “rebels.” Yet the Obama Left’s relentless indictment of American self-defensive action in the Middle East has sapped the domestic political support necessary for vigorous military action against our enemies — action that will eventually have to include aggressive American combat operations on the ground.

But the GOP should take note: The jihad is not a problem we can delegate to the Muslim Brotherhood, either. We will not defeat our enemies until we finally recognize who they are — all of them.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, was released by Encounter Books on June 3.

 

 

 

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