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

Middle East Meltdown: Here’s What’s Happening

Screen-Shot-2012-09-15-at-8.28.27-PMBy Patrick Poole:

The Middle East is in full meltdown and the U.S. is rapidly nearing full retreat in the region. But considering the incompetents running our foreign policy, our absence may be best for the Middle East for the moment.

So here’s what’s happening:

Iraq: Last night Prime Minister Maliki gave a speech accusing new President Fuad Masum of violating the constitution as Golden Dawn militias backing Maliki took up strategic positions around Baghdad, including the Green Zone, in an all-out coup. Remarkably, Maliki is accusing Masum of a coup. Maliki’s issue with Masum is that the new president has not selected Maliki for a third term as prime minister. One report said that U.S. forces had to extricate President Masum from the presidential palace when it came under mortar fire from Maliki’s renegades. Let’s not forget the words of President Obama in December 2011, when he declared that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq” upon pulling out all remaining U.S. troops.

Islamic State: A coup, of course, is exactly what Iraq needs right now as the terrorist Islamic State continues to push south despite U.S. airstrikes, as the Islamic State conducts ethnic and religious cleansing of Yahzidis and Christians creating a staggering humanitarian crisis. Last week the Islamic State forces captured the dam north of Mosul, the largest dam in Iraq that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers described in 2007 as “the most dangerous dam in the world” because of its instability. This is a key strategic asset that will give the Islamic State control of the Tigris River as they push towards Baghdad. The best hope to stall this push is not the Iraqi Army, which collapsed several weeks ago when the Islamic State began their offensive, but Kurdish forces. The Islamic State is also preparing to target Saudi intelligence officials as they plan to open a front there, despite the fact that much of their funding has come from Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon: Iraq is not the only place where the Islamic State has launched an offensive. Last week they launched an attack on the Lebanese border town of Arsal, overrunning Lebanese Army checkpoints and taking Lebanese soldiers hostage. Arsal is home to a large camp housing refugees from Syria. ISIS took the captives hoping to exchange them for a Syrian Islamist militia commander supported by Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State that had been arrested by Lebanese authorities. Although the terrorist groups eventually agreed to withdraw and release their captives, the New York Times quoted one their commanders that the attack forces included the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra (the Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate) and the Free Syrian Army – the same Free Syrian Army receiving weapons from the U.S. As I reported here last month, some of those U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army forces have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. Meanwhile, Lebanon remains without a president as Hezbollah and their March 8 Alliance allies in parliament refuse to elect a president, a position reserved for a Maronite Christian. Syrian refugees now make up one-third of the country’s population, further destabilizing Lebanon.

Syria: The war in Syria drags on as 170,000 people are estimate to have been killed – one-third of those civilians – and many of its largest cities, such as Homs, lie in complete ruin. The Islamic State controls a wide swath of territory in the north, while the Iranian and Russian-backed Assad forces fight to hold onto the coast and Damascus with no end to the war in sight. The recent successes of the Islamic State are prompting many Syrian rebels to join with the terror group.

Turkey: Yesterday’s presidential election saw the Islamist current Prime Minister Recep Erdogan elected.  Last week Erdogan signaled that as president he intended to turn the office from its largely ceremonial role to running the country from this new position. Under Erdogan, the country has grown increasingly authoritarian, with last year’s Gezi protests violently suppressed and the country remaining the largest jailer of journalists in the world. Concerns have been raised about Erdogan’s support for terrorism, particularly financing of Hamas and looking the other way as terrorist groups operate openly on the country’s Syrian border. Recent news reports have directly linked Erdogan to internationally-banned Al-Qaeda financier Yasin al-Qadi, even meeting with him repeatedly despite being on Turkey’s own terrorism list. Despite Erdogan’s dictatorial manner President Obama has hailed the neo-Ottoman Erdogan as one of his top five favorite world leaders, and notwithstanding its support for terrorist groups, Turkey remains as co-chair of the State Department’s Global Counterterrorism Forum.

Israel/Gaza: A new 72-hour truce was announced last night in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. While negotiators are headed back to Cairo today for continued talks, there remains a Mexican standoff: Israel has no intention of ending the blockade on Gaza allowing Hamas to resupply itself as it continues to rain down rockets on Israel, and Hamas has made the border openings a pre-condition to any deal. Since the beginning of Israel’s Operation Protection Edge, Hamas and other terrorist groups have launched 3,488 rockets at Israel and casualties in Gaza are approaching 2,000 (though many media outlets and even the UN are expressing long-overdue caution about casualty figures being supplied by Hamas-controlled ministries).

Egypt: One of the chief causes of the current Israel/Hamas conflict is that the Egyptian government has wisely put a stranglehold on the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. Since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi a year ago, Egypt has shut down and destroyed a reported 80 percent of the Gaza smuggling tunnels, putting a severe crimp in the Hamas finances that netted the terror group $1 million every day and stocked the terror group with material and weapons. Thus, Hamas is eager to have the Rafah border crossing reopened. The Egyptian presidential election in May that saw Abdel Fattah al-Sisi installed as president seemed to definitively resolve the country’s political crisis, but terror attacks in Sinai and around Egypt directed at the new government continue. These same terrorist groups have also used the Sinai to launch rockets towards Israel. This past weekend the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies announced the formation of the “Egyptian Revolutionary Council” in Istanbul, hoping to model itself off the Syrian opposition and portending a continued insurgency against the Egyptian government. Violence could erupt this week as the first anniversary of the dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Rabaa protests last August 14th, and attacks on Coptic Christians continue in Upper Egypt, where I recently visited.

Read more at PJ Media

Obama’s Secret Directive Supporting Global Islamism

by Raymond Ibrahim:

recent Gulf News report sheds some light on how and why the United States helped bring the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies to power, followed by all the subsequent chaos and atrocities in the Mideast region.

Large portions of the report follow with my commentary interspersed for added context:

Dubai: For the past decade, two successive US administrations have maintained close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Libya, to name just the most prominent cases.

The Obama administration conducted an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010 and 2011, beginning even before the events known as the “Arab Spring” erupted in Tunisia and in Egypt. The President personally issued Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11) in 2010, ordering an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood and other “political Islamist” movements, including the ruling AKP in Turkey, ultimately concluding that the United States should shift from its longstanding policy of supporting “stability” in the Middle East and North Africa (that is, support for “stable regimes” even if they were authoritarian), to a policy of backing “moderate” Islamic political movements (emphasis in bold added throughout).

And we have certainly witnessed this shift.  Chaos and the Islamic ascendancy in the Middle East and North Africa never flourished as under the Obama administration—and precisely because the administration shifted from supporting stability under secular-minded autocrats.

The most significant example of this is how the Obama administration threw Hosni Mubarak—a U.S. ally for three decades—under the bus in order to support the Islamists, most specifically the Muslim Brotherhood.  And we saw how that ended—with another revolution, hailed as the largest revolution in human history, with the average Egyptian accusing Obama of being a terrorist supporter.

To this day, PSD-11 remains classified, in part because it reveals an embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view of trends in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

“Embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view” is synonymous with the “orthodox and mainstream view pushed forth by Mideast studies professors and academics,” especially those with political influence, such as the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies of Georgetown University, in Washington D.C.  Such programs, which I’m only too well acquainted with, begin with false—that is, “embarrassingly naïve and uninformed”—premises, namely: that the source of all the region’s woes are (formerly) U.S.-propped autocrats (reality is that dictators don’t create such societies but rather are the natural outcome of Islamic societies and are the ones most prone to keeping law and order—compare Iraq under Saddam and Iraq now, as a “democracy,” with “ISIS” proclaiming a caliphate).

Mideast academics have also long spearheaded the idea that there are “moderate” Islamists and “radical” Islamists, and that the U.S. should work with the former (in reality they are all radical—to be an Islamist is to be radical—the only difference is that the “moderate” Islamists don’t wear their radicalism on their sleeves, even as they work toward the same goals that the more open “radicals” work for, namely, a Sharia-enforcing caliphate).

The revelations were made by Al Hewar centre in Washington, DC, which obtained the documents in question.

This too is significant. As Daniel Greenfield writes: “Al-Hewar, which actually got hold of the documents, is linked to the International Institute of Islamic Thought… which is a Muslim Brotherhood front group.  Figures in the Muslim Brotherhood had threatened to leak understandings with Obama Inc. This is the next best thing. It warns Obama that if he tries to forget about them, they can prove that the relationship was official policy.”

To be sure, after the ousting of the Brotherhood in Egypt, several Brotherhood members made, sometimes not so veiled, threats to expose the Obama administration if it turned its back on them, including top ranking Brotherhood member, Khairat al-Shatter’s son.

Read more

Update IV of The Benghazi Brief – “Operation Zero Footprint” – What We Know About The Benghazi Mission, And Subsequent Attack…

benghazi4-e1351495805540By Sundance, June 25, 2014:

UPDATE IV -  In response to the Times of London report, and in a generally dismissed part of her congressional testimony,  Senator Rand Paul asked outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton a very specific question – (See @2:20 of this video and pay attention to the “duping delight”):

 

Which would bring us to a series of now reconcilable questions surrounding the joint State Dept. and CIA Benghazi Mission.

The entire weapons operation was labeled “Operation Zero Footprint”.  The intent is outlined in the operational title – to leave no visible record of U.S. involvement in arming the Libyan “rebels”.   No visible footprint.

We know from congressional inquiry Ambassador Chris Stevens had asked for more security in the months prior to Sept. 11th 2012.   Requests sent to the State Dept that were denied.

We also know that NO MARINE DETACHMENT was ever put in place to defend the Benghazi Mission.

We also know the Benghazi Mission was initially, and mistakenly by media, called “a consulate”, or a “consulate outpost”.  But there was no State Dept record of any consulate office in Benghazi.

All of these seeming contradictions can be reconciled with the simple understanding that this “Mission” was unofficial.   Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

Why were security requests denied?   Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

We know from General Carter Ham (AFRICOM Commander now retired) the Department of Defense was not even aware the State Dept was operating a mission in Benghazi during 2012.   Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

How could Hillary Clinton, Charlene Lamb, or Patrick Kennedy approve or request a marine security detachment knowing the entire mission around Benghazi was covert?  Such a request would have travelled outside the small group of State/CIA insiders.  The request would have gone to DoD.  Short answer, they couldn’t.

Hence the disconnect between what seemed to be obvious and/or simple questions and the inability to accurately discuss in the public venues of congressional inquiry.

To the public Chris Stevens was a U.S. ambassador, a diplomat.  To the folks inside the State Dept and CIA, Chris Stevens was a U.S. Ambassador, AND a CIA operative coordinating covert arms sales.

Even after death the public face of Chris Stevens, the official role, was able to be discussed.   The covert, or unofficial role, was not.   Again, we see the disconnect between inquiry that could be answered, and inquiry that could not be answered.  Many irreconcilables surface because of this intelligence role – even through today.

The second role of Stevens, the covert and CIA aspect, still causes problems for people trying to understand the “why not” questions.   The broader public asking why have we not seen, or heard from the survivors of the attacks?

The short answer is, we have not – but the intelligence community has.

Twice some of the survivors have given testimony to congress.   The problem for the public is that those hearings are closed door, classified, intelligence hearings – led by Chairman Mike Rogers and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.   Again, go back to the beginning of Operation Zero Footprint and you see the congressional Intelligence Gang of Eight were fully aware of the intents.

Why was Speaker Boehner reluctant to establish a Select Committee on Benghazi ?

Simple, again he is one of the Gang of Eight – and he was briefed of the operation.   How is he going to call for a select committee when he knows the substance of the committee investigation is classified under national security.   Such a committee would not, because it could not, deliver what the public was requesting, sunlight.

The only reason Trey Gowdy was finally assigned the task of a Select Committee, was simply because the public lies of the White House and administration were contradicting themselves.

The White House “talking points”, which is a ridiculous squirrel hunt, were created to reconcile the problem faced when unable to discuss a covert operation.  It is far easier to look at the reality of the problem faced by the White House than any nefarious intention.

Unfortunately for the administration they are not that good.   Team Obama was so committed to keeping the covert operation “Zero Footprint” a secret (because of  the political embarrassment from factually arming al Qaeda) that the cover story they manufactured (on the fly) was fraught with contradictions.

How could President Obama dispatch help to the Benghazi team, when DoD was not even aware of it’s existence?   Sending help would have compromised OpSec, Operational Security.

The dispatch of F.A.S.T. would lead to increased knowledge of a covert operation.

Hopefully you are beginning to see the root of the contradictions.  Once you understand the truth of what was going on within the backstory – there’s almost nothing left which would dangle as an unanswered question.   It all reconciles.

Read more at The Conservative Tree House (scroll down for Update IV)

(Update Part III): “Operation Zero Footprint” – What We Know About The Benghazi Mission and Subsequent Attack…

benghazi4-e1351495805540By Sundance, June 22, 2014: (Hat tip Allen West)

We now have a pretty good understanding of who, what, where, and why surrounding the 9/11/12 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi Libya. We are also better positioned to understand why, or perhaps more importantly why not, certain actions were taken before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the attack itself.

We know from the Bret Baier interview with Hillary Clinton that she was physically located at her 7th floor office in Washington DC on the night of the attack. Unfortunately we also know during the November 2012 Thanksgiving holiday a mysterious fire took place in that building. Well, actually directly above her exact office - cause undetermined.

A “fire” which preceded an unfortunate slip and fall for the Secretary, resulting in a concussion, which led to the discovery of a blood clot, that ultimately delayed her congressional testimony before a Senate Hearing into the events of the night in question.

We know the Libyan uprising began on February 10th of 2011, and we also know that sometime around the end of February 2011 President Obama signed a presidential directive authorizing the State Dept and CIA to begin a covert operation to arm the Libyan “rebels”.

We know the “rebels” were positioned in two strategic places. Benghazi, and the port city of Darnah, both located in Eastern Libya.

We know this covert operation came to be known as “Operation Zero Footprint“, and fell under the military command authority of NATO not (important to repeat), NOT, the U.S. Military.

We know by the time operation “Zero Footprint” began, AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham was removed from OPSEC oversight in the Libyan campaign and NATO commander Admiral James G. Stavridis was in charge.

Stavridis was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) at the time of the Libyan uprising. He retired as SACEUR in 2013

In 2011, 57-year-old Stavridis was the perfect pick for NATO Libyan intervention considering he is the son of Turkish immigrants. Turkey played a key role in what might be the most politically dangerous aspect of the events to the White House once the goals changed to redirection of the weapons from Operation Zero Footprint.

We know Operation Zero Footprint was the covert transfer of weapons from the U.S to the Libyan “rebels”. We also know the operation avoided the concerns with congressional funding, and potential for public scrutiny, through financing by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

We also know that officials within the government of Qatar served as the intermediaries for the actual transfer of the weapons, thereby removing the footprint of the U.S. intervention.

We know the entire operation was coordinated and controlled by the State Department and CIA. We also know (from the Senate Foreign Relations Benghazi hearings) that “Zero Footprint” was unknown to the 2011 Pentagon and/or DoD commanders who would have been tasked with any military response to the 9/11/12 attack – namely AFRICOM General Carter Ham.

However, it would be implausible to think that then Defense Secretary Bob Gates or Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral McMullen were completely unaware of the operation, this aspect remains murky.

Both Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chair McMullen were in place when Operation Zero Footprint began but retired from their jobs in Sept of 2011, and were replaced by Bob Gates and Martin Dempsey respectively.

Leon Panetta was CIA Director at the beginning of Operation Zero Footprint (March 2011) and was replaced by CIA Director David Petraeus in the fall of 2011 as Panetta replaced Bob Gates and became Secretary of Defense.

However, Panetta (now as Def Sec) and JC Martin Dempsey were the two who initially briefed President Obama on the night of Sept 11th 2012. Leon Panetta definitely had knowledge of the intents of the joint State Dept/Cia mission in Benghazi, Dempsey may not have.

We know the White House appears to have followed “The Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980” in informing the congressional “Gang of Eight” of Zero Footprint.

The Gang of Eight in 2011 would have included: Speaker – John Boehner, Minority Leader – Nancy Pelosi; House Permanent Select Committee on Intel Chairman – Mike Rogers, and his Democrat counterpart Charles Ruppersberger; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; along with Senate Intel Chair Diane Feinstein and her Republican counterpart, Saxby Chambliss.

From Hillary interviews we also know the White House liaison for Secretary Clinton and CIA Director Leon Panetta during Operation Zero Footprint was National Security Advisor To the President, Tom Donilon.

With this information we can assemble a cast of people “IN THE KNOW” of Operation Zero Footprint on two specific date blocks. March 2011 through Pre 9/11/12 attack – and – Post 9/11/12 attack forward.

Read more at The Conservative Tree House

US captures Benghazi suspect, but most attackers remain free

benghazi_fire_gunBy 

Ahmed Abu Khattalah, who is suspected of taking direct part in the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, has been detained by the US. Abu Khattalah was the most conspicuous of the alleged attackers. He even granted interviews to journalists from multiple media outlets since the attack.

Abu Khattalah’s accomplices have been less ostentatious, however, preferring to operate in the shadows. Dozens of terrorists who helped overrun the US Mission and Annex in Benghazi, killing four Americans, remain free.

In January, the State Department added Abu Khattalah to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists, describing him as a “senior leader” of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi. Two other jihadists were designated at the same time: Abu Iyad al Tunisi, who heads Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, and Sufian Ben Qumu, who leads Ansar al Sharia in Derna, Libya.

The State Department also added the Ansar al Sharia chapters in Benghazi, Derna, and Tunisia to the list of foreign terrorist organizations. (Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi and Derna operate under the same banner, as simply Ansar al Sharia Libya.)

Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi and Derna were both “involved” in the Sept. 11, 2012 “attacks against the US Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya,” according to State. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia was responsible for the assault on the US Embassy in Tunis three days later, on Sept. 14, 2012.

Ben Qumu is an ex-Guantanamo detainee and was previously identified by US military and intelligence officials as an al Qaeda operative. According to a leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) file, Ben Qumu’s alias was found on the laptop of an al Qaeda operative responsible for overseeing the finances for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The information on the laptop indicated that Ben Qumu was an al Qaeda “member receiving family support.”

Some of Ben Qumu’s men from Ansar al Sharia in Derna were among the Benghazi attackers, according to US intelligence officials. Neither Ben Qumu, nor his fighters, have been detained.

Like Ben Qumu, Abu Iyad al Tunisi (whose real name is Seifallah Ben Hassine) has a lengthy al Qaeda-linked pedigree that stretches back to pre-9/11 Afghanistan.

Multiple al Qaeda-affiliated parties involved in Benghazi attack and still at-large

In addition to Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi and Derna, jihadists from at least three other al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups participated in the Sept. 11 assault in Benghazi.

On Jan. 15, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the terrorist attack. “Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups, including AQIM, Ansar al Sharia, AQAP, and the Mohammad Jamal Network, participated in the September 11, 2012, attacks,” the report reads.

AQAP, AQIM, and the Mohammad Jamal Network all established training camps in eastern Libya after the rebellion against Muammar el Qaddafi began in 2011.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are both official branches of al Qaeda and have sworn allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s emir. The head of AQAP, Nasir al Wuhayshi, was also appointed the general manager of al Qaeda’s network in August 2013.

Read more at Long War Journal

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:

 

Iran’s Plan to Destabilize Egypt

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci:

Iran is planning an offensive against Egypt from the west and from the south.

The Iranian government has long-term plans.

The Iranian regime’s new enemy, it seems, is Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Iran’s mullahs apparently fear Sisi’s secular stance against Islamist movements, and see him as an obstacle to Iran’s future influence in the Middle East.

According to the Jordan-based media outlet Al-Bawaba, Iran is determined to put an end to Al-Sisi’s rule by training the Libya-based Islamist group known as the Free Egyptian Army [FEA]. The FEA is composed of both Egyptian jihadists who went to fight in Syria during the rule of Egypt’s former President, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, as well as other Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood militants who fled from Egypt to Libya after Morsi was removed from power.

 

Then Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi embraces then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon his arrival in Cairo on February 5, 2013. Ahmadinejad was Iran’s first leader to visit Egypt since the two countries cut diplomatic relations in 1980. (Image source: Ahmadinejad official handout)

According to Al Bawaba, personnel of the Quds Force — the special-forces arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] — arrived in Libya to train the FEA in Misrata, northwestern Libya. Quds Force officers met with FEA leaders — reportedly Abu Dawud Zouhairi and Karam Amrani. There, Lebanese jihadists coming from Syria and led by Abu Fahed Al-Islam also joined the FEA.

Iran is planning an offensive against Egypt not only from the west (Libya), but also from the south.

The Egyptian newspaper El-Watan reports that the Iran has also deployed Quds Force personnel to Sudan, to take advantage of the deterioration of the relationship between the Islamist-led Sudanese government and Sisi’s Egypt, and is now training Muslim Brotherhood militants in Sudan.

A Jordanian newspaper, Al-Arab Al-Yawm, confirmed the news, and reported in addition that Iran is organizing violent operations to destabilize Egypt from Libya and Sudan.

Although in the Middle East, Sunni and Shia factions usually fight each other, this time an unholy Sunni-Shia alliance has been formed between Shia Iran and the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood to fight their common enemy: Al-Sisi.

For years, Iran’s regime has dreamt of seeing the Muslim Brotherhood rise in Egypt as part of a plan to Islamize the Middle East. In this vision Iran would take the leadership role — brushing aside that for years, Iran and Saudi Arabia have jockeyed over who would assume the leadership of the Muslim world. As the Muslim Brotherhood has always been opposed to the Saudi Kingdom, it was taken for granted that an Egypt governed by the Muslim Brotherhood would be the natural ally of Iran.

As Iranian author and journalist Amir Taheri describes in the Saudi-owned newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, Iran cherished Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-backed former President, Mohamed Morsi. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Morsi, Taheri writes, were supposed to symbolize the triumph of radical Islam. The leadership in Tehran apparently also felt that it had to “profit from its political, propaganda and even financial investment” in ensuring Morsi’s election.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

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

Will a Rogue General Undo Obama’s Regime Change in Libya?

Khalifa Hifterby :

It didn’t take Egypt very long to revert back to a military oligarchy. The Arab Spring was trumpeted as a new era in the history of the Middle East. But the Middle East is better at undoing history than the media is at writing it.

In Egypt, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi brushed away the Arab Spring. Now in Libya, General Khalifa Hifter is set to undo Obama’s military intervention which put the Muslim Brotherhood on the road to taking over Libya.

Forty-five years ago a group of officers led by Colonel Gaddafi seized control of Libya. Gaddafi enjoyed support from the military and Federalist opponents of a central government.

Now General Khalifa Hifter is leading another military coup while vowing to free Libya of chaos, instability and corruption. His forces pounded Islamic militias in Benghazi, including those responsible for the murder of four Americans, and seized the parliament in Tripoli.

Hifter, who has spent a long time living in the United States, claims to have American support, but his real support probably comes from the east.

Like Gaddafi, Hifter is supported by the military and the Federalists. However he isn’t fighting a weak monarchy, but the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and other Islamist militias. But like Gaddafi, his takeover was probably inspired by Egypt and possibly even planned out by Egypt.

Egypt’s new government, which overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood, can’t risk allowing the group to control a bordering country and one of the largest oil reserves in Africa. Gaddafi used Libya’s oil wealth to fuel his insanity and fund terrorism. The Muslim Brotherhood would funnel it into pursuing its program of regional and global takeovers and the Islamic militias that control much of Libya would become a problem for Egypt.

Egypt’s immediate security agenda is to control border instability fed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza and Sinai. It would only be natural for Egypt’s new rulers to turn their attention to their country’s large western border with Libya.

Read more at Front Page

Libya Destabilization Continues as Rogue General Takes on Islamist Forces

libya-militia-afpBreitbart, by JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

On Sunday, anti-Islamist Libyan General Khalifa Haftar stormed Libya’s Parliament while it was in session.

Haftar, who helped bring down the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi, brought his forces with him, who were armed to the teeth. The General reportedly had warplanes and helicopters along with a myriad of heavy weaponry at his disposal. Haftar’s raid was perceived by some as an attempt at coup d’état, or trying to overthrow the government.

The “Libyan National Army,” under the command of Haftar, has pledged to drive out the Islamist influences from Libya.

A Libya-based media correspondent said of General Haftar, “After three years of targeted assassinations of security forces, his operations against Islamist militia won him more support from army leaders who feel the central authorities have done very little to protect them and protect the country.”

After Parliament fled the area, a whole series of battles occurred throughout the region. At least 4 were killed and 90 injured during the fighting on Sunday.

On Monday, Haftar found a new ally in the Commander of Libya’s special forces in Benghazi. Colonel Wanis Bukhmada said of the new alliance, “We are joining the battle of dignity launched by the Libyan National Army with all our men and weapons.” He continued, “The battle will continue until terrorism is eradicated.” Haftar will have air support as well, as an airbase in east Libya has declared allegiance to the Libyan National Army’s cause. “The Tobruk air force base will join… the army under the command of General Khalifa Qassim Haftar,” said the statement. The forces at the air base sought to rid Libya of Islamist “extremists.”

There has been much speculation over the years that General Haftar has held a relationship with the US intelligence community. The general had previously lived in Virginia for 20 years.

Islamist groups have united against General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army.

The Islamist-backed interim Speaker of the Parliament responded Monday by ordering the “Central Libya Shield Forces” to protect the capital. The force is widely considered an Islamist terrorist group.

On Monday, Al-Qaeda aligned group Influential Lions of Monotheism declared war on Haftar and his followers.

As of late Monday night, the United States embassy in Tripoli has declared it is considering evacuating all of its staff from the area. A US spokesman told CNN that the decision to pull the plug is being constantly evaluated “minute by minute, hour by hour.” The United States deployed four V-22 Osprey aircraft into Italy. The aircraft’s close proximity to Libya gives the US military the ability to evacuate more than 200 people in short notice. Two hundred US Marines were sent to Libya in addition to the recent influx of Osprey aircraft.