Material Support to Terrorism: The Case of Libya

timthumb (5)AIM, April 22, 2014, By Clare Lopez:

Libya in 2011 marks the place and the time that the United States (U.S.) and the Obama administration formally switched sides in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). A mere 10 years after al-Qa’eda (supported by Hizballah and Iran) attacked the American homeland in the worst act of terrorism ever suffered by this country, U.S. leadership decided to facilitate the provision of weapons to jihadist militias known to be affiliated with al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood in order to bring down a brutal dictator who also just happened to be a U.S. ally in the GWOT at the time.

And the U.S. media were silent. The major broadcast, print, and Internet outlets said not a word about this astonishing turnabout in American foreign policy. To this day, they have not seemed even to recognize that the pivot to support al-Qa’eda took place. But it needs to be said. The American people deserve to understand that their most senior leaders, both elected and appointed, have violated their oaths to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

United States law is quite explicit about providing material support to terrorists: it’s prohibited. Period. 18 U.S. Code § 2339A and 18 U.S. Code § 2339B address Providing Material Support to Terrorists or Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Together, these two sections outlaw the actions of any U.S. person who attempts or conspires to provide, or actually does provide, material support to a foreign terrorist organization knowing that it has been designated a foreign terrorist organization or engages, or has engaged, in “terrorism” or “terrorist activity.” Conspiracy means agreeing or planning to provide such support, whether or not such support ever is actually delivered. Penalties for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism are stiff: imprisonment for up to 15 years and/or a fine of not more than $250,000. Penalties for actually providing or attempting to provide material support to terrorism are even harsher: imprisonment from 15 years to life, with a life sentence applicable if the death of any person results from such crime. Aiding, abetting, counseling, or procuring in support of a violation of Section 2339B is punishable by the same penalties as for the offense itself.

The Arms Export Control Act is another law that makes it illegal for the U.S. government to export “munitions” to any country determined by the Secretary of State to have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” While this provision applies specifically to those countries—Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria—that are designated as state sponsors of terrorism, the case of Libya stands out nevertheless. Removed from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2006, Libya by early 2011 was swarming with al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood militias and affiliates fighting to overthrow Muamar Qaddafi’s regime.

The identities of those jihadis and their al-Qa’eda affiliations were well known to the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of State, and Tripoli Embassy long before the 17 February 2011 revolt broke out against Muamar Qaddafi. As with other al-Qa’eda branches, the Libyan al-Qa’eda affiliates such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) trace their origins back to the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, which was founded in 1949 when Egyptian Brotherhood members “fled a crackdown in Cairo and took refuge in Benghazi,” according to a May 2012 study by the Brookings Doha Center. Colonel Muamar Qaddafi took over Libya in a 1969 coup d’état and showed little tolerance for Brotherhood activities. Brutal waves of repression kept the Brotherhood in check through the 1980s and 1990s when many Libyan fighters went to Afghanistan to join the mujahedeen in their battle against the Soviet Army. Some of those who fought there, like Abu Anas al-Libi and Abdelhakim Belhadj, would figure prominently in the revolt that ultimately ousted Qaddafi in 2011.

The LIFG was founded in 1990 by Libyan fighters returning from the Afghan jihad who were now intent on waging jihad at home. Qaddafi came down hard on the group, though, and crushed the LIFG’s 1995-1998 insurgency. Some LIFG members had moved to Sudan when Usama bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri found refuge with Omar al-Bashir’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in the early 1990s and others (including Belhadj) eventually fled back to Afghanistan, where both bin-Laden and al-Zawahiri also had relocated by the mid-1990s. Abu Anas al-Libi is alleged to have taken part in the pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya a few years prior to the 1998 al-Qa’eda attack there.

By 1995, things were becoming hot for the jihadis in Sudan and while bin Laden and al-Zawahiri returned to Afghanistan about this time, others such as Anas al-Libi were offered safehaven by the British. In return for political asylum in the UK, MI 6 recruited Anas al-Libi’s support for a failed 1996 plot to assassinate Qaddafi. In all, Anas al-Libi lived in Manchester from 1995-2000—despite his known history of association with bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and other AQ leaders, as well as willingness to participate in assassination plots against national leaders, as I wrote in an October 2013 piece at The Clarion Project. The U.S.’s British partners also provided asylum to Abu Abdullah As-Sadeq, the LIFG’s top commander and allowed the LIFG to publish an Arabic language newspaper called al-Wasat in London. By 2000, though, as the FBI and other Western security services began to close in, Anas al-Libi and others were on the move again, leaving behind a 180-page al-Qa’eda terror training manual that became known as the “Manchester Document.” In the run-up to the 11 September 2001 attacks, Anas al-Libi, Abdelhakim Belhadj, Abu Sufian bin Qumu, and other known LIFG members reconnected with bin Laden in Afghanistan. As John Rosenthal points out in a 10 October 2013 posting, “The Inevitable Rise of Al-Qaeda in Libya,” in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, “the history of close cooperation between the LIFG and al-Qa’eda was so extensive that the Libyan group figured among the very first organizations to be designated as al-Qaeda affiliates by the UN Security Council.” In fact, according to Rosenthal who cites former LIFG member, Norman Benotman, Belhadj was actually present with bin Laden at Tora Bora in December 2001. The LIFG was formally accepted as an al-Qa’eda franchise by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the AQ deputy at the time, in 2007.

In the years following 9/11, various LIFG members were detained: Abu Sufian bin Qumu was captured in 2002 and sent to Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) and in 2004, both Abu Anas al-Libi and Abdelhakim Belhadj were captured. By the mid-2000s, GITMO detainees were being released to their home countries. Abu Sufian bin Qumu, for example, was released from GITMO and returned to Libya in 2007. Beginning about 2005, Qaddafi was under pressure from both the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and his own son, Seif, to begin what came to be known as “the reconciliation process,” in which LIFG and other jihadist prisoners were released from Libyan jails. In this process, LIFG Muslim Brotherhood cleric Ali Mohammad Al-Sallabi was a key mediator. Abdelhakim Belhadj was released in 2008 (just as Christopher Stevens was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission to Tripoli) and Abu Sufian bin Qumu in 2010, after which he returned to Derna to begin plotting the revolt against Qaddafi.

Even as this “reconciliation process” was underway and Christopher Stevens was preparing for his new posting, Libyan jihadis were flowing out of eastern Libya in droves to join the al-Qa’eda jihad against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. According to a June 2010 study compiled by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” coalition forces in Iraq captured a stash of documents in October 2007 which documented the origins of the foreign fighters who’d traveled to Iraq to join al-Qa’eda between August 2006 and August 2007. Termed the “Sinjar Records” after the nearest town where these personnel records were found, the data showed that by far the largest contingent of foreign fighters per capita came from Libya. Across the spectrum, the most common cities of origin for foreign fighters in Iraq were Darnah, Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Darnah is located in the eastern Cyrenaica region of Libya, long known as an incubator of jihadist ideology and the place which would become the cradle of the 2011 Islamic uprising against Muammar Qaddafi.

Nor was the new Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Christopher Stevens unaware of what was going on. A June 2008 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli that went out over Stevens’ signature was obtained by the London Telegraph from Wikileaks. The report was given the name “Die Hard in Derna,” after the Bruce Willis movie, and described the determination of the young jihadis of this eastern Libyan town to bring down the Qaddafi regime. Because they believed the U.S. government supported the Qaddafi regime and would not allow it to fall after it had abandoned its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs and begun to provide counter-terrorism support, and as documented in the West Point study of the “Sinjar Records,” the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) instead sent its fighters to confront the U.S. in Iraq, believing that was a way to strike a blow against both Qaddafi and his U.S. backers. A local Derna resident told the visiting Embassy officer that Libyan fighters who had returned from earlier battlefields in Afghanistan (1980s) and elsewhere sometimes went on for additional “religious training” in Lebanon and Syria; when they eventually returned to Libya in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they began the process of preparing the ground for “the eventual overthrow by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of Muammar Qadhafi’s regime…”

Career Foreign Service Officer Christopher Stevens was first posted to the American Embassy in Tripoli, Libya in June 2007 as the DCM and later as charge d’affaires until 2009. For his second tour in Libya, Stevens was sent to rebel headquarters in Benghazi, Libya, to serve as special representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council. He arrived on a Greek cargo ship on April 5, 2011 and stayed until November. His mission was to forge stronger links with the Interim Transitional National Council, and gain a better understanding of the various factions fighting the Qaddafi regime. His reports back to Washington were said to have encouraged the U.S. to support and recognize the rebel council, which the Obama administration did formally in July 2011.

As is now known, under urging from Sen. John McCain and other Congressional members, the White House endorsed Qatar’s plan to send weapons to the Libyan rebels shortly after Yousef al-Qaradawi, the senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood, issued a 21 February 2011 fatwa that called for the killing of Qaddafi. Seeking a “zero footprint,” no-paperwork-trail profile itself, the U.S. instead encouraged both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to arm the Libyan jihadis, according to a key New York Times article published in December 2012. Knowing full well exactly who those rebel militias and their leadership were, and how closely they were connected with al-Qa’eda (and perhaps even mindful of the legal restrictions on providing material support to terrorism), the U.S. sought to distance itself as the source of these weapons, which included small arms such as automatic rifles, machine guns, and ammunition. The NY Times piece noted that U.S. officials made sure to stipulate the weapons provided would come from elsewhere, but not from the U.S.

But the fact that from the end of March 2011 onward, U.S. and other NATO forces completely controlled Libyan air space and the sea approaches to Libya means that the cargo planes and freighters transporting the arms into Libya from Qatar and elsewhere were being waved through with full U.S. knowledge and support. The U.S. mission in Libya, and especially in Benghazi, ramped up in this period to facilitate the delivery of the weapons to the Libyan al-Qa’eda terrorists.

What followed should hardly have come as a surprise to anyone. After NATO air support cleared the way to Tripoli, the Qaddafi regime fell in October 2011 and the Muslim Brotherhood political leadership and al-Qa’eda fighters took over. Abdelhakim Belhadj was named Tripoli military commander. Chaos reigned, especially in the eastern regions, and now the weapons flow reversed—out of Libya, and into the hands of jihadis in West Africa, the Sinai, and Syria. Some of that flow was wildly disorganized and some of it was directed, with the U.S. mission in Benghazi once again playing a key role as its teams on the ground facilitated the weapons delivery, now destined for the Syrian rebels, dominated by al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood, who were fighting to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime. In this endeavor, the U.S. was allied with its new Libyan partner, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and once again, with Qatar.

The next chapter in the U.S. jihad wars was underway, with a new Presidential Finding, and material support to terrorism firmly established as official policy. Congress and the media and the military remained silent. The American people barely noticed.

Clare M. Lopez is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy and the London Center for Policy Research. She is also a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi.

Also see:

Three years after U.S. intervention, Libya’s an even bigger disaster

This Image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities shows a multiple rocket launcher destroyed outside what was described as a maintenance warehouse hit by two missiles Monday evening on a Naval base in Tripoli, Libya, on March 22, 2011. Missile transporters and launchers were among the destroyed hardware.Three years later, Obama's Libyan adventure looks like a moral vanity project carried out by careless people who couldn't be bothered to worry about unintended consequences. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, file)

This Image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities shows a multiple rocket launcher destroyed outside what was described as a maintenance warehouse hit by two missiles Monday evening on a Naval base in Tripoli, Libya, on March 22, 2011. Missile transporters and launchers were among the destroyed hardware.Three years later, Obama’s Libyan adventure looks like a moral vanity project carried out by careless people who couldn’t be bothered to worry about unintended consequences. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, file)

BY GENE HEALY:

Libya suffered through an eventful St. Patrick’s Day on Monday: car bomb attacks in Benghazi killed at least eight people, and the U.S. Navy SEALs scored “one for the Morning Glory” by capturing the runaway oil tanker bearing that name in order to return it to the Libyan government, such as it is.

Earlier this month, the North Korean-flagged tanker switched off its satellite transponder — a device that could probably do without an “off” button — and sneaked into Libya’s largest oil port, whereupon Libyans linked to a breakaway eastern militia made off with millions of dollars in oil. But the return of the Morning Glory hardly fixes the problems confronting Libya.

Three years ago today, President Obama announced that America would “not stand idly by in the face of actions that undermine global peace and security;” he’d decided to order military action in “support for a set of universal values.” The next day, the bombing began.

How did that work out? Splendidly! says one of the principal architects of the war, former National Security Council official Samantha Power. Last summer, after becoming U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Power tweeted: “Great example: Qadhafi fell because the Libyan people bravely stood up, the U.S. stood strong, and the Arab League stood united. #Results.”

Let’s test that self-congratulatory hashtag against what a top official from the previous administration once contemptuously called the “judicious study of discernible reality.” “Political Killings Still Plaguing Post-Qaddafi Libya” is the headline from the New York Times last week, reporting, “[M]ore than 100 prominent figures, senior security officials, judges and political activists have been assassinated in two years, and the wave of killings is decimating local leadership and paralyzing the government and security forces.” Unrest has likewise decimated Libya’s oil production, and “militias hold 8,000 people in prisons.”

But didn’t we at least stop a genocide? That’s what State Department legal adviser Harold Koh suggested in an interview. Koh, previously an ardent opponent of presidential warmaking, gave Obama legal cover for Libya, arguing that bombing Libya didn’t count as “hostilities” under the War Powers Resolution.

Koh defends that decision by insisting that “thousands of lives were saved” — which isn’t much of a legal argument. It’s also not true.

As political scientist Alan J. Kuperman pointed out at the time, Obama “grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya.”

Read more at Washington Examiner

CIA Files From Benghazi: Now in the Hands of Al Qaeda?

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15 individuals with information helpful to the U.S. Benghazi investigation have been killed? Did Al Qaeda find out who they were?

BY CLARE LOPEZ:

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) released its Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 on January 15, 2014.

One of the most disturbing sections in the entire report comes on page 42, where the report cites then-FBI Director Robert Mueller in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies telling Congress that “as many as 15 individuals supporting the investigation or otherwise helpful to the United States have been killed in Benghazi since the attacks [of September 11, 2012].”

While Director Mueller rightly noted the “lawless and chaotic circumstances in eastern Libya,” the SSCI report also added that “It is unclear whether their killings were related to the Benghazi investigation.”

While calling post-Qaddafi Libya “lawless and chaotic” is something of an understatement, the SSCI’s suspicions about these particular killings and the possibility that they could be connected to the Benghazi investigation should be noted and noted carefully.

The identity of these individuals has not been revealed publicly, but it is certain that the SSCI and the Intelligence Community for which it holds oversight responsibility know who they were. And while it is certainly possible that each and every one of these 15 killings can be explained by the continuing battles among the Al Qaeda militias that led the uprising against former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, the possibility that these are targeted killings – assassinations – must also be considered, even as the SSCI seems to hint that it has thought of this, too.

In an insightful early report about the Benghazi attacks, the Wall Street Journal reported on November 1, 2012 that “…the day after the attack…the CIA appears to have dispatched local Libyan agents to the annex to destroy any sensitive documents and equipment there.”

The WSJ use of the term “agents” would seem to indicate that these local Libyans were CIA recruited assets, who either were trusted enough for this assignment or perhaps were all they had to turn to at that point. They may have been Libyan officials, whether uniformed police or others such as intelligence and security officials.

We do not know and the SSCI report does not tell us. In any case, what that short section of the SSCI report does tell us, at a minimum, is that sensitive documents and equipment were believed by the CIA to have remained in the CIA Annex the day after the attack, that they had not been destroyed or removed by the fleeing Americans and were of sufficient concern to the CIA that it was willing to take a chance on tasking local Libyans to retrieve whatever was there.

What became of any such materials and whether they were successfully recovered or not is not noted in the SSCI report. Tom Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), writing in the Weekly Standard on January 7, 2014 about the Obama administration’s belated admission about the role that Abu Sufian Ben Qumu (a former GITMO detainee) and his group — the Derna, Libya branch of Ansar al-Shariah — played in the Benghazi attack provides a possible follow-up, however.

In the very last line of his piece, “Obama Administration’s Benghazi Bombshell,” Joscelyn writes that two U.S. intelligence officials say that Faraj al Chalabi, an identified Libyan jihadi, “is suspected of bringing materials from the compound in Benghazi to senior al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.”

This report begs the question: How is it possible for U.S. intelligence officials to so specifically name al-Chalabi as someone who may have taken materials from Benghazi to al-Qa’eda leadership in Pakistan?

What materials have they identified as having been removed from the CIA Annex and how do they know (or why would they suspect) such materials have been taken to Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan in the first place? In fact, it doesn’t seem possible – unless U.S. intelligence officials themselves perhaps were the ones who dispatched al-Chalabi or an associate to the compound to recover those “documents and equipment.”

Read more at Clarion Project

Islamo-Reality and Treason

download (65)By Justin O. Smith:

One must oppose any group and anything that works against one’s right to make choices, in a peaceful and self-determinig manner, and individual Liberty, whether it is Nazi fascism, Stalin’s communism, Obama’s fundamental transformation of America, or Islam and its islamoNazi core doctrines. With this said, it is not “islamophobia” to analyze and discuss Islam’s intolerance, inherent violent nature and the documented facts concerning Islam’s continuous assaults on the West and Islam’s disruption of civilized societies: This is Islamo-Reality.

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is a growing enemy within our sovereign borders. From its own charter, we have read the very words calling for the destruction of America. Its influence extends throughout the U.S. government and local areas across the nation; and this should greatly trouble everyone, especially in light of the December 23, 2013 bombings in Mansoura, Egypt, historical events preceding this, and Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi’s declaration that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “terrorist organization”, a designation the MB has worn numerous times.

Imam Amir Abdel Malik Ali addressed the Muslim Student Association at UCLA, and at one point he shouted, “I will die to establish Islam in America.”

Today, seventy percent of Egypt’s population desires a government and a constitution based on Sharia law. And yet, after democratically electing Mohammed Morsi and empowering the Muslim Brotherhood, they soon rejected MB rule due to the extremely violent measures it employed. Journalists were imprisoned along with Mubarak supporters, and recently an audiotape has indicated that Morsi was cooperating with Al Qaeda in targeting Christians for murder. All of this contributed to “Field Marshall” Sisi, a Mubarak associate, grabbing power and imprisoning Morsi,as the turmoil continues and the violence rages.

Current day Egypt parallels Egypt during the 1950s. Jamal Abd al-Nasser needed the support of the MB leader Hasan Ismail al-Hudaybi to create an Egyptian republic, after seizing power in 1952. In 1954, Nasser refused to fully apply Islamic law, as Hudaybi demanded, and he outlawed the MB on the grounds that they were plotting a counter coup. On October 26, 1954 a member of “The Secret Apparatus”/ al jihaz al-sirri, a MB terrorist unit, shot Nasser at a rally; by the end of November 1954, over 1000 Brothers had been arrested and brought to trial: From their inception, the MB had rejected Nasser’s brand of “true” and “liberal” Islam and secularism, and they embraced violent Sunni fundamentalism and the Theocratic State.

In 1982, Hafez al Assad, Syrian dictator, brutally suppressed a savage revolt by Muslim Brothers in Hama. The MB cut the throats of the families of government workers and Baath Party officials, murdered local policemen and beheaded teachers who insisted on secular education__just as the Groupe Islamique Arme did in Algeria, when these MB allies decapitated seven Catholic monks in 1996. Sound familiar? Just look at Syria’s current situation.

Ask James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, “Just when did the MB become ‘a largely secular’ organization?”

Murfreesboro’s local MB hero, Saleh Sbenaty is closely aligned to Nihad Awad, the terrorist from CAIR, and Jamal Badawi and the movement to force America to submit to Islam. Sbenaty openly supports Hamas. And yet, he fled Syria in 1982. If he believed in the “truth” of Islam so strongly and loved Syria so much, why did he not stand and fight? Some freedom fighter, huh?

Instead of isolating the MB, the Obama administration has taken an unnatural delight in coddling them, because Obama never severed his implanted Islamic sympathy from his childhood days. This partially explains the visa issued to Hani Nour Eldin by the U.S. State Dept in June 2013. Eldin is a member of Gama’a al Islamiyya, the terrorist organization responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and one of five signatories of Osama bin-Laden’s February 1998 ‘World Islamic Front Statement Urging Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders’, America and Europe. Shouldn’t it be imperative to review the policy protocol that permitted a member of bin-Laden’s jihad front into the White House?

Aaron Klein and Brenda Elliott reported three weeks ago that retired General Tom McInerney essentially confirms that the Obama administration has exposed national security information through Huma Abedin. Abedin is Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, and she has deep personal and familiy ties with the MB.

John Guandolo, former FBI counter terrorism expert, goes one step further in explanation: “Mr Brennan, now head of the CIA, did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity for the U.S. in Saudi Arabia. He has given them access to the National Security Council, the National Security staff. He has brought known Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood operatives into those positions of government.”

The Progressive/Democratic Party mindset, which has enabled MB infiltration of the U.S. government, is of the same nature that allowed Gehad al-Haddad to serve as a top official for the Clinton Foundation, while he simultaneously served as the MB spokesman and advisor to Egyptian President Morsi, from February 2011 until his arrest for inciting violence in September 2013.

Two days after the Boston Marathon bombing, Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) stated, “It’s very clear to everyone but this administration that radical Islam is at war against us…This administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they are just making wrong decisions for America.”

Interestingly, since September 2013, Al Jazeera and numerous sources, such as the Director of Research at Brookings Doha Center, have alleged that Barack Obama is a “full on member” of the Muslim Brotherhood, and in November 2013, Egyptian lawyers charged Barack and his brother Malik Obama in the International Criminal Court with “crimes against humanity” and many other crimes ranging from murder to “deprivation of physical liberty.” While Malik is accused of funding terrorists in Sudan, Barack Obama is also accused of using the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to provide direct financial support to MB operatives, with Morsi’s complicity.

Obama and his administration have assured a dramatic and accelerated measure of success for the Muslim Brotherhood globally and in America. Whether it is the so-called “refugee” program that is allowing terrorists a cover for entering our nation or Obama’s outright support for the jihadist movements, from Al Qaeda militias in Libya to the MB in Egypt and on to both groups in Syria, this twisted and perverse Middle East policy is unrecognizable as American and is not in the best interest of the U.S. And, in the best light of day, as I recall American lives lost and the Twin Towers collapsing, only one word can possibly describe Obama’s actions___treason.

Gregory Hicks: Benghazi and the Smearing of Chris Stevens

345WSJ, By GREGORY N. HICKS:

Last week the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued its report on the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The report concluded that the attack, which resulted in the murder of four Americans, was “preventable.” Some have been suggesting that the blame for this tragedy lies at least partly with Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack. This is untrue: The blame lies entirely with Washington.

The report states that retired Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of the U.S. Africa Command (Africom) headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, twice offered to “sustain” the special forces security team in Tripoli and that Chris twice “declined.” Since Chris cannot speak, I want to explain the reasons and timing for his responses to Gen. Ham. As the deputy chief of mission, I was kept informed by Chris or was present throughout the process.

On Aug. 1, 2012, the day after I arrived in Tripoli, Chris invited me to a video conference with Africom to discuss changing the mission of the U.S. Special Forces from protecting the U.S. Embassy and its personnel to training Libyan forces. This change in mission would result in the transfer of authority over the unit in Tripoli from Chris to Gen. Ham. In other words, the special forces would report to the Defense Department, not State.

Chris wanted the decision postponed but could not say so directly. Chris had requested on July 9 by cable that Washington provide a minimum of 13 American security professionals for Libya over and above the diplomatic security complement of eight assigned to Tripoli and Benghazi. On July 11, the Defense Department, apparently in response to Chris’s request, offered to extend the special forces mission to protect the U.S. Embassy.

However, on July 13, State Department Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy refused the Defense Department offer and thus Chris’s July 9 request. His rationale was that Libyan guards would be hired to take over this responsibility. Because of Mr. Kennedy’s refusal, Chris had to use diplomatic language at the video conference, such as expressing “reservations” about the transfer of authority.

Chris’s concern was significant. Transferring authority would immediately strip the special forces team of its diplomatic immunity. Moreover, the U.S. had no status of forces agreement with Libya. He explained to Rear Adm. Charles J. Leidig that if a member of the special forces team used weapons to protect U.S. facilities, personnel or themselves, he would be subject to Libyan law. The law would be administered by judges appointed to the bench by Moammar Gadhafi or, worse, tribal judges.

Chris described an incident in Pakistan in 2011 when an American security contractor killed Pakistani citizens in self-defense, precipitating a crisis in U.S.-Pakistani relations. He also pointed out that four International Criminal Court staff, who had traveled to Libya in June 2012 to interview Gadhafi’s oldest son, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, were illegally detained by tribal authorities under suspicion of spying. This was another risk U.S. military personnel might face.

During that video conference, Chris stressed that the only way to mitigate the risk was to ensure that U.S. military personnel serving in Libya would have diplomatic immunity, which should be done prior to any change of authority.

Chris understood the importance of the special forces team to the security of our embassy personnel. He believed that by explaining his concerns, the Defense Department would postpone the decision so he could have time to work with the Libyan government and get diplomatic immunity for the special forces.

According to the National Defense Authorization Act, the Defense Department needed Chris’s concurrence to change the special forces mission. But soon after the Aug. 1 meeting, and as a complete surprise to us at the embassy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the order without Chris’s concurrence.

The SenateIntelligence Committee’s report accurately notes that on Aug. 6, after the transfer of authority, two special forces team members in a diplomatic vehicle were forced off the road in Tripoli and attacked. Only because of their courage, skills and training did they escape unharmed. But the incident highlighted the risks associated with having military personnel in Libya unprotected by diplomatic immunity or a status of forces agreement. As a result of this incident, Chris was forced to agree with Gen. Ham’s withdrawal of most of the special forces team from Tripoli until the Libyan government formally approved their new training mission and granted them diplomatic immunity.

Because Mr. Kennedy had refused to extend the special forces security mission, State Department protocol required Chris to decline Gen. Ham’s two offers to do so, which were made after Aug. 6. I have found the reporting of these so-called offers strange, since my recollection of events is that after the Aug. 6 incident, Gen. Ham wanted to withdraw the entire special forces team from Tripoli until they had Libyan government approval of their new mission and the diplomatic immunity necessary to perform their mission safely. However, Chris convinced Gen. Ham to leave six members of the team in Tripoli.

When I arrived in Tripoli on July 31, we had over 30 security personnel, from the State Department and the U.S. military, assigned to protect the diplomatic mission to Libya. All were under the ambassador’s authority. On Sept. 11, we had only nine diplomatic security agents under Chris’s authority to protect our diplomatic personnel in Tripoli and Benghazi.

I was interviewed by the Select Committee and its staff, who were professional and thorough. I explained this sequence of events. For some reason, my explanation did not make it into the Senate report.

To sum up: Chris Stevens was not responsible for the reduction in security personnel. His requests for additional security were denied or ignored. Officials at the State and Defense Departments in Washington made the decisions that resulted in reduced security. Sen. Lindsey Graham stated on the Senate floor last week that Chris “was in Benghazi because that is where he was supposed to be doing what America wanted him to do: Try to hold Libya together.” He added, “Quit blaming the dead guy.”

Mr. Hicks served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli from July 31 to Dec. 7, 2012.

The New York Times Destroys Obama

nytoSo pathetically, in a bid to defend Obama and Clinton and the rest of the Democrats, the Times published a report that showed that Obama’s laser like focus on the Zawahiri-controlled faction of al Qaida has endangered the US.

By failing to view as enemies any other terror groups — even if they have participated in attacks against the US – and indeed, in perceiving them as potential allies, Obama has failed to defend against them. Indeed, by wooing them as future allies, Obama has empowered forces as committed as al Qaida to defeating the US.

Again, it is not at all apparent that the Times realized what it was doing. But from Israel to Egypt, to Iran to Libya to Lebanon, it is absolutely clear that Obama and his colleagues continue to implement the same dangerous, destructive agenda that defeated the US in Benghazi and will continue to cause US defeat after US defeat.

By Caroline Glick:

The New York Times just delivered a mortal blow to the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.

Call it fratricide. It was clearly unintentional. Indeed, is far from clear that the paper even realizes what it has done.

Last Saturday the Times published an 8,000 word account by David Kirkpatrick detailing the terrorist strike against the US consulate and the CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. In it, Kirkpatrick tore to shreds the foundations of President Barack Obama’s counter-terrorism strategy and his overall policy in the Middle East.

Obama first enunciated those foundations in his June 4, 2009 speech to the Muslim world at Cairo University. Ever since, they have been the rationale behind US counter-terror strategy and US Middle East policy.

Obama’s first assertion is that radical Islam is not inherently hostile to the US. As a consequence, America can appease radical Islamists. Moreover, once radical Muslims are appeased, they will become US allies, (replacing the allies the US abandons to appease the radical Muslims).

Obama’s second strategic guidepost is his claim that the only Islamic group that is a bona fide terrorist organization is the faction of al Qaida directly subordinate to Osama bin Laden’s successor Ayman al-Zawahiri. Only this group cannot be appeased and must be destroyed through force.

The administration has dubbed the Zawahiri faction of al Qaida “core al Qaida.” And anyone who operates in the name of al Qaida, or any other group, that does not have courtroom certified operational links to Zawahiri, is not really al Qaida, and therefore, not really a terrorist group or a US enemy.

These foundations have led the US to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan. They are the rationale for the US’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide. They are the basis for Obama’s allegiance to Turkey’s Islamist government, and his early support for the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Syrian opposition.

They are the basis for the administration’s kneejerk support for the PLO against Israel.

Obama’s insistent bid to appease Iran, and so enable the mullocracy to complete its nuclear weapons program is similarly a product of his strategic assumptions. So too, the US’s current diplomatic engagement of Hezbollah in Lebanon owes to the administration’s conviction that any terror group not directly connected to Zawahiri is a potential US ally.

From the outset of the 2011 revolt against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, it was clear that a significant part of the opposition was comprised of jihadists aligned if not affiliated with al Qaida. Benghazi was specifically identified by documents seized by US forces in Iraq as a hotbed of al Qaida recruitment.

Obama and his advisors dismissed and ignored the evidence. The core of al Qaida, they claimed was not involved in the anti-Qaddafi revolt. And to the extent jihadists were fighting Qaddafi, they were doing so as allies of the US.

In other words, the two core foundations of Obama’s understanding of terrorism and of the Muslim world were central to US support for the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.

With Kirkpatrick’s report, the Times exposed the utter falsity of both.

Read more at Front Page

Related articles

Yes, Al-Qaeda ‘Infiltrated’ Libya

ben4by :

The New York Times’ conclusion that Al-Qaeda was not involved in last year’s attack on Ambassador Stevens in Libya—or even “infiltrated” Libya to begin with—is an example of a misleading game of semantics. The definition of “enemy” and even “Al-Qaeda” is becoming narrower and narrower, moving us closer to a more comforting (but incomplete) picture of the danger the West faces from Islamism.

The Times writes that an Islamist militia leader named Ahmed Abu Khattala is the almost certain culprit behind the Benghazi attacks, even if he denies it. This fact is used to deny Al-Qaeda’s role, along with the premise that there are two distinctly separate groups named Ansar al-Sharia and the one linked to Al-Qaeda cannot be implicated.

Khattala denies that he and his Obeida Ibn Al-Jarra militia are tied to Al-Qaeda. To the Times, the lack of an operational link is equivalent to no link at all, but the two are connected ideologically. Khattala is openly anti-American and approved of the Benghazi attacks. Both agree in violent retribution for mockery of their faith because of their common Sharia doctrine.

According to the Times’ own previous reporting, an Islamist group named Ansar al-Sharia is suspected of involvement. The Times confirms, “Witnesses at the scene of the attack identified many participants associated with Ansar al-Shariah.

Its leader, Mohammed Ali al-Zahawi, said he disagrees that Western diplomats in Libya are legitimate targets and, “If it had been our attack on the U.S. Consulate, we would have flattened it.”

There are two groups named Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, one in Benghazi that may share responsibility, and one in Derna, led by Sufian bin Qumu.

Qumu was once a driver for a company owned by Osama Bin Laden. He was captured in Pakistan and spent six years in Guantanamo Bay before returning to Derna. His Al-Qaeda links are solid, but the Times reports that his Ansar al-Sharia was uninvolved in the Benghazi attacks.

Thomas Joscelyn persuasively argues that this is not the case. The two have a common name, branding and propaganda publisher. The Times also fails to answer an important question: If the two groups are truly separate, why wouldn’t one avoid the confusion by changing its name?

Even the use of the name “Ansar al-Sharia” is rooted in Al-Qaeda. The name first appeared in Yemen as a front for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. We know from Osama Bin Laden’s records that were captured in Pakistan that he planned to change Al-Qaeda’s name and wanted affiliates to portray themselves as wholly independent.

study by the American Federation of Scientists in August 2012, one month before the Benghazi attacks, confirmed that Al-Qaeda had a “core network” in Libya “but it remains clandestine and refrains from using the Al-Qaeda name.” It predicts that Al-Qaeda will continue to “mask its presence under the umbrella of the Libyan Salafist movement.”

Read more at Front Page

Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks

Syrian rebels2
BY AARON Y. ZELIN

Thu, December 26, 2013

Monitoring jihadist social-media networks reveals where fighters are coming from, where in Syria they are fighting, and how best to stem their continued recruitment in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

The clandestine nature of the various networks responsible for sending Sunni fighters into Syria makes it difficult to ascertain exactly how many foreigners have entered the war and from which countries. Yet social-media sources affiliated with jihadists often post death notices for slain fighters, providing a unique, though incomplete, picture of where they are being recruited and where in Syria they fought. Tracking and analyzing these notices can help broaden Washington’s understanding of foreign recruitment networks, the largest of which appear to operate in Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

HOW MANY HAVE BEEN KILLED?

Since the Syrian uprising turned into an armed rebellion, jihadists have announced the deaths of more than 1,100 fighters on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and, to a lesser extent, on password-protected forums. Although other foreigners have been killed in Syria, their deaths were reported by non-jihadist rebels, Western media, or Arabic media and are not included in this assessment. The figures below also exclude foreigners who have fought on the Assad regime’s side.

To be sure, the information gleaned from jihadist sources is self-reported, and some data might therefore be suppressed for political reasons, especially reports of Iraqi involvement. That said, it still offers a worthwhile snapshot of an otherwise murky world.

The most striking revelation in the latest data is the huge rise in overall death notices. Previously, jihadist sources had posted only 85 such notices as of February 2013, and only 280 as of June. In other words, the vast majority of the more than 1,100 notices have come in the past half year.

WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?

Arabs dominate the list of foreign jihadists who have died in Syria, and nine of the top ten countries represented are from the Arab world.

Death notices have mentioned fifty different nationalities in all, including twenty in Europe or elsewhere in the West. Yet Westerners make up only a miniscule amount of the total.

One of the most important trends in the past half-year is the rise in both the total number of Saudi foreign fighters and the number of Saudis killed (which far outpaces all other national groups). Only some 20 percent of the 1,100 death notices state group affiliation, so this data provides only a small window into which groups foreigners are joining. Of these, however, the vast majority name Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham — the two militant opposition groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United States. Other fighters were also reported to be members of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya, Katibat Suqur al-Izz, Liwa al-Umma, and Harakat Sham al-Islam, among others.

More than 60 percent of the notices offered more specific information about the fighter’s town or province of origin, providing insight into certain foreign networks. For instance, fifteen fighters were described as hailing from the Saudi province of al-Qassim, and it is possible that they came from the provincial capital of Buraydah, as the notices for twenty-two other fighters indicated. The largest network in this data set is from Riyadh, however, raising questions about whether the Saudi government is being duplicitous and/or looking the other way regarding significant jihadist activity in its capital.

Read more at Clarion Project

Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at The Washington Institute.

U.S. to Train Libyan Military, Including Islamists

Ansar al Shariah supporters protest the United States' capture of Abu Anas al-Libi / AP

Ansar al Shariah supporters protest the United States’ capture of Abu Anas al-Libi / AP

BY: 

Simi Valley, Calif. — The U.S. military is preparing to conduct military and special operations training for Libya’s military and the training will risk including Islamist terrorists among the trainees, according to the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Adm. William McRaven, the commander who helped lead the covert raid to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, said in a brief interview Saturday that the counterterrorism training operation has not begun. “We’re in the early stages,” he told the Free Beacon.

McRaven said a major gun battle erupted in Tripoli last week among opposing militias, a sign of instability in the North African country. The training is needed to stabilize Libya, an oil-rich country beset by mounting terrorism and Islamist militias.

During a panel discussion on the war on terrorism at the Reagan National Defense Forum, McRaven disclosed that the Libyan military training would include both conventional forces training and special operations training and that there will be risks.

“We are going to have to assume some risks,” McRaven said. “Right now we have the authorities to do that training, and I think as a country we have to say there is probably some risk that some of the people we will be training with do not have the most clean records, but at the end of the day it is the best solution we can find to train them to deal with their own problems.”

McRaven disclosed the plans for Libyan training when asked about problems encountered in training foreign special operations forces.

McRaven said the training would include a “very, very thorough review” of the Libyans who will take part.

Read more at Free Beacon

 

Obama Inc. Wants Libyans to Come to US, Work in “Aviation Maintenance” and “Nuclear Fields”

Libyan_Gernade-450x240By Daniel Greenfield at Front Page

I can’t think of a single possible thing that could go wrong with this plan. I only wish there was some way to get the Saudis, Iranians and Pakistanis involved to really improve our national security.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have obtained an internal Department of Homeland Security draft final regulation that would lift a 20 year ban on Libyans coming to the US to work in sensitive fields.

The document — highlighted Thursday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz — shows that DHS is working to amend its regulations to eliminate the restrictions on Libyan nationals and foreign nationals acting on behalf of Libyan entities from coming to the United States to work in aviation maintenance, flight operations, or to study nuclear-related fields.

“It is shocking that the Obama Administration is turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats that exist in Libya today,” Goodlatte said in a statement. “Just over a year ago, four Americans were killed in the pre-planned terrorist attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi.”

Libya is basically run by terrorists after we helped the terrorists overthrow their government. The country is in the middle on an ongoing civil war fought by militias. Central authority is a myth.

So this is the perfect time to find us some Libyans to study nuclear fields and work in aviation maintenance. It couldn’t be more perfect.

 

We’re here to kill Americans

2036408811 (1)CSP, By Frank Gaffney:

On October 27th, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” led its program with a fresh look at what happened in the run-up to and during the nighttime attack on two U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.  The leitmotif of the report was a statement made by the jihadists as they beat hapless unarmed Libyans who were, somehow, supposed to have protected the interior of the so-called “Special Mission Compound”:  “We’re here to kill Americans.”

And kill they did.  Four Americans were murdered, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, who had warned superiors repeatedly about the inadequate security of the installation in which he died, by some accounts after being tortured and raped.  More of our countrymen would likely have met a similar fate but for the unauthorized intervention and heroics of two former Navy SEALS, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who subsequently were killed in action.

Amb. Stevens was not the only one who had warned about the dangerous vulnerability of an American outpost in a city increasingly manifesting the presence of al Qaeda elements – including by the flying of the terrorist group’s black flag on government buildings.  In fact, similar warnings were also sounded by several others interviewed for the 60 Minutes segment, notably: a British security contractor tasked in the five months leading up the September 11th with managing the impotent Libyan “security force” inside the wire; Amb. Stevens Number 2 in Tripoli, Deputy Chief of Mission Greg Hicks; and Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, a Green Beret who was charged at the time with protecting U.S. personnel in Libya.

As Col. Wood put it: “We had one option: Leave Benghazi or you will be killed.”  He told 60 Minutes that he had recommended to the embassy’s senior staff known as the “country team” in Tripoli that they “change the security profile [in Benghazi]…Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Or change locations within the city.  Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted.”  The reason: “You are gonna be attacked in Benghazi.”

Mr. Hicks added that a “particularly frightening piece of information” compounded his concerns about security when the embassy learned, as 60 Minutes put it, that “senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country.”

The 60 Minutes report adds texture to the astounding malfeasance of the Obama administration as it ignored these warnings in the months leading up to the attack and set up Americans for murder at the hands of jihadists.  But it failed to even ask, let alone answer, several of the most pregnant outstanding questions.  These include:

  • Why were the Special Mission Compound and CIA annex in Benghazi in the first place, let alone in such an insecure status?  Was it to facilitate the collection and onward shipment to Syrian “rebels” – known to include al Qaeda and elements loyal to it – of arms recovered after Muammar Qaddafi’s weapons caches were “liberated” by jihadist “rebels” in Libya?
  • Why was Amb. Stevens in that exposed facility in a city awash with al Qaeda on a particularly dangerous day for Americans?  Why especially since al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had called on his followers the day before to retaliate for a U.S.- engineered assassination of a top member of the group, Libyan jihadist Abu Yahya al-Libi?
  • If, as has been widely reported, Amb. Stevens was in Benghazi because a gun-running operation from there to Syria had been compromised and he needed to do damage-control, why would al Qaeda have attacked the facilities from which it was being armed?  The Iranians would have had a motive, but not al Qaeda.  Was the attack initiated by Tehran and the Sunni jihadists went along with it just so they could “kill Americans”?
  • Who was responsible for the false narrative that the Benghazi “consulate” (actually the Special Mission Compound) was sacked and set afire by a mob angry about an internet video?  Could it have been the same person(s) who prevented security from being upgraded in the interest of showing the success of Team Obama’s toppling of Qaddafi and perhaps the one(s) who thought it a good idea to help arm “the opposition” – including al Qaeda-linked militias – first in Libya, then in Syria?
  • Where were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during this seven-hour battle in Benghazi?

These are the sorts of questions that will, at this point, probably only be answered by a select House committee – something sought by Rep. Frank Wolf (Republican of Virginia) and 176 other members of the House of Representatives.  It is scandalous that they have not been satisfactorily addressed before now by the five standing committees that have, to date, been conducting desultory and inconclusive inquiries.  Since the jihadists are “here to kill Americans,” we are on notice that persisting in such willful blindness and a lack of accountability is an invitation to disaster.

Worse yet, as Representatives Bill Goodlatte and Jason Chaffetz (Republicans of Virginia and Utah, respectively) have learned, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to “lift the longstanding prohibition on Libyans to come to the U.S. to work in aviation maintenance, flight operations, or to seek study or training in nuclear science.”  Why on earth would they do that? Evidently, to show that U.S.-Libyan ties have been “normalized.” Sound familiar?

If we don’t want jihadists literally here to kill us, we better stop them elsewhere.  And getting to the bottom of Benghazigate is a necessary step towards doing that.

WHITE HOUSE: U.S. RELATIONS WITH LIBYA HAVE ‘NORMALIZED’

benghazi-attack-afpBreitbart, by KERRY PICKET:

Department of Homeland Security internal documents obtained by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) draft final regulation arranged by the Obama Administration that would lift the established ban on Libyans coming to the U.S. to work in aviation maintenance, flight operations, or to receive training and education in nuclear science. According to a House Judiciary Committee press release, “this draft final regulation could go into place without prior notice and comment.”

The original prohibition was put in place by the Reagan administration following a slew of terrorist attacks involving Libyans. Despite the attacks on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration defends lifting the ban by claiming the United States’ relationship with Libya has been “normalized.”

“It is shocking that the Obama Administration is turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats that exist in Libya today. Just over a year ago, four Americans were killed in the pre-planned terrorist attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi,” said Chairman Goodlatte in a statement.

“We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and continue to face additional terrorist threats from Libya, yet the Obama Administration is preparing to lift a longstanding ban that protects Americans and our interests. The Obama Administration should focus its attention on getting answers to the lingering questions surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attacks and ensure that Americans are kept safe and sound,” Goodlatte said.

Terror-related threats towards Americans continue to happen in Libya one year after the attack in Benghazi. One terrorist incident that happened in the 1990′s is being handled by a U.S. court this week. Libyan Abu Anas al-Liby appeared in federal court in New York on Wednesday and is accused of having links to al-Qaeda and of connection to the bombings of two US embassies in 1998. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“In the weeks and months leading up to the attacks in Benghazi, the Obama Administration ignored looming terrorist threats,” said Rep. Chaffetz in a statement. He added, “It is unbelievable that this Administration would again put Americans in harm’s way by lifting a decades old security ban on a country that has become a hotbed of terrorist activity. We must work with the Libyans to build mutual trust that ensures safety and prosperity for both countries to enjoy.”

Down and Out in Amman: The Rise and Fall of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood

Jordan MB

Jordan’s Muslim Brothers have been overtaken by rapidly changing events in Jordan and across the Arab world.

BY DAVID SCHENKER:

SOURCE: THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY

Today, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is down, if not completely out. After the Egyptian military deposed President Mohamed Morsi, a ranking Brotherhood bureaucrat, in July, Egypt’s courts charged him with a litany of felonies and the army cracked down, shooting more than a thousand of his supporters and detaining most of the Brotherhood’s leadership.

Last week, an Egyptian court issued an injunction to dissolve the group altogether and seize its assets, outlawing “all activities” by the 85-year year-old Islamist movement. As bad as things are for the Egyptian Brotherhood, however, it isn’t the only chapter of the organization that faces setbacks. More than two years into the Arab revolts that saw Islamist gains in Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and, at least temporarily, Egypt, Muslim Brothers in Jordan are in the middle of their own crisis.

Once a powerful voice for electoral reform, a vocal critic of palace corruption, and the leading opponent of economic normalization with Israel, lately the Jordanian Brotherhood has seen its local influence and standing erode. Other Islamists, too, are finding it hard to capture the public’s attention. Groups in the Jordanian parliament that are unaffiliated with the Brotherhood tried to push forward a bill to “harmonize” legislation with sharia; the motion failed, gathering just 27 of 150 votes.

To be sure, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s authoritarian tendencies, imperious style, and economic mismanagement contributed to the popular alienation of the group. Yet unlike in Egypt, where the military was ultimately responsible for the group’s misfortune, in Jordan the Brotherhood’s setbacks have resulted from both self-inflicted wounds and the changing dynamic of local Islamist politics.

Read more at Clarion Project

Funding Jihadists while Denying Military Benefits

download (51)By Andrew C. McCarthy:

Here is where we’re at: The Republican establishment — the guys who told us that for a trillion dollars and several thousand American casualties, we could build “Islamic democracies” that would be reliable U.S. allies in the War on Terror — say it is Ted Cruz who is “delusional” and the effort to stave off Obamacare that is “unattainable.”

These self-appointed sages are, of course, the same guys who told us the way to “stabilize” and “democratize” Libya was to help jihadists topple and kill the resident dictator — who, at the time, was a U.S. ally, providing intelligence about the jihadists using his eastern badlands as a springboard for the anti-American terror insurgency in Iraq. That’s probably worth remembering this week, during which some of our new “allies” abducted Libya’s president while others car-bombed Sweden’s consulate in Benghazi — site of the still unavenged terrorist massacre of American ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. officials 13 months ago.

Not to worry, though. So successful do they figure the Libyan escapade was, GOP leaders are backing a reprise in Syria. It is there, we learn from a Human Rights Watch report issued this week, that our new “allies,” the al-Qaeda-rife “rebels,” executed a savage atrocity just two months ago. Sweeping into the coastal village of Latakia, the jihadists slaughtered 190 minority Alawites. As the New York Times details, “at least 67 of the dead appeared to have been shot or stabbed while unarmed or fleeing, including 48 women and 11 children.” More than 200 other civilians were captured and are still being held hostage.

So that’s going well.

And, you’ll be pleased to know, supporting the Syrian “rebels” is a high enough priority that it’s not part of the 17 percent of the federal government affected by the “shutdown.” America’s enemies are still receiving taxpayer-funded weapons, so that they can fight America’s other enemies, the Assad regime, to what Washington hopes will be a resounding victory. Er . . . check that — to what the administration hopes will be . . . a tie. The administration also let slip this week that it is arming our preferred jihadists so they can grind to a stalemate with Russia’s preferred jihadists — after all, we wouldn’t want to upset Iran’s ruling jihadists after they’ve just finally deigned to take, yes, a phone call from our pleading president after blowing him off in New York.

Read more at National Review

 

Why Now? U.S. Nabs Top Al-Qaeda Suspect Known for Years

USS San AntonioBY CLARE LOPEZ:

This past weekend, U.S. Delta forces converged on a man parking his car in broad daylight in the middle of Tripoli, Libya and nabbed a senior al-Qaeda operative who went by the nom du guerre Abu Anas al-Libi. Al-Libi was wanted by the United States for his role in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings.

He is alleged to have conducted pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya prior to the August 7, 1998 suicide truck bombing there that killed more than 200 people and injured another 5,000. It is likely that al-Libi will be brought to New York City, where he is under indictment, to stand trial.

Al-Libi’s involvement with Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’eda (AQ) goes back much further than 1998, however, and his command position within the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group probably brought him into contact with former U.S. Liaison to the Libyan Opposition Christopher Stevens during the 2011 Libyan revolution.

Why al-Libi hadn’t been put away much earlier by either the U.S. or our British allies takes this story deep into international intrigue and a long history of Western intelligence associations with known al-Qa’eda jihadis.

******************

The August 2012 Library of Congress study, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” suggests that al-Libi’s role in Libya was coordination between Ayman al-Zawahiri and AQ Central and the Libyan militias.

By the time that U.S. career diplomat Christopher Stevens was named official U.S. Liaison to the Libyan rebels in mid-March 2011, AQ-LIFG fighters like al-Libi, Ben Qumu and Belhadj were leading the revolution against Qaddafi. Stevens’ job was to coordinate U.S. diplomatic, intelligence, logistical, military and weapons support to al-Qaeda jihadis such as these. The pending NYC Federal District Court indictment against al-Libi for the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing would just have to wait.

And wait it did … until a random day in early October 2013, when the U.S. government suddenly decided that it needed, urgently, to snatch an unsuspecting al-Libi off the street in Tripoli, where he had been living since the end of the Libyan revolution with his wife and four children.

Soon, Secretary of State Kerry was crowing about how terrorists “can run but they can’t hide” – but the thing was, al-Libi hadn’t been running or hiding for a long time. The U.S. knew perfectly well where he was for at least the prior two years — and didn’t seem to care.

Just to recap: ​

  • Al-Libi lived openly in the UK from 1995-2000, with the permission of the British government and no extradition request from the U.S., which knew he was there.
  • Al-Libi may have been in CIA custody from 2002 until an unknown date.
  • Al-Libi returned to live in Tripoli, Libya in December 2010, with his home address published by the UN Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
  • Al-Libi was likely a close working partner of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Liaison to the Libyan al-Qaeda rebels in 2011.
  • Al-Libi continued to live at the published address of his Tripoli home from 2011-2013.

 

Al-Libi’s seizure now makes as little sense as did the apparent U.S. and UK indifference to his outstanding Nairobi indictment and his jihadist credentials for all the years that preceded it. (Despite the close relationship among former LIFG jihadis like al-Libi and Abu Sufian ben Qumu, until now, there has been no indication that al-Libi was involved in 9/11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.)

Still, al-Libi undoubtedly would be able to answer a lot of questions about events leading up to that assault, as well as questions about those individuals and militias involved in its planning and execution. Reportedly, an FBI interrogation team is headed out to the USS San Antonio in the Mediterranean Sea (where al-Libi is being held) and plans to ask al-Libi about AQ operations in Libya.

Funny: If that’s what they’re after, seems they could have just read the cables Chris Stevens had been sending back for the last several years. “Die Hard in Derna” from June 2008 would have been a good one to start with.

Read more at The Clarion Project