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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Getting the Story Straight: Was the Attack on the US Consul in Benghazi a Revenge Killing for a Drone Strike in Pakistan?

The Obama Administration has been insisting the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last week that resulted in the deaths of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens was the result of a protest about an obscure movie trailer. It has not been widely reported that protesters in Cairo and Benghazi were shouting "Obama! We Are All Osama!" and "Obama Is Guilty!"

US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on ABC that the attack on September 11 was initiated by a "small number of people."
"And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that … in the wake of the revolution in Libya … are quite common and accessible," Rice said. "And it then evolved from there."
Here is a list of recent attacks in Benghazi:
  • June 6: IED thrown at US consulate
  • June 11: British Ambassador's motorcade fired upon with RPG; two injured
  • June 18: Gunman attack Tunisian consulate
  • August 5: Red Cross headquarters in Benghazi struck by RPGs
Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying: "Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound [in Benghazi] and set fire to the buildings." She also said, "US and Libyan forces fought back together against the attack."
"This is an attack that should shock the consciences of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence and we send our prayers [to the families and loved ones of the victims]."
It was later disclosed that the security forces at the consul were unarmed as per a directive signed by Secretary of State Clinton herself, and could not have fought back. Captain Kendra Motz, Marine Corps spokesman, told Breitbart News on Friday that "The Marine Corps does not have any Marines stationed at diplomatic installations in Libya."

According to a report released in today's edition of the Independent (UK):
"...the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and 'lockdown,' under which movement is severely restricted."
In the same report,  Patrick Kennedy, Under-Secretary at the State Department, is reported to have said he was convinced the assault was planned due to its extensive nature and the proliferation of weapons. The Independent reports that:
There is growing belief that the attack was in revenge for the killing in a drone strike in Pakistan of Mohammed Hassan Qaed, an al-Qa'ida operative who was, as his nom-de-guerre Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests, from Libya, and timed for the anniversary of the 11 September attacks.
This has not been reported at all by the US media.

During the attack, which started around 10PM local time:
In the event, the perimeter was breached within 15 minutes of an angry crowd starting [the] attack. There was, according to witnesses, little defence put up by the 30 or more local guards meant to protect the staff. Ali Fetori, a 59-year-old accountant who lives near by, said: "The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs."
There does seem to be some support that the attacks were solely the result of anger over the video Innocence of Muslims.
Wissam Buhmeid, the commander of the Tripoli government-sanctioned Libya's Shield Brigade, effectively a police force for Benghazi, maintained that it was anger over the Mohamed video which made the guards abandon their post. "There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet."
Hillary Clinton's assertion that locals carried Steven's near-lifeless body to a local hospital seems to be supported by a picture circulating the Internet that shows no obvious wounds on Steven's body and black soot around his mouth and nose.

Independent: Revealed: Inside Story of US Envoy's Assassination.

In a report released by Al-Jazeera on September 15, the Libyan President confirms that he believes the attack was carried out by Al Qa'ida, calling them "experienced masterminds":
"I think this was al-Qaeda," President Mohamed al-Magarief told Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid on Friday, in his first interview with foreign media since the violence three days earlier. "If you take into account the weapons used like RPGs and other heavy weapons, it proves that it was pre-planned," he said. "It's a dirty act of revenge that has nothing to do with religion."
However, Youseff El Gehani, spokesperson for the Ansar al-Sharia brigade released a statement reputing al-Magarief's statement:
“We completely and categorically deny involvement. The embassy knew how sensitive it was to allow that film, they should have evacuated. If America wants respect in the Arab world, it should avoid spilling blood in places such as Syria and Afghanistan, and avoid insulting the prophet.”
It is interesting to note how El Gehani makes a statement about Afghanistan and Syria before condemning insults to the prophet.

In the same statement, El Ghehani also said:
“We did not fight the revolution just to remove Qaddafi, we fought to have a state based on Sharia law.”

The Guardian UK has a great minute-by-minute accounting of developments and statements pertaining to the consul attacks: click to read.

Meanwhile, it is important to note that there is support in Libya for the United States:

Khadija Fitour, who was attending the protest with her two teenage daughters,
carried a sign demanding that the government assert its authority over armed groups.

"We're against the terrorism and the violence against the US consulate," she told Al Jazeera.

"We need to maintain good relations with the American people. They helped us with our revolution."

As with anything in the Middle East, the truth is complicated and not easy to discern. It becomes even more difficult to understand what is happening when our own government cannot get its story straight. My conclusion, for whatever that may be worth, is:

  • The unrest in Cairo may have been spontaneous, but the attack on the US consul in Benghazi was orchestrated and the Innocence of Muslims video was used as a cover for a revenge strike
  • The perpetrators of the attack were seeking revenge for the drone strike killing of an al Qa'ida operative in Pakistan
  • The Obama Administration is petrified of news of the revenge link being made public 49 days before an election, so it is insisting the attack was only a result of an obscure YouTube video produced by an unknown Coptic Christian from California
  • The underlying anti-American sentiment in the region is alive and well, and being exploited by the entrenched Islamo-fascists, in spite of Barack Obama's assertion that his election would be peace to the region

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