VIOLENCE CONTINUES IN LIBYA, SYRIA AND LEBANON
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 24, 2012) — The U.S. State Department does not list an embassy located in Tripoli or anywhere in the North African nation of Libya on its comprehensive page of “U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions” throughout the world.
However, by means of a different search, a webpage for the U.S. embassy in Tripoli appears with a photo of the late Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 along with three State Department contract workers. A link displaying a travel warning to Americans dated September 18 in regard to Libya states that the “embassy” has “limited” capability in assisting Americans without referencing the deadly attack on the Benghazi outpost.
On the evening of October 23, Fox News reported that internal emails it obtained reveal that the State Department, White House, the Pentagon and members of the FBI were made aware that the location in Benghazi had been the target of a terrorist attack within two hours, contrary to the White House’s contention that an amateur video had sparked outrage in the Muslim world and Benghazi specifically. An Al-Qaeda-related group, Ansar al-Sharia, took responsibility for torching the building and ultimately murdering the four Americans, including Stevens. All major news services are now reporting on and displaying the redacted emails.
The Executive branch has changed its story several times as to the events in Benghazi, while now it is known that they were aware that a terrorist group had claimed responsibility early on. While a drone was flown over the burning building, no apparent military intervention to assist the victims was ordered.
On October 16, Aaron Klein of the Jerusalem Bureau of WorldNetDaily reported that the Benghazi “mission” was actually just a building where Stevens met with representatives of other Middle Eastern countries to discuss how to assist rebels involved in attempting to overthrow Bashir al-Assad, the Syrian dictator. Klein cites “Middle Eastern security officials” as having told him that “the building was routinely used by Stevens and others to coordinate with the Turkish, Saudi and Qatari governments on supporting the insurgencies in the Middle East, most prominently the rebels opposing Assad’s regime in Syria.” Klein said that the building did not meet the standards of a “consulate” and that the media is mischaracterizing the now-destroyed structure as such.
Klein is correct in stating that the U.S. State Department does not list Benghazi as a “consulate” or “mission.” The State Department does not contain a mention of the “embassy” in Tripoli unless an additional search is performed. On that webpage, the State Department reports that the U.S. and Libya agreed to upgrade what had been a “U.S. Liaison Office” to an “embassy” in Tripoli by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2006. On that page, the State Department refers to Benghazi as a “mission.”
The Tripoli embassy website contains a lengthy list of job openings but does not indicate when the page was last updated.
On September 22 of last year, the State Department issued a travel warning for Libya to Americans because of “ongoing unrest,” nearly a year prior to the attack on the Benghazi site. Testimony to the House Oversight Committee on October 10 revealed that security had been very tenuous and in a state of deterioration over at least the last six months.
In an editorial today, Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney, Jr. raises the question of whether or not the United States is involved in supplying guns and ammunition to Al Qaeda members who are part of the Syrian “opposition.” Gaffney describes Stevens’ role as one in which he acted as a “liaison” to the opposition. Corroborating the reports of Denise Simon, Gaffney contends that tracking the arms and munitions released and “looted” after Muommar Gaddafi’s removal from power was a priority of the United States. Gaffney then states, “Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale. The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies as well.”
Gunwalking between gun owners and Mexican criminals is under investigation by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, which has sanctioned Attorney General Eric Holder with civil and criminal contempt of Congress for withholding documentation on the “Fast & Furious” operation.
Late last month, Klein reported that “Egyptian security officials” had told him that Stevens had been involved in “recruiting jihadists” from Saudi Arabia to fight Assad’s army but that once screened, such individuals were not accepted. The title of Klein’s article is “Sources: Slain Ambassador Recruited Jihadists.”
Other sources have reported that the Syrian opposition fears that Al Qaeda will “hijack” the revolution against Assad, which the Free Syrian Army is attempting to carry out. Reports dating back to last spring and summer stated that Al Qaeda was participating in the fighting against Assad, and evidence existed that Al Qaeda groups were active in Libya following the removal of Gaddafi. Assad has asked that “Western countries and their regional allies stop supporting and financing the insurgents.”
It is estimated that 30,000 people have been killed in Syria since the Arab Spring protests began early last year throughout the Middle East. Al Qaeda has voiced support for ousting Assad so that Israel can be “defeated.” Regarding the United States’ handling of the Syrian uprising, Simon stated that the nation is now “infiltrated” with jihadists because the U.S. has did not intervene quickly.
Commentator Glenn Beck stated today on his radio show that the U.S. supplied guns to The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and that those same guns could have killed Stevens and contended that the Benghazi “consulate” was actually a “CIA safe house.”
As a result of the internal strife, people are “scavenging for food” on the war-torn streets of Aleppo in Syria. Since the Arab Spring, new leadership in Egypt and Tunisia is Islamic rather than secular. Initially, the Obama regime had pledged to improve U.S. relations with existing Arab governments, but following the beginnings of the Arab Spring, his policy changed to one of quickly supporting the protesters with the stated goal of achieving democratic elections.
In March 2011, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that “the much-feared Muslim Brotherhood” would not be running a candidate for president in Egypt. Muhamed Morsi, Egypt’s elected president, “grew up” with The Muslim Brotherhood.
“We are the last flag standing [in Libya],” Simon told The Post & Email, adding that she believes that Stevens was concerned about “Al Qaeda factions” gaining strength in Libya. Stevens’ name had appeared on several cables sent from Tripoli to Washington, DC in the year prior to the attack which killed him, and the House Oversight Committee subsequently released 166 pages of documentation obtained from the State Department indicating knowledge of the poor security situation in Libya.
In response to the release, the Obama regime accused members of the Oversight Committee of jeopardizing the safety of Libyans who have had contact with U.S. officials or staff, which the committee members deny.
On October 19, 2012, a high-ranking Lebanese security official, Wissam al-Hassan, and seven others were murdered by a car bomb which exploded in Beirut. Lebanon is said to have been “dragged into the Syria crisis” with a tenuous political situation in which two factions support opposite sides of the Syrian conflict. Syria is suspected as having perpetrated the deadly attack in retaliation for Hassan’s investigation of Syrians accused of planning explosions in Lebanon.