I am posting straight up as Confidential Reporter has over at FC.
Please read and share. Clare Lopez is one of the best analyst of our time. PatriotUSA
Arms Flow to Syria May Be Behind Benghazi Cover-Up
By Clare Lopez
A Rapidly Unfolding, Deeply Disturbing Story
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article by Clare M. Lopez, one of the
best analysts around, is riveting--and troubling, to put matters mildly.
Foreign Confidential™ has repeatedly criticized the Obama
administration for effectively narrowing the definition of the Islamist
enemy to Al Qaeda alone under political cover of degrading the terrorist
group (not "decimating" it, as claimed by the administration and its
supporters) and killing Al Qaeda's leader, Osama Bin Laden. It now
appears, however, that we were wrong; incredibly, even Al Qaeda itself,
or, at the very least, its ideological allies, are regarded by the
administration as all right to appease and engage (align with), as shown
by the deeply disturbing information that is surfacing in the aftermath
of the … September 11... attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi,
Libya. The entire affair calls … cries out … for a Congressional
The day after the big Obama-Romney debate, as media and politicians were
engaging in the usual after-action assessment frenzy, some of the most
important issues surrounding the September 11 attack on the U.S.
Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, remain unaddressed.
While it clearly matters (a lot) if and when the President told the
truth to the American public about the terrorist nature of that attack
and why the Department of State refused repeated pleas from its own
diplomats in Libya for more and better security, the deeper, unaddressed
issue is about the relationship of the U.S. government, Ambassador
Christopher Stevens and the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya with Al
During the 2011 Libyan revolt against Muammar Qaddafi, reckless U.S.
policy flung American forces and money into the conflict on the side of
the rebels, who were known at the time to include Al Qaeda elements.
Previously the number two official at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli,
Christopher Stevens was named as the official U.S. liaison to the Libyan
opposition in March, 2011.
Ambassador Authorized to Aid Al Qaeda Sympathizers
Stevens was tasked with helping to coordinate U.S. assistance to the
rebels, whose top military commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, was the leader
of the Al Qaeda affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
That means that Stevens was authorized by the U.S. Department of State
and the Obama administration to aid and abet individuals and groups that
were, at a minimum, allied ideologically with Al Qaeda, the jihadist
terrorist organization that attacked the homeland on the first 9/11, the
one that's not supposed to exist anymore after the killing of its
leader, Osama bin Laden, on May 2, 2012.
Although Belhadj reportedly now has moved on to Syria to help lead the
fight against the Assad regime being waged by the Syrian Free Army
(SFA), other Libyan fighters, who were formerly members of his LIFG and
other Al Qaeda affiliates formed a new terror militia in Libya (and
elsewhere) called Ansar al-Shariah (Supporters of Sharia/Islamic Law).
According to an August, 2012 report from the Library of Congress and the
Kronos organization, "Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile," Ansar al-Shariah
is an Al Qaeda franchise operation, established in Libya with the
assistance of senior Al Qaeda operatives dispatched from Pakistan
specifically to supervise the set up of a new clandestine Al Qaeda
network in Libya that would refrain from using the Al Qaeda name.
The Derna, Libya Ansar al-Shariah cell is led by a former GITMO detainee
named Sufian Ben Qhumu. The September 11, 2012 attack on the Benghazi
consulate compound that killed Ambassador Stevens, his staffer Sean
Smith and the two Navy SEALs was directed and led by Ansar al-Shariah.
Unanswered, Unasked Questions
One of the key unanswered, even unasked, questions about the U.S. and
Ambassador Stevens relationship with Abdelhakim Belhadj concerns not so
much the 2011 period of the Libyan revolt, but rather what followed. Was
Ambassador Stevens still in touch with Belhadj and/or other Al
Qaeda-linked figures even after Belhadj traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, in
November, 2011 to make contact with the Syrian Free Army?
According to August, 2012 reports leaked to the media, sometime earlier
in 2012, President Obama signed an intelligence finding to permit the
CIA and other US government agencies to provide support to the Syrian
rebels, whose ranks are reported to be dominated by Al Qaeda, the Muslim
Brotherhood and other jihadist fighters who already are supported by
Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other jihadist regimes. Was Belhadj a conduit
for U.S. support, perhaps via Turkey?
It might be recalled that, according to the Department of State's
transcript of a October 9, 2012 telephone conference call held to brief
reporters on what happened in Benghazi, the final meeting that
Ambassador Stevens held the night of September 11, 2012 before the
attack began was with a Turkish diplomat.
Mysterious Meeting in AQ Territory
Was that the meeting that was so important that the ambassador felt
compelled to slip into Al Qaeda-held Benghazi on the anniversary of the
original 9/11 attacks, knowing that Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
had called for revenge for the killing of his Libyan deputy, Abu Yahya
al-Libi, concerned that he might have been on an Al Qaeda hit list and
fully aware that he was terribly exposed with completely inadequate
security? Was Ambassador Stevens directing a weapons pipeline from Libya
to the Syrian rebels with Turkish assistance?
As noted by at least one observant blogger, two buildings appear on the
overhead image of the Benghazi consular compound that may be viewed
behind State Department official Charlene Lamb during her October 10,
2012 Congressional testimony but were not mentioned at all in the
October 9, 2012 briefing mentioned above. Might these two warehouse-like
buildings be storage facilities for Libyan weapons either bought back
or otherwise collected prior to onward shipment?
The New York Times reported in July, 2012 that CIA officers were
operating out of southern Turkey to help channel weapons to fighters
supposedly not allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. In a
October 14 piece, though, the Times asserted flatly that "Most of the
arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian
rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to
hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition
groups…" And while U.S. officials continue to stick to claims that they
are not providing arms directly to the Syrian rebels, but only
channeling weapons that come from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, reports that
those rebels now have surface-to-air missiles call to mind the thousands
of such weapons looted from Muammar Qaddafi's stockpiles during and
after the revolt that ousted him in October 2011.
On October 17, 2012, Reuters reported that the Syrian rebels had
acquired surface-to-air missiles, forcing the Syrian government air
force to conduct bombings from higher altitudes. An August, 2012 video
posted online purports to show a Syrian government helicopter hit with
an anti-aircraft missile, on fire and spiraling to the ground, where it
exploded into a fireball.
Many questions remain about what happened in Benghazi that night, not
least of which is why Belhadj and Ansar al-Shariah would turn on
Stevens, who had been their staunch if naïve ally, when his killing in
the course of the attack on the consulate likely would end any weapons
supply to the Syrian rebels he might have been directing.
Was marking the 9/11 date with revenge for the death of al-Libi more
important in the eyes of Al Qaeda than the preservation of this
particular weapons source? Were there weapons in those two buildings on
September 11, 2012 and were they looted that night? Had Stevens and/or
the U.S. somehow failed to come through with an understood commitment of
In any case, false information about the 9/11 attack in Benghazi being
the fault of an online video that seems to have originated with the
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) James Clapper
(perhaps with the collaboration of CIA Director David Petraeus) was put
out and repeated by senior administration officials for days following
"[F]alse information was either knowingly disseminated or was directed
to be put out by senior policy officials for political reasons," says
Bill Gertz, citing intelligence officials. Some of those alleged
"political reasons" may have had to do with ridiculous claims about the
demise of Al Qaeda and the false promises of an "Arab Spring," but
others may be more deeply buried in an Al Qaeda-linked weapons supply
line that was never supposed to become public.
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