Sunday, September 30, 2012

How dare you Mr. President: Primer on the Attack on Bengazi

How dare you Mr. President - How dare you call the deaths of two Navy Seals Bumps in the Road! These brave men ran to the sound of gun fire.   It is an insult not only to our military, but to our heroes at home to say that those who lost their lives to defend us are Bumps in the Road!  Our police officers and firefighters, are by no means ordinary people as they to run toward a burning building or the sound of gunfire. Thank God we have a select few whose instinct is to run towards violence and protect us and our flag.
OK. Here is what we know:
1.  Tyrone Woods, 41, and Glen Doherty, 42 - The stand these men made at Bengazi was like the one at the Alamo.  They knew they were outnumbered with limited ammo but stood on the line. 
I know that the Arabs paid dearly for every inch of territory between them and the ambassador before they were overrun. God Bless them, their families, and may they find peace now that they have been called home.

2.   There were four previous Islamist attacks in Benghazi since June.

One of the attacks was an IED atack at the US Consulate on June 6, 2012.
Yet, the Obama Administration refused to provide even “standard security” at the consulate compound.

3.   Worldwide Protective Services (WPS) contract:
The WPS contract has a maximum value of $10 billion for all task orders combined, including one base year and four 1-year options. So, the Administration stating money was the problem is a red herring. 

Money cuts are a problem but the main one is relying on contractors and not U.S. Marines.
On WEPs , the technical merit factor included four sub-factors: personnel staffing, recruitment, screening/vetting, and retention; training; program and logistics management; and risk management and mitigation.   The WPS contract solicitation stated that the contract was to be awarded as a "best value" to the Government rather than to the lowest priced proposal. 14 FAH-2 H-361(b)1
(However, as offers become technically equivalent, cost or price may become the determining selection factor.)  So, contracted embassies  are guarded by the lowest bidder.  Great.
The eight contractors awarded the WPS contract on September 29, 2010, were the following:

Aegis Defense Services, LLC
International Development Solutions, LLC
Torres International Services, LLC
Triple Canopy, Inc.
Global Strategies Group, Inc.
DynCorp International, LLC

Private firms generally lack transparency to outsiders, regardless of their industry. Some of this is a systematic side- effect of being private, not the result of deliberate policy. After all, they are not required to be transparent, and they have no reason to be. If most PMFs are private, then one would expect the industry to lack transparency, regardless of its activity type.

Capabilities are important because underlying contracts (transactions in the marketplace) are firm-level capabilities. The concept of capabilities is widely used for analysis in the strategic management literature because it focuses on the building blocks for activities that are present in a firm (and, therefore, an industry sector).  Firms distinguish themselves by their capabilities—firms are able to get contracts others cannot access because they can either do things other firms cannot do, or they can do them at a lower cost than their competitors.'s Security
Why has Senator McCaskill from Missouri remained quiet!

As the Chairman on WEPs Contracts she knows of the problems in their use.
The Committee also detailed evidence of serious misconduct by EODT in Afghanistan, including: Relying on local Taliban warlords to provide guards and, in some cases weapons, for use on EODT's contracts; Failing to adequately investigate guards' previous employment, which resulted in the company's hiring individuals who had previously been fired for sharing sensitive security infonnation with Taliban warlords; and Failure to appropriately vet guards, some of whom, according to U.S. intelligence reports, may have been involved in anti·American activities.
Could it be that the guards in Benghazi also revealed the location of the safehouse and numbers and armament of the facility?????
Yet, no one in the Obama administration is stepping forward. No they are ducking for cover by lying to the American People.
In January 2008, Claire McCaskill decided to endorse Senator Barack Obama in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidential elections of 2008, making her one of the first senators to do so. She has been one of the most visible faces for his campaign.[10] McCaskill's support was crucial to Obama's narrow victory in the Missouri primary in February 2008.
Why has Senator McCaskill from Missouri remained quiet! Now we know....

Letter From the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight,
U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Murdered ex-SEAL’s mother frustrated by pace of Benghazi investigation
By Josh Rogin | Friday, September 28, 2012 | Foreign Policy
 The mother of Tyrone Woods, one of the two former Navy SEALs killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi consulate, is speaking out about the slow pace of the investigation into the death of her son and three other Americans.
"Don't want to ever politicize the loss of my son in Libya, but it has been 16 days and the FBI has yet to get to Benghazi to begin their investigation," Woods's mother Cheryl Croft Bennett wrote on her Facebook page Thursday. "Apparently they have made it to Tripoli but haven't been allowed to enter Benghazi. Meanwhile, the diplomatic outpost where Tyrone and [former SEAL] Glen [Doherty] died, was not and is not secured. Absolutely unacceptable."

Read more:

The Scorpion And The Frog
Aesop’s fable, The Scorpion and the Frog, illustrates the “Obama Doctrine” in the volatile Middle East and North African Muslim countries.
The Scorpion and the Frog
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and thescorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back.
The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset
of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will
but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”


Here's One Fact from Benghazi: Two Americans Exhibited Uncommon Valor

Antipodius · Sep 21
Tyrone Woods
Glen Doherty

Mollie Hemingway wondered if anything the Obama administration said about Benghazi was true. She ended her post with this quote from the CBS report.
"What's clear is that the public won't get a detailed account of what happened until after the election."
Well this is not detailed information, but it is a fact well worth knowing.
The two former SEALS, Tyrone Woods, 41, and Glen Doherty, 42, were not employed by the State Department diplomatic security office and instead were what is known as personal service contractors who had other duties related to security, the officials said.
The two ex-Seals and others engaged in a lengthy firefight with the extremists who attacked the compound, a fight that stretched from the inner area of the consulate to an outside annex and a nearby safe house -- a location that the insurgents appeared to know about, the officials said.
And to it, add this account from the funeral of one of those heroes as reported on blackfive, by someone who is was a member of the SEAL community, and attended the final farewell.
Excerpted from Froggy’s piece in BlackFive: Ty and Glen Doherty are former SEALs and State Department contractors who came to the aid of the US Ambassador to Libya during the attack on the Benghazi Consulate.
Ty’s widow, Dorothy, delivered an inspiring eulogy with more grace, poise, and fervor than I have ever witnessed from the spouse of a fallen warrior. I wish I had the entire thing on tape, as it should be read by the nation on the anniversary of 9/11 next year. Here are two quotes that I will never forget.

“It is easy to write a book about being a Navy SEAL, but it is very hard to write an obituary for one.”
          “To all the Operators here today I give you this charge: Rid the world of those savages.           I’ll say it again, RID THE WORLD OF THOSE SAVAGES!”
Mike Ritland interview was, very poignant, respectful, and a reflection of Mike's grief and ability to handle a nation-wide interview like handling a chat between two respectful war vets.

The interview is in video. If eating too much bandwith, then please delete. But take my word for it, Mike showed class, even when at the end he said "My pleasure".

Special Forces
U.S. officials clarify administration description of two heroes in Libya attack
Ex-Navy Seals weren't part of ambassador's security detail but rose to occasion, officials now confirm
Why It Matters:
The Obama administration's initial account of the Libyan consulate attack didn't give the full story about two ex-Navy SEALs who helped repel the security breach until they were killed. Now officials are confirming those two heroes' real jobs at the embassy along with evidence of ties between the attack and al-Qaida.
The two former Navy SEALs killed in last week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were not part of Ambassador Chris Stevens' official security detail but took up arms in an effort to protect the facility when it was overrun by insurgents, U.S. officials tell the Washington Guardian.
The two former SEALS, Tyrone Woods, 41, and Glen Doherty, 42, were not employed by the State Department diplomatic security office and instead were what is known as personal service contractors who had other duties related to security, the officials said.
They stepped into action, however, when Stevens became separated from the small security detail normally assigned to protect him when he traveled from the more fortified embassy in Tripoli to Benghazi, the officials said.
The two ex-Seals and others engaged in a lengthy firefight with the extremists who attacked the compound, a fight that stretched from the inner area of the consulate to an outside annex and a nearby safe house -- a location that the insurgents appeared to know about, the officials said.
The officials provided the information to the Washington Guardian, saying they feared the Obama administration’s scant description of the episode left a misimpression that the two ex-Navy SEALs might have been responsible for the ambassador’s personal safety or become separated from him.
“Woods and Doherty weren’t part of the detail, nor were they personally responsible for the ambassador’s security, but they stepped into the breach when the attacks occurred and their actions saved others lives -- and they shouldn’t be lumped in with the security detail,” one senior official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the State Department.
The administration has not fully described the two former Navy SEALs' activities, characterizing their work only vaguely as being security related. “Our embassies could not carry on our critical work around the world without the service and sacrifice of brave people like Tyrone and Glen," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after the attacks.
As recently as Sunday, UN Ambassador Susan Rice gave a similar description. “Two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function. And indeed, there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them,” Rice told ABC's This Week program.
In fact, officials said, the two men were personal service contractors whose official function was described as "embassy security," but whose work did not involve personal protection of the ambassador or perimeter security of the compound.
The details emerged the same day that U.S. officials confirmed in public a Washington Guardian story Friday that U.S. intelligence believes al-Qaida or its affiliates played a role in the attack. "We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda's affiliates," Matt Olsen, the director of the National Counterrorism Center, told lawmakers.
Administration officials had downplayed al-Qaida connections shortly after the attack.
Many U.S. agencies in foreign hotspots like Benghazi rely on and even share contract workers with special skills like those of retired Navy SEALs for security, reconnaissance and threat assessments.
Unlike full embassies such as the one in Tripoli, consulates like Benghazi usually don’t have a contingent of Marines to provide security, and private contractors help fulfill some of those responsibilities. The Washington Guardian reported last week concerns about the embassy security that predated the deadly attack.
Those briefed on the latest intelligence say investigators are trying to determine when and why Stevens’ official State Department security team got separated from the ambassador when the attacks occurred the evening of Sept. 11.
The separation of the team from the ambassador remains one of the more serious matters under review, the officials said.
In addition, while the administration has downplayed any link to al-Qaida, there is evidence some of the attackers were affiliated with another group that sympathizes with al-Qaida and has grown more influential in Libya and other parts of north Africa.
State Department officials did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.
The current evidence leads U.S. intelligence to believe that a band of Islamist extremists with some ties to the north African affiliate of al-Qaida had accumulated a stash of weapons and extra human muscle, performed some reconnaissance to identify possible U.S. targets, and may have even infiltrated the Libyan security forces that help protect the consulate in hopes of eventually conducting a terrorist operation somewhere in Benghazi.
However, U.S. intelligence does not believe -- at present -- that the attackers specifically targeted Stevens, official said. Instead, they think the attackers sprang into action when, seeing crowds forming outside the consulate on Sept. 11, they perceived an opportunity to carry out a terrorist attack, officials said.
“Yes, they were killed in a terrorist attack on our embassy,” Olsen told the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday. “The best information we have now, the facts that we have now, indicates an opportunistic attack on our embassy.”
U.S. officials say they have some evidence at least one of the attackers had prior connections to al-Qaida's senior leadership and that others were linked to a sympathetic spinoff group in northern Africa known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which is gaining influence in Libya.
Specifically, U.S. intelligence is investigating whether there is any connection to an al-Qaida-linked player named Sufyan Ben Qumu, who was captured by U.S. officials after the September 11, 2001 attacks and held at Guantanamo Bay for years before being released to Libyan authorities by the Bush administration in 2007. Qumu has emerged in recent months as an increasingly influential Islamist figure in eastern Libya, near Benghazi.
Fox News reported Wednesday night he might be a mastermind of the attack, but U.S. intelligence officials said such conclusions are premature.
“There’s an active effort to uncover those individuals and groups who were responsible for the attack. Any suggestion that a leading suspect or ‘mastermind’ of the attack has been identified at this point is premature. It is safe to assume that any significant extremist in Eastern Libya is going to be under a lot of scrutiny right now," one U.S. intelligence official told the Washington Guardian.
U.S. intelligence believes part of the motivation for launching the attack was a video from al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri that surfaced the night of Sept. 10, imploring Libyans to attack Americans in retribution for the U.S. drone strike that killed Libyan-born al-Qaida leader Abu Yahya al-Libi in June.
The Washington Guardian reported on Friday that U.S. intelligence had intercepted and translated Zawahiri’s message imploring Libyans to attack U.S. officials the night before the consulate attack and were still analyzing its significance when the ambassador was killed. No significant changes to security countermeasures at the diplomatic mission were taken until after the compound was overrun.

The White House claims two ex-SEALs killed in Libya were inept security guards. The truth? They volunteered for duty and died heroes. But that doesn't serve an Obama political purpose, now does it?

According to the Obama administration's United Nations ambassador, Susan Rice, the two former Navy SEALs who died defending the Benghazi consulate from attack this month, Tyrone Woods, 41, and Glen Doherty, 42, were State Department employees on the consulate's security detail when they somehow got overpowered by a mob that was enraged by an anti-Islamic film.

That's questionable, given that the consulate endured a sustained paramilitary-style attack that left the consulate aflame, killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and diplomat Sean Smith, and ended with a desperate trail of bloody handprints across the consulate walls.

"Tragically, two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function," Rice told ABC News' Jake Tapper in an interview earlier this week.
Hold on. It now comes to light that they weren't State Department employees and they weren't there to protect the consulate. They bravely did it on their own.

In reality, they were two contractors working on a separate mission — with at least one tracking down missing shoulder-fired missiles, according to ABC News.

"Woods and Doherty weren't part of the detail, nor were they personally responsible for the ambassador's security, but they stepped into the breach when the attacks occurred and their actions saved the lives of others," an unnamed U.S. official told the Washington Guardian.
So as the consulate was pummeled with mortar fire from an organized al-Qaida terrorist attack, the two men, with no preparation and no ground intelligence, just plain stepped forward without any obligation to do so, and died defending the U.S. after the non-U.S. contractors who were paid to do that ran away.
Such information ought to get out, because these men died heroes. They didn't have to be there, but they went anyway defending against a terrorist attack that can only be compared to the Alamo.
But the White House makes no such recognition.

That's because the two men's selfless act raises questions about how serious Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's State Department was about defending U.S. outposts from potential al-Qaida terror attacks.
Already a damning picture is building, given that the U.S. knew about an al-Qaida revenge threat following the killing of a Libyan terrorist in Pakistan, the Libyan government says it gave a three-day warning of an attack, Stevens himself expressed concern about being on an al-Qaida hit list, and Smith wrote in a computer bulletin board posting the chilling words "if we don't get killed tonight."
But if that picture of malfeasance doesn't fit the "narrative" of the Obama administration, then the sacrifice of the ex-SEALs gets covered up and they go out to history as bumblers.

It just goes to show the willingness of the Obama administration to politicize the patriotic missions of the SEALs to its own shameless ends.

The Obama administration has always sought to politicize the SEALs — from President Obama trying to make political hay out of the SEAL raid on bin Laden to win re-election, to his recent attempt to motivate his campaign staff in Las Vegas by comparing their electioneering to the ultimate sacrifice of the two former SEALs.

Now the Obama team is concealing what the two former SEALs really did and spinning their act as just that of helpless security guards.

Frankly, the SEALs deserve better.

Is there ever going to come a time when the patriotism of the SEALs is left out of politics? Not so long as Obama is president. To our president, patriotism is partisanship and partisanship is patriotism.

Read More At IBD:

Benghazi-Gate: A Timeline of Government Deceit, Deception, and Outright Lies

Bombshell: Obama Administration Deleted State Dept. Memo From Internet After Discovering Al-Qaeda Was Behind Benghazi Attack

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, September 27, 2012, 9:17 AM

Yesterday there were reports that the Obama Administration found out that Al-Qaeda was behind the Benghazi consulate attacks within 24 hours of the assault that killed four Americans.
So what was their first action?
Did they secure the compound? – No, that took over a week to get FBI agents to the consulate
Did they acknowledge it was an Al-Qaeda attack? No, Obama this week blamed the terror attack on a YouTube protest.
Here’s what they did – They scrubbed a damning State Department memo from the internet–
On Wednesday September 12, 2012 blogger Speak With Authority discovered that five days before 9-11, the US State Department sent out a memo announcing no credible security threats against the United States on the anniversary of 9-11.
The Overseas Security Advisory Council, who posted the memo, is part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security under the U.S. Department of State.
Here is a screengrab of the memo at the OSAC website:

The OSAC memo said:
Terrorism and Important Dates
OSAC currently has no credible information to suggest that al-Qa’ida or any other terrorist group is plotting any kind of attack overseas to coincide with the upcoming anniversary of September 11. However, constituents often have concerns around important dates, holidays, and major events, Often times, these concerns are the result of increased media attention to the issue, rather than credible evidence of a terrorist plot.
But now it’s gone.
The State Department scrubbed the letter from its OSAC website.

The damning memo is gone.
How convenient. They flushed the damning memo down the internet memory hole.

Blue Mountain
We’d like to give you an insight into some of the tasks we have undertaken recently, so you can appreciate the variety of work we are able to undertake:
close protection for a high net worth businessman in London; protection of media teams operating in Yemen and Libya; gathering of evidence for
commercial fraud; assessment of security at numerous facilities in Libya; provision and training of static guard teams for high profile resorts and hotels;
close protection and security guard forces for embassies; and security training teams for high risk environments. Of course, there is much more we would
like to tell you about…..August 2012


29 Sep 2012

"Al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat." -- President Barack Obama: Sept 6th, 2012, at the Democratic Convention.

Late yesterday afternoon, in an obvious attempt to rescue President Obama from what could and should be a brutal round of Sunday shows examining the cover up the White House is currently engaged in with respect to the sacking of our consulate in Libya, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released a statement revising its assessment of the attack. It is now the official position of the American intelligence community that what happened in Benghazi was a pre-planned terrorist attack.
The statement comes from Shawn Turner, director of public affairs for National Intelligence -- the office that speaks for the intelligence community as a whole:
As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate.
This is not news. In the last few days, the White House and State Department have both made statements saying exactly that.
This, however, is news and should be read carefully:
In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving.
There's no question that what we have here is the DNI (Obama appointee James Clapper) attempting to fall on his sword and to put an end to the drumbeat of scandal coming mostly from Republicans and right-of-center media. What's been exposed, just weeks before a presidential election, is the fact that in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, the White House and State Department knowingly misled and lied to the American people about what they knew and when they knew it.
But what the DNI statement is really meant to do is muddy the waters.
The statement deliberately omits any information as to exactly when the determination was made that Benghazi was indeed a terrorist attack. Most importantly, nothing in the statement contradicts numerous news reports that U.S. officials were certain within 24 hours that they were dealing with a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous protest gone bad.
In other words, the DNI statement is so intentionally vague that it could read as confirmation that our government knew within 24 hours that Benghazi was a terrorist attack and still lied about it for days afterward.
And this, my friends, is how a cover up works.
And so, the only response to this cynical muddying of the waters is a 30,000 foot approach that might help connect some dots.
Standing on the shoulders of those who have done the admirable work of digging into and investigating this story (most notably, Brett Baier of Fox News, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard, Jake Tapper of ABC News, and the Daily Beast's Eli Lake), what I want to do is lay out a timeline of known facts that answer a very simple question:
What did our government know and what were we told when they knew it?
What you'll see below was inspired by the vitally important video-report Brett Baier closed "Special Report" with last night, but this will hopefully go into even greater detail. We'll also look into three specific areas: 1) Security failures. 2) The lies. 3) The attempted cover up of numbers one and two.
In an attempt to justify that the security at our Libyan consulate in Benghazi was "adequate," the White House laid a narrative along two tracks. The first, obviously, was that there was no way anyone could've predicted that a "spontaneous" protest would go bad. In fact, that defense would be the White House position for a full eight days, until Sept 20th, when White House Spokesman Jay Carney would finally admit it was "self-evident" Benghazi was a terror attack.

The second narrative track, however, is as shaky as the first. Essentially, the Administration's line is that, based on what we knew, security was adequate.
That's a judgment call, I guess, but let's look at what we did know for a fact prior to the sacking of the consulate and determine if having no Marines, no bullet-proof windows, no threat assessment, and no real security other than locks on the doors was indeed adequate…
1. We'll start with what is the most underreported fact of this entire episode: the fact that this very same consulate had been targeted and attacked just a few months earlier, on June 6, in retaliation for a drone strike on a top al-Qaeda operative:
U.S. mission in Benghazi attacked to avenge al Qaeda
The United States diplomatic office in the Libyan city of Benghazi was attacked Tuesday night, the embassy in the capital Tripoli said Wednesday.
A Libyan security source told CNN a jihadist group that is suspected of carrying out the strike, the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades, left leaflets at the scene claiming the attack was in retaliation for the death of Libyan al Qaeda No. 2 Abu Yahya al Libi.
"Fortunately, no one was injured" in the improvised explosive device attack, the embassy said.
2. It was the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, a date that should mean heightened security regardless of what our intelligence says.
3. In the days just prior to the Benghazi attack (September 9 and 10), al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri….
….posted a 42-minute video on Jihadist forums urging Libyans to attack Americans to avenge the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the terror organization’s second-in-command, whom U.S. drones killed in June of 2012 in Pakistan.
In the video, al-Zawahri said al-Libi’s “blood is calling, urging and inciting you to fight and kill the Crusaders,” leading up to a date heralded and celebrated by radical Islamists.
Another version of the video was actually posted on YouTube on September 9[.]
4. Just a couple of months prior to the Benghazi attack….
…an unclassified report published in August that fingers Qumu as a key al Qaeda operative in Libya. The report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) was prepared by the research division of the Library of Congress (LOC) under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office.
The report details al Qaeda’s plans for Libya, including the growth of a clandestine terrorist network that has attempted to hide its presence. The U.S military has concluded that al Qaeda is in the final phase of a three-step process for developing a full-blown al Qaeda affiliate.
5. Our assassinated Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, feared al-Qaeda's growing influence in Libya and believed he was on a hit list.
6. Sean Smith, one of our diplomats killed along with Stevens, also feared for his life prior to the attack:
One of the American diplomats killed Tuesday in a bloody attack on a Libyan Consulate told pals in an online gaming forum hours earlier that he'd seen suspicious people taking pictures outside his compound and wondered if he and his team might "die tonight." …
But hours before the bloody assault, Smith sent a message to Alex Gianturco, the director of "Goonswarm," Smith's online gaming team or "guild."
“Assuming we don’t die tonight,” the message, which was first reported by Wired, read. “We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
Within hours of posting that message, Smith, a husband and father of two, was dead. Gianturco, who could not be reached for further comment, got the word out to fellow gamers, according to Wired.
What we have here are six concrete, non-speculative red flags that indicated our consulate and Ambassador were in danger, vulnerable to attack, and targets.
To justify a lack of adequate security, the Obama administration spent a week blaming the attack on a "spontaneous" demonstration they couldn’t have possibly predicted would occur. We now know that's simply not true. But here are two more justifications we were told:
1. CNN Sept 21: Clinton says Stevens was not worried about being hit by al-qaeda:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday she has "absolutely no information or reason to believe there is any basis" to suggest that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.
The remark came after a source familiar with Stevens' thinking told CNN that in the months leading up to his death, Stevens worried about constant security threats in Benghazi and mentioned that his name was on an al Qaeda hit list.
So Clinton is saying that Stevens wasn't on a al-Qaeda hit list. Stevens' diary says he was. Oh. Okay.
2. White House Spokesman Jay Carney on Sept 14: [emphasis added]
ABC NEWS' JAKE TAPPER: One of my colleagues in the Associated Press asked you a direct question, was there any direct intelligence suggesting that there would be an attack on the U.S. consulates. You said that a story — referred to a story being false and said there was no actionable intelligence, but you didn’t answer his question. Was there any intelligence, period — intelligence, period, suggesting that there was going to be an attack on either the –
CARNEY: There was no intelligence that in any way could have been acted on to prevent these attacks. It is — I mean, I think the DNI spokesman was very declarative about this, that the report is false. The report suggested that there was intelligence that was available prior to this that led us to believe that this facility would be attacked, and that is false.
Note Carney's careful wording; how determined he is to stay in the arena of "actionable" intelligence and intelligence that "could have been acted on to prevent these attacks." Also note how Carney never answers Tapper's general question about "any intelligence" or intelligence in general.
Summation: Let's give our government the benefit of the doubt and assume the stories about Stevens' fear of being an al-Qaeda target are incorrect -- or, if true, that for some inexplicable reason he never communicated those fears to his superiors. Here's what is indisputable…
The Obama administration didn’t act upon the fact that the anniversary of 9/11 is an obvious date to be wary of or the fact that our consulate had already been targeted and attacked just a few months prior. We also didn’t act upon a report that said al-Qaeda's influence was growing in Libya or a video-threat released by an al-Qaeda chief just days prior to the red-flag date of 9/11.
But security was adequate.

Taking the just-released DNI statement at its word, let's argue that for a time our intelligence services believed the fatal Benghazi attack was a "spontaneous" protest gone bad. Then, on a date not specified in the DNI statement, the assessment was updated to a pre-meditated terrorist attack committed by affiliates of al-Qaeda.
None of that contradicts what we already knew.

According to a number of reports based on numerous sources, we can ascertain exactly when our government determined Benghazi was a terrorist attack -- and that was just 24 hours after the attack.
Let's run through the facts:
1. In a Rose Garden statement the morning after the attack, the President himself referred to the attacks as terror:
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
2. "Intelligence sources said that the Obama administration internally labeled the attack terrorism from the first day…"
… in order to unlock and mobilize certain resources to respond, and that officials were looking for one specific suspect. The sources said the intelligence community knew by Sept. 12 that the militant Ansar al-Shariah and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were likely behind the strike.
3. "In the hours following the 9/11 anniversary attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya…"
…U.S. intelligence agencies monitored communications from jihadists affiliated with the group that led the attack and members of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the group’s North African affiliate.
In the communications, members of Ansar al-Sharia (AAS) bragged about their successful attack against the American consulate and the U.S. ambassador, according to three U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast anonymously because they were not authorized to talk to the press.
4. "Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi…"
U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.
Again, let's be clear: The DNI statement released yesterday does not dispute any of this. And yet….

For an extensive rundown of the false and misleading statements surrounding the Benghazi attack, let me refer you again to Brett Baier's video report and to a Washington Post rundown put together by Glenn Kessler.

What I want to focus on here is the administration's narrative. There's simply no longer any question that in the days following the attack, a coordinated White House narrative was orchestrated that was intentionally misleading and completely false.
And that narrative went something like this:
1. There was no security failure at the consulate. The attack was birthed by a spontaneous protest gone bad -- so how could we have known?
2. Obama's brag before the country that al-Qaeda was on the road to defeat just five days before the Benghazi attack remains true. After all, this wasn't a terrorist attack, it was a protest gone bad.
3. Obama's Middle East policy of disengagement and assuming his own awesomeness would buy us goodwill with radicals worked. After all, these massive, deadly protests in two dozen countries have nothing to do with anti-American sentiment; the bad guy is a Coptic Christian filmmaker who insulted Muhammad.
I'll reiterate that this is how a cover up works. You don’t tell the truth and you don't lie; what you do is manufacture a false narrative built on misleading statements that aren’t outright lies. As you can see, many of the statements made by President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, Jay Carney, and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice are loaded with caveats and escape hatches: "Based on what we know…" and "What we do know is…"
Defenders of the President and his administration officials will and are using these escape hatches to defend the intentional spinning of a patently false narrative. But there's absolutely no question that for a full week this false narrative -- a glaring lie of omission -- was also used to strike down, downplay, dismiss, and distract from any raising of the question that what might've happened in Benghazi was the work of terrorists.
Moreover, this narrative was so intentionally stifling and oppressive, it wouldn’t even allow room for an either/or possibility. The lie of omission was that no administration official told us that what happened "could've been" or "might've been" a terrorist attack. Quite the opposite. The narrative was used to tell us the raising of that possibility was outrageous.
This, even in the face of numerous news outlets reporting just a day or two after the attack that terrorism was a likely motive. On September 12, both Fox News and CBS News reported the possibility, and on September 13, CNN joined in.
And yet, this narrative lie of omission that was used to scape-goat this filmmaker and to shout down anyone who even entertained the notion of terrorism, remained firmly in place until Sept. 20, the day Jay Carney finally admitted it was "self-evident" terrorism was behind the attack.
But just day before, on Sept 19, the White House was using this narrative to treat those who even raised the possibility of a terror attack like they were crazy. Watch this bizarre exchange between Carney and CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante a full eight days after the attack:

That memorable exchange occurred the very same day National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen told Congress that the Benghazi attack was indeed an act of terror.

Not every statement made by an administration official contained the necessary escape hatches to avoid being outright lies. In fact, if you look closely at numerous statements made by Susan Rice and Jay Carney, regardless of how much benefit of the doubt Obama's defenders wish to summon -- both of them looked the American people in the eye and lied.
Let's start with Carney.

The following is a transcript of a Sept. 14 exchange between Carney and ABC's Jake Tapper: [emphasis added]
TAPPER: Wouldn’t it seem logical that the anniversary of 9/11 would be a time that you would want to have extra security around diplomats and military posts?
CARNEY: Well, as you know, there — we are very vigilant around anniversaries like 9/11. The president is always briefed and brought up to speed on all the precautions being taken. But let’s be -
TAPPER: Obviously not vigilant enough.
CARNEY: Jake, let’s be clear. This — these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region [1]–
TAPPER: At Benghazi?
CARNEY: We certainly don’t know; we don’t know otherwise. You know, we have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. [2] The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims find offensive. And while the violence is reprehensible and unjustified, it is not a reaction to the 9/11 anniversary that we know of or to U.S. policy.
TAPPER: The group around the Benghazi post was well-armed, it was a well-coordinated attack. Do you think it was a spontaneous protest against a movie?
CARNEY: Look, this is obviously under investigation, and I don’t have — but I answered the question.
ANOTHER REPORTER: But your operating assumptions — your operating assumption is that that was — that was in response to the video, in Benghazi? I just want to clear that up. That’s the framework; that’s the operating assumption?
CARNEY: It’s not an assumption –
TAPPER: Administration officials have said that it looks like this was something other than -
CARNEY: I think there have been misreports on this, Jake, even in the press, which some of it has been speculative. What I’m telling you is this is under investigation. The unrest around the region has been in response to this video. We do not, at this moment, have information to suggest or to tell you that would indicate that any of this unrest was preplanned. [3]
What I've bolded and numbered are undeniably false statements. On Sept. 14, a full two days after the attack, Carney is falsely but declaratively stating as fact that…
1. "[L]et’s be clear. This — these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region."
Carney isn't stating this as a possibility, he is stating it as settled fact. Even if you give the White House as much benefit of the doubt as possible, no one believed that was settled fact. And yet, this is what the White House told America.
2. "[W]e have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack."
That's just false. By this time that was probably the only information the White House had.
3. Carney doubles down on the patently false "no information" claim.
As we now know, numerous reports based on numerous sources say that within 24 hours of the sacking of our consulate, we not only had information that al-Qaeda was behind it, but on day one, in order to release the necessary resources, we had designated it as a terror attack.
If that isn't bad enough, a full five days later, on Sept. 19, Carney had this exchange with CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante: [emphasis added]
PLANTE: You are still maintaining that there was no evidence of a pre-planned attack--
CARNEY: Bill, let me just repeat now--
PLANTE: But how is it that the attackers had RPGs, automatic weapons, mortars…
CARNEY: Bill, I know you've done a little bit of reading about Libya since the unrest that began with Gaddafi. The place has an abundance of weapons.
PLANTE: But you expect a street mob to come armed that way?
CARNEY: There are unfortunately many bad actors throughout the region and they're very armed. ….
PLANTE: But they planned to do it, don't you think?
CARNEY: They might, or they might not. All I can tell you is that based on the information that we had then and have now we do not yet have indication that it was pre-planned or pre-meditated. There's an active investigation. If that active investigation produces facts that lead to a different conclusion, we will make clear that that is where the investigation has led. Our interest is in finding out the facts of what happened, not taking what we've read in the newspaper and making bold assertions that we know what happened.
Once again, you have Carney stating declaratively and falsely stating that "we [still] do not yet have indication" that the Benghazi attack was pre-planned -- eight days after the attack!
Again, under the most generous benefit of the doubt one can summon, what you have in these two examples is the White House lying to the media and to the American people.
Impossibly enough, what Susan Rice did was even worse.
On September 16, a full four days after the attack, and at least three days after the White House knew Benghazi had been a terror attack, Rice was sent out on a round-robin of five Sunday morning news shows to push a narrative the White House knew was false.
What's worse, however, is that like Carney, Rice also made declaratively false statements: [emphasis added]
Fox News Sunday:
RICE: The best information and the best assessment we have today is that was, in fact, not a pre-planned and pre-meditated attack. That what happened initially -- it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo, as a consequence of the video, that people gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent. Those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya. And that then spun out of control. We don't see at this point -- signs that this was a coordinated, pre-meditated attack. Obviously we'll wait for the results of the investigation and we don't want to jump to conclusions before then. But I do think it's important for the American people to know our best current assessment.
Face the Nation:
As soon as the president of Libya's National Congress, Mohamed Magariaf, finished telling host Bob Scieffer….
The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think we-- and they're choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no-- this leaves us with no doubt that this has preplanned, determined-- predetermined. months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their-- since their arrival.
…Ambassador Rice took her turn:
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with [Magariaf] that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
SUSAN RICE: We do not-- we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
This Week:
JAKE TAPPER: It just seems that the U.S. government is powerless as this -- as this maelstrom erupts.
RICE: It's actually the opposite. First of all, let's be clear about what transpired here. What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region...
TAPPER: Tunisia, Khartoum...
RICE: ... was a result -- a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting. We have also been very clear in saying that there is no excuse for violence, there is -- that we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms.
Rice declaratively states as settled fact that the Benghazi attack was a "direct result" of the video.
Meet the Press:
DAVID GREGORY: Was there a failure here that this administration is responsible for, whether it’s an intelligence failure, a failure to see this coming, or a failure to adequately protect U.S. embassies and installations from a spontaneous kind of reaction like this?
SUSAN RICE: David, I don’t think so. First of all we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that-- that any attack on our facility in Benghazi was imminent. In Cairo, we did have indications that there was the risk that the video might spark some-- some protests and our embassy, in fact, acted accordingly, and had called upon the Egyptian authorities to-- to reinforce our facility. What we have seen as-- with respect to the security response, obviously we had security personnel in Benghazi, a-- a significant number, and tragically, among those four that were killed were two of our security personnel. But what happened, obviously, overwhelmed the security we had in place which is why the president ordered additional reinforcements to Tripoli and-- and why elsewhere in the world we have been working with governments to ensure they take up their obligations to protect us and we reinforce where necessary.
Note how, like Carney earlier, Rice rephrases the question into "actionable" intelligence. Because we most certainly had intelligence, including a video threat from a top al-Qaeda operative.

As if all of the above isn’t on its own frustrating, heart-breaking, maddening, and unforgivable enough, let me close with one more deceit.

During her Sunday blitz, and in an attempt to explain the criminal and fatal lack of security in Benghazi, Susan Rice told Chris Wallace this:
WALLACE: And the last question: Terror cells in Benghazi had carried out five attacks since April, including one at this same consulate-- a bombing at this same consulate in June. Should U.S. security been tighter at that consulate given the history of terror activity in Benghazi?
RICE: We obviously did have a strong security presence and unfortunately, two of the four Americans who died in Benghazi were there to provide security. But that obviously wasn’t sufficient in the circumstances to prevent the overrun of the consulate. This is among the things that will obviously be looked at as the investigation as the investigation unfolds.
That's also not true.
Whatever security there was, the White House cannot use two dead Navy SEALs as window dressing that makes some sort of case that says, Well, at least the White House had Navy SEALs protecting the ambassador and the consulate -- because regardless of the spin Rice put on it, that simply wasn't the case:
As recently as Sunday, UN Ambassador Susan Rice gave a similar description. “Two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function. And indeed, there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them,” Rice told ABC's This Week program.
In fact, officials said, the two men were personal service contractors whose official function was described as "embassy security," but whose work did not involve personal protection of the ambassador or perimeter security of the compound. …
They stepped into action, however, when Stevens became separated from the small security detail normally assigned to protect him when he traveled from the more fortified embassy in Tripoli to Benghazi, the officials said.
The two ex-Seals and others engaged in a lengthy firefight with the extremists who attacked the compound, a fight that stretched from the inner area of the consulate to an outside annex and a nearby safe house -- a location that the insurgents appeared to know about, the officials said.
The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes asks:
Some of the misleading information provided to the public could not possibly have been a result of incomplete or evolving intelligence. The information about security for the ambassador and the compound, for instance, would have been readily available to administration officials from the beginning. And yet when Susan Rice appeared on five political talk shows on September 16, she erroneously claimed that the two ex-Navy SEALs killed in the attack were, along with several colleagues, providing security. They were not. Why did she say this?
Good question. But I have a better one: Why did our president say the same:
Glen and Tyrone had each served America as Navy SEALs for many years, before continuing their service providing security for our diplomats in Libya. They died as they lived their lives — defending their fellow Americans, and advancing the values that all of us hold dear.
This is a legitimate scandal of the highest order. Four Americans are dead, our government is still attempting to cover up what really happened, and as of this writing. the F.B.I still hasn't gained access to the consulate.
And what's the response of those charged with the sacred duty of holding our government accountable?

Breaking: Fox News confirms Obama admin designated Benghazi sacking a terror attack within first 24 hours

 September 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Fox News follows up on Eli Lake’s excellent reporting on the intel after the assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens, confirming from their own sources that the US knew within the first twenty-four hours that the sacking of the Benghazi consulate was no “spontaneous demonstration” that spun out of control. In fact, they already suspected al-Qaeda of masterminding the planned terrorist attack on the compound days before even admitting that it had been a terror attack at all — and had designated the incident as terrorism in order to pursue one suspect:
U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox News — though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it.
The account conflicts with claims on the Sunday after the attack by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice that the administration believed the strike was a “spontaneous” event triggered by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film.
Two senior U.S. officials said the Obama administration internally labeled the attack terrorism from the first day in order to unlock and mobilize certain resources to respond, and that officials were looking for one specific suspect.
Four days later, the White House sent UN Ambassador Susan Rice to five different Sunday talk shows to claim that the sacking and assassination sprang from a “spontaneous” demonstration. That no longer can be explained as initial confusion over conflicting reports; it is now clearly a lie told by the White House. Jennifer Rubin pointed this out at the Washington Post even before the Fox report, and wondered where the national media that screeched at every claim by George W. Bush has suddenly become so comfortable with an administration that flat-out lies to them:
Eli Lake let loose a bombshell yesterday: “Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.”
Obviously the report, if true, suggests that the White House lied to the American people by insisting for over a week that this was a spontaneous attack. It is one thing for the president to be so benighted as to think a video sets off multiple attacks on Sept. 11. It is quite another to send out his advisers, including his own spokesman, to mislead voters. …
And finally, now is the time when we see if reporters and pundits are more than shills for the president. The incompetency, and perhaps mendacity, of thee White House here is severe. The media’s glaring unwillingness to hold the president accountable for his actions can be at least partially remedied if they pursue the story vigorously. Even though Bush in good faith believed his intelligence community’s take on weapons of mass destruction, the left-leaning elites hollered, “Bush lied, people died!” But here we have dead Americans and an cover story in shreds. Why is there not, at a bare minimum, a call for answers? Isn’t this a top-of-the-fold issue? Well, my guess is that pundits and reporters alike in the mainstream media will do their best to soften and downplay the story.
I hope I’m wrong and that the media live up to their journalistic responsibilities, but I see little evidence that an epidemic of fairness is breaking out in the mainstream media. All the more reason, then, for lawmakers and Romney to push for answers. Certainly, we shouldn’t have a president in office who would lie to the American people about a critical national security issue for the sake of his own reelection, right?
Jennifer should start by asking her own colleagues at the Post. Aside from Glenn Kessler, who began pointing out the politics involved in the cover story today, the newspaper hasn’t done much to challenge Rice’s account or the fallout from its collapse.
Update: Jim DeMint called for a complete investigation into the White House’s “misleading” statements even before Fox broke this news:
Officials claimed the attacks were “spontaneous” and a result of a
 protest that had “spun out of control.” Ambassador Rice denied it was 
premeditated, stating that the protest was “hijacked by some
 individual clusters of extremists…and then it evolved from there.”
Then, finally, the National Counterterrosim Center Director Matthew 
Olsen stated in a Senate hearing the four Americans were killed “in
 the course of a terror attack” that may have connections to al Qaeda, but that we do not have specific intelligence of “significant advance
Again, this is a different narrative described by Libyan President
 Megariaf, who said the attack was carried out by foreign militants who
 had infiltrated Libya and had been planning these events for months.
 The contradictory and changing stories stemming from the same events 
are worrisome.
It’s far past time to get all the facts. We need a comprehensive
 detailed report rather than waiting for various officials to dribble
 them out one interview at a time.
Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and I have introduced legislation to require the Obama
 Administration to conduct an official investigation and issue a report
on the September 11-13, 2012 attacks on United States missions in
 Libya, Egypt, and Yemen within 30 days. It also requires the Secretary 
of State to submit recommended changes to security procedures.
It’s time to flush out the liars.

left-leaning Center for American Progress.
by Joel B. Pollak

Former Navy SEALs are speaking out after President Barack Obama referred to recent events in the Middle East, including the deaths of two former Navy SEALs, as "bumps in the road."

Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were providing security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya when it was attacked on 9/11. They were both hailed in the aftermath of the attacks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both had gone into private security after retiring from the Navy after distinguished careers.

Former SEAL and current Montana State Senator Ryan Zinke issued the following statement:

Former Navy SEALs to Obama: 'We Are Not Bumps in the Road'

The President refuses to admit that his policy of appeasement and apology has failed. The murder of our Ambassador and two former Navy SEALs is more than a "bump in the road," it is a global catastrophe where America is seen as being weak and vulnerable by our enemies. This President has failed to establish a red line for Iran's nuclear ambitions and has failed to recognize the scale and implications of the attacks against us. Reagan had it right: don't negotiate with terrorists and recognize the clear and present danger of not being willing to act or lead from the front.

Zinke has been a frequent critic of President Obama's foreign policy, and started a super PAC, Special Operations for America, that has released ads to that effect, including an ad highlighting Obama's bows to foreign monarchs.

Beyond the political debate, however, Navy SEALs are also a close-knit brotherhood, and do not take kindly to disrespect when lives are lost. President Obama's "bumps in the road" comment is particularly chafing because of the credit he has taken for the success of the SEALs in the raid against Osama bin Laden.

They are heroes when they return, and heroes when they fall--not just when it is politically convenient for those in power.
First an attack in Libya, then an ambush

The U.S. diplomatic compound after it was attacked on Sept. 12 in Benghazi, Libya. The assault on American officials in Libya, set off by a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad, has transformed into what the Obama administration now, after initial hesitation, describes as a terrorist attack. MOHAMMAD HANNON / ASSOCIATED PRESS, FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published: Friday, September 21, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 10:12 p.m.
WASHINGTON - The survivors of the assault on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya, thought they were safe. They had retreated to a villa not far from the main building where the surprise attack had occurred, and a State Department team had arrived to evacuate them. The eruption of violence had ended, and now they were surrounded by friendly Libyan brigades in what seemed to be a dark, uneasy calm.
A colleague's body lay on the ground. They had no idea where their boss, the U.S. ambassador, was, nor how in the confusion he had become separated from his bodyguard and left behind.
Then, shortly after 2 a.m. on Sept. 12, just as they were assembling to be taken to the airport, gunfire erupted, followed by the thunderous blasts of falling mortar rounds. Two of the mission's guards -- Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, former members of the Navy SEALs -- were killed just outside the villa's front gate. A mortar round struck the roof of the building where the Americans had scrambled for cover.
The attackers had lain in wait, silently observing as the rescuers, including eight State Department civilians who had just landed at the airport in Benghazi, arrived in large convoys. This second attack was shorter in duration than the first, but more complex and sophisticated.
It was an ambush.
"It was really accurate," Fathi al-Obeidi, commander of special operations for a militia called Libyan Shield, who was there that night, said of the mortar fire. "The people who were shooting at us knew what they were doing."
They also escaped, apparently uninjured.
Interviews with Libyan witnesses and U.S. officials provide new details on the assault on U.S. diplomatic facilities.

Page 2 of 4
The attack has raised questions about the adequacy of security preparations at the two U.S. compounds in Benghazi. Both were temporary homes in a dangerous, insecure city, and were never intended to become permanent diplomatic missions with appropriate security features built into them.
Neither was heavily guarded, and the second house was never intended to be a "safe house," as initial accounts suggested. At no point were the Marines or other U.S. military personnel involved, contrary to news reports early on.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced on Thursday the creation of a review board led by a veteran diplomat and former undersecretary of state, Thomas R. Pickering. She also briefed lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill.
But the State Department now faces congressional demands for an independent investigation of the attacks and any security failures that might have added to the death toll.
Investigators and intelligence officials are now focusing on the possibility that the attackers were affiliated with, or possibly members of, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb -- a branch of the terrorist franchise that originated in Algeria -- or at least in communication with it before or during the initial attack at the mission and the second one at the mission's annex, a half-mile away.
One extremist now under scrutiny is a former detainee at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamouda, a Libyan who is a prominent member of an extremist group called Ansar al-Sharia, which some have blamed for the attack.
"It is safe to assume that any significant extremist in eastern Libya is going to be under a lot of scrutiny right now," a U.S. intelligence official said, adding that it was premature to draw any conclusions

Page 3 of 4
The most significant inconsistency between Libyan and U.S. accounts is whether the attack that night began with a small protest over the trailer of "The Innocence of Muslims," parts of which were broadcast on Egyptian television. U.S. officials insist there was a protest that began peacefully, only to be hijacked by armed militants.
But Libyan witnesses, including two guards at the building, say the area around the compound was quiet until the attackers arrived, firing their weapons and storming the compound from three sides, beginning at 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. A witness said that some of those attacking referred to the film's insults to Islam.
Matthew Olsen, the director for the National Counterterrorism Center, said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the authorities believe "this was an opportunistic attack" that "evolved and escalated over several hours."
What is clear, however, is that those who arrived at the mission -- not officially a consulate, though Libyans call it that informally -- came intending to inflict maximum damage on the building. They quickly overwhelmed a small security detail that included three guards from a force called the 17th of February Brigade and five Libyans employed by a British security company called Blue Mountain.
In a detail not previously disclosed, after storming the compound, the attackers poured diesel fuel around the exterior of the building where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; a computer technician, Sean Smith; and a security officer had settled in for the night, and ignited it. It is not clear if they knew anyone was inside.
By that time, according to officials, the three had moved into a part of the building designated as a "safe haven," with fortified doors and no external exposure. The dense, billowing smoke from the fire, however, forced them to leave the haven and head for an exit. It was at that time that they became separated. The security guard, who has not been identified, made it out of the house, but Smith and Stevens did not. Both died of asphyxiation from the smoke.

The guard, now joined by others, found Smith's body, but not the ambassador's. By 11:20 p.m., nearly two hours after the shooting started, they retreated to the mission's second compound, or annex, which had been rented after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi's government last year to provide additional space for a diplomatic team that now included roughly two dozen Americans in all.
The State Department's operations center, now aware of the attack in progress, set in motion a contingency plan drafted for emergencies. A civilian airliner contracted by the department and on standby at Tripoli's airport flew to Benghazi, arriving at 1:30 a.m. with the eight additional security officers.
Al-Obeidi, the commander with the Libya Shield brigade, was ordered to meet them at the airport, take them to the mission's annex and escort them back to the airport to be evacuated. Al-Obeidi expected to find only a few people inside and was surprised to find the entire staff from Benghazi, more than two dozen people. "They told me that there would only be a few, but I saw a big number," he said.
When the second attack began, it lasted only five minutes, "but when you are in that situation, it feels like an hour," he added.
The evacuation to the airport did not begin until dawn, but the plane could not carry everyone. It left behind 11 security officers and the three bodies. Al-Obeidi said that the commander of the local operations center, Mustapha Boshala, then ordered a unit to the hospital to retrieve Stevens' body. Two hours later the State Department's plane returned to carry the last Americans out of Benghazi.

U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates

Sources say intelligence agencies knew within a day that al Qaeda affiliates were behind the attacks in Benghazi, Libya—they even knew where one of the attackers lived. Eli Lake reports.

Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.

'Tariq Ramadan discusses the uprisings in the Middle East.'

Nonetheless, it took until late last week for the White House and the administration to formally acknowledge that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack. On Sunday, Obama adviser Robert Gibbs explained the evolving narrative as a function of new information coming in quickly on the attacks. "We learned more information every single day about what happened,” Gibbs said on Fox News. “Nobody wants to get to the bottom of this faster than we do.”

The intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast did so anonymously because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press. They said U.S. intelligence agencies developed leads on four of the participants of the attacks within 24 hours of the fire fight that took place mainly at an annex near the Benghazi consulate. For one of those individuals, the U.S. agencies were able to find his location after his use of social media. “We had two kinds of intelligence on one guy,” this official said. “We believe we had enough to target him.”

Another U.S. intelligence official said, “There was very good information on this in the first 24 hours. These guys have a return address. There are camps of people and a wide variety of things we could do.”

A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment for the story. But another U.S. intelligence official said, “I can’t get into specific numbers but soon after the attack we had a pretty good bead on some individuals involved in the attack.”

It’s unclear whether any of these suspected attackers have been targeted or arrested, and intelligence experts caution that these are still early days in a complex investigation.

The question of what the White House knew, and when they knew it, will be of keen interest to members of Congress in the election year. Last Thursday, the Obama administration formally briefed House and Senate members on the attack. Those briefings however failed to satisfy many members, particularly Republicans. “That is the most useless, worthless briefing I have attended in a long time,” Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, was quoted as saying.

“There was very good information on this in the first 24 hours. These guys have a return address.”

The Daily Beast reported last week that the U.S. intelligence community was studying an intercept between a Libyan politician and a member of the so-called February 17 militia, Libyans charged with providing security for the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. More intelligence has come in that shows members of Ansar al-Sharia, an al Qaeda–affiliated group operating in and around Benghazi, were attempting to coerce, threaten, cajole, and bribe members of the militia protecting the consulate.


Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the Benghazi attack along with three other Americans.
It is unclear whether the Benghazi attack should be viewed as part of the wider protest movement. Unlike other protests, American officials said that the Benghazi attack appeared to be "complex" and professionally executed.[30] U.S. officials, speaking under anonymity, claimed that the Benghazi attack was planned in advance, and not prompted by the film.[31] A Libyan security guard who was wounded in the attack said in an interview that the area was quiet "until about 9:35 pm, when as many as 125 armed men descended on the compound from all directions."[64] The attackers lobbed grenades and stormed through the facility’s main gate shouting "God is great", according to the guard.
According to the U.S. State Department, on September 11 at 10:00 pm CAT, the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked by gunmen, who in minutes gained entry into the compound. According to eyewitness Mohammad al Bishari, the property's landlord, assailants moved in from two directions.[65] The main building, containing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and a security officer, became engulfed in a fire after being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.[66] The three became separated, and the security officer was the only person to make it out alive. 45 minutes into the attack, U.S. security personnel tried to retake the main building but were unsuccessful and retreated to the annex.[67]
With the assistance of Libyan forces, the American security personnel were able to evacuate the rest of the main building to the annex. At midnight the annex was attacked and two more Americans were killed. At 2:00 am CAT on September 12, Libyan and American security forces "regained control of the situation". However, they could not locate the body of Ambassador Stevens, who had already been taken to a local hospital. At the hospital Stevens was administered CPR for 90 minutes by Dr. Ziad Buzaid.[68] According to Dr. Buzaid, Stevens died from asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation, although the circumstances of the ambassador's death are still being investigated.[67]
The bodies were taken to Benina International Airport and flown to the capital, Tripoli, and scheduled to fly to a U.S. airbase in Germany. Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, the spokesman for Libya's Supreme Security Committee, said: "One American staff member has died and a number have been injured in the clashes. There are fierce clashes between the Libyan army and an armed militia outside the U.S. consulate," while adding that roads leading to the compound were sealed off and Libyan state security forces had surrounded the building.[23]
Wanis al-Sharef, Libya's deputy Interior Minister said on September 13, that the attacks on the consulate were suspected to be timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and militants used protests over the anti-Islam film as cover for their attack. He described the attack as a two-phase assault on the consulate and a secret safe house.[69]
Two of the four Americans killed in the assault have been identified as former Navy SEALs.[70]
On Friday, September 14, the Libyan authorities temporarily closed the air space over Benghazi after Islamists used anti-aircraft guns to attack an alleged U.S. reconnaissance drone. According to the Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharef, the U.S. deployed two drones over Benghazi with the knowledge of the Libyan authorities.[71]
In the aftermath of attack, Libyan security forces arrested up to 50 people.[72]
President of Libya Mohammed el-Megarif, in an exclusive interview with National Public Radio in Benghazi on September 16, said that foreigners had infiltrated Libya in previous months and had planned the attack and used Libyans to carry it out. President el-Megarif said: "The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous. We firmly believe that this was a precalculated, preplanned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate."[73] The attackers used the protesters outside the consulate as a cover, according to el-Megarif. He said there is evidence showing that elements of Ansar al-Sharia, an extremist group in eastern Benghazi, were used by foreign citizens with ties to al-Qaida to attack the consulate.
The British think tank Quilliam has argued that the attackers in Libya were too heavily armed and organized to merely be angry protesters, suggesting that the American fatalities in Benghazi were the result of a pre-planned revenge attack by al-Qaeda for the killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi three months prior and the protest outside the consulate was just a diversion.[74]
Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute, writing for the BBC, offers the opinion that the assault in Libya was "a co-ordinated, complex undertaking, by an organised militant group", and suggests connection with al-Qaeda. Joshi points out that a Gallup poll in 2012 showed that 54% of Libyans approved of American leadership and says that the violence does not reflect on the Libyan people any more than Anders Breivik's actions reflected on Norwegians.[75]
According to a SITE Intelligence Group report released September 15, al-Qaeda said the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya was in revenge for the killing of the network's number two Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi.[76]
On September 16, Libyan authorities arrested some 50 people in connection with the attack, and Mohamed Magarief said that the attack was pre-planned. He said that suspects were connected to al-Qaeda, or its "affiliates and maybe sympathisers" and said that it was "planned by foreigners" that has entered the country from "Mali and Algeria" a few months before the attacks.[77]
In an interview with Real Clear Politics on September 17, Representative Mike Rogers (R) Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said there were reports that the Consulate sustained "indirect fire, artillery type fire from mortars. They had direct unit action. It was coordinated in a way that was very unusual. They repulsed a quick reaction force that came to the facility...."[78]

The survivors of the assault on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya, thought they were safe. They had retreated to a villa not far from the main building where the surprise attack had occurred, and a State Department team had arrived to evacuate them. The eruption of violence had ended, and now they were surrounded by friendly Libyan brigades in what seemed to be a dark, uneasy calm.

A colleague’s body lay on the ground. They had no idea where their boss, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, was, nor how in the confusion he had become separated from his bodyguard and left behind.

Then, shortly after 2 a.m. on Sept. 12, just as they were assembling to be taken to the airport, gunfire erupted, followed by the thunderous blasts of falling mortar rounds. Two of the mission’s guards — Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, former members of the Navy SEALs — were killed just outside the villa’s front gate. A mortar round struck the roof of the building where the Americans had scrambled for cover.

The attackers had lain in wait, silently observing as the rescuers, including eight State Department civilians who had just landed at the airport in Benghazi, arrived in large convoys. This second attack was shorter in duration than the first, but more complex and sophisticated. It was an ambush.
about those 2 heroic seals who martyred themselves in the ambush, glen doherty and tyrone woods: un ambassador susan rice, speaking for the white house on 3 sunday talks last weekend, asserted that they were a part of ambassador stevens' personal protection, that they died in the marked man's defense on abc's this week with george stephanopolous, ms rice: "tragically two of the four americans who were killed were there providing security, that was their function".

today's daily beast takes umbrage with rice's account

Obama's Shaky Libya Narrative - The Daily Beast

two former special ops and a former intel officer, two of whom had worked with doherty, told the beast that doherty's and woods' job was not to protect the ambassador that duty fell instead to rso's, regional security officers, who somehow became separated from their charge in the first wave
"glen died for tyrone and tyrone died for glen, but they did not die protecting the ambassador"
the beast is affiliated with newsweek the indy, 9-14, three days after the attack, quoted survivors of the safe house: "i don't know how they found the place"

"it was planned"

US was warned of Libya embassy attack but did nothing - Independent
Ambassador Stevens divulged to friends that he was a target.

Exclusive: Amb. Chris Stevens worried about al Qaeda hit list – Anderson Cooper 360 - CNN
Hillary denies it.

Clinton: No sign that Stevens believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list - CNN
Obama still can't quite get himself to utter that terrible t-word.

Obama pressed on failures at Univision forum - POLITICO
Maybe ambassador stevens was the victim of an overseas contingency operation.

Denial's a river in egypt, but it's a rotten foreign policy.

It is precisely BECAUSE of this purposely obtuse, head buried, politically correct bowing and scraping, hesitancy and indecision that events like assassinations of ambassadors and ambushes of rescue teams arise.

The man who appears to have plotted and executed benghazi, one sufyan ben qumu, was released from gitmo in 2007, later freed from a libyan jail and a leader in the fight against ghadafi.

Radical Islamist Takeover in the North
The military coup left the Malian Army rudderless and unable to defend the vast northern region. While the south is still controlled by the military-led government in Bamako, the north has fallen into the hands of radical jihadi factions who pushed out the nomadic Tuareg rebels and imposed a brutal application of Shariah law, including public beatings, amputations and a stoning death.
In mid-September, the radical Islamists extended their campaign of enforcing harsh Shariah law by amputating the hands and feet of four young men they accused of robbery in the main square at Gao, a principal town in the region.
With the Islamists increasingly well established in the north and appearing to be on the move southward, and with an undisciplined Malian Army that is largely standing by, there have been rising fears about possible Islamist incursions into the portion of Mali still controlled by the government.
The Malian Army has rejected offers of military assistance from regional powers, even as the country’s weak civilian government, shadowed by a military junta that took over in late March, appeared to accept those very offers in September. The interim president, Dioncounda Traoré, asked the grouping of West African states, Ecowas, in a letter for “five battalions, on the front line, to be gradually engaged in the control of the reconquered cities.”
But the Malian Army, in statements to French radio, appeared to reject even that mild request, as it has dismissed such suggestions of help in the past. Diplomats have said the army and the junta are fearful that outside troops could weaken their dominant positions in the country.
About 400,000 people have fled the north since the Islamist takeover.

The Mess in Mali


It would be hard to overstate the mess that's been made out of Mali over the last fortnight. A surprise coup, an accelerating rebellion that has split the country in two, and an economic embargo by the landlocked country's neighbors have battered what had been, until recently, a West African success story. Add to that a looming food crisis in the northeast, and you have quite a fine mess. But the world can't turn away: Mali is too important to write off the country's 20-year old democracy as a failed experiment.
The coup was not accidental, as some have argued, but it was definitely improvisational. On March 22, a mutiny in the country's main garrison turned into a coup d'état as soldiers and junior officers chased President Amadou Toumani Touré from his palace. The coup leaders, angered by a lack of military material and political will to suppress a rebellion in the country's vast Saharan region in the north, dubbed the junta a "National Committee for the Re-establishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State" (CNRDRE).
Its name aside, the junta aims to destroy, not to establish, democratic rule -- the coup took place little more than a month before a scheduled presidential election, in which Touré was not a candidate. Since then, Mali's political parties, trade unions, and civil society organizations have with near unanimity formed a common front with one goal -- to reject the junta and demand a return to civilian rule. Internationally, the regional group ECOWAS slapped harsh sanctions on the junta and threatened military intervention if the constitutional regime is not restored.
The junta now has its back to the wall, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the coup leader, Cpt. Amadou Sanogo, has no real plan to extricate himself from this disaster. The junta's actions have been erratic: It staged the coup in order to fight the war in the north, but then sought peace negotiations with the Tuareg rebels. It proclaimed a new constitution, then rescindedit. And it announced a national conference, only to cancel it when its domestic opponents refused to attend.
In an interview published on April 4, Sanogo claimedthat if the situation was allowed to fester, "both Africa and the whole world will one day be its victims." For the first time in the past two weeks, what he's saying makes some sense.
A Tuareg separatist movement called the MNLA has exploited the chaos in the capital to pursue its dream of an independent state in what it terms "the Azawad," an old regional catch-all newly redefined to include most of the Malian Sahara north and east of Timbuktu. The MNLA and various Saharan rebel movements have been at war with the Malian army since January, and the army has been losing consistently. It has suffered a double humiliation: Both Touré and now Sanogo have ordered soldiers to retreat rather than fight, and those units that have stood their ground have been over-run. In one particularly gruesome episode, defeated soldiers in the northern town of Aguelhoc had their throats slit, and images of the atrocity circulated widely.
But though the MNLA has a secular nationalist bent, the rebellion in the north is helping Islamist extremists expand their foothold in the country. The MNLA has been in a loose partnership with Ansar Dine, an Islamist group led by Iyad ag Ghali, a Tuareg who led a major rebellion in the 1990s. Ag Ghali's career is a testament to the tangled web of alliances in the region: His most recent gig was in Libya, where, according to reports, Libya's transitional government encouraged him to lead a large-scale defection of Tuareg fighters from Muammar al-Qadaffi's security forces.
Ag Ghali obliged, but the Libyan rebels' gain was the Malian government's loss when he brought several dozen men in arms into a situation in which a rebellion was already simmering in the Malian Sahara. Since then, he's fallen in with the MNLA, and he seems to have a productive working relationship with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The warriors of Ansar Dine care less about an independent Azawad than they do about an extreme Islamist program. Ansar Dine doesn't communicate much -- theirs is not a media operation -- but it's their black flag that now flies over the northern towns of Timbuktu and Gao.
This partnership is a sticky one. Outside attention is focused on Ansar Dine, but their fighters number only around 200 to 300 men, are locally unpopular, and hold long-term goals that seem to be at odds with those of the MNLA. The latter has many more, and recently received a big boost when one of the Malian army's Tuareg commanders defected, bringing with him several hundred men. Still, the MNLA's military strength is thought to be limited, and the battle-hardened and well-armed men of the Ansar Dine appears increasingly to have taken the upper hand.
The MNLA is aware that the real war for the Azawad will be waged by its media wing. Refusing to be governed by the people of the south and harboring great resentment over the harsh repression of past rebellions, the MNLA wants to be seen as a legitimate nationalist movement. Colluding with the Ansar Dine adds extra bite to MNLA's bark, but it also discredits a movement that wants desperately to be taken seriously by outside actors, particularly France. Talking sharia won't help with that -- nor will stories coming out of Timbuktu and Gao regarding the imposition of a crude, vigilante version of Islamic law. There is no quicker way for the MNLA to lose its thin veneer of respectability than to keep hanging around with the wrong crowd.
Mali has already paid a high price for the failure of French anti-terrorist policies in the Sahara. Mali was long spared the trauma of having its Western visitors kidnapped -- a practice that over the last few years has become one of the Sahara's most profitable industries, generating millions of dollars in ransoms. After a bloody 2010 Franco-Mauritanian raid aimed at rescuing a French hostage from AQIM -- a raid that took place on Malian territory, but without Touré's knowledge -- that all changed. Seven members of AQIM had been killed. Later, the hostage would be, too, but AQIM still wanted revenge: no more gentlemen's agreement not to raid on Malian territory.
Mali became a hunting ground for potential hostages, kidnapped by freelancers or on commission, who could be sold to AQIM. Worse, France dealt a brutal blow to Mali's important tourist industry and its international reputation by effectively declaring the country a "no-go zone."
At the same time, both France and the United States were pushing the central government to reassert control in the desert. In spite of promises made over the last 15 years by successive Malian governments to assure the autonomy of the Saharan region, the zone was being remilitarized. Bringing a halt to that process is where the interests of the secular nationalist MNLA, the newly emergent Ansar Dine, and perhaps AQIM intersect.
Did the Libyan conflict -- and NATO's intervention in it -- light this long fuse? Did Mali lose Timbuktu because NATO saved Benghazi? Informed observers disagree. Some think the conflict was virtually inevitable, with or without men and arms from Libya. Others see a direct knock-on effect from Libya that upset a delicate balance. Whatever the case, it is undeniable that, as a consequence of the Libyan campaign, a stronger, more intense insurgency in the Malian Sahara was not only predictable but predicted. Everyone who was watching saw it coming from afar.
What's the fruit, then, of American action in the Sahel over the last several years? It might be too soon to say definitively, but it appears to be a bitter one. Much has been made of the fact that Sanogo has American military training, and briefly affected a U.S. Marine Corps lapel pin. Those details -- and the fact that he apparently speaks English -- are surely less important than the stunning fact that a decade of American investment in Special Forces training, cooperation between Sahalien armies and the United States, and counterterrorism programs of all sorts run by both the State Department and the Pentagon has, at best, failed to prevent a new disaster in the desert and, at worst, sowed its seeds.
Signs of the failure of U.S. counterterrorism policy in Mali abound wherever one looks. Military cooperation and training have not helped the army to hold the line in the north, and all the training in the world was not going to convince Touré to lead Mali into fighting what he termed "other people's wars" in the desert.

The Struggle for Security in Eastern Libya

Frederic Wehrey September 2012

Frederic Wehrey
Senior Associate
Middle East Program
Despite successful parliamentary elections in early July, localized clashes over identity, power, and resources persist in Libya, straining the capacity of the weak government, deterring foreign investment, and possibly stunting the emergence of democratic institutions. The most pressing of these conflicts—growing insecurity in Libya’s eastern region of Barqa, where Benghazi is located—is fueled by longstanding neglect, Salafi militancy, and fighting between ethnic Tabu and Arab tribes. Lacking an effective police and national army, the state is struggling for legitimacy and control of the east. It must act to restore the periphery’s confidence in the center.

Key Themes

  • Barqa suffered from political and economic neglect under Qaddafi; there are mounting fears that this discrimination will persist despite his overthrow.
  • Although the parliamentary elections represented a referendum on national unity, the issue of federalism and decentralization is not dead; a host of new federalist parties have sprung up in the east and pro-autonomy armed groups can still play a spoiler role in national politics.
  • A militant Salafi faction has emerged in the east that opposes electoral participation and has launched attacks on Western interests and Sufi sites.
  • The most intractable eastern conflict is the ongoing violence in the Saharan town of Kufra, where clashes have erupted between the Tabu, a long-marginalized non-Arab African minority, and the Zway, an Arab tribe favored by Qaddafi.
  • The central government has devolved enforcement and mediation in these conflicts to revolutionary brigade coalitions and tribal elders, frequently inflaming the situation and handing an unhealthy degree of leverage to informal actors.


  • Establishing an effective constitution and formalizing the security sector are the best ways to address the sources of eastern instability in the near term.
  • The constitution must carefully strike a balance between the central government and local administration. The issue of local authority may lead to deadlock and polarization.
  • The parliament must build consensus among the people on the institutionalization of the police, army, and judiciary. A top-down directive will be seen as a Qaddafi-like attempt to centralize authority.
  • To help quell violence and restore eastern confidence in the state, the government must demobilize the country’s numerous revolutionary brigades and strengthen the national army and police.
  • A priority should be professionalizing the Supreme Security Committees, police-like bodies that have become unaccountable and widely distrusted.

A Restive Region

Libya held its first parliamentary elections in sixty years on July 7. Despite sporadic violence, the polling went remarkably smoothly, defying predictions of both an Islamist landslide and a widespread boycott.1 Contrary to many assumptions, the country is not headed toward a territorial breakup or a descent into widespread communal strife. Rather, it faces endemic instability resulting from a number of localized struggles over identity, power, and resources in the country’s western, southern, and eastern regions. Troublingly, those conflicts are straining the nascent state’s capacity, deterring foreign investment, and possibly stunting the emergence of democratic institutions. These conflicts are also empowering potent revolutionary brigades—that is, the numerous armed fighting units that were formed during the course of the anti-Qaddafi struggle, usually on the basis of neighborhood, town, or locale2—that the transitional government, bereft of an effective police and army, has been forced to co-opt to quell the fighting.
The most pressing of these local conflicts is the deteriorating security situation in Libya’s eastern region of Cyrenaica (henceforth referred to by its Arabic name, Barqa), home of the restive city Benghazi. The roots of eastern grievances run deep and are related in part to the legacy of Qaddafi’s policy of marginalizing the region. But missteps by the National Transitional Council (NTC) have also fueled suspicion about continued neglect. Added to this are questions about the sharing of oil revenues; the east accounts for nearly 80 percent of the country’s oil production and armed groups in that part of the country have already shown the capacity to shut down this production—a form of leverage over the central government in Tripoli. Although the July elections for the General National Congress (GNC), which replaced the NTC on August 8, represented a referendum of sorts on national unity, the issue of autonomy and federalism is not dead. A number of new federalist parties have sprung up and pro-autonomy armed groups can still play a spoiler role.
In addition to federalist agitation, other subregional conflicts in Barqa have rippled across the country. The region’s deeply entrenched Salafi community is undergoing significant upheaval, with debate raging between a current that is amenable to political integration and a more militant strand that opposes democracy. In longtime hubs of Islamism in the east—Darnah, Baida, and, increasingly, Benghazi—Salafi brigades have rallied against elections and launched attacks on both western interests and Sufi sites. The most recent of these attacks was the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, in which U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Scott Stevens and three other U.S. diplomats were killed. In many respects, Salafi violence has been empowered by the very same security vacuum that has exacerbated communal fighting elsewhere in the country.
Among these conflicts in the east, the most intractable is the ongoing violence in Kufra, a Saharan trade hub that lies far to the south of Barqa’s coastal cities but is nonetheless connected to them via tribal linkages and commerce. Here, clashes have erupted between the town’s long-marginalized non-Arab African minority, the Tabu, and the Zway, an Arab tribe favored by Qaddafi. Bereft of both legitimacy and the ability to project its authority, the NTC dispatched militia coalitions and delegations of tribal elders to quell the fighting—both have failed to cement long-term peace.
The multiple sources of eastern instability are best addressed in the long term by an effective constitution and the formalization of the security sector.
The multiple sources of eastern instability—federalist activism, Salafi extremism, and ethnic infighting—are best addressed in the long term by an effective constitution and the formalization of the security sector. Obviously, these are priorities that affect the country as a whole, but they have special relevance to the eastern region. By delineating local and national authority over municipal services, budgets, and security, the constitutional process will be a litmus test for consolidating unity between east and west. Similarly, formalizing and integrating the country’s numerous revolutionary brigades into the army and police will help end a rising wave of violence in Benghazi, curtail the spread of Salafi militancy, and bring lasting peace to Kufra. It will also help restore eastern confidence in the national government by removing the disproportionate influence the western militia coalitions have on key ministries.

The Roots of Eastern Distinctiveness

Stretching from the coastal town of Sirte to Egypt and southward to the Saharan border with Chad, the Barqa region comprises a population of 1.6 million—less than a third of the Libyan populace. Ethnically, the area is divided between a largely urban Arab population spread among towns in the mountainous coastal region and a more rural, black minority, the Tabu, who inhabit the south. The region is home to several hundred tribes; by one estimate, the largest concentration in all of Libya.3 Nearly every tribe in the east has branches elsewhere in Libya, so much so that Barqa is sometimes referred to as a microcosm of the entire country. “The east is ‘Libya Minor,’” as one eastern activist interviewed by the author in July 2012 put it.
Despite the prevalence of tribal affinities, eastern distinctiveness has largely urban roots; its epicenter is the area’s largest city, Benghazi. There, a thriving merchant class, a long tradition of education, and a pervasive culture of cosmopolitanism combined to produce a distinctly political self-awareness. Added to this is the city’s pivotal role in many of the country’s defining events. The legendary anticolonial guerilla leader Omar Mukhtar is buried just south of the city in Suluq, the Sanussi monarchy had its seat in Benghazi until 1954, and Benghazi is where Qaddafi himself launched his 1969 revolution, with many of his co-conspirators drawn from eastern families. And of course it was ground zero for the 2011 revolt against the dictator.
There is the widespread sense, therefore, that the city—and the east in general—has long served as the engine of historic change for the whole of the country. “When Benghazi sneezes, Libya catches a cold,” goes an old saying in the area. Much of this influence, again, stems from Benghazi’s connectedness via familial linkages to the rest of the country, particularly in Misrata, Zawiya, Zuwara, Nafusa, Zintan, and even specific neighborhoods in Tripoli: Tajura, Suq al-Juma’a, and Fashlum.
In the debate over federalism and self-government for the east, these relationships have served dual purposes. For opponents of autonomy, they are reminders of the artificiality of the east’s separateness from the rest of the country. For federalism’s advocates, these connections serve as alliances and networks of support—almost fifth columns of sympathy. “Benghazi and her sisters” (Benghazi wa akhawatiha) is a common refrain among federalists. Though it is important to note that in the Libyan context, many citizens do not have a common understanding of what is meant by “federalism.” For some, it implies decentralized, local governance; for others, outright secession.
Against this backdrop, the long period of neglect during the Qaddafi era was, for many easterners, especially ironic. Although many of his co-conspirators in the 1969 coup hailed from eastern families, Qaddafi realized that future resistance to his rule would ultimately emanate from the east, given the influence of the Sanussi monarchy and the area’s powerful Saadi tribes. Shortly after seizing power, he began purging Sanussi officers from the army, dismantling Sufi orders, and expropriating land from Saadi notables and granting it to tribes of lesser status. Although he did not officially declare a capital, he began moving the bulk of government offices from Benghazi to Tripoli and later, in 1977, to his hometown of Sirte. Other institutions of economic and symbolic value were relocated as well: the oil ministry, the Olympic committee, and the Libyan national airline. Even the venerable University of Benghazi—the Arab world’s third-oldest university—was considered for relocation. “If the university had wheels, I would move it,” Qaddafi is purported to have said.
The development of Libya’s hydrocarbon sector added another irritant into the already-combustible mix of eastern grievances. Roughly two-thirds of Libyan oil production comes from the Sirte Basin and the eastern Benghazi region, but oil revenues have had very little effect on easterners’ living conditions and infrastructure.

The Movement for Autonomy and Its Opponents

The issue of federalism and autonomy in the east has emerged as a major source of political tension and instability in the post-Qaddafi period. Much of this may have been linked to the temporal character and questionable legitimacy of the NTC, which spurred opposition not just from the east, but throughout the country. At one level, eastern suspicion was rooted in the composition of the NTC and its cabinet, which had a distinctly western hue. At another, it reflected widespread frustration that even routine administrative services, like passport renewal, required an arduous twelve-hour drive to Tripoli. Regardless, by late 2011 there was mounting concern in the east that the post-revolutionary government would continue the hypercentralization and neglect that defined the forty-two-year reign of Qaddafi.
The issue of federalism and autonomy in the east has emerged as a source of political tension and instability in the post-Qaddafi period.
On March 6, 2012, a conference of 3,000 delegates in Benghazi announced the creation of the Cyrenaica Transitional Council, also known as the Barqa Council. Its head is Ahmed Zubayr al-Sanussi—the great nephew of King Idris and a political prisoner under Qaddafi for thirty-one years.4 According to a senior official in the council, its second-tier leadership is diverse, comprising over 350 members of tribes, professionals, and ex-revolutionaries (thuwwar), represented equally by the far east, the Green Mountains, Benghazi, and Ajdabiya. The council also maintains an armed wing, the Army of Barqa (Jaysh Barqa), commanded by Hamid al-Hasi, a former Libyan Army colonel with extensive frontline experience in the revolution.
In its initial statement, the Barqa Council appeared to reject the domestic legitimacy of the NTC entirely, accepting its writ only in the international arena. A senior member of the Barqa Council listed key grievances as the NTC’s relocation of Libya’s equivalent of the social security administration to Tripoli and the marginalization of easterners on recent lists for graduate scholarships abroad and ambassadorial appointments. The most significant complaint, however, was the NTC’s allocation of seats for the GNC—60 for the east, 100 for Tripoli, and 40 for the southwest. In its statement of demands, the Barqa Council called for an election boycott but then shifted to demanding greater representation in the GNC. According to one analyst with a Western nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Libya, the federalists’ boycott was only partially grounded in ideology; another reason was that they simply “didn’t get their act together in time” to field an effective electoral campaign.
This constant shifting of the goalpost has led some observers to criticize the council for deploying what one activist called “a muddled and illogical discourse.” There has been additional criticism, even from supporters of federalism, that the council never adopted a mass mobilization strategy or concerted outreach effort. “They never socialized the idea,” noted one local politician. “They never peddled it or widened the circle of discussion.” An independent parliamentary candidate echoed this: “The problem with Zubayr is he wanted to force federalism on people. He never sought a popular mandate.” Much of this was undoubtedly rooted in public perceptions of the council’s elite and intellectual roots. (For instance, the council’s vice chairman is Abu Bakr Bu’ira, a U.S.-educated professor of management at Benghazi University.)
The council’s influence was further undermined when a number of high-profile figures and groups came out in opposition to its March declaration. These included important religious personalities such as the Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadeq al-Gharyani; the leader of the Brotherhood-affiliated Justice and Construction Party, Muhammad Sawan; the longtime opposition group National Salvation Front; and the powerful east-based militia coalition the Union of Revolutionary Brigades (Tajammu Sarayat al-Thuwwar).5
In the run-up to the election, the Barqa Council began using armed action and violence to call attention to its demands. Most notably, its supporters set up roadblocks along Libya’s main east-west artery at a valley known as Wadi al-Ahmar, which marks the administrative boundary between Barqa and Tripolitania. According to Hamid al-Hasi, the closure was in protest of the parliamentary seat allocation. At another level, though, the closure reflected primarily local grievances related to reparations and mine removal. The protesters argued that force or the threat of force was the only means to get the NTC’s attention; sources cited the strong-arm tactics of western brigades from Misrata and Zintan, which were successful in securing concessions from the government, as examples of their strategy.
For many Libyans, however, the road closure was a bridge too far—it stopped thousands of citizens from traveling the east-west corridor and forced others to clog the country’s already-shaky domestic air service. The closure was followed on July 1 with an attack on the electoral commission’s offices in Benghazi by stick-wielding demonstrators—an effort to disrupt the voting by destroying the ballots and other key materials. (Libyan observers in Benghazi at the time referred to the instigators as club-wielding “thugs” or baltijiya.) The public response was swift and unequivocal. Benghazi’s local brigades mobilized to disperse and arrest the attackers, while the following nights saw massive counterdemonstrations in favor of elections. Public opinion seemed to be tilting sharply against the Barqa Council and its activism. A senior official in the council noted as much in an interview on July 3, arguing that the road closure was finally lifted because, “in the end, we realized we were hurting Barqa more than helping it.”
The federalists were dealt the most severe blow when voters in Benghazi handed a victory to party list candidates from Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance, defying predictions both of a widespread boycott and of a landslide victory for the Justice and Construction Party, which has strong roots in the east.6 Certainly, there were outbreaks of violence, but not on the scale predicated. In Benghazi, pro-autonomy activists attacked a voting station, and a machine-gun assault on a helicopter carrying election materials killed one official. In Ajdabiya, local police shot dead a pro-federalism protester after he apparently tried to steal a ballot. Just days before the elections, the Army of Barqa shut down the oil terminals at Ras Lanuf, Sidra, Brega, and Zuwaytina.7
At the close of voting, however, the mood in the east was one of euphoria and relief. Jibril’s National Forces Alliance adopted a conciliatory posture toward the region, offering to form a grand coalition.8 There were subsequent statements from the Barqa Council that it was considering disbanding. “The people have spoken,” Abu Bakr Bu’ira stated in a televised announcement shortly after the elections.9 At a subsequent meeting of independents and smaller party delegates, the so-called “third force” that is unconnected to either the National Forces Alliance or the Justice and Construction Party agreed that the positions of prime minister and chairman/speaker of the GNC should be split between the east and the southwest.10 In early August, the GNC selected Muhammad al-Magariaf, a longtime oppositionist and the head of the National Salvation Front, to be its chairman. The selection of al-Magariaf, who hails from Ajdabiya, was greeted with applause in the east—both as a signal of provincial inclusion and as a clean break from the Qaddafi era. Unlike many in the NTC, al-Magariaf was never connected to the dictator’s government.
Moving forward, it is clear that the elections and the high turnout in the east represent an upset for the militant federalists and a referendum on national unity. That said, the issue of federalism is not dead. There is purportedly a split emerging in the council between Zubayr and Bu’ira, and it is unclear if the group as a whole will follow Bu’ira. The bulk of the Army of Barqa is comprised of tribes who still fall under Zubayr and may yet again agitate if they feel marginalized during the constitutional process, according to one United Nations official based in Benghazi. A number of new federalist parties are also stepping out from the shadow of the Barqa Council. Most notably, on August 2, the Libyan Unionist Party announced its formation with the goals of opposing centralization and pushing for local control over budgets and municipal services.11 While these groups will lobby for their rights within the framework of the constitutional process and the GNC, there is still the potential for a more hardline stance. In particular, oil-revenue sharing has emerged as a major litmus test of the evenhandedness of the NTC’s successor.
Oil-revenue sharing has emerged as a major litmus test of the evenhandedness of the National Transitional Council’s successor.
Successful elections do not, therefore, absolve the GNC and the next executive branch from remedying the long-standing disparities between east and west, building effective governance, and reconstituting the security forces. This imperative is especially pressing in the east’s enclaves of militant Salafism.

Salafi Militancy in the East

Since early 2012, a rejectionist strain of Salafism in the east has asserted itself in a number of attacks on Western interests, such as World War II graves, the International Committee for the Red Cross, the U.S. consulate, and a motorcade of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. Added to this, Salafis have attacked Sufi graves, shrines, and mosques across the country. While these acts hardly represent mainstream Salafi sentiment in the country, they are symptomatic of an intense debate under way between an older generation of Salafis that has embraced political participation and a newer cadre that rejects democracy. In many cases, members of the militant current were residing abroad prior to the 2011 revolt, returned home, and have since been trying to assert themselves through excessive zealotry in the realm of Islamic social mores, eschewing electoral participation, and sending volunteers and material aid to Syria and Gaza.
Salafism in Libya is not a uniquely eastern phenomenon, but it has strong roots in the east, given the area’s commingling of religion and politics under the Sanussiya. Partly as a result of developments in neighboring Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in the east became great in the 1950s and 1960s. The industrial seaport of Darnah emerged as an especially active hub of Islamism. There, growing religiosity combined with mounting economic woes and the collective memory of the town’s prominent role in the anticolonial struggle to produce a trend of jihadi volunteerism that sent thousands of young men to Afghanistan in the 1980s and to Iraq after 2003. A similar dynamic was at work in the poorer sections of Benghazi, particularly the Laythi neighborhood, which earned the nickname “Little Kandahar.”
Returning veterans of this war formed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which had the explicit goal of bringing down the Qaddafi regime. In the mid-1990s, the LIFG, once a clandestine group, came into direct confrontation with the government, resulting in fierce fighting, mass arrests, torture, and most notably, the incarceration of a significant number of key leaders in the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. The LIFG subsequently renounced violence, a move that was rooted in the prison experience at Abu Salim, shifts in the personal thinking of key figures, and an amnesty program launched by Qaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam.12 Without going into the full history of this shift, it is sufficient to note that with the fall of Qaddafi and the holding of parliamentary elections, a significant portion of the LIFG’s cadre—known in local parlance as muqatileen (fighters)—had adopted democratic participation.
Yet the move into politics also produced splits among the muqatileen. One faction, led by Abd al-Hakim Bilhaj, the LIFG’s former emir and the ex-commander of the Tripoli Military Council, formed the al-Watan Party. But many more muqatileen joined a separate party, the Umma al-Wasat, led by Sami al-Saadi, the LIFG’s key ideologue who had once authored a seminal anti-democratic tract. Al-Saadi was joined by another central figure in the LIFG, Abd al-Wahhab al-Ghayid (the brother of the late Abu Yahya Libi, widely regarded as al-Qaeda’s number two), who ran successfully as a parliamentary candidate in the southern city of Murzuq. In many respects, this fracturing of the politicized muqatileen was related to differences over piety and ideological purity. Sami al-Saadi, who holds a master’s degree in Islamic law, is regarded as more of a clerical authority than Bilhaj. The leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, is reported to have lauded him as the “sheikh of the Arabs.” Similarly, Abd al-Wahhab al-Ghayid is known to be a compelling orator and master of jurisprudence (as was his brother), which was clear during a speech he delivered at a commemorative ceremony for the Abu Salim prison massacre in Tripoli on July 29.
While this current entered politics, a parallel faction was forming representing the second generation of Salafi jihadists. These are the sons and nephews of the first generation, who witnessed the 1990s crackdown and torture of their fathers or were incarcerated themselves and radicalized by their experiences. Some went to Afghanistan and Iraq after 2001, were imprisoned by coalition forces, and were repatriated to Libya by British and American intelligence services. In the tumult of the 2011 revolution, they reemerged as leaders of revolutionary brigades in Benghazi, Darnah, and other eastern cities.13
Unlike Bilhaj and his cohort, though, this group never relinquished their militant view. A key player is Abd al-Hakim al-Hasadi, who formed the Darnah Brigade in the early stages of the revolution, which was later renamed the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade. At some point, al-Hasadi was joined by Sufyan bin Qumu, another veteran of the LIFG, who was associated with Osama bin Laden in Sudan and fought with the Taliban before being arrested by Pakistani authorities and turned over to the United States.14 Qumu reportedly trained the brigade but later had a falling out with the force, perhaps because of his explicit links to al-Qaeda. Another, more shadowy figure associated with this current is Abd al-Basit Azuz, a former veteran of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, who fled Libya for Syria in the 1990s, then lived for a period in the United Kingdom before moving to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2009.15 According to one report, he was personally dispatched by Ayman al-Zawahiri to Libya in the wake of the 2011 revolts to establish an al-Qaeda foothold in Darnah. An undated online video (probably from the spring of 2012) shows Azuz speaking at a rally in Darnah in the presence of Salim Derby, who was al-Hasadi’s successor as the commander of the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade and a fellow veteran of the LIFG.16
As of mid-2012, the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade had become a force unto itself in Darnah. It began closing down beauty parlors and enforcing strict social mores in the city. In Darnah’s central court, it hung up a banner proclaiming Islamic law.17 Outside the city, in the foothills of the Green Mountains, it is reputed to run a training camp for volunteers in Syria. There are also indications that it is asserting itself through criminal enterprises such as drug smuggling and illicit weapons trafficking to Gaza. On March 2, 2012, the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade was reported to have assassinated Muhammad al-Hasi, a former colonel in the Libyan army who was in charge of internal security in Darnah and in line to be the head of the Darnah branch of the Ministry of Interior’s new security force, the Supreme Security Committees (SSCs). It is likely that the brigade viewed him as a threat to both their lucrative black market activity and their control of the town’s overall security. In any event, on April 11, the brigade had effectively been assigned to the SSCs. The brigade’s new commander, Fathi al-Sha’iri, hails from Darnah’s most prominent tribe.
In many respects, this institutionalization of the Salafi jihadists marked another phase in their development, a branching off by an even more radical group that coalesced under the name of Ansar al-Sharia, which announced its establishment in April. It is purportedly led by the aforementioned Sufyan bin Qumu in Darnah and is composed of more hardline elements of the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade who opposed the brigade’s incorporation into the SSC. It is reported to field roughly 300 members and, like the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade, is said to maintain a small training camp in a forest outside of Darnah. In an April interview with a jihadist forum, Qumu argued that the brigade was in the forest to guard the city’s “steam plant.”18
An Ansar al-Sharia Brigade also exists in Benghazi, led by Muhammad Ali al-Zahawi.19 According to the group’s Facebook page, al-Zahawi is a former political prisoner under Qaddafi who fought in the battle for Benghazi on March 19 with Rafallah Sahati (a prominent LIFG veteran who was killed in the battle), assumed command of the Rafallah Sahati Brigade, then went on to lead a contingent of eastern fighters in the defense of Misrata. On the political front, he is one of the founders of the High Authority for the Protection and Achievement of the February 17 Revolution and the Society for Islamic Dawa and Reform. According to its pamphlets, Ansar al-Sharia aims to unify all Islamist groups in Libya, wage jihad against “tyrants and polytheists,” and eliminate secular courts in the country.20 Al-Zahawi also made a rare public appearance on local television to condemn the July 7 elections as un-Islamic and to forbid participation in them.21
While similarly hardline in its views, the group and its leaders deny any linkages to Qumu’s Ansar al-Sharia Brigade in Darnah. The Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi operates openly in the city and reportedly performs some public service functions such as guarding a hospital, but has refused to fall under the Ministry of Interior’s authority. Ansar al-Sharia vehicles and members were reportedly present in the initial assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, although the group made a statement steadfastly denying involvement while at the same time praising the culprits.
Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi made its most visible entrée into eastern politics in early June, when it organized a rally for likeminded Islamist brigades in support of Islamic law. On the morning of June 7, over 150 vehicles representing fifteen brigades (eleven based out of Benghazi), paraded along the city’s waterfront. According to one of the commanders of the participating brigades the parade was “meant to intimidate those who do not want God’s law.” Yet the rally met with fierce opposition. By late afternoon, groups of civil society activists, including large NGOs and women’s groups, had appeared on Benghazi’s waterfront to oppose the rally. Many bore flags and placards emblazoned with “Libya is Not Afghanistan.”22 Importantly, the Benghazi counterdemonstration was not an isolated incident. Throughout the east, there has been burgeoning opposition and outreach to Salafi militancy from a range of societal actors.

Local Counterweights to Salafi Militancy

In each of the enclaves where it has enjoyed support, the Salafi rejectionist current has also encountered opposition from civil society activists, tribes, and religious figures. This opposition has been particularly evident in Darnah, a city that, despite its long-standing notoriety as a hotbed for Islamism, has a robust educated class and a thriving NGO scene. Voter turnout in Darnah during the GNC elections was relatively high and Islamists did not make strong gains. Over 140 NGOs operate in Darnah, of which 60 are led by women. A number of liberal theater groups that challenge the Islamic orthodoxy of Ansar al-Sharia have also sprung up—the most notable of these is a troupe called Breeze of Freedom (Nasim al-Huriya). Darnah’s university has become a particularly contested area in the struggle, with Salafi groups attempting to impose social restrictions on students. At the same time, it has emerged as a sort of neutral ground for mediation and conflict resolution. A prominent faculty member, Adl al-Unaybah—also a member of Darnah’s local council—has emerged as a key mediator with the area’s Salafi groups. According to several interlocutors, al-Unaybah convinced the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade to affiliate themselves with the SSC. He reportedly tried a similar approach with Ansar al-Sharia but was unsuccessful.
Aside from these interlocutors, there are religious mediators. These clerics hail from the same Salafi milieu as the rejectionists and were perhaps themselves incarcerated at Abu Salim prison, but they evince a more moderate outlook.23 Chief among these is the Grand Mufti of Libya, Sheikh Sadeq al-Gharyani. Appointed as Grand Mufti by the NTC in May 2011, al-Gharyani has emerged as one of the NTC’s foremost conflict mediators, not just on religious issues, but on tribal fighting in the south and west. On the Salafi issue, he has played a central role in condemning the desecration of Sufi shrines.24 Former muqatileen who have joined Bilhaj’s al-Watan Party have also played a role in outreach. According to one member of al-Watan: “We try to talk to Ansar al-Sharia. We tell them: ‘You can protest, but bring your women and children, not weapons. Don’t wear Afghan clothing.’ We tell them, you should talk to the media.” The Libyan Muslim Brotherhood is another counterweight; it maintains a robust media network in the east that frequently posts condemnations and counterpoints to Salafi militancy.
The tribes have proven to be the strongest counterweights to Salafism in the east.
Yet the tribes have proven to be the strongest counterweights to Salafism in the east. Tribal elders (known in the local dialect as wujaha) have engaged in outreach to the Salafists, attempting to woo them into local councils and incorporate their brigades into the formal security services. And their voices have weight. In an April 2012 interview, Qumu stated that he would obey the dictate of the wujaha to integrate Ansar al-Sharia into the Libyan Army or SSC. 25 The tribes have also been a source of extraordinary pressure, which was illustrated on two occasions. First, following the killing of Muhammad al-Hasi, his tribe, the al-Shalawiya, removed Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade checkpoints in Darnah and briefly chased the brigade out of town for three days. Second, the killing spurred a major conference of eastern tribes south of Darnah sometime in late June. It was agreed that the tribal elders would prevent their youth from joining the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade, the Ansar al-Sharia Brigade, and likeminded Salafi groups. Moreover, the tribes agreed that they were not responsible for anyone who entered the ranks of these groups; if a tribal member who joined was killed or detained by police or security services, the traditional tribal law of retribution would not apply.
The results of the elections have further put the Salafi rejectionists on the defensive by revealing that the majority of the Libyan electorate, even in eastern Islamist enclaves like Darnah, is focused on pragmatic, technocratic agendas for developing the country, rather than piety, charity, and social justice—the traditional selling points of the Islamists. In many respects, the Salafis have yet to find a niche or a compelling cause that will resonate in Libya. Much of this has to do with the country’s already-conservative social mores and piety; alcohol is banned and many women adopt the hijab. The more radical elements of the Salafi movement have therefore taken to destroying Sufi shrines and graves that they regard as idolatrous and un-Islamic. These incidents provoked an unprecedented public outcry against the Salafis, as well as the Interior Ministry for failing to prevent the attacks and allegedly permitting them. By many accounts, this violence is not a sign of the Salafis’ influence in Libyan society, but rather their isolation and marginalization. “I met with several of the Ansar al-Sharia members,” noted one local activist. “They seemed scared. They are constantly under fire because of public anger over their attacks on Sufi sites.”
A key priority in the wake of the U.S. consulate attack will be to build policies of inclusive governance, development, and security sector reform in the east. This holds true not just for Barqa’s urban coastal areas, but also on the Saharan periphery where conflict has raged in Kufra since February 2012.

The Tabu-Arab Conflict in Kufra

A longtime hub of trans-Saharan commerce, human labor, and narcotics trafficking, Kufra is a remote town located approximately 540 miles from the coast, in the tri-border area between Egypt, Sudan, and Chad. Of its estimated population of 43,500, the majority are ethnic Arabs from the Zway tribe. Around 10 percent are ethnic Tabu, a group which is found mostly in Chad but also in Libya—in Sabha, al-Qatrun, and Kufra. Since February 2012, fighting between the Tabu and Zway in Kufra has left over 200 killed.
The Zway-Tabu conflict has rippled across Barqa and the whole of Libya on multiple levels. Citing indiscriminate attacks by the Zway and the NTC’s inability to stop them, Tabu leader Issa Abd al-Majid threatened to boycott the GNC elections, demanding an international peacekeeping force be stationed in Kufra, and for Tabu representatives to be given seats in the country’s cabinet.26 He has warned of setting up a separate Tabu state in the south as well.
Members of the Zway have also threatened to declare a semiautonomous zone if the fighting continues. Unlike the Tabu, the Zway have a powerful economic lever at their disposal: oil. With vast fields under their sway they can plausibly claim to control up to 17 percent of Libya’s oil output; Zway tribesman serve as security guards at several refineries and processing stations.27 On multiple occasions the tribe has threatened to shut down oil production if the NTC did not intervene in Kufra.28

A Struggle Over Identity and Resources

The current conflict in Kufra reflects a confluence of national, ethnic, local, and economic factors. At one level, the fighting is a contest over the town’s lucrative smuggling networks—by various accounts, the violence erupted in February 2012 when Tabu guards arrested Zway smugglers or when a Zway shopkeeper was killed in a Tabu armed robbery. More broadly, the conflict is a struggle by the Tabu to undo the vestiges of Qaddafi’s discriminatory policies that deprived them of citizenship, housing, and medical care and condemned them to serf-like status under the Zway. Qaddafi’s policies of Arabization fueled Tabu grievances with the state. During the Libyan-Chadian war (1975–1994), the Tabu in Kufra fell under further suspicion as fifth columns for Chad, while the Libyan government showered the Zway with arms and money to enlist them as state proxies. Added to this, Tabu refugees from northern Chad fled to Kufra, further upsetting the tenuous balance of power between the two groups.
Throughout the late 1990s and into the 2000s, the Tabu in Kufra saw their livelihood decline precipitously, with the majority of Tabu confined to ghetto-like conditions in the districts of Swaydiya and Qaderfi. In 2007, Qaddafi withdrew Libyan nationality from many Tabu in Kufra, effectively depriving them of health care, housing, jobs, and education. In response, local Tabu formed the Front for the Salvation of Libyan Tabus; widespread rioting and protests ensued. In 2008, the regime suppressed a major Tabu uprising in Kufra, deploying helicopter gunships and tanks.29 During the 2011 revolt, however, the Zway and the Tabu temporarily shelved their differences and fought together against Qaddafi.
But in the aftermath of Qaddafi’s ouster, the conflict reemerged. Each side feels increasingly disenfranchised, believing that the other is quickly gaining economic and political advantage. The absence of the state as a mediator and the general security vacuum has only intensified this perception. Flush with heavy weaponry from the area’s local arms depots, Tabu and Zway brigades have mobilized to provide local security and have wrestled for control of cross-border smuggling routes. On this front, the Tabu appeared to have seized the advantage with the tacit endorsement of the government. Suspicious of the Zway as longtime Qaddafi supporters, the NTC invested authority in Issa Abd al-Majid to monitor and guard the southeastern border. In effect, the NTC handed him a near monopoly over the area’s illicit economy.30 Emboldened by this newfound wealth, the Tabu are attempting to reclaim their citizenship, demanding better social services and access to political power. Many complain that, rather than addressing these demands, the government is simply continuing the discriminatory policies of the Qaddafi era.

This perception has been undoubtedly worsened by the contentious cross-border dimension of the conflict. In the wake of Qaddafi’s ouster, thousands of Tabu from Chad returned to Kufra, many claiming Libyan citizenship. The lack of accurate record keeping has meant that it is impossible to verify claims. In the run-up to the July 7 GNC elections, the registration of roughly 1,000 Tabu voters in Kufra was rejected by the NTC on the grounds of fraudulent citizenship—approximately 15 percent of Kufra’s 7,000 Tabu. While the move undoubtedly had justification in some cases, it inflamed an already-tense situation.
Added to this, many Libyan media outlets and Zway leaders in Kufra have charged that local Tabu are aided by Chadian and Sudanese militias, specifically the Darfurian opposition group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).31 In many respects, this accusation is convenient scapegoating for what is ultimately a localized Libyan conflict over power and resources. That said, the JEM does have a history of interference in Kufra’s affairs that has exacerbated Zway-Tabu tensions. During the 2011 war, for example, the JEM attacked Kufra and fought with Qaddafi’s army against revolutionary forces as far west as Misrata. JEM forces fighting in Brega captured a Zway revolutionary leader from Kufra and spirited him to Darfur; he was released only after a ransom of 100,000 Libyan dinars was paid.

The Government Response: Subcontracting Security and Mediation

Hampered by a lack of capacity to project its authority, the government has relied upon coalitions of local militia to restore security and delegations of tribal elders to negotiate ceasefires. In both cases, this informal strategy has failed to provide lasting peace or address the entrenched roots of the conflict. In some instances it has ended up inflaming tensions even more.
The government’s strategy of relying on coalitions of local militia to restore security and delegations of tribal elders to negotiate ceasefires has failed to provide lasting peace or address the entrenched roots of the conflict.
In place of the army, the NTC dispatched a coalition of revolutionary brigades known as the Eastern Libyan Shield to Kufra.32 (In June, a group of Majabra tribal sheikhs from Ajdabiya stopped a contingent of Ansar al-Sharia fighters from moving south to join the fighting in Kufra.33 ) By many accounts the Shield has ended up aggravating the situation in Kufra by adopting a markedly partisan approach to the fighting, with forces augmented by Zway tribal brigades. On several occasions, the Shield was reported to have shelled the Tabu neighborhood of Qaderfi, causing civilian casualties, and at one point undertook a mass expulsion of Tabu from Kufra that, according to Issa Abd al-Majid, amounted to ethnic cleansing. Some Shield commanders appear to believe they are fighting an influx of African volunteers from Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, and Mauritania who have come to assist the Tabu.34 One of the Tabus’ key demands has been the withdrawal of Eastern Libyan Shield forces and their replacement by regular units from the Libyan Army.
As of mid-July, the Shield purportedly withdrew and was replaced by new militia coalitions from the Libyan Army and the Union of Revolutionary Brigades, which is also guarding the border. While this is not a viable, long-term solution, it does appear to have quieted the unrest somewhat; the commanders of these brigades are viewed by both Tabu and Zway as neutral and impartial. That said, there may be other costs to this approach. As in other instances throughout the country, the NTC’s policy of “deputizing” the brigades to quell local conflicts or exert control over the borders has endowed those forces with an unhealthy degree of autonomy and leverage. The Union of Revolutionary Brigades has been allegedly asking for payment directly from European diplomats in return for preventing migrants from sub-Saharan Africa from traversing Libya and flooding southern Europe.
In tandem with the dispatch of brigades, the NTC sent teams of tribal elders, principally from Ajdabiya, to Kufra.35 When they failed, other tribal sheikhs from Misrata, Nafusa, and Zawiya were dispatched.36 As of early August, the elders negotiated a shaky truce that appeared to be largely the result of the Eastern Libyan Shield withdrawing from the area.37 It is uncertain whether this ceasefire will hold. A United Nations official in the area likened it to a “Band-Aid” that failed to address the broader issues of social and economic inequality in the town.
At the same time this mediation has been under way, the NTC took nascent steps to control the tri-border region between Sudan, Chad, and Libya. In March 2012, a joint border force was established by the three countries, but its deployment has been plagued by delays.38 Recent weeks have also seen government efforts to register former Tabu revolutionaries and integrate them into the police and army. But there is reportedly hesitation among many Tabu about joining because of concerns about the army’s perceived infiltration by Qaddafi-era holdouts.39 This highlights the need for reforming the security sector which, in tandem with the drafting of an effective constitution, represents the critical next step for the east.

Next Steps in the East: The Constitutional Hurdle

In the months ahead, the General National Congress will face tough questions about the balance between central government and local administration. Many of these questions will hinge upon the drafting of an effective constitution. Already, there has been significant debate about the process for drafting this document, with many in the east viewing it as a post-election litmus test for the GNC’s commitment to resolving east-west differences. In March 2012, the NTC made a remarkable amendment to Article 30 of the constitution when it decreed the document would be drafted by a 60-member commission—the so-called “Committee of 60”—that would be formed along the lines of the body that drafted the 1951 constitution. Its sixty members would be appointed by the GNC to represent each of Libya’s three regions. This was seen as a clear effort to win support from the Barqa region. The amendment does differ significantly from the 1951 precedent by stating that any measure must be passed by two-thirds majority plus one—a caveat designed to prevent a single region from overruling the other two, as happened during the 1951 process.40
On July 5, 2012—just two days before the elections—the NTC went even further in an effort to head off the expected boycott from the east. It decreed that the Committee of 60 would be elected by popular vote, rather than appointed. The measure met with widespread support in the east, but there were certainly critical voices as well. Some believed that the constitution-drafting process would become excessively politicized and that the members of the commission should be drawn from legal experts, political scientists, and technocrats rather than popularly elected. Others argued that treating each region as a single constituency would marginalize towns and villages with smaller population densities.41 In a statement after the election, the NTC appeared to leave the door open to even further modification by stating that the eleventh-hour amendment was not legally binding on the GNC.42 As of August, according to a United Nations official in Benghazi, there are indications that the new GNC is going to formally repeal the NTC’s amendment, since they view it as illegal. Were this to happen, it would almost certainly rekindle eastern suspicions of marginalization and possibly empower more militant advocates of federalism.
Aside from these debates, the commission and the GNC face an ambitious timeline for adopting a constitution. According to a recent amendment, the commission has one hundred and twenty days to draft a constitution and then hold a referendum within thirty days. It will then go to the GNC for ratification and promulgation. Many have pointed to likely turbulence in this process, citing the inexperience of both the commission and GNC delegates, the lack of a clear parliamentary bloc, and the potential to conflate national with municipal issues. Others have called for an extension of the timeline, citing the precedent of the 1951 constitution which was formulated in twenty-five months.43

Formalizing the Security Sector

Irrespective of the constitutional timeline, the GNC will face the daunting challenge of rebuilding the country’s security sector, a task with particularly dire implications in the east given a recent spike in violence in Benghazi and other cities. In July alone, over thirteen Qaddafi-era officials were killed in Benghazi and surrounding cities. Benghazi also witnessed a string of grenade and rocket-propelled-grenade attacks against a courthouse and prisons, kidnappings, and improvised explosive attacks against local security headquarters.44 The perpetrators of these attacks remain unknown. Some have attributed them to an Islamist vigilante group with a hit list. It may also be attempts by local militia to strike at the formal organs of the state security apparatus, which are believed to be staffed by Qaddafi-era officials.
Overlaid on all of this is an ongoing feud between tribal opponents and supporters of the late Abd al-Fatah Yunis, the former minister of interior under Qaddafi who defected to become the opposition’s military commander during the revolution. He was assassinated under mysterious circumstances in Benghazi on July 28, 2011, and much of the recent violence was clustered around the anniversary of his death. For instance, on the evening of July 31, masked gunmen stormed the Ministry of Interior building in Benghazi and freed his alleged killer.
Regardless of origin, the attacks point to the urgency of addressing the security situation in the east within the framework of broader security sector reform in the country. Specifically, the numerous revolutionary brigades must be integrated into the regular police and army, and young, ex-revolutionary thuwwar must be given opportunities for job training or further education. Much of the work will have to focus on the ad hoc and temporary security bodies that have been created or tolerated by the NTC. In some cases, they are billed as holding pens or halfway houses for revolutionary brigades on the road to dismantlement and integration into the police and army. In others, they are bottom-up initiatives by the brigade commanders themselves, to resist the incorporation of their fighters into the army or police and to preserve the cohesion of the brigades—albeit under a different name. The central government will have to find a way to either dismantle those forces or bring them under tighter control.45 Otherwise, they run the risk of evolving into a sort of shadow state that subverts the development of democratic institutions.
Among these bodies, the most problematic is the Supreme Security Committee, which falls under the Ministry of Interior. Numbers of the force remain murky, with the some estimates ranging from 90,000 to 100,000 members. Ostensibly, the force is composed of revolutionary fighters and is meant to temporarily harness their zeal and fighting experience in the service of transitional security, particularly during the election period. Most ominously, the committees have left the brigade structure intact—entire brigades have joined en masse and their commanders have simply switched hats. In late August 2012, there were worrisome indications that the committees in Tripoli were infiltrated by hardline Salafis who had desecrated Sufi sites in Tripoli and Zlitan.46 Paradoxically, then, the committees are perpetuating the very brigade system the NTC was trying to dismantle, running at loggerheads with other demobilization programs under the prime minister’s office and minister of defense.47
Among Libyan citizens, the SSCs have hardly engendered confidence or trust. While the local police (which also fall under the Ministry of Interior) are derided as Qaddafi-era holdouts, the SSCs are feared as unruly thugs or derided as misfits. Accusations of torture, kidnapping, and murder are widespread. Increasingly, there are signs of a worrisome formality—the uniforms have gotten more standardized and the SSCs now have a website—that suggest they are not going away anytime soon.48 Most recently, the SSC in Tripoli forced the GNC to back down by threatening a strike after it had called for the resignation of SSC leaders following the desecration of Sunni shrines in late August.
Equally problematic as the SSCs over the long term is the Libyan Shield coalition of brigades from the east, Misrata, and Zintan that effectively functions as a parallel to the anemic Libyan Army. The Shield has often ended up inflaming tensions in the east because its commanders are seen as being party to the local conflict. In many respects, the force is a bottom-up initiative by brigade commanders themselves, designed to resist the incorporation of their fighters into the official army or police departments and to preserve the structure of the brigades—albeit under a different, more official-sounding name.
One Misrata brigade commander, arguably the most powerful military leader in the city, plans to transform the Shield into Libya’s reserve military force, which would operate alongside the country’s army, navy, and air force, and would be directly run by Libya’s chief of staff. According to his plan, Shield members would train one month a year and receive a stipend and medical benefits for themselves and their families. In exchange, they would hand over their heavy weaponry—artillery, tanks, rockets, recoilless rifles—to the Ministry of Defense. The government would buy back the fighters’ medium-size weaponry—the 14.5 and 23 millimeter anti-aircraft guns that were staples of the revolution. All these weapons would be stored in regional “military zones,” overseen by local Shield commanders. The scheme is purportedly intended to break up the brigades, since recruits join as individuals, not as part of a group. It is hard not to imagine, however, that it is just an ingenious way of preserving the prerogatives of the regional brigades and positioning the Shield as a hedge against an unfavorable political situation in Tripoli.49
Yet another militia initiative that serves as a counterweight to the Libyan Army is the Supreme Revolutionaries’ Committee—a coalition of brigades from Tripoli, Misrata, and the Nafusa Mountains that was announced in late July. The committee has asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to exclude all army officers that fought on Qaddafi's side from the new Libyan Army. The body also agreed on establishing a “political wing” for the committee that will be responsible for holding ministries and state institutions accountable to combat corruption in the Libyan state.50
In the last months of its tenure, the NTC took some steps to demobilize the brigades and integrate their young fighters into society. At the forefront of this effort is an initiative from the prime minister’s office called the Warrior’s Affairs Commission for Development (known locally as the WAC). The WAC has registered nearly 215,000 revolutionary fighters and collected data on them as well. It functions as a sort of placement service, moving these young men into the police and the army, or sending them on scholarships abroad, furthering their education at home, or giving them vocational training. After vetting and screening, roughly 150,000 are now eligible for placement; what happens to the other 65,000 remains to be seen. According to one WAC official, the implied goal of the commission is to break up the brigades by appealing to individual interest, “We need to appeal to the thuwwar’s ambitions and desire for a better life. We need to tell him that the brigades cannot offer you anything.” Unsurprisingly, the reaction from the brigades has been tepid.

Institutional Development in a Security Vacuum

Although fears of the east’s secession and potential autonomy have subsided, many pressing security concerns that will challenge GNC remain. The recent GNC elections represented a mandate for territorial unity, but there is still the potential that high expectations for economic growth and political inclusion will be unmet. A number of armed groups in the east maintain the capacity to play a spoiler role. Added to this is the mounting scale of assassinations, kidnappings, and bombings that have afflicted Benghazi.
Aside from the security vacuum, the most pressing conflicts within the east are the rise of Salafi militancy and Tabu irredentism. In both cases, the gap between central authority and local governance has exacerbated long-standing tribal and generational conflicts. The weakness of the formal security sector has meant that the state has devolved enforcement and mediation to informal actors—brigade coalitions and tribal elders. These stopgap measures have frequently inflamed the situation and handed an unhealthy degree of leverage to the brigades and tribal leaders.
One of the new parliament’s core tasks, therefore, will be to hasten the institutional development of the police and army, as well as the judiciary. Much of this is already happening, unplanned, at the local level. The new government would be wise to harness this momentum, rather than implementing a top-down approach that does not take local considerations into account, which will be regarded as yet more evidence that Qaddafi’s centralizing policies are alive and well. In tandem, the GNC must carefully steer the country through the constitutional process. The prospect for deadlock and polarization remains high, particularly on two issues that could animate violence in the east: local autonomy and the role of Islam in legislation.
In many respects, the outside community has limited leverage over these events. Already, a number of multilateral and bilateral efforts are under way to assist the Libyans with strategic planning in the ministries of defense and interior, to train the police, and to hasten the integration of young fighters. For models of constitution writing and decentralized government, the Libyans could benefit from other countries’ experiences—the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil. But for now, they appear to be drawing both positive and negative lessons from their own country’s brief experiment—the 1951 constitution. Regardless of which model is used, the new government must restore the periphery’s confidence in the center, repairing the political disconnect between the national government in Tripoli and local councils. Only then will the country’s numerous brigades be persuaded to relinquish their autonomy.
Unless otherwise stated, this paper draws from interviews conducted by the author in eastern Libya in March and July of 2012.
1 For a representative example, se Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, “Libya Heading Toward Islamism,” American Spectator, November 11, 2011. It is important to note that raising the specter of an Islamist advance in Libya was more prevalent among Western than Arab observers, with the latter noting the fractured nature of Libya’s Islamist movement as a key check on its strength. Kamel Abdallah, Al-Siyasa al-Dawliya (Arabic-language international affairs periodical), “Ihtimalat Iqamat Dawla Diniya fi Libya” (Possibility of Establishing a Religious State in Libya), October 2011.
2 For more on this typology in the Libyan context, see Brian McQuinn, “Armed Groups in Libya: Typology and Roles,” Small Arms Survey Research Note, no. 18, June 2012.
3 Faraj Najem, Tribe, Islam and State in Libya, unpublished PhD dissertation, 241.
4 See the website of the Barqa Council at New Quryna, July 20, 2011,;, July 21, 2011,
5 “Creation of Cyrenaica Council Sparks Furious Federalism Row,” Libya Herald, March 7, 2012. Also, Rafd Taqsim Libya ‘ila Fedralyaat, “Rejection of Dividing Libya Into Federal Sates,”, July 21, 2011,
6 “Jibril’s Bloc Wins Party Seats in East Libya,” Al-Jazeera, July 7, 2012,
7 “Gunmen Close Libyan Oil Terminals Ahead of Vote,” NOW Lebanon, July 6, 2012.
8 “Libya Leader Threatens ‘Force’ to Foil East Autonomy Bid,” Jordan Times, March 8, 2012.
9 See the website of the Barqa Council,
10 Michael Cousins, “Congress Independent Members Mull PM and Chairman Choice,” Libya Herald, July 28, 2012.
11 “Federalists Launch Political Party,” Libya Herald, August 1, 2012.
12 For background, see “Al-Islamiyun fi Libya: Tarikh wa Jihad” (Islamists in Libya: History and Jihad, parts 2 and 3), Al-Manara, January 2012,
13 For background on the Islamists’ role in the defense of Benghazi see the interview with Fawzi Bu Katif, al-Manara, February 14, 2012; available at
14 For more, see Charles Levinson, “Ex-Mujahedeen Help Lead Libyan Rebels,” Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2011.
15 Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank, “Source: Al Qaeda Leader Sends Veteran Jihadists to Establish Presence in Libya,” CNN, December 30, 2011; and Nic Robertson, Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister, “Growing Concern Over Jihadist ‘Safe Haven’ in Eastern Libya,” CNN, May 15, 2012. Azuz is also cited in an Amnesty International Report for Syria in 1995.
16 See
17 See the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade’s “shari’a session” at
18 See interview in the jihadist web forum Tamimi:
19 See
20 The Ansar al-Shari’a’s pamphlet is found at
21 Al-Hurra TV (Libya), June 19, 2012.
22 Misbah al-Awami, “Khilal Al-multaqa al-Awal Li-Ansar al-Sharia bi-Benghazi … Muslahun Yasta’radun Quwatahum … Wa Makhawif Min Tahu Libya li-Dawla Mutatarrifa” (During the First Gathering of Ansaar Al-Shari’a in Benghazi, Armed Men Displayed Their Strength Amidst Fears of Libya Turning Into an Extremist Country), New Quryna, June 14, 2012,
23 For a representative example see the article: Sa’ad al-Na’as, “Ansar al-Shari’a wa Islam” (Ansar al-Sharia and Islam), al-Watan (Libya), June 28, 2012.
24 At the same time, some observers have criticized him for ambiguity on the desecration of shrines and for not being forceful enough. For video of his rulings on Sufi shrines, see
25 See the interview posted in the jihadist web forum,
26 “Libyan Tabu Tribe Threatens Election Boycott,” Associated Press, July 2, 2012.
27 Geographic Services, Incorporated, “Geographical and Tribal Factors at Play in Kufrah, Libya,” September 22, 2011.
28 “Zway Tribesman ‘Cut’ Oil Production,” Libya Herald, July 4, 2012,
29 For background on the conflict, see Philip Martin and Christina Weber, “Ethnic Conflict in Libya: Toubou,” Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, June 21, 2012 and “Libye: Quand les Toubous se Réveillent,” Jeune Afrique, May 5, 2012.
30 “Jibril’s Bloc Wins Party Seats in East Libya,” Al-Sharq al-Awsat, July 7, 2012,
31 Shuhood ‘Ayan: Hajum Quwat Muslaha min al-Tabu al-Chadiyeen wa Harakat al-Adl wa Masawah ‘ala Madinat al-Kufrah” (Eye Witnesses: Attacks by Armed Forces of Chadian Tabus and Justice and Equality Movement on the City of Kufrah), Al-Manara, February 13, 2012,
32 There are three branches of the Libya Shield forces: a Western Shield (a Zintan-based coalition), a Center Shield (led by Misrata), and an Eastern Shield (based in Benghazi).
33 “Al-Kata’ib al-Musharika bil-Multaqa al-Awal Li-Ansar al-Shari’a bi-Benghazi Tatwajah ‘ila Kufrah” (The participating brigades in the first gathering of Ansar Al-Sharia in Benghazi head to the city of Kufrah), New Quryna, June 12, 2012,
34 See the April 21, 2012, interview with a commander of the Eastern Libya Shield in Kufra,
35 “Kufra Mediation Moves Slowly,” Libya Herald, June 18, 2012.
36 See the April 21, 2012, interview with a commander of the Eastern Libya Shield in Kufra, regarding the Shield’s goals in Kufra and the extent of tribal mediation,
37 “Kufra Leaders Agree to Meet and End Violence,” Libya Herald, August 2, 2012.
38 “Sudan, Chad and Libya Establish Joint Patrols to Control Common Border,” Sudan Tribune, March 9, 2012.
39 “Tebu Fighters in Kufra to Be Integrated Into Security Forces,” Libya Herald, May 13, 2012.
40 Translation of the amendment provided by the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED); available at
41 “Harak Mujtama’i fi Benghazi Hawal al-Mu’atammar al-Watani al-‘Am wa al-Hay’ah al-Ta’ssissiyah wa Dustur Libya al-Muqbil” (Benghazi Community Enthusiastic About the General National Conference, the Constitutional Drafting Committee, and Libya’s Future Constitution), Al-Manara, July 26, 2012.
42 Umar Khan and George Grant, “NTC Takes Responsibility for Constitution From National Conference,” Libya Herald, July 5, 2012.
43 “Harak Mujtama’i fi Benghazi Hawal al-Mu’atammar al-Watani al-‘Am wa al-Hay’ah al-Ta’ssissiyah wa Dustur Libya al-Muqbil” (Benghazi Community Enthusiastic about the General National Conference, the Constitutional Drafting Committee, and Libya’s Future Constitution).
44 “Benghazi: Jum’a Sakhina wa Ghayib ‘Amni Muqlaq Li-Muwatani al-Madina Benghazi” (A Hot Friday and A Troubling Police Absence for the City’s Citizens), Al-Manara, July 28, 2012,
45 See background on these structures, Frederic Wehrey, “Libya’s Militia Menace,” Foreign Affairs, July 15, 2012.
46 George Grant, “Why the Supreme Security Committee Must Be Brought to Heel—Before It’s Too Late,” Libya Herald, August 29, 2012.
47 Author’s interview with U.S. and European defense officials, Tripoli, Libya, July 2012.
48 “Insihab al-Lajna al-Amniya min Shawara’ Benghazi wa Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Watani Tu’akid Qudratiha ‘ala Bast al-Amn” (Withdrawl of the Security Committee From the Streets of Benghazi and the National Directorate of Security Confirms its Ability to Establish Security), New Quryna, July 24, 2012, Also, see the Facebook page for the Benghazi SSC at!/ssc.benghazi.
49 Pamphlet on the Libyan Shield provided to the author, Misrata, Libya, June 28, 2012.
50 “Al-‘Alan Rasmiyan ‘an Ta’ssis al-Majlis al-‘Ala Li-Thuwwar” (Official Announcement of the Supreme Council of Revolutionaries), New Quryna, July 29, 2012,

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