Posts Tagged ‘Benghazi’

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Enforcement action news: recommended reading

October 30, 2013
  • A company in the United Arab Emirates that exported U.S. merchandise to Iran has been caught, fined, and slammed… more>>
  • A new ruling says that the Lebanese bank that funded Hezbollah through an account in New York can be sued by terror victims… more>>
  • The UN casually mentions that the latest addition to their sanctions list may have been involved in the attack in Benghazimore>>
  • Sanctions against Iran have done more damage to the Islamic Republic than anything since its war against Iraq, says a former spymaster… more>>

 

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Benghazi culprits funded by Libyan subcontracts

September 11, 2013

Ansar al-Sharia, the terrorist group that played a leading role in the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, is profiting from security subcontracts awarded to it by the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, a larger militia that receives direct contracts from the Libyan defense ministry.

This disgrace resembles the ongoing public contract scandals in Afghanistan through which specific UN, U.S., and Afghan security operations have been subcontracted out to Taliban affiliated-fighters over the past several years.

The Weekly Standard reports:

… Ansar al Sharia is far from being on the run. The organization is expanding and is even tasked with providing security inside Benghazi.

On Sunday, Ansar al Sharia Libya posted images and a video of its armed members manning a checkpoint in Benghazi. Incredibly, according to previous reports, the group is providing security at the behest of the Libyan government…

The Weekly Standard cites a Daily Beast article from February which elaborates on the payments to Ansar al-Sharia:

… Since the consulate attack that led to the death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, Ansar al-Sharia has kept a low profile but recently—and noticeably at celebrations to mark the second anniversary of the revolution earlier this month—the militia was back manning checkpoints and guarding hospitals and other public buildings. Government payments to Ansar al-Sharia militiamen also have been resumed and are made through other Benghazi brigades, including the 17th of February brigade, according to sources in the General National Congress, Libya’s new Parliament.

The sources say the chief of the defense staff, Yousef Mangoush, has been diverting operational funds from the fledgling armed forces to the militia. They worry the move is “playing with fire”…

As for the militia that serves as Ansar al-Sharia’s paymaster, the BBC says, “The Martyrs of 17 February Brigade are considered to be the biggest and best armed militia in eastern Libya. The brigade is financed by the Libyan defence ministry. The brigade consists of at least 12 battalions and possesses a large collection of light and heavy weapons in addition to training facilities.”

The Associated Press reported in March that “The state pays many militias, relying on them to serve as security forces since the police and military remain a shambles.”

More recently, the Global Post reports:

… Frederic Wehrey, the former US military attaché in Tripoli, called the [Libyan] army “a shell of an institution.“ Contracting with the revolutionaries did bring them somewhat under the authority of the state. But it was also a “Faustian bargain” that gave brigade commanders and their political patrons leverage over the government.

This quickly gave rise to the growth of parallel forces that now overshadow the regular army and police…

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The colossal folly of arming the rebels

August 9, 2013

The Obama administration may have directed the CIA to ship weapons covertly from Libya to Syrian rebels, creating a tempting target for the terrorists who attacked the U.S. mission in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, according to a growing chorus of reports:

World Net Daily has more about the story:

CNN is reporting lawmakers are speculating on the possibility U.S. agencies operating in the Benghazi compound attacked Sept. 11, 2012, were secretly helping to transfer weapons from Libya, via Turkey, to the rebels in Syria.

That possibility was first reported by WND two weeks after the Benghazi attack, when the news agency cited Egyptian security officials who said murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens played a central role in arming and recruiting rebels to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In November 2012, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels, which included weapons shipments being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.

The information may help determine what motivated the deadly attacks in Benghazi.

The State Department told CNN it was helping the new Libyan government destroy weapons deemed “damaged, aged or too unsafe retain” but denied it was transferring weapons to other countries.

The State Department, however, clarified it “can’t speak for any other agencies.”

The CIA would not comment to CNN on the weapons-transfer reports.

Meanwhile, clarification on the weapons transfers may have inadvertently come through recent statements by a Libyan weapons dealer from a group hired to provide security to the U.S. mission in Benghazi. The dealer told Reuters he has helped ship weapons from Benghazi to the rebels fighting in Syria.

The detailed account may provide more circumstantial evidence the U.S. Benghazi mission was secretly involved in procuring and shipping weapons to the Syrian opposition before the deadly attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

In an interview with Reuters published in June, Libyan warlord Abdul Basit Haroun declared he is behind some of the biggest shipments of weapons from Libya to Syria. Most of the weapons were sent to Turkey, where they were then smuggled into neighboring Syria, he said.

Haroun explained he sent a massive weapons shipment from the port in Benghazi in August 2012, days before the attack on the U.S. compound. The weapons were smuggled into Syria aboard a Libyan ship that landed in Turkey purportedly to deliver humanitarian aid…

Management of the failed gunrunning operation from Libya to Syria appears to have been since been transferred to Qatar.

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Benghazi terrorists masquerade as charity

May 13, 2013

Ansar al-Sharia, the terror group widely believed to have played a leading role in the attack against the U.S. mission in Benghazi on Sept. 11 last year, now claims that it is carrying out humanitarian and charity work in Libya.

The militants were forced out of Benghazi following the murder of the U.S. ambassador, but they returned in February.  The Globe and Mail reported at the time that “Observers say Ansar al-Sharia is regaining ground in Benghazi by portraying itself as a humanitarian and security organization, protecting the city from external threats and hazardous goods,” in addition to providing “security” at Benghazi’s central hospital.

The Jamahiriya News Agency subsequently reported that Ansar al-Sharia was offering social services for free, suggesting a “hidden agenda” designed “to proactively win people’s trust,” according to a Benghazi resident.

More recently, the Washington Free Beacon reports that, “The group has downplayed its military activities and played up its social service work.  It opened a women’s clinic in late 2012 and has reported on its Facebook page that it delivered food to needy families in regions outside the city.”

Ansar al-Sharia’s philanthropic activities appear to be exaggerated; the Globe and Mail found that a box of allegedly expired medicine seized by Ansar al-Sharia in the interests of public safety actually had not expired yet.

But the charitable efforts and public relations campaign are an indication that Ansar al-Sharia is attempting to follow the example of other terrorist groups that provide social services such as Hamas, and may be trying to fulfill the dying wish of Osama Bin Laden to rebrand the global jihadist movement by implementing relief programs to gain supporters.