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Was our consulate attacked with our own weapons?

Posted by Richard on October 2, 2012

In 2011, President Obama ordered the Libyan rebels to be supplied with arms, including anti-tank rockets and mortars. The Saudis were apparently persuaded to act as go-betweens, actually delivering the US-supplied weapons. This was done even though the Obama administration must have known that many of those rebels, including their commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj, were radical Islamist jihadis with ties to al Qaeda (emphasis added):

… Through the 1990s, as leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Belhadj fought Qadhafi’s forces, plotting twice to assassinate him. When it got too hot in Libya, he moved to Sudan, working with al-Qaeda as a guest of Osama bin Laden and then returned to Afghanistan in 1998. He spent the next few years in Jalalabad, directing funds and arms for al-Qaeda training camps before he was arrested by the CIA and MI-6 in 2002. Belhadj was then, according to a lawsuit he filed against the British government, tortured brutally before being bundled on to a plane along with his pregnant wife and handed over to Qadhafi. Eventually, as part of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s “de-radicalisation” programme, Belhadj and other associates were freed in 2010. Within a year, he had become the commander of the Transitional National Council (TNC) rebel force.

That the U.S. cooperated with Belhadj and others like him to oust Qadhafi speaks volumes either of its broad-mindedness or its naiveté. Even as the British, French and U.S. intelligence services armed the rebels, they turned a blind eye to the troubling ideological differences they had with the forces fighting Qadhafi — from links with al-Qaeda in the Maghrib, to avowals of the harsh Sharia law they planned to implement in Libya, to the human rights violations by TNC units. Of equal concern should have been the domination of different parts of post-Qadhafi Libya by lawless militias answerable to none.

Instead, NATO leaders proclaimed themselves satisfied that the ends in Libya had been met, a brutal dictator was finished, and that was that. Until a year later, when heavily armed men launched a deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Shades of “Fast and Furious.” Was  the US consulate attacked, and Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans killed, by al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadis using US-supplied rockets, mortars, and small arms?

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