The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administration s

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:42 am

UK awaits outcome of Libya talks as it weighs military options: Downing Street waiting to see whether peace efforts succeed before joining US and France in calling for intervention
by Patrick Wintour, Diplomatic editor
1 February 2016

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


A British decision on whether to join western powers considering direct military intervention against Islamic State in Libya is likely to rest on whether long-running efforts to form a viable Libyan national unity government will materialise in the coming weeks.

The Pentagon and the French government have been pressing for direct action following a meeting in Paris last week, and Italy has said it would consider involvement. Downing Street said on Monday that no decisions had been taken regarding British troops and fended off questions about whether they would be deployed in a combat or training role.

The Ministry of Defence has not confirmed reports it is willing to send as many as 1,000 troops to the country, which has fallen into chaos following the violent overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and allied air strikes in 2011.

Agreement on a Libyan national unity government was reached in December but so far has been rejected by rival Libyan parliaments, including the one recognised by the international community, in a dispute about ministries.

David Cameron will be reluctant to seek cross-party support in the Commons for further UK military action so soon after investing much political capital in winning support for airstrikes in Syria.

There is at present no support for airstrikes from the Africa Union, and it is likely that the Commons foreign affairs select committee will shortly produce a scathing report on the failure of western post-conflict planning after the 2011 toppling of Gaddafi.

Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader, is likely to oppose any intervention, and the shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, would face a further dilemma over whether to support further military action against Isis.

If any action does go ahead it may be possible that British involvement would be so limited that it would not warrant Commons authorisation. Britain was previously active in the skies above Syria largely through surveillance and air-to-air refuelling without being involved in airstrikes. UK intelligence and special forces would not need Commons permission to operate in Libya. Britain has already sent a small number of troops to Sudan as part of an international peacekeeping force.

The talk of western military action in Libya restarted after the US defence secretary, Ash Carter, said last Thursday that allies were preparing options to prevent Isis from establishing training sites in Libya and welcoming foreign fighters in the way it had done in Iraq and Syria.

Last Friday Gen Joseph Dunford Jr, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said military officials were “looking to take decisive military action” against Isis.

The Pentagon has sent special forces to the area to look at military options to drive Isis from its base along a lengthy strip of coastline around the city of Sirte that lies between Benghazi and Tripoli.

It is claimed that as many as 3,000 Isis fighters are active in the country taking advantage of the political chaos to seize land and oilfields. The fighters may have gone to Libya because the now relatively secure Turkish-Syrian border has made it more difficult for potential recruits to join Isis in Syria.

Isis has used heavy weapons to launch attacks against a series of oil facilities and there has been an increase in suicide missions. US officials say there has been an influx of Isis fighters into Libya, partly as a result of the stronger controls on the flow of fighters into Syria from Turkey.

Italy’s defence minister, Roberta Pinotti, told Italian media last week that her country was considering joining the USs, Britain and France in military intervention to stabilise Libya. Pinotti told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that western powers would intervene only if requested to do so by Libyan authorities.

In an interview on French television Sunday, the French defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said there was an urgent need for a political solution in Libya. “I’ve been very worried about Libya since September 2014,” Le Drian said. “There they are just 200 miles from [the Italian island of] Lampedusa, and they are expanding.”

The French minister said there was a risk that Isis fighters would take advantage of the good weather to cross the Mediterranean and “mingle” with migrants.

“Everyone is aware of the risk that the conflict in Syria and Iraq, where we are seeing some positive results, will spread to become a new conflict in Libya,” he said. He that a political solution in Libya was “the only way to eradicate the problem”.

Le Drian concluded: “There must be a national unity government. There is a serious political process under way, supported by the UN security council. It is urgent.”

The African Union’s commissioner for peace and security, Smaïl Chergui, said of the Isis threat: “This is something that concerns us all and which demands vigorous action, but we can only do that if we have a government in place and Libyan forces that we can equip.

He said it was the union’s opinion that immediate military action “would further complicate the situation”.

In recent months the UN has struggled to persuade two groups of Libyan officials who claim to be the country’s rightful leaders to band together. On Monday the parliament that is recognised by the international community rejected a unity government proposal.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:09 am

French special forces assisting anti-Isis efforts in Libya, say sources: Defence minister promises inquiry into information leak as French contingent said to be operating from Benghazi airport
by Chris Stephen in Tunis and Kim Willsher in Paris
24 February 2016

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Sources in Libya say French special forces are among those working against Islamic State in the country. A small French detachment has been operating from Benghazi’s Benina airport, the sources have reported, assisting forces of the internationally backed Libyan authorities in Tobruk.

According to Le Monde, special forces units, alongside France’s external security directorate, the DGSE, have been in Libya for several months, and coordinated the November US strike on Derna which killed the most senior Isis leader in the country, Iraqi Abu Nabil al-Anbari. The Pentagon has confirmed that US forces were deployed there in January.

At foreign affairs select committee hearings in London earlier this month, UK Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood declined to comment on British special forces operations, but said the RAF was flying missions over the country in preparation for possible attacks on Isis. Italy announced on Monday that it would allow armed US drones to strike Libyan targets from bases in Sicily.

Isis fighters stormed the centre of the coastal town of Sabratha on Tuesday, four days after 41 of their number were killed in a US bombing raid there, and battled through the night with local militias. The police station was overrun, and when it was recaptured militia forces found the bodies of 11 beheaded police officers.

Fighting continued at daybreak after battles around Sabratha’s hospital and football stadium, with Isis fighters redeploying to a western suburb of the city, which lies 30 miles from Tripoli.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French defence minister, has not commented on reports of a French presence in Libya, instead saying an inquiry would be launched into the leaking of sensitive information.

Pierre Martinet, a former DGSE officer, told France Info the development was reassuring and that he thought Le Drian must have decided to make the information public. “If not, it would have remained relatively secret and Le Drian would have said nothing.” Opening an inquiry, Martinet added, served only to confirm the revelations.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for the French president, François Hollande, said French intervention in Libya was conditional on the formation of a firm government in Tripoli, a request for French help, and an “international” coalition. Around the same time, Laurent Fabius, the French minister of foreign affairs, denied any French military involvement in Libya.

In an interview with the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche three days ago, Federica Mogherini, head of EU diplomacy, insisted that European states must wait until a legitimate Libyan government has been formed and a request for EU help received before any member state intervenes against Isis.

The Sabratha attack underlines the problems an evolving US-led coalition faces in trying to contain a rapidly expanding Isis. Hours before the Sabratha fighting, the US special envoy for combatting Isis, Brett McGurk, told reporters in Washington that the terrorist group had now prioritised Libya for recruiting, saying: “It’s trying to attract as many foreign fighters to Libya as possible.”

Analysts say Isis fighters are arriving from Tunisia and sub-Saharan Africa, mingling with thousands of migrants who are crossing the Sahara and seeking boats to Europe.

“Isis is creating a real African jihadi army, we can see mass arrivals of jihadis, they are impossible to control for the simple reason that they use the same route as migrants,” said Paris-based terrorism expert David Thomson. “The airstrikes can reduce the shock that is coming, but they need ground troops to stop it.”

US officials are still trying to determine whether last Friday’s bombing killed its primary target, Isis commander Noureddine Chouchane, who is blamed for organising the Sousse beach massacre last year in Tunisia in which 30 British tourists died.

The deaths in Friday’s airstrike of two Serbian diplomats, kidnapped by Isis last November, underlined the difficulty of bombing a militant group that bases itself in urban areas. Since the Sabratha bombing, Isis units in the coastal town of Sirte have abandoned barracks and checkpoints, clustering amid the civilian population to deter further strikes.

One Sabratha source said most of the Isis units in the city were foreign fighters, but were aided by local elements. “The Isis position in Sabratha is not as strong as maybe in other parts of Libya like Sirte, but in Sabratha they are supported by a bunch of local thugs.”

The Sabratha fighting came on a tumultuous day for Libya, with forces of the internationally recognised parliament in Tobruk recapturing large parts of the eastern city of Benghazi from Isis and allied Islamists.

Washington’s hopes for crushing Isis in Libya rest on persuading the parliament to end its civil war with the Islamist-led Libya Dawn group, which holds Tripoli, so that the country’s militias can concentrate on fighting the terrorists. But prospects of a deal faded on Tuesday, with Tobruk postponing a vote on a unity government amid allegations from some MPs of intimidation in the parliament chamber.

UN Libya envoy Martin Kobler tweeted: “Concerned by slowness of political process in Libya, overtaken by military events, must speed up to stop Daesh [Isis] expansion.”

The success of Tobruk forces in defeating Isis in Benghazi may paradoxically make the task of uniting Libya’s two governments more difficult, because it has stiffened the resolve of parliament to refuse a power-sharing deal with Tripoli.

Without a unity government in place, the Pentagon says its special forces are seeking to “partner” with individual militias for ad hoc ground-air attacks on Isis bases in Libya, even as those militias continue fighting each other. While critics say the plan is inherently unstable, the fighting in Sabratha has underlined that airstrikes alone are unlikely to inflict a decisive defeat on Isis.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:23 am

Benghazi Emails Put Focus on Hillary Clinton’s Encouragement of Adviser
by Michael S. Schmidt
June 29, 2015

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters last month that the memos about Libya she received while secretary of state from Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime adviser whom the Obama administration had barred her from hiring, had been “unsolicited.”

But email records that Mrs. Clinton, according to officials briefed on the matter, apparently failed to turn over to the State Department last fall show that she repeatedly encouraged Mr. Blumenthal to “keep ’em coming,” as she said in an August 2012 reply to a memo from him, which she called “another keeper.”

All or part of 15 Libya-related emails she sent to Mr. Blumenthal were missing from the trove of 30,000 that Mrs. Clinton provided to the State Department last year, as well as from the 847 that the department in turn provided in February to the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The emails were reviewed by a reporter.

The department had asked Mrs. Clinton last year for copies of all of the work-related emails she sent or received on the personal email account she exclusively used when she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. (She has said that she wiped the server clean thereafter, deleting the emails that she had not turned over to the department, which she said were personal.)

In sifting through and producing such a large number of emails, it stands to reason that some would be missed. But the fact that some of the missing correspondence contained expressions of gratitude and encouragement to Mr. Blumenthal is being seized on by Republicans, who plan to use the apparent contradiction, and the missing emails, to raise new questions about Mrs. Clinton’s credibility.

The missing email records — nine complete messages and parts of six others — were discovered after Mr. Blumenthal turned over to the House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks his own batch of Libya-related email correspondence with Mrs. Clinton.

Angered that the State Department had not already provided it with some of those emails, the committee asked the department whether it had received them from Mrs. Clinton. The department determined that it had not received all or part of 15 emails.

On Thursday, the State Department acknowledged the missing correspondence, but it did not specifically say which parts of those emails were missing.

According to officials briefed on the matter, among the emails the State Department could not find were those in which Mrs. Clinton encouraged Mr. Blumenthal to keep sending memos or in which she asked additional questions about their contents.

In response to an intelligence memo Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton in July 2012, she said: “Greetings from Kabul! And thanks for keeping this stuff coming!”

And, responding to a March 2012 memo, she wrote: “This strains credulity based on what I know. Any more info about it?”

Mr. Blumenthal replied, “Will seek more intel.”

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, Nick Merrill, said, “The idea that this runs counter to the assertion that the emails were unsolicited is a leap.”

“Mr. Blumenthal began emailing of his own accord,” Mr. Merrill said. “Polite acknowledgments are not tantamount to solicitation. And I think that any reasonable person who has ever had an email exchange would agree.”

Mrs. Clinton, who is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, has maintained that she properly complied with the State Department’s request and with federal record-keeping regulations.

The State Department has provided the House committee in recent days with at least 10 pages of emails between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Blumenthal that it had not turned over in February. These appear to show that Mrs. Clinton and her advisers took the memos and other advice from Mr. Blumenthal fairly seriously.

One also appears to suggest that Mrs. Clinton may have wanted to conceal Mr. Blumenthal’s authorship of a memo to her from someone else.

In March 2011, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a memo with the subject line, “H: Serious problems for Libyan Rebels. Sid.” As she often did, Mrs. Clinton forwarded this one to her longtime aide, Huma Abedin, asking her to print it. But in this case, Mrs. Clinton asked Ms. Abedin, “Can you print for me w/o any identifiers?”

“Yes,” Ms. Abedin replied.

Another email chain recently turned over by the State Department shows how Mrs. Clinton took under consideration Mr. Blumenthal’s public relations advice to her in anticipation of the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

“First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it,” Mr. Blumenthal said in an Aug. 22, 2011, memo to Mrs. Clinton with the subject line “Your statement post-Q.”

“When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation home,” Mr. Blumenthal wrote. “You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment.”

He added: “The most important phrase is: ‘successful strategy.’ “

Mrs. Clinton forwarded the advice to one of her closest aides at the State Department, Jake Sullivan.

“Pls read below,” she wrote. “Sid makes a good case for what I should say, but it’s premised on being said after Q goes, which will make it more dramatic. That’s my hesitancy, since I’m not sure how many chances I’ll get.”

Mr. Sullivan responded that he and another senior State Department official “thought it might make sense for you to do an op-ed to run right after he falls, making this point,” and that a draft was already being written.

“You can reinforce the op-ed in all your appearances, but it makes sense to lay down something definitive, almost like the Clinton Doctrine,” Mr. Sullivan said.

That same day, though, it was a White House aide who credited the administration’s strategy, and President Obama who triumphantly declared that Libya’s future was “in the hands of its people.”
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:27 am

UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05794818 Date: 10/30/2015

RELEASE IN PART B6

From: PIR <[DELETE]
Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 8:36 AM
To: H; Jake Sullivan; Huma Abedin
Cc: Lona Valmoro; PIR
Subject: Re: Libya

The timeline included in the brief might have been an earlier draft, not the final. Figuring that out.

But the comprehensive tick tock Jake had put together - which I believe he has since sent you - was done in large part for
the Warrick piece. The great detail Joby had came entirely from Jake. Joby didn't do any independent research.

Original Message
From: Evergreen
To: Jake Sullivan
To: Huma Abedin
To: PIR
Cc: Lona Valmoro
Cc: Monica Hanley
Cc: 'Russorv@state.gov'
Subject: Re: Libya
Sent: Apr 4, 2012 7:18 AM

We also need phone records and meetings w Arabs and work on Arab League resolution. The Joby Warrick piece from
10/30/11 includes more detail than our own timeline.

Original Message
From: H
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 07:16 AM
To: 'sullivanjj@state.gov' <sullivanjj@state.gov>; Huma Abedin; 'preineS [DELETE]
Cc: 'ValmoroLj@state.gov' <ValmoroLj@state.gov>; 'monica.hanley [DELETE]
'Russorv@state.gov' <Russorv@state.gov>
Subject: Re: Libya

Adding Lona, Monica and Rob who have my scheduling records. What bothers me is that S/P prepared the timeline but
it doesn't include much of what I did. So where did they get info? This is example of my continuing concern that we
don't have our records ready.

Original Message
From: H
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 07:12 AM
To: 'sullivanjj@state.gov' <sullivanjj@state.gov>; Huma Abedin; 'preines [DELETE]
Subject: Re: Libya

This timeline is totally inadequate (which bothers me about our recordkeeping). For example, I was in Paris on 3/19
when attack started. That's not on timeline. What else is missing? Pls go over it asap.

Original Message
From: H
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 07:09 AM
To: 'sullivanjj@state.gov' <sullivanjj@state.gov>; Huma Abedin; 'preines [DELETE]
Subject: Libya

Did I meet in Paris w Jabril (brought to hotel by BHL) on 3/14? It's not on timeline.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:34 am

New Hillary Clinton Emails Show She Wanted Credit for Libya Intervention in 2011. Now She Doesn’t.: The latest tranche of Clinton emails recalls her pivotal role in the U.S. intervention.
by Branko Marcetic
November 11, 2015

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Now that Libya has descended into chaos, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is at pains to dispel the notion that, as secretary of state, she led the U.S. intervention that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Yet the latest tranche of emails from Clinton’s private server, released by the State Department on October 30, shows there’s one individual who would strongly object to those efforts: the Hillary Clinton of 2011 and 2012.

A report in June by the New York Times revealed that in August 2011, Clinton’s advisors had urged her to take credit for what was then seen as a military success in Libya. Now, the newly released emails show that the former secretary of state was herself intent on emphasizing her key role in the affair—and that her team used cozy relationships with the media to help her do so.

In one exchange, on April 4, 2012, a frustrated Clinton complains to her staffers that they’d omitted a number of key details in a timeline titled “Secretary Clinton’s leadership on Libya.” The timeline, which aims to show that Clinton “was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition and tightening the noose around Qadhafi [sic] and his regime,” would later be provided to media.

“Did I meet in Paris w Jabril [sic] (brought to hotel by BHL) on 3/14? It's not on timeline,” she writes in the April 4 email, referring to Mahmoud Jibril, the prime minister for Libya’s National Transitional Council during the country’s civil war, and Bernard-Henri Lévy (BHL), the French philosopher who helped drive France’s own involvement in the conflict. In fact, Clinton’s meeting with Jibril was listed on the original timeline produced by advisor Jacob Sullivan, suggesting Clinton was either referring to a different version of the timeline or, more likely, failed to see it on the document.

“This timeline is totally inadequate (which bothers me about our recordkeeping),” Clinton writes three minutes later. “For example, I was in Paris on 3/19 when attack started. That's not on timeline. What else is missing? Pls go over it asap.” Twenty-three minutes later, Sullivan sent Clinton an updated version of the timeline with the March 19 incident added in.

Clinton emailed her advisors twice more within six minutes, saying, “What bothers me is that S/P [the State Department’s Bureau of Policy Planning staff] prepared the timeline but it doesn't include much of what I did.” Among the items that were left out, she notes phone calls and meetings with Arab officials, as well as her role in securing a March 12 Arab League resolution, which called for a U.N.-imposed no-fly zone over Libya.

The emails also reveal that Clinton’s team was feeding information to the media to push the narrative she is now contesting: that she was the chief force behind intervention in Libya.

In the same email chain, Clinton complains, “The Joby Warrick piece from 10/30/11 includes more detail than our own timeline.” She is referring to a Washington Post article that details Clinton’s “pivotal role” in forging and maintaining the alliance of intervening countries through “her mixture of political pragmatism and tenacity.”

However, Clinton’s team quickly assures her that Warrick’s piece was as thorough as it was because the State Department had diligently furnished him with the necessary information:

The comprehensive tick tock Jake put together … was done in large part for the Warrick piece. The great detail Joby had came entirely from Jake. Joby didn’t do any independent research.


This suggests the timeline was provided to the Post to serve as the basis for the piece. Additionally, the fact that Clinton is rankled that the article’s extensive detail outdoes the timeline, and her staff’s subsequent assurance that Sullivan was the source of this behind-the-scenes detail on Clinton’s leadership, implies that Sullivan—now one of Clinton’s top advisors for her presidential campaign—may have been one of the nameless State Department officials cited by Warrick.

A comparison of the article and the timeline reveals their similarities. The Post piece follows virtually the same progression as the timeline prepared for Clinton. Both cover her arrival in Paris on March 14 and her subsequent meetings with the G8 and Mahmoud Jibril; her work to secure the March 17 United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone in Libya (as well as Russian abstention on that vote); her efforts to convince Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates to provide their airpower in the conflict; and her role in pressing more than 20 nations to recognize the Libyan National Transitional Council as the country’s legitimate government.

The piece also leans heavily on unidentified State Department officials and aides who “described the administration’s inner workings on the condition of anonymity.” One, described as a “senior State Department official,” notes that, despite receiving no instructions from the White House to support Libyan intervention upon arriving in Paris, Clinton “began to see a way forward” by her own initiative.

This is all a far cry from the Clinton of today, who tends to paint herself as just one of many pushing for an intervention—and stresses that President Obama made the final decision.

For instance, in her 2014 memoir, Hard Choices, published long after conditions in Libya had deteriorated, Clinton portrays herself as reluctant to push for military action until the March 12 Arab League resolution “changed the calculus.” Likewise, in both the October 13 Democratic debate and her testimony to the House Committee on Benghazi in October 22, she pointed to the Arab League’s “unprecedented” resolution as a key reason she supported intervention.

Yet Clinton’s emails suggest that she saw her own work on the resolution as a critical element in “securing the authorization” for force on Libya. In other words, the Clinton of 2012 saw herself as a principal agent in forging the very resolution that the Clinton of 2015 cites as a turning point in her thinking.

Furthermore, over the last few years, Clinton has tended to lay the decision to go into Libya squarely at Obama’s feet. Clinton says in her memoir that “the president decided to move forward with drawing up military plans and securing a UN Security Council resolution,” rhetorically removing herself from the equation. Likewise, in response to a question by Peter Roskam (R-IL) during the latest Benghazi hearing about whether she “persuaded President Obama to intervene militarily” in Libya, Clinton stressed that “there were many in the State Department” in favor of intervention, and pointedly stated that, “at the end of the day, this was the president’s decision.”

Yet the timeline produced by Clinton’s own team calls her “a leading voice for strong UNSC action and a NATO civilian protection mission” and has her securing “Russian abstention and Portuguese and African support for UNSC 1973 [which authorized a no-fly zone over Libya], ensuring that it passes.” Moreover, the Post article that Clinton’s aides helped influence paints her as the deciding factor in Obama’s decision to intervene. “The president,” the article states, “who had been weighing arguments from a sharply divided Cabinet for several days, sided with his secretary of state,” who had become a “strong advocate” for intervention by the time she spoke with Obama on March 15, according to an anonymous “administration official.”

These emails also raise questions about the relationship between administration officials and the media. The establishment press has been criticized in the past for having cozy relationships with those in power, as well as an overreliance on anonymous administration sources, which allows officials to broadcast their preferred version of events without facing critique or questioning. The New York Times’ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has noted criticism of such reporting being little better than “stenography” that “takes at face value what government officials say,” and that the Times’ own stylebook advises reporters to use anonymity as a “last resort.”

This wasn’t the only time Clinton’s staffers would work with media outlets behind the scenes to propagate a narrative that benefited them. As reported last month by this magazine, an email to Clinton’s staff by then-Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Hammer celebrated a June 30, 2011, New York Times editorial urging NATO not to give up in Libya and “stand firmly with the rebels.” Hammer told them that the State Department had arranged for then-Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz to give NYT Foreign Affairs Editor Carol Giacomo “more ammo” for the op-ed. Tellingly, he added: “We're doing more of this engagement with the editorial writers. Go team!” That piece made no mention of the conversation with Cretz. Other reports have also noted the Clinton team’s massaging of the media on other subjects.

As others have pointed out, despite Republicans’ attempts to use the Benghazi Committee to eat into Clinton’s poll numbers, the real scandal involving Clinton and Libya is her full-throated support for a war that has left the North African nation a chaotic breeding ground for terrorism. Clinton may attempt to run away from her legacy in Libya, but she can’t outrun her own words.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:39 am

Libya arms fueling conflicts in Syria, Mali and beyond: U.N. experts
by Michelle Nichols
April 9, 2013

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Weapons are spreading from Libya at an "alarming rate," fueling conflicts in Mali, Syria and elsewhere and boosting the arsenals of extremists and criminals in the region, according to a U.N. report published on Tuesday.

The report by the U.N. Security Council's Group of Experts - who monitor an arms embargo imposed on Libya at the start of an uprising in 2011 which ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi - said the North African state had become a key source of weapons in the region as its nascent government struggles to exert authority.

Libyan government security forces remain weak and militias, made up of former rebel fighters, hold power on the ground.

"Cases, both proven and under investigation, of illicit transfers from Libya in violation of the embargo cover more than 12 countries and include heavy and light weapons, including man-portable air defense systems, small arms and related ammunition and explosives and mines," the experts wrote in the report.

"Illicit flows from the country are fuelling existing conflicts in Africa and the Levant and enriching the arsenals of a range of non-State actors, including terrorist groups," according to the 94-page report, which was dated February 15 but published on Tuesday.

"The proliferation of weapons from Libya continues at an alarming rate," the report said.

The experts said transfers of arms to Syria - where a two-year-old civil war has killed more than 70,000 people - had been organized from various locations in Libya, including Misrata and Benghazi, via Turkey or northern Lebanon.

"The significant size of some shipments and the logistics involved suggest that representatives of the Libyan local authorities might have at least been aware of the transfers, if not actually directly involved," the experts said.

The report also found that in the past year flows of Libyan weapons to Egypt appeared to have increased significantly.

"While trafficking from Libya to Egypt represents a challenge primarily for Egypt's internal security, in particular in relation to armed groups in the Sinai, some of the materiel appears to have crossed Egypt to further destinations, including the Gaza Strip," the experts wrote.

Security in the Sinai desert region, which borders Israel and is home to a number of tourist resorts, has deteriorated since the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising two years ago.

ACCESS TO NEW WEAPONS

The report said that the trafficking of arms from Libya through Egypt to the Gaza Strip had allowed armed groups there to purchase new weapons including more modern assault rifles and anti-tank weapons systems.

Weapons from Libya were also being transported through southern Tunisia, southern Algeria and northern Niger to destinations such as Mali, but some arms were remaining in those corridor countries for use by local groups.

"These zones also serve as bases and transit points for non-state armed groups, including terrorist groups and criminal and drug trafficking networks with links to the wider Sahel region," according to the report.

The experts said they had found that Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had breached the arms embargo on Libya during the 2011 uprising by providing weapons and ammunition to the rebels fighting Gaddafi forces. The experts said Qatar had denied the accusation, while the United Arab Emirates had not responded.

"Some 18 months after the end of the conflict, some of this materiel remains under the control of non-state actors within Libya and has been found in seizures of military materiel being trafficked out of Libya," according to the report.

"Civilians and brigades remain in control of most of the weapons in the country, while the lack of an effective security system remains one of the primary obstacles to securing military materiel and controlling the borders," it said.

Last month the U.N. Security Council made it easier for Libya to obtain non-lethal equipment such as bulletproof vests and armored cars but expressed concern at the spread of weapons from the country to nearby states.

The council urged the Libyan government to improve its monitoring of arms and related material that is supplied, sold or transferred to the government - with approval of the U.N. sanctions committee that oversees the arms embargo.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told the Security Council last month that the government had control of its borders with Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt. Zeidan said in February he wanted the council to lift the arms embargo on Libya, but council members said they never received an official request.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:54 am

Libya : Lawless, Alarming, Unpredictable, Dangerous
By Alexander Mezyaev
Global Research
June 28, 2015
Copyright © Alexander Mezyaev, Jamahiriya News Agency, 2015

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


The situation in Libya is continuing to develop alarmingly. The current situation in the country is characterised by a complete lack of any signs of a state system. Libya is being devoured by civil war, disintegration, and the seizure of its territory by a huge variety of forces, most notably the Islamic State. Despite the fact that Prime Minister al-Thani took part in the recently concluded African Union summit in Johannesburg as the head of Libya, suggesting that he is actually the one ruling the country would be a sad joke. And although al-Thani’s government is actually recognised by the African Union (and the majority of other countries) as ‘legitimate’, this is more out of despair.

At present, the ‘legitimate’ government is located in Tobruk, about a thousand miles from the country’s capital, Tripoli. But even there, neither Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani nor his government are in control of anything. In February, the residence of the head of parliament, Saleh Issa, was bombed by Islamic State militants and in May, Prime Minister al-Thani was lucky to survive an assassination attempt.

Parallel government bodies are operating in Tripoli that also have no control over the situation in the country, just individual parts of the former Libyan Jamahiriya. There is a total of five competing ‘governments’ in Libya, not counting those that have not proclaimed themselves to be a government, but are simply taking power into their own hands. Not a single one of the Libyan ‘governments’ has managed to resolve the country’s main problem – putting an end to the mass violence and establishing at least some kind of control over the situation – and the number of armed groups is only increasing.

The situation was triggered back in 2012 when the latest in a series of favourites in the rank of ‘government’ officially decided to form armed brigades and provide them with law enforcement functions and the right to detention, establishing relatively high rates of pay for those working in them. This immediately led to the emergence of not one, but several parallel armies, police forces and other ‘gendarmes’. Since then, many armed groups have become more efficient, improved their weapons and begun to outperform the national army and police force, while remaining on the payroll of the government. The weapons that once belonged to The former Libyan army have been looted and there is now a powerful uninterrupted flow of weapons into the country from abroad, including heavy artillery and ammunition. Despite efforts to tighten up the arms embargo, weapons continue to flow into the country (1).

Since 90 per cent of Libya’s economy depends on the sale of oil, there is an ongoing bloody struggle for the possession of oilfields, pipelines and ports. In the western parts of the country, the Libya Dawn coalition, which seized the capital of Tripoli and its environs, announced the appointment of a Government of National Salvation (after which Prime Minister al-Thani and his government fled to the east of the country). After taking control of Tripoli, Libya Dawn began a large-scale military operation in the area inhabited by the Warshefana tribe to strengthen its control over the city’s surrounding areas. Several weeks of intensive shelling of areas of Aziziya and Swani led to the exodus of more than 120,000 inhabitants. A counter-offensive by Zintani forces launched to prevent the possible advance of Libya Dawn also led to a huge number of deaths and a massive displacement of the population.

Armed clashes in the oil-producing region resulted in the closure of oil loading ports in al-Sidra and Ra’s Lanuf and the destruction of seven of the country’s nineteen oil-storage facilities. There are ongoing armed conflicts in eastern Libya between Operation Dignity forces, mostly made up of Libyan army soldiers and other forces faithful to General Khalifa Haftar, and the Shura Revolutionary Council in Benghazi, a coalition of Islamist militias. The military clashes taking place in Libya are not just about sorting out the armed groups. The situation has long since grown into a civil war. Civilians are increasingly taking part in fighting on both sides and tensions are being stirred up between families.

A particular factor of the current situation in Libya is the creation of the Islamic State in part of its territory. The Shura Council of Islamic Youth in Derna has already sworn allegiance to IS (2). Although not all Islamic organisations in Libya have supported IS, its positions are gradually becoming stronger. So strong, in fact, that in February, Egypt carried out a massive strike on IS positions.

And what has been the UN’s reaction? After all, it was the UN Security Council that passed Resolutions 1970 and 1973, which served as a justification for NATO aggression. So far, the response to what has been taking place has been two new UN Security Council resolutions that will obviously not be able to solve the Libyan crisis. Resolution 2214 on the extension of sanctions against a number of terrorist organisation members, for example, was adopted at the same time as a report was published by a panel of exports from the UN Security Council on Libya, which openly said that the regime of sanctions was ineffectual and virtually did nothing to prevent the illegal trade of oil and the trade of weapons (3). The provisions of another resolution, Resolution 2215, simply come across as clueless: The UN Security Council reminds the Libyan government that arms and related material, including related ammunition and spare parts, that are supplied, sold or transferred as security or disarmament assistance to the Libyan Government should not be resold to, transferred to, or made available for use by parties other than the designated end user.

Of special note is the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC). During the preparation and carrying out of NATO operations against Libya in March 2011, this institution openly came out as an instrument of war. The arrest warrant issued by the ICC against Muammar Gaddafi was a legal justification for war. Several days ago, the UN Security Council held its regular review of ICC activities in Libya. It became known that the International Criminal Court had launched a new investigation into the Islamic State. However, the proceedings already underway are in limbo. Neither Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif Gaddafi, nor al-Senussi (former state security minister in Gaddafi’s government) have as yet been handed over to the ICC, while the ICC itself is acting as if nothing special is going on. While feigning attempts to call for Saif Gaddafi to be handed over to The Hague, the court has abandoned any further demands regarding al-Senussi. And this is with the complete annihilation of the state system, including the legal system!

Essentially, the Security Council is just pretending that something is required of the Libyan authorities, without actually taking any kind of action that would force the Libyan government to comply with its demand. As we saw earlier, the UN Security Council was perfectly capable of achieving its demands when it came to the previous Libyan government. Hence the unavoidable conclusion: neither the ICC nor the UN Security Council really wants Saif Gaddafi’s case to be transferred to the Hague. Why? The answer is perfectly obvious. The case against Saif Gaddafi does not have any kind of real evidence. Transferring the case to The Hague would just give Saif the opportunity to tell the whole world about the crimes the West has perpetrated against Libya. Thus it is perfectly clear that neither the ICC, nor the Western majority in the UN Security Council, want to hold real and, in fact, public hearings against Libya’s leaders. On the contrary, they have a vital interest in the courts either not being held at all or being carried out by Libya’s current authorities without providing any kind of guarantees of justice.

The only country that has criticised the activities of the ICC in Libya has been Russia. The Russian representative on the UN Security Council said: Following the destruction of its State institutions in 2011, the situation in Libya continues to be a source of multifaceted threats. It is enough to mention the vivid spectre of terrorism, arms trafficking and the unprecedented growth of the criminal business of smuggling migrants across the Mediterranean Sea. The breakup of the State has reached the point at which the Libyan conflict has become a constant, roaring hotspot on the global map of political instability. (4)

Only the Russian representative paid any attention to the fact that instead of real reports, the ICC’s prosecutor was providing artistic descriptions more akin to the materials issued by monitoring missions» than the reports of a judicial authority. The Russian diplomat noted that the experience of using the ICC to address the situation in Libya in terms of ensuring justice, encouraging prevention and contributing to national reconciliation cannot for the time being serve as an argument in support of proposals to refer other cases to the Court.

And this is where the International Criminal Court has started to show some real activity, hence the investigations into the crimes committed by IS militants. This is a completely new twist in the Libyan case at the ICC. It has absolutely nothing to do with achieving justice, however, it is just that the ICC (and its bosses) wants to use the situation in Libya to penetrate the whole of North Africa. After all, the Islamic State is not just occupying Libyan territory.

_______________

Notes:

(1) «Special report of the Secretary-General on the strategic assessment of the United Nations presence in Libya». UN Document: S/2015/113.
(2) «Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya», S/2015/144.
(3) Final report from the panel of experts established pursuant to Resolution 1973 (2011), S/2015/128. [The group believes that the requesting mechanism for the designation of vessels is ineffective and should be revised. The Panel further found that not only crude oil was subject to illicit export, but also its derivatives, which is likely to provide funding to the ongoing conflict.]
(4) See the transcript for the UN Security Council meeting on 12 may 2015. UN Document: S/PV.7441.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:13 am

Secret Benghazi report reveals Hillary’s Libya war push armed al Qaeda-tied terrorists
by Jeffrey Scott Shapiro
The Washington Times
February 1, 2015

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Last of three parts

Libyan officials were deeply concerned in 2011, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was trying to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power, that weapons were being funneled to NATO-backed rebels with ties to al Qaeda, fearing that well-armed insurgents could create a safe haven for terrorists, according to secret intelligence reports obtained by The Washington Times.

The reports included a 16-page list of weapons that Libyans supposedly tracked to the rebels from Western sources or their allies in the region. The memos were corroborated by a U.S. intelligence asset familiar with the documents as well as former top Gadhafi regime official Mohammed Ismael.


“NATO has given permission to a number of weapons-loaded aircraft to land at Benghazi airport and some Tunisian airports,” the intelligence report said, identifying masses of weapons including tanks and surface-to-air missiles.

That report, which was prepared in English so it could be passed by a U.S. intelligence asset to key members of Congress, identified specific air and sea shipments observed by Libyan intelligence moving weapons to the rebels trying to unseat the Gadhafi regime.

“There is a close link between al Qaeda, Jihadi organizations, and the opposition in Libya,” the report warned.

In the documents and separately recorded conversations with U.S. emissaries, Libyan officials expressed particular concern that the weapons and training given the rebels would spread throughout the region, in particular turning the city of Benghazi into a future terrorist haven.


Those fears would be realized a little over a year later when a band of jihadist insurgents attacked the State Department diplomatic post in Benghazi and a related CIA compound, killing four Americans including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Today, more than three years after Gadhafi fell from power and was killed, Benghazi and much of the rest of Libya remain in chaos, riddled with violence among rival tribes and thriving jihadi groups.

Mrs. Clinton, now considering a run for president, was the moving force inside the Obama administration to encourage U.S. military intervention to unseat Gadhafi in Libya. The latest documents and audio recordings are likely to give her Republican critics on Capitol Hill fresh ammunition to question whether she had an adequate plan and whether her efforts led to the tragedy in Benghazi a year later and the general lawlessness and chaos that have gripped Libya since.

The Times reported last week that U.S. intelligence did not support the story that Mrs. Clinton used to sell the war in Libya, mainly that there was an imminent danger of a genocide to be carried out by the Gadhafi regime. The intelligence community, in fact, had come to the opposite conclusion: that Gadhafi would not risk world outrage by killing civilians en masse even as he tried to crush the rebellion in his country.

The Times also reported that the Pentagon and a key Democrat so distrusted Mrs. Clinton’s decision-making on Libya that they opened their own secret diplomatic conversations with the Gadhafi regime, going around the State Department.

In one conversation recorded in summer 2011 between Libyan officials and an intelligence asset dispatched by the Pentagon as a back-door channel, the asset told Mr. Ismael, who served then as Gadhafi’s chief of staff, that U.S. officials were considering taking some of the Libyan dictator’s frozen money assets and sending it to the rebels.

“I’m in contact with some of the people over in Benghazi and they’ve told me point blank that their first use of this money is, is to buy military training, weapons and mercenaries,” the Pentagon intelligence asset told Mr. Ismael on July 24, 2011.

In a separate conversation with Dennis J. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat serving in the House, Gadhafi’s eldest son, Seif, told the congressman that Libyan intelligence had observed Qatar, a major U.S. ally in the region, facilitating weapons shipments. Qatar has steadfastly and repeatedly denied arming the rebels.

“The Qataris have spent more than $100 million on this, and they have an agreement with the rebels that the moment you rule Libya you pay us back,” Seif Gadhafi told Mr. Kucinich in a conversation recorded in May 2011.

“So, it’s your position that your government has been trying to defend itself against an insurrection brought about by jihadists who were joined by gangsters, terrorists and that there’s basically about 1,000 people who were joined by NATO?” Mr. Kucinich asked.

“Yes,” Seif Gadhafi replied.

“You’re saying that this relates to internal matters, matters internal to the region relating of a power struggle in which they then turned their attention to Libya to try to engulf Libya in their own desire for increasing their power?” Mr. Kucinich asked.

“For the Qataris, they are doing this with every country, with every country,” Mr. Gadhafi said. “This is their plan, I mean in public. This is their own agenda. I mean, it’s not something hidden, or something, you know, private. But now, we have, and plus the French and British have also have their own agenda, you know, commercial interests, political interests, they have their own interests. They told us, especially the French, and the Qataris and the British: We want those people to share the power with you, our own people, the heads of rebels.”


The recorded conversations also included concerns that the U.S. might try to arm the rebels despite a U.N. arms embargo on Libya.

On March 27, 2011, days after the intervention began, Mrs. Clinton argued that the arms embargo could be disregarded if shipping weapons to rebels would help protect civilians, but defense officials in the United Kingdom disagreed with her interpretation of international law.

“We’re not arming the rebels. We’re not planning to arm the rebels,” British Defense Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC the day Mrs. Clinton hinted otherwise.

Likewise, Qatari officials sent a letter Feb. 2, 2012, to the United Nations about the Libyan uprising, “categorically” denying that they had “supplied the revolutionaries with arms and ammunitions” as some had reported.

Attempts to contact the Qatari Embassy in Washington for comment Sunday were unsuccessful, but the classified Libyan intelligence report indicates that Qatar sent tanks, missiles, trucks and military advisers to the rebels.

Distrust between Libya and Qatar had simmered for years before the civil war in Libya erupted. Mr. Ismael told The Times in an interview that the Qataris had a grudge against the Gadhafi regime because it did not give them natural gas and oil concessions that were promised in 2007.

The Libyan intelligence reports provided to the Pentagon’s emissary detailed specific weapons shipments they said came from Qatar.

“On 15th of March the ship loaded with arm[s] arrived to the seaport of Tobruk. On 4th April 2011 two Qatari aircraft laden with a number of tanks, [ground-attack] missiles and heavy trucks was arranged. On 11th April 2011 a number of boats departed Benghazi for Misrata, the shipment comprised assistance including SAM-7 [anti-aircraft] missiles. On 22nd April 2011, 800 rifles were sent from Benghazi to Misrata,” the report said.

Whether such shipments were supposed to stay with NATO or go to the rebels remains in dispute. But academic analysts say the Libyan concerns that arming the rebels would benefit terrorists were shared widely.

NATO allies knew of the dangerous jihadi elements operating in Benghazi before the 2011 intervention began, according to Noman Benotman, president of the British-based Quilliam Foundation, a think tank dedicated to combating Islamic extremism.

Mr. Benotman also was a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group but left the organization prior to the 2011 revolution.

“A lot of jihadists that had been locked up by the regime were released after the revolution started. They picked up many of the guns that were coming into the country and fought, but they were not fighting for democracy — they were fighting their own revolution, trying to build a state based on a vicious, violent, radical, Islamic ideology. They took advantage of the situation,” he said.

“There were pro-democracy demonstrators participating in the revolution, of course, but there was also crystal-clear evidence of jihadists and jihadist tactics in Benghazi before the NATO intervention started, so no one can say there were no jihadists there,” he said.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:20 am

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links: Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
By Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham
25 Mar 2011

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya".

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists," but added that the "members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader".

His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad's president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, "including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries".

Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against "the foreign invasion" in Afghanistan, before being "captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan". He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.

US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.

Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military's West Point academy has said the two share an "increasingly co-operative relationship". In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG emmbers made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of "the stage of Islam" in the country.

British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for "Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya" had "shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese".
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Big Lie About the Libyan War: The Obama administrati

Postby admin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:29 am

The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels
by London Review of Books
Vol. 36 No. 8
17 April 2014

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

Folio Society Christmas gifts

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.

The former intelligence official said that many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

Britain and France were both to play a part. On 29 August, the day Parliament voted against Cameron’s bid to join the intervention, the Guardian reported that he had already ordered six RAF Typhoon fighter jets to be deployed to Cyprus, and had volunteered a submarine capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The French air force – a crucial player in the 2011 strikes on Libya – was deeply committed, according to an account in Le Nouvel Observateur; François Hollande had ordered several Rafale fighter-bombers to join the American assault. Their targets were reported to be in western Syria.

By the last days of August the president had given the Joint Chiefs a fixed deadline for the launch. ‘H hour was to begin no later than Monday morning [2 September], a massive assault to neutralise Assad,’ the former intelligence official said. So it was a surprise to many when during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August Obama said that the attack would be put on hold, and he would turn to Congress and put it to a vote.

At this stage, Obama’s premise – that only the Syrian army was capable of deploying sarin – was unravelling. Within a few days of the 21 August attack, the former intelligence official told me, Russian military intelligence operatives had recovered samples of the chemical agent from Ghouta. They analysed it and passed it on to British military intelligence; this was the material sent to Porton Down. (A spokesperson for Porton Down said: ‘Many of the samples analysed in the UK tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.’ MI6 said that it doesn’t comment on intelligence matters.)

Give a gift for the mind

The former intelligence official said the Russian who delivered the sample to the UK was ‘a good source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy’. After the first reported uses of chemical weapons in Syria last year, American and allied intelligence agencies ‘made an effort to find the answer as to what if anything, was used – and its source’, the former intelligence official said. ‘We use data exchanged as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The DIA’s baseline consisted of knowing the composition of each batch of Soviet-manufactured chemical weapons. But we didn’t know which batches the Assad government currently had in its arsenal. Within days of the Damascus incident we asked a source in the Syrian government to give us a list of the batches the government currently had. This is why we could confirm the difference so quickly.’

The process hadn’t worked as smoothly in the spring, the former intelligence official said, because the studies done by Western intelligence ‘were inconclusive as to the type of gas it was. The word “sarin” didn’t come up. There was a great deal of discussion about this, but since no one could conclude what gas it was, you could not say that Assad had crossed the president’s red line.’ By 21 August, the former intelligence official went on, ‘the Syrian opposition clearly had learned from this and announced that “sarin” from the Syrian army had been used, before any analysis could be made, and the press and White House jumped at it. Since it now was sarin, “It had to be Assad.”’

The UK defence staff who relayed the Porton Down findings to the joint chiefs were sending the Americans a message, the former intelligence official said: ‘We’re being set up here.’ (This account made sense of a terse message a senior official in the CIA sent in late August: ‘It was not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this.’) By then the attack was a few days away and American, British and French planes, ships and submarines were at the ready.

The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria. Last April, after an optimistic assessment of rebel progress by the secretary of state, John Kerry, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘there’s a risk that this conflict has become stalemated.’

Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – under the assumption that the Assad government was responsible for the sarin attack – would be a military blunder, the former intelligence official said. The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course. The official White House explanation for the turnabout – the story the press corps told – was that the president, during a walk in the Rose Garden with Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, suddenly decided to seek approval for the strike from a bitterly divided Congress with which he’d been in conflict for years. The former Defense Department official told me that the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.

The president’s decision to go to Congress was initially seen by senior aides in the White House, the former intelligence official said, as a replay of George W. Bush’s gambit in the autumn of 2002 before the invasion of Iraq: ‘When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame and repeatedly cited faulty intelligence. If the current Congress were to vote to endorse the strike, the White House could again have it both ways – wallop Syria with a massive attack and validate the president’s red line commitment, while also being able to share the blame with Congress if it came out that the Syrian military wasn’t behind the attack.’ The turnabout came as a surprise even to the Democratic leadership in Congress. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that three days before his Rose Garden speech Obama had telephoned Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, ‘to talk through the options’. She later told colleagues, according to the Journal, that she hadn’t asked the president to put the bombing to a congressional vote.

Obama’s move for congressional approval quickly became a dead end. ‘Congress was not going to let this go by,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Congress made it known that, unlike the authorisation for the Iraq war, there would be substantive hearings.’ At this point, there was a sense of desperation in the White House, the former intelligence official said. ‘And so out comes Plan B. Call off the bombing strike and Assad would agree to unilaterally sign the chemical warfare treaty and agree to the destruction of all of chemical weapons under UN supervision.’ At a press conference in London on 9 September, Kerry was still talking about intervention: ‘The risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting.’ But when a reporter asked if there was anything Assad could do to stop the bombing, Kerry said: ‘Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week … But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.’ As the New York Times reported the next day, the Russian-brokered deal that emerged shortly afterwards had first been discussed by Obama and Putin in the summer of 2012. Although the strike plans were shelved, the administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ the former intelligence official said of the senior officials in the White House. ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’ (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on 21 August.’)

*

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

An American foreign policy expert who speaks regularly with officials in Washington and Ankara told me about a working dinner Obama held for Erdoğan during his May visit. The meal was dominated by the Turks’ insistence that Syria had crossed the red line and their complaints that Obama was reluctant to do anything about it. Obama was accompanied by John Kerry and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser who would soon leave the job. Erdoğan was joined by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, and Hakan Fidan, the head of the MIT. Fidan is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdoğan, and has been seen as a consistent backer of the radical rebel opposition in Syria.

Give a gift for the mind

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

But Erdoğan did not leave empty handed. Obama was still permitting Turkey to continue to exploit a loophole in a presidential executive order prohibiting the export of gold to Iran, part of the US sanctions regime against the country. In March 2012, responding to sanctions of Iranian banks by the EU, the SWIFT electronic payment system, which facilitates cross-border payments, expelled dozens of Iranian financial institutions, severely restricting the country’s ability to conduct international trade. The US followed with the executive order in July, but left what came to be known as a ‘golden loophole’: gold shipments to private Iranian entities could continue. Turkey is a major purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and it took advantage of the loophole by depositing its energy payments in Turkish lira in an Iranian account in Turkey; these funds were then used to purchase Turkish gold for export to confederates in Iran. Gold to the value of $13 billion reportedly entered Iran in this way between March 2012 and July 2013.

The programme quickly became a cash cow for corrupt politicians and traders in Turkey, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. ‘The middlemen did what they always do,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Take 15 per cent. The CIA had estimated that there was as much as two billion dollars in skim. Gold and Turkish lira were sticking to fingers.’ The illicit skimming flared into a public ‘gas for gold’ scandal in Turkey in December, and resulted in charges against two dozen people, including prominent businessmen and relatives of government officials, as well as the resignations of three ministers, one of whom called for Erdoğan to resign. The chief executive of a Turkish state-controlled bank that was in the middle of the scandal insisted that more than $4.5 million in cash found by police in shoeboxes during a search of his home was for charitable donations.

Late last year Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz reported in Foreign Policy that the Obama administration closed the golden loophole in January 2013, but ‘lobbied to make sure the legislation … did not take effect for six months’. They speculated that the administration wanted to use the delay as an incentive to bring Iran to the bargaining table over its nuclear programme, or to placate its Turkish ally in the Syrian civil war. The delay permitted Iran to ‘accrue billions of dollars more in gold, further undermining the sanctions regime’.

*

The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily. ‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘It can’t come through Jordan because the terrain in the south is wide open and the Syrians are all over it. And it can’t come through the valleys and hills of Lebanon – you can’t be sure who you’d meet on the other side.’ Without US military support for the rebels, the former intelligence official said, ‘Erdoğan’s dream of having a client state in Syria is evaporating and he thinks we’re the reason why. When Syria wins the war, he knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard.’

A US intelligence consultant told me that a few weeks before 21 August he saw a highly classified briefing prepared for Dempsey and the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, which described ‘the acute anxiety’ of the Erdoğan administration about the rebels’ dwindling prospects. The analysis warned that the Turkish leadership had expressed ‘the need to do something that would precipitate a US military response’. By late summer, the Syrian army still had the advantage over the rebels, the former intelligence official said, and only American air power could turn the tide. In the autumn, the former intelligence official went on, the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’

As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’ Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’

The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’

Turkey’s willingness to manipulate events in Syria to its own purposes seemed to be demonstrated late last month, a few days before a round of local elections, when a recording, allegedly of a government national security meeting, was posted to YouTube. It included discussion of a false-flag operation that would justify an incursion by the Turkish military in Syria. The operation centred on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the revered Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, which is near Aleppo and was ceded to Turkey in 1921, when Syria was under French rule. One of the Islamist rebel factions was threatening to destroy the tomb as a site of idolatry, and the Erdoğan administration was publicly threatening retaliation if harm came to it. According to a Reuters report of the leaked conversation, a voice alleged to be Fidan’s spoke of creating a provocation: ‘Now look, my commander, if there is to be justification, the justification is I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land [in the vicinity of the tomb]. That’s not a problem. Justification can be created.’ The Turkish government acknowledged that there had been a national security meeting about threats emanating from Syria, but said the recording had been manipulated. The government subsequently blocked public access to YouTube.

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous. The Turks would say: “We hate you for telling us what we can and can’t do.”’

4 April
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 19331
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to United States Government Crime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest