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Since the attack in Benghazi, tensions have grown between U.S. intelligence and elements of the Syrian opposition, as have concerns expressed that foreign fighters, many of them from Libya, may pose a long-term danger to the United States.

Concerns are rising due to the presence in Syria of increasing numbers of Libyans and Jihadis armed with heavy weapons, including shoulder-launched SAM missiles, known as MANPADs, looted from the vast arms stockpiles of the deposed Gadhaffi regime. Shipments of these have been observed being moved into Syria in recent months, and recently seen being distributed elsewhere across the region.

During the seven weeks since the September attack that took the life of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, it has become evident that Eastern Libya has become a base for al Qaeda militants who have seized a growing military and political role in western-supported regime change operations in Syria.

In addition, concerns are rising that Libyan MANPADs are a prize that al-Qaeda seeks, and the US appears to have lost control over thousands of these missiles. Of the estimated 20,000 once held by the Libyan armed forces, only about a quarter have been accounted for or destroyed, despite efforts of the U.S. and several countries to buy back or seize them after the revolution.

CNN confirmed yesterday that US intelligence has for the first time publicly acknowledged that some of the attackers belonged to the same al-Qaeda groups that the US fought in Iraq, now a growing part of the Syrian opposition.  http://security.blogs.cnn.com/...

- MORE -

As has been noted here, the attack on the Ambassador and US intelligence personnel in Benghazi on September 11 coincided with the reported delivery to anti-Assad opposition groups of a number of missiles aboard a Libyan freighter that docked in Turkey. See, http://www.dailykos.com/...

Another backstory that has emerged is that Gadhaffi’s ouster late last year was the key role of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens took in personally leading the regime change operation in Libya. Details emerged how the Ambassador arrived aboard a freighter in April last year, and how he promptly set up shop in Benghazi coordinating opposition Libyan groups. Since his death, we have also begun to hear about the reports he wrote in 2008 detailing the central role of Libyan militants from Benghazi in al-Qaeda operations against US forces in Iraq, particularly Jihadists from Eastern Libya who made up a disproportionately large percentage of suicide bombers in Iraq. Ironically, members of these same groups now appear to have been involved in his killing.

CNN confirmed yesterday that US intelligence has for the first time publicly acknowledged that some of his assailants belonged to the same al-Qaeda groups. http://security.blogs.cnn.com/...

US Intel believes some Benghazi attackers tied to al Qaeda in Iraq
By Suzanne Kelly, Pam Benson and Elise Labott

U.S. intelligence believes that assailants connected to al Qaeda in Iraq were among the core group that attacked the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, a U.S. government official told CNN.

That would represent the second al Qaeda affiliate associated with the deadly September 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Previously, intelligence officials said there were signs of connections to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African wing of the terror group.

The revelation that members of al Qaeda in Iraq are suspected of involvement in the Libya attack comes at a time when there is a growing number of fighters from that group also taking part in the Syrian civil war.

In an initial September 14 analysis, it was reported here that the Libyan groups then known to be suspected of the attack were part of “a far larger conglomeration of Jihadi terrorist groups that have originate in, and openly train and operate, in eastern Libya. Little has apparently been done to suppress these groups, which have been up until now free of the sort of armed drone attacks against similar groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen. Ironically, Stevens catalogued a number of al-Qaeda groups in a 2008 State Dept. cable he put together at the time many of these groups were still actively carrying out their holy war against US and Shi'ia targets in Iraq.” See, http://www.dailykos.com/...

It was noted two weeks later that The Times of London carried a September 14 article, captioned,“Syrian rebels squabble over weapons as biggest shipload arrives from Libya.”

Meanwhile, ABC reported that one of three Americans killed with Ambassador Stevens was part of group assigned to locate these looted Libyan MANPADS, shoulder-fired missiles that can be used to shoot down airliners.

On September 24, the New York Times carried a front-page story cryptically entitled, "Attack in Libya was major blow to CIA efforts”, http://www.nytimes.com/... Without really identifying what those efforts have been, the Times alluded to the fact that:

American intelligence operatives also assisted State Department contractors and Libyan officials in tracking shoulder-fired missiles taken from the former arsenals of the former Libyan Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces.
Other rumblings have emerged of late from the major media about the conflicting roles of the CIA in both coordinating the arming of the Syrian opposition and problems with anti-terrorism operations, as evidenced by the fatal attack on Americans in Benghazi.

Concerns are beginning to be heard that efforts against al-Qaeda and other radical Salafist groups has been compromised as a result of enormous amounts of money and arms being pumped into the Syria opposition by Sunni Muslim states, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar.

The NYT ran an article on October 15, in which it explicitly warned in the title, “Jihadists receiving most arms sent to Syrian rebels”: http://www.nytimes.com/...

“That conclusion, of which President Obama and other senior officials are aware from classified assessments of the Syrian conflict that has now claimed more than 25,000 lives, casts into doubt whether the White House’s strategy of minimal and indirect intervention in the Syrian conflict is accomplishing its intended purpose of helping a democratic-minded opposition topple an oppressive government, or is instead sowing the seeds of future insurgencies hostile to the United States.”….

Another Middle Eastern diplomat whose government has supported the Syrian rebels said his country’s political leadership was discouraged by the lack of organization and the ineffectiveness of the disjointed Syrian opposition movement, and had raised its concerns with American officials. The diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing delicate intelligence issues, said the various rebel groups had failed to assemble a clear military plan, lacked a coherent blueprint for governing Syria afterward if the Assad government fell, and quarreled too often among themselves, undercutting their military and political effectiveness.

“We haven’t seen anyone step up to take a leadership role for what happens after Assad,” the diplomat said. “There’s not much of anything that’s encouraging. We should have lowered our expectations.”….

American officials have been trying to understand why hard-line Islamists have received such a large share of the arms shipped to the Syrian opposition. “The opposition groups that are receiving the most of the lethal aid are exactly the ones we don’t want to have it,” said one unidentified American official….

Rebel groups in Syria are playing up their Islamist credentials, including growing fundamentalist-style beards, to secure arms from conservative Gulf-based donors, according to a report by the International Crisis Group.
“Groups with no ideological affiliation whatsoever began to adopt the symbols, rhetoric and facial hair associated with Salafism for that purpose,”

The money flow from conservative donors did more than strengthen Salafi factions relative to their mainstream counterparts. It also pushed non-Salafi combatants toward joining Salafi units capable of providing them with the requisite weapons and ammunition. Groups with no ideological affiliation whatsoever began to adopt the symbols, rhetoric and facial hair associated with Salafism for that purpose.

Most recently, even the Israelis have joined in the rising cry of alarm about the regional consequences of the role of Libyan arms and fighters within the Syrian opposition. The Washington Post reported on the 17th, “Israel Official says Gaza militants getting anti-aircraft missiles from Libya”, see, http://www.democraticunderground.com/.... In my comment on that report, I said that even with these mounting concerns being voiced, the central issue still isn’t really being dealt with openly and candidly:

    (The Issue raised about) security at the Benghazi consulate is really secondary to the question not being discussed about what the US Ambassador was doing there. How is US national security actually impacted by US covert involvement in regime changes in the region? That is the major policy issue nobody is now talking publicly about.

Nonetheless, one can now safely conclude that the larger policy issue of US coordination of regime change operations in the MENA region is implicated by these events, and that there are serious second-thoughts emerging about the wisdom of allowing Islamic militants to be recruited, armed and trained in areas that the US has recently had a role in regime change. This casts the Syrian regime change strategy into doubt.

There are increasing indicators that the policy of regime change in the MENA region may amount to an historic instance of blowback, and that some in Washington may have finally recognized that terrible potential.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Revolutions are messy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga, highacidity

    Anyone who thinks a revolution can be efficiently managed to avoid unintended, unfortunate or even dangerous consequences is delusional.

  •  I don't think your evidence (6+ / 0-)

    shows that the attack in Benghazi is causally connected to the pipeline of weapons moving to Syria.

    Nor do I think much of a security blog at CNN that quotes Rogers as if contacted directly, but has no sources for the administration on record.  The NYTimes article was talking about the blow to intelligence because most Americans associated with the Benghazi operations were removed and scattered, not some other problem related specifically to Al Quaida or Syria.

    As for arming militants,  that has a rather historic precedent for blowing up in our faces.   Who was Osama bin Laden after all and what was his history with the US?

    For all we call it the Arab Spring, a lot of what has happened is country specific, and not because of the US or its policies.  Stevens was particularly involved in Libya.  There is no evidence that the US was a major player in fomenting the start of the situations in Egypt, Syria or Tunisia.    I think this line has been pursued in several diaries with no proof that the US is supporting more militant/Islamic fundamentalist groups within any of the nations which overthrew autocratic governments, that the US could have stopped regime change or that there is some huge new security problem.

    •  That conclusion is CNNs intel community sources (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, joe shikspack

      I'm just reporting and giving background to what is being said by a number of major media reports that have been cited and quoted here.

      If you care to see it, this is a real, growing off-the-record concern among many in the intelligence community and is beginning to spill out.  There is no doubt that US policy is shifting.  The only question, will these concerns motivate efforts to constrain the Sunni states now involved in supporting the Salafist militias and outside fighters or will we see a double-down of more direct US involvement in the Syria war right after the election.

      The choice that's made will determine whether we plunge into a far wider war in the coming years.

      •  I don't think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        frenchman

        that Syria is analogous to regime change in many of the other nations as it is a very different nation with more international political suport from Russia and China and plays a role in the Middle East different from the North African nations.

        To assume a monolithic US policy, to assert US is actually a supporter of regime change more than a reluctant passenger on a wave it didn't start or support seems unrealistic to me.

        Further,  'far wider war' isn't a conclusion supported by evidence I've seen in this diary or in news articles.  That is fearmongering.   If you have a more detailed and better sourced discussion of all the players in Syria, both homegrown and foreign,  and some fact based discussion,  you should lay it out.

        •  So you do accept (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leveymg

          that weapons are flowing from Libya to Syria.  But question that there is some broader intent or plan?

          "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

          by EdMass on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:04:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am no expert (0+ / 0-)

            on the flow of arms,  but I do believe that if a bunch of weapons are lying around in the middle of a revolution, and the value of arms being what they are, they are going to flow somewhere.

            That militants exist in these nations is also something I believe.  That they may cooperate from time to time, I believe.   That other international players inside and outside of North Africa and the Middle East have interests in the Syrian struggle, and would readily support the enemy of my enemy as my friend and engage in arming people, I believe.  

            That the Benghazi attack was directly related to arms shipments from Libya to Syria because we were arming the militants in Syria, I don't believe.  I think the simpler explanation, that Islamic Fundamentalists hate the US regardless of what it is doing and will attack when they find a target is the correct one.

            That the US SHOULD be trying to arm Syrian rebels because somehow we have an ability to positively influence or  control the situation, I also do not support.  I don't know, but I hope that the Obama administration would recognize a policy that is the equivalent of riding the tiger and just say no.   That we may get there because of some unholy alliance of interests but different goals and philosophies of the Israel and other 'Sunni states', is possible.  But I don't think its official US policy yet to take on a large role in directly arming groups, providing assistance, etc.   How much is happening through the surrogates,  I don't know.

            I think Obama was trying to advocate the cautious, don't arm tomorrow's enemies today approach in the debate, with Mitt Romney's arm the rebels, we can control where the weapons go position, being ludicrous.

            This diary bothers me because it doesn't seem balanced, seems to lump all regime change into one pot and act as if it is a coordinated US intelligence operation.  I don't think we're doing that.   And the scary, what was the Ambassador doing in Benghazi question,  it's a plot with the CIA, tone, bothers me a lot.

        •  A self-evident fiction that Syria regime change (3+ / 0-)

          hasn't been US policy for a long time.  The only question is what role the US took directly in the initial stages preceding the armed uprising.  The timeline tells us that occurred in Daraa.  The peaceful protests lasted for less than two weeks before the battle for Daraa started on 04/08/11

          Same chain of events happened, virtually simultaneously in Benghazi. The pattern in both countries, focused on these two cities, was broadly as follows:

          Week One: The Twitter Factor - exile groups promote “Days of Rage.” Largely ignored.
          Week Two: Demonstrations grow, calls for overthrow of regime. A few serious casualties.
          Week Three: Militants shoot at police and demonstrators during riots, Police/Army overrreact, massacres.
          Week Four, and thereafter: Mob Anger, Storming of Gov't buildings, arsenals looted, troops attacked, foreign fighters and al Qaeda carry out bombings, civil war.
          Coverage of events by “liberal” western media fixates on Week Three: PR for Islamic Revolution and "humanitarian intervention."  

          •  that the US would welcome (0+ / 0-)

            the end to Assad (Daddy first, then son) isn't the question.

            That somehow the US had a planned, coordinated policy for regime change and that there is any equivalency I question.  That somehow the US planned, instigated and carried out simultaneous revolutions in Syria and Libya, I find unconvincing, and you haven't pointed to any source that seems to have proof.

            •  The point of the diary is to show the connections (0+ / 0-)

              between the groups that attacked the US Mission and the role of Libyan al-Qaeda fighters and looted arms in regime change operations in Syria.  That has undeniably resulted in blowback and a reappraisal of US policy in MENA.  

              The question of whether the US planned and executed both simultaneous armed uprisings is a topic for another diary.

              I think I've made my limited point in the diary.  This thread isn't the place to demonstrate a side-issue nearly so broad and sketchy as the one you want to focus on.

              Some other time for that.

          •  This is supposed to be a timeline of Syria? (0+ / 0-)

            This comment is an outrage. The protests in Syria remained peaceful FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS. That was the time period during which civilian deaths ran about 5-6 a day. To be honest, those of us who had followed events in Libya thought the Syrians were crazy, that their efforts in the direction of nonviolent resistance were wasted in the face of madness like Assad's.

            And as concerns Libya, just for the record, the eventual violent overthrow of the Gaddafi government in Benghazi was a massive popular reaction to DECADES of murders, massacres, kidnappings and other kinds of state terrorism.

            In Syria - I know no one is going to say this so I will - the PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS HAVE NEVER STOPPED. Last Friday there were OVER FOUR HUNDRED peaceful demonstrations - some held at night - against the regime, all over Syria.

            The Free Syrian Army began as a means of protecting the demonstrators. It continues to fulfill that function. But in the beginning, the Free Syrian Army fighters did not think they would be able to defeat Assad.

            Everybody thought they would have to have help from the West, because Assad, like Gaddafi, was attacking civilians with massively disproportionate force thanks to advanced weapons acquired from Russia (in this case).

            Now the FSA knows they can win freedom for their country without US help! And it's not the case that if a country doesn't get its revolutionary victory handed to it by the US, the only alternative is "ZOMG Salafists!"

            If anybody ever says anything to you about Salafists, just say this: "Who is the leader of the Salafists? I mean, even al-Qaeda has identifiable leaders."

            Get rid of Assad and get Russia out of Syria, and there is no more significant roadblock to peace in the region. And in thirty years, a majority-Arab Israel will be on good terms with all its Arab neighbors.

            •  What about Iran? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack
              Get rid of Assad and get Russia out of Syria, and there is no more significant roadblock to peace in the region. And in thirty years, a majority-Arab Israel will be on good terms with all its Arab neighbors.
              And how many other governments must be overthrown?


              "Justice is a commodity"

              by joanneleon on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:17:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Bush plan (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joanneleon

                called for forcible regime change in Iraq, Iran and Syria.   Don't know if that plan has been updated recently.  Identifying the "most significant roadblock to Peace in the region" is a bit more problematic

              •  um, none (0+ / 0-)

                First point I was making is that Assad is a goner, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Free Syrian Army. No US intervention necessary, just keep keeping the Russians honest - which you would do anyway.

                As for Iran, well, they're going to lose their major outlet for FP adventurism in this anyway. Hezbollah troops are being killed every day in Syria, and once Syria is free, I don't really think Lebanon and Jordan are going to mind watching Hezbollah shrink.

                Meanwhile, Iran is going through the worst economic crisis of its revolutionary history - courtesy of your friendly neighborhood sanctions. They are looking at a more than 30% contraction in their manufacturing sector, they can't pump enough oil to fulfill their Chinese contracts, and segments of their government are at each other's throats.

                Iran is not going to be able to afford a lot of foreign entanglements in the years to come. They may not be able to afford a lot of military-related research. The fear that they will acquire a nuclear bomb is way overdone, although American candidates are required to say they must never have one.

                There is an opposition in Iran. Periodically they make their presence known, as you may remember. Syria is a disaster for the Khamenei government.

                Now, the relations between Iran and Iraq are another matter. But the notion that seemed to underlie your comment - that the US has to overthrow a bunch of governments - is unrealistic at best.

                 

              •  The destabilization of Lebanon is next. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leveymg, joanneleon

                Syria is fait accompli. This country has now been completely destabilized and can no longer project power in the region.

                The problem now is to prevent the complete collapse of the Syrian regime as happened in Libya. This would open up the armories for looting on a massive scale which would be tens of times worse than what had occurred in Libya. Syria has many more advanced weapons which would readily fall into the hands of the better equipped, trained and motivated Islamic jihadist's that have steadily flooded into the country from around the world.

                The only way to stop the looting would be with boots on the ground. But the only boots that can be used are the Syrian regime forces. Any western boots on Syrian soil would ignite the entire region. Turkish and Arab forces also could not do this due to pressures they would receive in their home countries. Therefore, Assad's regime must not be allowed to completely collapse. We will see a slowing down of arming the rebels and more of an acceptance for a political solution. Unfortunately, illicit arms supply will not slow down to the jihadists who do not want a political solution so it is better that Assad be seen to be killing these 'rebels'. Another solution would be having the "good" (US backed) rebels fight and kill the "bad" rebels.

                I think NATO, Qatar and the Saudis expected Assad to step down or fall quicker and are completely unprepared for what has occurred. Remember Clinton stating a year ago that it would be a matter months for Assad to fall?

                They have opened Pandora's box. Blowback is a bitch.

                •  open Assadism (0+ / 0-)

                  "the only boots that can be used are the Syrian regime forces"

                  Unfortunately for you, they're not going to be available.

                  Your remarks are complete nonsense, fearmongering, and anti-Islamic racism.

                  •  Don't expect the rebels to protect the regime's (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    leveymg

                    massive armories or the WMD storage areas. These will be looted just as they were in Libya. If there is a complete collapse of the regime, NATO will have to send in tens of thousands - I believe the estimate given was about 60,000 just to secure the WMD's. Syria is a tougher nut to crack than Iraq.

                    Watch the US and Turkey apply less pressure on the Assad regime and scale back arms supply to the rebels in the near future. They will also start to look seriously at a political solution - something they should have been doing over a year ago.

                    Qatar and the Saudis will continue to supply arms and money to the militant Islamist's because they have less to lose and everything to gain with Syria having a religious Sunni government to match their own.

                •  the silliness of some of these statements (0+ / 0-)

                  "Syria is fait accompli" What?

                  (Syria) "can no longer project power in the region" What in the world are you talking about? They're projecting a ton of power, they're just using it to kill their own citizens - or do you think the whole population of Syria are jihadists, and Assad's army your only friend? I could believe that.

                  "Assad's regime must not be allowed to completely collapse" Um, how are you going to stop it?

                  "having the good rebels kill the bad rebels" We need you in the State Dept.

                  I don't support hide ratings but C. Bom. is a troll. Nothing less.

            •  Here's a timeline for Syria. Armed resistance (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Claudius Bombarnac

              started on April 8, 2011.  There were no significant demonstrations in Syria until a protest in Damascus involving a couple hundred people on February 5 following the first protest that followed the internet Call for Days of Rage a few days earlier.

              Daraa, a city near the Jordanian border in Southern Syria, was the site of the first armed clashes and massacres in early April.

              The fighting with military defectors was a battle that developed within the context of armed uprising in Daraa. The events of April 8 that led to the arrival two weeks later of large number of government troops are key to understanding how the violence was sparked and why the use of force by the regime escalated. There were three key actions that sparked the crackdown: snipers, the burning of the Ba'ath Party Headquarters by a large, armed mob, and the killing of 19 policemen and security personnel. http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              8 April – "Friday of Resistance"
              External videos
              Unknown Gunmen Filmed at Syria Demo
              (YouTube: Associated Press.)
              8 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
              Protests in Duma near Damascus

              On the third Friday called "Friday of Resistance", thousands of protesters took to streets in Daraa, Latakia, Tartus, Edlib, Baniyas, Qamishli, Homs and the Damascus suburb of Harasta, in the largest protest yet.

              27 anti-government protesters were killed in Daraa and many other were wounded when security forces opened fire with rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse stone-throwing protesters. The clashes started when thousands of prayers staged rallies following the Friday prayers. In a telephone call one of the activists told the news agencies that demonstrators, starting from three mosques, have marched to the city's main court where they were confronted by security forces dressed in civilian clothing. A witness told Reuters he saw "snipers on roofs." It was also reported that another resident has seen "pools of blood and three bodies" in the Mahatta area of Daraa. The protesters have also smashed a stone statue of Basil al-Assad, the brother of the current President of the country, and set fire to a Ba'ath Party outpost. The state-run Syrian Television reported that 19 police officers and members of the security forces have been killed in Daraa.

              You may view the original AP Raw Feed from Daraa on April 8 which shows the mob and the snipers, here:

              http://www.youtube.com/... - (URL for:

              Raw Video: Deadly Day of Protests in Syria - YouTube
              ► 1:13► 1:13

              www.youtube.com Apr 8, 2011 - 1 min - Uploaded by AssociatedPress
              State-run Syrian TV says 19 police officers and security forces have been killed in southern city of Daraa. (April 8)

              •  First Syrian mass protests March 15, 2011 (0+ / 0-)

                15 March – "Day of Rage"

                External videos
                    First explicit demonstration against the Syrian regime Damascus, Syria, 15 March 2011 on YouTube

                Simultaneous demonstrations took place in major cities across Syria. Thousands of protesters gathered in al-Hasakah, Daraa, Deir ez-Zor, and Hama. There were some clashes with security, according to reports from dissident groups. In Damascus, a smaller group of 200 men grew spontaneously to about 1,500 men. Damascus has not seen such uprising since the 1980s. The official Facebook page called "Syrian Revolution 2011" showed pictures of supportive demonstrations in Cairo, Nicosia, Helsinki, Istanbul and Berlin. There were also unconfirmed news that Syrian revolution supporters of Libyan descent, stormed into the Syrian Embassy in Paris.[49][50][51][52][53]

                Another recently released political figure, Suhair Atassi, became an unofficial spokesperson for the "Syrian revolution", when she was interviewed by dozens of Arab and international media channels regarding the uprising. There were reports of 6 arrested in Damascus.[54][55][56][57] Atassi paid tribute to "the Syrian people who took the initiative ahead of the opposition," recalling the popular uprisings that shook Tunisia and Egypt[48] After the first day of the uprising there were reports about approximately 3000 arrests and a few "martyrs", but there are no official figures on the number of deaths.[58]

              •  There was an infiltration of armed foreign (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                leveymg

                fighters entering the country in April according to an Al Jazeera reporter who, along with several others, eventually resigned because Al Jazeera refused to report this development.

                Al Jazeera Journalist Explains Resignation over Syria and Bahrain Coverage

                JAY: So what—before we go further into your own story, let's back up one step. What exactly did you see in terms of arms going into Syria? Who do you think (or were you able to tell?) was supplying the arms?

                HASHEM: Actually, I can't identify who's really supplying the arms, but actually we saw armed men just crossing the river, the great northern river, which is the only, you know, natural barrier between Lebanon and Syria. They were just crossing that barrier and going into Syria, and then clashing with the Syrian Army. That was in May. And even something similar happened in April, but it wasn't on camera. But in May it was on camera and we had the footage, and, you know, no one wanted to have them on air. At that time, you know, everybody was watching. You know, we were, as journalists, myself, were the only, you know, Arab channel, news channel on the borders, and we were trying to, you know, see what's going on over there. [crosstalk]

                JAY: So this is—you're talking almost a year ago now, then.

                HASHEM: Yeah, yeah, that was in May, that was in May, May 2011.

                •  you propagandize in favor of Assad (0+ / 0-)

                  One conversation with an Al Jazeera reporter - and an accusation that is all the more convincing to you, apparently, because there's such a massive body of evidence on the other side.

                  Your views have been clear for a while.

                  Anybody who thinks the Free Syrian Army is dominated or even significantly influenced by jihadists is either blind, or has some other reason for ignoring the plain truth.

                  •  You have yet to back up any of your statements (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    leveymg

                    with any links.

                    Anybody who thinks the Free Syrian Army is dominated or even significantly influenced by jihadists is either blind, or has some other reason for ignoring the plain truth.
                    Every MSM in the US, UK, EU, ME have reported that jihadists and Islamic militant's are now playing a major and decisive role in the Syrian conflict.

                    Here's a report from last February:

                    Jihadist Opportunities in Syria
                    February 14, 2012

                    In an eight-minute video clip titled "Onward, Lions of Syria" disseminated on the Internet Feb. 12, al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri expressed al Qaeda's support for the popular unrest in Syria. In it, al-Zawahiri urged Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to aid the Syrian rebels battling Damascus. The statement comes just days after a McClatchy report quoted unnamed American intelligence officials as saying that the Iraqi node of the global jihadist network carried out two attacks against Syrian intelligence facilities in Damascus, while Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi said in a recent interview with AFP that Iraqi jihadists were moving fighters and weapons into neighboring Syria.

                    •  #syria #fsa #aleppo (0+ / 0-)

                      I'm not going to accuse you of anything (else). There are enough links and stories in this world - that you can take one bit from months ago, and a statement from someone who has nothing to do with Syria, and come up all bully-boy with "where are your links".

                      Go on Twitter, and start with those three hash tags. They will lead you to more videos than you can watch, and to more stories in reputable (and disreputable) publications than you can read.

                      Demo vids, defector vids, the major Syrian tweeps. It's true that a lot of ink has been spilled over the possibility of jihadist influence in Syria. And all I can tell anyone is, it's all pretty well known, and it's far from significant. The Free Syrian Army is a homegrown revolutionary movement that almost makes blood taste sweet, it is so good. I don't envy the Syrians their living conditions but I envy them their culture and their history. The Free Syrian Army has made military history already, and together with the demonstrators they have never abandoned, they are going to change the history of the Middle East for the better.

                      •  You depend on Twitter and Facebook for (0+ / 0-)

                        your "facts"?

                        To take just one item - "defector vids". Did you know that the Syrian military has ten times as many generals per number of soldiers as the Turkish which itself is very top heavy compared to the American. Assad's regime gave commissions as favors. This is why these defections did not affect the regime as much as was expected. Hundreds of these defectors have simply left the country and are not involved in the fighting.

                        I don't envy the Syrians their living conditions but I envy them their culture and their history.
                        Which part of history? Ottoman rule or the French Mandate? Syrian history has a lot of blood in it.
                  •  The FSA is almost entirely Sunni. This is Jihad (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Claudius Bombarnac

                    whether you want to call it that, or not.

                    You are denying the obvious that this has turned into a religious civil war.  It's really a resumption of the '76-'82 "Long War of Terror", which was the last Sunni uprising against the Shi'ia-dominated minority regime and the Ba'ath Party.  That war too, which left about the same number of casualties on both sides, was essentially a religiously-based civil war.  In other words, a Jihad.

                    Yes, frenchman,  by that historical standard, the Free Syrian Army is dominated and significantly influenced by jihadists.

                    Pointing out the futility and danger of the US taking sides between two warring groups of Jihadis is not Assad propaganda, as the regime would never make that point.

                    You're a bully who uses ad hominem attacks and don't seem particularly capable of arguing from facts.

              •  so you support Assad (0+ / 0-)

                You're basically saying that the events of one day marked the end of peaceful demonstrations, and the beginning of armed resistance, and you're justifying Assad's response.

                The evidence on the other side is so massive that no one can contest it.

                Why do you hate freedom so much?

      •  CNN's intel sources (7+ / 0-)

        Maybe they can figure out why nobody watches their network.

        What was really funny was when the diarist quoted the NYT article which wondered whether the US' MINIMAL support for the Free Syrian Army was backfiring. Well, yes - but not in the way the NYT (or the diarist) thinks.

        To talk about "Salafist militias" is ridiculous. There are no such things. Salafism is a religious tradition; the very word means "old time religion" and the #1 sign you're talking to a Salafist is, he has a beard.

        There are over 100,000 fighters in the Free Syrian Army now. Most of their leadership is provided by former Syrian Arab Army generals, other officers and soldiers who defected (many of them publicly, on YouTube).

        The highest estimates regarding foreign fighters of all stripes is 2,000. This includes several brigades that are affiliated with al-Qaeda! The CIA has known about them for a long time, and they just aren't worried. The "Islamism" associated with the Free Syrian Army is non-ideological. Mostly, they just pray constantly to survive and to free their country.

        As regards Libya, all this hand-wringing is more than concern-trollish. It is simply the Republican position on Libya. The Republicans hate the successful revolution in Libya because Obama helped it win. They support the ongoing revolution in Syria (with mouth action only) because Obama has taken a restrained stand.

        And of course no one bothers to note that hundreds of thousands of pro-American Libyans demonstrated all over the country to express their regret at the death of Chris Stevens.

        Regarding Syria, why has Obama played it "minimally"? Because of Russia in the UNSC. Russia allowed things to go forward in Libya because they didn't own 51% of Gaddafi. But their relationship with Assad is a money-maker. Assad is estimated to have accumulated a fortune of over $60 billion dollars through extortion, drug dealing and human trafficking. He has made tens of millions for the Russian leaders who never had a cash cow like Syria in the old days. In truth, the big problem with Syria is that there is no bribe, no consolation prize to offer the Russians for the loss of their most lucrative client state.

        Russia has been watching the US like a hawk, HOPING that they would unilaterally intervene, ever since they realized that even with all their help so far, Assad is still losing. Miraculously, the Free Syrian Army, with a handful of captured tanks and no aircraft, has managed to destroy hundreds of Russian tanks and close to 100 helicopters and jets. They have shot down jets with small arms fire.

        The Russians would like to furnish Assad with a new air force, more advanced strike aircraft, and heavier weapons - but they can't do it because the United States has not given the Free Syrian Army much of anything. I even think the rumors of American-furnished weapons are a fig leaf to cover the reality, that the US has done nothing for the Free Syrian Army EXCEPT TO KEEP RUSSIA IN CHECK. Russia has made several attempts to send advanced weapons and materiel to Syria, and as you'll remember one of their ships was stopped and ordered to return to port, and Turkey found advanced radar parts on an airplane they forced down.

        The Russians are stymied. They cannot risk losing all their international influence by throwing caution to the winds and taking over Assad's losing war for him. As long as the US played it straight in the Security Council, the only thing the Russians could do, the only thing they have been able to do, is hope that Assad wins.

        And that's the biggest reason why this diary is - worthless. The Free Syrian Army is winning. They are clearly winning, and they're not taking all that much time to do it, since 4 months ago they were lightly regarded. At the present time, the much-vaunted Syrian Army has lost about 70,000 of its former strength, about half from defection and half from death in the war. The Syrian Army, the regime army, cannot move troops safely between Damascus and Aleppo (south to north). They have stopped responding with troops to attacks on their outposts, and now only send planes or helicopters.
        They are seeing their air bases and army bases picked off one by one in the north.

        The one thing Assad's forces have been able to do, the only thing, is to kill civilians. Under Russian urging, Assad has from the beginning applied the principle Russians used in Chechenya - punishment bombing. Kill their parents and destroy their homes, and they'll stop fighting.

        Only - the Free Syrian Army has just grown stronger. It's a shame that the US wasn't able to help them more - but we are putting pressure on the unsustainable 1945 system in the UNSC. The next revolution, as Putin well knows, may be in Russia. Russia must give up its terrorist networks. The Soviet Union had a worldwide anti-American operation network. Russia under Putin has converted that network into a sort of World Mafia, which aims to make money.

        During Obama's second term, I hope that the US will really help Syria with its fledgling democracy. Syria is not Libya and Syria is not Iraq. The sacrifices Syrians are making for freedom and democracy are benefiting every American, not only by showing the durability of the philosophy, but by allowing the US to counter the bully that is its own size - Russia.

        And the Free Syrian Army will soon have Assad and his criminals circling the wagons in Damascus. I hope the Russians, who are nothing if not bloody realistic, will decide to cut their losses by delivering a bullet to the back of his head.

        The "ZOMG jihadists!" movement in the US press over the last couple of months has never had any substance to it, except that it shows some people's extraordinary ability to fail to recognize a bona fide freedom movement when they see it.

        •  This comment (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frenchman, OleHippieChick

          would make an excellent diary.

          (Hint, hint).

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:17:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  thank you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a gilas girl

            I tell you the truth, after what I've just been responding to...I don't really think DKos is ready to talk about this issue. Maybe after the election. Because Claudius Bombarnac down there is nothing more or less than a neocon.

            I don't want my Syrian friends to see any of this or hear about it. They would be shocked and hurt.

            •  There are multiple issues (0+ / 0-)

              that the dkos community isn't ready to talk about reasonably.  So, I sympathize.

              No doubt there are neo-cons about.  There's usually at least one hiding in the crowd somewhere.

              Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

              by a gilas girl on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:55:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Russia, Russia, Russia (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          But, but, but the President denied Russia being a geopolitical foe?  

          Umm, then what are they?

          "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

          by EdMass on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:25:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Care to back up any of your statements? (0+ / 0-)

          None of the arms from Russia were illegal. It is only the NATO countries and a few others in the US orbit that have sanctioned Syria.

          Where did you dream the following from?

          The next revolution, as Putin well knows, may be in Russia. Russia must give up its terrorist networks. The Soviet Union had a worldwide anti-American operation network. Russia under Putin has converted that network into a sort of World Mafia, which aims to make money.
          Russia makes most of it's money from oil and gas sales. It is the worlds largest producer. BTW, it's trade with Syria doesn't even register. Syria has cost Russia billions because it has forgiven the old Soviet debt.

          Most of your remarks are nonsense.

      •  USA has yet to pay for 2 wars. No more neo-con (3+ / 0-)

        wars for profit, power and taking away our civil liberties.

        NO MORE messing with OTHER countries.

        Bring our people home to live with their families and help clean up the mess left by criminal Neo-Cons... justice is slow but it tends to prevail.

        •  and we have "military conflicts" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          EdMass, Claudius Bombarnac

          in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, and ?

          Who can keep up with all the countries where we have those "military conflicts" ?

          "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand? David Crosby.

          by allenjo on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:06:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The US no longer has "military conflicts". (0+ / 0-)

            Under Obama it only has benign “kinetic military actions”. The "War on Terror" is over.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...

            Barack Obama declares the 'War on Terror' is over
            President Barack Obama has rejected George W. Bush's doctrine that placed the "war on terror" at the centre of American foreign policy,
            ...
             "As our enemy adapts and evolves their tactics, so must we constantly adapt and evolve ours, not in a mad rush driven by fear, but in a thoughtful and reasoned way that enhances our security and further delegitimises the actions of our enemy," Mr Brennan said.

            It was wrong, he added, to "describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists" because that would "play into the false perception" that al-Qaeda and its allies were "religious leaders and defending a holy cause, when in fact, they are nothing more than murderers".

          •  Let's not forget Uganda and now Lebanon... (0+ / 0-)

            "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

            by EdMass on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:38:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The sources cited all say Libyan fighters and arms (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      are moving into Syria, and that has led to blowback and a reappraisal of US regime change policy.  Do you deny that is happening?  

      I don't really understand the basis of your criticism of the CNN report (something about Rogers), but the main point is substantially supported by the other reports.

      You're kind of bringing up a red-herring about whether or not the US formented both rebellions.  As I said to someone down-thread about that,

      The point of the diary is to show the connections between the groups that attacked the US Mission and the role of Libyan al-Qaeda fighters and looted arms in regime change operations in Syria.  That has undeniably resulted in blowback and a reappraisal of US policy in MENA.  

      The question of whether the US planned and executed both simultaneous armed uprisings is a topic for another diary.

      I think I've made my limited point in the diary.  This thread isn't the place to demonstrate a side-issue nearly so broad and sketchy as the one you want to focus on.  

      •  tell me what you mean by blowback (0+ / 0-)

        because I always thought it meant having repercussions from a policy.  How can the US have blowback if it isn't doing something.  And the central issue you, not me, italicized in your diary was what was the Ambassador doing in Benghazi.

        If Libyan jihdists are heading to Syria to join Syrian and other jihadists taking advantage of the overall uprising,  how does that make the Benghazi attack blowback for US policy.   How does it make it anything to do with the US except that we monitor all jihadist types tracking those that would attack the US?  In what way are we repsonsible for arms movements?  Because we helped take out Gadaffi?  And if Gadaffie was in power no arms would be moving out of the country?  Is that your premise?  If you want us to connect your dots for you, don't be suprised that you don't like the way we connect them.

        •  You really assume the US is doing "nothing"? (0+ / 0-)

          By the Administration has repeatedly acknowledged that it's policy is "coordination" (their term) of the armed opposition with the caveat that the intention is to see arms flowing to the good Sunni Jihadis and not the bad.  

          As to exactly how they make that distinction, I don't know, but the CIA is the agency involved in making that distinction on a case by case basis, and they haven't given me copies of their operational plans and protocols.

          It's a matter on the record that many of the foreign fighters in Syria, as in Iraq before that, are from Eastern Libya.   It's also a matter of record that much of the arms smuggling from Libya to opposition in Syria is from Benghazi.   That goes back to November 2011 when the head of one of the major Islamic militias based in Benghazi was detained at the airport on his way to Turkey to meet with the FSA.   The President of Libya let him go on his way.  Do you think that happened without a call to the newly-reopened US Embassy and the resident CIA Station Chief?  

          Let's move the timeline up to this September.   What do YOU think the Ambassador and the much larger than expected CIA station in Benghazi were doing?  Nothing?  Just watching? We know that Stevens met with 10 local militia leaders on 9/10 at 4pm.  His itinerary is reproduced in the documents found at the US mission.  

          We also know that the security plan for the Benghazi mission was approved on January 25, 2011, before there was any visible signs of an insurrection across the Arab world. Nobody has really explained why the State Dept set up the mission there at that time. (That was the day before the Tunisian set himself on fire igniting the Arab Spring  - now, that is a coincidence, not a dot).  See docs at the WaPo linked in the OP.

          I think the connect-the-dots makes the most sense given the facts as I've laid them out.  If you want to differ, you have to lay out alternative facts or conclusions, and explain why yours are better.  I haven't seen that.  Your move.

          •  I have no alternative facts (0+ / 0-)

            I was just questioning how your rather sparse set of facts, means that the attack is blowback.   You keep saying that these particular people attacked in response to US policy.

            Because the US isn't funnelling arms to them?   Because the US won't coordinate with them?  Or because totally unrelated to to Syria, they represent a destabilizing influence in Libya itself?  Or because they are targeted in the war on terror in general and they know it.

            You keep wanting readers to believe that Benghazi occurred because of Syrian policy and CIA involvement with the Ambassador related to that policy.  I asked you to defend the conclusions, I didn't dispute the limited facts.

            •  Stevens was in Benghazi to do something that Fran (0+ / 0-)

              Townsend, Bush's Homeland Security Director, could help him with.  She declined the Ambassador's invitation a couple weeks earlier to accompany him to Benghazi, citing other commitments.  That's also on the record.  What else could that mission have been other than to deal with a pressing matter involving or related to terrorism?   In Benghazi, terrorist threats likely involve Jihadis and MANPADs.  I think the Townsend connection is significant.  She wasn't invited there to tour reopened hospitals and schools.

              I can't tell you the exact motive that these particular assailants had for attacking the US Mission and the CIA post.  The motive could have been any of the possibilities you mentioned, or a mixture of all of them.  Each possibility needs to be weighed, but that will not be done in public, because each implicates a different policy problem, and unfortunately much of US policy in the region is not being made publicly.

              Based upon the details and facts that we have at this point, including the latest reports, nonetheless, the flow of weapons and arms out of Benghazi to Syria and elsewhere seems to be the best fit.  

              The violent death of the Ambassador Stevens is blowback, as it was neither accidental nor an isolated event, and it was an unintended consequence of US policy in the region.   There is a definite set of US policies and actors that the assailants attacked, and they had their reasons.

              I don't yet have 100% confidence in my conclusions, which are incomplete and contingent, but they fit better than the other possibilities you mention.

              •  so you don't really know anything (0+ / 0-)

                except ambassadors do what ambassadors in dangerous areas, which is make contact with people who  are players,  because he also met with other consular/embassy folks while there,  all of whom have an interest in Libya, Syria, Egypt etc., being stable, and of course, that includes most of the world given oil production, threats of war with Israel, Iran's nuclear ambitions, etc.    That's not anything except normal.  No secrets, no big questions about what's going on, except the things that are normally secret.

                No one is denying the threat of Islamic fundamentalists to US property and people, they have made it clear that they want to harm us.  The current administration has been as aggressive as any, and more so than some, in actually purusing terrorists world wide.  That makes everything and everyone with connections to the US a potential target every day.

                There is no need to look for extra special reasons for the Benghazi attack, it is part of an ongoing and well recognized pattern of behavior.  That the Obama administration has suppressed these kinds of incidents more effectively than the Bush administration is the only thing that makes Benghazi stand out.  A successful attack was and remains a matter of when not if.

                •  There are 2 different questions raised here. (0+ / 0-)

                  This diary addressed the question, "Why was Amb. Stevens in Benghazi?"  That is very different question from the one raised by others in the thread, "Why did the militias kill Amb. Stevens?"

                  I can only begin to address the former question. I do this assembling as much of the open source material as I could find in the time I had.  The picture that emerges is that the primary focus of his mission there was militias and MANPADs.   That aligns generally with what I perceive to be the operative assumption of some journalists and their IC sources.

                  That raises the equally important issues of "what did Stevens intend to do about them?"  There's a range of potential answers, but not enough facts to begin to fill that in sufficiently to come to a conclusion that I would be comfortable sharing at this point.

                  P.S. But, there is more to this.  It's now been reported that Stevens was in Benghazi and his last meeting was with the Turkish Ambassador.  The subject of that meeting, according to this report was the SA-7 missiles.  See, http://www.foxnews.com/...   I hate to see this turned into a partisan parade, particularly at this point, but the Administration should have been more forthcoming about what's going on and appears to have been protecting its regime change policy.

        •  Blowback is unintended consequences (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leveymg

          There is some blowback in Libya because the US supported the rebels in overthrowing Gadaffi which could not have been done without NATO air power.

          Many of these rebel militias had members who had fought and killed American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe the US understood the risk they were taking in this "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and felt they would be able to handle the aftermath.

          Keep in mind that Libya still does not have a working government nor does it have full control of the 100's of militias around the country. Libya is far from secure at this time. Reconstruction, which some experts have said will take 700 billion dollars over ten years, has not yet begun.

          Ir Iraq, the average citizen is not economically better off or as secure as they were under Saddam. The power grid, water and sewer have yet to be brought back to the state they were in the late 80's.

          Conditions are terrible in Libya at this time. Benghazi has yet to restart garbage collection and Tripoli just recently got it's water supply repaired. There are hundreds of protests around the country caused by citizens getting impatient with the situation.

  •  Tumult in North Africa! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga

    Al-Qaeda in Mali!

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:31:49 AM PDT

  •  Yes, but (5+ / 0-)

    the enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?  < /irony >

    This is why it is so important for the U.S. to move cautiously before deciding to arm militants, even when they are overthrowing an old adversary.  Throughout our history as a nation, elements we have armed in the world have often become a threat to our interests.  (Manuel Noriega in Panama as a "CIA asset", and Bin Laden, another "CIA asset" when he fought against the Russians,  come to mind as examples.)

    Moreover, as we learned in Iraq, the result of regime change can be even more expensive than if the old bad regime had stayed in place.  Thank you so much, Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove, and PNAC.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:33:40 AM PDT

  •  We're going to have to be careful going forward (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leveymg, Claudius Bombarnac

    The risk here is that we create another Osama. It tears at my heart to see so many Syrian civilians killed, but arming Islamic fundamentalists with weapons is the wrong choice. Containing Libya and securing a secular democracy there should be our primary focus.

    •  Exactly. Regime change and nation building in the (0+ / 0-)

      case of these two states has become mutually exclusive.  

      We have to make a choice as to whether we want to continuing to destroy Syria by empowering armed Jihadis recruited, trained and armed in Libya, or whether the interests of the US are better served by removing militant foreign Salafists from the conflict in Syria and instead seek a negotiated settlement.  

      But, that latter option requires that we actually put pressure on the Sunni states we now publicly describe as our partners.  That may seem be the more difficult path, given their financial and political leverage, but in the end it is the only one that won't involve the United States in a wider regional war.    

    •  There are no Islamic fundamentalists in Syria (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl

      There is no high command of Salafism, and the Muslim Brotherhood is nowhere.

      As for your heart being torn - their hearts are torn much more violently, you'll surely admit. And yet your comment would only cause sadness among Syrians, that the country of freedom could not recognize the depth of their commitment.

  •  "U.S. intelligence believes" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    live1, jfromga, joe shikspack, allenjo

    an we should believe US intelligence?

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:51:55 AM PDT

  •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga

    Now it's "containing" Libya?  I thought we freed them, along with our NATO allies that are now bankrupt having expended most of their reserve weapons in the effort.

    A "secular democracy"?  In Libya? And why do you believe that it is even possible considering how the rest of North Africa has already gone?

    This is not going in the right direction for US interests. For their interests, it will go where it goes.

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:55:47 AM PDT

    •  Supposed to be reply to Blazehawkins... n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

      by EdMass on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:57:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I submit our long term interests (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a gilas girl

      are served by allowing some local folks to run their own countries and make their own choices.  Look at the sad state of our secular democracy,   being driven to the right by religious nuts.   But would we be better off, if another nation showed up to tell us how to do it better?  Would the other nation be likely to be successful in the long run by interfering with force?

  •  It looks like a choice needs to be made (0+ / 0-)

    Either we go in with partners or arm third parties. Neither one is good. Shit, the U.S may - allegedly from this diary and link - have to contain this one way or another. Libya and Syria with what we're doing now may be a hard sell to Americans weary of wars.

    •  I suggest we tell our number (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      frenchman

      one geopolitical foe to clean up their surrogate's mess.  Because it's their turn to have an 'Afghanistan' moment again.  Assad would probably be gone if the Russians felt it wouldn't mean losing influence and the naval station.

      •  That's why I LOVE this place (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jfromga

        Plausible explanation from you and the frenchman on what the real issues are on this. I knew of some things but the frenchman's explanations of Russia's involvement was a very good read.

        It's good to hear from people who are studying this. Now, I have to read up on more.

  •  I Don't Believe This At All (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl

    I am sorry, but I don't buy this.  I myself believe tht the group that attacked the consulate were Libyan islamist fighters that still had weapons left over from the Libyan war.  They saw an opportunity to cause harm and they took it.  Some were local and they looted the consulate.  The CIA should be able to track the items that were taken.  I don't think this was planned at all unless it was planned that day.  No, I don't think that 9/11 was a factor in the timing of the attack.  I do think the video was a motivator in the timing of the attack.  I do think that those who attacked could be in Syria now to escape being caught.  It looks like one of the attackers was killed in Egypt.  I am still suspicious of this though because the man was not questioned before being killed.  If the CIA was involved in any way than they should be held responsible of what went down, and should have called for backup themselves.

    I think that the CIA or FBI and the whole inteligence community leaking these reports don't do anyone any good.  The media and all of us should wait until the investigations are complete.  

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:45:28 AM PDT

  •  Juan Cole Today: (0+ / 0-)

    Open Source Center Reports from Sept. 12 on Libya Consulate Attack Support Crowd Protests

    http://www.juancole.com/...

    •  I sure hope American intelligence is not relying (0+ / 0-)

      on the media and sources which have vested interests to determine the facts.

      ...
      The press reports, including interviews with Libyan officials on the ground, would have shaped analysts’ perceptions,
      ...
      So if you listened to the elected president of Libya, the attack on the consulate was done neither by a protest crowd nor by an al-Qaeda affiliate, but by left-overs (tahalleb) of the deposed Gaddafi regime.

      Given this wide range of accounts, and given what wire services reporting from Libya were saying, confusion in Washington was all but guaranteed.

      I don't know where Cole gets the information that "the attack on the consulate was done neither by a protest crowd nor by an al-Qaeda affiliate, but by left-overs (tahalleb) of the deposed Gaddafi regime."

      Here's statements from Yousef El-Magariaf himself:

      Libya's Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf: Attack On U.S. Embassy Was 'Planned — Definitely, It Was Planned by Foreigners...'

      BOB SCHIEFFER: Was this a long-planned attack, as far as you know? Or what-- what do you know about that?

      MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think we-- and they're choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no-- this leaves us with no doubt that this has preplanned, determined-- predetermined.

      BOB SCHIEFFER: And you believe that this was the work of al Qaeda and you believe that it was led by foreigners. Is that-- is that what you are telling us?

      MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: It was planned-- definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who-- who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their-- since their arrival.

      BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister President, is it safe for Americans there now?

      MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: The security situation is-- is difficult, not only for Americans, even for Libyans themselves. We don't know what-- what are the real intentions of these perpetrators. How they will react? So-- but there is no specific particular concern for danger for Americans or any other foreigners. But situation is not easy ...

  •  no point in talking to some of you (0+ / 0-)

    My assessment of the situation in Syria is in my comment history, and some of those present on this thread know that. They have offered no rebuttal. They have responded in the classic manner of regime trolls - they trump up a little piece of something so it fits their frame, and then they sit back, demonstrating no evidence, no argument and no qualifications.

    My views are based on recent scholarly examinations of Salafism as a religious movement which is non-ideological, and which has no political structure which would qualify it as a "jihadist" movement.

    They are also based on frequent contact with Syrian demonstrators and other witnesses, and on literally hundreds of thousands of videos posted on YouTube. There are videos of ongoing demonstrations (peaceful and vigorous). There are videos showing the names and faces of people who have made a principled stand against state terror, who risk their lives every day for the freedom of their country - and they're winning.

    Is it this that sticks in your craw? The Free Syrian Army is going to do the right thing, what needs to be done, without the US - except for that superpower-to-superpower standoff which the US is managing properly, which is fully in its own interest, and which gives the Syrians the time and space they need to win their own freedom.

    To substitute "OMG armed Muslims! War without end!" for the reality in Syria is a mistake. Just because you make a mistake doesn't mean you'll have to pay for it. Free Syria will not hate the United States because there was no intervention.

    Why you all take the position you take is a mystery to me but I think I would be making a mistake to participate in this discussion any further.  

    •  You have not backed up any of your statements (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EdMass, leveymg

      with links to your sources of information. You simply make a statement as if its a fact without any supporting evidence at all. If you have done some scholarly work on Syria please show us.

      The Free Syrian Army is going to do the right thing, what needs to be done, without the US - except for that superpower-to-superpower standoff which the US is managing properly, which is fully in its own interest, and which gives the Syrians the time and space they need to win their own freedom.
      Exactly who is the "Free Syrian Army"?
      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/...
      Holy Warriors
      A field guide to Syria's jihadi groups.

      OCTOBER 15, 2012

      Eighteen months into the Syrian uprising, the country's Sunni Arab insurgency is now fighting a largely sectarian war against a regime dominated by religious minorities, most notably the Alawite sect to which the Assad family belongs. While the exiled opposition movement in Turkey and elsewhere remains reasonably pluralistic, the armed insurgency that took off in mid-to-late 2011 has always been a Sunni Muslim Arab affair.

      This climate of sectarian polarization has triggered a slow but certain "Islamization" of the armed movement.  Ultraconservative Salafi-jihadis, in particular, have made rapid inroads among the rebels. They tend to organize in small, close-knit groups, but their ideological impact is visible across the rebel movement, with other factions increasingly adopting their religious discourse.  
      ...
      Even the most well-known insurgent alliance, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a loose umbrella term used by several inter-related insurgent networks, is hardly the secular movement it is portrayed as in the West, where it is represented by a small coterie of exiled military defectors. In Syria, the main body of FSA networks has come to resemble a Sunni sectarian movement, which is increasingly influenced by Islamist ideology. For example, when a group of Western-backed FSA commanders established a Joint Command recently, they were seen to represent the most "secular" element of the armed uprising. But virtually all of the participants were Sunni Arabs, and in a nasty slap to minority sensibilities, they invited as their guest of honor Adnan al-Arour, a Salafi preacher infamous for his incitement against non-Sunni religious groups.
      ...
       Jihadis still make up a minority of the Syrian rebel movement and do not represent the opposition as a whole, but they punch far above their weight in terms of both military effectiveness and ideological influence. As such, they will play a role in the battle for Syria's future, though it remains to be seen just how large of a role that will be.  

      The following is a list of Syria's most significant jihadi and Islamist armed groups:
      ...

  •  There were two attacks (2+ / 0-)

    1. the Ambassador died of smoke inhalation in the main consulate complex,

    2. the three others including 2 Marines were killed at the secret safe house one mile away. How did the attackers know about the safe house?

    According to senior Libyan officials, as well as militia sources and witnesses on the ground, last week’s seemingly carefully planned assault occurred in two stages at two different sites in the eastern Libyan port city.

    In an exhaustive account of the attack, the French daily Le Figaro reported Sunday that only US Ambassador Christopher Stevens perished – from smoke inhalation – inside the US consulate premises. (Click here for the report in French.)

    At least three other people, including two US Marines, were killed in a house – sometimes called “a farm” by Libyan sources – about a kilometre away from the US consulate premises, according to Le Figaro.
    [...]
    If true, the reports suggest that the assault had been planned in advance by a group – or groups - with access to sensitive security information.

    http://www.france24.com/...

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:15:18 PM PDT

  •  More Libyan "blowback". Arms looted from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leveymg

    Gaddafi's armories continue to be spread around the region by militants.

    Egypt seizes Libyan weapons, suspects in further sign of spreading terrorist influence

     CAIRO — Egyptian police have arrested five Libyans who allegedly are members of al Qaida, intercepted two truckloads of arms from Libya and killed a Libyan who police said is suspected of involvement in the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, adding new evidence that arms and extremists are leaching out of Libya into the wider region.

    The flow of men and material across Libya’s borders highlights the growing chaos and weak central authority afflicting the North African nation more than a year after dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in what was at the time the bloodiest of the Arab Spring uprisings.

    The presence of alleged Libyan Islamists and smuggled weapons in Egypt underscored how the insecurity in Libya could be enflaming violence, political instability and extremism elsewhere in the region as the toppling of long-standing governments ended decades of harsh authoritarian rule.

    Libyan fighters and arms reportedly are bolstering rebel forces battling the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad. Arms looted from Gadhafi’s warehouses are believed to have played a major role in the takeover of northern Mali by al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/...

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