Libya: Methods And Sources

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October 8, 2012: The September 11th Islamic terrorist attack on American diplomats (and the death of the American ambassador) has become a contentious issue in the United States, mainly because of the upcoming November 6 elections (for the president and most members of the national legislature). The current government is being accused of ignoring the terrorist threat in Libya despite the media coverage of the threat beforehand and subsequent leaks of American intelligence alerts about potential attacks on American diplomats there. While an embarrassing, and fatal, lapse in judgment and administration of security, the nearness of elections makes the issue a political crisis with all manner of accusations being tossed around. The U.S. government did admit a week ago that it was indeed a terrorist attack but the weeks of delay in getting the American (FBI) investigators to Benghazi and apparent disputes between the intelligence agencies and presidential political advisors is apparently hindering the pursuit of the attackers. Some of the leaked documents indicate the American ambassador had requested increased security but was turned down by the State Department. That said, it's still unclear why the ambassador chose to spend September 11th (a day many Islamic terror groups liked to attack Americans on) in such a vulnerable place (Benghazi, noted for its many Islamic radical groups and in a lightly guarded consular compound, rather than the heavily guarded embassy back in Tripoli).

In Benghazi a government program to disarm the militias has managed to take over a thousand rifles and rocket launchers out of circulation as people respond to a call for surrendering weapons. So far about two dozen militias have disbanded but most resist calls to shut down. The situation is still volatile.

The Libyan government is cooperating with American intelligence agencies in the search for those who killed the American ambassador. Little is being said about this investigation, in order to keep down the risk of damaging leaks. Apparently the U.S. CIA and other intel agencies had a lot of information on Benghazi Islamic radicals and what they were up to. But publication of how that information was collected could jeopardize the methods and sources.

October 7, 2012:  The newly elected parliament voted to reject the new prime minister because of an inability (over the last four weeks) to put together a satisfactory selection of ministers and thus form a government. The problem is the inability of the many factions (based on tribe, ethnicity, town, neighborhood, or Islamic radical groups) to agree on who should get what.

October 4, 2012: American FBI investigators arrived in Benghazi (in armored vehicles, guarded by American commandos) to examine the consular building where Islamic terrorists killed the U.S. ambassador on September 11th. Foreign (including American) journalists have already picked through the ruins and found that many documents were still there, including the ambassador's journal (parts of which were published in U.S. media) and classified material. The U.S. State Department delayed the arrival of the FBI for three weeks because of security concerns. These were legitimate but did not dissuade numerous foreign journalists, aid workers, or business people from operating in the city. This delay has become a political issue in the United States, where a presidential election campaign is underway. In Benghazi the FBI investigators stayed only about 12 hours and then left, leaving much investigating (like interviewing witnesses) undone.

October 3, 2012: Islamic terrorists are believed responsible for killing three policemen at a checkpoint 260 kilometers east of Benghazi.

In Turkey security officials arrested two Tunisian Islamic radicals on suspicion that they were involved with the September attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya. The two were on an American watch list and were travelling using false passports.

October 2, 2012: Pro-government have surrounded the West Libyan town of Bani Walid (170 kilometers southeast of Tripoli). With a population of about 100,000, this town was always pro-Kaddafi and is the last refuge of pro-Kaddafi militias (who have been misbehaving even after the Kaddafi government was overthrown last year). The pro-Kaddafi forces have been ordered to surrender or face an attack on the town.

October 1, 2012: Someone threw a grenade at a police patrol in Benghazi, wounding two policemen.

After more than a month of negotiations the government secured the release of seven Iranian aid workers who were kidnapped by radicals on July 31st.

September 28, 2012: In Benghazi several hundred people demonstrated in favor of Islamic radical militia Ansar al Shariah. Police prevented the demonstrators from getting violent or killing anyone.  Ansar al Shariah is suspected of participating in the September 11 attack that killed the American ambassador and denies any involvement. The popular anger to the ambassador's death led to many Islamic radical militias being attacked by mobs and the police. This included Ansar al Shariah and this group is trying to resist.

 

 

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