One of the larger questions about the September 11th attack on Benghazi, and the growing controversy over it, is why was a US Ambassador to Libya doing there in the first place. The consulate is a small sub-station of the US embassy in Tripoli and ordinarily you wouldn’t see an ambassador there unless there was a real good reason.
As you know from my posts I’ve been talking with folks who are well familiar with the circumstances in Benghazi however there is a silence when you ask just what was Stevens and his crew doing there at the consulate. None of the given reason make any sense. Steven was the US ambassador to Libya and as such everywhere he went he was surrounded by security while in theater. All of a sudden he’s at the consulate with a small security contingent, a security specialist and two former seals.
The Washington Post has a good article on this, but note this.
“But as Stevens met with Benghazi civic leaders, U.S. officials appear to have underestimated the threat facing both the ambassador and other Americans. They had not reinforced the U.S. diplomatic outpost there to meet strict safety standards for government buildings overseas. Nor had they posted a U.S. Marine detachment, as at other diplomatic sites in high-threat regions.”
Listen to Senator Bob Corker as he’s interviewed by Fox News.
Ok, let’s go back to March of 2011 and this story from the UK Independent.
“Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a “day of rage” from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington’s highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.
Washington’s request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America’s chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban.
But the Saudis remain the only US Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya. Their assistance would allow Washington to disclaim any military involvement in the supply chain – even though the arms would be American and paid for by the Saudis.
The Saudis have been told that opponents of Gaddafi need anti-tank rockets and mortars as a first priority to hold off attacks by Gaddafi’s armour, and ground-to-air missiles to shoot down his fighter-bombers.
Supplies could reach Benghazi within 48 hours but they would need to be delivered to air bases in Libya or to Benghazi airport. If the guerrillas can then go on to the offensive and assault Gaddafi’s strongholds in western Libya, the political pressure on America and Nato – not least from Republican members of Congress – to establish a no-fly zone would be reduced.
US military planners have already made it clear that a zone of this kind would necessitate US air attacks on Libya’s functioning, if seriously depleted, anti-aircraft missile bases, thus bringing Washington directly into the war on the side of Gaddafi’s opponents.”
Now it’s no secret that Obama order the rebels armed via a “presidential finding”, another one of Obama’s moves to circumvent congress, nevertheless it’s not the arms but what happened to them afterwards. If you think, “Fast and Furious” you’ve it the bull’s eye. Let’s say that supplied arms fell into the wrong hands.
I recall during my time as an analyst working the middle east, that weapons provided by the U.S. and Saudis to mujahedeen fighting Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s later ended up in the hands of anti-American militants.
This likely caused Congressman Mike Rogers to expressed this concerns back then as well. “We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them.”
Obviously the Obama administration ignored that advice and pushed for the suppling of the rebels. We know now that some of those weapons are – wait for it – yeah, in the hands of anti-American terrorists.
It is thought that the weapons used in the Benghazi attack were in fact some of the weapons supplied by the US and the Saudis. Of course that means in a indirect way that the Obama administration is responsible for the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three others. It would be quite the embarrassment regardless.
But that brings us back to the question, “Why was Stevens and the three others there?” One thing is for sure, we’re going to find out.