04/23/14

More on Freedom

Arlene from Israel

Or lack thereof.

Before I get to the more current news, I want to back-track just a bit. Stay with me: see where I am going.

As you may recall, at the end of March, we were expected to release a last group of terrorists, as per original arrangements to bring Abbas to the table. But the voices raised in opposition to this here in Israel were strong. And there was a very serious issue with regard to releasing Arabs who were Israeli citizens – the PA having been under the impression that we would because this is what Kerry told them, although Israel had not agreed.

Our government assessed the situation. There were no direct negotiations going on. And Abbas had let it be known that once he had those prisoners, he was going to walk out. And so, Netanyahu, seeing no gain in such a move, cancelled that prisoner release, thereby eliciting rage from the Palestinian Arabs.

Enter the US, which attempted to “salvage” the situation. Rumors abounded about a deal in which we would release all of the last group of prisoners, and another 400 to boot, and the US would release Jonathan Pollard. Whatever its precise parameters, there was some sort of deal on the cusp of being completed. And then Abbas signed all of those applications for membership in international organizations and conventions, thereby quite deliberately scotching the deal.

At that point, Netanyahu declared that no prisoners would be released unless the applications to international agencies were voided. And that is my point here.

~~~~~~~~~~

The applications were not voided and have in fact been accepted. According to what Netanyahu had said, we might have thought that the issue of releasing prisoners was dead.

Ah, but then we would not have reckoned sufficiently with Kerry’s determination to keep going at all costs, or with Netanyahu’s readiness, under duress, to help him achieve that goal.

Last Friday, Gil Hoffman, political analyst for the JPost, wrote an article about how Netanyahu had lost his majority in the cabinet for approving a deal that would see those prisoners released (apparently including the Israeli Arabs – who would have been banished from Israel), if Pollard were to be released, and the PA would stay at the table for an extended period of time.

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Netanyahu-loses-majority-for-deal-to-extend-talks-with-Palestinians-349844

The majority (of one) was lost because after the terror attack: Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beitenu) said he could not longer vote for a prisoner release since Abbas had not condemned it.

My point here is simple: Netanyahu, who said there would be no prisoner release if Abbas did not void international memberships, was prepared to waive that stipulation and go ahead anyway.

Not for a second do I make light of the enormous pressure that Kerry brings to bear. And yet, and yet… A leader must stand on principle, adhere to his word. Or else, where are we? Floundering, is where.

~~~~~~~~~~

A note about Jonathan Pollard, who has been pulled around like a marionette on a string – he’ll be released, he won’t, he will, he won’t. What the Americans have done in this regard is despicable and beneath contempt.

With it all, however, perhaps something that will benefit him has been accomplished. It had been argued in certain quarters that he couldn’t be released because he represented a security risk. Patent nonsense after all these years, even if it might have been true in the beginning. But now it is demonstrably nonsense. If it was OK to release him in the context of Israeli-PA relations, then, clearly, it is OK to release him.

I urge that efforts to release Pollard be intensified.

~~~~~~~~~~

As to quickly changing events on the scene:

Last night, I wrote about meetings on unity between the PA (Fatah) and Hamas, indicating that Abbas’s approach to Hamas was one more ploy. There was ample reason to think this. But it appears that this was not the case after all:

According to Al Jazeera, a Fatah delegation headed by Azzam al-Ahmad met Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (pictured below) and senior official Musa Abu Marzouk, in Gaza yesterday. At the end of the meeting it was announced that a unity government would be established within five weeks.

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Fatah-and-Hamas-agree-to-form-unity-government-within-5-weeks-350158


Credit: arabpress

Said Haniyeh, “the possibility for further separation between the two movements is no longer possible given the current circumstances.”

From the Hamas perspective, anything that pulls Abbas away from Kerry’s incessant pressure to “negotiate” and into the “jihad” sphere is a good thing. From the Fatah, perspective, Abbas is thumbing his nose at the West and removing himself from a no-win situation.

The deal includes the following:

  • A government (I believe of technocrats) to be established within five week.
    Elections for the presidency and legislature within six months.
  • Hamas and Islamic Jihad join the PLO.
  • The matter of Hamas joining the PLO has huge significance. This is something that Hamas has sought for a long time, for it confers power. Technically, Israel negotiates with the PLO, not the PA. Consider the implications.

~~~~~~~~~~

A few comments here:

The fact that the unity agreement was announced does not guarantee genuine success. There have been multiple unity agreements that have fallen apart at one stage or another. Whether motivation is truly different now, because the situation is different, is something we’ll have to watch.

But, as much as there are inherent tensions between the two movements, there is also considerable affinity. Their ideologies are not so different – as both Fatah and Hamas want Israel gone; only the methodologies vary.

As much as Abbas has been intransigent in dealings with Israel, so is Hamas intransigent in its demands of Fatah. What I have observed over the years is that Fatah contact with Hamas further radicalizes Fatah. Do not for a fraction of a second be taken in by left-wing arguments that claim Fatah will “moderate” Hamas and bring it to the table for peace.

~~~~~~~~~~

For the time being, this truly does seem to be the kiss of death for the “peace negotiations.” When news of the meeting first surfaced, Netanyahu declared that Abbas could choose peace or Hamas but could not have both. And, he added, rather pointlessly, even though Fatah had not chosen peace until now he hoped at this point it would.

After the formalization of the unity agreement was announced, Netanyahu observed that Abbas had chosen Hamas and not peace.

Here is a perfect case in point for what I discussed above. We must be able to count on it – that this is Israel’s red line and that there will be no further negotiations if Fatah is in a unity arrangement with Hamas. “Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other.” (Emphasis added)

It would seem to be a no-brainer. But there is always that slight unease, that Kerry’s presence will again be felt, and a loophole will be found that permits Israeli talks with the “Fatah branch” of the new unity government – or some such double talk.

At any rate, talks scheduled for today were cancelled by Israel. While Abbas is playing the “good partner,” acting as if he can do a reconciliation with Hamas and continue to pursue negotiations with Israel. His people will be meeting with US representatives.

The official statement from Abbas’s office:

“There is no incompatibility between reconciliation and negotiations, especially as we are committed to a just peace based on a two-state solution in accordance with resolutions of international law.

“In the interest of the Palestinian people, it is necessary to preserve the unity of land and people…This approach, supported on the Arab and international levels, strengthen[s] the capacity of Palestinian negotiators to achieve the two-state solution.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4512606,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Does Kerry – who spoke about Abbas’s dedication to pursuing peace – feel the complete fool yet?

04/23/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – The Shot Heard ‘Round The World Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best posts in each category, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

This week, The MidKnight Review, Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, Jewish American Patriots, Gulag Bound and The Pirate’s Cove earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for that week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, without further ado, let’s see what we have this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!

04/22/14

Zeman Herutenu

Arlene from Israel

The Time of our Freedom. Another term for the Pesach Holiday which is just completing (last night here in Israel, tonight outside of Israel). As I picked up news over the holiday that gave me a knot of considerable dimensions in my stomach, I knew how I had to begin this first post-holiday post:

Herut. Freedom. It was supposed to be that the Jewish People, having reached Israel, would be free.


Credit: Menachem Kahana/AFP

But what I see is that we are still enslaved. Enslaved to a galut (diaspora) mentality: bowing still before international public opinion. Worried about what “they” will say, or do.

When last I wrote, it was clear that the continuation of the “peace negotiations” was going to be a non-starter. Or, at very least, if the two sides were to return to the table, it would come to absolutely nothing. I had hoped to be done with writing about this, hoped that there would be nothing more to write in this regard. But, alas, it was not to be.

Our prime minister – however ludicrous the situation and the demands of the PA – never says with finality, “Look guys, the current situation is obscene. We’ve given it our honest best, and we’ve had it.” He prefers to play that game, so that the “failure” of the talks doesn’t appear to be our “fault,” all the while knowing it can go nowhere.

~~~~~~~~~~

Just hours before the beginning of Pesach here, there was a terrorist attack:

Baruch Mizrachi, 46, was a chief superintendent in the National Police, in the intelligence unit. With his wife Haddas and four of their five children, he was driving from Modi’in to Kiryat Arba, adjacent to Hevron, for a Pesach seder with his in-laws, when terrorists fired on his car. He was killed, and his wife and at least one of his kids were injured.


Credit: JPost

~~~~~~~~~~

Every Israeli death at the hands of a terrorist brings heartbreak, but this was one of the really tough ones. On their way to a seder! Haddas Mizrachi, pregnant. allowed to leave her hospital bed the day after yom tov (the first day of Pesach) to bury her husband. “With a bullet’s whistle,” she said, “I lost you, the love of my life.”

She told about how Baruch had spotted the terrorist and pressed his foot on the gas pedal, so that the terrorist would not have clear aim. In doing this, said his widow, he saved his family, although he took a fatal hit.

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Terror-victims-wife-recounts-attack-My-husband-kept-driving-to-protect-the-children-348627


Credit: Reuters

It is past time to say, ENOUGH!

~~~~~~~~~~

What Prime Minister Netanyahu did say was that this attack was the result of PA incitement:

“The Palestinian Authority continues to constantly broadcast — in its official media — programs that incite against the existence of the State of Israel.”

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=16887

He is absolutely correct. The message given to the Palestinian Arabs is that attacking Jews is an acceptable, indeed, a praiseworthy thing to do.

But did he follow through and say that there can be no further “negotiations” with the PA until that incitement is halted? That any entity that promotes murderous attacks on us cannot be considered a partner in such negotiations, theoretically aimed at achieving peace? Of course not.

~~~~~~~~~~

Then a flap ensued regarding the question of whether Abbas condemned the terror attack – with Netanyahu saying that talks about the talks could not continue unless Abbas did provide a condemnation. “The incitement of the Palestinian Authority continues in that it has yet to see fit to condemn this abominable and reprehensible act.”

In any event, a condemnation, had it been offered to satisfy a demand, and not as an expression of spontaneous outrage, would have been worthless. But I will tell you that even this did not happen: Abbas did not condemn the attack – not in terms that are meaningful. But he’s a sly fox who knows that he can offer pretense, and that Israel will look away.

Pathetically, a group of MKs from the Meretz and Labor parties – all people who are definitely not free, and don’t seem to even know what freedom is – visited Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday. They came away insisting that Abbas did condemn the terror attack. That’s how Abbas does it, if at all – in English, and in a private room.

It is so pathetic that MK Nitzan Howowitz (Meretz), according to the JPost, declared that Abbas “specifically emphasized his disgust from bloodshed.”

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/As-Right-blames-Palestinian-incitement-for-terror-attack-Left-meets-Abbas-in-Ramallah-348662

Now, I ask you… What sort of pretzel do you have to turn yourself into to believe/or tout an Abbas statement such as this?

~~~~~~~~~~

The tenor of feelings in the PA regarding the terrorist attack is quite clear from this report:

“Endowments Minister Mahmoud El Habash told Israeli reporters in Ramallah earlier last week that he was ‘pained’ by the murder of 47-year-old Baruch Mizrahi.” Now there are demands that he be dismissed and put on trial. On some Palestinian Arab FB pages threats about killing him have shown up.

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Palestinians-aim-wrath-at-minister-who-condemned-Passover-murder-of-Israeli-349899

~~~~~~~~~~

What we must remember is that the only thing that matters is a public statement by Abbas in Arabic, so that he would be delivering a message to his own people regarding his stern disapproval of such behavior. This he never provides. He might, quite literally, find himself on the receiving end of some violence if he did.

According to PA spokesman Nabil Abu Ruaineh, Abbas did not condemn the attack, but, rather, simply said in that meeting that he “is committed to a total condemnation of violence…”

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Israeli-lawmakers-say-Abbas-condemned-Hebron-Passover-attack-his-spokesman-denies-claim-348687

Double talk. Did Abbas offer a condemnation of the attack to the MKs and then allow his spokesman to deny it? Or did those MKs misinterpret and expand on what he actually said?

~~~~~~~~~~

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. No public condemnation was given in Arabic, and yet Israel, with a one day hiatus, continued those talks about the talks. Martin Indyk had returned, and things proceeded apace. Which means nothing has been happening.

An unnamed Palestinian official has told AFP that Indyk, in meetings on Friday, “did not present any new proposals on how to salvage the talks.” I laughed at this. There is nothing, but nothing, that could be presented by Indyk that would generate a break-though, although an associate of mine thought maybe Indyk might bring a different kind of pizza to the table.

~~~~~~~~~~

Next week we reach the deadline for the talks, and there is a great deal of unease as to what comes next. PA officials are indulging in their typical dramatic statements and threats.

Abbas has delivered his latest list of demands for returning to the table. I’ve lost track of how many times he’s set out “requirements,” each time varying the specifics. I will not belabor them here, as what Abbas wants is far more than Israel will give: release of prisoners, total freeze of all building over the ‘67 line, including in Jerusalem, and agreement on borders for a Palestinian state within three months.

Israel has already rejected these terms. A senior Israeli official has said that building will not be frozen, and borders will not be discussed separately from other issues – in fact, borders could not be determined until other issues were resolved.

https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/mena/544264-israel-rejects-abbas-conditions-for-extending-talks

The official further said: “The meaning of what Abbas said is that the Palestinians do not want peace. Because those who do [want peace] do not continue to make demands they know Israel cannot accept.” This is apparent on the face of things for those who wish to see.
.
~~~~~~~~~~

The most dramatic of Abbas’s threats right now involves a dismantling of the Palestinian Authority. I see it as a ploy and no more. Even Saeb Erekat says it won’t happen. But I’ll come back to this as appropriate. There are vast implications and complications, yet I am less unsettled by them than many seem to be. Minister Naftali Bennett has challenged Abbas: You want to leave, so leave. I would second that.

~~~~~~~~~~

What does unsettle me greatly is the manner in which our sovereignty is being challenged, both on Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) and Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives), where we have been confronting increased – and horrendous – Arab violence.

To those who are watching this closely, it seems clear that we are not seeing disparate incidents that just happened to take place at the same time. We are seeing a concerted campaign. This I want to address in some detail.

~~~~~~~~~~

Oh! And there are renewed talks with Hamas regarding a unity agreement.

You can see details here:

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=17003

This is just one more attempt to frighten Israel into making more concessions.

~~~~~~~~~~

Last Thursday was “Palestinian Prisoners Day,” and the PA marked it by calling for the release of all 5,300 Palestinian Arabs in Israeli prisons. Now that the “state of Palestine” has ratified the Geneva Conventions, PA leaders say, they are able to harness international law in applying pressure on Israel. Keeping the Palestinian Arabs in prison is a “war crime,” they claim, for Israel is holding political prisoners who are fighting for their people’s freedom.

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Palestinian-Authority-Holding-our-people-in-Israeli-jails-is-a-war-crime-349826

What an absolute crock this is. International law (invoked inappropriately by various parties) does not recognize the deliberate killing of innocent civilians, including children, as a political act on behalf of freedom.

This is what we are going to be subjected to, more and more. But we’re looking mostly at empty threats and what is important is to not be intimidated or manipulated. Said an Israeli official:

“According to the Geneva Conventions, the entire Palestinian leadership should be immediately indicted for the thousands of rockets that have been fired from Palestinian territories into Israel…”

The Palestinians have actually increased their liability by signing the Conventions, by which they are now bound.

~~~~~~~~~~

Here I recommend an important briefing for the JCPA by Alan Baker on PA attempts to be recognized as a state. It addresses serious issues regarding international law:

http://jcpa.org/article/palestinian-deception/

04/22/14

Why Democrats shouldn’t be allowed to have guns.

By: Nelson Abdullah
Conscience of a Conservative

The list speaks for itself.

  • In 1865 a Democrat named John Wilkes Booth shot and killed Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States.
  • In 1881 a left wing radical Democrat shot James Garfield, President of the United States who later died from the wound.
  • In 1963 a radical left wing socialist named Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed John F. Kennedy, President of the United States.
  • In 1975 a left wing radical Democrat named Sara Jane Moore fired shots at Gerald Ford, President of the United States.
  • In 1983 a registered Democrat named John Hinckley shot and wounded Ronald Reagan, President of the United States.
  • In 1984 James Hubert, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 22 people in a McDonalds restaurant.
  • In 1986 Patrick Sherrill, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 15 people in an Oklahoma post office.
  • In 1990 James Pough, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 10 people at a GMAC office.
  • In 1991 George Hennard, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 23 people in a Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, TX.
  • In 1995 James Daniel Simpson, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 5 coworkers in a Texas laboratory.
  • In 1999 Larry Asbrook, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 8 people at a church service.
  • In 2001 a left wing radical Democrat fired shots at the White House in a failed attempt to kill George W. Bush, President of the US.
  • In 2003 Douglas Williams, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 7 people at a Lockheed Martin plant.
  • In 2007 a registered Democrat named Seung – Hui Cho, shot and killed 32 people in Virginia Tech.
  • In 2010 a mentally ill registered Democrat named Jared Lee Loughner, shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed 6 others.
  • In 2011 a registered Democrat named James Holmes, went into a movie theater and shot and killed 12 people.
  • In 2012 Andrew Engeldinger, a disgruntled Democrat, shot and killed 7 people in Minneapolis.
  • In 2013 a registered Democrat named Adam Lanza, shot and killed 26 people in a school in Newtown, CT.
  • As recently as Sept 2013, an angry Democrat named Aaron Alexis shot 12 workers at the Washington Navy Ship Yard.

Clearly, there is a problem with Democrats and guns. Even those Democrats who haven’t shot anyone have a problem with them as in the recent case of California Democrat and state senator Leland Yee, a staunch supporter of gun-control legislation, who was arrested by the FBI and charged with conspiracy to purchase millions of dollars of illegal firearms from the Philippines to be resold in the U.S. in exchange for contributions to his election campaign.

And lets not forget about our Democrat Attorney General Eric Holder, the top law enforcement officer in the United States, and his infamous Fast and Furious gun running scheme that was contrived to further the push for gun control laws. He didn’t shoot anyone but one of the guns he arranged to get smuggled into Mexico was used to murder U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Almost forgot to mention the story about Democrat Congressman Charlie Wilson from the 1980s. Remember Charlie Wilson? He sure was a popular Democrat back in the Reagan years. They even made a movie about him starring Tom Hanks, called Charlie Wilson’s War. Know what Charlie did? He teamed up with a contact in the CIA and sent a couple of billion dollars worth of military hardware over to Afghanistan to help the rebels fight the Russians. Operation Cyclone was one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken; funding began with $20–30 million per year in 1980 and rose to $630 million per year in 1987. Funding continued after 1989 as the Mujahideen battled the forces of Mohammad Najibullah’s PDPA during the Civil war in Afghanistan (1989–1992). Want to know what the rebels did with the weapons? They saved a lot of them and used them against American troops that were in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban Muslim extremists. As of April 4, 2014, there have been 2,178 U.S. military deaths in the war in Afghanistan.

It should also be noted that during the Jimmy Carter years in the White House, Democrats were more concerned with social engineering and managed to convince lawmakers that people confined to mental institutions were unjustly deprived of their human dignity. The practice called deinstitutionalization, is the process of replacing long-stay psychiatric hospitals with less isolated community mental health services for those diagnosed with a mental disorder or developmental disability. Because of the attitude change many mental hospitals were closed and the patients were released back into society. And because of recent HIPPA rules about patient confidentiality, mentally ill people have been able to buy guns because they don’t show up on background checks.

Not one NRA member, Tea Party member, or Republican conservative was involved in any of these shootings and murders.

SOLUTION: It should be illegal for Democrats to own guns.

My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides.

04/22/14

Material Support to Terrorism: The Case of Libya

By: Clare Lopez
Accuracy in Media

Libya in 2011 marks the place and the time that the United States (U.S.) and the Obama administration formally switched sides in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). A mere 10 years after al-Qa’eda (supported by Hizballah and Iran) attacked the American homeland in the worst act of terrorism ever suffered by this country, U.S. leadership decided to facilitate the provision of weapons to jihadist militias known to be affiliated with al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood in order to bring down a brutal dictator who also just happened to be a U.S. ally in the GWOT at the time.

And the U.S. media were silent. The major broadcast, print, and Internet outlets said not a word about this astonishing turnabout in American foreign policy. To this day, they have not seemed even to recognize that the pivot to support al-Qa’eda took place. But it needs to be said. The American people deserve to understand that their most senior leaders, both elected and appointed, have violated their oaths to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

United States law is quite explicit about providing material support to terrorists: it’s prohibited. Period. 18 U.S. Code § 2339A and 18 U.S. Code § 2339B address Providing Material Support to Terrorists or Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Together, these two sections outlaw the actions of any U.S. person who attempts or conspires to provide, or actually does provide, material support to a foreign terrorist organization knowing that it has been designated a foreign terrorist organization or engages, or has engaged, in “terrorism” or “terrorist activity.” Conspiracy means agreeing or planning to provide such support, whether or not such support ever is actually delivered. Penalties for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism are stiff: imprisonment for up to 15 years and/or a fine of not more than $250,000. Penalties for actually providing or attempting to provide material support to terrorism are even harsher: imprisonment from 15 years to life, with a life sentence applicable if the death of any person results from such crime. Aiding, abetting, counseling, or procuring in support of a violation of Section 2339B is punishable by the same penalties as for the offense itself.

The Arms Export Control Act is another law that makes it illegal for the U.S. government to export “munitions” to any country determined by the Secretary of State to have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” While this provision applies specifically to those countries—Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria—that are designated as state sponsors of terrorism, the case of Libya stands out nevertheless. Removed from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2006, Libya by early 2011 was swarming with al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood militias and affiliates fighting to overthrow Muamar Qaddafi’s regime.

The identities of those jihadis and their al-Qa’eda affiliations were well known to the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of State, and Tripoli Embassy long before the 17 February 2011 revolt broke out against Muamar Qaddafi. As with other al-Qa’eda branches, the Libyan al-Qa’eda affiliates such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) trace their origins back to the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, which was founded in 1949 when Egyptian Brotherhood members “fled a crackdown in Cairo and took refuge in Benghazi,” according to a May 2012 study by the Brookings Doha Center. Colonel Muamar Qaddafi took over Libya in a 1969 coup d’état and showed little tolerance for Brotherhood activities. Brutal waves of repression kept the Brotherhood in check through the 1980s and 1990s when many Libyan fighters went to Afghanistan to join the mujahedeen in their battle against the Soviet Army. Some of those who fought there, like Abu Anas al-Libi and Abdelhakim Belhadj, would figure prominently in the revolt that ultimately ousted Qaddafi in 2011.

The LIFG was founded in 1990 by Libyan fighters returning from the Afghan jihad who were now intent on waging jihad at home. Qaddafi came down hard on the group, though, and crushed the LIFG’s 1995-1998 insurgency. Some LIFG members had moved to Sudan when Usama bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri found refuge with Omar al-Bashir’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in the early 1990s and others (including Belhadj) eventually fled back to Afghanistan, where both bin-Laden and al-Zawahiri also had relocated by the mid-1990s. Abu Anas al-Libi is alleged to have taken part in the pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya a few years prior to the 1998 al-Qa’eda attack there.

By 1995, things were becoming hot for the jihadis in Sudan and while bin Laden and al-Zawahiri returned to Afghanistan about this time, others such as Anas al-Libi were offered safehaven by the British. In return for political asylum in the UK, MI 6 recruited Anas al-Libi’s support for a failed 1996 plot to assassinate Qaddafi. In all, Anas al-Libi lived in Manchester from 1995-2000—despite his known history of association with bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and other AQ leaders, as well as willingness to participate in assassination plots against national leaders, as I wrote in an October 2013 piece at The Clarion Project. The U.S.’s British partners also provided asylum to Abu Abdullah As-Sadeq, the LIFG’s top commander and allowed the LIFG to publish an Arabic language newspaper called al-Wasat in London. By 2000, though, as the FBI and other Western security services began to close in, Anas al-Libi and others were on the move again, leaving behind a 180-page al-Qa’eda terror training manual that became known as the “Manchester Document.” In the run-up to the 11 September 2001 attacks, Anas al-Libi, Abdelhakim Belhadj, Abu Sufian bin Qumu, and other known LIFG members reconnected with bin Laden in Afghanistan. As John Rosenthal points out in a 10 October 2013 posting, “The Inevitable Rise of Al-Qaeda in Libya,” in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, “the history of close cooperation between the LIFG and al-Qa’eda was so extensive that the Libyan group figured among the very first organizations to be designated as al-Qaeda affiliates by the UN Security Council.” In fact, according to Rosenthal who cites former LIFG member, Norman Benotman, Belhadj was actually present with bin Laden at Tora Bora in December 2001. The LIFG was formally accepted as an al-Qa’eda franchise by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the AQ deputy at the time, in 2007.

In the years following 9/11, various LIFG members were detained: Abu Sufian bin Qumu was captured in 2002 and sent to Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) and in 2004, both Abu Anas al-Libi and Abdelhakim Belhadj were captured. By the mid-2000s, GITMO detainees were being released to their home countries. Abu Sufian bin Qumu, for example, was released from GITMO and returned to Libya in 2007. Beginning about 2005, Qaddafi was under pressure from both the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and his own son, Seif, to begin what came to be known as “the reconciliation process,” in which LIFG and other jihadist prisoners were released from Libyan jails. In this process, LIFG Muslim Brotherhood cleric Ali Mohammad Al-Sallabi was a key mediator. Abdelhakim Belhadj was released in 2008 (just as Christopher Stevens was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission to Tripoli) and Abu Sufian bin Qumu in 2010, after which he returned to Derna to begin plotting the revolt against Qaddafi.

Even as this “reconciliation process” was underway and Christopher Stevens was preparing for his new posting, Libyan jihadis were flowing out of eastern Libya in droves to join the al-Qa’eda jihad against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. According to a June 2010 study compiled by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” coalition forces in Iraq captured a stash of documents in October 2007 which documented the origins of the foreign fighters who’d traveled to Iraq to join al-Qa’eda between August 2006 and August 2007. Termed the “Sinjar Records” after the nearest town where these personnel records were found, the data showed that by far the largest contingent of foreign fighters per capita came from Libya. Across the spectrum, the most common cities of origin for foreign fighters in Iraq were Darnah, Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Darnah is located in the eastern Cyrenaica region of Libya, long known as an incubator of jihadist ideology and the place which would become the cradle of the 2011 Islamic uprising against Muammar Qaddafi.

Nor was the new Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Christopher Stevens unaware of what was going on. A June 2008 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli that went out over Stevens’ signature was obtained by the London Telegraph from Wikileaks. The report was given the name “Die Hard in Derna,” after the Bruce Willis movie, and described the determination of the young jihadis of this eastern Libyan town to bring down the Qaddafi regime. Because they believed the U.S. government supported the Qaddafi regime and would not allow it to fall after it had abandoned its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs and begun to provide counter-terrorism support, and as documented in the West Point study of the “Sinjar Records,” the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) instead sent its fighters to confront the U.S. in Iraq, believing that was a way to strike a blow against both Qaddafi and his U.S. backers. A local Derna resident told the visiting Embassy officer that Libyan fighters who had returned from earlier battlefields in Afghanistan (1980s) and elsewhere sometimes went on for additional “religious training” in Lebanon and Syria; when they eventually returned to Libya in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they began the process of preparing the ground for “the eventual overthrow by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of Muammar Qadhafi’s regime…

Career Foreign Service Officer Christopher Stevens was first posted to the American Embassy in Tripoli, Libya in June 2007 as the DCM and later as charge d’affaires until 2009. For his second tour in Libya, Stevens was sent to rebel headquarters in Benghazi, Libya, to serve as special representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council. He arrived on a Greek cargo ship on April 5, 2011 and stayed until November. His mission was to forge stronger links with the Interim Transitional National Council, and gain a better understanding of the various factions fighting the Qaddafi regime. His reports back to Washington were said to have encouraged the U.S. to support and recognize the rebel council, which the Obama administration did formally in July 2011.

As is now known, under urging from Sen. John McCain and other Congressional members, the White House endorsed Qatar’s plan to send weapons to the Libyan rebels shortly after Yousef al-Qaradawi, the senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood, issued a 21 February 2011 fatwa that called for the killing of Qaddafi. Seeking a “zero footprint,” no-paperwork-trail profile itself, the U.S. instead encouraged both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to arm the Libyan jihadis, according to a key New York Times article published in December 2012. Knowing full well exactly who those rebel militias and their leadership were, and how closely they were connected with al-Qa’eda (and perhaps even mindful of the legal restrictions on providing material support to terrorism), the U.S. sought to distance itself as the source of these weapons, which included small arms such as automatic rifles, machine guns, and ammunition. The NY Times piece noted that U.S. officials made sure to stipulate the weapons provided would come from elsewhere, but not from the U.S.

But the fact that from the end of March 2011 onward, U.S. and other NATO forces completely controlled Libyan air space and the sea approaches to Libya means that the cargo planes and freighters transporting the arms into Libya from Qatar and elsewhere were being waved through with full U.S. knowledge and support. The U.S. mission in Libya, and especially in Benghazi, ramped up in this period to facilitate the delivery of the weapons to the Libyan al-Qa’eda terrorists.

What followed should hardly have come as a surprise to anyone. After NATO air support cleared the way to Tripoli, the Qaddafi regime fell in October 2011 and the Muslim Brotherhood political leadership and al-Qa’eda fighters took over. Abdelhakim Belhadj was named Tripoli military commander. Chaos reigned, especially in the eastern regions, and now the weapons flow reversed—out of Libya, and into the hands of jihadis in West Africa, the Sinai, and Syria. Some of that flow was wildly disorganized and some of it was directed, with the U.S. mission in Benghazi once again playing a key role as its teams on the ground facilitated the weapons delivery, now destined for the Syrian rebels, dominated by al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood, who were fighting to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime. In this endeavor, the U.S. was allied with its new Libyan partner, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and once again, with Qatar.

The next chapter in the U.S. jihad wars was underway, with a new Presidential Finding, and material support to terrorism firmly established as official policy. Congress and the media and the military remained silent. The American people barely noticed.

Clare M. Lopez is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy and the London Center for Policy Research. She is also a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi.