Benghazi: a Recap (Part II)

In August 2012, “President Barack Obama signed a *secret* order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.” In practice this means permission to sell or give weapons to the rebels.

The American mission in Libya was trying to buy back weapons previously owned by the Gaddafi régime, and which spread everywhere after the “revolution”, and to funnelled some of them to the rebels in Syria.

Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch emergencies director, told CNN that “in every [Libyan] city we arrive, the first thing to disappear are the surface-to-air missiles.” “We are talking about some 20,000 surface-to-air missiles in all of Libya, and I’ve seen cars packed with themhe said.
Those missiles can fetch several thousands of dollars on the black market, and the United States has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to buy them back.

A month after the October 2011 death of Gaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Tripoli that the United States “has committed to providing $40 million dollars to assist Libya’s efforts to secure and recover its weapons stockpiles.”

“The rebels came from all over the western mountains, and they just took what they wanted,” said Riyad to the New York Times, “a supervisor of the ruined arsenal’s small contingent of rebel guards.”

According to a report (PDF) by the UN Support Mission in Libya, Gaddafi had accumulated a large stockpile of MANPADs, and although thousands were “destroyed” during the 2011 military intervention in Libya, there were “increasing concerns over the looting and likely proliferation of these portable defence systems, as well as munitions and mines, highlighting the potential risk to local and regional stability.”

As soon as islamic organizations outside Libya realized that there were Manpads available, they tried to get them.

When the Obama régime discovered that thousands of MANPADs had “disappeared” and were “on the loose in Libya,” it turned around and stuck a LOT of cash into the hands of the CIA and its contractors, in order to BUY those weapons back.

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya

Now it looks like the role of the U.S. mission in Libya was to control the flow of arms from Libya to rebels in Syria. And that traffic had to pass by Turkey. Why Turkey? Because Turkey works as a crucial nexus via which money and informations and weapons reach Syrian rebels. (Yes, there is an emerging weapons pipeline from Jordan too.)

Let me illustrate this with an example: the ship named Al-Entisar (Victory).

Al-Entisar

Al-Entisar is a Libyan ship which was chartered to the non-governmental organization Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), a self-defined Turkish Islamic group.

The group accused of operating the ship moving the weapons to Turkey is the Foundation for Human Rights, and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), “an islamic Turkish NGO” founded in 1992, and now active in more than 100 countries.

This islamic Turkish NGO was the organization operating the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the six-ship Gaza flotilla “carrying 10,000 tonnes of medicine, construction materials and education supplies” that was stormed by Israeli troops in May 2010.

“IHH,” wrote the BBC, “raises some of its money from Islamic religious groups and has strong sympathy among Turkey’s Islamist-rooted ruling party.”

According to the BBC, “The ITIC says it also has evidence the IHH has helped provide weapons and funds for ‘Islamic terrorist elements in the Middle East‘.”

The ITIC has reliable information indicating that in the past IHH had links with global jihad and Islamic terrorist elements in the Middle East. As part of its connections with the global jihad it supported jihadist terrorist networks in Bosnia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya.

According to the Times of London (September 14, 2012), the Al Entisar was carrying 400 tons of cargo when it docked in Iskanderun.

Times of London on the Al Entisar

Some of the cargo was humanitarian, but also weapons: it was a very large consignment of weapons heading for Syria.

Times’ Sheera Frenkel wrote:

A Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began has docked in Turkey and most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines, The Times has learnt.

Among more than 400 tonnes of cargo the vessel was carrying were SAM-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which Syrian sources said could be a game-changer for the rebels.

“This is the largest single delivery of assistance to the rebel fighting units we have received,” said Abu Muhammed, a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who helped to move the shipment from warehouses to the border. “These are things that could change the tide — if they are used correctly.”

The Times was shown the Libyan ship, The Intisaar or The Victory, in the Turkish port of Iskenderun and papers stamped by the port authority by the ship’s captain, Omar Mousaeeb, a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organisation called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support, which is supporting the Syrian uprising.

The scale of the shipment, and how it should be disbursed, has sparked a row between the FSA and the Muslim Brotherhood, who took control of the shipment when it arrived in Turkey.

More then 80 per cent of the ship’s cargo, which included some humanitarian supplies, has been moved into Syria. Mr Mousaeeb and a group of Libyans who had arrived with the ship said they were preparing to travel with the final load into Syria to ensure it was being distributed.

Video and photos supported the claim that the weapons had arrived and had been moved to the border, the biggest such transit of supplies since the Syrian insurrection to overthrow the Assad regime began in March 2011.

“I can’t say to the media all we are doing. I can only talk about the medicine and humanitarian aid,” Mr Mousaeeb said. “Our ship carried urgent cargo that the Syrian people need to be successful in their revolution.” He said the cargo had been collected in Benghazi after an urgent appeal by Syrian rebels to groups involved with the Libyan revolution.

“They said that the conditions, the lack of weapons and material, was holding back the Syrian revolution from success,” Mr Mousaeeb said. “We now see there is even more they need.”

[…] In late April, Lebanese authorities seized a large consignment of Libyan weapons, including RPGs and heavy ammunition, from a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean. The ship was attempting to reach the Lebanese port city of Tripoli, a largely Sunni city seen as supportive of the Syrian rebellion against President Assad.

[…] Suleiman Hawari, an Australian-Syrian based in Antakya who works with Mr Mousaeeb, said: “Everyone wanted a piece of the ship. Certain groups wanted to get involved and claim the cargo for themselves. It took a long time to work through the logistics.”

Falten Tirsijria and Samar Srewel, two Syrian female activists with the FSA, said there was widespread talk of Syrian groups who allied themselves with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement being given a larger share of the ship’s cargo.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is trying to play a larger role in Syria and they knew if they could get their hands on the cargo it would help,” Ms Srewel said. “We think that the Libyans were manipulated by the Muslim Brotherhood to give them the cargo — instead of distributing it equally.”

Mr Mousaeeb declined to comment on which units had received cargo or how they had arranged its distribution. “The Syrian people need to unite together and stop the fighting between themselves,” he said. “We have experience from Libya. Take what we give you and fight with it against Assad.”

According to the captain of the ship, there was a fight about these weapons, between members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and elements of the Muslim Brotherhood.

As of September 2012, the FSA had been fighting for over a year, on the ground, against the Assad regime. The FSA was then providing the command structure able to organize multiple bands of wars, and defected military units.

Incidentally, the IHH (the Turkish Islamic NGO who was in charge of Al-Entisar) is prohibited in Israel since 2008. It worked in the service of the Muslim Brotherhood. Close to Hamas (which is actually a faction of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza) and to the Islamic regime of Erdogan, it is financed largely by islamic groups. The IHH has been working for a long time to provide arms and funds to several militant factions of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East.

On September 6, 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood tried to take control of the Al Entisar and its precious cargo. And then a fight broke out between the Brotherhood and the Free Syrian Army. Now, could this fight have been linked to the subsequent murder of Ambassador Stevens five days later, and to the looting of the CIA Annex in Benghazi?

***

The cargo of the Al Entisar reportedly included surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles (SAMs), rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and shoulder-launched missiles.

According to a Fox News investigation, shipping records confirmed that the Al Entisar docked at the Turkish port of Iskenderun on September 6. Iskanderun (or ‘Alexandrette’ on the map below) is quite close to Idlib (where the Syrian civil war was raging then).

Al Entisar from Benghazi to Turkey
Walid Phares, a Fox News Middle East and terrorism analyst, said, “This is the Libyan ship … which is basically carrying weapons that are found in Libya.”

Could the discussion between Stevens and Akin have been related to the fight between the Free Syrian Army and the Muslim Brotherhood over the Al-Entisar’s cargo?

It seems highly likely. The group that was then operating the Al Entisar, the Foundation for Human Rights, and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), “an islamic Turkish NGO,” is the same group that was behind the “Free Gaza Movement.” It is a registered charity based in Cyprus, and banned by Israel in 2008.

“IHH,” wrote the BBC, “raises some of its money from Islamic religious groups and has strong sympathy among Turkey’s Islamist-rooted ruling party.”

According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), the islamic Turkish organization is an overt supporter of Hamas (an islamic militant group founded by the Muslim Brotherhood that seized power in Gaza in 2007).

And according to the BBC, “The ITIC says it also has evidence the IHH has helped provide weapons and funds for ‘Islamic terrorist elements in the Middle East’.” The ITIC has reliable information indicating that the IHH had links with global jihad and islamic terrorist elements in the Middle East. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said, “The organisers are well-known for their ties with global Jihad, al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror.”

So it looks like the IHH has been involved in the gun-running from Libya to Syria on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Samar Srewel, a FSA activist who did help organize the naval consignment of the Al Entisar, told The Times:

The Muslim Brotherhood, through its ties in Turkey, was seizing control of this ship and the cargo. This is what they do. They buy influence with their money and guns.

The U.S. mission in Benghazi was participating in running weapons from Libya to Syria via Turkey. Then something went wrong at delivery: Free Syrian Army members fought elements of the Muslim Brotherhood over an imporant cargo. Five days later, an American Ambassador is dead, and an Annexe managed by the CIA is pillaged.

Did Ergodan’s Turkey command the Turkish diplomat to help set up the assassination of Ambassador Stevens, and to organize the subsequent looting of the CIA annex, which contained PLENTY of weapons and PLENTY of cash? Was the State Department involved?
In order to answer this question, we need to understand Turkey’s role in the gun running from Libya to Syria.

A key character here is Abdelhakim Belhadj.

Abdelhakim Belhadj

Belhadj with Wisam Ben Ahmaid.

Belhadj traveled often between Libya and Turkey before the Benghazi attack. He is now the head of the Military Council of Tripoli. But he was previously very closely associated with al-Qaeda.

Belhadj fought indeed as a mujahid in Afghanistan during the 1980s, with the troops of Osama bin Laden against the Red Army. He then founded a group of Islamic jihadists in Libya. He moved along Pakistan, Turkey, Sudan, Iraq… where he fought alongside al-Qaeda’s actual leader, al-Zarqawi.

Belhadj met with leaders of the Free Syrian Army in Istanbul, as well as on the Syrian-Turkish border. In fact, it is Mustafa Abdel Jalil, officiating then as the interim president of Libya, who sent him there. Belhadj was part of a Libyan delegation which proposed to send not only weapons, but also Libyan fighters to Syria, in order to support the anti-Assad insurrection. The new Libyan authorities offered money, arms and men to the uprising against the Assad regime. After chasing Gaddafi, hundreds of Libyan young men, still filled with revolutionary fervor, are eager to overthrow the dictator next …

The CIA was also involved in this trade. CIA agents working in conjunction with the Turkish intelligence agency Millî İstihbarat Teskilati (MIT), near the Turkish-Syrian border, organized arms deliveries to rebel groups in Syria. Abdelhakim Belhadj was also involved.

Belhadj, a leader of the revolutionary effort against Gaddafi and now an active agent of the Libyan government, surely had access to Qaddafi’s stockpiles of weapons, and to weapons provided by the Obama regime. He was probably aware of the CIA Annex in Benghazi, of the high value of its stock.

We know he has been closely linked to al-Qaeda. We also know that the group which claimed responsibility for the attack of 11 September 2012, Ansar al-Sharia, the terrorist group that plundered the stock of money and weapons to the Annex to the CIA, is a front for al-Qaeda. We also know that it is in contact with the leadership of the Free Syrian Army, the CIA, and the Turkish government.

Libya acts as a source of weapons, and jihadist fighters, and Turkey as the nexus that can deliver these items to the Syrian revolution. What is less clear is the role of the Obama regime here.

Turkey, by the way, is the nexus as other heterogeneous flows, such as networks based sheikhs in Saudi Arabia, dedicated to raising funds to support Syrian rebels.

The Daily Telegraph:

“Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with Free Syrian Army (FSA) leaders in ISTANBUL and on the border with Turkey,” said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. “Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there.”

Belhadj might very well be a KEY figure to unfold the nexus between Syria’s incipient islamic revolution, the FSA, and the presence of the Turkish Consul General in the BENGHAZI facility the night Ambassador Stevens was killed and the CIA Annex attacked and looted.

According to U.S. military officials working with Belhadj and quoted by the Daily Telegraph, Belhadj met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the Turkey/Syria border.

Why Istanbul? Because ISTANBUL is where moneymen from Qatar and Saudi Arabia meet with leaders of the FSA for money and weapons. ISTANBUL is the junction between Libya, the Gulf and the Free Syrian Army.

The Time reported that rebel sources who dealt with a man named Okab Sakr say he was in the Turkish city of Antakya, overseeing the distribution of small consignments of 50,000 Kalashnikov bullets and several dozen rocket-propelled grenades to the Free Syrian Army.

Could a COMMAND CENTER IN ISTANBUL have been directing weapons transported with the help of Turkish intelligence to the Syrian border, and then to the Syrian rebels?

Fox News Bureau Chief of Intelligence Catherine Herridge said that the role played by the U.S. Mission in Libya was to control the movement of weapons out of Libya to Syrian rebels.

The Benghazi mission played a key role in “engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East,” said the president of the Center for Security Policy.

In March 2011, the Reuters news service reported that “President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.”
At a hearing on March 31 2011, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen askedWhat assurances do we have that they will not pose a threat to the United States if they succeed in toppling Qaddafi?“.

There are reports that some opposition figures have links to Al Qaeda and extremist groups that have fought against our forces in Iraq.

The record on transfers of military-related items involving Libya is also disconcerting,” she said. “For example, for over a year, I requested a detailed national interest justification for two proposed weapons transfers to Libya.

Benghazi was staffed with CIA’s operators, whose job was a) to secure and destroy dangerous weapons looted from Gaddafi’s stockpiles during and after the 2011 revolution, and b) to facilitate the onward shipment of those weapons to Syria and other countries.

According to the New York Times, CIA operatives were on the Turkish-Syrian border that summer helping to steer weapons deliveries to selected Syrian rebel groups, most of them “hard-line Islamic jihadists.”

We know that in Benghazi, Ambassador Chris Stevens and the CIA in Benghazi were somehow, some way running or heavily involved in a pipeline of money, weapons and information being routed from Libya to Syria. We know Libya is the doorway to the Caliphate so as to get arms in for distribution to Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt and eventually Saudi Arabia.

Weapons, money and fighters are going to Syria right everyday now, to terminate the Assad regime and institute an islamic Republic in Damas.

Crisis Group also cite Egyptian Salafist al Sabai, Shamikh writer Abu Saad al Amili, and Jordanian Salafist Abu Muhammad al Tahawi among those the prominent clerics urging Syrian Salafist jihadis to join al Nusrah, al-Qaeda’s front in Syria. They do NOT invite them to clash with the FSA however nor with the Muslim Brotherhood, but to cooperate with all anti-Assad factions. Some of them criticize the FSA’s leaders for adopting “infidel democracy” and accepting the legitimacy of the U.N. and of “apostate” Arab regimes. But they all acknowledge the FSA contribution to the fight against the Assad regime.

Al Nusrah “claimed in its first video that its members included Syrian jihadists who had returned from fighting on other battlefronts.”

It grew in late March and April 2012 after leading jihadists joined the leadership and were able to secure sponsorship of key Salafists.

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