Monthly Archives: August 2013

Data-Driven Theory of the Benghazi Attacks

My own working theory is that there was a deep fracture between CIA operators on the ground of Turkey and Syria and Libya, and directives from the State Department.

CIA’s operators deal with practical elements: territories, paths, ammunitions, weapons, intelligence, access, etc. But the State Department deal with ideological ramifications. 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. Those operators are part of the CIA’s Global Response Staff (GRS), which is constituted by *secret* security forces (created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks).

Ty Woods and Glen Doherty were both members of the CIA’s GRS, an organization that has recruited hundreds of former U.S. Special Forces operatives and veterans of police department SWAT teams, in order to serve as armed guards providing an “envelope” of security for CIA officers in high-risk outposts. CIA’s GRS units map escape routes from meeting places, pat down informants, recover and funnel weapons. According to his sister, Kathleen Quigley, Glen Doherty “wasn’t there to protect an embassy. He was there to recover RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades].” He was providing security for CIA teams tracking Libyan stockpiles of weapons. Other CIA operatives in Turkey and Syria were there to funnel those weapons into the hands of anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

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.”

One of those ““hard-line Islamic jihadists” was Abdelhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya). According to a military official working with him and quoted by the Daily Telegraph, Belhadj met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil [the interim Libyan president] sent him there,” a military official said in November 2011.

Abdelhakim Belhadj’s contact with the Syrian Free Army was apparently part of a Lybian delegation to Turkey offering arms and fighters to the Turkish-backed Syrian jihadists.

The Daily Telegraph on November 26 2011 revealed that the new Libyan authorities had offered money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad. Mr Belhaj also discussed sending Libyan fighters to train troops, wrote the Daily Telegraph. Having ousted Gaddafi, young jihadists were keen to topple another dictator: Assad of Syria. The commanders of armed gangs roaming Tripoli’s streets said to the Telegraph that “hundreds” of fighters wanted to wage war against the Assad regime.

So, we have the US State Department, post-Gaddafi Libya and Erdogan’s Turkey working together with and through jihadists such as Abdelhakim Belhadj to get weapons into the hands of Syrian rebels, known to be dominated by Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra) or the Muslim Brotherhood, or the Free Syrian Army.

On June 21, 2012, the New York Times reported that since March, there is a game-changing “influx of weapons and ammunition to the rebels.”

In May, “Turkish Army vehicles delivered antitank weaponry to the border,” according the New York Times, “where it was then smuggled into Syria,” upon consultation with the United States.

Officials of the Obama Administration and the Muslim Brotherhood have been trying to put together and control a pipeline of weapons and information being routed to Syria, in order to give the Brotherhood military parity with the Free Syrian Army, which has done the bulk of the fighting on the ground.

According to the Time, the rebels are patronized mostly by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. But Saudi Arabia and Qatar are NOT “on the same page when it comes to determining who among the plethora of mushrooming Syrian rebel groups should be armed.”

The Saudis have had historically profund differences with the Muslim Brotherhood. They are basically competing against each other for the control of the Syrian rebellion. “The Salafists are far more traditional and populist than members of the Brotherhood,” wrote Ammar Abdulhamid, since the Brotherhood “often come across to ordinary Syrians as too Westernized and elitist.”

Despite the competition between the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood over the Syrian revolt, most the rebel groups get their support via Istanbul, according to the Time.

Turkey acts as a nexus between the Saudis and the Muslim Brother to gain control over Syria’s revolt.

Colonel Afif Suleiman, who was then the head of the Idlib Military Council, a grouping of 16 military units from across the province, was unhappy with the support he gets from abroad.

The Free Syrian Army was then conducting the rebellion on the ground against the Bashar Al-Assad régime. But the Muslim Brotherhood tried to become the effective head of the rebel groups. The Muslim Brotherhood was seen by the FSA as trying to reap all the benefits of the rebellion, a rebellion they were not fighing on the ground for.

Most of the Free Syrian Army units were facing pressure to take orders from the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, in exchange for weapons and money, reported Time.

The Obama Administration did its part to help the Muslim Brotherhood by providing intelligence gained from electronic eavesdropping and satellite surveillance to the militias picked by the Muslim Brotherhood, and helping the Brotherhood to dispose of rival militias.

In June 2012, the New York Times reported that the CIA was helping direct “automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons,” bought by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and smuggled into Syria by the Muslim Brotherhood.

CIA operatives in southern Turkey were “helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, reported the New York Times.

The Obama administration, according to the New York Times, was providing satellite imagery and other detailed intelligence on Syrian troop locations and movements”.

The aftermath of the “intervention” in Libya boosted the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, linked to Al-Qaeda and other groups more attached to the Muslim Brotherhood. Gaddafi’s stockpiles of weapons were spilled around, and those weapons made their way into Syria.

Hillary Clinton dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood for instance, or Erdogan’s Administration, negotiating in air-conditionned rooms among well-shaved guys in ties and suits, and well-heeled women. Whereas the CIA’s operators (and possibly other privately contracted units) deal with realities on the ground: in the summer of 2012, they dealt with actual FSA units on the ground of Syria.

Directives, I am speculating, from the State Department were to deal mainly (if not only) with bands affiliated to the Muslim-Brotherhood in Syria. But the problem was, there were no real, actual presence of the Brotherhood then on the ground at the time : al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda-affiliated bands were then more marginal than they are now.

When in September 6 2012, 5 days before the Benghazi attack, the Al Entisar ship docked in Turkey with the most imporant cargo (since the anti-Assad insurrection) in terms of weapons and medical drugs, there was a fight between elements the FSA and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

My guess is that the FSA had intelligence from CIA operators about the Al Entisar cargo. They tried to get what they considered their fair share.

Then, five days later, the Muslim Bros retalitated by pillaging the CIA Annex in Benghazi.

It was a show of force by the Muslim Brotherhood. A ‘don’t fuck with us’ message.

But to whom was this message directed? Why attack the CIA Annex whilst the Obama Administration sponsors you, when the US State Department aligns with you?
And why would Turkey command its Consul General to set up Ambassador Stevens to be killed? Why?

I’ve pondered those questions, and here’s a plausible answer:

We have the testimonies of many FSA units and affiliated Syrian bands (such as Abu Issa’s and Jamaal Marouf’s) complaining about how difficult it is to get weapons and cash from abroad. We have FSA-aligned warlords making YouTube videos about this very issue, and complaining in those same videos about interference from the Brotherhood. And then, we have a fight between the FSA and the Brotherhood over a very large cargo of weapons.

Five days later, the Ambassador is mandated to meet the Turk at the Benghazi ‘Consulate’ at the request of both the US State Department and Erdogan’s Administration. And as soon as the Turk leaves the premise, the attack begins.

Note also that contrary to previous report by the State Department, it seems that Ty Woods and Glen Doherty never went to the ‘Consulate’: they fought only at the CIA Annex.

My guess is that the attack was targeted at the CIA, not the State Department: ransacking its cash and weapons at the Benghazi Annex. But why kill Ambassador Stevens then? Well, Stevens was exactly at the junction between the State Department and the CIA: he was the face of this junction; his job was to organize and to cover for this.