Libya has always been a hotbed of anti-US sentiment under the Qaddafi regime, and even more so since the overthrow of the dictator. Diana describes the post-Qaddafi Libya that the late ambassador was charged with keeping an embassy in, as well as the political elite with whom he rubbed elbows.
What’s amazing, after all that was known, even by Stevens himself, who refused to credit Islam with the growing tension in the country, the U.S. maintained an official presence there. They should have never opened up an embassy, let alone maintained a consulate.
Diana gives the full scoop in part II of her series on Libya and what transpired leading up to the death of Ambassador Stevens. Please read it in full, it’s a riveting account of foolishness, and gross negligence on the Obama administration and U.S. State Dept.
Part 1 is here.
To attempt to understand Christopher Stevens’ long-standing interest in ben Qumu, the al Qaeda terrorist suspected of leading the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012 in which Stevens and three other Americans were murdered, we must seek context in more of Stevens’ cables. (Thanks be to Wikileaks.)
On February 15, 2008, Stevens wrote a lengthy cable titled EXTREMISM IN EASTERN LIBYA. On one level it confirms that Stevens was NOT some liberal naif when he docked in Benghazi in April 2011 to serve as point man to the so-called “rebels”– that cutesy bluff of a name which disguises a movement better described by Clare M. Lopez as “individuals and groups that were, at a minimum, allied ideologically with Al Qaeda.” No real stretch to simplify and call Stevens the Obama administration’s point man to al Qaeda.
This early 2008 cable recounts the analysis of a US-Libyan dual national who regularly visited eastern Libya concerning the “social, political and economic factors that have contributed to and faciliated participation by a disproportionately large number of eastern Libya’s native sons in `martyrdom acts’ and other insurgency operations in eastern Libya.”
Notice what’s missing from the list — Islam. It’s not completely missing, of course. Stevens makes note of mosques and “radical” imams who use “phraseology urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere through direct participation and financial contributions.” Islam itself, however, never is discussed as the doctrinal motivation for jihad “martyrdom.” The following line sums up how it is that the centrality of jihad in Islam is circumvented: “Citing conversations with relatives, [redacted] said the unemployed, disenfranchised young men of eastern Libya had `nothing to lose’ and are therefore `willing for sacrifice themselves’ for something greater than themselves by engaging in extremism in the name of religion.”
The cable also opens a window onto the ordinariness of this hate-filled pathology among the people of the region. Stevens’ source describes a large dinner he attended in Derna — hometown of ben Qumu and hotbed, bar none, of jihad-in-Iraq recruitment — hosted by a family friend. “Conversation among the mostly middle-aged male group of guests focused on news that two young men from Derna had recently killed themseles in suicide operations in Iraq. Dinner guests offered a mix of `condolences and congratulations.’ ” The source “said he was struck by the level [of] sentiment against Coalition forces in Iraq, and by the obvious pride the dinner guests took in the fact that two of their native sons had `struck a blow’ against `occupying Crusader forces in Iraq.’ He emphasized that the dinner was one of the relatively few occasions in Libya in which he felt uncomfortable by dint of having US citizenship.”
Stevens later being point man to the “rebels” would mean being point man also to these dinner guests, still swelled with pride over maiming and killing American troops in Iraq. Such is the poisonous essence of “Arab Spring.”