A lawmaker at a Benghazi hearing stumped U.S. intelligence officials yesterday with this question:Read more
The U.S. ambassador to Djibouti, Geeta Pasi, says that "The preeminent security threat to the United States continues to be from al-Qa'ida and its affiliates and adherents around the world." Pasi made the remarks at the 2014 Gulf of Aden Regional Counterterrorism Forum in Djibouti, according to a transcript released by the State Department.Read more
Al Qaeda is not on the run. And John Kerry, according to a report in Bloomberg, is finally admitting it.
"[T]he al-Qaeda threat is real, it is getting out of hand,” Kerry told a delegation.
It's in stark contrast to President Obama's repeated claims. “A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead,” Obama said in the run up to his reelection in 2012.Read more
Months and months ago, when Barack Obama could be bothered to say anything at all about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, the president promised to bring the perpetrators to justice. That was before White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the attacks as something that “happened a long time ago.”
It’s been 16 months. The U.S. government has neither captured nor killed a single participant in those attacks, which left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.Read more
Arthur Schlesinger posited the existence of cycles in American political history alternating between “public purpose” and “private interest”—his jaundiced labels for liberalism and conservatism. There are also cycles in American foreign policy alternating between interventionism and noninterventionism, the latter sometimes verging on downright isolationism. Normally when one trend backfires in some spectacular fashion, the other trend becomes dominant, until it too burns out and the cycle starts again.Read more
In the summer of 2008, Barack Obama, senator and presidential candidate, toured the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama had endeared himself to the antiwar left by denouncing President Bush’s decision to topple Saddam Hussein and repeatedly claiming that the war in Iraq had diverted resources from defeating al Qaeda and its allies in South Asia. Obama did not tone down this criticism even as he spoke with CBS News from Kabul on July 20, shortly before proceeding to Saddam’s former abode. “We got distracted by Iraq,” Obama said.Read more
The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking, neither mistaking it for, nor -trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature. -- Carl von ClausewitzRead more
The Senate Intelligence Committee has now released its declassified review of the intelligence surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. The bottom line is this: Multiple parts of al Qaeda’s international terrorist network were involved.Read more
Secretary of State John Kerry covered a broad range of topics with his counterpart Pietro Parolin at the Vatican in Rome on Monday. Besides Syria, the Middle East peace process, Sudan, and Cuba, the subject of poverty came up during their discussions.Read more
The State Department today designated three Ansar al Sharia organizations, as well as three of their leaders, as terrorist entities. The State Department reports that Ansar al Sharia in Derna was “involved” in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi. Former Guantanamo detainee Sufian Ben Qumu, who long served al Qaeda, is named as “the leader” of Ansar al Sharia in Derna.Read more
Less than two weeks ago, on December 28, David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times trumpeted the results of his investigation into the attacks on U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, writing that there was “no evidence that al Qaeda or other international terrorists had any role in the assault.” The Times piece specifically ruled out any meaningful involvement of an ex-Guantanamo detainee named Sufian Ben Qumu, who has longstanding ties to al Qaeda and is currently the leader of Ansar al Sharia in Derna, Libya.Read more
The Washington Post reports that U.S. officials suspect Sufian Ben Qumu, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, “played a role in the attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, and are planning to designate the group he leads as a foreign terrorism organization.” Ben Qumu is based in Derna, Libya and runs a branch of Ansar al Sharia headquartered in the city.Read more
Steve Hayes, with Kirsten Powers and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:
Blake Hounshell of Politico takes a look at the latest back and forth over Benghazi sparked by David Kirkpatrick’s 7,000-plus word piece for the New York Times.Read more
Let’s start by giving David Kirkpatrick credit. Kirkpatrick, the Cairo bureau chief of the New York Times and author of this weekend’s much-discussed piece on Benghazi, provides many new on-the-ground, minute-by-minute details of the attacks and the weeks and months leading up to them. Some of the reporting is incredible. Kirkpatrick describes the vase in the living room of the home belonging to the mother of Abu Khattala, a main suspect in those attacks. He reports on how the fighting in the consulate paused when Abu Khattala entered the compound, a revealing fact. Citing security camera video footage, the author describes how one of the attackers paused amidst the bedlam in the consulate to pour some Hershey’s chocolate syrup down his throat. Kirkpatrick obviously spent considerable time on the ground in Benghazi and interviewed several anti-Western Islamists, including some involved in the attacks. There’s little doubt he took considerable risks as he reported his piece.Read more
David D. Kirkpatrick of the New York Times has published a lengthy account of the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. While much in Kirkpatrick’s report is not new, the piece is receiving a considerable amount of attention because of this sweeping conclusion: “Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.”Read more
Twin raids in Libya and Somalia this weekend demonstrate that America’s fight against al Qaeda continues in jihadist hotspots around the globe. And the raid in Libya shows, once again, that al Qaeda’s “core” members are pushing the terrorist organization’s agenda far from Pakistan.Read more
While Germany was engaging in peaceful elections and the United States was watching football – civilized societies being big on democratic rituals and sports – people in other parts of the world were relieving their frustrations in violence.Read more
Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry went against received wisdom—and against the assessment of the White House he works for—when he argued that Syrian opposition forces are not dominated by Islamic extremists. “I just don’t agree that a majority are al Qaeda and the bad guys,” Kerry argued in his congressional testimony. “There are about 70,000 to 100,000 oppositionists. . . . Maybe 15 percent to 25 percent might be in one group or another who are what we would deem to be bad guys.”Read more
Tom Joscelyn delivered this testimony earlier today on Capitol Hill:Read more
Lebanese authorities have arrested two suspects affiliated with a pro-Syrian regime group in the bombing of two Sunni mosques in Tripoli on Friday. Forty-seven people were killed in the attack in the northern Lebanese city, likely retaliation for a bombing the previous week in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, that killed another 27.Read more
Anyone following the news even casually last week surely noticed the long parade of Obama administration officials trotted out before the cameras to insist their boss, the president, has always understood the serious and ongoing threat presented by al Qaeda and its affiliates—emphasis on affiliates. The assurances came after intelligence about imminent and possibly large-scale attacks on U.S. and Western interests led the administration to shutter nearly two dozen U.S. embassies in the Middle East and South Asia for several days.Read more
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