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February 22, 2017 / 26 Shevat, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Benghazi’

Romney Channels George W. Bush’s Middle East Policy

25 Tishri 5773 – October 10, 2012

Mitt Romney gave a generally fine speech today on the Middle East. Sensibly, he criticized the Obama administration for its Benghazi shenanigans, for the “daylight” with Israel, fecklessness vis-à-vis Tehran, and the cuts in military spending. Very justifiably, he called it “time to change course in the Middle East.”

But I worry about three specifics.

First, Romney’s policy ideas echo the rosy-tinted themes of George W. Bush’s failed policies in the region. Flush with optimism for Afghanistan, Iraq, and “Palestine,” Bush spoke a language that now seems from another world.

For example, almost exactly nine years ago he predicted “a free Iraq [that] will be an example of freedom’s power throughout the Middle East.” I espy shades of this otherworldliness in Romney’s pronouncement that the Middle East hosts “a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair,” his goal to build democratic institutions in Egypt, and his dream of “a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security” with Israel. These are slogans, not serious policy.

Second, except in reference to the attack in Benghazi, Romney pointedly avoids mention of Islam, Islamism, or jihad. Rather, he refers to “terrorists who use violence to impose their dark ideology,” avoiding the real issue and portending problems ahead.

Third, his readiness to jump into the Syrian morass worries me. While one can hardly disagree with Romney’s call to “identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need,” those friendly members of the opposition are, in fact, a bedraggled few. Operationally, Romney is prepared to arm the Turkish-allied Islamists, a long-term prospect even more frightening than the Iranian-allied Assad regime now in power.

In office, I hope that Romney will shake the GWB-era illusions, not repeat them.

This blog posting originally published at DanielPipes.org, cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner on October 8th, 2012. 

Pulling Out of Benghazi: These Colors Run Scared

20 Tishri 5773 – October 5, 2012

Remember the slogan “These colors don’t run,” captioning the American flag?

Neither does al Qaeda.

Why should they?  They’ve just won.  They have forced us out of Benghazi.  It did take multiple attacks over several months, and the gruesome torture and murder of our ambassador, to edge us out.  But the job is done now.  We’re running scared.

Instead of sticking with our commitment to a new Libya, one in which Americans have friendship and influence – one in which we can walk free, and so can Libyans – we have closed our post in Benghazi and drawn down our embassy staff in Tripoli to “essential” personnel only.  It will be of some interest to see how long it takes al Qaeda or other terrorist savages to attack us in Tripoli.

Congressman Darrell Issa revealed yesterday, in a letter to Hillary Clinton, that U.S. officials said they had asked earlier this year for more security protection at the U.S mission posts in Libya – and been denied.

This data point isn’t really a bombshell, so much as a confirmation of the theory that the Obama administration wanted to avoid putting too much obtrusive U.S. security into Libya.  Fans of Dinesh D’Souza’s theory about Obama and anti-colonialism would attribute such a determination to the theory’s implications (e.g., about the offensiveness of the “West” in the former-colonial world).  And for those who dislike the D’Souza theory, or at least consider it overreaching or irrelevant, the question is:  what theory about Obama and his advisors does explain the decision not to adequately protect a US diplomatic mission?  What could motivate a president and his staff to dismiss the security concerns expressed by the president’s own representatives in Libya?

It’s worth pointing out that Obama’s entire approach to Libya has guaranteed that the country will not unify quickly around a strong, America-friendly central government.  “Leading from behind” gave terrorists months to gather in war-torn Libya in 2011; refraining from wielding US influence has left them plenty of latitude on Libyan soil in 2012.  The Islamist terrorists have no reason to respect America or be wary of what we might do, because under Obama, we don’t do anything.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  We do encourage the arming of poorly vetted militant groups, as we have done in Libya and Syria.  Every now and then we make a Delphic pronouncement about a regional development – Egypt, Libya, Syria – taking care not to seem to have any particular outcome or alternative in mind.  However the American audience sees these activities, regional jihadists see them as signs of detachment, cynicism, and weakness.

In this context, a conscious policy of poor security at a diplomatic post appears more than self-effacing.  It is self-abnegating.  It’s like wearing a “Hit me!” sign.

We’ve had embassies hit before, embassies that weren’t necessarily wearing “Hit me!” signs.  The U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 come to mind, and of course the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.  (Others will remember Saigon in 1975 as well.)  We didn’t withdraw from our posts in Kenya and Tanzania.  We showed determination, we rebuilt, we were back in force with even better security.

We did withdraw from Iran, with which we have not had diplomatic relations for 33 years.  In the wake of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983 – mounted by Hezbollah, the Iran-sponsored terror group – we pulled our Marines out of Lebanon.  This latter case is similar to the Benghazi withdrawal, because the U.S. Marines in Lebanon were assigned an unexecutable mission with rules of engagement that made them sitting ducks.  But it is also different from the current Libyan situation, in that there was no valid reason for us to have Marines in Lebanon in 1983, whereas sound policy in 2012 would indeed have the United States robustly and sustainably represented – diplomatically, and with good security – in Libya.

As we learned with Iran, losing an ally is likely to mean having to amp up our regional military posture.   We met the challenge of revolutionary Iran with a dramatic expansion of U.S. military presence in and around the Persian Gulf.  The military option is always more expensive, but our security demands it, now interlinked as it is with the dynamics of even distant regional situations.

The Big Bang in Benghazi

15 Tishri 5773 – September 30, 2012

The most important thing that any leader needs to know about war is that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. That includes a plan of fighting bloodless wars using drones and droning speeches.

The brilliant plan that Barack Hussein Obama and some of his more useless advisers cooked up for defeating Islamic terrorism was to isolate the “extreme” violent Islamists who want to kill people from the “moderate” political Islamists who are willing to take over entire countries in elections.

The Islamist terrorists would be deprived of a meaningful reason to kill people in the name of implementing Islamic law if their political brethren got to take over entire countries and implement Islamic law. Once the Muslim Brotherhood took over a few countries, then Al Qaeda would be marginalized and irrelevant. Its operatives would soon have to drop the terrorism and get jobs teaching about LGBT rights or building solar panels.

Whoever came up with this plan probably had a grandfather in the State Department who said in 1919 that the Communists would become less dangerous to Western Europe now that they had all of Russia to use for their economic experiments because stupidity doesn’t go away. The same old ideas that cost millions of lives a few generations ago are repackaged with some artful worldplay and are parroted by the smart set as the sort of thing that should be obvious to anyone.

Islamism, now joins Communism and Nazis on the shelf of things that we don’t really have to worry about once we’ve appeased them enough, at least until they stop taking off fingers and start biting off hands and then suddenly we have to start worrying all over again.

The problem with Obama’s split Islamists maneuver is that Al Qaeda had spent more time attacking Saudi Arabia, the most Islamist Sunni country on earth, than any other Muslim country. Turning Egypt and Syria Islamist was not going to dissuade or isolate Al Qaeda. For Islamists, there is an endless well of “extremes” so that the rise of one Islamist government is just an excuse for more Islamists to arrive and denounce them as fakes and puppets of America and Israel.

Islamist governments have a traditional way of occupying the attention of their angrier Islamist brethren. They buy them flight lessons and maps of American landmarks. That’s how the House of Saud largely solved its Islamist terror problem and that is how our “moderate” friends in Egypt are hard at work solving their Islamist terrorist problem by pointing them at Israel and using their attacks as an excuse to militarize the Sinai.

In Libya, the Benghazi consulate was being guarded from other Islamist militias by the Muslim Brotherhood militia. The ways in which plan failed are a microcosm of the larger failure of the entire plan to buy peace by selling out our allies to the Muslim Brotherhood and hoping that the Islamists we backed will be more moderate than the ones bombing us.

Much as the Saudis had been doing for years, the Muslim Brotherhood just sold out the consulate to Al Qaeda and then sent out a condolence message while warning that unless we accept the Islamic definition of un-free speech, attacks like this will keep on happening. And they will regardless of how many Mohammed movies get made or don’t get made.

The only way that anyone in the region knows how to stop terrorism is either by massacres or by handing the terrorists a giant bag of money and pointing them at a new target. The Brotherhood is not about to start fighting other Salafists over American foreign aid and they couldn’t even if they wanted to, without empowering the army, which in their part of the world quickly becomes a government. Instead they will do what the Saudis have been doing, talk out of both sides of their mouths, telling the terrorists to hit America and telling America that if we don’t support them, the terrorists will win.

This is an old game and it works really well. We send a Muslim country money and weapons. It hands 10 percent of them to the terrorists in exchange for attacking us some more. Then it asks us for more money and weapons to stop the terrorists. Unlike most investments, this one is stable and pays out really well as long as Washington DC is full of so many chumps that it ought to have more card sharps and pool sharks than any other place in the country.

The US and Europe’s “Oneness” Integration Project

12 Tishri 5773 – September 28, 2012

In the Bronx Zoo, David Villalobos was rescued from a tiger den after leaping inside to, in his own words, “Be one with the tiger.”

Being “one with the tiger” is a popular goal in the modern world, and our leaders are forever leaping into tiger dens in the hopes of becoming one with the beast. These leaps of faith end about as well as they did for Villalobos who was mauled by the tiger, but like Villalobos they never seem to draw the proper conclusions about the dangerous nature of tigers.

British, French and German leaders did not hop into tiger enclosures in the London Zoo, the Parc Zoologique de Paris and the Berlin Zoological Garden. Instead they turned these cities into open air safaris where the natives were encouraged to mingle with the tigers. The multicultural safari has not been going well, with the tigers mangling the natives, burning their cars and chewing on their police officers. The European Union zookeepers have been wondering loudly what they can do to fix their oneness integration project, while releasing still more tigers into the streets of London, Paris and Berlin.

The United States did not jump into a tiger den in the Bronx Zoo. That would have been fairly sane compared to its leap into Libya. With the Arab Spring, the tigers were freed and men like Christopher Stevens jumped inside. The bloody marks on the walls of the Benghazi consulate are a grim reminder of what tigers eventually do to the men who move into their dens.

In his Cairo speech, Obama let the Muslim world know that he wanted us to be one with the tiger.

“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles.”

Three hundred million Americans and one billion Muslims would no longer be exclusive; they would overlap, like a plane overlapping with a skyscraper, a bomb overlapping with a consulate and a falling man overlapping with the open mouth of a tiger.

Oneness is a noble goal, but unlike seeking oneness with the universe, when seeking oneness with a tiger it is best to consider the terms on which that oneness will be achieved. While the man’s idea of becoming one with the tiger is to give it a big hug, the tiger’s idea of becoming one with the man is to devour him. Both are forms of oneness but only of them is survivable for the man.

The Islamist mobs burning embassies, smashing cars and assaulting police officers are the tiger’s growl warning us of the terms on which that overlapping oneness will occur. Islamist rulers in Turkey and Egypt are giving interviews telling us that oneness with them will depend on our willingness to accept their values and laws. The question is whether, like Villalobos, we will be as besotted with the tiger as to accept oneness with it on those devouring terms.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “If you ride a tiger, it is difficult to get off.” Riding the tiger is difficult enough, but getting off it is even harder.

The United States leaped on the back of the tiger when it began its dangerous relationship with Saudi Arabia. Europe tumbled on when it allowed itself to be flooded with Muslim immigrants who established Islamist mosques and schools in its cities. Both the United States and Europe have been mauled by the tiger, but still believe that there is nothing to do but to go on riding the beast deeper into the jungle until it becomes convinced of our common overlapping values and stops trying to eat us.

The deeper we go into the darkness, the harder it is to tell whether we are riding the tiger or the tiger is riding us. As newspapers tremble at the thought of a Mohammed cartoon and government officials beg YouTube to take down a Mohammed trailer that offends the tiger, it seems as if the tiger is riding us.

Head of Benghazi Security Committee Quits

4 Tishri 5773 – September 20, 2012

The head of the supreme security committee in Benghazi, Libya, quit his position on Wednesday, citing tension between the ministry of interior and the security services.

In an interview with AFP, Fawzi Wanis al-Kadhafi said he decided to resign because “working conditions are not the same” since ex-rebels who overthrew Muammar Qaddafi last year re-established the committee.

On Monday, Libya’s interior minister fired the deputy interior minister for the eastern region and the head of national security for Benghazi, a week after US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed after the US embassy was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades.

Initial reports suggested the attacks resulted from outrage over an anti-Muslim film produced in the US, but experts say the riots may have been pre-planned with Al-Qaida support.

In a statement, Al-Qaida praised the killing of Stevens as “the best gift you give to his arrogant and unjust administration,” and urged Muslims to continue violent uprisings “and to kill their (American) ambassadors and representatives or to expel them to cleanse our land from their wickedness.”

Four Americans Killed in Raid on Benghazi Consulate by Protesters of ‘Blasphemous’ Film

26 Elul 5772 – September 12, 2012

According to al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Benghazi, Suleiman Idrissi, “At about 11.30 pm a group of people calling themselves Islamic law (Sharia) supporters heard there would be an American movie insulting the prophet Muhammad. Once they heard this news they came out out of their military garrison, and went into the streets calling on people to go ahead and attack the American consulate in Benghazi.”

Rocket-propelled grenades were fired from a farm next door to the consulate. Video clips on al-Jazeera show men walking through the consulate gardens in front of the burning buildings.

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was on a short visit to Benghazi, is reported to have died from smoke inhalation, along with an American computer expert at the consulate, Sean Smith, and two security guards.

The Internet has been swarming with rumors and debates on Wednesday, over the true identity of Sam Bacile, proud director of a truly stupid movie titled “Innocence of Islam,” 13 minutes of which he shared with the world. He introduced himself to several news reporters, over the phone from his “hideout,” as a Jew and an Israeli, adding that the funding for his film came from 100 Jewish donors.

As Facebook is becoming filled with pages titled “We hate Sam Bacile,” “America deport Sam Bacile,” and “Who wants to kill Sam Bacile,” to name only a few, Jews everywhere are praying that Sam Bacile is not Jewish. We really don’t need the extra tzuris. Which explains the Facebook page “Israelis, Jews & Americans Against Sam Bacile’s ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Film.”

Sarah Posner of religiondispatches.org listed many contradictions in the Sam Bacile news narrative: in one account he is 52 and in another he is 56. To the AP he is “a California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew” and to the Times of Israel he is “Jewish and familiar with the region.” And what about that bit at the end of the statement to the Times of Israel–that “even Jesus” should be “in front of the judge”? That sounds like someone who is trying to provoke more than just Muslims. A lot of things don’t add up here about the claimed identity of the filmmaker.

I’ve no idea if any of Posner’s points are truly problematic, she is touching a notion most of us, news junkies, have had all day regarding this guy: something about him doesn’t smell right.

Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.

The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.

Filmmaker Whose ‘Innocence of Islam’ Started Riots in Benghazi, Cairo, Went Underground

25 Elul 5772 – September 12, 2012

Filmmaker Sam Bacile has provoked strong protests in recent days, protests which have already claimed the life of an American consulate employee in Benghazi, Libya. In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Bacile said that he went into hiding for fear that Islamic radicals would try to hurt him because his video, titled “Innocence of Islam,” showing the Prophet Mohammed as a skirt chaser who favored the sexual exploitation of children.

“Islam is a cancer. Period,” said Bacile in the call, made, he claimed, from his hiding place. He said he only wanted to send a message. The provocative filmmaker is a 56-year-old real estate man, describing himself as an Israeli Jew – though that claim of Israeli citizenship is unconfirmed and doubted by some. He explained that the film would help Israel by revealing the expansionism of Islam in the world and the danger of it.

Following news of the new film, gunmen attacked the consulate compound in Benghazi on Tuesday evening, clashing with and overwhelming Libyan security forces with heavy fire. Reuters reporters on the scene saw looters raiding the compound, walking off with desks, chairs and washing machines. A security official said a fire was burning inside the consulate and that staff had been evacuated. Three injured members of the Libyan security forces taken away in an ambulance.

The gunmen emerged from a crowd that was protesting a film they said was blasphemous.

The raid in Libya followed a protest in Egypt where demonstrators scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy, tore down the American flag and burned it.

The U.S. embassy in Cairo issued a hasty response, probably in an attempt to prevent what later took place in Benghazi:

“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions… We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

But an administration official told Politico, “The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton subsequently issued a statement of her own, saying:

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

“Innocence of Islam” cost $5 million dollars and was funded by more than 100 Jewish donors. It was written and directed by Bacile, filmed in 2011, and is two hours long. The production employed 59 actors.

The only full screening to date has been in front of a half-empty theater in Hollywood. The parts of it that were uploaded to YouTube have already caused a wave of protests across the Muslim world.

Referring to the killing of a U.S. consulate worker in Benghazi, Libya, Bacile said: “I feel that the security system in these embassies is not good. America needs to do something to change it.”

1:56 Min trailer

13:51 Min.trailer

Demand for Sharia Law in Libya Growing

27 Tevet 5772 – January 22, 2012

The call for Sharia law to inspire legislation is gaining traction in Libya, with Islamists rallying across the country on Friday against the emergence of secular political parties.

The demonstrations were comprised mainly of members of the conservative Muslim Brotherhood and ultra-conservative Salafis. Men holding copies of the Koran protested in squares in Tripoli, Benghazi, and Sabha.

In the wake of the recent Islamic electoral successes in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, Islamist parties in Libya are expected to fair very well in elections for a national assembly, expected to take place in June.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/demand-for-sharia-law-in-libya-growing/2012/01/22/

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