New Questions Emerge on the Role of Benghazi CIA Annex Running Guns to the al-Qaeda Domination Syrian Oppostion
May 27, 2013 • 8:54AM

In recent days, the question of the role of the Benghazi CIA annex in running guns to the Syrian opposition has been raised by a number of investigative reporters, including the following: "See What Was Really Transpiring Inside Doomed Compound," by Aaron Klein (WND.com); "Ex-Diplomats Report new Benghazi Whistleblowers with Info Devastating to Clinton and Obama" (PJ Media); and "The Stingers of Benghazi," by Jim Geraghty (National Review). This same issue was previously raised by the authors of "Benghazi: The Definitive Report."

The issue which Congressional investigators must now answer is: Was Obama — directly or indirectly — transferring weapons to the Al-Qaeda dominated opposition in Syria in collusion with the Al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fight Group (LIFG), with which he allied in violation of the U.S. Constitution to overthrow Qaddafi?

All the evidence now suggests that Obama broke international law by approving the provision of weapons to the Al-Qaeda affiliated LIFG in Libya through Qatar and the U.A.E., and has since broken international law by illicitly supplying weapons to Al-Qaeda forces in Syria.

On March 7, 2011, the Independent reported that Obama asked Saudi Arabia to supply arms to the Libyan opposition. According to the New York Times, in the Spring of 2011 Obama approved the provision of weapons by Qatar and the U.A.E. to the Libyan opposition. Those weapons did not go to the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), but directly to the Al-Qaeda affiliated LIFG according to the Wall Street Journal.

This is not conjecture. The UN issued a report on March 20, 2012, and then a final report on April 9, 2013, in which it confirms that Qatar and the UAE violated the UN arms embargo with the collusion of NATO (NATO permitted the arms flights despite a no-fly zone and the arms embargo), and in the latter report the UN confirms that weapons from Libya have since been sent to the Syrian opposition: Materiel has also been sent out from Libya to the Syrian Arab Republic through networks and routes passing through either Turkey or northern Lebanon.

In October 2011, Jelil, the head of the TNC, and Ghalioun, the head of the Syrian National Council, reached an agreement to provide military support to the Syrian opposition from Libya. Following this October agreement, the Emir of the LIFG, Abdelhakim Belhadj, traveled to Turkey to meet with the Syrian Free Army to provide training and weapons. The same month, November 2011, 600 LIFG terrorists from Libya went to Syria to commence military training and operations. They were led by Mahdi al-Harati, deputy commander of the Tripoli Military Council under Belhadj. On December 11, 2011, an agreement was signed in Tripoli between Jelil, Belhadj, Ghannouchi (head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia), Hamad Jabber bin Jassim al-Thani (foreign minister and prime minister of Qatar), and the number two of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria to provide weapons and fighters to overthrow Assad in Syria. This agreement could not have been effected without the support and guidance of Obama. Although various accounts assign responsibility for providing this military support to the Syrian opposition from Libya to either elements of the State Department or the CIA, other reports indicate that the entire operation in Benghazi was a CIA operation operating under the cover of the State Department (Daily Beast). However, according to "Benghazi: The Definitive Report," the entire operation was run by John Brennan outside of the traditional command structure, with Obama's approval. John Brennan, as the head of Homeland Security and Counterterrorism in the Obama administration, was the head of the National Security Staff.

According to "Benghazi: The Definitive Report," the United States has been facilitating, or at the very least allowing, large weapons transfers from Libya to rebel fighters in Syria. The authors maintain that this did not fall under the purview of a Foreign Services officer in the State Department, such as Ambassador Chris Stevens, but rather, Stevens likely helped consolidate as many weapons as possible after the war to safeguard them, at which point [John] Brennan exported them overseas to start another conflict.

In recent coverage, Roger L. Simon of PJ Media reported that two former U.S. diplomats who have now become whistleblowers, are prepared to testify that Stevens' mission in Benghazi was to buy back Stinger missile from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA.

Aaron Klein cites a speech given on February 2, 2012, by Andrew J. Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. In that speech, Shapiro reported that the U.S. was engaged in Libya in the most extensive effort to combat the proliferation of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) in U.S. history. Libya had acquired 20,000 MANPADS and, according to Shapiro, as of Feb. 2012 only 5,000 could be accounted for. In the speech, he reported that many of the weapons were taken by militias and that many of the militia groups remain reluctant to relinquish them. Furthermore, he said that we cannot rule out that some weapons may have leaked out of Libya. Shapiro also reported that in August 2011, when the opposition captured Tripoli, the U.S. immediately deployed a State Department expert from the MANPADS Task Force to Benghazi, Mark Adams. The initial primary objective was to reach an agreement with the TNC to set up a MANPADS control and destruction program. He pointed out that since the U.S. did not have tens of thousands of U.S. forces on the ground, our efforts had to be carefully coordinated with and fully supported by the TNC. He also reported that teams and experts were also provided by the British Government.

What Shapiro did not report is that in August 2011, the Emir of the LIFG, Abdelhakim Belhadj, led the takeover of Tripoli thanks to the backing of Qatar, and became the commander of the Tripoli Military Council in charge of coordinating defense on a national level under the TNC, and on Sept. 4, 2011, he was appointed to the Supreme Security Council. One week after he was appointed to command the Tripoli Military Council, Belhadj, who founded the February 17th Brigade, Ismael al-Sallabi (head of the February 17 Brigade), and Jelil went to Qatar where they met with the financiers of the revolution and NATO officials, according to Kronos Advisory.

Numerous reports indicate that Belhadj was Stevens' liaison to the Libyan opposition. Stevens first entered Benghazi on April 5, 2011, after being appointed the official U.S. liaison to the Libyan opposition in March 2011.

According to Jim Geraghty's article in the National Review, on March 11, 2011, the Canadian Globe and Mail quoted LIFG leader Abdul Hakim Al-Hasadi as saying "We need Stingers." A March 23, 2011, Reuters report quoted Fawzi Buktif, who was the commander of the February 17th Brigade, as saying, "We need Kalashnikovs, stingers, anti-tanks, all types of anti-tanks." Geraghty also reports that a Wall Street Journal article on September 2, 2011, reported that the Qaddafi regime's intelligence files warned that French weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and Milan antitank rockets, were making their way to Libyan rebels via Sudan.

Geraghty then reports that in April 2012, Lebanese authorities seized a ship carrying weapons to the Syrian opposition. Then, on September 14, 2012, three days after Stevens was killed, Sheera Frenkel, a correspondent for the Times of London, reported that a Libyan ship carrying weapons including SAM-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) for the Syrian opposition had docked in Turkey. Moreover, in June 2012, the New York Times reported that a number of CIA officers were operating in southern Turkey, monitoring and perhaps assisting the Syrian opposition obtain weapons paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. According to the UN report, the ship seized by the Lebanese was the Letfallah II. The material originated from Libya. The ship which docked in Turkey was the Al Entisar. It sailed from Benghazi to Iskenderun, Turkey where it docked on August 25, 2012. It returned to Benghazi on September 3.

Thus, the Obama administration appears to have approved the illegal provision of weapons by Qatar to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

During this entire period, beginning August 2011, the U.S. and the British were reportedly trying to secure the MANPADS. However, the militia resisted that effort. While one hand of the U.S. government was reportedly attempting to secure MANPADS from the militias, the other hand seems to have been providing those same weapons to the Syrian opposition in collusion with the same militias Obama backed in overthrowing Qaddafi, and which then carried out the attack on the Benghazi mission and CIA annex on September 11, 2012.

The Obama administration and its allies in the U.S. Senate and House will be content to avoid this issue and address tertiary issues. They will be content to focus the blame for Benghazi on the State Department or the CIA or the Pentagon. In order to prevent the disclosure of what was really happening in Benghazi, they will argue that the mission of the CIA in Benghazi is classified or assert executive privilege. That cannot be allowed to happen. The crime of allying with al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in both Libya and Syria to overthrow sovereign governments without the Constitutionally mandated consent of Congress and in violation of international law is an impeachable offense. There is no national security interest in concealing such a crime. And it now appears, nine months after the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other American diplomats, that some of the right questions are being finally asked.