Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Did Ambassador Stevens die in another 'Iran-Contra scandal'?

An article in the Washington Times suggests that clandestine, US-supported and -approved arms smuggling between Libyan and Syrian militants may have been behind the attack on the US consulate and the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi last month.  Here's an excerpt.

The evidence suggests that the Obama administration has not simply been engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East ... the Obama administration has been arming them, including jihadists like Abdelhakim Belhadj, leader of the al Qaeda franchise known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

. . .

It now appears that Stevens was [in Benghazi] — on a particularly risky day, with no security to speak of and despite now copiously documented concerns about his own safety and that of his subordinates — for another priority mission: sending arms recovered from the former regime’s stocks to the “opposition” in Syria. As in Libya, the insurgents are known to include al Qaeda and other Shariah-supremacist groups, including none other than Abdelhakim Belhadj.

Fox News has chronicled how the Al Entisar, a Libyan-flagged vessel carrying 400 tons of cargo, docked on Sept. 6 in the Turkish port of Iskenderun. It reportedly supplied both humanitarian assistance and arms — including deadly SA-7 man-portable surface-to-air missiles — apparently destined for Islamists, again including al Qaeda elements, in Syria.

What cries out for further investigation — and debate in the remaining days of this presidential election — is whether this shipment was part of a larger covert Obama effort to transfer weapons to our enemies that could make the Iran-Contra scandal, to say nothing of Operation Fast and Furious, pale by comparison.

. . .

It gets worse. Last week, Center for Security Policy senior fellow and former career CIA officer Clare Lopez observed that there were two large warehouse-type buildings associated with the so-called “consulate” whose purpose has yet to be disclosed. As their contents were raided in the course of the attack, we may never know for sure whether they housed — and were known by the local jihadis to house — arms, perhaps administered by the two former Navy SEALs killed along with Stevens.

There's more at the link.  (Libyan shipments of missiles to Syrian rebels have been confirmed in other news reports.)

To make matters even more interesting, Russia has claimed that Syrian rebels are using US-made Stinger missiles.  The BBC reports:

Gen Nikolai Makarov was quoted by the Interfax news service as saying the origin of the surface-to-air missiles should be "cleared up".

. . .

"We have reliable information that Syrian militants have foreign portable anti-aircraft missile systems, including those made in the USA... it should be cleared up who delivered them," Gen Makarov told journalists in Russia.

. . .

Recent footage has emerged of Syrian opposition fighters using old Soviet SA-7 heat-seeking missiles, which can destroy a plane flying at up to 14,000ft.

Again, more at the link.  (SA-7's were among the weapons 'liberated' by Libyan militants during the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi.)    The US Defense Secretary has just denied any knowledge of Stinger missiles being supplied to Syrian militants - but if the program was clandestine, he might not have been aware of it.

If these claims are true, it's no wonder the Administration has been desperately trying to point fingers in every possible direction except the correct one.  This would mean that Ambassador Stevens died in the equivalent of another Iran-Contra scandal.  Imagine what that might do to President Obama's chances of re-election in November . . .

I hope the truth comes out, and that (if the allegations in the Washington Times article prove to be true) the guilty parties are punished to the fullest possible extent of the law.  The four Americans who died in Benghazi - perhaps as tools of a dishonest and perverse US policy? - deserve at least that.


No comments: