Benghazi and the Lethal Price of Arming Jihadists

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


Over the weekend, the newest, and by far the most disturbing, revelations surrounding the Benghazi attack were revealed. Several sources have pointed to the possibility that a major CIA gun-running operation aimed at arming anti-Assad Al-Qaeda-affiliated forces was in danger of being exposed. If true, the information casts an even more devastating pall over the Benghazi terrorist attack and the administration’s botched handling of the region.

The decision to stand down as the Benghazi terrorist attack was underway was met with extreme opposition from the inside. The Washington Times‘s James Robbins, citing a source inside the military, reveals that General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, who got the same emails requesting help received by the White House, put a rapid response team together and notified the Pentagon it was ready to go. He was ordered to stay put. “His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow,” writes Robbins. “Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.”

If true, Ham has apparently decided he wants no part of the responsibility for the decision not to help those in harm’s way. He is not alone. As the Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol revealed late Friday, a spokesperson, “presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus,” released the following statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”

Obama himself is stonewalling. During a Friday interview in Denver, the president revealed he was determined to postpone any revelation about Benghazi until after the election. “The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,” said Obama in answer to questions about possible denials of aid, and whether it’s fair that Americans will have to wait until after the election to find out the results of an investigation. On Saturday, Obama upped the ante, telling “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough that “if we find out there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job, they’ll be held accountable. Ultimately as Commander-in-Chief I am responsible and I don’t shy away from that responsibility.”

Several sources have come up with explosive answers accounting for the administration’s reticence.

According to WND’s Aaron Klein, “Egyptian security officials” revealed that Ambassador Christopher Stevens “played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.” Stevens was reportedly a key contact for Saudi Arabian officials, who wanted to recruit fighters from North Africa and Libya, and send them to Syria by way of Turkey. The recruits were ostensibly screened by U.S. security organizations, and anyone thought to have engaged in fighting against Americans, including those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, were not sent to engage Assad’s regime.

Yet as Klein further notes, reality is far different. The rebels the administration armed to fight Gaddafi, as well as those we may have armed to fight Assad, do include al-Qaeda members, and fighters from other jihadist groups as well.

As to the nature of the arms themselves, an October 6 report by the New York Times’ Robert Worth reveals that “Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling money and small arms to Syria’s rebels but have refused to provide heavier weapons, such as shoulder-fired missiles, that could allow opposition fighters to bring down government aircraft, take out armored vehicles and turn the war’s tide.” The reason they have refused to provide more lethal weapons to the rebels is partly because “they have been discouraged by the United States, which fears the heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists.”

Yet as Business Insider reveals “there’s growing evidence that U.S. agents–particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens–were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels” (italic mine) and that, beginning in March 2011, Stevens was “working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group–a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.” In November 2011, the Daily Telegraph reported that “Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, ‘met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,’ said a military official working with Mr Belhadj.” Reportedly, many of the militia groups that helped oust Gaddafi were eager to export their revolution to Syria.

Three days after the attack in Benghazi, it was revealed that “a Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria…has docked in Turkey,” with a cargo that “weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.” Business Insider speculates the weapons came “most likely from Muammar Gaddafi’s stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles–the bulk of them SA-7s–that the Libyan leader obtained from the former Eastern bloc.”

The Insider then reaches a devastating conclusion. “And if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey–a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact (meaning Belhadj) during the Libyan revolution–then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.”

But not just Turkey and the U.S. Canada Free Press columnist Doug Hagmann,  citing a “well placed source with extensive knowledge about the attack,” claims that “Russia was fully aware of this operation and warned the U.S. not to engage in the destabilization of Syria, as doing so would endanger (Russian) national security interests.” He further asserts that Stevens’ final meeting in Benghazi on September 11 was with “his Turkish counterpart, who reportedly warned Stevens that the (gun-running) operation was compromised.”

That the administration was helping to arm the worst elements in the region — jihadist rebels also at war with the United States — may explain the administration’s vigorous stonewalling to date. Far from just a diplomatic mission in Libya, the evidence suggests that one of the explicit functions of the U.S. “consulate” was to oversee the transfer of Libyan weapons from the Gaddafi regime’s stockpile, including to the opposition in Syria.

“In short, it seems President Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale,” Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney explains in the Washington Times. “The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies, as well. That would explain his administration’s desperate, and now-failing, bid to mislead the voters through the serial deflections of Benghazigate.”

But with the mainstream media refusing to press Obama and other administration officials on the facts surrounding the attack, it is unlikely there will be a breakthrough any time soon. If more concrete information emerges, it will certainly be after the election. In that case, win or lose, the Obama administration will face much more limited consequences for its lethal decisions.

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  • Chezwick

    A good article, and a sober reminder of the contradictions with which conservatives have been approaching the carnage in Syria. Many are (rightly) using Libya as a cautionary tale to counsel against arming the Syrian opposition; others are lambasting the Obama Administration for his inaction.

    Assad's fall will be a strategic defeat for Iran,…and would see Hezbollah being cut down to size in Lebanon. These are obviously positive developments for the USA. But it will also likely result in a radical Sunni, Muslim Brotherhood regime coming to power.

    The first victims will be the Christians of Syria, who have fared relatively well under Assad. Expect mass repressions and an exodus. But Israel remains the REAL target. One thing you can say about Assad and his father: For as long as they were in power, the Golan was quiet (save for the '73 War). There's no such guarantee once the MB takes over.

    I know this may sound Machiavellian, but Syria in the throes of civil conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. Iran is sucked into a quagmire, the Muslim world is busy devouring itself in this microcosm of the Sunni-Shia divide, and Israel and the West are given a momentary reprieve.

    • Drakken

      Chezwick, I completely agree with you, as far as we are concerned we should encourage them to kill each other and to add another twist, we should encourage the Kurds to to escalate their independence aims, it ties up the turks, Syrians, Iraqis and Iranians so they make less jihad on us and invites them to kill each other.

    • Pickles

      Did you actually read the article, because you failed to understand that "Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale! The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies, as well." Neither are you are American Citizens are you?

      • Chezwick

        Yes, I read the article. I'm also aware of various conservatives, John McCain and Ryan Mauro among them, who have castigated the President for not intervening in Syria more directly. I'm also aware that the present Syrian government was NEVER "once a friend" of ours. Finally, I am indeed an American. Ok?

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,”

    Said who? What does that tell you about accepting accountability? Blamer-in-chief. Schemer-in-chief. Treasonous bastard.

    • Mary Sue

      he WISHES it has nothing to do with the election! He knows full well if everything gets out before election day, he's guaranteed sunk! He just wants people to think that it doesn't so that they'll still vote for him. At this point, only the very ignorant, very stupid, or very brainwashed will vote for him now.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        And the MSM is controlled by that loyal group.

        We are all at risk as long as this propaganda is able to control the narrative.

        • BS77

          Yes. The MSM LIBTARD News and Propaganda Machine has buried this story. It is not in the news . Even the stupid irrelevant video excuse has been buried. Four AMericans are dead and an embassy burned to the ground but the story is gone, over, done… ……more important is a storm named Sandy,

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            If the storm hadn't come along… I wonder what they would have started focusing on?
            Would Michelle have had more school lunch standards?

    • Schlomotion

      This doesn't sound very objective.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Yes it does, you just don't know what objective means.

        • Western Canadian

          You’d be surprised at how many words Shmuckmotion doesn’t understand….

    • Sashland

      This election is now ONLY about the death of four brave Americans, abandoned by their CIC. There is no bigger issue than our National Security.
      soon x-CIC.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "This election is now ONLY about the death of four brave Americans, abandoned by their CIC. There is no bigger issue than our National Security."

        It should be about that, I'm not sure that with this "gimme" generation that most of the voting public is in agreement about what they expect from a president.

  • Rajput

    For decades, Indians have been paying the price for US arming, aiding and abetting the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the blood of their children. Still, who cares if there are a few less Hindus in the world, eh? I read on Fox or Daily Caller web site a list of countries that Republicans this of as their allies and lo, there in bold, was Islamic Republic of Pakistan. I mean, this is the country that hid OBL, has sold nuclear bomb technology (acquired from US) to some of the worst enemies of humans, has had its hand in nearly all the terrorist murders around the world, whose people regularly burn US flags and are blatant haters of the West, a country that helps destablise the whole region – and what does the US do? Calls it an ally and gives it free military jets, tanks and guns and bank rolls the failed terror sponsoring state. US is the most hypocrite nation on this planet.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Indians have been paying the price for US arming, aiding and abetting the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the blood of their children. Still, who cares if there are a few less Hindus in the world, eh?"

      I wish India would grow even closer with the West and the USA. We're natural allies in my mind. Appeasing Pakistan because of their perch position is really just another of the dark side of geopolitics, unfortunately.

      "US is the most hypocrite nation on this planet."

      In our position, it is bound to seem that way from certain points-of-view. Don't give up on the Americans that live up to their promises and declared values. There are many still here.

      I worry about our relationship with India all the time and I don't see any real answers short of confronting Islamic imperialism openly, which I have advocated for years. That would allow closer ties with India. Hurting India and hurting American global hegemony while gaining the most from the power we retain, that means being biased towards Muslim appeasement and paying attention to oil flow and little else.

      I hope you stick around and build some relationships with people that share the same concerns as you. Basically you're correct. But remember Obama has sacrificed even his own citizens. Those that understand the biggest threat to world peace need to not just stick together, but work out constructive plans on what to do.

    • gosha

      Indeed, besides Jews and Israel, India had suffered at the hand of Islam more than any other nation on the planet and I do understand your anger as a citizen of this country and as a Jew. You wrote that "US is the most hypocrite nation on this planet". It is not so. Regular American are dissent and hardworking people who just are too busy to make end meat and do not have time to inquire about politics and know about it what they hear within a half an hour over the CNN or other liberal-controlled media. All the actions of US on the international arena belong to US politicians, who unfortunately are a very dishonest and, most of the time, down right stupid bunch.
      If you would like to see a different reaction from the Americans to India vs. Pakistan problems: YUO NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! Not someone else, but you and you need to start in your own Hindu community. There you will see that Americans are not even half hypocrites as you thought. I know quite a few Hindus and I know what I am talking about.
      As always: Everything in comparison.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Indeed, besides Jews and Israel, India had suffered at the hand of Islam more than any other nation on the planet and I do understand your anger as a citizen of this country and as a Jew."

        More have suffered in India. But the difference is that we have people in the West actively aiding the attacks on Jews whereas Hindus are of no big concern to liberal psychotics. I suppose they can consider that some kind of good fortune.

        The saddest thing about their attacks on Israel is that India is hurt indirectly by those idiots. They help all Islamic colonial objectives and the abuse and oppression that goes with it when they attack Israel.

    • Ghostwriter

      Well,Rajput,some of this goes back to the days when the Indian government aligned itself with the Soviet Union. We went in with Pakistan because there were those in India who supported the Soviets. There are also those who feel that Pakistan has been a reliable ally in the past so we should continue supporting them. But,the way it's been behaving these days have got Americans wondering if we should be supporting them. There are those who feel we should support your country instead of Pakistan.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        You're not wrong, but I tend to think that American and British foreign policy tended to tilt towards Islam early in the post-war era due to advisers who believed that it was better to pick allies in the region who also get along with each other. That meant Islamic governments. I think we courted Pakistan before the Indians went to the Soviets. It would be more consistent with our actions during an era when "the religion of peace" fooled nearly everyone. They were seen as beyond pathetic and harmless, even totally and forever dependent on the West. How could that go wrong?

        Fatalism. "Allah MADE them help us, therefore Allah DOES want us to rule the world!!"

  • Rajput

    The above should read: "list of countries that Republicans consider as their allies and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is one one them".

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      We have paid them jizya tax for far too long.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "The above should read: "list of countries that Republicans consider as their allies and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is one one them"."

      Many Republicans think of them as a fr-enemy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.diaz.1044 Joe Diaz

    I don’t blame President Obama for not responding to the distress call in Benghazi. The Embassy personnel knew the dangers when they signed up. Let’s face it… the military & right-wingers don’t like our President & will do anything to make him fail… these deaths are meant to make President Obama look bad and score political points… you Tea Party Republicans need to be soundly defeated and sent packing.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      You forgot to mention racism.

      "these deaths are meant to make President Obama look bad and score political points."

      No. The culprits without question want him to win the election. Score political points for who? The only plausible explanations are either revenge, or a bungled hostage intended to justify the release of the "blind sheikh," just as Germany worked out getting Palestinians out of their hair after Munich in 1972.

    • Mary Sue

      The grape koolaid must be particularly delicious today. Listen to yourself, dude. You're excusing the President for NOT DOING HIS JOB. The only way these deaths make the president look bad is BECAUSE THEY ARE HIS FAULT THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE ADEQUATE SECURITY.

      Your caricature of the Tea Party, while amusing, is false. You're relying on folks that support The Muslim Brotherhood, who are far more "teabaggerish" in the way you think Tea Party is, in the fact that if the Muslim Brotherhood ever gained a solid foothold in USA, they'd not let you be gay in peace if that is your orientation. No, they'd bury you. They'd make women cover up or arrest them, like they do in Saudi Arabia and Iran and a bunch of those other countries. The Tea Party is a scapegoat for sellout Democrats that would sell out freedom for a mess of pottage and imagined goodwill that never existed in the first place.

      Perhaps you should watch the anime known as Bleach. In that anime, there is a captain called Sosuke Aizen. He's a lovable handsome nerd-like Captain, until it's revealed he's a Complete Monster who was using his Zanpakuto (sword, literally "soul cutter") Kyōka Suigetsu, the power of which is TOTAL HYPNOSIS . Obama is Aizen, and you are under the effects of Kyoka Suigetsu. It prevents you from seeing that Obama is the Second Coming of Jimmy Carter. And we all know how that turned out (and if you're too young to have experienced that I suggest you brush up on your history, because the parallels between then and now are FRIGHTENINGLY SIMILAR).

      • Ghostwriter

        Thanks for the anime reference,Mary Sue. I'm familiar with "Bleach." I never imagined that someone would mention any anime here. There aren't many people who are interested in anime who are on FPM.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Your caricature of the Tea Party, while amusing, is false"

        Understatement of the season. Imagine conflating concern over Islam with concern over taxation? It boggles the mind how simple Obama supporters and blind faith liberals can be.

    • Drakken

      Blatent puzzy libtards like you are a disgrace upon this great nation and I guarentee you that you never served a day in the armed forces. You wouldn't be thinking like you do if you did.

    • Pickles

      Joe, you are pathetic, if that was one of your family members, You would be DEMANDING answers!!! Quit making excuses for the President, he has absolutely no problems turning his back on these brave AMERICAN'S.

    • janis

      seriously????? you left wing radical democrat…….you will be soundly defeated and sent packing w/your pres…..

    • Persistence

      Joe, Joe, Joe you are so political. Joe, afte rall this attack was the direct result of Obama’s foreign policy activity. How many wars is Obama’s crew now responsible for instigating? Have you lost count? See, this is a long term policy, which even Fast and Furious is a part. Did you just wake up Joey? If you are a journalist, then you are complicit in the matter aren’t you? There are some commentators who have wondered just why the State Department and Obama sent a gay man as ambassodor to a Muslim country. They have noted the outrage which such policy has caused outside of the Muslim world at least. Don’t you think perhaps Obama’s foreign policy has lead to world wide killing? Pack sand Joe!!

    • batman

      its idoits like you who got him re-elected!!!

  • atthebeach

    / “if we find out there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job, they’ll be held accountable. Ultimately as Commander-in-Chief I am responsible and I don’t shy away from that responsibility.”/

    So presidential and as well; a 'master of deflection']; so YES, we need not question, that the 'buck stops with Obama'. We know too; Obama is an accomplished 'buck thrower' because Obama always 'confirms'; as he just did; in his chat with Joe; how good he is. So while it may 'land' on his desk; we know; it does not stay there for long.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Ultimately as Commander-in-Chief I am responsible and I don’t shy away from that responsibility"

      As I said elsewhere, the sentence is incomplete as quoted. What he meant was, "Ultimately as Commander-in-Chief I am responsible and I don’t shy away from that responsibility to blame others as needed."

      When you see his actions, you'll all know I'm quoting him more accurately.

  • Schlomotion

    If as Mr. Ahlert contends, Chris Stevens was aware of gun running, shouldn't he have stepped down? Or is he still a sacred cow? If the same had happened to Eric Holder, they would be cheering.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Schlo, was that supposed to even pretend to make sense?

      If Stevens was aware… he was acting on the interests of his country and his president that appointed him to do exactly that, gun running was part of the game. But even then this was an American that deserved the protection of his government no matter what. Ambassadors get recalled, not murdered.

      There is blood on Obama's hands, and the media is covering this up. And it seems you are too.

      • Zionista

        don't expect sense from a deranged Jew hating turd

    • maher

      Everybody is aware of gun running, buildings and flags burning; women raping, camel urine healing…
      As I told you Arab-Muslim world is a huge cesspool, Smucklotion.
      Obama § friends respect it, bow to and ask for more!

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "If as Mr. Ahlert contends, Chris Stevens was aware of gun running, shouldn't he have stepped down?"

      On what basis?

  • Ar'nun

    I have to admit that I am kind of sick and tired of all these writers making the following statement; "But with the mainstream media refusing to press Obama and other administration officials on the facts surrounding the attack,"

    We all know this, so why aren't you taking it upon yourself to "get the scoop" or any of the other writers that opine daily and then passing the buck back to the Propaganda arm of DC (formely know as the mainstream media)??? Or at very least find a good hard working young journalist to take under your seasoned wing to find "the scoop"???

  • http://twitter.com/undefined @undefined

    I don't think Ham will provide any information that hurts Obama or Panetta. Panetta specifically named Ham in his "explanation" as to why military support was not sent.

  • http://twitter.com/undefined @undefined

    The Diplomad at thediplomad.blogspot.com has been on this since day one. Read through his archives and you will find his theory on the gunrunning which makes sense.

  • Guest

    Given this scenario, I can't see Gen Petreaus/CIA being a whistleblower, as he and his organization would have been complicit with the gun-running … the gun-running scenario does make all the pieces "fit together"

  • Daphne

    A dose of old-fashioned common sense would be appreciated in these so-called diplomats, including our U.S. leaders. But common sense would be predicated on them knowing the history and objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood and its ilk, and acting on such knowledge. But instead, as Rett Butler said to Scarlet O'Hara, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

  • Ageofreason

    "I don't see any real answers short of confronting Islamic imperialism openly, which I have advocated for years." You are correct, objective. Islam declared war on the west long ago, and all we do is ignore the facts, and appease. Has no government learned the lesson of Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler? And no, it is not "radical" Islam, or only al-Qaeda that has declared war on us. Islam itself declared war 1400 years ago, and with 270 million murders to their credit, one would think that the west would have begun to fight back long ago. As for Muslims in the west: convert, leave, or die.

  • Sashland

    Was the Ambassador killed by the arms he sold to the jihadis?

  • teapartydoc

    This is going to require a Congressional investigation and prosecution after the election of President Romney.

  • magicundies

    four most important words:

    "washington times"

    "if true"

    NEXT

  • Goldbug36

    Now we know where the BILLIONS of hollow-point rounds went .. and we thought Social Security was going to use them to get rid of recipients.

  • mlcblog

    ….I used to just love General Petraeus but I guess his name sounds too much like Betrays Us because it's finally happened. He has changed what he said and is now taking about a spontaneous Al Quaeda event. Yuk.

  • CeeCee

    So the US has only been arming hostiles in this region for four years? More like 40 and during presidencies of both flavors. Grow up! War is the only thing we manufacture and export with any real success anymore and we have no even near equal to call enemy without arming them ourselves.

  • 11bravo

    Great work Arnold (as usual), This is just one big sh*tty mess. I almost wish O was re-elected so we could impeach him over this. I just hope Romney has the stomach to go after these guys (the lot of em!!) once they are out of office. If we can’t convict them, shame them and ruin their careers!!
    Do not forget our boys who held off 120 effing barbarians for 7hrs-they are the best!!

  • Len_Powder

    "But with the mainstream media refusing to press Obama and other administration officials on the facts surrounding the attack, it is unlikely there will be a breakthrough any time soon. If more concrete information emerges, it will certainly be after the election. In that case, win or lose, the Obama administration will face much more limited consequences for its lethal decisions."

    The article at the link below is well worth reading regarding this coverup:
    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-r

  • pierce

    Benghazi is one of the results of the bragging that came about on the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
    We can thank Mister Big Mouth, Barack Hussein Obama, he just had to take credit for that. it was he who stirred up the witches caldron. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Bye bye Barack.

  • Persistence

    Just how many covert wars has Obama slipped by Congress and American People? Obama is no better than Hitler frankly, and they share many similar qualities. But, Hillary Clinton is no better than any other Chicago hack as well. Rush was very wrong about that. If there are communist riots with Michael Moore urging, bring them on frankly because I’m real sick of that fat sweaty man’s stinking mouth and the anarchists who will take the opportunity. So the antiwar basterds have to cover up how many wars around the world now? Michael Moore would have volunteered at the death camps with George Soros.

  • https://www.facebook.com/judyleefoust Al Foust

    But if we were gun running to the militant Muslims, why did they attack those who were running the operation?

  • Kathy Meixner

    Communist liar in chief and he has committed acts of treason. Come on people wake up and smell the stench. Some of you voted for a guy you knew absolutely nothing about. When he was running for his first term the writing was on the wall. Some of you voted for him simply because he was black and a democrat. Did a bell not go off finding out he and his wife spent 20 years listening to Rev. Wright speak against our country?