The original story was that this was a “spontaneous” demonstration that went bad. The new story from the Islamist Libyan government is that it was the work of Gaddafi loyalists. There are some Gaddafi loyalists left in Libya, but it’s very doubtful that there are any in Benghazi or that they could outgun the Islamist militias that they lost to or that their priority in assembling that much firepower would be a US Consulate deep in rebel territory, instead of government members in Tripoli.
Members of Ansar Al-Islam were seen engaged in the attack and looting the consulate. Communications were intercepted from the attack between an Islamist member of the Libyan government and the Muslim Brotherhood Feb 17 Martyrs Brigade that was supposed to be providing security for the consulate. And the people of Benghazi, who seem to be the ones to know who was behind the attack, are blaming Islamist militias. And the government is accusing them of being Gaddafi loyalists.
The Libyan Interior Minister, Wanis al-Sharif, last seen telling Libyan Sufis that he could not and would not defend them against Islamists, is pushing the Gaddafi loyalists angle.
Sharif said armed men “infiltrated” the protest, but that the Libyan government did not believe they were Islamist militants. Instead, he said, authorities suspect they were loyalists of slain former strongman Moammar Gaddafi who were out to upend the country’s fragile political situation.
Sharif had previously admitted that Stevens was betrayed by Libyan security forces, possibly the Muslim Brotherhood’s Feb 17.
After blaming Gaddafi loyalists, Sharif shifted to blaming the American consulate for provoking the attack.
“We are going through a war with people from the old regime who are trying to destabilize security,” Sharif said. He also said the Libyan government believes that the first shot came from within the consulate compound, enraging the crowd. And he complained that the consulate should have extracted its employees earlier in the day and taken them to hotels or another secure location for safety.
Who exactly would have begun shooting first at a heavily armed crowd from within a marginally defended consulate?
Sharif said the consulate was completely burned and looted. “The most we expected was taking down the American flag and burning it,” he said. “We didn’t expect what happened to take place.”
This is the one interesting statement. How much did Sharif know ahead of time?
Let’s recap. The Libyan authorities are completely untrustworthy and unreliable. Their Islamist alliances mean that they will refuse to do anything about Islamist militias. Blaming “Gaddafi loyalists” is an easy escape route for the Libyan government and for Obama, who does not want to take responsibility for his failure in Libya. It’s also appealing to the conspirazoid Noam Chomsky/Ron Paul spectrum who want to see a domestic insurgency arising out of the fall of Gaddafi the way that it did in Iraq, reaffirming their anti-colonialist anti-imperialist prattle.
But the Anti-American crowd of Chomskyites and Paultards has forgotten that Iraq’s Baathists were quickly overshadowed by Al Qaeda and then by Shiite death squads, forcing them to ally with the United States. And Libya lacks the Baathist\Sunni axis that would sustain Gaddafi loyalists as anything more than tribal factions that are the equivalent of defeated barons in medieval England.
It’s the Islamist militias who have the weapons and the momentum and they are now the defining force in the Afghanistanization of the Middle East.