Wednesday, April 23, 2014

War watch April 23 , 2014 -- 86 Percent of Syria’s Chemical Arsenal Destroyed Rebels Start Hyping Allegations of Chlorine Gas Use ........ US Drones Killed Scores ( 70 + Yemenis ) , Now Yemen Scrambles to ID ‘Suspects’ Hopes to Find al-Qaeda Figures Among the Slain


( The road to Syria runs through Libya  - as well as Turkey and Iraq. But how did this secret US base just fall into Al Qaeda's hands ? Love to hear that explanation..... )

Secret American base in Libya reportedly seized by jihadists

Published time: April 23, 2014 20:33
Reuters / Esam Omran Al-Fetori
Reuters / Esam Omran Al-Fetori
A secret base in Libya that has reportedly been used up until recently by United States special operations forces may have been taken over by local militants linked to Al-Qaeda, a new report suggests.
The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake claims that a team led by longtime Al-Qaeda affiliate Ibrahim Ali Abu Bakr Tantoush has seized a base 27 kilometers west of Tripoli that was established by the US in the summer of 2012 “in order to hone the skills of Libya’s first Western-trained special operations counter-terrorism fighters.”
Lake says his allegations — published in a report on the Daily Beast’s website on Wednesday this week — stem from local media accounts, Jihadist web forums and US officials. If it proves to be accurate, then a veteran Al-Qaeda member considered by both the US and United Nations to be a supporter of terrorism has taken the helm of a hush-hush base that has been the host of US-led training missions for two years following its refurbishment by American Green Berets.
An Arabic-language news report published earlier this month and cited by Lake suggests that Tantoush has recently taken command of the base and, according to the Beast writer, “he was heading a group of Salifist fighters from the former Libyan base.”
Lake went on to say an unnamed US defense official told The Daily Beast that the Libyan report was on par with what American intelligence knew, and a second official said he could not yet corroborate the facts of the matter. A third official with the US Africa Command declined to comment, and the message boards referenced by the reporter were not cited again elsewhere in his article.
On Tuesday evening, Lake added, Tantoush appeared on Libyan television and confirmed that he was in the country but not involved whatsoever in the camp. Another US official speaking on condition of anonymity, however, told The Daily Beast that the camp to the west of Tripoli is considered to be a “denied area” which American forces would not be able to easily gain access to.
Last September, Fox News reported that the base — the same one, according to Lake — was raided multiple times in August likely by terrorists who had taken a cache of equipment and weapons used by US Special Forces stationed in the region.
A grand jury in the Southern District of the New York indicted Tantoush and four others back in 2000 for conspiracy related to terrorist attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda, and since 2002 he has been included on a Department of the Treasury list of foreign persons sanctioned for terroristic activity as outlined in an UN treaty.
"No one at the State Department wanted to deal with the situation if any more went wrong, so State pulled its support for the training program and then began to try and get the team moved out of the country,” Fox reportedly heard from an unnamed source.
Speaking to Lake, Al-Qaeda expert Seth Jones said “There are a number of training camps for a wide range of Al-Qaeda and jihadist groups that have surfaced in southwest Libya, northwest Libya in and around Tripoli and northeast Libya in and around Benghazi.” Only now, however, have militants reportedly taken hold of a formerly US-run base that had been launched to counter those same terrorists.


Benghazi attack resulted from US 'allowing arms deliveries' to militants

Published time: April 23, 2014 19:08
A vehicle (R) and the surrounding buildings burn after they were set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (AFP Photo)
A vehicle (R) and the surrounding buildings burn after they were set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (AFP Photo)
The deadly attack on US diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented if Washington had not allowed arms shipment to reach al-Qaeda-linked militants, said a group launched to unearth truth behind the 2012 ordeal.
The White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda,” the Citizens Commission on Benghazi (CCB) said in an interim report released Tuesday.
As a result of such policy, there has been “utter chaos” in Libya, across North Africa and beyond, “the spread of dangerous weapons (including surface-to-air missiles), and the empowerment of jihadist organizations like al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood,” the group said in the document, entitled “How America Switched Sides in the War on Terror.”
The commission, set up last year by US center-right press watchdog Accuracy in Media (AIM), is comprised of retired senior military officers and CIA insiders and experts. Its goal is to answer the remaining questions about the September 11, 2012 attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Following a seven-month review of the bloody incident, the Commission blamed the Obama administration for failing to prevent a multi-million dollar United Arab Emirates weapons shipment from getting into hands of al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames.(Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori )
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames.(Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori )

The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,” Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told the MailOnline.
Lopez claimed that the weapons that came into the city of Benghazi “were permitted to enter” by American armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea.
They were permitted to come in. ... [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed,” she said. “The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.”
Now all those arms are in Syria, according to another commission member, Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic.
Talking to journalists on Tuesday, he noted that Gaddafi, Libya’s overthrown and killed leader, “was not a good guy, but he was being marginalized.”
According to the commission findings, shortly after the beginning of the Libyan uprising in February 2011, Gaddafi “offered to abdicate.” However, Washington, “ignored his calls for a truce,” the group wrote, which led to extensive loss of life – including the four Americans – chaos, and detrimental outcomes for U.S. national security objectives across the region.
We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,” Kubic said, “but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.”
On March 21, 2011, the US Army General Carter Ham, who was leading the American forces enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, said that attacking Gaddafi was not part of the mission.
That, Kubic noted, was a signal to the Libyan leader that there was a chance for a deal.
By 22 March 2011, Qaddafi verifiably had begun to pull his forces back from key rebel-held cities such as Benghazi and Misrata. Word was passed that he wanted a way out of the crisis and was willing to step down and permit a transition government to take power in his stead,” the report said.
(Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori )
(Reuters / Esam Al-Fetori )

In exchange for the stepping down, Gaddafi reportedly wanted permission to continue fighting al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) – the north-African wing of the terrorist organization. The second condition was the lifting of the sanctions against Gaddafi himself, his family members and people loyal to him.
However, the CCB said, despite the willingness of both the US Army General and the Libyan leader to pursue the possibility of truce talks, “permission was not given to Gen. Ham from his chain of command in the Pentagon and the window of opportunity closed.”
The Obama Administration and the National Security Staff did not immediately respond to questions about the commission's findings, the Daily Mail reported.
We don't claim to have all the answers here,” Roger Aronoff, AIM’s editor told journalists. “We hope you will, please, pursue this. Check it out. Challenge us,” he added.
The Commission’s findings are based on information they got from interviews with “several knowledgeable sources,” they said. As part of the investigation, the CCB along with AIM have also filed 85 document requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The requests were addressed to the Department of State, Department of Defense, CIA and FBI.


86 Percent of Syria’s Chemical Arsenal Destroyed

Rebels Start Hyping Allegations of Chlorine Gas Use

by Jason Ditz, April 22, 2014
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) today confirmed Syria has handed over the remnant precursors for roughly 86% of its chemical arsenal for destruction abroad, and is on track to finish the process in the weeks to come.
Exporting the chemicals has been difficult as rebels control much of the area around the port of Latakia, from which the chemicals are departing, and it is unclear if the US will meet the destruction deadline of June 30. If not, expect the US to angrily condemn Syria over it.
But as Syria’s actual chemical arsenal stops being an issue, rebels are now pressing allegations of Syria using primitive makeshift chemical weapons against rebel sites.
The claim is that Syria is taking industrial chlorine gas and sticking it in barrel bombs, and has injured some people in a handful of towns in this manner. Chlorine gas would not need to be listed as a scheduled chemical since it was neither produced nor stockpiled for intent to use as a weapon.
Syria’s military accused the rebels of using the chemicals last week, and so far there is no conclusive proof that either actually intentionally released the gas.


US Drones Killed Scores, Now Yemen Scrambles to ID ‘Suspects’

Hopes to Find al-Qaeda Figures Among the Slain

by Jason Ditz, April 22, 2014
Three days of US drone strikes and at least one ambush involving US ground troops in Bayda have left scores of people dead across Yemen’s south and east, in what Yemeni officials touted as an unprecedented offensive.
Yemen may be finding it oversold the bloodletting somewhat, however, as now they are faced with 70-plus bodies, who they have all officially labeled “suspects,” and none of them has actually been identified yet.
US officials cited a “sniffer dog” as having confirmed one of the ambush slain was Ibraham al-Asiri, and Yemen is frantically running DNA tests on the bodies hoping one of them actually is Asiri, because if not that’s just more egg on their face.
Officials say it is conceivable that either Asiri or AQAP militant Nasser al-Wahayshi are among the slain, and while the official Yemeni response to attacks usually begins and ends with labeling everyone “suspects,” the sheer number of dead virtually obliges them to find evidence of someone meaningful slain.