Monday, 6 January 2014


The New York Times Destroys Obama

The New York Times just delivered a mortal blow to the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Call it fratricide. It was clearly unintentional. Indeed, is far from clear that the paper even realizes what it has done.
Last Saturday the Times published an 8,000 word account by David Kirkpatrick detailing the terrorist strike against the US consulate and the CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. In it, Kirkpatrick tore to shreds the foundations of President Barack Obama’s counter-terrorism strategy and his overall policy in the Middle East.
Obama first enunciated those foundations in his June 4, 2009 speech to the Muslim world at Cairo University. Ever since, they have been the rationale behind US counter-terror strategy and US Middle East policy.
Obama’s first assertion is that radical Islam is not inherently hostile to the US. As a consequence, America can appease radical Islamists. Moreover, once radical Muslims are appeased, they will become US allies, (replacing the allies the US abandons to appease the radical Muslims).
Obama’s second strategic guidepost is his claim that the only Islamic group that is a bona fide terrorist organization is the faction of al Qaida directly subordinate to Osama bin Laden’s successor Ayman al-Zawahiri. Only this group cannot be appeased and must be destroyed through force.
The administration has dubbed the Zawahiri faction of al Qaida “core al Qaida.” And anyone who operates in the name of al Qaida, or any other group, that does not have courtroom certified operational links to Zawahiri, is not really al Qaida, and therefore, not really a terrorist group or a US enemy.
These foundations have led the US to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan. They are the rationale for the US’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide. They are the basis for Obama’s allegiance to Turkey’s Islamist government, and his early support for the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Syrian opposition.
They are the basis for the administration’s kneejerk support for the PLO against Israel.
Obama’s insistent bid to appease Iran, and so enable the mullocracy to complete its nuclear weapons program is similarly a product of his strategic assumptions. So too, the US’s current diplomatic engagement of Hezbollah in Lebanon owes to the administration’s conviction that any terror group not directly connected to Zawahiri is a potential US ally.
From the outset of the 2011 revolt against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, it was clear that a significant part of the opposition was comprised of jihadists aligned if not affiliated with al Qaida. Benghazi was specifically identified by documents seized by US forces in Iraq as a hotbed of al Qaida recruitment.
Obama and his advisors dismissed and ignored the evidence. The core of al Qaida, they claimed was not involved in the anti-Qaddafi revolt. And to the extent jihadists were fighting Qaddafi, they were doing so as allies of the US.
In other words, the two core foundations of Obama’s understanding of terrorism and of the Muslim world were central to US support for the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.
With Kirkpatrick’s report, the Times exposed the utter falsity of both.
Kirkpatrick showed the mindset of the US-supported rebels and through it, the ridiculousness of the administration’s belief that you can’t be a terrorist if you aren’t directly subordinate to Zawahiri.
One US-supported Islamist militia commander recalled to him that at the outset of the anti-Qaddafi rebellion, “Teenagers came running around…[asking] ‘Sheikh, sheikh, did you know al Qaida? Did you know Osama bin Laden? How do we fight?”
In the days and weeks following the September 11, 2012 attack on the US installations in Benghazi in which US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and four other Americans were killed, the administration claimed that the attacks were not carried out by terrorists. Rather they were the unfortunate consequence of a spontaneous protest of otherwise innocent Libyans.
According to the administration’s version of events, these guileless, otherwise friendly demonstrators, who killed the US ambassador and four other Americans, were simply angered by a YouTube video of a movie trailer which jihadist clerics in Egypt had proclaimed was blasphemous.
In an attempt to appease the mob after the fact, Obama and then secretary of state Hillary Clinton were filmed in commercials run on Pakistani television apologizing for the video and siding with the mob against the movie maker, who to date is the only person the US has imprisoned following the attack. Then ambassador to the UN and current National Security Advisor Susan Rice gave multiple television interviews placing the blame for the attacks on the video.
According to Kirkpatrick’s account of the assault against the US installations in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, the administration’s description of the assaults was a fabrication. Far from spontaneous political protests spurred by rage at a YouTube video, the attack was premeditated. US officials spotted Libyans conducting surveillance of the consulate nearly 15 hours before the attack began.
Libyan militia warned US officials “of rising threats against Americans from extremists in Benghazi,” two days before the attack.
From his account, the initial attack – in which the consulate was first stormed – was carried out not by a mob, but by a few dozen fighters. They were armed with assault rifles. They acted in a coordinated, professional manner with apparent awareness of US security procedures.

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