Friday, January 31, 2014

Benghazi violence: Obama's good samaritans, the February 17 Martyrs Brigade

Last year I noted the following about the February 17 Martyrs Brigade which was tasked by the Libyan government to guard the U.S. consulate in Benghazi:
In September of 2012, the Obama administration praised a Libyan-based terror militia [the February 17 Martyrs Brigade], claiming the militia spontaneously volunteered its assistance to the U.S when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. officials were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi.

However, Eric Nordstrom - the State Department's former regional security officer in Libya - testified at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing earlier this month that the aforementioned militia - which was tasked by the Libyan government to guard the U.S. consulate in Benghazi - issued threats, in July of 2012, against former U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens and Senator John McCain.

Moreover, Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya, testified that the aforementioned militia was complicit in the Benghazi attacks - which begs the question: Why did the Obama administration allow these terrorist thugs to guard the consulate?
Good question. But let's see what Obama's good samaritans - the February 17 Martyrs Brigade - has been up to lately:

From the AFP:
Clashes in Libya's second city Benghazi killed at least one soldier after the son of the army's special forces commander there was kidnapped Thursday, a military source and witnesses said...

The clashes broke out as heavily armed special forces troops backed by helicopters tracked the abductors of student Ali Abu Khamada, son of their commander Wanis Abu Khamada, after he was "kidnapped by unknown persons near Gar Younes university", a military source said.

Fighting broke out in the Gwarsha, Gar Younes and Al-Hawari districts where several military facilities are in the hands of militias made up of former rebels, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Witnesses said the heaviest clashes were at a base operated by an Islamist ex-rebel group, the Brigade of the February 17 Martyrs...

Special forces members are a frequent target of attack and assassinations in violence-ridden Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 uprising which toppled Moamer Kadhafi.

In late November, several people were killed in three days of clashes between special forces led by Wanis Abu Khamada and the jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia.

And special forces announced last Friday the arrest of four suspects in Benghazi in possession of a hit list of officers to be targeted or who had already been killed. A soldier died in the arrest operation.

Militants have also attacked foreign missions in Benghazi, including a September 2012 assault on the US consulate that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.

Eastern Libya has become a bastion of Islamist extremists, with authorities avoiding a full-blown confrontation with heavily armed former rebels pending the formation of a regular army and police force.