Uncle Sam Wants Him: Libya Shield spokesman Hafez al-Aquri and the grand old al Qaeda flag
From the Washington Post, November 10:
Last week, a U.S. Embassy delegation, led by CIA operatives, traveled to Benghazi to meet and recruit fighters directly from the Libyan Shield, a powerful umbrella organization of militias, according to Fathi al-Obeidi, a commander of the group.
The Libyan Shield provided the rescue force that assisted the U.S mission in Benghazi on the night of the attack, and Obeidi said his fighters represent the most viable local option for a special unit.
Wonder how that Libya Shield "assistance" worked out? All I seem to read about it is that the US rescue force was held up at the airport in Benghazi for hours awaiting permissions or papers or red tape or until everyone was dead or whatever. It seems that after the ragtag US team finally arrived at the CIA annex (relying on GPS coordinates, according to Time magazine) with their Libya Shield escort, the annex came under attack.
The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli could not be reached for comment, and Lt. Col. James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman, said that U.S. officials were still in the preliminary stages of the program and had not yet determined the size or composition of the force.
It was also unclear whether the visit described by Obeidi was part of the $8 million Defense Department initiative or a separate project.
Uncle Sam has not only joined the jihad, he is now organizing it in support of what is apparently a Muslim Brotherhood coalition government in Tripoli.
Let's review. These are thugs at best and on a good day. “We want every minister to have a deputy, and this deputy should be a revolutionary,” Obeidi says in the same Post story. The story continues: When Obeidi and other militia commanders demanded a meeting with the government to press this demand, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan initially declined to meet with the group of militias. At that point, "the Libyan Shield threatened to bar him and his newly approved cabinet from entering eastern Libya. Zeidan later agreed to the meeting." No word on what transpired.
Of course, this is all about more than strong-arm stuff. Libya Shield fought under the black flag of Al Qaeda in the February 17 Revolution (called for February 17 to commemorate a 2006 attack on Italian consulate in Benghazi over free speech in the West). We supported that revolution; are we now going to fight under the black flag of al Qaeda, too? According to an August 2012 report by the research division of the Library of Congress, its commander, a sharia-fighter and jihad veteran named Wissam bin Hamid, is suspected of being the leader of al Qaeda in Libya. Bin Hamid, further, directly threatened US diplomats in Benghazi on September 9, 2012 that Libya Shield would withdraw security in Benghazi should the candidate he called the US choice for prime minister win. In this same meeting with the US, bin Hamid declared his support for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate.
Now we're recruiting from his ranks.
More details on Uncle Sam's surrealistically weird and appalling recruitment campaign from Reuters:
A team of about 10 Americans from the embassy in Tripoli visited a paramilitary base in the eastern city of Benghazi 10 days ago to interview and get to know potential recruits, according to militia commander Fathi al-Obeidi.
According to records captured in Iraq in 2007 and analyzed by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center, eastern Libya, which includes the cities of Benghazi ("City of Martyrs") and Derna, sent more fighters per capita to kill and main Americans in Iraq than anywhere else in the world, including Saudi Arabia.
"The American team asked us for a tour of our base and we granted them permission to walk around freely," he told Reuters.
How kind. (They must think we're absolutely nuts -- which we are.)
"They stood with many of our men taking down information. They asked them about their ages, backgrounds, their tribal loyalties. They wanted to know what kind of training they had received, if any."
Maybe in Afghanistan?
The Pentagon declined comment on any recent visit by a U.S. delegation to Benghazi, referring queries to the State Department. At the same time, it acknowledged a need to develop Libyan special operations forces.
Of course -- we were so successful with those Libyan embassy security forces!
"But a final decision on the program has not been made, and many details, like the ultimate size, composition and mission of the force are still to be determined," said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel James Gregory.
Obeidi is a commander with Libya's Shield, an umbrella group for various armed militias that refused to join the official army after the war that ousted Gaddafi last year, saying it was still being run by Gaddafi loyalists.
He also helped a team of U.S. marines in September lead a rescue effort that saved a group of Americans hiding in a safe house after an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens died.
Depends what the meaning of "help" is.
Obeidi said the interviewers also took note of the types of uniforms the men were wearing and asked about their opinion on security in Libya.
He said that the team of American officials included the U.S. charge d'affaires Laurence Pope and the future head trainer of the Libyan special forces team.
"I've been asked to help pick about 400 of these young men between the ages of 19 and 25 to train for this force," he said. "They could be trained either in Libya or abroad."
The force may be required to fight jihadi militants like those accused in the September 11 assault on the consulate.
But they ARE jihadi militants like those accused in the September 11 assault on the consulate.
Gregory said only that U.S. officials in Libya would work with Libyans "to assess their needs and develop options for ways the U.S. can support them through this transitional period."
"Obviously, this is still a fluid environment and everything can change," he said.
You can say that again. In fact, the final makeup of this ever-fluid Libyan cabinet remains to be seen, especially now that the "Libyan discipline commission" (!?) yesterday said four of the new cabinet " do not meet the standards of patriotism and probity that Libya requires of its officials."
What are we doing here?