JAN 26, 1989 West Germans Pledge to End Role in Libyan Chemical Arms Plant JTA

World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman received assurances Wednesday from West Germany’s top leaders that the government is doing its utmost to prevent further West German involvement in the Libyan manufacture of chemical weapons. Bronfman met in Bonn for an hour each with Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, according to reports from the West German capital. He was accompanied by Israel Singer, WJC secretary-general, and Elan Steinberg, the organization’s executive director.

The main issue on the table was West German involvement in building a reputed chemical weapons plant in Rabta, Libya. Genscher said the issue “cannot simply be seen in everyday political terms, but has developed into a moral and historical problem for Germany to address,” according to Steinberg, who was reached by telephone from Bonn. The foreign minister outlined action the West German government is undertaking, independent of ongoing legal proceedings, toward restricting future German involvement in projects with Libya. The plan includes:

* Introduction of new legislation to tighten foreign trade regulations, to prevent German companies or individuals from exporting chemicals or technology to make chemical weapons.

* Putting West Germany’s rough equivalent to the FBI in charge of the current investigation and all future investigations of individuals or companies suspected of involvement in chemical weapons production.

* The strengthening of penal sanctions for involvement in the production of such weapons.

Steinberg reported that Kohl confirmed the entire program as Genscher outlined it to the WJC leaders.

 

MAY 11, 1989 West German Arrested in Libyan Chemical Case NEW YORK TIMES

The former director of the West German chemical concern accused of helping Libya build a chemical weapons plant was arrested today on suspicion of violating West German export laws.

The executive, Jurgen Hippenstiel-Imhausen of Imhausen-Chemie, was arrested in Bochum and is being held there, said Holger Preisendanz, the official heading the investigation at the Mannheim prosecutor’s office.

”He is strongly supected of having played a significant personal role in the planning and building of a plant designed for the production of chemical weapons in Rabta, Libya,” Mr. Preisendanz said. ”We believe he acted as a sort of moderator for the project.” [ In Washington, an Adminstration official praised the arrest of Mr. Imhausen, saying it showed that the West German Government was following through on its promise to tighten export laws and punish those who trade in chemical weapons. ”What is rare about this is that they’re arresting the chairman of the board,” the official said. ”It’s not as if they’re going after some guy in the company who was doing it on the side.” ] It was the first arrest in West Germany stemming from Imhausen-Chemie’s alleged participation in the construction of the chemical plant in Rabta, south of Tripoli. Police officials would not say if further arrests are likely. Mr. Hippenstiel-Immhausen has denied any participation in the Libyan plant. His family could not be reached for comment. Issue of Weapons or Drugs

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, maintains that the Rabta plant is designed to manufacture pharmaceuticals. But the United States, West Germany and other Western Governments contend that it was built explicitly to produce nerve gas and mustard gas, and may have already made some small quantities of mustard gas.

American accusations about West German participation in the plant caused an acrimonious dispute early this year between Washington and Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s center-right coalition Government.

 

SUMMER, 1997 Libya’s Pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction (pdf) NON PROLIFERATION

Since the late 1970s, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qadhafi has sought to obtain weapons of mass destruction (WMD), particularly chemical and biological weapons (CBW). By the late 1980s, Libya had developed a rudimentary capability to produce such weapons. Western experts view the pursuit of CBW as a means of bolstering Libya’s military capability, since the country lacks effective conventional ground, air, or naval forces. 

Libyan CBW programs may also represent a bid by Colonel Qadhafi to offset Israel’s nuclear capability with weapons often called the “poor man’s atomic bomb.” This motivation may stem from Libya’s thwarted efforts to obtain its own nuclear capability. Thus far, Libya has been unsuccessful in its attempts to acquire nuclear weapons because of international sanctions and the fact that it lacks the necessary financial and technical resources.

Qadhafi’s pursuit of CBW capabilities is of concern to the international community because of his often erratic behavior and the fact that Libya is believed to possess two of the largest CW production complexes ever constructed in the developing world. Libya’s official position is that it does not have a CBW program and that its chemical production facilities are intended solely for peaceful purposes. But informed observers believe these denials demonstrate Qadhafi’s penchant for “saying one thing and doing the exact opposite.” According to Western and Libyan exile sources, Libya’s effort to acquire CBW is coupled with an aggressive strategy to acquire ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver them.

Because CBW are relatively cheaper to produce and easier to conceal than nuclear weapons, the possibility looms that Libya could employ chemical or biological weapons either directly or through surrogates, such as terrorist groups. Indeed, Libya has already resorted to chemical warfare on a small scale as an assymetric response to conventional military inferiority. In 1987, Libya’s military operation in Chad was near defeat following a series of dramatic reversals. When Chadian forces, with French support, launched a surprise attack on a military base inside Libya, Qadhafi ordered his forces to attack the Chadian troops by dropping Iranian-supplied mustard gas bombs from a transport aircraft. Although this use of chemical weapons was not extensive enough to be militarily decisive, it set an ominous precedent.
 

The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction – March 31, 2005
Mr. President:

With this letter, we transmit the report of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. Our unanimous report is based on a lengthy investigation, during which we interviewed hundreds of experts from inside and outside the Intelligence Community and reviewed thousands of documents. Our report offers 74 recommendations for improving the U.S. Intelligence Community (all but a handhl of which we believe can be implemented without statutory change). But among these recommendations a few points merit special emphasis.

We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. This was a major intelligence failure. Its principal causes were the Intelligence Community’s inability to collect good information about Iraq’s WMD programs, serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather, and a failure to make clear just how much of its analysis was based on assumptions, rather than good evidence. On a matter of this importance, we simply cannot afford failures of this magnitude.

 

2009

Barack Obama is inaugurated, becoming President of the United States of America. Obama chooses Hillary Clinton to serve as Secretary of Sate.

Hillary Clinton served as the 67th United States Secretary of State, under President Barack Obama, from 2009 to 2013, overseeing the department that conducted the Foreign policy of Barack Obama.

 

SEP 23, 2009 UN summit: Barack Obama calls for ‘new era of engagement’ THE TELEGRAPH

“The time has come for the world to move in a new direction. We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” Mr Obama said in his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly.  Mr Obama said discontent at perceived US unilateralism had fed “an almost reflexive anti-Americanism” that too often had served as an excuse for collective inaction.

He said he would seek a new deal with Russia on reducing nuclear weapons and said countries that refuse to meet their non-proliferation obligations must face consequences. Mr Obama said the next 12 months would be pivotal in efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and he pledged to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. He called on leaders to hold North Korea and Iran to account for their nuclear programs, warning they threatened to take the world down a “dangerous slope”.

“In their actions to date, the governments of North Korea and Iran threaten to take us down this dangerous slope,” Mr Obama said to the 120 members. Mr Obama also said he did not view continued Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as legitimate.

 

SEP 23, 2009 UN summit: Libyan government pitches tent in New York THE TELEGRAPH

And it appears the property was rented from Donald Trump.

An attorney for the town of Bedford, around 43 miles north of Manhattan, told the Journal News that the town ordered work to be stopped at the site late on Tuesday because no permits were sought for the temporary residence.  A State Department official said the property was obtained for the duration of this week’s United Nations General Assembly. The official said no one would be staying there overnight.  Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s motorcade arrived at the Libyan Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan, just blocks from UN headquarters on Tuesday evening. Dozens of police and secret service officers blocked off the venue.

Several dozen pro-Gaddafi demonstrators rallied near the office building housing the mission, carrying his portraits and chanting pro-Libyan slogans.

No-parking signs were going up near Trump’s Seven Springs estate in Bedford, where residents include Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren. TV helicopters showed a tent on the Trump property. Police would not comment, and a secret service spokesman would say only that the agency does not discuss the schedules or logistics of people it’s protecting.

 

SEP 23, 2009 Libyan Leader Delivers a Scolding in U.N. Debut NEW YORK TIMES

UNITED NATIONS — The blaring cavalcade of world leaders whisking through the streets of New York has been a fall rite for 64 years, with one leader often thrusting himself above the din — a role played this year almost inevitably by Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, making his first appearance despite 40 years in power.

After being introduced in the General Assembly Hall as the “leader of the revolution, the president of the African Union, the king of kings of Africa,” Colonel Qaddafi shattered protocol by giving a rambling speech that stretched for 90 minutes instead of the allotted 15.

Others went over the time, too, of course. But in the case of President Obama, also making his debut speech but forced to share the limelight, he was forgiven his 38 minutes because he made such a ringing endorsement of the American commitment to the world body. “We have re-engaged the United Nations,” he said to cheers.

Outside the building other rituals unfolded with gusto. Hundreds of protesters turned up to denounce the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who used the podium on Wednesday evening to defend his election in June. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France went jogging in Central Park. Security measures turned Midtown Manhattan into a clogged obstacle course, with agents muttering in their sleeves seeming to outnumber pedestrians.

Colonel Qaddafi — dressed in a brown traditional Libyan robe, embroidered vest and shirt, with a black pin of the African continent pinned to his chest — took about 17 minutes to get to the main point of his speech, which was a demand for an African seat on the Security Council.

He also suggested that those who caused “mass murder” in Iraq be tried; defended the right of the Taliban to establish an Islamic emirate; wondered whether swine flu was cooked up in a laboratory as a weapon; and demanded a thorough investigation of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

He offered to move the United Nations headquarters to Libya because leaders coming here had to endure jet lag and because the understandable security against another attack on New York by Al Qaeda was too stringent. And he repeated his longstanding proposal that Israel and the Palestinian territories be combined into one state called Isratine.

The Security Council “is political feudalism for those who have a permanent seat,” Colonel Qaddafi said, speaking in Arabic and riffling through various documents on the hall’s green marble podium.

“It should not be called the Security Council, it should be called the terror council,” he added. “Permanent is something for God only. We are not fools to give the power of veto to great powers so they can use us and treat us as second-class citizens.”

Although a red warning light illuminates after the 15-minute time limit, United Nations officials said they could not remember anyone interrupting a head of state to explain that the allotted time had expired.

SEP 24, 2009 Libya’s Gaddafi’s 96-minute speech keeps Gordon Brown waiting THE TELEGRAPH

And it appears the property was rented from Donald Trump. An attorney for the town of Bedford, around 43 miles north of Manhattan, told the Journal News that the town ordered work to be stopped at the site late on Tuesday because no permits were sought for the temporary residence.  A State Department official said the property was obtained for the duration of this week’s United Nations General Assembly. The official said no one would be staying there overnight.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s motorcade arrived at the Libyan Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan, just blocks from UN headquarters on Tuesday evening. Dozens of police and secret service officers blocked off the venue. Several dozen pro-Gaddafi demonstrators rallied near the office building housing the mission, carrying his portraits and chanting pro-Libyan slogans.

No-parking signs were going up near Trump’s Seven Springs estate in Bedford, where residents include Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren. TV helicopters showed a tent on the Trump property. Police would not comment, and a secret service spokesman would say only that the agency does not discuss the schedules or logistics of people it’s protecting.

As word got out, local officials quickly objected to Gaddafi’s anticipated presence. He will likely face protests over Scotland’s recent release of Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people.

The Trump Organisation said Gaddafi would not be coming to Trump’s estate and insisted that Trump has not rented property to him. But it said part of the estate “was leased on a short-term basis to Middle Eastern partners, who may or may not have a relationship to Mr Gaddafi. We are looking into the matter.”

 
DEC 30, 2009 TERRORIST FINANCE: ACTION REQUEST FOR SENIOR LEVEL ENGAGEMENT ON TERRORISM FINANCE

Department of State sent a diplomatic cable documenting the US efforts to work with the Arab states to disrupt illicit finance activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the external financial/logistical support networks of terrorist groups that operate there, such as al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT)

Saudi Arabia
It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priorityDonors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.

Kuwait
It has been less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks outside of Kuwait. Al-Qa’ida and other groups continue to exploit Kuwait both as a source of funds and as a key transit point.

United Arab Emirates
UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups, including al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups, including Hamas.

Pakistan
Pakistan’s intermittent support to terrorist groups and militant organizations threatens to undermine regional security and endanger U.S. national security objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Although Pakistani senior officials have publicly disavowed support for these groups, some officials from the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) continue to maintain ties with a wide array of extremist organizations, in particular the Taliban, LeT and other extremist organizations.

Qatar
Qatar has adopted a largely passive approach to cooperating with the U.S. against terrorist financing. Qatar’s overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region. Al-Qaida, the Taliban, UN-1267 listed LeT, and other terrorist groups exploit Qatar as a fundraising locale.

2010

JAN 22, 2010 SECRETARY’S SPEECH ON INTERNET FREEDOMS PROVOKES LIVELY DEBATE IN TUNISIA WIKILEAKS

Secretary Clinton’s January 22 speech on Internet freedom was well-regarded by Tunisian contacts, though it did not receive any coverage in the official press, given government oversight and censorship of Tunisian media. Discussions following Embassy-sponsored speech viewing parties and informal conversations following the speech revealed that Tunisians are frustrated with what they see as heavy government and social influence over the Internet and press, though some saw the wisdom of some sort of Internet watchdog to prevent the spread of misinformation or personal attacks.

Interestingly, while all of the bloggers followed each other’s work online, this event was the first time many of them had met in person. The group came to the consensus that while Tunisia surpassed Morocco in quality-of-life for most citizens, it suffered by comparison to what they saw as Morocco’s vastly more open space for criticism and debate, whether in the written press or in the blogosphere. One blogger commented that whereas Tunisians wait anxiously to see when the president will die and who will replace him, Moroccans know that their king will always be king and thus they feel safe in pushing the boundaries of free speech and debate, and are allowed to protest and organize legally. He cited the existence of actual opposition newspapers as proof of the existence of liberty in Morocco.

Embassy Tunis also hosted a second successful viewing party of the Secretary’s Internet freedoms speech at the American Corner at AMIDEAST in downtown Tunis. Over 20 students between the ages of 18 and 25 attended the speech and following conversation. Following the speech, an Embassy officer engaged the group in a discussion of their thoughts and reactions to the Secretary’s speech. Several were intrigued by the social entrepreneurial aspect of information technology and impressed by what others had been able to accomplish through Facebook and mobile phones.

Comment: While the government-controlled Tunisian media has not so far acknowledged Secretary Clinton’s criticism of Tunisian Internet freedoms in her January 21 speech, it is clear that Tunisians are listening, and that their government’s repression of free speech on the Internet has not gone unnoticed or unopposed by the Tunisian public. End comment.

FLASHBACK
JAN 9, 2007 COURTESY CALL ON MINISTER OF INTERIOR REVEALS FEW NEW DETAILS ABOUT SALAFIST THREAT WIKILEAKS

In a January 9 courtesy call, Minister of Interior and Local Development Rafik Belhaj Kacem revealed few new details about the recent Salafist threat in Tunisia (reftels). After initial introductions, the Ambassador broached the subject of the recent threat, underscoring the USG’s concern and asking if the Minister had any additional information about the group and its intended targets. Kacem’s response largely repeated the information Minister of State Ben Dhia had provided in his January 8 meeting with the Ambassador (ref A). However, Kacem projected more confidence than did Ben Dhia (who qualified that he spoke in “quasi-certitude”) in asserting that the GOT had successfully eradicated the group. In addition, Kacem’s briefing included the following additional elements: that one of the members of the group was Mauritanian; and that the security forces had retrieved documents containing information on explosives and how to make IED’s of various types.

We were disappointed that Kacem appeared to consider this meeting strictly as a courtesy call (which it indeed was), rather than an opportunity to share concrete information, since we had been told that the Minister would provide more thorough details pertaining to the threat. The Ambassador pressed Kacem for better cooperation, as did SIMO, who, in response to Kacem’s characterization of the US-Tunisian liaison relationship as “exemplary,” made clear that we had been disappointed by the lack of information shared. We will continue to use every opportunity to press GOT counterparts on this score. In addition, in the coming days we will be transmitting to the Department two messages: one that summarizes our understanding of recent events and their implications; another will put forward a series of recommendations on how to move forward. End Comment.

SEP 29, 2010 Despite Clinton Pledge, State Dept. to Pay Out Billions More to Mercs WIRED

Get ready to meet America’s new mercenaries. They could be the same as the old ones. A new multibillion-dollar private security contract to protect U.S. diplomats is “about to drop” as early as this week, say two State Department sources, who requested anonymity because the contract is not yet finalized and they are not authorized to speak with the press. So much for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s one-time campaign pledge to ban “private mercenary firms.”

Neither source would say which private security firms have won the four-year contract or how much it will ultimately be worth. The last Worldwide Protective Services contract, awarded in 2005, went to Blackwater, Triple Canopy and DynCorp. Rough estimates place that contract’s value at $2.2 billion. This one is likely to be even more lucrative. That’s because this time, the reduction and forthcoming withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq is causing the State Department to splurge on private security. A senior department official told the congressional Wartime Contracting Commission in June that the department requires “between 6,000 and 7,000 security contractors” in Iraq, up from its current 2,700 armed guards. And that doesn’t even take into account those needed to guard the expanded U.S. civilian presence in Afghanistan.

 

SEP 29, 2010 Global Strategies Group (Federal), Inc, Global Integrated Security (Usa) Inc and Global Integrated Security (Usa) Inc. $287 million Contract Issued by Other Department of State INSIDE GOV

Procurement ID: SAQMMA10D0097
Contract Type: Indefinite Delivery Contract
Signed Date: September 29, 2010
Ultimate Completion Date: June 30, 2016
Product or Service: Guard Services

 

SEP 29, 2010 Department of State Global Integrated Security (USA) Inc. Indefinite Delivery Contract GOVTRIBE

Contract # SAQMMA10D0097
NAICS 561612 Security Guards and Patrol Ser…
PSC S206 Housekeeping- Guard
POP 9/29/10 – 9/29/15 (5 years)
Description
THE WORLDWIDE PROTECTIVE SERVICES (WPS) PROGRAM PROVIDES COMPREHENSIVE PROTECTIVE SECURITY SERVICES TO SUPPORT U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OPERATIONS AROUND THE WORLD.
Agency
Department of State
Awarded Vendor
Global Integrated Security (USA) Inc. Herndon VA

 

 

OCT 1, 2010 Blackwater Wins Piece of $10 Billion Mercenary Deal WIRED

Never mind the dead civilians. Forget about the stolen guns. Get over the murder arrests, the fraud allegations, and the accusations of guards pumping themselves up with steroids and cocaine. Through a “joint venture,” the notorious private-security firm Blackwater has won a piece of a five-year State Department contract worth up to $10 billion, Danger Room has learned. Apparently, there is no misdeed so big that it can keep guns-for-hire from working for the government. And this is despite a 2008 campaign pledge from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ban the company from federal contracts.

Eight private security firms have won State’s giant Worldwide Protective Services contract, the big Foggy Bottom partnership to keep embassies and their inhabitants safe. Two of those firms are longtime State contract holders DynCorp and Triple Canopy. The others are newcomers to the big security contract: EOD Technology, SOC, Aegis Defense Services, Global Strategies Group, Torres International Services and International Development Solutions LLC.

Don’t see any of Blackwater’s myriad business names on there? That’s apparently by design. Blackwater and the State Department tried their best to obscure their renewed relationship. As Danger Room reported Wednesday, Blackwater did not appear on the vendors’ list for Worldwide Protective Services. And the State Department confirms that the company, renamed Xe Services, didn’t actually submit its own independent bid. Instead, they used a blandly named cut-out, “International Development Solutions,” to retain a toehold into State’s lucrative security business. No one who looks at the official announcement of the contract award would have any idea that firm is connected to Blackwater.

 

NOV 30, 2010 Gaddafi demands £4 billion from EU or Europe will turn ‘black’ | THE TELEGRAPH

During an EU-Africa summit, that ended on Tuesday in Tripoli, the Libyan leader described European’s economic relationship with the African continent as a “failure”.

Unless “Christian, white” countries gave him extra funding, Colonel Gaddafi predicted that Europe would be flooded with illegal immigrants leaving impoverished Africa. “We should stop this illegal immigration. If we don’t, Europe will become black, it will be overcome by people with different religions, it will change,” he said.

Col Gaddafi has so far received only £42 million in EU funding to improve treatment of refugees heading for Europe amid human rights fears and a recent refusal by Sweden to sell Libya surveillance planes.

The Libyan leader is critical of the EU for linking trade and aid to free markets and progress on human rights. He told EU officials at the summit that African leaders say they are ready to abandon ten years of trade talks because of European demands. “Africa has other choices,” he said “Let every country and every group govern itself. Every country is free to serve its own interests. Africa can look to any other international bloc such as Latin America, China, India or Russia.”

 

2011

FEB 21, 2011 Gaddafi’s son warns of “rivers of blood” in Libya AL ARABIYA

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s son warned early Monday that the country faces a bloody civil war if protesters refuse to accept reform offers, in a speech broadcast as gunfire rang out in the capital, saying that his father remained in charge with the army’s backing and would “fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.” Saif al-Islam Gaddafi condemned the unprecedented uprising against his father’s 41-year rule as a foreign plot, but admitted mistakes were made in a brutal crackdown and urged citizens to build a “new Libya”. “Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today on reforms, we will not be mourning 84 people, but thousands of deaths, and rivers of blood will run through Libya,” he said.

The unrest has spread from the flashpoint city of Benghazi, where demonstrations began on Tuesday, to the Mediterranean town of Misrata, just 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Tripoli. “This is an opposition movement, a separatist movement which threatens the unity of Libya,” Gaddafi said in a fiery but rambling speech which blamed Arab and African elements for fomenting the troubles. “We will take up arms… we will fight to the last bullet,” he said. “We will destroy seditious elements. If everybody is armed, it is civil war, we will kill each other.”

“Libya is not Egypt, it is not Tunisia,” he said, adding that attempts at another “Facebook revolution” would be resisted. “Moammar Gaddafi, our leader, is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are with him.” “The armed forces are with him. Tens of thousands are heading here to be with him. We will fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet,” he said in a rambling and sometimes confused speech of nearly 40 minutes.

But Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s threats betrayed a note of desperation, and he suggested that the eastern city of Benghazi, Libya’s second city, was now out of government control. “At this moment there are tanks being driven by civilians in Benghazi,” he said, insisting the uprising was aimed at installing Islamist rule and that it would be ruthlessly crushed. And despite the tough talk and finger-wagging, Gaddafi also made some concessions — pledging a new constitution and new liberal laws with more media freedom. He also admitted “mistakes” on the part of the army in containing the riots, saying they were “not trained to contain riots” and were responding to attacks by “people on drugs.” 

“Destructive and terrorist” plans

In a performance which veered between threats and concessions, Gaddafi underscored Libya’s vast oil wealth and issued a trenchant warning to foreign companies. “We have one resource that we live on and that is petrol,” he said. “All the foreign companies will be forced to leave the country.” Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmoudi meanwhile told EU ambassadors in Tripoli that there are “very precise plans, destructive and terrorist, that want Libya to become a base for terrorism.”

Witnesses told AFP by telephone that security forces also clashed with anti-regime protesters in Misrata, saying security forces, backed by “African mercenaries,” fired on crowds “without discrimination.”

International condemnation

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, called for “the non-use of force and respect for basic freedoms” in North African and Middle Eastern countries wracked by mass uprisings. “The secretary-general reiterates his call for the non-use of force and respect for basic freedoms,” a U.N. spokesman said in a statement, adding that Ban, who had been in contact with regional leaders to discuss the situation, stressed the importance of exercising utmost restraint by all concerned. The United States and the European Union strongly condemned the use of lethal force in Libya.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the Obama administration was “very concerned” about reports that Libyan security forces had fired on peaceful protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi. “We’ve condemned that violence,” Rice told “Meet the Press” on NBC. “Our view is that in Libya, as throughout the region, peaceful protests need to be respected.” 

Isolation

68-year-old Gaddafi has been trying to bring his country out of isolation, announcing in 2003 that he was abandoning his program for weapons of mass destruction, renouncing terrorism and compensating victims of the 1986 La Belle disco bombing in Berlin and the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Those decisions opened the door for warmer relations with the West and the lifting of U.N. and U.S. sanctions. But Gaddafi continues to face allegations of human rights violations. Gaddafi has his own vast oil wealth and his response to protesters is less constrained by any alliances with the West than Egypt or Bahrain, both important U.S. allies.

Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa with 44 billion barrels as of January 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but it’s still a relatively small player compared with other OPEC members.

 

 

 

 

 

FEB 28, 2011 Susan Rice: Gadhafi ‘delusional’ THE HILL

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi sounds “delusional” as he tries to cling to power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Monday. Ambassador Susan Rice made the statement following a White House meeting with President Obama and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as the United States increased pressure on the Libyan leader to give up power.  Rice made clear that the United States and the international community see one choice for Gadhafi and his aides: step down from power or face significant consequences. “There is no escaping that critical choice,” Rice said.

In an effort to help rebels fighting Gahdafi, the Treasury Department announced Monday more than $30 billion in Libyan government assets have been frozen since Obama issued an executive order on Friday. Rice offered some of the toughest rhetoric yet on Monday toward Ghadafi, blasting his denials of atrocities against his own citizens as “frankly, delusional.” “It only underscores how unfit he is to lead, and how disconnected he is from reality,” Rice said.

Rice praised the U.N. Security Council for the unanimous resolution it passed over the weekend that called for the freezing of Libyan government assets and military aid to the country. It also referred all claims of abuse of the Libyan people directly to the UN International Court. Rice and White House press secretary Jay Carney noted repeatedly that while the U.S. is gearing up for a sizable humanitarian aid effort, all options including military intervention are on the table.

 

MAR, 2011 Emails show Qaddafi son offered talks – but Clinton ordered top general to ‘not take the call,’ source says FOX NEWS

New emails obtained by Fox News show that in March 2011, at the height of the Arab Spring revolution inside Libya, dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s son Saif was willing to talk peace from the ground in Libya – but a source told Fox News the offer was rejected by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In the years since Qaddafi was forced from power, Libya’s government has collapsed, and extremist groups including ISIS have exploited the power vacuum. While the Obama administration has promoted the use of “soft power” and diplomacy, the documents suggest the option was not vigorously pursued here.

One key email describing the offer of talks was dated March 18, 2011 and sent at 7:27 a.m. EST to three members of The Joint Staff. It states, “Our contact will arrange a face-to-face meeting with Saif [Qaddafi], or a Skype/video-telecon [teleconference] to open communications if time does not permit … A peaceful resolution is still possible that keeps Saif on our side without bloodshed in Benghazi.”

The response from a senior policy adviser, on her government email account, was sent to 11 staff members at 7:57 a.m. The adviser writes, “Sirs, the JCSWG’s [the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Working Group] contact is ready to arrange a meeting with Saif on a skype/video-telecon. Might be worth passing to folks who do this stuff routinely.” These “working groups” are stood up to deal with specific issues or challenges.

Copied on that same email is then-Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby. During March 2011, Jacoby served as director of strategy, plans and policy for The Joint Staff and was responsible for planning coalition and NATO operations in Libya.

As explained to Fox News, what happened next was a high-stakes drama which played out at the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House.

The source told Fox News that a staffer was sent to look for Jacoby at the Pentagon, and somewhere between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Clinton instructed Jacoby “to not take the call from Saif and that Ambassador Gene Cretz was the only one she authorized to talk to Saif.” At the time, Cretz was the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Clinton’s instructions effectively meant no high-level administration official took the call. The following day, on March 19, the U.S. began participating in airstrikes over Libya – Muammar Qaddafi himself would be killed seven months later.

While it is not possible to independently assess the credibility of Saif’s offer, his father did follow through on a 2003 pledge to come clean on Libya’s weapons of mass destruction program, after the U.S. invaded Iraq, and Qaddafi met with then-deputy director of the CIA Steve Kappes.

 

MAR 14, 2011 US Names Chris Stevens Liaison to Libyan Opposition ABC NEWS

(PARIS) — The Obama administration’s new liaison with the Libyan opposition will be diplomat Chris Stevens, who had been the number-two official at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli until it was suspended when fighting began last month, according to two U.S. officials. Stevens attended Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s meeting in Paris Monday night with representatives of the Libyan opposition, as did U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, who has also had contacts with the opposition.

President Obama told reporters Friday that his administration would appoint an official to maintain contact with the budding Libyan opposition, but officials had not revealed who it would be. The United States has yet to follow France’s lead in officially recognizing the Libyan opposition. Clinton told a Senate hearing last week that the United States was still trying to understand the makeup and intentions of the Libyan opposition based in the eastern city of Benghazi and led by the former justice minister.

 

MAR 18, 2011 Obama Takes Hard Line With Libya After Shift by Clinton NEW YORK TIMES

Only the day before, Mrs. Clinton — along with her boss, President Obama — was a skeptic on whether the United States should take military action in Libya. But that night, with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces turning back the rebellion that threatened his rule, Mrs. Clinton changed course, forming an unlikely alliance with a handful of top administration aides who had been arguing for intervention.

Within hours, Mrs. Clinton and the aides had convinced Mr. Obama that the United States had to act, and the president ordered up military plans, which Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hand-delivered to the White House the next day. On Thursday, during an hour-and-a -half meeting, Mr. Obama signed off on allowing American pilots to join Europeans and Arabs in military strikes against the Libyan government.

The president had a caveat, though. The American involvement in military action in Libya should be limited — no ground troops — and finite. “Days, not weeks,” a senior White House official recalled him saying.

 

 

MAR 30, 2011 Arming Libya rebels not allowed by UN resolutions, legal experts warn US THE GUARDIAN

The US is likely to be in breach of the UN security council’s arms embargo on Libya if it sends weapons to the rebels, experts in international law have warned. After Hillary Clinton said it would be legal to send arms to support the uprising, lawyers analysing the terms of the UN’s 26 February arms embargo said it would require a change in the terms for it not to breach international law.

“The embargo appears to cover everybody in the conflict which means you can’t supply arms to rebels,” said Philippe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London. His view was backed by other experts in international law who said they could not see how the US could legally justify sending arms into Libya under the current resolutions.

Clinton told a press conference in London on Tuesday that this month’s UN security council resolution creating a no-fly zone and allowing strikes to protect civilians effectively amended or overrode the absolute prohibition on arms to anyone in Libya, “so that there could be a legitimate transfer of arms if a country should choose to do that”.

Asked whether the US itself would arm Libya revolutionaries, Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, said: “We have not made that decision but we’ve not certainly ruled that out.”

February’s UN security council resolution 1970 on the arms embargo states that all member states must prevent the supply to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – the Libyan nation – of arms including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts. The embargo also relates to the provision of technical assistance, training or financial and bans the provision of mercenaries.

 

 

MAR 31, 2011 Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret help for Libya rebels REUTERS

President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday. Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter. Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.

“As is common practice for this and all administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. “I will reiterate what the president said yesterday — no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya.”

The CIA, which declined comment on the Obama authorization, has inserted small groups of clandestine operatives to gather intelligence for air strikes as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the United States hopes can help bleed Gadaffi’s military, The New York Times reported, citing unnamed American officials.In addition to the CIA operatives, dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are also working in Libya, the newspaper said.

News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other U.S. and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi’s opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces. The United States is part of a coalition, with NATO members and some Arab states, which is conducting air strikes on Libyan government forces under a U.N. mandate aimed at protecting civilians opposing Gaddafi.

 

 

APR 3, 2011 For Qatar, Libyan Intervention May Be a Turning Point NEW YORK TIMES

DOHA, Qatar — Friendly to Iran even as it serves as a base for the American military, Qatar has long had one of the most creative foreign policies in this unstable region. But now, by sending its tiny air force to fly missions over Libya and granting other critical aid to the Libyan rebels in their fight for freedom and democracy, this very rich Persian Gulf emirate is playing a more ambitious and potentially more risky role. But for an absolute monarchy that was part of an alliance that supported Saudi Arabia’s move into Bahrain to crush democracy protests there, it is also somewhat incongruous.

A week ago, Qatar became the first Arab country to grant political recognition to the Libyan rebels, and its six Mirage fighter jets flying with Western coalition partners are giving the United States and European allies political cover in a region long suspicious of outside intervention. 

Qatari officials say they are discussing ways to market Libyan oil from any ports they might hold in the future, to give the rebels crucial financial support, and they are looking for ways to support them with food and medical supplies. Qatar — the home base for the Al Jazeera satellite news channel, which is supported by the Qatari government — is also helping the Libyan opposition create a television station using a French satellite, to offset the state-controlled media.

Experts who follow Qatar say the current policies are consistent with two long-held objectives: to emerge as a world player despite its tiny size, and to play off its stronger neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran, to protect its sovereignty and natural gas wealth.  “They are staking a claim to being a leading voice in defining Arab nationalism for Arabs no matter their location,” said Toby Jones, a Rutgers University historian of the modern Middle East. He added that the nation’s leadership was seeking “to step out of the shadow of more powerful regional neighbors like the Saudis and Iranians.”

Western political and military leaders have praised the Qatari government, saying its intervention in Libya is a turning point for the region. “Qatar is essential at this time,” Gérard Longuet, the defense minister of France, was quoted by Agence France-Presse as telling Qatari and French pilots during a recent tour of a military base in Souda on the island of Crete. “This is the first time that there is such a level of understanding between Europe and the Arab world.”

For the past decade or so, Qatar has skillfully straddled the competing groups of allies in the region — Egypt and Saudi Arabia versus Iran and Syria — achieving a status of neutrality that has allowed it to broker political deals in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen. At the same time, Al Jazeera has given a voice to dissidents, has rankled autocrats across the region, and has been both blamed and praised as a driving force behind the current “Arab Spring.”

Qatar, which sits upon one of the richest natural gas fields in the world, has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to victims of Hurricane Katrina, flooding in Pakistan and civil strife in Darfur. It won a bid to host the 2022 World Cup in recognition of its status as an oasis of stability and a global mediator.

 

APR 5, 2011 How Libya kept migrants out of EU – at any cost THE WEEK

European leaders have been criticised for the selective humanitarian impulses that impelled them to turn against their erstwhile ally Colonel Gaddafi, while remaining passive in the face of the repression of pro-democracy protests in Yemen or Bahrain. Libyan oil has been cited as one of the main reasons for this discrepancy. But there is another aspect of European hypocrisy and double-standards in dealing with the Libyan dictator that has received less attention ­ namely Libya’s crucial role as a barrier against Europe’s unwanted immigrants.

With a possible endgame in the Libyan civil war now beginning to emerge, with Gaddafi sending his envoy Abdelati al-Obeidi to Greece to discuss a way out of the conflict, it is worth reminding ourselves of the extent of such cooperation. For more than a decade the booming Libyan economy has been a destination for legal and illegal migrants from Africa and even further afield in Bangladesh and China. The extended Libyan coast has also been a springboard for undocumented migration into Europe. Following Tony Blair’s famous kiss in 2004, Gaddafi entered into a series of agreements with the European Union and individual governments, in which Libya effectively became a co-partner in enforcing Europe’s ‘externalised’ border controls.  

 

 

APR 12, 2011 FBI “On Guard” for Libyan Terror Retaliation NEW AMERICAN

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is interviewing hundreds of Libyans in the United States and is on alert for possible terror attacks perpetrated by the Moammar Gadhafi regime or Libyan rebels with ties to terrorist groups, FBI Director Robert Mueller (photo, left) told Congress last week.

Among other steps, the federal government has been interviewing as many as 800 Libyans currently present inside American borders. At least some of them were working for the Gadhafi regime prior to the United Nations-backed Western intervention. Others may still be serving the regime as part of Libya’s foreign-intelligence apparatus. And some may be operating under various covers.

“We want to make certain that we are on guard for the possibility of terrorist attacks emanating somewhere out of Libya, whether it be [Gadhafi’s] forces, or in eastern Libya, the opposition forces who may have amongst them persons who in the past have had associations with terrorist groups,” Mueller told a House appropriations subcommittee.

The Bureau is conducting what it calls an “outreach effort” to speak with Libyans in the United States, including students at American universities. So far all the interviews have been “voluntary,” according to officials cited in news reports. Mueller told lawmakers,

There are individuals who were previously affiliated with the Libyan government who happen to be in the United States — they may have been here representing Libya and at various international institutions and the like. [T]o the extent that they have renounced or denounced [Gadhafi] and are willing to be interviewed and to give us information as to what may be happening in Libya, we will proceed with those interviews.

Mueller also said the FBI wanted to make sure that it identified Libyan intelligence operatives working in the United States to “ensure no harm comes from them.” Agents from at least 10 different field offices are reportedly involved in the interview campaign, which the FBI chief said “may alert us to any attempts at retaliation within the United States or elsewhere by [pro-Gadhafi] individuals.”

But Mueller is not the first high-ranking official to express concerns about the possibility of retaliatory terror strikes following U.S. military intervention against Gadhafi. Obama’s Terror Czar John Brennan warned about the possibility weeks ago.

“Gadhafi has the penchant to do things of a very concerning nature,” Brennan told reporters as the U.S. government was beginning its “humanitarian” bombing campaign. “We have to anticipate and be prepared for things he might try to do to flout the will of the international community.”

And the use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas, according to Brennan, was one of the threats. Gadhafi is known to possess weapons of mass destruction and has used terror attacks in the past.

 

APR 22, 2011 Is General Khalifa Hifter The CIA’s Man In Libya? BUSINESS INSIDER

 As the United States and its allies get deeper into the confrontation with Qaddafi in Libya, it’s worth stepping back to consider what is actually taking place—and why. We’ve been told very little about the rebels seeking to supplant the dictator. But one in particular deserves our attention. General Khalifa Hifter, the latest person to head the rebel forces. There’s been little effort to look at Hifter’s background. One notable exception was the work of the always-diligent McClatchy Newspapers, which briefly inquired about his background in late March. That report does not seem to have generated much additional digging by other news organizations.

The new leader of Libya’s opposition military spent the past two decades in suburban Virginia but felt compelled — even in his late-60s — to return to the battlefield in his homeland, according to people who know him. Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.

Late last week, Hifter was appointed to lead the rebel army, which has been in chaos for weeks. He is the third such leader in less than a month, and rebels interviewed in Libya openly voiced distrust for the most recent leader, Abdel Fatah Younes, who had been at Gadhafi’s side until just a month ago. At a news conference Thursday, the rebel’s military spokesman said Younes will stay as Hifter’s chief of staff, and added that the army — such as it is — would need “weeks” of training.

 

APR 29, 2011 Susan Rice: Gaddafi troops raping, issued Viagra REUTERS

The U.S. envoy to the United Nations told the Security Council on Thursday that troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were increasingly engaging in sexual violence and some had been issued the impotency drug Viagra, diplomats said. Several U.N. diplomats who attended a closed-door Security Council meeting on Libya told Reuters that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice raised the Viagra issue in the context of increasing reports of sexual violence by Gaddafi’s troops. “Rice raised that in the meeting but no one responded,” a diplomat said on condition of anonymity. The allegation was first reported by a British newspaper.  Pfizer Inc’s drug Viagra is used to treat impotence.

Diplomats said if it were true that Gaddafi’s troops were being issued Viagra, it could indicate they were being encouraged by their commanders to engage in rape to terrorize the population in areas that have supported the rebels. That would constitute a war crime.  Several diplomats said Rice provided no evidence for the Viagra allegation, which they said was made in an attempt to persuade doubters the conflict in Libya was not just a standard civil war but a much nastier fight in which Gaddafi is not afraid to order his troops to commit heinous acts.

“She spoke of reports of soldiers getting Viagra and raping,” a diplomat said. “She spoke of Gaddafi’s soldiers targeting children, and other atrocities.”

 

DEC 26, 2008 Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins Friends in Afghanistan, pg 2 WASHINGTON POST

The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift. Four blue pills. Viagra. “Take one of these. You’ll love it,” the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam. The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes — followed by a request for more pills.

For U.S. intelligence officials, this is how some crucial battles in Afghanistan are fought and won. While the CIA has a long history of buying information with cash, the growing Taliban insurgency has prompted the use of novel incentives and creative bargaining to gain support in some of the country’s roughest neighborhoods, according to officials directly involved in such operations.

In their efforts to win over notoriously fickle warlords and chieftains, the officials say, the agency’s operatives have used a variety of personal services. These include pocketknives and tools, medicine or surgeries for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas, and, occasionally, pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos, the officials said. “Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people — whether it’s building a school or handing out Viagra,” said one longtime agency operative and veteran of several Afghanistan tours. Like other field officers interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity when describing tactics and operations that are largely classified.

Officials say these inducements are necessary in Afghanistan, a country where warlords and tribal leaders expect to be paid for their cooperation, and where, for some, switching sides can be as easy as changing tunics. If the Americans don’t offer incentives, there are others who will, including Taliban commanders, drug dealers and even Iranian agents in the region. The usual bribes of choice — cash and weapons — aren’t always the best options, Afghanistan veterans say. Guns too often fall into the wrong hands, they say, and showy gifts such as money, jewelry and cars tend to draw unwanted attention.

Among the world’s intelligence agencies, there’s a long tradition of using sex as a motivator. Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer and author of several books on intelligence, noted that the Soviet spy service was notorious for using attractive women as bait when seeking to turn foreign diplomats into informants. “The KGB has always used ‘honey traps,’ and it works,” Baer said. For American officers, a more common practice was to offer medical care for potential informants and their loved ones, he said. “I remember one guy we offered an option on a heart bypass,” Baer said.

For some U.S. operatives in Afghanistan, Western drugs such as Viagra were just part of a long list of enticements available for use in special cases. Two veteran officers familiar with such practices said Viagra was offered rarely, and only to older tribal officials for whom the drug would hold special appeal. While such sexual performance drugs are generally unavailable in the remote areas where the agency’s teams operated, they have been sold in some Kabul street markets since at least 2003 and were known by reputation elsewhere. (right…)

 

 

MAY 9, 2011 RAF in bombing raid on Gaddafi’s home town as rebels deny surrendering in key battleground DAILY MAIL

RAF fighter planes have destroyed Libyan missile launchers during a bombing raid on Colonel Gaddafi’s home town, the Ministry of Defence said. Two Tornado planes attacked FROG-7 rocket launchers and canisters used to carry Scud missiles on Friday morning at the site near the Libyan city of Sirte. The FROG-7 can fire rockets up to 70km and would pose a serious threat to civilians if used against an urban area, the MoD said.

The latest development comes as Nato targeted a Libyan government weapons depot, while heavy fighting was reported near Libya’s Misrata Airport. Rebels in Misrata denied Libyan state TV reports that they had surrendered to the government as conflicts around the area intensified. The Scud missiles which were hit in Gaddafi’s home town can strike targets up to 300km away and can carry a one-tonne warhead. The targets were identified during previous reconnaissance flights. Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: ‘I have no doubt that this stockpile of weapons could have been used to threaten and kill innocent Libyans.

JUN 28, 2011 Rebels raid weapons depot in western Libya THE SEATTLE TIMES

GHAAA MILITARY BASE, Libya — Rebels in Libya’s Nafusa mountains seized control of and pillaged a massive weapons depot Tuesday morning after a short desert battle with troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, taking control of many tons of arms in the latest of a string of opposition victories in the country’s west.

Long convoys of pickups and tractor-trailer trucks could be seen streaming across the desert to the site after the fighting. They were loaded with rockets, ammunition, high-caliber guns and assault rifles before heading back to rebel-held cities. The insurgents also seized dozens of military vehicles at the site, which consisted of dozens of concrete storage mounds scattered across the desert.

As the rebel offensive has faltered in other parts of Libya, it seems to have picked up momentum in the west. The rebels have ambitious plans of consolidating control of the western mountain region and using it as a staging ground for an assault on the oil city of Zawiya and, finally, the heavily fortified capital of Tripoli.

The victory gave the increasingly confident rebels here a boost. They also were galvanized by the International Criminal Court’s decision Monday to issue arrest warrants for the Libyan leader, his son Seif Islam Gadhafi and intelligence chief Abdullah Sanusi.

JUN 28, 2011 Libyan Base Falls to a Rebel Raid in the West NEW YORK TIMES

EL GA’A, Libya — In darkness on Monday night and Tuesday morning, rebel soldiers from towns throughout the Nafusah Mountain region gathered to put the finishing touches on a bold mission: they planned to capture a sprawling military base controlled by government soldiers that was still stocked, they believed, with the kinds of weapons and ammunition that would help level their fight against the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

A group of the fighters spent the night at a safe house, and as the sun rose on Tuesday here in the mountains of western Libya, hundreds of other fighters joined them in positions around the base. By midday, the rebels had routed 100 or so of Colonel Qaddafi’s soldiers who had been guarding the base and had left their potatoes, trash and crumpled green uniforms behind.

The soldiers also left a dubious bounty for the rebels, who carried off crates of outdated and aging ammunition and weapons parts, including components for heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles that security experts worry about falling into the hands of terrorists.

There was no sight of the rifles they desperately needed. But that could not diminish the glow of a hard-fought victory, and the fighters fired in celebration as they drove from the base in trucks packed with olive-colored crates.

As the rebel offensive has faltered in other parts of Libya, it seems to have picked up momentum in the west. The rebels have ambitious plans of consolidating control of the western mountain region and using it as a staging ground for an assault on the oil city of Zawiyah and, finally, the heavily fortified capital, Tripoli.

 

JUL 14, 2011 Antiaircraft Missiles on the Loose in Libya NEW YORK TIMES

GA’A, Libya — Five months after the armed uprising erupted in Libya, a new round of portable antiaircraft missiles — weapons that governments fear could be obtained by terrorists and then fired at civilian jetliners — have been slipping from storage bunkers captured by rebels.

In February, in the early stages of the uprising, large numbers of the missiles slipped from the hands of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government as the rebels established control over eastern Libya and the ammunition depots there. The leakage resumed recently with rebel gains here in the western mountains, which opened up new ammunition stores.

The new leakage of the missiles, which are of the same type that officials in other African nations have said have already been trafficked over Libya’s borders, underscores the organizational weakness of the forces opposed to Colonel Qaddafi; it also raises concerns that if more Qaddafi depots fall to the rebels, then further stocks of the weapons could become accessible to black markets.

 

JUL 27, 2011 NATO bombs the Great Man-Made River HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATIONS

It is a war crime to attack essential civilian infrastructure. 95% of Libya is desert and 70% of Libyans depend on water which is piped in from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System under the southern desert. The water pipe infrastructure is probably the most essential civilian infrastructure in Libya. Key to its continued function, particularly in time of war, is the Brega pipe factory which enables leaks and breaks in the system to be repaired. NATO has admitted that its jets attacked the pipe factory on 22 July, claiming in justification that it was used as a military storage facility and rockets were launched from there.

The Great Man-Made River

Libyans like to call the Great Man-Made River “The eighth wonder of the world”. According to a March 2006 report by the BBC  the industrialisation of Libya following the Great Al-Fatah Revolution in 1969, put strain on water supplies and coastal aquifers became contaminated with sea water, to such an extent that the water in Benghazi was undrinkable. Finding a supply of fresh, clean water became a government priority and fortunately oil exploration in the 1950s had revealed vast aquifers beneath Libya’s southern desert.

In August 1984, Muammar Al Qadhafi laid the foundation stone for the pipe production plant at Brega. The Great Man-Made River Project had begun. Adam Kuwairi, a senior figure in the Great Man-Made River Authority (GMRA), vividly remembers the impact the fresh water had on him and his family: “The water changed lives. For the first time in our history, there was water in the tap for washing, shaving and showering. The quality of life is better now, and it’s impacting on the whole country.”

On 3 April  Libya warned that NATO-led air strikes could cause a “human and environmental disaster” if air strikes damaged the Great Man-Made River project.

 

 

AUG 21, 2011 Hillary’s team takes credit for ‘successful’ Libya conflict, documenting the timeline of events WIKILEAKS

From: Jake Sullivan [mailtc
Sent: Sunday, August 21, 2011 7:40 PM
To: Mills, Cheryl D; Nuland, Victoria
Subject: tick tock on libya

this is basically off the top of my head, with a few consultations of my notes. but it shows S’ leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s libya policy from start to finish. let me know what you think. toria, who else might be able to add to this?

Secretary Clinton’s leadership on Libya HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings — as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya. She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.

February 25 — HRC announces the suspension of operations of the Libyan embassy in Washington.
February 26 — HRC directs efforts to evacuate all U.S. embassy personnel from Tripoli and orders the closing of the embassy.
February 26 — HRC made a series of calls to her counterparts to help secure passage of UNSC 1970, which imposes sanctions on Gaddafi and his family and refers Qadhafi and his cronies to the ICC
February 28 — HRC travels to Geneva, Switzerland for consultations with European partners on Libya. She gives a major address in which she says: “Colonel Qadhafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency. Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: It is time for Qadhafi to go — now, without further violence or delay.” She also works to secure the suspension of Libya from membership in the Human Rights Council.
Early March — HRC appoints Special Envoy Chris Stevens to be the U.S. representative to Benghazi
March 14 —
HRC travels to Paris for the G8 foreign minister’s meeting. She meets with TNC representative Jibril and consults with her colleagues on further UN Security Council action. She notes that a no-fly zone will not be adequate.
March 14-16 — HRC participates in a series of high-level video- and teleconferences with She is a leading voice for strong UNSC action and a NATO civilian protection mission.
March 17 — HRC secures Russian abstention and Portuguese and African support for UNSC 1973, ensuring that it passes. 1973 authorizes a no-fly zone over Libya and “all necessary measures” – code for military action – to protect civilians against Gaddafi’s army.
March 24 — HRC engages with allies and secures the transition of command and control of the civilian protection mission to NATO. She announces the transition in a statement.
March 18-30— HRC engages with UAE, Qatar, and Jordan to seek their participation in coalition operations. Over the course of several days, all three devote aircraft to the mission.
March 19 — HRC travels to Paris to meet with European and Arab leaders to prepare for military action to protect civilians. That night, the first U.S. air strikes halt the advance of Gaddafi’s forces on Benghazi and target Libya’s air defenses:
March 29 — HRC travels to London for a conference on Libya, where she is a driving force behind the creation of a Contact Group comprising 20-plus countries to coordinate efforts to protect civilians and plan for a post- Qadhafi Libya. She is instrumental in setting up a rotating chair system to ensure regional buy-in.
April 14 — HRC travels to Berlin for NATO meetings. She is the driving force behind NATO adopting a communiqué that calls for Qadhafi’s departure as a political objective, and lays out three clear military objectives: end of attacks and threat of attacks on civilians; the removal of Qadhafi forces from cities they forcibly entered; and the unfettered provision of humanitarian access.
May 5 — HRC travels to Rome for a Contact Group meeting. The Contact Group establishes a coordination system and a temporary financial mechanism to funnel money to the TNC.
June 8 — HRC travels to Abu Dhabi for another Contact Group meeting and holds a series of intense discussions with rebel leaders.
June 12 — HRC travels to Addis for consultations and a speech before the African Union, pressing the case for a democratic transition in Libya.
July 15 — HRC travels to Istanbul and announces that the U.S. recognizes the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya. She also secures recognition from the other members of the Contact Group.
Late June — HRC meets with House Democrats and Senate Republicans to persuade them not to de-fund the Libya operation.
July 16 — HRC sends Feltman, Cretz, and Chollet to Tunis to meet with Qadhafi envoys “to deliver a clear and firm message that the only way to move forward, is for Qadhafi to step down”.
Early August — HRC works to construct a $1.5 billion assets package to be approved by the Security Council and sent to the TNC. That package is working through its last hurdles.
Early August — After military chief Abdel Fattah Younes is killed, S sends a personal message to TNC head Jalil to press for a responsible investigation and a careful and inclusive approach to creating a new executive council.
Early August — HRC secures written pledges from the TNC to an inclusive, pluralistic democratic transition. She continues to consult with European and Arab colleagues on the evolving situation.

 

AUG 28, 2011 Libya threatens to become terrorist arms depot JERUSALEM POST 

The collapse of strongman Muamar Gaddafi’s government and the ensuing chaos in Libya could prove to be boon to the militant groups in Africa and the Middle East by opening up arsenals of weaponry ranging from small arms to chemicals, experts are warning.

Rebels have seized much of the country including most of the capital Tripoli, but as of late Thursday they were still battling Gaddafi loyalists and struggling to establish law and order in a country wracked by six months of civil war. Unorganized opposition fighters and ordinary Libyans have pried open weapons stores in the search for arms for battle and tradable goods.

 

SEP 1, 2011 Gaddafi vows: ‘We won’t surrender again; we are not women’ THE GUARDIAN

A defiant Muammar Gaddafi vowed to fight to the end against Libya’s new government and its Nato backers, warning that his forces would turn the country “into a hell” rather than surrender like “women”.  The old dictator’s audio message on Syrian TV came as the country’s new leaders presented themselves to a global summit in Paris, promising a swift transition to democracy and asking for immediate UN help in organising elections.

But Gaddafi’s intervention, made from an unknown location, stressed that the war was not over. “If Libya goes up in flames, who will be able to govern it? Let it burn,” he said, declaring that his forces were armed and ready for battle.  “We will fight in every valley, in every street, in every oasis, and every town,” he said. “We won’t surrender again; we are not women; we will keep fighting,” he said, referring to loyal tribes in the towns of Sirte and Bani Walid.

Pro-Gaddafi forces control a central axis in the country, from Sirte in the north to Sabha in the southern desert. Nato said it was ready to support Libyan and UN efforts to rebuild the country, but would continue its military operations until the last remnants of the pro-Gaddafi forces were routed.

 

 

 

SEP 1, 2011 Libya: Gaddafi vows to ‘let Libya burn’ as he defies calls for his surrender TELEGRAPH

Speaking from his hiding place, believed to be in southern Libya, he said Libya’s “armed tribes” were still loyal to him and would fight on and expel the “colonisers”. “We will not surrender,” he said. “We are not women and we are going to keep on fighting. “If they want a long battle, let it be long. If Libya burns, who can govern it? So let it burn.”

His message to his followers, along with a similar cry of rage from his son Saif al-Islam to Syrian television on Wednesday night, sets the stage for a last stand of Gaddafi forces in the stronghold towns of Sirte on the coast, Bani Walid south of Tripoli and Sabha in the southern desert. Col. Abdulrazzaq al-Nadouli, a rebel commander in Tarhouna, the new frontline south of Tripoli, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday(thurs) that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and his brother Mutassim, head of national security in the Gaddafi regime, were known to be leading loyalist forces in Bani Walid.

Although the rebels now control most of the more heavily populated and fertile coastal strip of Libya, all except a zone of about 100 miles around Sirte, Col Gaddafi’s birthplace, there are still an unknown number of Gaddafi forces holding out in the scattered southern desert settlements.  Bani Walid is a key access point from Tripoli to these desert towns, to the east of the Nafusa mountains that held out for the rebels from the start of the uprising.
SEP 8, 2011 Libya weapons status ‘murky’ UPI

Revelations of missing weapons in Libya may be cause for concern and at least one senior U.S. military official said the arms situation post-Gadhafi is “murky.” With Tripoli falling into rebel hands, investigators are uncovering looted weapons depots across the country, with everything from small arms to heat-seeking missiles reported missing. Matthew Schroeder, an arms expert at the Federation of American Scientists, tells The New York Times it’s worrying that so much of the arms cache in Libya is missing. “In cases where stockpile security is found to be lacking, immediate steps should be taken to correct any deficiencies,” he warned.

Washington officials have expressed concerns over the security of weapons stockpiles in Libya. Gilles de Kerchove, the top counter-terrorism official with the European Union, said from Brussels that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Qaida’s North African branch, may have acquired a significant stockpile of weapons during the Libyan war. But one senior U.S. military official who spoke with the Times on condition of anonymity said it was curious that there haven’t been major attacks on NATO forces given the growing concern over missing weapons. “It’s all very murky right now,” the officer said.

SEP 8, 2011 Gas mask shipments add to concern over Libya’s chemical arsenal BOSTON GLOBE

AL AJELAT, Libya – Documents showing the shipment of thousands of gas masks and chemical weapons protection suits to Moammar Khadafy’s remaining strongholds in the last weeks of his regime raised fresh concerns yesterday about whether the deposed Libyan leader’s forces could still have access to deadly mustard gas.

The Pentagon and an international monitoring organization have said that Khadafy’s remaining stockpiles are secure. But more than 11 tons of mustard gas is known to be accumulated in a country that suddenly lacks a strong central authority and where weapons are fast proliferating. Libyan rebels say they are concerned that Khadafy holdouts could have access to the mustard gas and could use it in a last-ditch effort to halt opposition advances.

SEP 8, 2011 Gaddafi’s chemical weapons spark renewed worries WASHINGTON POST

AL-AJELAT, Libya — Documents showing the shipment of thousands of gas masks and chemical-weapons protection suits to Moammar Gaddafi’s remaining strongholds in the last weeks of his regime raised fresh concerns Wednesday about whether the deposed Libyan leader’s forces could still have access to deadly mustard gas.

The Pentagon and an international monitoring organization have said that Gaddafi’s remaining stockpiles are secure. But more than 11 tons of mustard gas is known to be accumulated in a country that suddenly lacks a strong central authority and where weapons are fast proliferating. Libyan rebels say they are concerned that Gaddafi holdouts could have access to the mustard gas and could use it in a last-ditch effort to halt advances by the opposition.

SEP 13, 2011 Taliban office in Qatar approved by US WEEKEND AUSTRAILIAN

THE US has given its blessing for the Taliban to be brought in from the cold with a critical step towards reconciliation as the world paused to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Washington has endorsed plans for the Islamist network to open political headquarters in the gulf state of Qatar by the end of the year. The move has been devised so the West can begin formal peace talks with the Taliban. As a potent reminder of the potential value of a truce with the Taliban, attacks by the Islamist network in Afghanistan yesterday left two dead and 101 wounded in a truck bomb, marking one of the bloodiest days for American forces since the US invasion 10 years ago.

The office of the self-styled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would be the first internationally recognised representation for the Taliban since its fall in 2001. The White House declined to comment on the development last night as Mr Obama addressed the nation on the anniversary of the al-Qa’ida attacks. In the decade since, there has been a shift in Washington’s attitudes towards the Taliban and a growing official distinction between the Pashtun nationalists and their former allies in al-Qa’ida.

Western diplomats said it was hoped the opening of the Taliban office would help to advance talks intended to reconcile insurgents with the Afghan government and bring an end to the decade-long US-led war. Qatar is believed to have agreed to host the office after Washington insisted that it be located outside Pakistan’s sphere of influence. The Afghan government has accused Islamabad of meddling in several previous efforts to negotiate with Taliban intermediaries in an effort to preserve its influence inside Afghanistan.

SEP 22, 2011 Qatar – MH-60R SEAHAWK Multi-Mission Helicopters DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY

WASHINGTON, September 22, 2011 — The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Wednesday of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar of 6 MH-60R SEAHAWK Multi-Mission Helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $750 million.

The Government of Qatar has requested a possible sale of 6 MH-60R SEAHAWK Multi-Mission Helicopters, 13 T-700 GE 401C Engines (12 installed and 1 spare), communication equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $750 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East. Qatar is host to the US AFCENT forces and serves as a critical forward-deployed location in the region.

The proposed sale of the MH-60R SEAHAWK helicopters will improve Qatar’s capability to meet current and future anti-surface warfare threats. Qatar will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense. The MH-60R helicopters will supplement and eventually replace the Qatar Air Force’s aging maritime patrol helicopters. Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, Connecticut, Lockheed Martin in Owego, New York, and General Electric in Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of ten contractor representatives to Qatar on an intermittent basis over the life of the case to support delivery of the MH-60R helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization.

SEP 27, 2011 Nightmare In Libya: Thousands Of Surface-To-Air Missiles Unaccounted For ABC NEWS

The White House announced today it planned to expand a program to secure and destroy Libya’s huge stockpile of dangerous surface-to-air missiles, following an ABC News report that large numbers of them continue to be stolen from unguarded military warehouses. Currently the U.S. State Department has one official on the ground in Libya, as well as five contractors who specialize in “explosive ordinance disposal”, all working with the rebel Transitional National Council to find the looted missiles, White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters.

Though Libya had an estimated 20,000 man-portable surface-to-air missiles before the popular uprising began in February, Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told ABC News today the government does not have a clear picture of how many missiles they’re trying to track down. “We’re making great progress and we expect in the coming days and weeks we will have a much greater picture of how many are missing,” Shapiro said.

The missiles, four to six-feet long and Russian-made, can weigh just 55 pounds with launcher. They lock on to the heat generated by the engines of aircraft, can be fired from a vehicle or from a combatant’s shoulder, and are accurate and deadly at a range of more than two miles. Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch first warned about the problem after a trip to Libya six months ago. He took pictures of pickup truckloads of the missiles being carted off during another trip just a few weeks ago. “I myself could have removed several hundred if I wanted to, and people can literally drive up with pickup trucks or even 18 wheelers and take away whatever they want,” said Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director. “Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles.”

The ease with which rebels and other unknown parties have snatched thousands of the missiles has raised alarms that the weapons could end up in the hands of al Qaeda, which is active in Libya. “There certainly are dangerous groups operating in the region, and we’re very concerned that some of these weapons could end up in the wrong hands,” said Bouckaert. “I think the probability of al Qaeda being able to smuggle some of the stinger-like missiles out of Libya is probably pretty high,” said Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism advisor and now a consultant to ABC News.

 

SEP 28, 2011 Behind Qatar’s Intervention In Libya FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Why Was Doha Such A Strong Supporter of The Rebels?
Among the many countries that supported Libya’s rebels in their fight to unseat Muammar al-Qaddafi, Qatar was a particularly enthusiastic partner. The Arab emirate of just 1.6 million people, rich in oil and gas, was the first Arab country to recognize the rebel government, the Transitional National Council. It sold Libyan oil on behalf of the rebels to avoid sanctions and supplied them with gas, diesel, and millions of dollars in aid. And Al Jazeera, the satellite broadcaster based in Doha, covered the struggle of the Libyan rebels in even greater detail and depth than it has the Arab world’s other revolutionary movements.

On the surface, such actions appear in line with Qatar’s recent behavior. Since the mid-1990s, Qatar has pursued an activist foreign policy, using its affluence, unthreatening military position, and skills as a mediator to interject itself in conflicts around the Middle East and beyond.

Still, Qatar’s actions in Libya took most analysts by surprise when, in March, it sent six Mirage fighter jets (which likely represented the majority of Qatar’s operational fighter strength) to join in NATO air operations. This move signaled a qualitative change in Qatari foreign policy. Over the years, the country has involved itself (with mixed success) in a range of international disputes: In 2008, it mediated a successful resolution to the 18-month-long political stalemate in Lebanon, and in recent years has facilitated temporary agreements between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels. But never before has Qatar so overtly supported one side or made such an active intervention.

Nor were fighters the only matériel the emirate sent the rebels. In April, Qatari transport aircraft regularly departed Doha with armaments for the rebels, including French-made Milan antitank missiles and Belgian-made FN assault rifles. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani declared that Qatar was sending “defensive” weaponry to the rebels, but news accounts from Tripoli suggest the support went even further. Qatari special forces reportedly provided basic infantry training to Libyan rebel fighters in
 

 

SEP 30, 2011 Fears over mass spread of weapons in Libya that may fall in wrong hands TIMES OF MALTA

From teenagers brandishing Kalashnikov rifles on the streets of Tripoli to fighters with shoulder – mounted grenade launchers on Libya’s front lines, rarely has a country seen so many weapons in so many hands. And the proliferation of arms – raided from the vast stores of ex-strongman Muammar Gaddafi – is raising fears not only for Libya’s future stability, but also that the weapons will fall into the hands of radical groups like Al-Qaeda.

At an abandoned construction site on the outskirts of Tripoli, discarded boxes once filled with assault and sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and ammunition lie scattered across the ground. For five days here after the fall of Tripoli in late August, thousands of people flocked to the site to seize weapons secretly stored in the basement of an unfinished housing project. “There were hundreds and hundreds of boxes, with everything: Kalashnikovs, sniper rifles, grenades, ammunition,” said Imed, a 25-year-old Tripoli resident who helped himself to an assault rifle at the site.  “There were thousands of people here. Some people, like me, took just one gun, but others took two, three, five. Some stayed here for days loading up trucks.”

The site was one of several weapons dumps scattered throughout Tripoli by Col Gaddafi regime that were raided following his ouster. Imed, who refused to have his last name published, said the raiding was a free-for-all, with no control over who was helping themselves to the weapons. Tripoli residents said the arms are now obtainable on the black market, with Kalashnikovs selling for about €480, grenades for €60 and bullets for less than a $1 each.

OCT 1, 2011 Libyans Loot Weapons From Desert Cache WALL STREET JOURNAL 

SIRTE DESERT, Libya—Spread across the desert here off the Sirte-Waddan road sits one of the biggest threats to Western hopes for Libya: a massive, unguarded weapons depot that is being pillaged daily by anti-Gadhafi military units, hired work crews and any enterprising individual who has the right vehicle and chooses to make the trip.

In one of dozens of warehouses the size of a single-family home, Soviet-era guided missiles remain wrapped inside crates stacked to the 15-foot ceiling. In another, dusted with sand, are dozens of sealed cases labeled “warhead.” Artillery rounds designed to carry chemical weapons are stashed in the back of another. Rockets, antitank grenades and projectiles of all calibers are piled so high they defy counting.

There are dozens of warehouses here, spreading for several miles across the desert 100 miles south of Sirte, in what Libya’s interim rulers say is the largest known ammunition storage site in the country.  Convoys of armed groups from all over Libya have made the trek here and piled looted weapons into trailer trucks, dump trucks, buses and even empty meat trucks. The site represents a major hazard for Libya’s security and for hopes for reconstruction and democratization of the country in the post-Gadhafi era.

Across Libya, stores of weapons left behind by Col. Gadhafi’s massive military are up for grabs by various former-rebel groups with disagreements that threaten to spill into factional fighting. Many of the region-based armed groups have competing agendas and are only loosely tied to interim authorities in Tripoli—and jostling for power is already under way. The threat of such a volatile mix is compounded by the absence of a real army or police force capable of reining in the militia-like groups.

In addition, U.S. officials and defense experts have expressed concern that some of the estimated 20,000 man-portable surface-to-air missiles left behind by Col. Gadhafi’s military could fall into the hands of terrorists, posing a threat to commercial airliners.

OCT 17, 2011 Tiny Kingdom’s Huge Role in Libya Draws Concern WALL STREET JOURNAL

Three weeks after rebel fighters drove Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi from power in Tripoli, military leaders gathered on the leafy grounds of an Islamic institute to hash out a way to unite the capital’s disparate fighting groups. The Tripoli chiefs were nearing a deal on a unified command when two visitors stepped in. One was Abdel Hakim Belhaj—a former Islamic fighter briefly held in 2004 by the Central Intelligence Agency, who had led one of the militias that marched triumphantly into Tripoli. Now the city’s most visible military commander, he accused the local militia leaders of sidelining him, say people briefed on the Sept. 11 meeting. “You will never do this without me,” he said.

Standing wordlessly behind him, these people say, was Maj. Gen. Hamad Ben Ali al-Attiyah—the chief of staff of the tiny Arab Gulf nation of Qatar. Mr. Belhaj won a tactical victory: The meeting broke up without a deal, and efforts to unite disparate Tripoli militias, including Belhaj’s Tripoli Military Council, remain stalled to this day. The foreign military commander’s appearance in Tripoli, which one person familiar with the visit said caught Libya’s interim leaders by surprise, is testament to Qatar’s key role in helping to bring down Libya’s strongman. Qatar provided anti-Gadhafi rebels with what Libyan officials now estimate are tens of millions of dollars in aid, military training and more than 20,000 tons of weapons. Qatar’s involvement in the battle to oust Col. Gadhafi was supported by U.S. and Western allies, as well as many Libyans themselves.

But now, as this North African nation attempts to build a new government from scratch, some of these same figures worry that Qatar’s new influence is putting stability in peril. At issue, say Libyan officials and Western observers, are Qatar’s deep ties to a clique of Libyan Islamists, whose backgrounds variously include fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s and spending years in jail under Col. Gadhafi. They later published a theological treatise condemning violent jihad. With Qatar’s support, they have become central players in Libyan politics. As they face off with a transitional authority largely led by secular former regime officials and expatriate technocrats, their political rivals accuse Qatar of stacking the deck in the Islamists’ favor.

With the blessing of Western intelligence agencies, Qatar flew at least 18 weapons shipments in all to anti-Gadhafi rebel forces this spring and summer, according to people familiar with the shipments. The majority of these National Transition shipments went not through the rebels’ governing body, the National Transitional Council, but directly to militias run by Islamist leaders including Mr. Belhaj, say Libyan officials.

Separately, approximately a dozen other Qatari-funded shipments, mostly containing ammunition, came to Libyan rebels via Sudan, according to previously undisclosed Libyan intelligence documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal as well as officials.

 

 

 

OCT 18, 2011 Hillary Clinton details new aid package to Libya THE GUARDIAN

The Obama administration offered millions of dollars in new aid to Libya as secretary of state Hillary Clinton encouraged the country’s unsteady new leadership to commit to a democratic future free of retribution, and acknowledged in unusually blunt terms that the United States would like to see former dictator Muammar Gaddafi dead. “We hope he can be captured or killed soon so that you don’t have to fear him any longer,” Clinton told students and others at a town hall-style gathering in the capital city.

Until now, the US has generally avoided saying that Gaddafi should be killed. US officials usually say they want to see him brought to justice, something Clinton also said during her daylong visit. “I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya,” Clinton said. “The United States was proud to stand for you in your fight for freedom and we will continue to stand with you as you continue this journey.”

OCT 19, 2011 Hillary Clinton Wants Gaddafi Killed HUFFINGTON POST

It was only last week that the US government tried to negatively portray Iran and Iranians by associating them with political assassinations. It was just this week that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton openly called for the political assassination of Moammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader. “We hope he can be captured or killed soon,” she said — while in Libya, to Libyans.

It is actually against the law, what the US government is doing. And not some kind of United Nations “law” or international legal standard (of the sort that sound fantastically humane but are actually just unenforced moral standards that most countries, especially superpowers, routinely ignore). 

State-sponsored assassination is actually illegal according to the laws of the United States itself.In the decades before and since President Gerald Ford signed United States Presidential Executive Order (EO) 11905 on February 18, 1976, the US government has directly and indirectly assassinated people — many people. And EO 11905 is not exactly ambiguous legal speak — it’s one of the most straightforward pieces of legal documentation you will find. In Section 5, subsection G, it clearly states that “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.”

 

OCT 19, 2011 Libya: NTC forces unveil armoured ‘bulldozer’ in Sirte THE TELEGRAPH

Painted in the colours of the new national flag, the behemoth, with its pointed prow and portholes, bares an uncanny resemblance to a battleship.

Clad in concrete sandwiched between steel plates built onto a bulldozer, the unwieldy contraption was created in the workshops of Misurata, and is designed to protect National Transitional Council fighters from sniper attack.

”This is a bulldozer, we have developed in a way that it is armoured to defend the forces inside and it is capable of wiping out sniper positions on rooftops of buildings.” said one anti-Gaddafi fighter wearing a naval commanders hat.

The heavily armed vehicle is manned by four gunners who have five heavy machine guns between them as well as a tank gun mounted on top.

With the message “there is no God, but Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet,” daubed on the back, the armoured vehicle was initially built for the fight for Tripoli but when the capital fell swiftly to the then rebels, the souped-up bulldozer never saw battle but has now been transported to Sirte.

OCT 20, 2011 Gaddafi’s last words as he begged for mercy: ‘What did I do to you?’ THE OBSERVER

Already the last minutes in Gaddafi’s life have gained a grisly status. A spectacle of pain and humiliation, the end of the man who once styled himself the “king of the kings of Africa” has been told in snatches of mobile phone footage and blurry stills and contradictory statements. It is the longest of these fragments of a death – a jerky three minutes and more shot by fighter Ali Algadi on his iPhone and acquired by a website,the Global Post – that describes those moments in the most detail. A dazed and confused Gaddafi is led from the drain where he was captured, bleeding heavily from a deep wound on the left side of his head, from his arm, and, apparently, from other injuries to his neck and torso, staining his tunic red with blood. He is next seen on the ground, surrounded by men with weapons shouting “God is great” and firing in the air, before being lifted on to a pickup truck as men around him shout that the ruler for more than four decades should be “kept alive”.

There are other clips that complete much of the story: Gaddafi slumped on a pickup truck, face smeared with blood, apparently unconscious; Gaddafi shirtless and bloody on the ground surrounded by a mob; Gaddafi dead in the back of an ambulance. What is not there is the moment of his death – and how it happened – amid claims that he was killed by fighters with a shot to the head or stomach. By Friday, the day after he died, the body of the former dictator once so feared by his Libyan opponents was facing a final indignity – being stored on the floor of a room-sized freezer in Misrata usually used by restaurants and shops to keep perishable goods.

OCT 27, 2011 The Strange Power of Qatar NY BOOKS

On August 23, Libyan rebels raised their flag over Bab al-Aziziya, the once-impregnable complex housing Muammar Qaddafi’s headquarters in Tripoli. Though the dictator himself still remained at large, the overrunning of one of the nerve centers of his regime had enormous symbolic power and seemed to offer definitive proof of the rebels’ strength. And yet on several newscasts, a different story about the uprising was emerging: along with the rebels’ tricolor with white crescent and star, the presidential compound at Bab al-Aziziya was briefly shown flying the maroon and white flag of Qatar, the tiny, gas-rich Arabian emirate more than two thousand miles away.

Though little noted in the West, Qatar’s enthusiasm for the Libyan revolt had been on display from the outset. The emirate was instrumental in securing the support of the Arab League for the NATO intervention back in March, contributing its own military aircraft to the mission. It also gave $400 million to the rebels, helped them market Libyan oil out of Benghazi, and set up a TV station for them in Doha, the Qatari capital. Following the conquest of Bab al-Aziziya, however, it became clear that the Qataris were deeply involved on the ground as well. Not only did Qatar arm the rebels and set up training camps for them in Benghazi and in the Nafusa Mountains west of Tripoli; its own special forces—a hitherto unknown contingent—helped lead the August offensive on the capital. (Although Qatar’s military is one of the smallest in the Middle East, with just over 11,000 men, its special forces were trained by the French and other Western countries and appear to possess considerable skill.) The day the rebels captured Bab al-Aziziya, Mahmoud Jibril, the leader of Libya’s interim government, singled out Qatar for its far-reaching support, despite “all the doubts and threats.”

In fact, the battle for Libya is only one of several Arab uprisings this year in which Qatar has played a provocative part. In Tunisia and Egypt, no Internet and broadcast medium did more to spread the cause of popular protest than Al Jazeera, Qatar’s government-backed satellite television news network. In early April, the Qatari prime minister publicly called for the resignation of embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh—a statement that departed from the more conciliatory position of other Gulf nations and led Saleh to charge that Qatar “has conspired against Yemen.”

In May, the Qatari government hosted the Doha Forum, an annual, Davos-like conference about democracy and free trade that featured an opening session about the “revolutions” that have “rocked the Arab world.” And in July, despite Qatar’s good relations with the Assad regime before the Syrian uprising began, it became the first Gulf nation to close its embassy in Damascus.

OCT 30, 2011 Libya’s Prime Minister Confirms Presence of Chemical Weapons FOX NEWS

TRIPOLI, Libya –  Libya’s interim prime minister has confirmed the presence of chemical weapons in Libya and says foreign inspectors would arrive later this week to deal with the issue. Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said Sunday that Libya has no interest in keeping such weapons. Last week, Ian Martin, the top U.N. envoy to Libya, told the U.N. Security Council that undeclared chemical weapons sites have been located in Libya.  Jibril did not provide any details about the chemical weapons.

In August, Fox News interviewed Rep. Mike Rogers, R.-Mich., who said he saw a chemical weapon stockpile in the country during a 2004 trip. At the time, he said the U.S. was concerned about “thousands of pounds of very active mustard gas.” He also said there is some sarin gas that is unaccounted for. A Russian-drafted U.N. resolution, to be voted on this week, calls on Libyan authorities to destroy stockpiles of chemical weapons in coordination with international authorities.

In February, the U.S. State Department told reporters that some chemical weapons remained in the country and the U.S. government was encouraging the Libyans to secure the sites. The U.S. had been trying to revive a program to prevent Libyan chemical, biological and nuclear scientists from working for terror groups or hostile nations, a State Department official said last month.

Besides chemical weapons, hundreds of experts worked in Muammar Qaddafi’s weapons of mass destruction programs. After Qaddafi agreed to dismantle the programs in 2003, the U.S. launched an effort to steer Libya’s WMD scientists into civilian research projects, including water desalination, oil and gas production and nuclear medicine.

Since Qaddafi’s fall, American and U.N. officials have warned that the failure to control Libya’s weapons could destabilize the whole of North Africa.

It remains unclear how many weapons have been uncovered in Tripoli since Qaddafi’s fall, said Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, who has been searching the city for them. Lots of munitions appear to have been hidden in civilian buildings to avoid airstrikes by NATO, which bombed regime military targets under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians.

At one unguarded site, Bouckaert said he found 100,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. Elsewhere, he found weapons caches hidden under fruit trees. “The problem is that the locals usually find out first and by the time we arrive and we can get some guards there, a lot of the most dangerous weapons have already been taken away,” he said.

OCT 31, 2011 Libya’s interim prime minister says rebels have found Moammar Khadafy’s chemical weapons cache NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A stash of chemical weapons has been discovered inside Libya, the country’s interim prime minister confirmed Sunday. Foreign investigators will arrive in the oil-rich nation later this week to inspect — and likely dispose — of the weapons.

Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said the former Moammar Khadafy-stronghold has no desire to keep the deadly materials. “We would like to assure you that the new Libya will be a peaceful Libya and that it is in our interests to have no weapons in Libya,” Jibril said, according to the Associated Press.

There is concern among experts that failure to control the weapons of mass destruction found within the country could lead to the destabilization of the entire North African region. Looting has already taken place at some sites — and piles of munitions have been found in some civilian buildings where they were hidden to avoid being destroyed during NATO airstrikes, according to reports.

The most senior U.N. envoy to Libya told the U.N. Security Council last week that previously undeclared chemical weapons sites have been discovered inside the country since the Khadafy regime toppled, and there was concern about their safety and control. The discovery proves Khadafy failed to give up his stash of dangerous weapons despite his assurances to the West who sought to dismantle the country’s chemical and nuclear weapons programs.

Khadafy’s regime had “accumulated the largest known stockpile of anti-aircraft missiles,” The U.N.’s Ian Martin said.  “There are international organizations taking care of this issue.” A Russian-drafted U.N. resolution will be voted on this week calling for Libyan authorities to destroy stockpiles of chemical weapons in coordination with international authorities. Khadafy was ousted from power over the summer — and he was killed transitional government forces earlier in October.

OCT 31, 2011 Libyan PM: Chemical weapons found EXPRESS UK

Libya’s interim prime minister has confirmed the presence of chemical weapons in the country and added that foreign inspectors would arrive later this week to deal with the issue. Prime minister Mahmoud Jibril said Libya has no interest in keeping such weapons. “We would like to assure you that the new Libya will be a peaceful Libya and that it is in our interest to have no weapons in Libya,” he told reporters.

Last week, Ian Martin, the top UN envoy to Libya, told the UN Security Council that undeclared chemical weapons sites have been located in Libya. At the time, he also expressed concern over command and control of chemical and nuclear material sites. Mr Jibril, who announced his resignation ahead of the formation of a new interim government, did not provide any details about the chemical weapons.

“There are international organisations taking care of this issue,” he said, adding that representatives of those organisations are due to arrive in Libya later in the week. A Russian-drafted UN resolution, to be voted on this week, calls on Libyan authorities to destroy stockpiles of chemical weapons in coordination with international authorities.

DEC 5, 2011 Government fails to keep eye on night-vision goggles in Mideast CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY 

When U.S. special operations forces killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani hideout in May, they relied on night-vision goggles, devices that the Pentagon describes as valuable and sensitive national resources.

Such goggles give U.S. forces a built-in advantage that other nations — including those in the Middle East — lack the ability to replicate. As a result, when the U.S. sells such equipment to friendly allies in the region, it generally requires strict precautions against theft or diversion, including a requirement that they be stored in protected depots with their serial numbers recorded and frequently checked.

But these precautions ordered in Washington are frequently ignored or poorly enforced by Defense and State Department officials in the field, and as a result, some of the night-vision goggles sent to the region have gone missing, according to a report by the General Accountability Office last month.

The report was part of a congressionally ordered probe into billions of dollars-worth of U.S. arms sales and transfers to the Middle East over the past five years. The GAO said the failure to keep track of the goggles is part of a larger set of troubles in the mandated monitoring effort.

In some cases, the departments have given short shrift to human rights concerns involving the potential misuse of such arms by autocratic countries — such as Bahrain and Yemen — that have been caught up in the Arab Spring rebellions.

“Given recent unrest … this could result in U.S.-funded equipment being misused to quell peaceful demonstrators,” the GAO warned.

An October report by Amnesty International said U.S.-made tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and sound grenades were found in the debris of a police raid on a peaceful protest in Bahrain last February that injured hundreds. A handful of the citizens who died were killed by tear gas, an independent government panel concluded on Nov. 23.

The GAO attributed the shortcomings in part to to differing State and Defense Department policies. At the Pentagon, which authorized $22 billion in arms sales to six friendly members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, officials have not demanded “documentation that the…countries have fulfilled the security and accountability requirements that accompany their purchase of sensitive defense articles,” the GAO said.

Checklists used for monitoring sensitive equipment like night-vision goggles, air-to-air missiles, and anti-tank missiles, are used “only as a loose guide for verifying compliance,” defense officials told the GAO.

“Most said they did not fill out checklists … or maintain documentation of these checklists after completion because DOD has not formally required them to do so,” the report reads.

The State Department, which is supposed to check the destination and track the use of military equipment sold in commercial transactions, followed different procedures with similarly flawed results.

It waited three years, for example, to request a check on the location and safeguards surrounding night-vision goggles send to Qatar in 2008. When embassy officials tried to conduct the check, they discovered that the commercial end-user had relocated and they could not account for the items, the GAO reported.

A similar delay in checking on 766 night-vision goggles sent to Saudi Arabia and distributed to forces around the kingdom caused the embassy to rely on indirect confirmations of the location of 638 sets. No confirmations were received about the remaining 128, the report stated.

In around a dozen other export cases, involving the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and others, diplomatic officials declared they had tracked shipments adequately, by obtaining confirmations from intermediate firms; they did not check to see if “the items had been received by the end-user,” according to the GAO.

The State Department said its embassy did not request a visit in the UAE “because we believed that written assurances from a host government with an established record … is sufficient.”

DEC 7, 2011 U.S. Closely Monitoring Syria’s Chemical Weapons Stockpile THE ATLANTIC

WASHINGTON–The United States is quietly but closely monitoring the status of Syria’s large chemical-weapons stockpile amid fears that the regime of autocratic ruler Bashar al-Assad could use the warfare agents to quell continued political protests or divert the materials to extremist groups that operate in the region.

U.S. government officials declined to discuss specifics of the monitoring operation or what intelligence resources were involved, citing the need to maintain secrecy about operational tactics. They acknowledged, though, that there is a great deal of concern in Washington over Syria’s chemical arsenal.

“It is extremely important that we maintain visibility on Syria’s chemical weapons and it is something that we as an intelligence community” are actively involved in doing, a U.S. intelligence official told Global Security Newswire.

2012

JAN 20, 2012 Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi had chemical weapon cache BBC

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said inspectors visited Libya this week. Among the chemical munitions they found were stocks of sulphur mustard agent, which can cause severe blistering. Libya’s new rulers told the group about the previously unknown stocks last year after removing Gaddafi from power. “The inspectors verified the declared chemical weapons, which consist of sulphur mustard agent that is not loaded into munitions,” the OPCW said. “At the same time, at the request of the Libyan authorities, the inspectors examined munitions, mainly artillery shells, which they determined are chemical munitions and hence declarable.”

The OPCW said that all the newly declared materials are being stored at the Ruwagha depot, which it would only say was located in the south-east of the country.  Gaddafi’s government had succeeded in destroying 54% of its declared sulphur mustard and about 40% of the precursor chemicals before operations had to be suspended in February 2011 when the destruction facility stopped working, it added. Libya now had until 29 April 2012 to submit a detailed plan and a date by which the destruction of the materials would be completed, the OPCW added. According to an international treaty to rid the world of chemical weapons signed by Libya, stocks were supposed to be destroyed by 29 April 2012. However, delays on action to meet such a goal by other major stockpilers and signatories – including the US and Russia – mean that it is highly unlikely this deadline will be met. The US has acknowledged it will take as long as 2021 to finish destroying the final 10% of its chemical weapons. Russia is farther behind in its effort, having destroyed only about 48% of a large cache of chemical weapons, the OPCW has said.

FEB 6, 2012 Amb. Rice says Russia, China will ‘come to regret’ vetoing UN Syria resolution THE HILL

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations strongly condemned Russia and China on Monday for vetoing a resolution over the weekend calling on Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down. “They put a stake in the heart of efforts to resolve this conflict peacefully,” Susan Rice said on CNN. “The tragedy is for the people of Syria. We the United States stand with the people of Syria. Russia and China are obviously with Assad.”

Russia and China were the only two members of the U.N. Security Council to vote against the resolution, which was based on a peace plan from the Arab League. Rice said the two countries “sent mixed signals” regarding their positions leading up to the vote, and said the vote was held in part to confront Russia’s “delaying tactics.” “Russia and China will, I think, come to regret this action,” Rice continued. “They have by their actions by their veto dramatically increased the risk of greater violence, and you’ve seen manifestations of that.” 

 

JUN 13, 2012 Qatar – UH-60M BLACK HAWK Helicopters DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2012 – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress on June 12 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar of 12 UH-60M BLACK HAWK Utility Helicopters, 26 T700-GE-701D Engines (24 installed and 2 spares), 15 AN/AAR-57 V(7) Common Missile Warning Systems, 15 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets, 15 AN/APR-39A(V)4 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, 26 M240H Machine Guns, and 26 AN/AVS-6 Night Vision Goggles. The estimated cost is $1.112 billion.

The Government of Qatar has requested a possible sale of 12 UH-60M BLACK HAWK Utility Helicopters, 26 T700-GE-701D Engines (24 installed and 2 spares), 15 AN/AAR-57 V(7) Common Missile Warning Systems, 15 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets, 15 AN/APR-39A(V)4 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, 26 M240H Machine Guns, and 26 AN/AVS-6 Night Vision Goggles. Also included are M206 infrared countermeasure flares, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions (AIRCM) flares, M134D-H Machine Guns, system integration and air worthiness certification, simulators, generators, transportation, wheeled vehicles and organization equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $1.112 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East. Qatar is host to the U.S. AFCENT forces and serves as a critical forward-deployed location in the region. The proposed sale of the UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopters will improve Qatar’s capability to meet current and future threats and provide greater security for its critical oil and natural gas infrastructure, and significant national events. Qatar will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense. Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Company in Stratford, Connecticut, and General Electric Aircraft Company in Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of two contractor representatives to Qatar for a minimum of three years to support delivery of the helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization. In addition, Qatar has expressed an interest in a Technical Assistance Fielding Team for in-country pilot and maintenance training. To support the requirement, a team of 12 personnel (one military team leader and 11 contractors) would be deployed to Qatar for approximately three years.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

JUL 12, 2012 Qatar – AH-64D APACHE Block III LONGBOW Attack Helicopters DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2012 – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress July 10 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar for 24 AH-64D APACHE Block III LONGBOW Attack Helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $3.0 billion.

The Government of Qatar has requested a possible sale of 24 AH-64D APACHE Block III LONGBOW Attack Helicopters, 56 T700-GE-701D Engines, 27 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight, 27 AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors, 12 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars (FCR) with Radar Electronics Unit (LONGBOW component), 12 AN/APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometers, 28 AN/AAR-57(V)7 Common Missile Warning Systems, 30 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets, 28 AN/APR-39A(V)4 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, 28 AN/ALQ-136(V)5 Radar Jammers or Equivalent, 160 Integrated Helmet and Display Sight Systems-21, 58 Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation, 30 30mm Automatic Chain Guns, 8 Aircraft Ground Power Units, 52 AN/AVS-6 Night Vision Goggles, 60 M299A1 HELLFIRE Missile Launchers, 576 AGM-114R HELLFIRE II Missiles, 295 FIM-92H STINGER Reprogrammable Micro Processor (RMP) Block I Missiles, 50 STINGER Air-to-Air Launchers, 4092 2.75 in Hydra Rockets, and 90 APACHE Aviator Integrated Helmets.  Also included are M206 infrared countermeasure flares, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions (AIRCM) flares, training devices, helmets, simulators, generators, transportation, wheeled vehicles and organization equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $3.00 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East.  Qatar is host to the U.S. Central Command forces and serves as a critical forward-deployed location in the region.  The acquisition of these helicopters will allow for integration with U.S. forces for training exercises, which contributes to regional security and interoperability.

The proposed sale of the AH-64D APACHE helicopters will allow the Qatari Armed Forces (QAF) to replace its aging airframes with multi-mission attack helicopters, capable of meeting its requirements for close air support, armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare missions.  The helicopters will provide a long-term defensive and offensive capability to the Qatari peninsula as well as enhance the protection of key oil and gas infrastructure and platforms which are vital to U.S. and western economic interests. Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be The Boeing Company in Mesa, Arizona, Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, Florida, General Electric in Cincinnati, Ohio, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, New York, Longbow Limited Liability Corporation in Orlando, Florida, and Raytheon Corporation in Tucson, Arizona.  There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of three U.S. Government and five contractor representatives to Qatar to support delivery of the APACHE helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization.  In addition, Qatar has expressed an interest in a Technical Assistance Fielding Team for in- country pilot and maintenance training.  To support the requirement a team of 12 personnel (one military team leader and 11 contractors) would be deployed to Qatar for approximately three years.

AUG 13, 2012 CIA Provides Stinger Missiles to Syrian “Freedom Fighters” GLOBAL RESEARCH

The revelation about President Barack Obama’s decision to provide secret American aid to Syria’s rebel forces is a game changer. The presidential order, known as an “intelligence finding” in the world of espionage, authorizes the CIA to support armed groups fighting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s government. But it threatens far more than the regime in Damascus.

The disclosure took its first casualty immediately. Kofi Annan, the special envoy to Syria, promptly announced his resignation, bitterly protesting that the UN Security Council had become a forum for “finger-pointing and name-calling.” Annan blamed all sides directly involved in the Syrian conflict, including local combatants and their foreign backers. But the timing of his resignation was striking. For he knew that with the CIA helping Syria’s armed groups, America’s Arab allies joining in and the Security Council deadlocked, he was redundant.

President Obama’s order to supply CIA aid to anti-government forces in Syria has echoes of an earlier secret order signed by President Jimmy Carter, also a Democrat, in July 1979. Carter’s fateful decision was the start of a CIA-led operation to back Mujahideen groups then fighting the Communist government in Afghanistan. As I discuss the episode in my book Breeding Ground:

Afghanistan and the Origins of Islamist Terrorism (chapters 7 & 8), the operation, launched with a modest aid package, became a multi-billion dollar war project against the Communist regime in Kabul and the Soviet Union, whose forces invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. In the following year, Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan, who went for broke, pouring money and weapons into Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation forces to the bitter end.

Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski later claimed that it was done on his recommendation, and that the motive was to lure Soviet forces into Afghanistan to give the Kremlin “its Vietnam.” The Soviets’ humiliating retreat from Afghanistan in 1989, the collapse of Soviet and Afghan communism and the rise of the Taliban triggered a chain reaction with worldwide consequences. President Obama’s decision to intervene in support of Syria’s rebels, who include fundamentalist Islamic fighters, points to history repeating itself. Brzezinski, now in his 85th year, still visits Washington’s corridors of power. And General David Petraeus, a formidable warrior, is director of the CIA.

Three decades on, it seems likely that President Carter’s motive behind signing the secret order to provide aid to the Mujahideen was to entice the Soviets into Afghanistan’s inhospitable terrain, thus keeping their military away from Iran in the midst of the Islamic Revolution which overthrew America’s proxy, Shah Reza Pahlavi, in February 1979. If that was indeed the plan, then the Soviet leadership fell right into the Afghan trap.

China was then part of the U.S.-led alliance against the Soviets. Now Beijing and Moscow stand together against Washington as the conflict in Syria escalates. Otherwise, the U.S.-led alliance has many of the old players––the much enlarged European Union, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others in the Sunni bloc in the Arab world. And Turkey, which is now the base for the anti-Assad forces, channeling help to them. Turkey’s Islamist government plays a crucial role in Syria, like Pakistan in the 1980s during America’s proxy war in Afghanistan.

In Washington, an American official told Reuters that “the United States was collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies.” And a few days before, the news agency reported that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had established a “nerve center” in Adana in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border, to coordinate their activities. The place is home to America’s Incirlik air base and military and intelligence services.

According to NBC News a few days ago, the rebel Free Syrian Army has acquired American Stinger missiles via Turkey, clearly to target Syrian government aircraft. It reminds of President Reagan’s decision in the mid-1980s to supply Stingers to Mujahideen groups for use against Soviet aircraft. Their use was first reported in 1987 and it soon emerged that the heat-seeking weapons were so accurate that they were hitting three out of four aircraft in Afghanistan. As I have discussed in my book Breeding Ground, some of the hundreds of Stingers were likely to have been passed on to the Taliban and their allies after the Soviet forces left Afghanistan and the last Communist government in Kabul collapsed in 1992.

In recent months, American and European officials have been busy feeding information to media outlets that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the main sources of weapons to rebels in Syria through Turkey. The pattern is consistent with the long-standing Saudi policy to keep Islamists out of Saudi Arabia itself, lest they challenge the ruling family. Long-term lessons of proxy wars remain unheeded for immediate perilous “gains.”

Reports of the Obama administration sending Stinger missiles to Syrian rebels carry the first indication that non-state players now have advanced U.S. weaponry in the Middle East. That Washington is in such a cozy alliance with forces including Islamists soon after the killing of Osama bin Laden (on Obama’s personal order) is as incredible as it is consistent with follies of the past. The present will define the future again.

 

SEP 13, 2012 American Killed in Libya Was on Intel Mission to Track Weapons ABC NEWS

One of the Americans killed alongside Ambassador Christopher Stevens in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya Tuesday told ABC News before his death that he was working with the State Department on an intelligence mission to round up dangerous weapons in the war-torn nation.

In an interview with ABC News last month, Glen Doherty, a 42-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked as a contractor with the State Department, said he personally went into the field to track down so-called MANPADS, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, and destroy them. After the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the State Department launched a mission to round up thousands of MANPADS that may have been looted from military installations across the country. U.S. officials previously told ABC News they were concerned the MANPADS could fall into the hands of terrorists, creating a threat to commercial airliners.

Doherty said that he traveled throughout Libya chasing reports of the weapons and once they were found, his team would destroy them on the spot by bashing them with hammers or repeatedly running them over with their vehicles. When ABC News spoke to Doherty in late August, he was enjoying a short time off in California before heading back to Libya just days ago.The State Department declined to comment on Doherty’s involvement in the MANPADS program, but pointed to a previous statement from State Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro in which he said the department was looking at “every possible tool to mitigate the threat.”
 

 

SEP 16, 2012 Rice: Libya attacks spontaneous CBS NEWS

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice says “all sorts of evidence” indicate the attack in Benghazi “began spontaneously” and was not preplanned.

SEP 16, 2012 Ambassador Susan Rice: Libya Attack Not Premeditated ABC NEWS

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi last week was not premeditated, directly contradicting top Libyan officials who say the attack was planned in advance. “Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo,” Rice told me this morning on “This Week.” “In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated,” Rice said, referring to protests in Egypt Tuesday over a film that depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud. Protesters in Cairo breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy, tearing apart an American flag.

“We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo,” Rice said. “And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons… And it then evolved from there.”

 

SEP 17, 2012 Feds Hired British Security Firm to Protect Benghazi Consulate WIRED

The State Department signed a six-figure deal with a British firm to protect the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya just four months before a sustained attack on the compound killed four U.S. nationals inside. Contrary to Friday’s claim by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that “at no time did we contract with a private security firm in Libya,” the department inked a contract for “security guards and patrol services” on May 3 for $387,413.68. An extension option brought the tab for protecting the consulate to $783,000. The contract lists only “foreign security awardees” as its recipient.

The State Department confirmed to Danger Room on Monday that the firm was Blue Mountain, a British company that provides “close protection; maritime security; surveillance and investigative services; and high risk static guarding and asset protection,” according to its website. Blue Mountain says it has “recently operated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, the Caribbean and across Europe” and has worked in Libya for several months since last year’s war. A representative for Blue Mountain, reached at its U.K. offices Monday, said no one was available to comment.

The State Department frequently hires security companies to protect diplomats in conflict zones. It usually is done through what’s known as the Worldwide Protective Services contract, in which a handful of approved firms compete to safeguard specific diplomatic installations. In 2010, State selected eight firms for the most recent contract. Blue Mountain wasn’t among them, and the State Department did not explain why the Benghazi consulate contract did not go to one of those eight firms.

 

NOV 5, 2012 Qatar – Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY

WASHINGTON, November 5, 2012 – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress November 2 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar for two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Fire Units and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $6.5 billion.

The Government of Qatar has requested a possible sale of 2 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Fire Units, 12 THAAD Launchers, 150 THAAD Interceptors, 2 THAAD Fire Control and Communications, 2 AN/TPY-2 THAAD Radars, and 1 Early Warning Radar (EWR). Also included are fire unit maintenance equipment, prime movers (trucks), generators, electrical power units, trailers, communications equipment, tools, test and maintenance equipment, repair and return, system integration and checkout, spare/repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel support services, and other related support elements. The estimated cost is $6.5 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

This proposed sale will help strengthen U.S. efforts to promote regional stability by enhancing regional defense capabilities of a key U.S. partner. The proposed sale will help strengthen Qatar’s capability to counter current and future threats in the region and reduce dependence on U.S. forces. Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing this weapon system into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractors are Lockheed Martin Space Systems Corporation in Sunnyvale, California, and the sub-contractor is Raytheon Corporation in Andover, Massachusetts.

There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale at this time.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require periodic travel of up to13 U.S. Government and contractor representatives to Qatar for an undetermined period for delivery, system checkout, and training as determined by the schedule. There is no known adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

NOV 7, 2012 Qatar – PATRIOT Missile System and Related Support and Equipment DEFENSE SECURITY COOPERATION AGENCY

WASHINGTON, November 7, 2012 – The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Nov. 6 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar for the sale of 11 PATRIOT Configuration-3 Modernized Fire Units and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $9.9 billion.

The Government of Qatar has requested a possible sale of 11 PATRIOT Configuration-3 Modernized Fire Units, 11 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets, 11 AN/MSQ-132 Engagement Control Systems, 30 Antenna Mast Groups, 44 M902 Launching Stations, 246 PATRIOT MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-TBM (GEM-T) with canisters, 2 PATRIOT MIM-104E GEM-T Test Missiles, 768 PATRIOT Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missiles with canisters, 10 PAC-3 Test Missiles with canisters, 11 Electrical Power Plants (EPPII), 8 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems/Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVTs), communications equipment, tools and test equipment, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, facility design, U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $9.9 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of an important ally which has been, and continues to be, a force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. This sale is consistent with U.S. initiatives to provide key allies in the region with modern systems that will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and increase security.

Qatar will use the Patriot Missile System to improve its missile defense capability, strengthen its homeland defense, and deter regional threats. The proposed sale will enhance Qatar’s interoperability with the U.S. and its allies, making it a more valuable partner in an increasingly important area of the world. Qatar should have no difficulty absorbing this system into its armed forces.
The proposed sale of these missiles and equipment will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, Maryland, and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, Texas. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require approximately 30 U.S. Government and 40 contractor representatives to travel to Qatar for an extended period for equipment de-processing/ fielding, system checkout, training and technical and logistics support. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

NOV 20, 2012 Sources: Office of the DNI cut “al Qaeda” reference from Benghazi talking points, and CIA, FBI signed off CBS NEWS

WASHINGTON – CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack – with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes.

There has been considerable discussion about who made the changes to the talking points that Rice stuck to in her television appearances on Sept. 16 (video), five days after the attack that killed American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, and three other U.S. nationals. Republicans have accused her of making misleading statements by referring to the assault as a “spontaneous” demonstration by extremists. Some have suggested she used the terminology she did for political reasons.

However, an intelligence source tells CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan the links to al Qaeda were deemed too “tenuous” to make public, because there was not strong confidence in the person providing the intelligence. CIA Director David Petraeus, however, told Congress he agreed to release the information — the reference to al Qaeda — in an early draft of the talking points, which were also distributed to select lawmakers. “The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” DNI spokesman Shawn Turner tells CBS News. That information was shared at a classified level — which Rice, as a member of President Obama’s cabinet, would have been privy to.

 

2013

JAN 17, 2013 FBI director visits Libya amid Benghazi investigation REUTERS

FBI Director Robert Mueller visited Libya on Thursday, an FBI official said, as U.S. investigators continued their inquiry into the September attack in Benghazi in which U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died.

“The director’s visit was an opportunity to discuss ongoing cooperation on a number of issues,” said the FBI official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

APR 30, 2013 Obama: US Still Not Sure Who Used Chemical Weapons in Syria PBS

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama strongly suggested Tuesday he’d consider military action against Syria if it can be confirmed that President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons in the two-year-old civil war.

At a White House news conference, the president also defended the FBI’s work in monitoring the activities in recent years of one of the men accused in the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon two weeks ago.

At a question and answer session that ranged from immigration legislation to recent intelligence cooperation with Russia, the president several times chided, criticized or dismissed his Republican critics. Asked about one senator who recently said national security protections have deteriorated since he became president, Obama said, Sen. Lindsey “Graham is not right on this issue, although I’m sure he generated some headlines.”

Asked about Syria, the president said that while there is evidence that chemical weapons were used inside the country, “we don’t know when they were used, how they were used. We don’t know who used them. We don’t have a chain of custody that establishes” exactly what happened.

If it can be established that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he added, “we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us.”

JUN 22, 2013 How Qatar came to host the Taliban BBC

After nearly 12 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan, long-awaited peace talks with the Taliban are set to begin. But why and how have these negotiations ended up taking place in the Gulf emirate of Qatar? The BBC World Service’s Dawood Azami has this assessment from Doha.

Taliban representatives secretly arrived in Qatar about three years ago to talk to Western officials. They knew that the Americans in particular were eager to secure a peace deal that would allow Nato a dignified exit from Afghanistan and leave the country more stable and peaceful.

In March 2012, the Taliban suspended initial talks with the US focused on prisoner exchanges. They wanted the release of five Taliban figures held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the freedom of US soldier Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, believed to have been held by the Taliban since 2009. But the number of Taliban representatives and their activities in Qatar have gradually increased. There are now more than 20 relatively high-ranking Taliban members who live here with their families. Over the past two years, they have sent representatives from Qatar to conferences on Afghanistan in Japan, France and Germany – most recently sending a delegation to Iran. Those in Qatar represent only the Taliban in Afghanistan, the main insurgent group led by Mullah Mohammed Omar. There are no representatives of the Pakistani Taliban.

SEP 11, 2013 Sources: US weapons stolen in Libya raids, fueling Special Forces pull-out FOX NEWS

Highly sensitive U.S. military equipment stored in Libya was stolen over the summer by groups likely aligned and working with terrorist organizations, State Department sources told Fox News — in raids that contributed to the decision to pull Special Forces personnel from the country.

The stolen equipment had been used by U.S. Special Forces stationed in the country. Lost in the raids in late July and early August were dozens of M4 rifles, night-vision technology and lasers used as aiming devices that are mounted on guns and can only be seen with night-vision equipment. “This stuff is how we win wars. The enemy doesn’t have that,” one source said. 

The overnight raids happened at a military training camp run by American Special Forces on the outskirts of Tripoli, in the weeks before the team was pulled from the country in August. That U.S. team was funded by the Department of Defense Section 1208, which provides support to assist and stand up foreign counterterrorism forces in other countries. And in the case of Libya, the trainers were also tasked with hunting down the Benghazi attack suspects that killed four Americans one year ago. As Fox News previously reported, members of that team are leaving Libya.  “The loss of this military equipment is what pulled the plug on the U.S. operation,” one source with direct knowledge of the events told Fox News. “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.” 

SEP 16, 2013 Forensic Details in U.N. Report Point to Assad’s Use of Gas NEW YORK TIMES

A United Nations report released on Monday confirmed that a deadly chemical arms attack caused a mass killing in Syria last month and for the first time provided extensive forensic details of the weapons used, which strongly implicated the Syrian government.

While the report’s authors did not assign blame for the attack on the outskirts of Damascus, the details it documented included the large size and particular shape of the munitions and the precise direction from which two of them had been fired. Taken together, that information appeared to undercut arguments by President Bashar al-Assad of Syria that rebel forces, who are not known to possess such weapons or the training or ability to use them, had been responsible.

The report, commissioned by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was the first independent on-the-ground scientific inquest into the attack, which left hundreds of civilians gassed to death, including children, early on Aug. 21. The repercussions have elevated the 30-month-old Syrian conflict into a global political crisis that is testing the limits of impunity over the use of chemical weapons. It could also lead to the first concerted action on the war at the United Nations Security Council, which up to now has been paralyzed over Syria policy.

There was no immediate reaction to the report from the Syrian government. But just two days before the report was released, Syria officially agreed to join the international convention on banning chemical weapons, and the United States and Russia, which have repeatedly clashed over Syria, agreed on a plan to identify and purge those weapons from the country by the middle of next year. Syria has said it would abide by that plan.

The main point of the report was to establish whether chemical weapons had been used in the Aug. 21 attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, an area long infiltrated by rebels. The United Nations inspectors concluded that “chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale.”

The weapons inspectors, who visited Ghouta and left the country with large amounts of evidence on Aug. 31, said, “In particular, the environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used.”

But the report’s annexes, detailing what the authors found, were what caught the attention of nonproliferation experts.

In two chilling pieces of information, the inspectors said that the remnants of a warhead they had found showed its capacity of sarin to be about 56 liters — far higher than initially thought. They also said that falling temperatures at the time of the attack ensured that the poison gas, heavier than air, would hug the ground, penetrating lower levels of buildings “where many people were seeking shelter.”

The investigators were unable to examine all of the munitions used, but they were able to find and measure several rockets or their components. Using standard field techniques for ordnance identification and crater analysis, they established that at least two types of rockets had been used, including an M14 artillery rocket bearing Cyrillic markings and a 330-millimeter rocket of unidentified provenance.

These findings, though not presented as evidence of responsibility, were likely to strengthen the argument of those who claim that the Syrian government bears the blame, because the weapons in question had not been previously documented or reported to be in possession of the insurgency.

2014

FEB 2, 2014 ‘Libya’s Cache of Toxic Arms All Destroyed’ NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON — Even as the international effort to destroy Syria’s vast chemical weapons stockpile lags behind schedule, a similar American-backed campaign carried out under a cloak of secrecy ended successfully last week in another strife-torn country, Libya. The United States and Libya in the past three months have discreetly destroyed what both sides say were the last remnants of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi’s lethal arsenal of chemical arms. They used a transportable oven technology to destroy hundreds of bombs and artillery rounds filled with deadly mustard agent, which American officials had feared could fall into the hands of terrorists. The effort also helped inspire the use of the technology in the much bigger disposal plan in Syria.

Since November, Libyan contractors trained in Germany and Sweden have worked in bulky hazmat suits at a tightly guarded site in a remote corner of the Libyan desert, 400 miles southeast of Tripoli, racing to destroy the weapons in a region where extremists linked to Al Qaeda are gaining greater influence. The last artillery shell was destroyed on Jan. 26, officials said. As Libya’s weak central government grapples with turmoil and unrest, and as kidnappings and assassinations of military and police officers accelerate in the country’s east, American and international weapons specialists hailed the destruction of the Libyan stockpile as a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy security environment.

Libya’s last two tons of chemical weapons were dwarfed by the 1,300 tons that Syria has agreed to destroy. But American and international arms experts say the need for easily transportable and efficient technology to wipe out the Libyan arms became a model for the Syria program now underway. For Libya’s fragile transitional government, such collaboration with the West on security matters is a delicate issue. It gives the country’s leaders desperately needed assistance to defuse internal threats, but also risks accusations of compromising national sovereignty. Asked about the American efforts to destroy the chemical weapons, Libyan security officials in Tripoli initially issued sweeping denials. One later briefly acknowledged the operation on the condition of anonymity, and then officials stopped returning phone calls.

On Sunday, the White House said that it would ensure that the Syrian government complied with an accord to give up its chemical arsenal despite missed deadlines and delays in carrying out the deal. The White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, said on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” that the deal was “not falling apart, but we would like to see it proceed much more quickly than it is.” The disposal of the last of Libya’s chemical weapons closes a chapter that Colonel Qaddafi began in early 2004, when his government turned over a vast cache of nuclear technology and chemical stockpiles to the United States, Britain and international nuclear inspectors.

At that time, Libya declared for destruction 24.7 metric tons of sulfur mustard, a syrupy liquid that when loaded into bombs or artillery shells and exploded creates a toxic mist that penetrates clothing, burns and blisters exposed skin, and can kill with large doses or if left untreated. The chemical was used extensively in World War I. Libya had destroyed about half of these stocks when civil war broke out in 2011. Western spy agencies closely monitored the destruction site in the Libyan desert to ensure the stockpiles were not pilfered by insurgents.

 

MAY 22, 2014 Khalifa Haftar: renegade general causing upheaval in Libya THE GUARDIAN

Under clear desert skies and a sweltering sun, a team of CIA trainers put the Libyan exile commander through his paces, teaching sabotage and tactics to his small band of fighters. Back then, in the 1980s, they dreamed of the day they could go home and topple Muammar Gaddafi. Khalifa Heftar’s offensive against the government that replaced Gaddafi – which he accuses of being a haven for terrorists – has been far more successful. It has seen him attack Islamist militias in Benghazi and the parliament in Tripoli. In less then a week key army units, political parties and tribal forces have rallied under his banner. On Thursday tension mounted  when a powerful brigade from Misrata deployed in the centre of the capital. The renegade general’s moves are being closely watched both at home and abroad.

Heftar’s old links with the CIA have come back to haunt him – with enemies denouncing him as an American “agent”. In Libya’s charged political mood, the accusation is toxic but it may be misleading or simply old news. For the record the US has denied backing him; he has also denied being in contact with Washington. Several former senior US intelligence officials told the Guardian that, while they did not have direct knowledge, they did not believe the US was backing Heftar. Instead, they say, his current offensive should be seen as an audition for future US backing. By showing that he can take on the Islamist militias and win, he establishes himself as somebody the west cannot ignore.

 

JUL 8, 2014 ‘Abandoned’ barrels containing deadly sarin seized in rebel-held Syria RT

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon informed Security Council members on Monday that two cylinders reportedly seized by Syrian government forces in an opposition-held region appeared to contain the deadly nerve agent sarin.

According to the letter dispatched by Ban to the UNSC, on June 14 the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) analyzed the contents of the barrels, reported Reuters. The UN Joint Mission is currently overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under the umbrella of the OPCW. Syria has declared a total of 1,300 tons of chemical agents, and handed over the last portion of its stockpile on June 23 under the agreement reached in September. “The Joint Mission confirmed that these contained sarin,” read Ban’s letter. The Syrian government declared the barrels “as abandoned chemical weapons,” which were reportedly seized by government forces in August 2013 within an area under the control of armed rebel groups. OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu did not include in his report the precise date the Syrian government had handed over the two cylinders.

On Monday the US container ship Cape Ray began to neutralize chemical weapons materials according to the Pentagon. Some 600 metric tons of materials, including components for mustard gas and sarin, were transferred earlier in July to the Cape Ray from a vessel that initially transported them from Syria. The Syrian government agreed last year to dispose of its chemical weapons stockpile, part of a disarmament deal brokered between Assad, the US and Russia following allegations of the regime’s use of deadly agents against civilians. That crisis was triggered after evidence emerged of a potential sarin gas attack last August which killed hundreds of civilians on the periphery of the capital of Damascus.

While the US and European powers blamed the Assad government for the Damascus chemical weapons attack, the country’s government instead blamed rebel groups who are seeking its ouster. The disarmament agreement was seen as a compromise that prevented US airstrikes on Syria, which last summer had seemed mere hours away from being realized.

 

SEP 20, 2014 How Qatar is funding the rise of Islamist extremists THE TELEGRAPH

Few outsiders have noticed, but radical Islamists now control Libya’s capital. These militias stormed Tripoli last month, forcing the official government to flee and hastening the country’s collapse into a failed state.Moreover, the new overlords of Tripoli are allies of Ansar al-Sharia, a brutal jihadist movement suspected of killing America’s then ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and of trying to murder his British counterpart, Sir Dominic Asquith.

Barely three years after Britain helped to free Libya from Col Gaddafi’s tyranny, anti-Western radicals hold sway. How could Britain’s goal of a stable and friendly Libya have been thwarted so completely? Step forward a fabulously wealthy Gulf state that owns an array of London landmarks and claims to be one of our best friends in the Middle East. Qatar, the owner of Harrods, has dispatched cargo planes laden with weapons to the victorious Islamist coalition, styling itself “Libya Dawn”.

Western officials have tracked the Qatari arms flights as they land in the city of Misrata, about 100 miles east of Tripoli, where the Islamist militias have their stronghold. Even after the fall of the capital and the removal of Libya’s government, Qatar is “still flying in weapons straight to Misrata airport”, said a senior Western official. So it is that Qatar buys London property while working against British interests in Libya and arming friends of the jihadists who tried to kill one of our ambassadors. A state that partly owns 1 Hyde Park, London’s most expensive apartment block, and the Shard, the city’s tallest building, is working with people who would gladly destroy Western society. 

The remarkable truth is that few in the Middle East would be shocked. From Hamas in the Gaza Strip to radical armed movements in Syria, Qatar’s status as a prime sponsor of violent Islamists, including groups linked to al-Qaeda, is clear to diplomats and experts. Qatar’s promotion of extremism has so infuriated its neighbours that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all chose to withdraw their ambassadors from the country in March. Take Syria, where Qatar has been sponsoring the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. In itself, that policy places Qatar alongside the leading Western powers and much of the Arab world.

But Qatar has deliberately channelled guns and cash towards Islamist rebels, notably a group styling itself Ahrar al-Sham, or “Free Men of Syria”. Only last week, Khalid al-Attiyah, the Qatari foreign minister, praised this movement as “purely” Syrian.

Four branches of the Qatari government handle relations with armed groups in Syria and Libya: the foreign ministry, the defence ministry, the country’s intelligence agency, and the personal office of the ruler, Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. In the case of Syria, Qatar’s chosen method for supporting its favoured insurgents is to pass large sums to middlemen in Turkey. These figures then use the money to buy weapons from third countries, notably Croatia, and arrange for their onward transfer to rebels in Syria. Experts question how much control Qatar has over this process and whether the middlemen might be pursuing their own aims and pocketing much of the money. “Qatar was handling weapons and supplies for Syria, but they were never really keeping a full grip on the nature of the conflict,” said Michael Stephens, the deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute’s office in Qatar. Others believe that Qatar was acting very deliberately.

 

OCT 20, 2014 Gaddafi died 3 years ago. Would Libya be better off if he hadn’t? WASHINGTON POST

Three years ago, on Oct. 20, 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was killed. Exactly how is still a bit of a mystery: While the interim Libyan government initially said he was killed in an exchange of gunfire, other evidence suggested something else. His last record, captured on amateur video, showed him bloodied and panicked, surrounded by a crowd of rebel fighters as he is pushed into a truck. A Human Rights Watch investigation a year later was unable to reach a conclusion as to the exact circumstances of Gaddafi’s death, but suggested he may have been summarily executed.

It was an undignified and horrific end, but many would argue it was what Gaddafi deserved. He had led the oil-rich Libya as an autocrat for almost 42 years, quashing all opposition with frequent brutality and funding international terrorism. As Libya had become swept up in the Arab Spring, Gaddafi lashed out, labeling his enemies “rats” and killing and injuring thousands of his own people.

Gaddafi’s death was a landmark, but three years later, it cannot be convincingly called a good one. On Oct. 20, 2014, Libya is as much of a mess as ever. In a confusing, chaotic situation, fighting is split among Arab nationalists, Islamists, regional militias and more. Recently, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have intervened militarily, while the country’s largely impotent government-in-exile was forced to hold its meetings onboard a car ferry.

 

2015

FEB 23, 2015 Libya: Unidentified armed men attack chemical factory, flee with chemical weapons NORTH AFRICA POST

Some of Libya’s chemical weapons have been taken by armed men who stormed the chemical factory in Jufra district where they are stored. The amount taken by the armed men is unknown but fears already exist that they could find their way to militants loyal to ISIS. Military sources who spoke to the media stated that among the chemical weapons are mustard gas and sarin gas.

An official in the Libyan military said places where the chemical weapons are being stored in the country are known to the militias. He said that the militias went away with large amounts of chemical weapons and could use them in their war against the Libyan army. The army supports the government in Tobruk and has been fighting with the militants backing the Tripoli government and the Islamist groups in the country.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the chemical factory located 600 kilometers southeast of Tripoli. An eye witness said the militias drove off with the chemical weapons in cone-shaped tanks. There are also fears that the attack might lead to a chemical weapon-rush in the country as the war continues to be a stalemate.

A military source hinted that the country was having around one thousand cubic tons worth of material used for manufacturing chemical weapons and about 20,000 cubic tons of mustard gas before Gaddafi was killed in October 2011. The destruction of some of Libya’s chemical weapons arsenal began after the country joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2004.

Asharq Al Awsat claimed that it has seen a video which seems to show militants testing what could be chemical weapons in a mountainous area near the town of Mizda, 160 kilometers south of Tripoli.

MAY 18, 2015 Defense, State Department Documents Reveal Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance JUDICIAL WATCH

Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts.  The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria.  The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.

The documents were released in response to a court order in accordance with a May 15, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against both the DOD and State Department seeking communications between the two agencies and congressional leaders “on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi.”

The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:

Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

The DIA document further details:

The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.  The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.

Another DIA report, written in August 2012 (the same time period the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by alQaeda and other extremist Muslim groups: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

JUL 16, 2015 Drug And Human Trafficking In ‘Lawless’ Libya Is Funding ISIS IB TIMES

Speaking before rapturous crowds on Sept. 15, 2011,  in liberated Benghazi, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced, “Today the Libyan people have taken their country back.”That was then. 

This is now: The Libyan people have lost their country to rival groups and warring factions – the eastern cities of Beida and Tobruk  support the military while Tripoli, in the west, is dominated by Islamist militants — the most infamous among them the so-called Islamic State group, or ISIS.

This lack of foresight has enabled different groups of fighters to traffic a continuous supply of arms, drugs and people across Libya’s borders, helping to bankroll some of the world’s most violent terrorists.

Saturday’s U.N.-brokered peace deal between rebel groups and Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tobruk was the first positive step towards change, but experts say Libya has a long way to go before east and west are reunited.

“Libya is completely lawless,” Tuesday Reitano, an expert on migrant and trade networks in Libya and the wider region told International Business Times. “We have now reached a stalemate where the fragmentation in the country is so significant that you can’t have a government anymore.”

AUG 5, 2015 Obama stonewalls SEAL Team 6 helicopter crash probe, watchdog says WASHINGTON TIMES

The Obama administration is violating a judge’s order to turn over documents in the Aug. 6, 2011, shootdown of a U.S. helicopter — call sign Extortion 17 — that killed members of SEAL Team 6 in Afghanistan, a watchdog group is charging. On the fourth anniversary of the worst one-day loss of military life in the war on terror, families of the dead say they are aghast that the government will not honor basic requests under the Freedom of Information Act. “It has now been four years since Extortion 17 was shot down,” said Doug Hamburger, whose Army air crew son, Patrick, was one of the 30 Americans killed. “I find it quite disturbing that the government is not willing to give us the answers we deserve. I find it very irritating that we will not question the Afghans about their knowledge of what took place that night.”

U.S. Central Command’s official investigation concluded that a rocket-launched grenade from a Taliban fighter standing near the landing zone clipped a rotary wing, sending the Ch-47 Chinook into a violent downward spin. It was the worst day for fatalities in the history of naval special warfare. The tragedy took some of the glow off SEAL Team 6’s grand achievement just three months earlier: A team penetrated Pakistan airspace, infiltrated a compound in Abbottabad and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The families accept the fact that a single shot brought down the helicopter. But some say the official report, which contained no direct criticism of decision-makers that day, did not delve deeply enough. They believe SEAL Team 6 had a target on its back and that persons inside the Afghan National Security Forces may have tipped off the Taliban that night in Tangi Valley. That is why, they say, a fighter just happened to be stationed in a turret within 150 yards of a landing zone that had never been used before.

SEP 11, 2015 Isis ‘manufacturing and using chemical weapons’ in Iraq and Syria, US official claims INDEPENDENT UK

Evidence is mounting that Isis could be both manufacturing and using chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. Months of reports by Kurdish forces fighting the so-called Islamic State sparked the start of an investigation by the US and a United Nations probe earlier this year.  No findings have been announced by either group but an anonymous UN official has told the BBC that at least four attacks using powdered mustard agents have been documented on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border.

“We assess that they have an active chemical weapons little research cell that they’re working on to try and get better at it,” the official said. Intelligence analysts have also suggested that Isis may be using stockpiles found in Syria and Iraq during the group’s rampage last year, as the group gained territory to establish its self-declared Caliphate.  But any caches in Iraq are deemed unlikely to have gone undetected in the US military’s decade-long military campaign in the country, and Syria was forced to give up its chemical weapons under the threat of air strikes two years ago.

A UN-backed deal that saw the Syrian government hand over 1,180 tonnes of declared toxic agents and chemicals to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) by June 2014.

SEP 16, 2015 US has trained only ‘four or five’ Syrian fighters against Isis, top general testifies THE GUARDIAN

A $500m effort to train Syrian forces against the Islamic State has resulted in only a handful of fighters actively battling the jihadi army, the top military commander overseeing the war has testified. “We’re talking four or five,” General Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command, told a dissatisfied Senate armed services committee on Wednesday.

The training initiative is Barack Obama’s linchpin for retaking Syrian territory from Isis. The Pentagon anticipated in late 2014 that it would have trained 5,000 anti-Isis Syrian rebels by now. “The program is much smaller than we hoped,” conceded the Pentagon’s policy chief, Christine Wormuth, saying there were between 100 and 120 fighters currently being trained. Wormuth said they were “getting terrific training”. Both Wormuth and Austin defended US strategy against Isis in the face of bipartisan skepticism from the senators.

Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, mocked the Syrian training program, expressing incredulity that the Defense Department would seek another $600m to fund fighters she said the US was counting “on our fingers and toes”.

SEP 18, 2015 Team Obama has spent $500M to train ‘four or five’ Syrian rebels NEW YORK POST

The news that the Obama administration has spent $500 million to put “four or five” fighters on the ground in Syria adds an almost comic irony to what is ultimately a tragic farce.

In the 1980s, the symbol of Republican incompetence and mismanagement was the $600 toilet seat. Left out of the media coverage was the fact that the toilet seat was for a special kind of anti-submarine aircraft that had been out of production and needed special retrofitting. But forget all that. How does that compare to spending $100 million per non-bionic human soldier?

This news comes from Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, head of US Central Command, or CENTCOM. Ever the loyal soldier, Austin insists that we should stay the course. It’s not really a tenth of a billion dollars for each rebel, we’ve got another hundred “in the pipeline,” he told Congress Wednesday. No doubt that will turn the tide.

OCT 6, 2015 A warning from the Gaddafis: ISIS will spark ‘global catastrophe’ in which ‘no-one is spared’ if Syrian president falls – and jihadis have already got deadly sarin gas for attacks in Europe DAILY MAIL

The downfall of Syria‘s President Bashar al-Assad could bring about a ‘global catastrophe’ and ‘nobody will be spared’, the Gaddafi clan’s most senior surviving member has claimed. Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, Colonel Gaddafi’s cousin and former intelligence official, has issued a warning predicting dire consequences if the West doesn’t follow Russia in propping up the Syrian regime locked in a devastating five-year civil war with rebels and now Islamic State militants. If rebels gain control of Syria they will not stop there but will then target the oil-rich Arabian Peninsula, of fundamental strategic importance to the West, the one-time Special Envoy to Gaddafi claimed.

In the disastrous scenario outlined by the former Gaddafi minister, the flow of oil through the Suez Canal would stop, sending the price soaring to $200 a barrel. This would bring about economic failure in Mediterranean countries – and even a European ‘Spring’ of revolutions, he claims. He adds that were extremists to gain control of their declared objective, Mecca, it would ‘reinforce the ideology of a caliphate in the minds of Muslims from Philippines to Morocco’ and ‘they would see it as a gift from Allah’. 

Mr Gaddaf al-Dam, who dreams of a return to power for the Gaddafis, gave an interview to MailOnline as Russia approached the end of a full week of airstrikes on rebel targets in Syria. Separately, the exile claimed that ISIS-affiliated militants there are in possession of deadly nerve gas sarin, which he said they may have smuggled into Europe on migrant boats. Mr Gaddaf al-Dam, one of several high-profile regime figures who fled to Egypt during the 2011 revolution, has previously made apparently far-fetched and terrifying prophecies. While some of his predictions have not materialised, others have turned out to be alarmingly accurate.

OCT 9, 2015 Obama Administration Ends Effort to Train Syrians to Combat ISIS NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday abandoned its efforts to build up a new rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State, acknowledging the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and announcing that it will instead use the money to provide ammunition and some weapons for groups already engaged in the battle.

Defense Department training sites across the Middle East, including ones in Turkey and Jordan, will soon suspend almost all operations, officials said, in favor of a revamped program that briefly screens Arab rebel commanders of existing Syrian units before equipping them with much-needed ammunition and, potentially, small arms. Initial airdrops of equipment could begin as early as this weekend, officials said.

The decision to scuttle a central piece of President Obama’s strategy for confronting extremists in Syria was made after mounting evidence that the training mission had resulted in no more than a handful of American-coached fighters. And it comes amid Russia’s forceful entry into the Syrian conflict, a move by President Vladimir V. Putin that has highlighted the lack of progress by the United States and its coalition.

Senior officials at the White House and the Pentagon admitted that the strategy to pull fighters out of Syria, teach them advanced combat skills and return them to face the Islamic State had simply not worked, in part because many of the rebel groups were more focused on fighting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

Officials said the provision of equipment to the groups would be limited at first, but could grow depending on a rebel group’s performance. Failure on the battlefield or the loss of weapons that could fall into the hands of extremists could result in a cutoff of military equipment, officials said. The American military has confirmed that some rebel groups surrendered their weapons when confronted by extremists, and it has acknowledged that accounting for American-supplied arms across the battlefield proved almost impossible in the past.

The new program would be the first time the Pentagon has provided lethal aid directly to Syrian rebels, though the C.I.A. has for some time been covertly training and arming groups fighting Mr. Assad.

NOV 30, 2015 Moving Closer to Europe: ISIL Sets Its Sights on Expansion in Libya SPUTNIK NEWS

The militant group has apparently found a new base where it can “generate oil revenue and plan terror attacks,” according to a Wall Street Journal report, based on estimates provided by Libyan intelligence officials, residents and activists in the area.  The group has apparently expanded its staff and activities in the Mediterranean city of Sirte since February 2015, when it first announced its presence in the area. It now has roughly 5,000 men there, including administrators and financiers.  The new stronghold is directly across the Mediterranean Sea from Italy.

Sirte is a gateway to several major oil fields and refineries farther east along the same coast and the Islamic State has targeted those installations in the past year, the newspaper says.  “They have made their intentions clear,” it quotes Ismail Shoukry, the head of military intelligence for the region that includes Sirte, as saying. “They want to take their fight to Rome.” 

The group has already announced their plans to recruit foreign fighters, and is calling them to travel to Libya instead of Syria. According to residents and activists from Sirte and Libyan military officials, recent weeks have already seen a flood of foreign recruits and their families. “Sirte will be no less than Raqqa,” is a mantra often repeated by Islamic State leaders in the Libyan city during sermons and radio broadcasts, the newspaper quotes several residents and an activist from the city as saying. Raqqa is the group’s self-declared capital in Syria.

About 85% of Libya’s crude oil production in 2014 went to Europe, with Italy being the largest recipient. About half of the natural gas it produces is exported to Italy.

 

DEC 11, 2015 How the Gulf Arab Rivalry Tore Libya Apart NATIONAL INTEREST

When the Qaddafi regime fell in 2011, centralized power quickly dissipated and Libya fell into chaos. A wide range of armed groups asserted control over large swathes of territory in the oil-rich nation without any effective central authority strong enough to exert control of the entire country. Since then, Libya has become a battleground for outside powers with competing interests and conflicting visions.

Several weeks after losing the July 2014 election, a Muslim Brotherhood–led coalition (“Libya Dawn”) seized the capital city of Tripoli. The Libya Dawn fighters established an administration (the New General National Congress) pushing the nation’s UN-recognized government into Tobruk, situated along the Mediterranean coast near Egypt. Despite UN efforts to broker peace, forces loyal to Libya’s Tripoli- and Tobruk-based governments remain in conflict. The fact that both sides have foreign sponsors has unquestionably prolonged and intensified the country’s multitude of problems.

Two Gulf Arab states, the UAE and Qatar, which both played pivotal roles in the Libyan uprising as sponsors of anti-Qaddafi rebels, have emerged as rivals in this grander geopolitical struggle. The UAE, along with Russia and Egypt, backs the Tobruk-based government; Qatar, along with Turkey and Sudan, supports the Islamist-led government in Tripoli. Abu Dhabi and Doha’s proxy war in Libya is illustrative of a division within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is proving highly influential in shaping Libya’s post-Qaddafi political order.

DEC 18, 2015 Extremists Steal Large Quantities of Deadly Chemical Weapons in Libya SPUTNIK NEWS

“Huge amounts” of sarin are being moved from desert areas in the south to the north of the country and to the suburbs of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam said in an interview with the London-based Arabic international newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday. He added that the outlawed gas was first used in the country in 2014, yet some Western countries “turned a blind eye”. Sarin gas, also called GB, is one of the most dangerous and toxic chemical weapons known. It was invented in Germany in 1938 during attempts to develop pesticides; however, following its discovery, the Nazis weaponized it. It belongs to a class of chemical weapons known as nerve agents. Although the Nazis had plans for the construction of a facility to produce sarin for wartime use, it was never completed.

DEC 19, 2015 Daesh Selling, Using Stolen Chemical Weapons in Libya – Gaddafi’s Cousin SPUTNIK NEWS

In an exclusive interview for RT Arabic, Gaddafi al-Dam warned that “ISIL has managed to find some of the secret underground storage facilities still holding chemical weapons hidden in the desert. Unfortunately, they weren’t properly guarded. The gas was trafficked to the northern part of the country and sold.”

“There are two known cases of this chemical agent being stolen,” the former advisor said. “I know this from my sources in Tripoli. In the first case seven drums of sarin were stolen, and in the second I think it was five.”

“I don’t want to spread panic, but that’s the reality, and the world knows it very well,” Gaddafi al-Dam concluded.

In an interview for the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat earlier this week, the ex-advisor said that the outlawed gas was first used in the country in 2014, a fact to which some Western countries “turned a blind eye.”

Sarin is an extremely volatile gas, colorless and odorless, and is classified by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction. A lethal dose of sarin is about 0.5 milligrams; it is approximately 500 times more deadly than cyanide.

Gaddafi al-Dam’s cousin, Muammar Gaddafi, served as the head of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977. After that, he ruled as the head of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya until 2011, when he was toppled by anti-regime forces backed by a Western coalition including the United States, Britain and France. Gaddafi was massacred by Islamist fighters after being discovered hiding in a culvert west of Sirte in October 2011, his mutilated body displayed to the media.

2016

JAN 28, 2016 Former Libyan Intel Chief: Islamic State in Possession of Muammar Gaddafi’s Chemical Weapons BREITBART

“It is no secret that these gasses exist in Libya. They have taken it. To be fair, IS is not the only one,” Ahmad Qadhaf al-Dam said in an Egyptian TV interview, translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute.

The Times of Israel notes that al-Dam’s warning is consistent with claims from other Libyan sources, who warned in early 2015 that various extremist militias had discovered secret stashes of chemical weapons at forgotten military bases.

On paper, Libya committed to destroying its chemical inventory in 2014. Al-Dam describes that agreement as a “smart maneuver” to trick the West into lifting sanctions.

Al-Dam believes other militia groups might be sitting on weapons of mass destruction inventories looted from Gaddafi’s secret bases, but ISIS is actually using them. In fact, he claimed it was common knowledge in his circle that Libyan chemical weapons had been smuggled to Syria and deployed by the Islamic State, with the Assad regime falsely blamed for some of the attacks.

Other chemical strikes in Syria have been more convincingly pinned on the Islamic State, including a possible mustard gas attack on Kurdish Peshmerga fighters over the summer. These attacks were reportedly carried out using chemical munitions that ISIS looted from the Syrian military.

FEB 9, 2016 Top intel official confirms ISIS made, used chemical weapons FOX NEWS

The nation’s top intelligence official confirmed Tuesday that the Islamic State has succeeded in making and deploying chemical agents in Iraq and Syria — calling it the first such attack by an extremist group in more than two decades.

The confirmation of mustard gas use came during Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he spoke to the Islamic State’s growing sophistication online and in the battlefield. 

He did not elaborate on where and when the chemical attacks occurred, though there has been mounting evidence the terror group was experimenting with chemical weapons.

“[The Syrian government] has used chemicals against the opposition on multiple occasions since Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention. ISIL has also used toxic chemicals in Iraq and Syria, including the blister agent Sulfur mustard,” Clapper said. 

MAR 18, 2016 The Pentagon Wasted $500 Million Training Syrian Rebels. It’s About to Try Again. FOREIGN POLICY

President Barack Obama has signed off on a new plan to train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State, a move that comes just months after the Pentagon shut down a more ambitious train-and-equip program that burned through hundreds of millions of dollars with little to show for the effort.

The effort is part of a Pentagon push to capitalize on recent momentum in the long campaign in the Islamic State, which has been battered by coalition and Russian airstrikes, ground attacks by a Syrian army that has been refitted by Moscow, and ongoing assaults by U.S.-armed Kurdish, Yazidi, and Sunni Arab fighters. The militants have lost about 22 percent of the land they once controlled in Iraq and Syria in recent months, and Washington wants to move on the group’s capital of Raqqa sooner rather than later. And with no significant influx of U.S. or allied ground troops on the way, Pentagon officials believe that training local forces to take the lead is the best way forward.

JUN 28, 2016 BENGHAZI REPORT: State Department employees reacted in shock to Susan Rice’s first TV appearances BUSINESS INSIDER

State Department employees were surprised to see then UN Ambassador Susan Rice appear on Sunday talk shows in 2012 blaming the attacks on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on an internet video, a report released Tuesday revealed. Rice’s comments were “met with shock and disbelief by State Department employees” who worried about White House involvement in the way the attack was being characterized to the American public, according to the report released by the Republican-led House Select Committee on Benghazi. The report was released one day after House Democrats released a preemptive report designed to blunt the blow of the Republican document.

The committee, convened to investigate the events surrounding the deaths of ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, contended that White House aides had an unusual level of involvement in the messaging after the attack. Hillary Clinton, who was then Secretary of State and is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been heavily criticized for blaming the attack on protests of an internet video that Libyans found offensive. In the days after the attack, Rice echoed this message on Sunday shows such as “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press.” State Department employees worried about how her comments might be perceived abroad.

Gregory Hicks, who was the deputy chief of mission in Tripoli, Libya, told the committee that Rice’s comments contradicted those of Libyan officials who pointed to terrorist links to the attack. “My jaw hit the floor as I watched this,” Hicks said, referring to Rice’s television appearances. “I have been a professional diplomat for 22 years. I have never been as embarrassed in my life, in my career, as on that day. There have been other times when I’ve been embarrassed, but that’s the most embarrassing moment of my career.”

 

JUL 10, 2016 Two Russian helicopter pilots shot down, killed n Syria by Isil militants THE TELEGRAPH

A military helicopter was shot down by Isil militants near Palmyra in Syria, killing two Russian pilots on board. The two men had been attacking a detachment of Isil fighters in the Homs region on Friday, when the Syrian Mi-25 helicopter they were in ran out of ammunition, the ministry said, according to Interfax new agency. “The turning helicopter was hit by militants’ gunfire from the ground and crashed in the area controlled by the Syrian government army. The crew died,” it added.

Video footage published on Saturday by Isil’s affiliated news agency Amaq showed a helicopter being shot and crashing to the ground against cries of “It’s fallen, God is greatest”. Russian forces entered the conflict at the end of last year, backing the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Russian-Syrian government military alliance has had trouble securing the country’s desert interior after forcing Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) out of the ancient city of Palmyra in March. Isil militants subsequently seized the nearby Shaer natural gas fields, and threatened to advance on Palmyra once again.

AUG 1, 2016 Body of Russian pilot is dragged through the dirt after helicopter is shot down by Syrian rebels DAILY MAIL

A Russian military helicopter has been shot down by rebels in Syria killing all five people on board, it has been revealed. The aircraft, carrying three crew and two officers, crashed down in the Idlib province in north western Syria on its way home to a Russian airbase. Gruesome pictures have since emerged showing what is believed to be the body of a Russian pilot being dragged through the dirt and loaded on to a truck.  It comes as mystery surrounded the discovery in the wreckage of an identification card showing a picture of a blonde woman.

The image was found along with a haul of personal belongings of those inside, including Russian drivers’ licences, passports and insurance cards, as well as Orthodox Christian icons.  Russia’s Ministry of Defence said the helicopter was returning to the its main air base in the western province of Latakia following a delivery of humanitarian aid in war-torn Aleppo.  Two activist groups – the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Observatory and the Local Coordination Committees – say rebels shot down the Mi-8. 

AUG 19, 2016 Denmark agrees to help rid Libya of chemical weapons THE STAR

Denmark is sending a container vessel, a support ship and 200 staff members to an international operation to rid lawless Libya of its chemical weapons arsenal and ship them out of the country, Danish lawmakers decided Friday. In a 99-0 vote with 80 absentees, Denmark’s Folketing legislature decided Friday to send the contribution to the UN-backed Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The operation would be led by Denmark, but other countries including Finland and Germany are expected to join, according to Denmark’s Foreign Ministry. It said Libya’s UN-brokered National Unity government in July handed over a formal request for international assistance to have the chemical weapons removed.  OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu welcomed the vote saying it “helped Libya to live up to its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention” which requires that chemical weapons be destroyed. Libya joined the convention in 2004. In the same statement, Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said he was satisfied that the Scandinavian country “got the lead role,” adding that the weapons “otherwise risk falling into the wrong hands.”

Denmark said it had been asked by the OPCW and the United States to contribute to the operation, dubbed RECLIB. When Libya began destroying its chemical weapons stocks in 2004, it declared that it had 24.7 tons of mustard gas, 1,390 tons of precursor chemicals and over 3,000 bombs containing chemical weapons. The destruction of chemical weapons was interrupted by the 2011 overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, leaving some 850 tons of precursor chemicals stored at a facility monitored by the OPCW in Ruwagha. In 2014, Denmark was part of the international operation to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal.

SEP 4, 2016 Syrian rebels ‘shoot down regime helicopter with surface-to-air missile’ MIRROR UK

This is moment Syrian rebels shot down a low-flying helicopter, which they claim belongs to the ruling regime.  The shocking footage, posted to YouTube, shows the rebel fighters aiming a large surface-to-air missile gun at the aircraft as it hovers above the ground.  As the BGM-71 TOW missile connects with its target, the camouflage-patterned helicopter then bursts into a ball of bright orange flames. The fighters cry out “Allahuakbar” as they watch the aircraft burn, engulfed by clouds of thick black smoke.

The helicopter was reportedly brought down in the town of al-Shir in north west Syria on Friday. Jaish al-Aza, a rebel group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), have claimed responsibility for downing the helicopter, amid a renewed rebel offensive in the north of the country. Rebel activists have claimed that the downed helicopter was Russian, although no evidence on the ground has been found to support this.

OCT 5, 2016 Obama DOJ drops charges against alleged broker of Libyan weapons POLITICO

The Obama administration is moving to dismiss charges against an arms dealer it had accused of selling weapons that were destined for Libyan rebels. Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion.

The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State, and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.

Government lawyers were facing a Wednesday deadline to produce documents to Turi’s legal team, and the trial was officially set to begin on Election Day, although it likely would have been delayed by protracted disputes about classified information in the case.

A Turi associate asserted that the government dropped the case because the proceedings could have embarrassed Clinton and President Barack Obama by calling attention to the reported role of their administration in supplying weapons that fell into the hands of Islamic extremist militants.

OCT 12, 2016 Arms dealer says Clinton and Obama accidentally gave guns to ISIS, Al Qaeda and Benghazi attackers – then tried to scapegoat him for their screw-up with failed $10m felony case DAILY MAIL

An American arms dealer claims he was made a scapegoat for an Obama and Clinton-led 2011 plot to arm Libyan rebels that saw arms flowing to Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Benghazi attackers. Marc Turi faced trial for illegally selling arms, but charges in the five-year, $10million case were dropped on October 5. That’s because, he told Fox News, Democrats were worried about political blowback for Clinton if it emerged that the government had accidentally put weapons in the hands of America’s enemies. ‘I would say, 100 per cent, I was victimized,’ he told the channel, ‘to somehow discredit me, to throw me under the bus, to do whatever it took to protect their next presidential candidate.’

Turi, 48, told Fox that the Obama administration had wanted to arm Libyan rebels to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi during the Arab Spring uprising, but were stopped by a UN sanction on arms sales to the country. He said he came up with a plan to sell weapons to US allies in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates who would then pass them on to Libya, but was cut out of the deal by Clinton’s State Department and the CIA, who transported the weapons themselves. Those weapons, he said, then went to just about everyone in Libya and Syria – friend and foe alike – after rebels got their hands on them. Fox News asked Turi whether Al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia (the group behind the Benghazi attack), or ISIS – which was formed in 1999 – got the weapons; he replied: ‘All of them, all of them, all of them.’ He says the Justice Department then attempted to scapegoat him, charging him with two counts of illegal arms dealing and two of lying on his State Department weapons application – despite him never actually selling anything. 

OCT 18, 2016 Taliban and Afghanistan restart secret talks in Qatar THE GUARDIAN

The Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government have restarted secret talks in the Gulf state of Qatar, senior sources within the insurgency and the Kabul government have told the Guardian.  Among those present at the meetings held in September and October was Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, brother of Mullah Omar, the former Taliban chief who led the movement from its earliest days until his death in 2013.  The two rounds of talks are the first known negotiations to have taken place since a Pakistan-brokered process entirely broke down following the death in a US drone strike of Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.

Doha has been a centre for Taliban diplomacy since the movement was granted permission to set up an office in the Qatari capital in 2013, although that initiative became one of the many attempts to start a peace process that ultimately came to nothing following complaints from the Afghan government. Mullah Omar’s son, Mohammad Yaqoob, is expected to soon join the Doha group, a Taliban source said, in a move that would further bolster the authority of the office.

No Pakistani official took part in either the October or September meetings, according to a member of the Taliban’s leadership council, the Quetta Shura. He said Islamabad has lost much of its traditional influence over a movement it has been associated with since it rose to power in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. But according to the Taliban official, a senior US diplomat was present in the Qatar meetings. The US embassy in Afghanistan declined to comment on the claim. The Taliban official said the first meeting in early September “went positively and was held in a trouble-free atmosphere” in which Akhund sat face to face with Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai, Afghanistan’s intelligence chief.

DEC 19, 2016 ISIS ‘shoots down’ Russian attack helicopter in Syria THE SUN UK
Today jihadis released photos of their fighters claiming they were operating near the airbase, which is used by Russia and Syrian government forces. A truck can be seen mounted with an anti-aircraft gun.  The latest claim comes a month after ISIS told how they shot down a Russian attack helicopter with a guided missile. Russia intervened in Syria to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fight the Islamic State.

2017

FEB 27, 2017 NGO rescues off Libya encourage traffickers, says EU borders chief THE GUARDIAN

NGOs who rescue people in the sea off Libya are encouraging the traffickers who profit from dangerous Mediterranean crossings, the head of the EU border agency Frontex has said. Speaking to Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, Fabrice Leggeri called for rescue operations to be re-evaluated and accused NGOs of ineffectively cooperating with security agencies against human traffickers. Reopening a row with charities and leftwing groups, Leggeri said 40% of recent rescue operations at sea off the north African country were carried out by non-government organisations, making it impossible to check the origins of the migrants or their smuggling routes if the NGOs did not cooperate.

Luise Amstberg, refugee spokeswoman for the Greens in the German parliament, denounced Leggeri’s comments. “The number of dead would be much higher without the tireless commitment of non-governmental organisations so we are indebted to these organisations,” she said. A spokesman for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said there was no evidence of a lack of cooperation. In his interview, Leggeri said that under maritime law everyone at sea had a duty to rescue vessels and people in distress. “But we must avoid supporting the business of criminal networks and traffickers in Libya through European vessels picking up migrants ever closer to the Libyan coast. “This leads traffickers to force even more migrants on to unseaworthy boats with insufficient water and fuel than in previous years.”

He also claimed some NGOs cooperate poorly with EU security agencies, which “makes it more difficult … to gain information on trafficking networks through interviews with migrants and to open police investigations”.
MSF labelled the charges “extremely serious and damaging” and said its humanitarian action was not “the cause but a response” to the crisis.

APR 5, 2017 Benghazi Hero Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto: Susan Rice is a Pathological Liar FOX BUSINESS

As controversy continues to mount regarding former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the role she played in “unmasking” the names of Trump officials prior to the President taking office, former Army Ranger and Benghazi survivor Kris “Tanto” Paronto of the American Legacy Center simply believes “she’s a liar.”

“Pathological or not, she continues to lie. There needs to be some repercussions. The people in D.C., and these last three years with me dealing with this Benghazi issue, I’ve seen that a lot of them think they are untouchable,” Tanto said during an interview on the Fox Business Network. “Trump has really been given the opportunity to show, or set an example and show that these people are not untouchable.”

Rice has denied any foul play and defended her requests of Trump officials as routine. She was also responsible for advocating that an anti-Islam YouTube video was responsible for the Benghazi attack.

MAY 17, 2017 ISIS creating chemical weapons cell in new de facto capital, US official says CNN

US intelligence believes ISIS is bringing together all of its experts on chemical weapons from Iraq and Syria into a new “chemical weapons cell,” according to a US official. The cell is comprised of chemical weapons specialists from Iraq and Syria who have not previously worked together, the official added. The new unit is being set up in an ISIS-controlled area in Syria within the Euphrates River Valley, between Mayadin, Syria and the town of al Qaim, just across the Iraqi border.

That location has sparked a good deal of interest on the part of US military intelligence. One US defense official told CNN that “thousands” of ISIS operatives and sympathizers may be in the area and that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi could also be in hiding somewhere nearby. The area is now considered the “de facto” capital of ISIS, with Raqqa under such military pressure from the coalition and local forces, the official said.

JUN 9, 2017 Remarks by President Trump and President Iohannis of Romania in a Joint Press Conference WHITE HOUSE

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  President Iohannis, thank you for being here.  It’s an honor to welcome such a good friend of America to the White House.  

As you know, the people of Romania and America share much in common — a love of freedom, proud cultures, rich traditions, and a vast and storied landscape to call home.  The relationship between our two countries stretches back well over a century.  But today we especially reaffirm and celebrate our strategic partnership that began 20 years ago next month.  That partnership covers many dimensions, including economic, military, and cultural ties.  And today we are making those ties even stronger. 

Mr. President, your visit comes at an important moment not just in this partnership, but among all of the responsible nations of the world.  I have just returned from a historic trip to Europe and the Middle East, where I worked to strengthen our alliances, forge new friendships, and unite all civilized peoples in the fight against terrorism.  No civilized nation can tolerate this violence, or allow this wicked ideology to spread on its shores.

I addressed a summit of more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders — a unique meeting in the history of nations — where key players in the region agreed to stop supporting terrorism,   whether it be financial, military or even moral support.

The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level, and in the wake of that conference, nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behavior.  So we had a decision to make:  Do we take the easy road, or do we finally take a hard but necessary action?  We have to stop the funding of terrorism.  I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding — they have to end that funding — and its extremist ideology in terms of funding. 

I want to call on all other nations to stop immediately supporting terrorism.  Stop teaching people to kill other people. Stop filling their minds with hate and intolerance.  I won’t name other countries, but we are not done solving the problem, but we will solve that problem.  Have no choice.  

JUN 9, 2017 Trump urges Qatar to end terrorism funds, disrupts ties with U.S. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

President Trump assailed Qatar for funding terrorism “at a very high level” Friday, just hours after the U.S. State Department urged Arab states to ease their blockade against the Gulf country. 

“The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level,” Trump said Friday during a joint news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, noting it was in the wake of his first foreign visit to the Middle East in May that “nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behavior.”

Trump added: “I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding—they have to end that funding, and its extremist ideology in terms of funding.”

The president’s remarks stood in stark contrast with comments Tillerson made only hours before. In a televised statement Friday, Tillerson called on the Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt to ease the blockade imposed on Qatar earlier this week, noting the country’s emir had made progress in addressing the concerns raised by its neighbors. Tillerson added the blockade was having a humanitarian impact on the country, as well as on U.S. interests in the region (Qatar is home to Al Udeid Air Base, the largest U.S. military base in the region).

This isn’t the first time the U.S. has shifted its posturing since this crisis in Qatar began. While Trump seemingly praised the six Arab countries (Libya and Yemen were also among them) Tuesday for their decision to sever relations with Qatar, the president later reiterated in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Wednesday the importance of a “united” Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional body of which Qatar is a member, offering to help resolve the dispute.

It’s unclear what impact the president’s remarks will have on the diplomacy.