From Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Ansar al-Sharia’s Role In Benghazi Attacks Still A Mystery’

Full piece here.

‘It provides security for the city’s main hospital. It’s also a social-services organization and an ideological movement that seeks to bring its corner of eastern Libya under the rule of an Islamic government, according to the group’s own public information and published interviews with its leaders.’

Of course, this could be said of many organizations throughout the Middle East, especially the Levant.  Is Libya any different?:

‘Unraveling Ansar al-Sharia, however, is one of the harder jobs today for U.S. intelligence analysts. The group itself has offered conflicting messages about its role in the Benghazi assault.’

Here’s a relevant quotation by Samuel Huntington which I keep putting up, as I think there is a strong sense of isolationism in the public mind right now, as many Americans are just tired of us being in the Middle East, the long wars, the economy etc.:

“Although the professional soldier accepts the reality of never-ending and limited conflict, “the liberal tendency,” Huntington explained, is “to absolutize and dichotomize war and peace.” Liberals will most readily support a war if they can turn it into a crusade for advancing humanistic ideals. That is why, he wrote, liberals seek to reduce the defense budget even as they periodically demand an adventurous foreign policy.’


From Michael Totten:  Mali is a sign of real trouble, and a potential hotspot:

‘The harshest form of Islamic law in the world is now being imposed at gunpoint. Ancient tombs and shrines are being bulldozed for the exact same reason the Buddha statues were destroyed in Afghanistan. And the place has turned into a rat’s nest of the who’s-who of terrorist organizations operating in North Africa.’

Our national security interests are still very much engaged.

Addition:  Walter Russell Mead suggests the reason four Americans are dead is because the administration has bungled North Africa, and has for awhile.

I’d add that the President’s competence, his ability to make gutsy decisions and have an overall functional strategy while responding to ever-changing conditions are also very much in question.  The President has taken bigger risks, and charted a quite different course for U.S. Foreign Policy.   There is little worse for morale than potentially leaving people behind.  At this point, it’s not clear that the overall vision, let alone its implementation, is working particularly well and that we are responding particularly well to the Islamist and terrorist threats.

Someone please prove me wrong, and make the argument that the current policy, strategy and leadership are working well, but need more time.  If so, why didn’t we get a straight answer on Benghazi from the get-go, and some reassuring words from the President that his strategy was working?

Has the Muslim world has been successfully incentivized to push its more radical members out in the cold and not create safe havens for terrorists, protecting our national security interests?

How much longer can we keep this up, and does this approach bear fruit?  I’d love some examples for reassurance.

Is there a plurality, if not a majority, of moderate Muslims ready to institute democratic reforms and democratic institutions from the ground up in the wake of the Arab Spring given the demographic, economic, and political realities on the ground?

The best case I’ve heard is that Islam’s Old Guard, and the purists’ hold on the public square and the traditions, minds, and rituals of daily life are gradually weakening.  It’s not clear to me this has happened, or if it has, that the purists’ response isn’t more potentially violent and capable of lashing out at the West with its sharp, militant, radical edges.  Either way, it’s still an approach being led by the West often under what are considered to be universally true ideals, and we know that most Muslims and Westerners don’t agree on what the universally true ideals are.

Addition:  As a friend points out, Obama’s approach toward free speech (Nakoula), security (the U.S. military really shouldn’t be operating apart from local militias or internationally “approved” entities) are really quite far to the Left.  The European approach has numerous problems.

Related On This Site:  Jamie Dettmer At The Daily Beast: ‘Was Benghazi Attack on U.S. Consulate an Inside Job?’

Via Fox News: ‘CIA Operators Were Denied Request For Help During Benghazi Attack, Sources Say

From Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Exclusive: Libya Cable Detailed Threats’Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’From Michael Totten’s Blog: ‘Two Hours’From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Al Qaida back in AfPak: Lara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

The rise of Islamism across the region…Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Dit we have this discussion a while ago?:  Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

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