Advocating on Behalf of the American Military and Defense on the War on Terror

Was the President Gun-walking Guns to Jihadists? Frank Gaffney examines the connection.

President Obama’s once seemingly unstoppable march toward re-election hit  what he might call “bumps in the road” in Benghazi, Libya, late on Sept. 11, 2012. It might be more  accurate to describe the effect of the well-planned and -executed,  military-style attack on a diplomatic facility there as the political equivalent  of a devastating improvised explosive device on the myth of the unassailability  of the Obama record as commander in chief.

Thanks to intrepid investigative reporting — notably by Bret  Baier and Catherine Herridge at  Fox News, Aaron Klein at WND.com and Clare  Lopez at RadicalIslam.org — and information developed by congressional  investigators, the mystery is beginning to unravel with regard to what happened  that night and the reason for the subsequent, clumsy official cover-up now known  as Benghazigate.

The evidence suggests that the Obama administration has not simply been  engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over  or are ascendant in much of the Middle East. Starting in March 2011, when  American diplomat J. Christopher  Stevens was designated the liaison to the “opposition” in Libya,  the Obama administration has been arming them, including jihadists like Abdelhakim  Belhadj, leader of the al Qaeda franchise  known as the Libyan Islamic  Fighting Group.

Once Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown, Stevens was appointed ambassador to  the new Libya run by Mr.  Belhadj and his friends. Not surprisingly, one of the most important  priorities for someone in that position would be to try to find and secure the  immense amount of armaments that had been cached by the dictator around the  country and systematically looted during and after the revolution.

One of the places in Libya most awash with such  weapons in the most dangerous of hands is Benghazi. It now appears that Stevens  was there — on a particularly risky day, with no security to speak of and  despite now copiously documented concerns about his own safety and that of his  subordinates — for another priority mission: sending arms recovered from the  former regime’s stocks to the “opposition” in Syria. As in Libya, the  insurgents are known to include al Qaeda and  other Shariah-supremacist groups, including none other than Abdelhakim  Belhadj.

Fox News has chronicled how the Al Entisar, a Libyan-flagged vessel carrying  400 tons of cargo, docked on Sept. 6 in the Turkish port of Iskenderun. It  reportedly supplied both humanitarian assistance and arms — including deadly  SA-7 man-portable surface-to-air missiles — apparently destined for Islamists,  again including al Qaeda elements, in Syria.

What cries out for further investigation — and debate in the remaining days  of this presidential election — is whether this shipment was part of a larger  covert Obama effort to transfer weapons to our enemies that could make the Iran-Contra scandal, to say nothing of Operation Fast  and Furious, pale by comparison.

Investigative journalist Aaron Klein has  reported that the “consulate in Benghazi” actually was no such thing. He  observes that although administration officials have done nothing to correct  that oft-repeated characterization of the facility where the murderous attack on Stevens and his colleagues was  launched, they call it a “mission.” What Mr.  Klein describes as a “shabby, nondescript building” that lacked any “major  public security presence” was, according to an unnamed Middle Eastern security  official, “routinely used by Stevens and others to coordinate with  the Turkish, Saudi and Qatari governments on supporting the insurgencies in the  Middle East, most prominently the rebels opposing Assad’s regime in Syria.”

We know that Stevens‘ last  official act was to hold such a meeting with an unidentified “Turkish diplomat.” Presumably, the conversation involved additional arms shipments to al  Qaeda and its allies in Syria. It also may have  involved getting more jihadi fighters there. After all, Mr.  Klein reported last month that, according to sources in Egyptian security,  our ambassador was playing a “central role in recruiting jihadists to fight  Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.”

It gets worse. Last week, Center for Security Policy senior fellow and former  career CIA officer Clare Lopez observed that  there were two large warehouse-type buildings associated with the so-called “consulate” whose purpose has yet to be disclosed. As their contents were raided  in the course of the attack, we may never know for sure whether they housed — and were known by the local jihadis to house — arms, perhaps administered by the  two former Navy SEALs killed along with Stevens.

What we do know is that the New York Times — one of the most slavishly  pro-Obama publications in the country — reported in an Oct. 14 article, “Most of  the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel  groups fighting the government of Bashar Assad are going to hard-line Islamic  jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to  bolster.”

In short, it seems President Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a  massive scale. The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not  only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us  and our allies as well. That would explain his administration’s desperate and  now failing bid to mislead the voters through the serial deflections of  Benghazigate.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy  (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of Secure  Freedom Radio on WRC-AM (1260).

 

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