Tuesday morning, breaking news in the UK is that a car bomb attack on the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya, has caused substantial damage. Early reports claim that two guards were injured but there are no other reports of casualties or fatalities. This could change. Updates will follow.A car bomb is suspe
cted but not confirmed. The blast occurred at about 7am local time. The embassy is in a middle-class area of the Libyan capital. Apart from the embassy there are residential properties and shops such as BHS and Marks and Spencer.
The blast blew out windows in the vicinity of the embassy.The embassy building has been extensively damaged.
A security wall surrounding the property and two parked cars were destroyed in the attack. At time of writing the reasons for the bombing are not known. Suspicion that it was an Islamist motivated terrorist attack, a reprisal for France's involvement in Mali and parts of the Maghreb has been voiced.This is the first such attack in Libya since the civil war, although there have been others elsewhere, such as Benghazi.
All are indications that all is not well in Libya since the fall of the Gaddafi regime.Sky news later reported:
Libyan foreign minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz condemned the attack on the embassy, calling it a "terrorist act". "We strongly condemn this act, which we regard as a terrorist act against a brother nation that supported Libya during the revolution" of 2011 that ousted the regime of Moamer Kadhafi, Abdel Aziz told AFP news agency at the scene of the blast.
In Paris, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius condemned the bombing, calling it an "abhorrent act." In a statement, Mr Fabius said his ministry was "in liaison with the Libyan authorities" and that France will "do everything it can to shed light on the circumstances of this abhorrent act and to quickly identify the perpetrators".
In September 2012 the US Ambassador in Benghazi was killed. Chris Stevens and three other Americans died when the American consulate was attacked. This week US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been questioned regarding the murder of these citizens.
The attack happened on the anniversary of 9/11. British nationals in Libya were already playing a more cautious game, they still are. Clinton is accused of failing to protect the ambassador and the others that died. A request for improved security at the embassy compound was allegedly ignored.
The Business Insider reports, 'In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens' life.'
Wouldn't it be both ironic and tragic if Stevens was killed by a former ally?
Media reports claim that Abdelhakim Belhadj and other Libyan rebels were instrumental in the civil war in Syria. "He met with Free Syrian Army [FSA] leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey" in an effort by the new Libyan government to provide money and weapons to the growing insurgency in Syria."
Various reports show links between Libya and the Syrian rebels. It is speculated that vast amounts of Libyan weaponry have been shipped from Libya to support the Syrian opposition. Weapons dating back to the time of Qaddafi. Tough Jihadist fighters in Syria are Libyans, but they are not wanted by the FSA, Free Syrian Army.
So where does the late Chris Stevens and the Embassy fit into all of this?
According to jihad watch, 'Ambassador Stevens may have indeed been the point man in yet another U.S-led gun running scheme. From what can be pieced together thus far, the Muslim Brotherhood and its proxy, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) leader Abdulhakim Belhadj, were advising the U.S. on which rebel-factions in Libya and later, in Syria, should receive our arms. Those rebel factions, by the way, comprise members of al Qaeda, which stands to reason given that bin Laden’s alma matter is in fact Muslim Brotherhood progeny.'
The latest evidence indicates that US agents, including Stevens, were fully aware that heavy weapons were being moved from Libya to Syria. 'Retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin—who is the former commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command, the former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence' believes that the US was either supporting the Syrian rebels or was about to do so, via Benghazi.
The question many are still posing is, was Ambassador Stevens running guns to Syrian rebels. The CIA deny this.
The truth may never be known. If it is, that time could be well into the future. An uncertain future due to western interference. The West was so keen to oust the likes of Mubarak in Egypt, Qaddafi in Libya and now Assad in Syria, but why?
The people in these countries are not the first to be oppressed. They are not the first to revolt. What made their plight so appealing to the West? If you believe it was the humanitarian crisis I would say that you are wrong.
Oil will feature in the 'master plan'. However perhaps Islamist militants have a 'master plan' of their own and we are being sucked into it, hook, line and sinker.
Whatever drew the West in, we are now embroiled in a potential disaster. Our interference and manipulation has left a power and security vacuum across a wide swathe of the Middle East and North Africa.
It has allowed groups of Islamist militants to gather, increase in size and spread their terror reach far and wide.
Was Ambassador Stevens gun running? You tell me.
An ongoing scandal in the USA involving the Top Brass could be just simply a case of men who cannot keep it in their pants (Jeremy Kyle saying) or political intrigue. With a looming investigation into the murder of US ambassador Stevens in Libya the resignation of General Petraeus
is perhaps just too convenient.Search a little online and you will see claims that the embassy was a hotbed of CIA activity and more. General Petraeus who resigned quickly this weekend following a breaking extramarital affair scandal was due to testify in the coming weeks on the death of Stevens. Now he will not have to testify. How very convenient.Today the scandal has spiralled further out of control. Scandals sometimes spread like wild fire.
They can easily consume all in their path. The latest "casualty" is General John Allen. Early indications are that he will keep his job but that may not be so easy. Accused also of having an affair he could find himself in deep water. As a still serving officer in the military it could be that he has broken miltary law. If that is the case Allen may find himself charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.This latest scandal leaves many questions demanding answers. Was the CIA using the Libyan Embassy for its own ends? How much was the fall of Gaddafi engineered by the West? Are we the West interfering in Syria and beyond for our own mercenary means?
Has the Arab Spring actually benefitted the people of the Middle East?Has the USA yet more blood on its hands?
Will the truth come out?Related reading:
Remember Moussa Ibrahim? Last year he was the face and voice of the dying Gaddafi regime in Libya
. Even when it was clear that the end game was in sight for Gaddafi, Ibrahim continued to offer daily doses of spin. In the end when the regime toppled he vanished to who knows where.Perhaps it is fitting that on the first anniversary of the capture and summary execution of Muammar Gaddafi, Moussa Ibrahim has been located.Mr Ibrahim was found and captured in the Libyan town of
Tarhouna, just 40 miles south of Tripoli. Not far from the seat of power of the country. Libya's government will no doubt be happy that one more supporting strand of the old regime is cut. However what they will do with Ibrahim is important. If the new Libyan government are "better" than the Gaddafi one he must face a fair trial.He was apprehended by Forces lyal to the new government. The latest news is that he has been moved to Tripoli. Here he will face inerrogation. There have been reports during this year that he has been captured but all have proved to be false. This one however appears to be true.UpdateWithin a short space of time the have they caught him or not scenario was played out. Moussas Ibrahim or persons representing him have posted an internet recording denying that he was caught. Even a senior Libyan official has cast doubt on his capture. Was it all just spin utilising the first anniversary of Gaddafi's death? If it was then someone with links to the new government could be playing the old Gaddafi games of spinning news. Don't they all do that though?
Libya has been the scene of violence following outrage by Muslims in the country. Those involved were angry that a film which they claim disrespects their Prophet Mohammed had been produced. A mob was soon incited to go on the rampage and deaths have followed.
The American Embassy in Benghazi was attacked by a violent crowd using a rocket launcher. American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others died in the attack. This would normally be classed as an act of War. It will prove a hard situation for President Obama to resolve. For the dead and their loved ones the tragedy is unresolvable.
Benghazi was a stronghold of rebels fighting the rule of Gaddafi during last year's uprising. Many in the West wondered just who the rebels were. Similarly rebels in Syria fighting the Assad regime right now are an unknown quantity. It seems that in the West's haste to rid these countries of unelected regimes weapons and support are being offered to heaven knows who.
US President Obama issued a statement at lunchtime today:
"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives. I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward."
Earlier in the day Mitt Romney had chosen to issue a brief statement which was more aimed at using the incident to attack Obama than serve any real purpose.
The current Libyan government have been quick to blame the attack and killings on factions still allied to the old Gaddafi regime. It was expected that they would do this. They have said that troublemakers in the country have been stirring up religious anger and fervor. However in so many countries in this region strong Muslim faith is evident in all.
However all sides respond does not detract from the death of four people and the volatile situation in the Middle East. Egypt has also experienced violent protests regarding the film.
The timing of the attack may have been significant, launched as it was on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. During the last few months there have been other similar attacks but this is the first to result in deaths.
The film at the centre of the violence is called The innocence of Muslims. The man behind the film, Sam Bacile, an Israeli Jew, is now said to be in hiding. Made in July the film grabbed the attention of those in the Middle East after an Arabic version was thoughtlessly posted online. Perhaps though the idea was to anger and incite a mob.
Florida Pastor Terry Jones is also promoting the film. He is well known for inciting religious hate. Shame on him. What must his God think?
Around 100 wealthy Jews are said to have helped raise the money to make this film. They are keen to portray the Muslim faith as a "cancer". Their choice of word not ours. That reminds us of how the Nazis in World War Two treid to portray the Jewish faith.
Opinion: The way some Jews behave never ceases to amaze this blogger. As a race and faith which has experienced bitter hatred down the years you could be forgiven for believing they would want to preach peace. That they would want to happily co-exist with others. Instead all too many want to exterminate others, notably Muslims.
Those responsible for the movie or perhaps that should be this piece of garbage appear to believe that promoting such hatred will help Israel and its people to survive.
Religious hatred is deplorable, no matter where it comes from. It is no good hiding behind your religion and screaming anti semitism and the like when you have incited violent reaction.
Religion continues to be used by mankind for its own ends. In doing so it is just another weapon of war and hate.
RIP to those caught in the crossfire.
Libya was one of a long line of Middle Eastern countries to experience unrest and revolution in 2012. Libya was somewhat different to countries such as Tunisia in that the country's self styled leader Muammar Gaddafi still had some support and was prepared to fight to the bitter end.
Ultimately the regime was defeated and Gaddafi summarily executed. What Libya does have in common with other ME countries which have experienced the "2011 Arab Spring" unrest is that peace and democracy remain elusive. Those that banged the drum for Libya have in truth not seen the mission through to the end.
Countries such as Libya have had a tribal base for years. Afghanistan is similar. This could mean that democracy, as we know it, is impossible. Democracy is our way of life but that does not mean it is fit for all. Western democracy is now so flawed that it is far from perfect. However for the West it is the best alternative available to date.
Libyans go to the polls tomorrow and violence in Libya has been increasing.
Today July 6, 2012, Al Jazeera
has reported on some of the violence.A helicopter was forced to land after being struck by gunfire. It was carrying election papers. One man was reportedly killed. Earlier in the day rockets hit a medical centre though no injuries were reported. And on it goes. The latest breaking news is that protesters in Benghazi are threatening to close tomorrow's scheduled polls.
Watching protesters on the streets once again in places such as Libya and Egypt it is all too easy to think "what the hell do these people want?" In truth of course they want a free and fair election with a corruption free government. As we all know that can be elusive, no matter where in the World you live.
Having been prepared to put their all on the line in a bid for democracy surely the Libyans deserve a resolution at last? Disputes over the allocation of constituent seats and tribal differences, in the 200-member national assembly, may however mean that peace will remain elusive.
Tags: Libyan election, Benghazi rockets, Helicopter struck, Libya, Gaddafi
According to the BBC today, April 9, 2012, successive UK governments have lied to the British people. No surprise there really. Today's report involves the case of a man extradited to the Gaddafi regime in Libya.
Abdel Hakim Belhaj's was deemed a terror suspect by the Gaddafi regime. Currently he is the commander of the Tripoli Military Council.
The BBC report claims, "Mr Belhaj says he was tortured in jail. Successive UK governments have denied complicity in rendition or torture."According to their report though their denials have all been lies. The report goes on:A letter from an MI6 officer refers to Abdel Hakim Belhaj's rendition to Libya. It congratulates the Libyans on the "safe arrival" of the "air cargo". Mr Belhaj says he was tortured in jail. Successive UK governments have denied complicity in rendition or torture.But BBC correspondent Peter Taylor says he understands Mr Belhaj's rendition was given ministerial approval. However it is not clear at what level of government the decision was authorised.
The letter from the senior MI6 officer, Sir Mark Allen, to Col Gaddafi's intelligence chief, Musa Kusa, was found last year in the rubble of Musa Kusa's headquarters, which were bombed by Nato. As well as congratulating the Libyans on the arrival of the "cargo", it points out that "the intelligence was British". The letter was sent in 2004 when Mr Belhaj was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. MI5 believed the group was close to al-Qaeda and involved in recruiting young Muslims in Britain to fight in Iraq.""it appears MI6 had discovered that Mr Belhaj was in Malaysia and about to head for London in the hope of obtaining political asylum. MI6 informed its foreign intelligence partners, and as a result Mr Belhaj was intercepted in Bangkok, presumably by the CIA, and rendered to Libya. Our correspondent says the letter suggests MI6 was complicit in Mr Belhaj's illegal rendition and alleged torture in Libya - but that MI6 was not acting unilaterally. He says his understanding is that MI6 obtained authorisation from the Labour government of the time for its action." says the BBC correspondentOpinion:
Each such report that becomes public raises more questions. How many innocent people have had their lives ruined on merely a suspicion without a trial? How many times do government's cover up such stories? How come this man could be shipped to Libya? Why did the government feel the need to lie?And for this blogger how come we keep extraditing our citizens to the US
on flimsy evidence but cannot send Abu Qatada
back to his own country of Jordan for fear of his human rights being infringed?
However perhaps what galls the most is that according to the BBC report The Labour Foreign Secretary back in 2004, Jack Straw, flatly denied any government involvement. He reportedly said last year,"We were opposed to unlawful rendition. We were opposed to any use of torture or similar methods. Not only did we not agree with it, we were not complicit in it and nor did we turn a blind eye to it." He added: "No foreign secretary can know all the details of what its intelligence agencies are doing at any one time."Challenged with this latest information Mr Straw's office had no comment to make.
I bet it didn't. Is there any wonder that so many people do not trust any politician nor any political party?
Source and full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17651802
Tags: Libya, Gaddafi, Jack Straw, rendition, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, Abu Qatada, Chirstopher Tappin, UK extradition
March 8 is international Women's Day.
This Day is a celebration of just how far women have come since the start of the last century, but also about how far some have yet to go. It may be an American celebration but most women in the West have experienced positive changes during their lives. The International Day link begins: "
International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. 1908
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women's oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights."In Middle Eastern countries though Women's rights are under attack.The Arab Spring of 2011 brought about significant changes in many Middle Eastern countries. These countries though are now far from settled. Democracy remains a distant hope for some. Libya is one country that is in turmoil.Since Colonel Gaddafi and his regime were ousted from Libya it looks as if women's rights in that country are dwindling.
Gaddafi may have been a tyrant, a despot or worse but he encouraged some women's rights in Libya. Media sources have reported that Libya's new leaders are looking to adopt Sharia law which will set back women's rights decades in Libya, and what would be centuries in the West. Polygamy may sound appealing to a man who want's to take on many wives, but what of women?The Libyan revolution was helped by female members of the population but their reward could be a step back to the "dark ages".
Mustapha Abdel Jalil, the current Libyan leader, is facing many challenges. Tribal wars and divisions in Libya are growing. Jalil is not an elected leader. He has links to the old regime. His promise of Sharia law must surely be a cause for concern to women and the West who helped bring about Libya's regime change. The NATO alliance which changed the face of Libya created as many issues as those it solved. Internal divisions look set to split Libya.Concerns regarding Sharia law in Libya have been raised more than once in recent months. Claims if acts of cruelty by the new
governing body tend to go unreported. The Libyan people deserve a good outcome after fighting hard to remove Gaddafi and his regime. This means all Libyan people, not just men. Will the West sit back after being complicit in the changes in Libya? Will it ignore the plight of Libyan women?
Report on possible polygamy in Libya at Russia Today here
At midnight tonight, October 31, 2011, NATO forces will leave Libya. Whether special operation forces will still have a presence in the country is not clear. Western governments would of course say, no they would not.
One more step on the road to democracy has been taken today as Libya appointed its interim Prime Minster.
He has been named as Abdel Rahim al-Kib who was previously an electronics engineer and academic. It could be that his face is familiar to you, as he has been shown on western TV plenty in recent weeks. As part of the NTC, National Transitional Council of Libya, he has played a leading role.
He has always given a calm, logical and intelligent view of matters but other than that his political skills will be few. Will he simply be a puppet of the West? That too remains to be seen.
Tthe NTC hopes to have an elected government within eight months but there is still much to do. Apart from the physical and structural damage to Libya there are mental and social scars. More than anything Libya needs to be able to unify its people.
The interim PM was elected having received 26 of the 51 votes from NTC members. He beat four other candidates. Well at least he was not just appointed, although he has not yet been chosen by the people. This will take time.
By 2013 the NTC hope that there will be multi-party elections in Libya. Having fought hard and lost so much you have to wish Libya and its people the luck needed.
Saif al Islam is one of Muammar Gadafi's sons. He had been heir apparent to his father, and his right hand man.
He has been on the run since Libya imploded and there have been various rumours concerning his whereabouts and whether or not he is still alive. Earlier this week it was rumoured that he was heading toward the African country of Niger. Now it seems he may be already there and wanting to hand himself over to the ICC or International Criminal Court. Other reports claim he is heading for Zimbabwe.
The ICC has said that it has been in indirect contact with Saif. Although he is a wanted man, charged with crimes against humanity, the ICC has assured Saif he will be classed as innocent until proven guilty.
Gaddafi's son is certain to feel wary. His father was slain in murky circumstances. An ICC member said, "The office of the prosecutor has made it clear that if he surrenders to the ICC, he has the right to be heard in court, he is innocent until proven guilty. The judges will decide."
Saif knows that there are few hiding places. The arrest warrant against him was issued in June 2011 and he has been on the run since. Niger have said that although he is free to enter the country they will obey the law and hand him over.
Of course his greatest concern right now will be what could happen to him should he fall into the hands of the new Libyan authorities. For some though it would just seem poetic justice.