The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis but transformed into the Islamic State since it declared its caliphate at the end of June, has turned into a strategic threat of the first magnitude, writes David Gardner. What looked like a black-shirted horde of jihadi fanatics, taking opportune advantage of a demoralised army in a dismembered Iraq, is a movement of a qualitatively higher order than al-Qaeda, dwarfing anything the followers of Osama bin Laden were able to throw at the Middle East and the world.
Isis is consolidating its hold over a third of Syria, which it used as the springboard for its surge over the Iraqi border in June. Now it is putting down roots in almost a third of Iraq, and striking east into Kurdistan and west into Lebanon. The Iraqi army melted in the face of this onslaught, surrendering Mosul, Tikrit and a string of towns in the north and centre of the country as well as an arsenal of US-supplied heavy weapons, leaving Iraq wide open to this jihadi menace.
The lightning advance of these Sunni supremacists has caught defenceless minorities, such as Christians and the Yazidi sect, in its path, facing them with the ultimatum to convert or die. Isis openly threatens the Shia – a majority in Iraq but a minority in Islam – with extinction. Fanning out with discipline and deliberation from its cross-border stronghold in the upper Euphrates valley, battle-hardened in Syria and tactically astute, Isis is well on the way to creating a new Afghanistan in the heart of the Middle East, and opening a corridor to the east Mediterranean.
This British report makes it quite clear that ISIS/Islamic State is more dangerous by a large margin than al- Qaeda. Why does Obama use drone attacks in many countries against al-Qaeda, and even American citizens, yet ignored ISIS until they were a bigger threat than al-Qaeda ever was?
Could it be related to many reports that Obama helped arm the Syrian rebels, including ISIS?
Katie Kieffer | Apr 29, 2013 Now, Clinton is denying even knowing about the program, although the evidence indicates it was largely her idea. Of course everything happened under Obama’s watch and the buck stops with him. The story of Obama’s gun-running program in Benghazi is long and multifarious, so I will break down the timeline for you:
May 26, 2012: Stevens arrives in Tripoli, the capitol city of Libya and sets up camp at the U.S. embassy.
Last summer, Clinton first proposed a plan to then-CIA Director David Petraeus to partner on a gun-trafficking program to arm the Syrian resistance and “vet the rebel groups, and train fighters who would be supplied with weapons,” according to The New York Times.
June of 2012: The New York Times reports that the CIA is operating a secret arms transfer program that sounds exactly like the plan Clinton developed with Petraeus. Suddenly, there is: “…an influx of weapons and ammunition to the rebels.”
September 5, 2012: A Libyan ship called Al Entisar (“The Victory”) docks in the Turkish port of Iskenderun, carrying 400 tons of cargo including many weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) destined for Syrian rebels 35 miles away from Iskenderun. The ship’s captain told the Times of London that the Muslim Brotherhood and the free Syrian Army broke into a fight over the arms.
September 10, 2012: Stevens arrives in Benghazi, Libya, the location of the U.S. consulate. About a mile away from the consulate, is the CIA annex. Stevens planned to stay at the consulate for five days. His visit was supposed to be secret, but Libya-based extremists somehow learned of his arrival.
September 11, 2012: Stevens has an unusual meeting with Turkish diplomat Consul General Ali Sait Akin. Fox News reported that the meeting was “…to negotiate a weapons transfer, an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham confirmed on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” that Stevens was in Libya to specifically control a situation: “…where the action was regarding the rising Islamic extremists who were trying to get their hands on weapons that were flowing freely in Libya…”
9:40 p.m. (Libya time): Libyan rebels launched and organized an armed attack against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
10:04 p.m. CIA base chief at the nearby CIA annex calls for help including 50-caliber machine guns and vehicles from the Libyan intelligence, the 17 February Brigade and other Libyan militias. After 24 minutes of calls and no response, the CIA base chief takes a small team of seven people to the consulate. They were too late to save Stevens, but were able to save some State Department personnel.
11:56 p.m. CIA officers and the State Department members are seeking safety back at the CIA annex. There, rebels attack them with rocket-propelled grenades. Fighting continues on until 5:26 a.m.
6:00 a.m. Libyan forces suddenly arrive to “aid” the American team with 50 vehicles.
It is odd that the annex was attacked with same sort of weapons on the Libyan ship and that Stevens was reportedly in Benghazi to manage some sort of arms transfer.
Sen. Rand Paul said on Aaron Klein Radio: “First of all with regard to Benghazi, I think it’s important [to determine more about the apparent gun-running program] because it may have something to do with why the compound was attacked. If we were involved with shipping guns to Turkey, there was a report that a ship left from Libya towards Turkey and that there were arms on it in the week preceding this [attack]; there were reports that our ambassador was meeting with the Turkish attaché, so I think with regards to figuring out what happened at Benghazi, it’s very important to know whether or not the CIA annex had anything to do with facilitating guns being sent to Turkey and ultimately to Syria. http://townhall.com//katiekieffer/benghazigate-obamas-secret-gunrunning-program
Another story about, from an US General, also long before ISIS took over Western Iraq:
(CNSNews.com) -January 22, 2013 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 and who, in the 1990s, worked with the CIA—told CNSNews.com in a video interview last week that he believes it is a reasonable supposition that the U.S. was supporting or planning to support the Syrian rebels via Benghazi, Libya.
The CIA, however, says Boykin’s supposition is erroneous and that the U.S. was not conducting or planning covert action to support Syrian rebels through Benghazi.
“These assertions are both baseless and flat wrong,” a CIA spokesperson told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.
Boykin, who retired from the Army in 2007, believes that such an action, or planned action, would help explain why Amb. Chris Stevens was in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, visiting that city for the first time since he had departed from it in November 2011 after having served there as a special envoy to the Libyan rebels who overthrew the Qaddafi regime.
“Then what was Stevens doing there on September 11 of 2012?” Boykin said in an interview with CNSNews.com. “More supposition was that he was now funneling guns to the rebel forces in Syria, using essentially the Turks to facilitate that. Was that occurring, (a), and if so, was it a legal covert action?” http://cnsnews.com/news/article/former-special-forces-commander-was-us-running-guns-syrian-rebels-benghazi-cia-no