What exactly were we doing in Benghazi anyway?

As our Lady Liberty reported yesterday, General Petraeus’ alleged mistress, Paula Broadwell, told an audience last month that the American CIA was using the Benghazi annex of the US Consulate to detain al-Qaeda prisoners from Libya as well as from other areas in Africa.  The CIA has denied these claims of course, but Fox News is now reporting that independent sources have confirmed that the CIA had been holding at least three Libyans prisoner in the annex “for days” before the September 11 attack.

This revelation, combined with an analysis of events that have transpired within the region during the last several months, has led to speculation about what the United States was trying to do in Libya in the wake of the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.  Dr. Stephen Bryen lays out the scenario in this article, published by Pajamas Media.

The speculative storyline goes something like this:  The US wants Gaddafi out of power in Libya but doesn’t know what group of “rebels” it should trust.  With the help of Syrian “rebels” the US finds a group of Libyan rebels it believes are trustworthy.  The US realizes that the ouster of Gaddafi will present a serious regional security risk, since Gaddafi had a considerable cache of weapons at his disposal including thousands of MANPADS (shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles).   And the US had, according to official sources, no “boots on the ground” in Libya at the time of Gaddafi’s death.  So how does the US secure those weapons?

Here’s where the story gets interesting: in exchange for help from the Libyan rebels with locating and securing Qadaffi’s weapons, speculation has now arisen that the US allowed a controlled flow of some of those weapons between the Libyan rebels and the rebels fighting in Syria.  But here’s the hitch – both groups of rebels are somehow affiliated with al-Qaeda.  Perhaps dealing with the devil was the only feasible way to obtain at least some measure of security with regard to Gaddafi’s left-over weapons.  Or maybe the Obama administration felt that by extending an olive branch to al-Qaeda affiliated rebels who were fighting a common enemy (Gaddafi) they could somehow use this relationship to lessen the threat of the al-Qaeda activity that has been brewing for years in Africa.

Whatever the reasons, it seems that the situation soon spiraled out of control.  A Syrian government plane was reportedly downed by a shoulder-launched missile in August.  It’s not unreasonable to assume that if the US suddenly tried to halt the arms flow between Libya and Syria, radical factions within al-Qaeda would react.  Throw in the possibility that the Benghazi annex was being used by the CIA to house al-Qaeda prisoners, and you have the perfect scenario for an al-Qaeda attack.  The potential presence of MANPADS would also explain why the US was so hesitant to send aircraft into the area to thwart the attack and save its personnel.  A replay of the botched 1980 attempt by the Carter Administration to rescue the Iranian hostages would have been a disaster for the Obama Administration less than a month before the presidential election.

There are certainly enough pieces of evidence that don’t quite add up, based on official explanations offered by the CIA, the State Department, and the White House.  We need answers, because right now “Smart Diplomacy” seems to be huge misnomer for what the Administration has been doing in the Middle East.

ADDED: I neglected to mention that a secret arms deal with Syrian rebels directly contradicts the official US position, which was clearly that the US would not arm Syrian rebels.  If this speculation turns out to be true, the Obama Administration will now have to face its own “Iran-Contra” scandal.  No wonder Hillary is resigning.

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