TwitterFacebook

New York Times Investigative Report Destroys Right Wing Myths About Benghazi Attack

“Fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam”
Middle East • Views: 23,518

The right wing narrative on the attacks against the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi is now well-established. It goes something like this:

The Obama administration lied when they initially said the attack was provoked by an American-made anti-Islam video. Actually, it was a well-planned Al Qaeda terror attack that had absolutely nothing to do with the video.

Today, an in-depth investigative report published by the New York Times explores these issues and concludes that nearly everything about this right wing narrative is wrong: A Deadly Mix in Benghazi.

There are a lot of interesting details in the article, but two points are important to note:

  • Islamist groups did indeed use that anti-Muslim video as a rallying point to launch the initial attack.
  • There's no evidence that Al Qaeda or any other international terrorist organization was involved, and no evidence of meticulous planning.

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.

A fuller accounting of the attacks suggests lessons for the United States that go well beyond Libya. It shows the risks of expecting American aid in a time of desperation to buy durable loyalty, and the difficulty of discerning friends from allies of convenience in a culture shaped by decades of anti-Western sentiment. Both are challenges now hanging over the American involvement in Syria’s civil conflict.

There’s much more to this multi-part article, and you should, as always, read the whole thing. But it shows unequivocally that the reality in Libya is far more complex and murky than the simplistic anti-Obama talking points pushed relentlessly by the right.

UPDATE at 12/28/13 4:34:19 pm

This isn’t the first report in the New York Times that retaliation for that anti-Muslim video was a cause of the Benghazi attack, and that it was carried out by local Islamists. In October 2012, a month after the attack, the Times ran a story with reporting from Suliman Ali Zway in Libya, making these same points:

To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck the United States Mission without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as members of a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.

[…]

To those on the ground, the circumstances of the attack are hardly a mystery. Most of the attackers made no effort to hide their faces or identities, and during the assault some acknowledged to a Libyan journalist working for The New York Times that they belonged to the group. And their attack drew a crowd, some of whom cheered them on, some of whom just gawked, and some of whom later looted the compound.

The fighters said at the time that they were moved to act because of the video, which had first gained attention across the region after a protest in Egypt that day. The assailants approvingly recalled a 2006 assault by local Islamists that had destroyed an Italian diplomatic mission in Benghazi over a perceived insult to the prophet. In June the group staged a similar attack against the Tunisian Consulate over a different film, according to the Congressional testimony of the American security chief at the time, Eric A. Nordstrom.

At a news conference the day after the ambassador and three other Americans were killed, a spokesman for Ansar al-Shariah praised the attack as the proper response to such an insult to Islam. “We are saluting our people for this zeal in protecting their religion, to grant victory to the prophet,” the spokesman said. “The response has to be firm.” Other Benghazi militia leaders who know the group say its leaders and ideology are all homegrown. Those leaders, including Ahmed Abu Khattala and Mohammed Ali Zahawi, fought alongside other commanders against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Their group provides social services and guards a hospital. And they openly proselytize for their brand of puritanical Islam and political vision.

They profess no interest in global fights against the West or distant battles aimed at removing American troops from the Arabian Peninsula.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Randall Gross
Android Crypto Blunder Exposes Users to Highly Privileged Malware
The majority of devices running Google's Android operating system are susceptible to hacks that allow malicious apps to bypass a key security sandbox so they can steal user credentials, read e-mail, and access payment histories and other sensitive data, ...

7 hours, 56 minutes ago
Views: 150 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 10 • Rating: 1
Skip Intro
Outside Money Drives a Deluge of Political Ads
WASHINGTON -- An explosion of spending on political advertising on television -- set to break $2 billion in congressional races, with overall spots up nearly 70 percent since the 2010 midterm election -- is accelerating the rise of moneyed ...

1 day, 7 hours ago
Views: 183 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 4 • Rating: 3
Rightwingconspirator
Washington, D.C., Handgun Carry Ban Is Ruled Unconstitutional
I agree. Bans are not an option. Jurisdictions like DC will just have to deal with the fact that regulation is the path. Bans don't work. Bans are illegal and unwise. It's simple. we as a society have chosen to ...

2 days, 2 hours ago
Views: 472 • Comments: 92
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 5
Romantic Heretic
Preventing Poverty Not Allowed As A Goal for Charity
The Canada Revenue Agency (Canada's equivalent of the IRS) has told OXFAM Canada that it cannot list 'preventing poverty' as a goal, only 'alleviating' it. The reason is "Relieving poverty is charitable, but preventing it is not." This is just ...

4 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 460 • Comments: 12
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
FemNaziBitch
Safer Era Tests Wisdom of ‘Broken Windows’ Focus on Minor Crime
While the apparent chokehold fueled much of the initial public outcry, community leaders have begun asking whether focusing police officers so intently on such petty offenses makes sense in a city that is far different and far safer than ...

4 days, 11 hours ago
Views: 351 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Mentis Fugit
Frisson
Over at the quirky Riddled blog, I encountered this music video link. I have the album, but I had last listened long ago, and I had forgotten the lyrics. The lengthy, moody intro slowly drew me back thirty five years, ...

6 days, 20 hours ago
Views: 252 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
BadExampleMan
The painful futility of war
This makes me furious. These men pledged their loyalty to their country and their country betrayed them. It treated them as disposable, throwing their lives away in a war that was premised on lies, that was chosen gleefully, and that ...

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 432 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
MichaelJ
Mick Fanning Wins J-Bay Open 2014
More: MICK FANNING WINS J-BAY OPEN Finals day for the contest was run in perfect Supertubes conditions. Too bad Kelly Slater and Jordy Smith were eliminated in lesser quality surf - it would have been amazing to have both of ...

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 339 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Thrazidun
Paris: Jews Fight Back Against Islamist Mob - Jewish World - News - Arutz Sheva
More: Paris: Jews Fight Back Against Islamist Mob - Jewish World - News - Arutz Sheva

1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 1,003 • Comments: 5
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
GlutenFreeJesus
Gotta love Chicago
Admittedly, I only started following these guys in the past year or two. They have been in the Chicago scene for awhile. And I kick myself after every show for not following them sooner. For any fans of Led Zeppelin, ...

1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 477 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
 Frank says:

If it can be conceived as music, it can be executed as music, and presented to an audience in such a way that they will perceive it as music: "Look at this. Ever seen one of these before? I built this for you. What do you mean, 'What the f*ck is it?' It's a goddam ETUDE, asshole."