Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped Thursday by armed men and taken to an unknown location, the government said.
“The head of the transitional government, Ali Zeidan, was taken to an unknown destination for unknown reasons by a group” of men believed to be former rebels, the government said in a brief statement on its website.
Gunmen broke into the hotel where the prime minister was staying in the capital, Tripoli, and kidnapped him early Thursday morning, Al-Arabiya, a Saudi news channel, reported.
A former Libyan rebel group, The Libyan Revolutionary Operations Chamber, said on its Facebook page Thursday that it had “arrested” Zeidan after the government allowed the United States to capture Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Anas al-Liby in Tripoli last weekend.
The group said it had seized the prime minister “on the prosecutor’s orders,” and added that Zeidan was “arrested under the Libyan penal code … on the instructions of the public prosecutor.”
“His arrest comes after the statement by (U.S. Secretary of State) John Kerry about the capture of Abu Anas al-Liby, after he said the Libyan government was aware of the operation,” a spokesman for the group said.
Benghazi Office of Libya Foreign Ministry Hit by Bomb on Anniversary of Sept. 11 Attack on U.S. Consulate
Security officials say a powerful explosion has caused serious damage to Libya’s Foreign Ministry building in the heart of the coastal city of Benghazi.
The early Wednesday morning blast also damaged the building next door housing the Benghazi branch of the Libyan Central Bank.
The officials said several passers-by were slightly injured by the blast, which blew out windows in nearby buildings. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
More than 1,000 detainees escaped from a prison near the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in a massive jailbreak Saturday, officials said, as protesters stormed political party offices in Libya’s main cities.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the jailbreak at the al-Kweifiya prison came as part of the demonstrations. Protesters had massed across the country angry over the killing of an activist critical of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood group.
Gunmen outside of the prison fired into the air as inmates inside began setting fires, suggesting the jailbreak was preplanned, a Benghazi-based security official said. Those who escaped either face or were convicted of serious charges, a security official at al-Kweifiya prison said.
The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to speak to journalists.
Special forces later arrested 18 of the escapees, while some returned on their own, said Mohammed Hejazi, a government security official in Benghazi. Three inmates were wounded in the jailbreak and were taken to a local hospital, he said.
There also was confusion initially about how many prisoners broke out, with numbers of escapees ranging as high as 1,200.
Washington (CNN) — Several dozen combat-ready U.S. Marines stationed in southern Spain have been put on alert to potentially move into Libya and assist in the evacuation of American personnel if the unrest grows there in the coming days, a senior military official confirms to CNN.The Marines were sent to Spain in recent weeks as part of a new permanent contingency force capable of moving into North Africa very quickly after the deadly attack in Benghazi last year showed military forces were not close enough to assist.
The force in Spain totals about 500 Marines with six V-22 aircraft they can use to move quickly.
The United States has already withdrawn some embassy personnel, but with militants blocking some portions of the city, the military option would be used if personnel cannot get to the commercial airport, the official said.
Thanks to House Republicans, Americans finally got to hear from the State Department officials the Obama administration never wanted to testify. They are now called “whistleblowers,” but that’s only because their accounts of what really happened in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, were buried by the administration, apparently in the furtherance of Democrats’ election-year imperatives.
Soon after the testimony, Democratic office-holders took to the airwaves and the internet to assure liberal loyalists that there was nothing really “new” here. Republicans, by contrast, trumpeted the accounts of Gregory Hicks, Eric Nordstrom, and Mark Thompson before the House Oversight Committee as proof that the administration never told the truth about Libya.
Interestingly, both sides are mostly right. Americans who have followed this incident closely didn’t learn much that they hadn’t already suspected about the sacking of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the murder of four Americans, and the administration’s extraordinary efforts to deflect any accountability for the tragedy by stonewalling, stalling, and issuing a series of misleading assertions about the sequence of events. Yet in hearing directly from Hicks, who was the deputy to slain ambassador Christopher Stevens, Americans can now put a face to that coverup.
Hicks, the second highest ranking State Department official in Libya when the consulate was attacked on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, confirmed the following facts under oath: There were no protests outside the U.S. compound; the anti-Islamic YouTube video denounced by the administration was a “non-event” in Libya and had nothing whatsoever to do with the assault that night; Hicks’ team knew almost immediately that the attack was carried out by terrorists; and all of this information was relayed to Washington in the hours and days afterward.
Hicks is a decorated, 22-year civil service veteran, so his testimony is not easily dismissed. More importantly, it throws into stark relief the actions and public statements of the administration in the aftermath of the attack.
Here is what we know:
More: A Coverup Laid Bare
Additional facts about the Benghazi debacle have surfaced in the last few days, suggesting that the White House is worse than previously documented.
The Benghazi whistleblowers about whom the president claimed to know nothing have been identified and will testify. They are Mark Thompson, deputy assistant secretary of state for counter-terrorism; Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission/charge d’affairs in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, who acted as a regional security officer in Libya for the State Department. The men will tell their stories to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Nordstrom has testified before, and if he was pressured to withhold or alter testimony, we’ll be into a whole different level of scandal.
We know that the State Department inspector general is investigating the Accountability Review Board. It is unclear whether there is overlap between the whistleblowers and the IG’s investigation. Again, if we learn witnesses were suppressed or accounts changed for political reasons, even the mainstream media might have to change its story.
And we know that three al-Qaeda operatives took part in the attack in Benghazi. CNN reports, “Several Yemeni men belonging to al-Qaeda took part in the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi last September, according to several sources who have spoken with CNN. One senior U.S. law enforcement official told CNN that ‘three or four members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,’ or AQAP, took part in the attack.”
If this was known to our intelligence community shortly after the attack, there is further reason to question why administration officials were perpetuating the notion that this was a spontaneous attack prompted by an anti-Muslim video.
More: Benghazi Plot Thickens
“Everybody in the mission” in Benghazi, Libya, thought the attack on a U.S. consulate there last Sept. 11 was an act of terror “from the get-go,” according to excerpts of an interview investigators conducted with the No. 2 official in Libya at the time, obtained exclusively by CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
“I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning,” Greg Hicks, a 22-year foreign service diplomat who was the highest-ranking U.S. official in Libya after the strike, told investigators under authority of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Hicks, the former U.S. Embassy Tripoli deputy chief of mission, was not in Benghazi at the time of the attack, which killed Chris Stevens - then the U.S. ambassador to Libya - and three other Americans.
When he appears this week before the committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Hicks is expected to offer testimony at odds with what some American officials were saying in public - and on “Face the Nation” - just five days after the attack. Benghazi whistleblowers have rallied attention to discrepancies among the administration’s reaction to the attack, which The Weekly Standard suggests was frayed by ever-evolving talking points that sought to remove references to al Qaeda.
On Sept. 16, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice hit the media circuit, appearing on all five Sunday talk shows to dispel the notion that the strike was a premeditated terrorist act and to perpetuate the case that it began “spontaneously” out of protests in Egypt. Rice’s spot on “Face the Nation” that day was preceded by the new President of Libya Mohammed al-Magariaf, who said his government had “no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.”
“For there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens’s front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable,” he said. “I never reported a demonstration; I reported an attack on the consulate. Chris - Chris’s last report, if you want to say his final report - is, ‘Greg, we are under attack.’
The Muslim Brotherhood has proven to be the most organized movement associated bith the “Arab Spring.” They have taken over 50% of the seats in the new parliaments in Egypt and Tunisia. In Libya they have done less well getting only a fifth of the votes.
However, the Justice and Construction party, Muslim Brotherhood, in Libya is planning for the next round. They are organizaing for the effort now. Outside Tripoli, the capitol, the Brotherhood is opening offices in many small towns and organizing the vote for the next election.
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has threatened to take unspecified steps to “protect this nation” after violent demonstrations against his Muslim Brotherhood that the opposition said heralded a crackdown.
In remarks following clashes outside the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on Friday, Mursi warned that “necessary measures” would be taken against anyone shown to be involved in what he described as violence and rioting.
The main problem is that the opposition is so splintered with too many opposition groups and candidates running for elections. No way they can match the Brotherhood organization as they fight among themselves.
I was not a fan of how we (we as in the USA via NATO) deposed Qaddafi or if it was even a good idea since he was “tamed” and was looking to transfer power to his western educated son and I am still skeptical about the end results and this skepticism applies to the American policy of supporting the so called “Free Syrian Army”.
(I know Libya is not the Middle east but I listed it under that)
Libya: Gunmen storm offices of TV network, abduct managers
Published March 07, 2013
CAIRO – The official Libyan news agency says militia stormed the headquarters of a private TV network in Tripoli, looting and smashing equipment before abducting staffers.
LANA says some staffers were released following Thursday’s attack on Al-Assama TV network, but that the militia was still holding the network top two managers.
It’s unclear what prompted the attack.
The network is affiliated with a top political figure leading the largest coalition in parliament.
Mahmoud Shammam, who runs another TV network, told the official Libya TV that he tried unsuccessfully to reach government ministers and security officials to get their help.
Two years after the revolution that ousted and killed Libya’s dictator Moammar Gadhafi, militiamen have filled in security vacuum, operating with impunity with the state relying on them as parallel security forces.
Read more: foxnews.com
What is the point of Republicans continual bitching about Bengazi.
Here’s what we know:
1. In 50 sites, protests against the “Innocence of Muslims” video happened.
2. In Libya, tensions were high from the recent change in regime.
3. There was an attack on an American diplomatic consulate in Bengazi, Libya.
4. Congress had earlier refused to pass a bill to protect our diplomats/State Dept. employees.
5. In Libya, in a non-secured site, Americans died when an attack happened.
6. Partisans parse Ms. Rice’s comment on the Sunday shows for political points.
7. Such parsing continues to this day.
Our ambassador, Chris Stevens, was respected enough that the Libyan citizens tried to get him to the hospital.
And some of our bloggers offered this as “proof” the insurgents would behead Stevens.
W. T. F?