Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted explicitly for the first time on Wednesday that the attack on the US consulate in Libya that killed four Americans including the ambassador, was a pre-planned attack by al-Qaeda militants in Libya.
Clinton made the statement at a special US meeting on the security situation in North Africa. “Now, with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions,” she told world leaders at the meeting.
“And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions under way in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi,” she added.
The Obama administration’s initial public comments attempted to paint the attack on the consulate as part of the spontaneous protests that occurred at many US diplomatic buildings around the world in response to the offensive anti-Muslim film that went viral on the Internet.
Even though the administration had strong indications within 24 hours of the incident that it was a terrorist attack, it took more than a week for them to admit it publicly and until Wednesday to admit it was planned by al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The incident illustrates how unstable Libya remains following the US-NATO air war there last year, which helped rebel militias depose Muammar Gadhafi and bring the current leadership to government. But that government is not in control of the country and the rebel militias, many of which committed serious crimes throughout the war and past its end, have refused to disarm.
The power vacuum in the country invited an influx of al-Qaeda militants, which seems to be a recurring theme in post-9/11 foreign policy.
But that hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from moving to make the situation even worse in Libya and the broader region of northern Africa. “The United States is stepping up our counterterrorism efforts across the Maghreb and the Sahel,” Mrs. Clinton added, “and we’re working with the Libyan government and other partners to find those responsible for the attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi and bring them to justice.”
The Obama administration’s secret wars in Africa are now expanding faster than before as a result of the recent crises.
“Ad hoc global ‘counter-terrorism’ efforts that began under President George W. Bush, and were encouraged by Obama, have now become institutionalized — and the bureaucracy that wages U.S. ‘secret wars’ will continue to expand for the next couple of years, particularly in Africa,” Oxford Analytica, a global advisory firm found in a recent assessment.
“Reliance on Special Forces and the CIA will increase in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future as conventional force numbers decline and move into a supporting role.”
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