Written by Arnold Ahlert
The Obama administration’s continuing efforts to maintain the narrative that murder of our ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and his three staff members was part of a “spontaneous” demonstration inspired by a “very offensive video” took another hit yesterday. The Debka File is reporting that the executions were part of a carefully orchestrated plan carried out by well-trained al-Qaeda operatives. The 20-man assassination team was given its orders by the terrorist organization’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri. The assassins were all Libyans who had been serving sentences for terrorism under Muammar Qaddafi’s rule. They were freed when Qaddafi was overthrown.
The motive for the executions was revenge. On September 10th, Zawahiri released a 42-minute video confirming that his deputy, Abu Yahya al-Libi, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal area on June 4, according to SITE and IntelCenter. Libi was a jihadst theologian who rose to prominence in 2005 after he escaped from U.S. custody in Afghanistan. Considered al-Qaeda’s best propagandist, his death reportedly dealt a major blow to the organization.
“With the martyrdom of Sheikh Abu Yahya, may Allah have mercy on him, people will flock even more to his writings and call, Allah willing,” Zawahiri said in Arabic, according to a SITE translation. In the video, titled “The Lion of Knowledge and Jihad: Martyrdom of al-Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi” the terror master also referenced President Obama, whom he characterized as a “liar” elected to “trick” Muslims, even as he is “being defeated in Afghanistan.” Zawahiri brought up Warren Weinstein as well. Weinstein is an elderly U.S. aid worker kidnapped by Al-Qaeda just over a year ago in Pakistan. Zawahiri vowed to hold Weinstein until the U.S. released al-Qaeda followers imprisoned in Afghanistan.
According to Debka, the release of that video was a “go” signal for the mission in Benghazi. To disguise the nature of that mission, the assassination team took advantage of the demonstrations allegedly incited by the video “Innocence of Muslims,” storming the consulate in conjunction with the protesters. The gunmen subsequently split into two groups of 10 men each, and carried out their attack in two separate stages.
The first stage involved one group firing rockets at the consulate under the assumption that ambassador Stevens’ armed guard detail would grab him, get him out of the building, and take him to a safe house where he would receive Secret Service protection. According to CBS News, that’s exactly what happened. A Libyan commander told them a convoy of 22 vehicles, two of them armored, fled the consulate, and headed down a road towards the safe house located a mile and a half away.
It was during that trip that al-Qaeda put the second phase of its plan into action. The second group of terrorists apparently knew which vehicles among the convoy contained the ambassador and his armed escort, and they set up an ambush to intercept them. As a result, Stevens and his three staff members were reportedly killed at point blank range. Debka further reports that the investigation by American counter-terror experts and other “clandestine services” is focusing on why no clues of the attack were picked up by any intelligence agency, as well as the failure of surveillance authorities to notice any preparations being made by the terrorist group.
Yet Mohammed Magarief, the president of Libya’s newly elected national congress, while agreeing with Debka’s contention that the attack was deliberate, has offered up a somewhat different take on the players involved. Magarief contends that the Benghazi militia, Ansar al-Sharia, was in communication with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) AQIM is a group whose origin goes back to the 1990s when it was involved in the fight to overthrow Algeria’s secular government. It became AQIM in 2007. Magarief believes it was Ansar al-Sharia that carried out the attack, noting a communication they had with AQIM last Tuesday, during which they discussed the assault on the consulate that night. The attack was a “deliberate, calculated action by a group working in collaboration with non-Libyan elements,” he said in an interview. He warned that Libya remains locked in a battle with extremists who wish to turn that country into a hard-line Islamist state.