Was Ambassador Rice Mostly Right?
This is a follow up to my Benghazi post yesterday.
Ambassador Rice has been vilified for saying this:
“What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, prompted by the video,” Rice said.
According to David D Kirkpatrick at the New York Times she was at least mostly right.
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 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 a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence. (bold mine)
So it was in response to the video but was it spontaneous?
Other Benghazi militia leaders who know Ansar al-Shariah say it was capable of carrying out the attack by itself with only a few hours’ planning, and as recently as June one of its leaders, Mr. Zahawi, declared that it could destroy the American Mission.(bold mine)
So spontaneous might not be that far off. But is Ansar al-Shariah al-Qaeda?
“It is a promiscuous use of ‘Al Qaeda,’ ” Michael Hanna, a researcher at the Century Foundation, said of those charging that Al Qaeda was behind this attack. “It can mean anything or nothing at all.”
Are they terrorists? Without a doubt! Are they al-Qaeda? Not so much. It also appears they have no interest in attacking the West in the West only keeping Western influence out of the region.
Yes the political rhetoric and kangaroo hearing in congress are little more than political hackery.
Cross posted at Middle Earth Journal