Human Events Blog

Ties between Algerian terrorists and Libya are confirmed

The New York Times reports on the wonders of the Arab Spring, which has brought so many people together in a common cause:

Several Egyptian members of the squad of militants that lay bloody siege to an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in the deadly attack on the United States Mission in Libya in September, a senior Algerian official said Tuesday.

The Egyptians involved in both attacks were killed by Algerian forces during the four-day ordeal that ended in the deaths of at least 38 hostages and 29 kidnappers, the official said. But three of the militants were captured alive, and one of them described the Egyptians’ role in both assaults under interrogation by the Algerian security services, the official said.

If confirmed, the link between two of the most brazen assaults in recent memory would reinforce the transborder character of the jihadist groups now striking across the Sahara. American officials have long warned that the region’s volatile mix of porous borders, turbulent states, weapons and ranks of fighters with similar ideologies creates a dangerous landscape in which extremists are trying to collaborate across vast distances.

Sounds like sending a U.S. Ambassador into the bad part of Libya without protection was a great idea!  It’s hard to see how anyone could have predicted anything could go wrong.  It was smart for the State Department to invest so much of its budget on electric cars, instead of wasting it on consular security.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is scheduled to testify before Congress on Wednesday about the Libyan attack that killed the American ambassador and three staff members, raised the specter of regional cooperation among extremists soon after the mission in Benghazi was overrun.

In particular, she said the Islamist militant takeover of northern Mali had created a “safe haven” for terrorists to “extend their reach” and work with other extremists in North Africa, “as we tragically saw in Benghazi,” though she offered no clear evidence of such ties.

Too bad she didn’t raise that specter before the mission in Benghazi was overrun.

Now the Algerians say the plot to seize the gas complex in the desert was hatched in northern Mali as well. Indeed, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the veteran militant who has claimed overall responsibility for the siege, is believed to be based there.

But the Algerian official did not say why the captured kidnapper’s assertion — that some fighters had taken part in both the Benghazi and Algerian attacks — should be considered trustworthy. Nor did he say whether it was obtained under duress.

Instead, he focused on the chaos unleashed by the recent uprisings throughout the region, leaving large ungoverned areas where extremists can flourish.

“This is the result of the Arab Spring,” said the official said, who spoke on condition of anonymity because investigations into the hostage crisis were still under way. “I hope the Americans are conscious of this.”

Obviously the important thing is to make sure no terrorists were placed under “duress.”  We wouldn’t want anyone getting any funny ideas that useful intelligence ever results from making bad people uncomfortable.  Ask the director of “Zero Dark Thirty” about that, if you happen to bump into her at the Oscars.

It takes a lot of effort to pretend that the Obama Administration has a shred of foreign policy competence, but luckily our devoted media is up to the task.  It’s not the President’s fault that he and his cabinet exist in a constant state of surprise concerning the consequences of their actions.  And it’s not as if any other major figures on the American political stage had a clue that something bad was brewing in Mali or “liberated” Libya.

Besides, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton memorably said at her Benghazi hearing in the Senate today, when asked why the Administration peddled a false narrative of make-believe “spontaneous video protests” instead of discussing the international terrorist conspiracy they failed to detect: “What difference does it make?”  Obama got re-elected, after all.

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