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State Dept. Report: Jihadist Leaders of Obama-Backed Libyan Rebellion Fought Against U.S. in Iraq

Published: December 19, 2012
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Source: CNS News

The special Accountability Review Board that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set up to investigate the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, says that among the leaders of the 2011 Libyan revolution that President Barack Obama backed with U.S. military force—but without congressional authorization—were Benghazi-based jihadists who had fought against the United States in Iraq.

The report describes post-revoluationary Benghazi as a “a lawless town … in reality run by a diverse group of local Islamist militias” that had a long history of violent antagonism toward the United States.

“Jihadis from Benghazi engaged in Afghanistan against the Soviets and took up arms against U.S. forces in the post-2003 Iraq insurgency,” says the report. “Many of them reemerged in 2011 as leaders of anti-Qaddafi militias in eastern Libya.”

“Benghazi, the largest city and historical power center in eastern Libya, was the launching point for the uprising against Qaddafi and a long time nexus of anti-regime activism,” says the report. “It also served as the rebel-led Transitional National Council’s base of operations. Eastern Libya (Cyrenaica) had long felt neglected and oppressed by Qaddafi, and there had been historic tensions between it and the rest of the country.”

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