News / Middle East

    Clinton Cites Al-Qaida Link to Benghazi Attack

    United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius before a meeting of the Security Council during the 67th United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2012.
    United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius before a meeting of the Security Council during the 67th United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 26, 2012.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists may have been part of this month's attack on the U.S. mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.  
     
    Secretary Clinton says al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and other terrorist groups are using instability in Africa's Sahel region to expand their operations. "Now with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions.  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 said. 
     
    U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi following protests against an Internet video mocking the Prophet Muhammad that was produced by an anti-Muslim filmmaker in California.
     
    The Obama administration says the Benghazi killings were a terrorist attack, but Secretary Clinton's comments are the first to link the violence to affiliates of the al-Qaida network.

    She told a U.N.-organized meeting on instability in the Sahel that the United States is stepping up counterterrorism efforts across the region.

    "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.  But we are also expanding our counterterrorism partnerships to help countries meet their own growing threats.  We’re taking aim at the support structure of al-Qaida and its affiliates - closing safe havens, cutting off finances, countering their ideology and denying them recruits," she said. 
     
    Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf also says the attacks were carried out by what he calls "al-Qaida elements who are hiding in Libya."
     
    President Magariaf and Secretary Clinton met privately on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.  A senior State Department official says the Libyan leader discussed two fundamental threats to Libyan security: extremists with their own agendas and remnants of the former government of Moammar Gadhafi.
     
    Secretary Clinton says strengthening democratic institutions is at the heart of Washington's counterterrorism strategy. "It is democracies that offer their citizens constructive outlets for political grievances, create opportunities for upward mobility and prosperity, and are clear alternatives to violent extremism.  And their success offers a powerful rejection of the extremist ideology of hate and violence as we also saw in Benghazi last week," she said. 
     
    She says civilians in Benghazi who demonstrated against that violence reclaimed the honor and dignity of what she calls a courageous city.  She says the people of the region deserve better from their leaders and deserve better from the international community.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Robert Birdwell from: USA
    September 28, 2012 7:47 AM
    Obama and Clinton supported and helped finance the "Arab Spring" catastrophe and now bitch about how violent and dangerous that part of the world is to western interests. What incredibly evil people Obama and Clinton are.

    by: Briny from: USA
    September 27, 2012 3:38 PM
    Secretary Clinton's PR apparat has spent two weeks stridently denying this story, and suddenly they completely change their direction to make it appear as if they knew it all along. A glaring symptom of the incompetence, incapacity and incoherence of an individual promoted far above her abilities.

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