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. [May I jump in here? Would this be Egyptians, as in Egypt, as in Muslim Brother, Arab Spring, $2 billion of American support yearly? Those Egyptians? – Aggie]
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.
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. [And before her, we understood this from the September 11th 2001 terror attacks, the comments of George W. Bush, etc. – Aggie]
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.
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. [Surely not duress. We don’t do that anymore. Not in the Age of Obama. – Aggie]
Instead, he focused on the chaos unleashed by the recent uprisings throughout the region, leaving large ungoverned areas where extremists can flourish. [Wrong, wrong, wrong. Benghazi was about a crappy movie, actually just the trailer, made by a single Coptic Christian guy living in LA. Hey, he was Egyptian too! Is he part of this mysterious plot? Do we need the help of Encyclopedia Brown? – Aggie]
“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.”
[Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. The Arab Spring. The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. Encouraged by the President of the United States and the Department of State, led by Hillary Clinton. We unleashed this on the world. – Aggie]
Algeria was firmly opposed to the Western intervention to help topple Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya in 2011, and this nation’s conservative leadership viewed the Arab Spring with deep suspicion, making no secret of its desire to avoid any such occurrences.
Small-scale demonstrations here were quickly stifled, and ever since Algerian officials have not hesitated to point at what they see as the connection between popular demands for greater democracy that have swept the Arab world and the rise of Islamist militancy in the region.
So there you have it. Naive foreign policy leads to loss of American life. Even the NY Times notices, although they notice very politely.