the vessel "al entisar," flying under the libyan flag, arrived at belen turkey, port of iskenderun on september 6, 2012 according to the report filed by fox news reporters catherine herridge and pamela brown on october 25, 2012. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/25/was-syrian-weapons-shipment-factor-in-ambassadors-benghazi-visit/ . this story/link has been previously discussed by me, and i am now completely convinced as advanced by the fox report that the "al entisar" ("the victory") was carrying weapons from libya to turkey for distribution to the syrian opposition of bashar assad's regime.
it may interest you to know that the port of iskenderun is about 10 miles west of the syrian border with turkey. you drive south a bit to hatay, turkey, and head east for 40 or 50 miles or so on roads clearly mapped by google maps, and you are in aleppo, syria. aleppo is well known from the news broadcasts as being a hot bed of the opposition to assad, and fierce fighting as well as repeated aerial bombing assaults by assad's air force are well known.
in my previous post, it is discussed that the fox report relates that arms from the "al entisar" were distributed to al queda and the muslim brotherhood after docking. based on the above, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where the weapons are going.
it is about 1000 miles or so of open ocean from benghaza to the iskenderun port, and just about in a straight line on the maps if you swing slightly north from benghazi and head northeast just north of cypress. i don't know where the sea lanes go, but, assuming a speed of 10 nautical miles or so from "al entisar," it looks an easy 4 or 5 days sail, or so. maybe a little longer, if she is a little slower, and she looks neithe sleek nor fit.
now, just about everybody in the world knows about her, and reference to a libyan mystery ship appeared in the first dispaths i read about benghazi. it was theorized that she was carrying weapons, and the fox news report confirms this. if she arrived at iskenderun of 6 september 2012 it is quite likely that she left the vicinity of benghazi sometime around 1 or 2 september 2012.
it is illegal to run guns to syria, you know, both by united nations resolution and a euro union embargo, which i have discussed in a previous post here. it is not often a country boy gets a scoop on the big time press & bloggers, but i am unaware that anyone else has ever mentioned this in the context of benghazi. http://wintersoldier2008.typepad.com/summer_patriot_winter_sol/2012/10/president-obamas-gun-running-scheme-of-arms-to-syrian-rebels-violates-international-law-in-all-proba.html .
the u.n. resolution banning the shipment of weapons to syria, to anyone or any faction which might use them, is found in joint security council resolution 2042 (2012) passed 21 april 2012.
now, generally speaking, if someones old tub is shipping illegal arms on the open seas the naval forces of n.a.t.o. and the united states are quite eager to interdict them, board them, and seize the cargo and escort the vessel to port where all sorts of legal things and other unpleasantness are worked out about what to do with the weapons.
this vessel and her cargo, if not her exact whereabouts seem to have been known by everyone.
and, i am assuming, for purposes of argument, (and because i would be a dull ass if i did not, given the attendant circumstances), that the everyone who knew about the arms shipment would have included the united states state department, c.i.a. and the 6th fleet, and the turkish authorities in charge of the port of iskenderun who quite obviously witnessed the taking of the cargo from the ship, and its loading onto vehicles headed for syria.
it would seem to me that there can be little serious doubt, proved by the vehemence of the denials received when and if this is ever broached to the appropriate authorities, that the other appropriate authorities that who knew of this "clandestine" shipping of arms would have included the united nations, (which imposed the embargo, please remember), the naval authorities of the various n.a.t.o. countries and forces which prowl the mediterranean, and the government of libya.
i am also assuming, because they seem to both have a talent for knowing this sort of thing, that the israelis and russians also knew of these shenanigans.
which brings me to my next topic.
you may also assume that the russians were pissed off beyond belief about this. and, you would be right. this post, at the examiner.com, dateline november 3, 2012 by kimberly dvorak, speculates that the soviets (yes, i know about their little difficulties w/ the u.s.s.r., but, i still view them as the soviets, or, at the very least, the soviet remnant) were so angry about this that they must be considered as a potential source of the al queda raid upon the u.s. consulate in benghazi. http://www.examiner.com/article/was-romney-right-about-russia-the-benghazi-connection-1 . that's the way i read the article, and you should read it to see if you don't agree.
the first thing you will note when you read this article, is that the author firmly endorses the "theory," (which i regard as established fact) that chris stevens and the united states of america were running guns to the syrian opposition, ... , read that as al queda and the muslim brotherhood.
it’s also been reported that ambassador stevens had been meeting with multiple terrorist representatives in benghazi. according to a washington times story, “the evidence suggests that the obama administration has not simply been engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the middle east. starting in march 2011, when american diplomat j. christopher stevens was designated the liaison to the “opposition” in libya, the obama administration has been arming them, including jihadists like abdelhakim belhadj, leader of the al queda franchise known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group… It now appears that stevens was there — on a particularly risky day, with no security to speak of and despite now copiously documented concerns about his own safety and that of his subordinates — for another priority mission: sending arms recovered from the former regime’s stocks to the “opposition” in syria.
just one hour before the fateful attack that cost steven’s his life, obama administration officials say stevens met with turkish consul general ali sait akin. This acknowledgement opens the door to arms trafficking. Prior to the benghazi attack stevens was warned about a ship sent from libya and docked in turkey loaded with arms intended for the anti-assad rebels that may actually be destined for al-qaeda fighters in the region. apparently, after the meeting between stevens and ali sait akin did not result in an agreement to end the u.s. lead anti-assad arms shipments, the turk abruptly left the meeting and the u.s. benghazi consulate was attacked an hour later.
now, i don't subscribe to the rather open suggestion that the consulate was attached because turkey was angered by the gun running. to me, to suggest that just don't hold up to logical examination. let us start with the very salient fact that "al entisar," docked in a turkish port, and very openly off loaded her cargo. had the turks been angered or off put or upset about arms crossing across the bit of turkey en route to syria, then turkey could simply have interdicted them at the dock, and arrested all involved.
i don't think the turks would have been intimidated in the least by the open presence of al queda and muslim brotherhood thugs loitering around and about her docks, and would have simply arrested or shot them if they had interfered in her police activities.
in the second place, the turkish navy could have interdicted the vessel off the turkish coast, and seized the offending cargo under the authority of united nations joint security council number 2043.
and, finally, rather than machine gun an american consulate, all turkey had to do to put the kibosh on the whole matter would have been to announce the scheme, exposed it, and forced the other n.a.t.o. powers to acknowledge what was going on, and by pressing the issue, have forced n.a.t.o. and the united states to interdict the cargo on the high seas.
well, not finally, not just yet. had the turks been angry, an age old technique would have assuaged their concerns. money. the turks are nothing if not a little flexible and worldly when offered large bribes. a little greasing of the palms would have taken care of the turks, as it did when saddam hussein ran his weapons of mass destruction into syria to avoid their capture, and he bought the turks off to prevent american interdiction of his smuggling? huh? you remember, when the u.s. tried to obtain permission to stage in southern turkey in order to invade iraq in the north. the turks refused. it is because saddam convinced them by a very large bribe to do that.
the turks know the highest bidder when they see him. they are not offended by such matters. and, if a little nerve gas in syria didn't bother them then, a few russian missiles won't bother them now.
so, i am not buying the suggestion that turkey launched an attack upon the united states.
if in fact the assault upon the embassy were spurred by a foreign power i think the author on firmer ground viewing the soviets as a potential source, and also gives a more cogent rationale for the motive to do so, then sketched out as regard the turks and a made turkish envoy.
as to what other nation might have been angered by the u.s. gun running scheme, the author notes the reply of a former director of the united states c.i.a., as he reveals a potent source of animus to the u.s. activities by a power angered by the western attack on syria:
in an interview with this reporter in san diego, retired cia/nsa director michael hayden (general, usaf ret) said the libya incident “was predictable.”
so why leave benghazi open? hayden said, “i can’t explain that.” however, he concedes the most plausible explanation for the benghazi incident centers on the cia’s efforts to move weapons from libya through turkey and to the syrian rebels in order to overthrow syrian dictator bashar assad.
“i think the story is that this (moving arms) was going to go to the sunnis that opposed assad. and assad is russia’s friend,” hayden said.
and, russia was very angry with the united states for bringing pressure on syria and assad, and jeopardizing russia's only real hold on geo-political influence in the mediterranean, and by extension, into north africa. remember the pitiful little missile cruiser with the after thought flight deck on it, the "carrier" that russia said to the med just recently. (the sister ship if not the identical design to china's first carrier, for which she does not yet have planes to fly off the deck.)
and, russia would have had very good cause to be angry about the u.n., n.a.t.o. and the united states being so damned pious about gun running, even while hip deep in their own gun running scheme. especially in an area the russians have taken to regarding as their "back yard," sorta. even if they cannot quite get to it, because it is too far and outside their influence & power. still, it would be a nice place to visit.
she buttresses her argument that russia had sufficient motive to encourage such an attack, if not to plan, launch and man in, by further advancing other evidence of russian motive, and russian glee over the attack such as made on her social media (apparently college football players aren't the only idiots in the world.) she writes:
another curious piece to this puzzle is russia. did they have a part to play inside benghazi and was presidential contender, mitt romney right that Russia remains a threat to the u.s.? [yes, the russians ebe and the flow, but, they always have the same aim. the sea. or, the ocean. someday, someday, they want to reach the mediterrean. jjjay]
the russian response, under former kgb cold war foe valdimir putin, who was visibly incensed last fall when a jubilant crowd of rebels murdered his ally, muammar qaddafi, has described the event as “repulsive and disgusting.”
shortly after the death of u.s. ambassador in libya, numerous russian commentators used social media to describe their position on the destabilization in libya.
“the democratized residents of libya thanked the staff of the american embassy for its support,” one tweet read. “this is what you call exporting democracy, it seems. america gives libya a revolution, and libyans, in return, kill the ambassador.”
aleksei k. pushkov, the head of russia’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, wrote via twitter: “under qaddafi they didn’t kill diplomats. obama and clinton are in shock? what did they expect – ‘democracy?’ even bigger surprises await them in Syria,” a new york times story read in September.
it is no secret that putin disagreed with the west’s view of syrian ruler assad. when putin was prime minister, he delivered a scathing criticism of the libya bombing by nato and left the impression that under his leadership it would have never happened.
it’s also worth pointing out that russia and china have consistently opposed any military intervention in syria. russia and its allies have repeatedly warned the west that efforts to aid syrian rebels would only bring more bloodshed to an already embattled region. also, the russians have been demanding a cessation of u.s. aid to the syrian rebels fighting president assad, again noting that any military aid would destabilizes the entire region, and could have serious economic consequences for russia.
would these circumstances have angered the soviets sufficiently that they would have dared an act tantamount to the declaration of war against the united states?
you'll have to ask the russians. but, i think the author correct in pointing out russian anger over this issue very fundamental to their security, and their interests in the world. and, you have to conclude, that the russians would be a lot less reluctant to embark on this sort of adventure with bark "no bite" obama as president, than say with ronald reagen or the bushes.
i think it is entirely plausible that the russians would dare to act, such as to encourage al queda to strike, and may have even provided them with intelligence on the placement of fleet assets and force deployments, had al queda requested such help. the russians know a weakling when they see one, and would have feared no reprisal from obama: stern tongue lashings and wicked stares don't bother them very much.
which brings me to these observations.
one, i am stirred to remember another odd little exchange between mitt romney and barack obama at debate no. 3. do you remember when they got into the curious argument over who presented the greatest risk to the united states, and mitt romney said flat out, russia. as this debate occurred after benghazi, i am now of the opinion that mitt romney was trying to suggest to our rather dim bulbed president that perhaps there was russian involvement at benghazi.
two, i have always been very curious at leon panetta's incredibly lame remarks about being hesitant to put troops on the ground, without real time intelligence telling commanders & war planners just exactly what they will be dealing with when they hit the ground. this puzzled me. i do not regard panetta as stupid, though i would not trust anyone connected w/ bill clinton as far as i could throw him. though panetta is the best of the lot.
this remark, of course, has been properly ridiculed by every military person i have read who has written on the subject. to summarize, they have said, such remarks dishonor our soldiers and marines and seals, because they are trained to deal with such circumstances. and, i think quite properly, that these people are absolutely insulted and humiliated that a secretary of defense would openly say that his people could not kick the absolute living shit out of a couple hundred al queda types in open battle. and, i think a good number of them positively relish the notion of coming across a bunch of them in such numbers in an open fight.
al queda kills our soldiers with i.e.d.'s and indigenous assassins w/ bombs. al queda has always gotten the shit kicked out of it in battle, especially in duels of small arms and the nastier tools of a warrior's trade craft. this is true, and all know it, to include american servicemen and al queda fighters.
but, what if panetta were expressing a concern that he alone knew valid, but could not express?
what if panetta feared russians on the ground with al queda? if russian had a part in the planning of this operation, might panetta have had some knowledge of it, and might he feared american soldiers confronting russian advisers and agents in combat.
was this the source of a legitimate fear? or, was panetta just blowing smokes up our collective asses, as in fact i suspect. the russians are simply too smart to be leaving dead bodies behind, evidencing their involvement.
and, i have heard of no credible suggestion or hint, that they were there.
i suspect, however, that the author's thesis in this post from the examiner that russian had some involved, at some level in all this, is quite plausible. to my mind, even quite probable.
but, i have seen nothing that suggests that the attackers were comprised of anyone, save local al queda assets.
it makes, however, a very interesting read, and something to be closely considered.
john jay @ 11.04.2012
p.s. this author, whether intentionally or not, also presents a thesis which is entirely opposed to the notion that al queda somehow intended to kidnap chris stevens and then "sell him back to the united states" for the return of the blind sheik to the middle east, and that obama and clinton "were in" on that.
unless of course, the russians directed that whole negotiation from behind the scenes. well, they are malevolent bastards, aren't they? but, that seems a bit strained.
so, does this post point to the russians? or, is it designed to point suspicion away from obama.
there is something about this whole affair that i have not like the "feel of" from day one.--
[i am sorry. i simply cannot bring the typepad word processor to bear w/ this text. it picks up a wierd code from somewhere and it is impossible to excise. my sincere apologies. john jay]