Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

What really happened in Benghazi?

(Read article summary)

Mohammad Hannon/AP/File

(Read caption) In this Sept. 14 file photo, Libyan military guards check one of the burnt out buildings at the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif to express sympathy for the death of American ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate.

About these ads

An unidentified member of the Libyan government says the leader of the Benghazi consulate attack has been identified, according to The Los Angeles Times and other US outlets.

Good news – we'll soon know the full truth of what happened on Sept. 11 in Benghazi, how the attack was planned, and how many were involved. Right?

Well, I remain skeptical. While I haven't been in Benghazi in a year and a half, I've been communicating with reporters and friends there off and on for the past few weeks and there are many divergent stories from eyewitnesses, rival militia leaders, and Libyan government officials eager to project an air of stability and authority.

The fact remains that Libya is a complex, chaotic place. While it has had a national election, its national institutions are nominal, at best. The country is overrun by militias in the absence of a strong and respected police force or national military. Members of the nascent government and bureaucracy have divided opinions, loyalties, and personal interests. Metric tons of salt should be applied to almost all claims that are made from Libyan "officials," even more so when they aren't identified by name. 

For today, the blame is being pointed at Ahmed Abu Khattala who, the LA Times and other outlets report – citing unnamed Libyan officials – was an Islamist militant who did time in prison under former leader Muammar Qaddafi and was a leader in the Abu Obeida brigade, an Islamist militia that fought in the uprising.


Page:   1   |   2

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.