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Clinton Suggests Link to al Qaeda Offshoot in Deadly Libya Attack :

In Africa, al Qaeda, Libya, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton on September 27, 2012 at 12:26 am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday suggested there was a link between the Qaeda franchise in North Africa and the attack at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the American ambassador and three others. She was the highest-ranking Obama administration official to publicly make the connection, and her comments intensified what is becoming a fiercely partisan fight over whether the attack could have been prevented.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meeting with President Mohamed Magariaf of Libya.

Mrs. Clinton did not offer any new evidence of a Qaeda link, and officials later said the question would be officially settled only after the F.B.I. completed a criminal inquiry, which could take months. But they said they had not ruled out the involvement of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — an affiliate of the international terrorist group with origins in Algeria — in an attack the administration initially described as a spontaneous protest turned violent.

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Mrs. Clinton made her remarks at a special United Nations meeting on the political and security crisis in the parts of North Africa known as the Maghreb and the Sahel, particularly in northern Mali, which has been overrun by Islamic extremists since a military coup helped lead to the division of that country this year.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has long operated in the region, she said, and was now exploiting a haven in Mali to export extremism and terrorist violence to neighbors like Libya.

“Now with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions,” Mrs. Clinton told leaders assembled at the meeting, including President François Hollande of France and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. “And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions under way in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi.”

Mr. Ban called the meeting to lay the groundwork for a possible international military intervention — to be led by African troops — to help the new military government in Mali re-establish control over a part of the country that Mr. Hollande noted was the size of France and is now under the grip of Islamist extremists imposing their vision of law and order.

“We cannot stand by and allow terrorists to take over an entire territory,” Mr. Hollande said.

Top militia leaders in Benghazi have dismissed the possibility that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb played a role in the attacks or had a foothold in eastern Libya. Benghazi residents have said they believe the brigade that conducted the attack could not have managed the assault on its own, because it included more than 100 heavily armed fighters.

Mrs. Clinton’s connection of the turmoil in the Sahel with the violence in Benghazi, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, echoed remarks made last week by Matthew G. Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. He said that intelligence analysts were investigating ties between local Libyan militias and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but had not yet come to any conclusions.

A senior administration official said that Mrs. Clinton intended to underscore the rising threat that the Qaeda affiliate and other extremist organizations pose to the emerging democratic governments in countries like Tunisia and Libya, adding that the group clearly intended to make contact with extremists in Benghazi and elsewhere. The final determination of the group’s role, the official said, would await the investigation by the F.B.I.

Mrs. Clinton has also ordered a review of diplomatic security that is being led by Thomas R. Pickering, a veteran diplomat and former undersecretary of state.

It was not clear whether Mrs. Clinton’s remarks foreshadowed any possible retaliation against those who carried out the attack, whether they operated in sympathy with, or on orders from, Al Qaeda leaders. But she reiterated the administration’s vow to bring those responsible to justice, telling the conference that American intelligence and law-enforcement agencies were working not only with Libya but with other nations in the region to investigate the attack.

The cooperation with other nations beyond Libya in the investigations also seemed to indicate that the attack’s planning and execution might have crossed international borders and not simply have been a local, spontaneous eruption of violence in response to an amateurish Internet video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad.

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From the start, Libyan officials have sought to blame foreigners, even as they move to crack down on extremist militias that took part in the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi last year and clearly had a role in the attack. Mr. Magariaf said at least 40 suspects had been questioned, but there was no definitive conclusion about those involved. “It was a preplanned act of terrorism directed against American citizens,” Mr. Magariaf said in remarks broadcast on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday.

The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, defended the administration’s evolving version of events. “Over the course of the past two weeks, this administration has provided as much information as it has been able to,” Mr. Carney told reporters traveling on Air Force One to Ohio on Wednesday. “We made clear that our initial assessment and interim reports were based on information that was available at the time.”

Read the story in it’s entirety here: NYT

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Video & Transcript: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on Transition of NFZ Command

In Libya, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, United States on March 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Libyan opposition leaders to meet with Hillary in Paris today…

In Global News, Human Rights, Libya, Paris, United States on March 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton arrived in Paris Monday to meet with Libyan opposition figures and European leaders to try and make plans to stop Moammar Gadhafi. She will meet the Libyan opposition figures as the Obama administration makes its first high-level contact with foes of Moammar Gadhafi.

Libya opposition to meet with Clinton in Paris today

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will continue on to Egypt and Tunisia in her first trip to address the Arab revolutions. But the window for foreign assistance to Libya is quickly closing.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to meet with Libyan rebel leaders in Paris today in her first overseas trip to address Arab world revolutions since the ousting of former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Her visit comes as the Obama administration shows wariness about offering support to Libyan rebels and Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s forces make surprising gains.

In Paris, Clinton will meet with Libyan opposition figures and meet several European counterparts to discuss military intervention in Libya, the Associated Press reports. France has already recognized the Libyan opposition interim council and, together with Britain, is drafting a no-fly zone resolution to put forward at the United Nations Security Council. But the US has been more reticent to throw its full support behind the rebels.

AP notes that the US regard for rebels “may well depend” on Clinton’s meetings today, since “the [rebel] council’s composition and aims largely remain a mystery to American officials.”

Clinton is due to visit Tunisia and Egypt after Paris to express support for the ousters of autocratic governments there. “We have an enormous stake in ensuring that Egypt and Tunisia provide models for the kind of democracy that we want to see,” Clinton told lawmakers last week, warning them about Iran’s attempts to gain influence across the region, according to the Agence France-Presse.

Even though the Arab League offered a strongly-worded statement of support this weekend for an internationally backed no-fly zone over Libya, saying that the Libyan government had “lost its sovereignty,” Obama on Sunday showed hesitation in committing the US to military action in Libya.

“Anytime I send United States forces into a potentially hostile situation, there are risks involved and there are consequences. And it is my job as president to make sure that we have considered all those risks,” he told reporters, according to the Associated Press. “It’s also important from a political perspective to, as much as possible, maintain the strong international coalition that we have right now.”

The Obama administration has expressed concern about a military that is already spread thin and about being perceived as meddling in another country’s affairs. It has insisted that any military intervention have UN approval and support from the Arab League.

Meanwhile, Qaddafi’s forces have made surprisingly strong gains against rebels, even advancing toward the opposition “capital” of Benghazi in eastern Libya.

After pummeling the key oil town of Ras Lanuf last week, pro-Qaddafi forces moved east to claim Brega over the weekend. Rebels say the next battle will be in Ajdabiya, a strategic town on a junction that leads to both the oil refineries of Tobruk and the self-made rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the Guardian reports.

Although the rebel forces commander said Qaddafi’s forces will face a difficult fight if they try to reclaim Ajdabiya, some members of the antigovernment forces seemed less confident, bemoaning a lack of assistance from other countries and discussing exit plans to Egypt.

According to the Washington Post, reporting from Tripoli, pro-government forces tout reclaiming of oil town Ras Lanuf and Brega as a significant gain. The rebel forces commanders claims his forces made a “strategic retreat” from Brega.

Col. Milad Hussein, an army spokesman, [said] that he did not anticipate a tough battle in Benghazi. He said that the government hopes to resolve the crisis “through reconciliation” with tribal leaders in eastern Libya but that the rebel movement is not proving to be a potent adversary.

“To deal with them you don’t need full-scale military action,” the Libyan spokesman said. “They are groups of people who, when you come to them, they just raise their hands and go. ”

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorism-security/2011/0314/Libya-opposition-to-meet-with-Clinton-in-Paris-today

Secretary Of State Hillary Rodham Clinton On Libya

In Global News, Libya, Madame Secretary Clinton on March 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

HILLARY CLINTON at UN International Criminal Court Part 1

In CRIMINAL COURT, Libya, United States on February 28, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Clinton: US Evaluating All Options To Pressure Libya, Urges Americans To Leave The Country

In Libya, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, New Zealand, United States on February 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: Asked what it will take for the United States to take a tougher stance on Libya, where the government has instituted a brutal crackdown against protestors seeking its ouster, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the Obama administration’s actions so far.

“The United States, starting with what the president said on Friday, what I reiterated yesterday, have made it absolutely clear that we strongly condemn the violence in Libya, that we have called for an end to violence against protesters and those who are seeking the rights that are due to any people anywhere. And we deeply regret the loss of life that has already occurred,” she said at a press conference following a meeting with her Brazilian counterpart.

She told reporters that all options are still on the table.

“We will look at all the possible options to try to bring an end to the violence, to try to influence the government,” she said.

To that end, Clinton said the US wants to coordinate with international partners in creating a unified response to the violence, in large part because, she said, other countries have more leverage with Libya than the United States.

“There are many countries that have much closer relations with Libya than we do, as you know. We haven’t had those relations for many years to the extent that we have the kind of influence that other countries might be able to exercise now,” she said, referencing possible action at the United Nations Security Council and at the Human Rights Council.

“We have to get the international community together, because there is no doubt in my mind that this is now the moment for the international community to act together,” she said.

“We are joining with the rest of the world in sending a clear message to the Libyan government that violence is unacceptable and that the Libyan government will be held accountable for the actions that it is taking,” Clinton added.

Clinton also urged Americans to leave Libya if they can.

“In any situation our foremost concern has to be for the safety and security of our own citizens,” she said. “We urge Americans to depart immediately. If they need help, they should contact the embassy or go to our Bureau of Consular Affairs website for information.”

Earthquake in Christchurch


Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 22, 2011

I am deeply saddened by the news that a second major earthquake in 6 months has struck Christchurch. On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send our sincere condolences and sympathy to the people of New Zealand.

When the earthquake struck, American and Kiwi officials were in the middle of a meeting in Christchurch, discussing plans to further develop and expand the broad partnership between our nations.

The United States stands ready to provide assistance to the government of New Zealand and to the brave people of Christchurch. Our long history of friendship and mutual support in times of need is an example of our enduring bond.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, especially the families of the victims, and with all the people of New Zealand.