During the rebellion against Gaddafi and in the aftermath of his death, Libya and North Africa became a staging ground for a dizzying array of operations by SpecOps, paramilitary, and international private military contractors working for everyone from European nations to multibillion-dollar oil corporations.
At the same time, militant Islamic groups began taking advantage of the power vacuum across North Africa and consolidated their strength in places like Benghazi instead of sending their home-grown fighters abroad to Afghanistan and elsewhere. These groups were keeping JSOC in business. Meanwhile CIA operatives fanned out across Libya searching for Gaddafi’s stores of chemical weapons and yellow cake uranium.
Amid this caldron of (often violent) covert activity, diplomats like Ambassador Chris Stevens were in-country attempting to practice statecraft and establish relationships with the new leaders of Libya.
This chapter aims to provide a sense of the scale and scope of the “secret war” raging in Libya that created the conditions for three of the major players mentioned above-State Department diplomats, CIA and JSOC covert operators, and militant Islamist groups-to collide on 9/11/12.
On December 17, 2010, Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi was immortalized by setting himself alight in protest to harassment by local officials in Tunisia. Tarek’s self immolation and the disclosure of documents which showed evidence of government corruption by Wikileaks fueled a revolutionary movement in Tunisia that ultimately unseated the government in early 2011.
What became known as the Arab Spring then jumped to Egypt in a campaign of civil disobedience against authoritarianism that much of the Arab world had waited nearly fifty years for. The leadership of both Tunisia and Egypt were soon toppled while protests were breaking out all across the Middle East.
With protest movements directed against authoritarian regimes springing up throughout the Middle East, people took the streets and quickly taking control of Benghazi before moving into Tripoli. Libyan security forces attempted to fight back against the protestors.
By March of 2011 NATO nations, joined by Sweden, Qatar, the UAE, and Jordan enforced a no fly zone over Libya and began bombing Libyan military and pro-Gaddafi targets. Many questions remain as to why the Western elites shifted from a policy of accommodation and even cooperation with Libya to one of providing airstrikes for the Arab Spring movement. Why the Arab Spring represented a real movement by people with legitimate grievances against their government, to what extent Western Intelligence services exploited this movement to their own ends remains unknown.
What we do know is that the British SAS landed in Libya at some point, probably the secretive intelligence gathering component of the SAS called “The Increment” which works alongside MI-6. Elite Counter-Terrorist operators from America’s Delta Force deployed to Libya as “analysts” which allowed President Obama to declare that America did not have any boots on the ground but was simply providing air support for the rebels. The reality was that Delta Force had a small contingent teaching the rebels in the finer points of weapons and tactics. However, they probably took a backseat role when it came to combat, allowing the rebels to fight and die for their country rather than putting themselves in a position where they could be killed or captured by Gaddafi’s forces.
If there was any question as to the threat of Americans getting captured by enemy forces, you can look at an American who was captured while fighting with the rebels. Matthew VanDyke made friends with a number of Libyans while traveling through the country on a motorbike tour in 2008. When he talked to his Libyan friends over the phone during the uprising in 2011, he decided to join the fight. Not long after returning home from the civil war, SOFREP interviewed Matthew about his experiences in Libya.
There were front lines. Thanks to NATO intervention the sides were evenly matched enough on the ground that it never really devolved into a guerrilla war, at least not in eastern Libya where I was fighting. The terrain on the eastern front lines was flat, open desert, which also limited the ability to use guerrilla tactics. We didn’t really have night vision gear and the enemy had very little, ruling out night operations. The rebels also didn’t have enough time to train, or enough experience, to be effective with guerrilla warfare. We also had an appalling lack of intel, and very little communications equipment which made coordinating attacks difficult. The enemy did hit us at Ra’s Lanuf with a hit and run attack while I was in the city, and I was part of the mission to search the desert for the attackers afterwards.
At the beginning of the war we mostly had small arms. The heaviest thing I saw before my capture was the DShK machine gun, although I do know that rockets were being used by our side at that time. When I escaped prison and returned to the front lines things had dramatically changed. There were a variety of rocket launchers, AA guns, and 106s mounted on technicals, GRAD trucks, and tanks. The artillery, GRADs, and tanks operated as organized, coordinated units, but the majority of rebels were small militias consisting of technicals, and many rebels and militias operated largely independently.
As a result, the front lines were basically both sides throwing an incredible amount of rounds at each other day after day, often without visual confirmation of the enemy, and often from great distances which meant a sometimes constant whizzing of bullets over your head fired from unknown positions. There were a lot of snipers, a lot of mortars and rockets, and a lot of seemingly random firing in the general direction of the enemy by both sides. Life or death was largely a matter of luck.
Often times you would just see muzzle flashes of the enemy, or nothing at all. Eventually the gunfire from the other side would die down because a few were killed or were flushed out and retreated, and we would advance. It was town to town, treeline to treeline, street to street, and building to building. Usually they’d put up a good fight for the day, withdraw a bit at night, take up new defensive positions, and be waiting for us as we advanced the next day. They did a good job of predicting where our rally points would be, and had zeroed on them to hit us with mortar and rocket fire when we arrived.
Read Next: Will There Be a Third Civil War in Libya?
Most of the combat was along the coastal highway, so the front lines were predictable and well-defined. Once inside of Sirte the situation changed somewhat and several fronts opened up, and the lack of intel and communications equipment (some rebels had radios or satellite phones but most did not, and our jeep did not) made it extremely dangerous in terms of not knowing where the enemy was at any moment, and the danger of friendly fire. Friendly fire was always a major concern given the lack of intel and communication, and the fact that very few rebels had enough training with firearms and firearm safety.
Combat was exactly what you’d expect in a popular revolution fought by citizen soldiers. It was like something you’d expect to see after the apocalypse. Motley crews of freedom fighters in pickup trucks with a lot of weapons and little training, firing a ton of rounds in the direction of the enemy and trying to gain some ground each day. We fought with mostly 1970s and 80s Soviet weaponry. There wasn’t much body armor – I only got a used vest a few days before the war ended and it didn’t have any plates in it. I only wore it for some protection from shrapnel. I never had a helmet. The only protective gear that I had consistently were ballistic shades.
It really was just like in the media reports. And at times strange. I saw dead camels in the street in Sirte, and camels standing around calmly in the middle of combat.
I had around 40 engagements during the war. I kept notes of each one to keep track
Matthew was captured while conducting a reconnaissance patrol to the town of Bregna. His patrol was ambushed, and was knocked unconscious in the process. He woke up in a Libyan jail cell and was imprisoned by the Internal Security Agency and placed in Maktab al-Nasser Prison. He remained imprisoned for 165 days. Finally, rebels advanced towards the prison and other escaping prisoners freed Matthew allowing him to link back up with his rebel friends and continue to fight Gaddafi’s forces.
Private Military Companies (PMC’s) were also on the ground during the Libyan civil war. British oil companies dispatched military contractors to Libya to help extract their workers and secure expensive pieces of oil drilling equipment in shades of Executive Outcomes Port Soyo landing in Angola during the 90’s.
Others were working for various intelligence agencies.
Among the PMC’s in Libya at this time were SECOPEX of France, led by Pierre Marziali, Blue Mountain Group of the UK, Canada’s Garda Security Group, Control Risks Group, HIS, and the Olive Group also out of the UK, AKE run by former SAS operator Andew Kain, and Galice Security out of France led by former GIGN commando Federic Gallois. MVM, a company that had a large number of CIA contracts at the time, also had people on the ground in the aftermath of the civil war. Rumor has it that they may have been hunting down and destroying Gaddafi’s weapons stockpiles. How involved were other American PMC’s with known agency links such as Xe (select), Triple Canopy, and SOCMG is something that needs further investigation.
(One curious event involving a Private Military Company in Libya happened when the CEO of SECOPEX was executed in Benghazi. Something that often escapes the public and the media alike is that PMC’s are often used as proxy forces by their home countries, giving policy makers at home a certain amount of protection from their electorate when things go wrong. Keeping with the theme of “no boots on the ground” France allegedly dispatched SECOPEX into Libya to serve their interests. In May of 2011, the New York Times reported on vague information coming out of Libya about the company’s co-founder Pierre Marziali. The initial reports sounded strange because the CEO had been killed at a rebel checkpoint but the other SECOPEX employees in the vehicle had been left unharmed. SOFREP sources report that the CEO had been removed from his vehicle, taken aside, and killed. The other French contractors were then sent on their way. It seems that someone saw Pierre as an obstacle in their way. )
With the rebels announcing soon after the war began that they would be opening a central bank and were ready to begin oil exports, it seems like that various intelligence services that wanted to see Gaddafi thrown out of power may have used PMC’s to avoid putting soldiers on the ground. They may have even given money to the rebels under the table to then pay their own PMC’s with.
The South African press has reported that white South African mercenaries were recruited by an oil-corporation employee named Sarah Penfold to save the Gaddafi family. These mercenaries provided close protection for Gaddafi and also evacuated his sister to Algeria. Some speculation holds that these South Africans were recruited to be double agents. First they would build trust with Gaddafi by getting his sister out of the country, but later they would turn on him. What the truth is behind these rumors we may never know.
We do know that the South Africans were protecting Gaddafi when his convoy came under air attack from NATO aircraft. After the bombing a large group of rebels attacked the convoy. The South Africans cut their loses and ran while the rebels moved in and killed Gaddafi. At least one South African mercenary died in the process.
SOFREP corresponded with former SAS Officer Simon Mann in the days after Gaddafi’s execution. Mann, the architect behind the failed 2004 “Wonga Coup” in Equatorial Guinea confirmed that he knew several of the South African mercenaries protecting Gaddafi.
The story gets stranger still. A video showing Gaddafi’s body being dragged and sodomized with a bayonet has voices in the background, voices speaking Spanish with a Colombian accent. Could this misplaced Colombian be working for the UAE’s Reflexive Responses? Set up by Erik Prince of Blackwater fame, Reflexive Responses was established at the request of one of the UAE’s princes. With a core nucleus consisting of Kiwi SAS veterans and South Africans as a counter-terrorist force, the main body of this Private Military company is known to consist of Colombian military veterans.
With only the support of the one prince, Erik Prince was kicked out of the UAE after a falling out over a New York Times story which laid out the terms and conditions of the entire contract. The company still exists but it seems that Prince had been Persona Non Grata in the UAE ever since.
Who the mysterious Colombian heard in the video tape is will be difficult to discern. Too many people across Western Europe and the Middle East wanted Gaddafi dead. It would have been highly embarrassing to have Gaddafi stand trial in the International Criminal Courts and start talking about what governments he had under the table agreements with. This is the same reason that SEAL Team Six had to liquidate Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad Pakistan. Had he been brought back to trial he would have started talking about his associations with the US government when the CIA supported the Mujahedin’s war against the Soviets, calling American foreign policy as a while into question.
Libya seemed to be becoming something of a free for all with Gaddafi loyalists, rebel fighters, mercenaries, jihadists, contractors, as well as SAS and Delta force soldiers running around the battle space. Navigating this mess on behalf of the United States was Christopher Stevens who arrived in Libya as a Special Representative of the State Department during the Civil War.
With NATO enforcing no fly zones over the warzone, there were no commercial flights into Libya so Stevens and his entourage had to come into the country on a Greek cargo ship where they docked in Benghazi. Fluent and Arabic and French, Stevens had served diplomatic posts in Israel, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. He had also served in Libya once previously as the Deputy Chief of Mission between 2007 and 2009. Known for his ability to mix it up with the locals and stroll around the souks of the Middle East on his own, Stevens was by all accounts the right man for the challenging task that lay ahead of him in the midst of a full blown civil war.
By their nature, very little is known about covert and clandestine operations, unless of course something goes drastically wrong.
At five in the morning on April 20th, 2012 a van hurtled over the guard rail on a bridge crossing the Niger river in the West African nation of Mali. In total, six people were killed when the van sunk into the river below. Three were Moroccan prostitutes. One was a US Army Civil Affairs soldier. Another was listed as Civil Affairs as a cover for his real work. The remaining fatality was that of Master Sergeant Trevor Bast assigned to Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) at Ft. Belvoir, also a cover. Bast, and one of the Civil Affairs soldier, were almost certainly members of the elite, but relatively unknown, Intelligence Support Activity.
Intelligence Support Activity, or ISA, operates under various code names which rotate every few years. As a part of JSOC, ISA operators conduct operational preparation of the battlespace for other Special Operations units, usually Delta Force or SEAL Team Six. Previous ISA missions include hunting down war criminals in the Balkans and locating Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Man hunting is one of this unit’s specialties as a part of a robust series of SIGINT and HUMINT capabilities. Like the rest of JSOC, ISA has not been hurting for work during the War on Terror.
Special Operations Forces had been focusing on Africa for a number of years. As Rangers, Delta, and SEALs churned through one High Value Target after the next in Afghanistan and Iraq, strategic planners knew that Islamic radicals would be looking for new places to seek safe harbor and to stage future operations. Blue Squadron of SEAL Team Six culled more than a few Al-Shabbab terrorists in Somalia while Red Squadron executed the USS Maersk hostage rescue mission in Somali pirate waters. Meanwhile, Special Forces and SEALs moved into Uganda under the auspices of ridding the country of the already defunct Lord’s Resistance Army. The British SBS launched a failed hostage rescue mission in Nigeria in broad daylight in March of 2012.
West Africa took a different flavor. Through the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trans-Sahara, Special Forces ODA’s had been training soldiers in Mali to battle Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Making life difficult for the operators working out of the US embassy in Mali was Ambassador Milovanovic who did not care for or trust the military. Compounding the problem, the Defense Attache came from the US Air Force and had a poor understanding of Special Operations missions and capabilities.
In the months immediately after 9/11, Delta Force operators were able to hunt down terrorists in a number of different countries, sometimes unilaterally, usually through host nation counterparts. Eight years later, the bureaucracy had come back in full swing and the days were long gone when missions could be blessed by a handshake between JSOC operators and the ambassador.
The nearby 2011 Libyan civil war also effected Mali, as Gaddafi had been a heavy hitter in the country prior to his being abandoned by his South African bodyguards and executed in the street.
Many tuaregs fighters who had traditionally allied with Gaddafi going back to the 1987 Toyota War with Chad, fought for him during the Libyan civil war in 2011. After Gaddafi was defeated, these fighters returned home with weapons, combat experience, and the motivation to carve our a separate independent state for themselves.
When the coup sparked in Mali, formal US military assistance to the government was withdrawn, however AQIM remained a regional threat, one that no one wanted to see rise to power in the wake of a coup. AQIM was known for kidnapping, mostly European who they made millions in random dollars from each year. Jihadist fighters coming back from Afghanistan also joined their ranks and began making deals with Al-Shabbab in Somalia and the Nigerian Taliban. Reportedly, many of these Nigerians have attended AQIM training camps.
What was ISA doing in Mali when two of their members and a Civil Affairs soldier were killed? AQIM was the main focus, with the Mali coup intersecting with this mission. More than likely these ISA operators were working the intelligence piece for Direct Action operations that would be carried out by Malian military units or airstrikes which would take out AQIM HVT’s.
Sadly, the driver, Master Sergeant Bast, lost control of the vehicle they were riding in. The three Moroccan women were prostitutes more than likely trafficked into Mali from their home country. At the time of the crash, Bast was driving the van south towards a safe house used by one of the ISA operators.
Every Special Operations unit has some black marks on it’s record. Delta Force had Operation Eagle Claw, the failed effort to recover American hostages held in Iran in 1980. SEAL Team Six accidentally killed Linda Norgrove, a hostage they were supposed to rescue from the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pat Tillman died in a tragic friendly fire incident while serving in 2nd Ranger battalion. ISA makes mistakes like the rest of the Special Operations community, but this single incident should not color this unit in a negative light, especially when one considers the volume of their work during the War on Terror, the vast majority of which has gone completely unreported.
It should also not tarnish the image of the three soldiers directly involved. Each contributed years of service to their country.
Meanwhile, in East Africa a U-28 airplane wired up to collect Signal Intelligence crashed in Djibouti. Wired Magazine’s Danger Room reported that, “the crew of the single-engine U-28 had been on a mission that ‘had to do with ISR’ – that is, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for special operations forces on the ground. The U-28 is a small, retrofitted commercial plane that looks indistinguishable from a civilian plane to the naked eye, especially from high in the air.”
Operated by a crew of four airmen, the U-28 could record electronic intercepts and take reconnaissance photos which would be later used by Special Operations troops to conduct combat operations.
Throughout West Africa, various intelligence gathering assets were moved into place. Behind closed doors, President Obama had given his Counter-Terrorism adviser, John Brennan carte blanche to run operations in North Africa and the Middle East provided they didn’t do anything that ended up becoming an expose in the New York Times and embarrassing the administration. In 2012, a secret war across North Africa was well underway.
Sources indicate that ISR platforms like the U-28 that crashed in Djibouti have had a constant presence in the skies over West Africa as well. Operating under the code name “Creek Sand”, these surveillance flights were based out of Burkina Faso but flew over Mali.
With JSOC, Brennan waged his own unilateral operations in North Africa outside of the traditional command structure. These Direct Action (DA) operations, unlike the traditional ISR missions mentioned above, were “off the books” in the sense they were not coordinated through the Pentagon or other governmental agencies, including the CIA. With Obama more than likely providing a rubber stamp, the chain of command would go from Brennan to McRaven, who would then mobilize the men of ISA, SEAL Team Six, or Delta Force to conduct these missions.
This way these operations remained tightly compartmentalized to prevent knowledge of them from leaking to the public, something that the Obama administration had become weary over after getting in hot water due to the leaks they themselves initiated after the Osama Bin Laden raid. Of course the problem became that they had to find ways to “deconflict” JSOC operations with the operations conducted with the CIA and other branches of the military so that they didn’t step on other ongoing missions.
While ISA and others developed intelligence on the ground, a small JSOC element was secretly ferried to the sprawling Naval air-base in southern Europe. A few dozen men strong, this element was in place to conduct operations in Algeria, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria and perhaps other countries as well.
Sometime prior to September of 2012, this JSOC element was directed by John Brennan to conduct combat operations in Libya. These operations targeted a high level Al Qaeda operative who will not be named here out of respect for Operational Security.
With the Libyan Fighting Group essentially defunct, a group called Ansar Al-Sharia, meaning supporters of Sharia Islamic law, is now the most prominent Islamic extremist group in Libya. The group came to some notoriety during the 2011 revolution in which it played a small role in the battle for Sitre. The group may have embellished their actual participation after the fact in order to gain more exposure.
Ansar Al-Sharia gained traction during the Libyan civil war as people took up arms against the Gaddafi regime. On February 20th of 2012 the blast from a suicide bomber tore apart the headquarters for Gaddafi’s security forces in Benghazi–suicide vests are considered by many to be a indicator of a jihadist action.
The group, and its leader, Abu Sufian bin Qumu, hail from the Libyan port city of Derna-a notorious hotbed of Islamic extremism, as mentioned above–but also set up shop in another center for international jihadists: Benghazi. Abu Sufian bin Qumu is actually a former Guantanamo prison inmate who was released from US custody in 2007. Previously, he worked for one of Osama Bin Laden’s companies in Sudan before traveling to Pakistan to wage Jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. In 2001 one he is reported to have traveled into Afghanistan to work for the Wafa Humanitarian Organization, a charity that was actually an Al Qaeda front until he was arrested by authorities in Pakistan after being tipped off by Libyan security forces in 2002.
The Pakistanis then turned Qumu over to the United States where he was transferred to Gitmo in May of 2002.
Unsubstantiated reports point to Abu Sufian bin Qumu as being Bin Laden’s driver, which would indicate that they had a very close relationship. With Bin Qumu released from Gitmo and taking control of Ansar Al-Sharia, one must ask whether or not American intelligence services had “flipped” him while he was held in duress at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility. Is the Libyan terrorist leader a double, or even triple agent?
Whatever the case, he was released from Guantanamo in 2007 and handed over to Libyan security forces until Gaddafi ordered him released with dozens of other dissidents in 2010 to celebrate his 41st year in power and as part of a deal struck former leaders of the Libyan Fighting Group. In a recent interview posted on Ansar Al-Sharia’s facebook page, Qumu claims that he was tortured in Guantanamo and is deeply resentful of the United States.
The group is considered to be in a phase of operations in which is it attempting to grow its numbers from the disenfranchised in Derna and Benghazi, and also running information operations to mold public perceptions through a media outlet called al-Raya Media Productions Foundation based in Benghazi. The group’s I/O message is to depict themselves as the, “defender of Islam and sharia, and highlighting its goodwill and civic activities in Benghazi, such as visits to hospitals and trash cleanup efforts” in an effort to establish credibility and legitimacy with the local population. Such techniques to ingratiate themselves with the public are also seen with groups such as Hezbollah and more recently Syrian Jihadist rebels. While the idea of a kinder, friendlier jihadist group may seem laughable, these are actual advanced propaganda efforts that attempt to mold popular perceptions and are especially dangerous where there is a weak state and failing governmental institutions that leave a power vacuum.
One US government report on Islamic extremism in Libya contains an interesting passage about groups such as Ansar Al-Sharia:
In the process [of creating an Islamic Caliphate], al-Qaeda will seek to undermine the current process of rebuilding Libyan state institutions as a way of preventing the establishment of strong state counterterrorism capabilities that could hinder its ability to grow in Libya. As an example of this strategy, in late May 2012, a video surfaced on YouTube from the previously unknown figure Abu Mus’ab al-Huwari and narrated by the similarly unknown Abu Dujanah al-Aquri, who identify themselves as “mujahidin.” The video threatens to attack the Libyan government if it refuses to withdraw from counterterrorism agreements with the West, or if it allows its territory to be used to attack jihadists in North Africa, which appears to be a reference to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The video appeared after several attacks on international targets in eastern Libya were committed by jihadist groups, including the Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in Benghazi.
In other words, Al Qaeda and other jihadists have the goal not just of establishing a system of Sharia law but of hollowing out any existing state institutions that could threaten their own base of power. This is an important point that would play into future counter-terrorist operations in Libya.
Additionally, Ansar Al-Sharia is known to conduct assassinations and bombing directed against former Gaddafi loyalists and current government officials, attacks that serve as a recruitment tool for disenfranchised youths rather than a means to an end. Around Derna the group has set up various training camps, at least one known to be home to senior Al Qaeda operative Abd al-Baset Azzouz. Azzouz was dispatched to run Libyan AQ operations from Pakistan by none other than Al-Zawahiri to establish a base of AQ operations in Libya.
Ansar Al-Sharia is known as a katiba, meaning battalion, one of many militias thought to be associated with Al Qaeda or generally sympathetic towards jihadist causes. Although it was Ansar Al-Sharia that would attack the US Consulate in Benghazi, it was not Qumu who led the assault but rather another Ansar Al-Sharia leader named Ahmed Abu Khattala who directed the attack on the ground the night of 9/11/12. Abu Khattala made a half hearted attempt to explain to the Associated Press that he was in the consulate to rescue people he heard were trapped inside, but few are buying his story.
Abu Khattala is also the leader of the Abu Obaida Bin Jarrah militia which has joined forces with Ansar Al-Sharia. The Bin Jarrah militia is best known for the assassination of defecting Gaddafi Army Officer Abdel Fattah Younis who was helping to lead the rebellion.
Meanwhile, JSOC counter-terrorism operations began sometime in mid-summer of 2012 which began placing “boots on the ground” inside Libya. With first phase of the Global War on Terror all but over, JSOC is kicking into “GWOT Season 2,” as it were, where North Africa was seen as the most dangerous hub of terror activity.
The nature of these operations remains highly classified. They were never intended to be known to anyone outside a very small circle in the Special Operations community and within Obama’s National Security Council. Ambassador Stevens, the CIA Chief of Station in Tripoli, and the Director of the CIA, General Petraeus, had little if any knowledge about these JSOC missions.
With a small element launching from an airfield in a European nation, JSOC operations targeted Al Qaeda personalities within the Libyan militia organizations. In the weeks before the Benghazi tragedy, they most likely hit a known associate of Al-Suri in order to get him to “up periscope” and increase his visibility, which would then make it possible for JSOC to run a targeted operation to kill or capture him.
The aftermath of one of these secret raids into Libya would have grave consequences for all of them, including former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. SOFREP believes the Benghazi attack on 9/11/12 was blow-back from the late-summer JSOC operations that were threatening the Al Qaeda-aligned militant groups (including Ansar Al-Sharia) in Libya and North Africa, now a leading base of operations for Islamic extremism.
(Featured Image Courtesy: Radio Netherlands Worldwide)
— Coming Saturday, Feb. 2 – Chapter Three: Sitting Ducks —
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