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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dispute Over Libya Attack: Reporter Says Militants Attacked Because Of Video, Not 9-11

Libyan followers of the Ansar al-Shariah Brigades chant anti-U.S. slogans during a protest in September, as part of widespread anger over a film ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The Libyan-based Islamic militant group Ansar al-Shariah is one of the leading suspects in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. (AP/Mohammad Hannon)

Election year politics has clouded public understanding of what happened one month ago during the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In Tuesday’s New York Times, reporter David Kirkpatrick tries to try to clarify what happened and why.

He asks whether the attack grew out of anger over an American-made anti-Islam film, or whether it was waged by al-Qaida operatives seeking to mark the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.

He reports that, to Libyans who witnessed the assault and knew the attackers:

“…there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video.”

Kirkpatrick also reports on whether the group that attacked the consulate could be considered al-Qaida:

“Whether the attackers are labeled “al-Qaida cells” or “aligned with al-Qaida,” as Republicans have suggested, depends on whether that label can be used as a generic term for a broad spectrum of Islamist militants, encompassing groups like Ansar al-Shariah whose goals were primarily local, as well as those who aspire to join a broader jihad against the West.”

Sept. 12, 2012:
David Kirkpatrick’s Here & Now Interview After The Benghazi Attack

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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