3:46 PM – Today
What Was Really Behind The Benghazi Attack?
Writing in the New Yorker, Hisham Matar argues that the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya was not motivated by the anti-Islam film making waves around the world.
No specific group claimed responsibility for the attack, which was well orchestrated and involved heavy weapons. It is thought to be the work of an extremist faction who, like the Salafis, are willing to use force to exact their will. These groups have perpetrated other similar assaults in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya. They are utlra-religious, authoritarian groups who justify their actions through selective, corrupt, and ultimately self-serving interpretations of Islam. Under Qaddafi, they kept quiet. In the early days of the revolution some of them claimed that fighting Qaddafi was un-Islamic and conveniently issued a fatwa demanding full obedience to the ruler. This is Libya’s extreme right. And, while much is still uncertain, Tuesday’s attack appears to have been their attempt to escalate a strategy they have employed ever since the Libyan revolution overthrew Colonel Qaddafi’s dictatorship. They see in these days, in which the new Libya and its young institutions are still fragile, an opportunity to grab power. They want to exploit the impatient resentments of young people in particular in order to disrupt progress and the development of democratic institutions.