Libya’s jihadi groups formed while U.S. air power devastated the Libyan army in 2011. After the war ended, the groups began attacking various targets in Benghazi, including the U.K.’s diplomats and the Red Cross, prompting their evacuation from the city.
On Oct. 9, just two days before the attack that eliminated the U.S. diplomatic post in Tripoli, two local militia leaders threatened to stop protecting the U.S. facility if the U.S. appeared to support a Libyan politician, Mahmoud Jibril.
“If Jibril won, they could not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi,” they told a U.S. official, according to the memo, which was approved by the U.S. ambassador shortly before his death.
Instead, the militia leaders wanted the Libyan affiliate of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood to win power. If the Muslim Brotherhood won, it would appoint the leader of the “17th of February Martyrs Brigade” as defense minister, said the Sept. 11 memo.
Officials in that brigade had earlier agreed to help defend the Benghazi facility.
After the Benghazi attack, Libya’s parliament deposed the sitting prime minister. No replacement has been selected since, leaving the nation without a working government.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the Arab world’s most established Islamist party, and it has numerous ties to Islamist jihadi groups. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood won half the seats in parliament and the presidency, effectively giving the group control over the Arab world’s largest and most important country.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt was aided by Obama and Clinton.
In July, Clinton met with Egypt’s new president, Mahmoud Morsi, and declared, “The United States supports the full transition to civilian rule with all that entails. … [and is] working to support the military’s return to a purely national security role.”
The Muslim Brotherhood’s top leader — Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie — recently called for attacks against Israel.
“The Jews have … spread corruption on earth [and] spilled the blood of believers,” Badie said, according to a report in Egypt’s main newspaper, Al-Ahram. Badie has also called for Egyptians to launch “holy jihad, high sacrifices and all forms of resistance,” to restore Islamic rule over Israel.
The 17th of February Martyrs Brigade is an Islamist group with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The militia is named to honor several Islamists who were killed by Libya’s security forces in 2006, when a mob attacked the Italian diplomatic facility in Benghazi. The attacks were launched after an Italian government minister criticized Islam’s reputed founder, Mohammad.