MEMO TO THE U.S. CONGRESS ON OBAMA GUN-RUNNING TO SYRIA:

It’s Already Happening

by William F. Wertz, Jr.

July 1, 2013 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee.

June 29—Three recent articles published by Reuters (June 18) and the New York Times (June 22 and June 29) now confirm what LaRouche PAC has asserted for months: Contrary to law and without authorization, the Obama Administration has been running guns from Benghazi to Syria, starting several months prior to the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission and CIA annex on Sept. 11, 2012.

The guns were being run, and continue to be run, by a cut-out of the February 17th Brigade, a “former” member by the name of Abdul Basit Haroun. Haroun is a close associate of the head of the February 17th Brigade Ismael Al-Sallabi and the commander of the February 17th Brigade Fawzi Bukatef, both of whom are quoted in the first two of above-cited articles in defense of Haroun’s gun-running.

The February 17th Brigade, founded by the Emir of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Abdelhakim Belhadj, is the militia that was hired by the U.S. to protect the mission in Benghazi. When the attack occurred the February 17th Brigade was nowhere to be found.

The most recent New York Times article confirms that Qatar has been shipping weapons to Syria since 2011, including at least one shipment of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles (MANPADS) from Libya.

Prior to these articles, there was already an abundance of evidence strongly suggesting that the Obama administration,under the auspices of John Brennan, had been running guns to the Syrian opposition from Benghazi since at since 2011. We provide that evidence below.

Following President Obama’s June 16 announcement of his decision to openly provide weapons to the Syrian opposition, several bills have been submitted in the Congress to prevent him from doing so, arguing that such a decision requires the approval of Congress in accordance with the War Powers Resolution and the U.S. Constitution. Legislation introduced by Rep. Walter Jones threatens that to provide weapons thus is an impeachable offense. It has also been reported that a number of Congressional committees have rejected proposals by the Administration to fund the arming of the Syrian opposition with funds already allocated for intelligence purposes.

Yet President Obama has already been providing weapons to the Syrian opposition, including weapons from Libya, in collusion with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the U.A.E., Turkey, and Jordan for over a year. In doing so, he has already committed an impeachable offense in violating the U.S. Constitution. And in the case of weapons shipped to Libya, and from Libya to Syria, he has violated the UN arms embargo.

As perhaps even John Kerry will recall, during the 1980s, when the U.S. Congress cut off funding to the Contras in Nicaragua, Vice President Bush prevailed upon his good friend Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan to secretly fund the Contras. This is the same Prince Bandar who funded the first two 9/11 hijackers to arrive in the U.S. And it is the same Prince Bandar, now Director of Intelligence in Saudi Arabia, who has been arming al-Qaeda in Syria.

Obama and his current CIA Director, John Brennan, have been using that same Iran-Contra method, first to illegally arm the al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in Libya, headed by Abdelhakim Belhadj, and then to arm the al-Qaeda-dominated opposition in Syria. As the authors of the book Benghazi: The Definitive Report point out, “From Oliver North to John Brennan, this is just the way that the system works regardless of the administration. The dead bodies they leave in their wake … are, at the end of the day, just collateral damage in a war waged by those with political ambitions.”

The Evidence of Obama’s Gunrunning

On March 7, 2011, the London Independent reported that Obama asked Saudi Arabia to supply arms to the Libyan opposition. He did this despite the fact that the UN Security Council had unanimously imposed an arms embargo to and from Libya on Feb. 26, 2011.

In addition, in the Spring of 2011, Obama approved the provision of weapons by Qatar and the U.A.E. to the Libyan opposition, according to the New York Times (Dec. 5, 2012). Those weapons did not go to the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), but directly to the LIFG, according to an Oct. 17, 2011 Wall Street Journal article.

The UN Panel of Experts confirmed that Qatar and the U.A.E. violated the UN arms embargo, in reports to the President of the Security Council on March 20, 2012, Feb. 15, 2013, and April 9, 2013.

In respect to Qatar, the UN report states that despite that country’s denials, “the Panel stands by its findings that Qatar supplied arms and ammunition to the opposition during the uprising in breach of the arms embargo.” The report also points to the collusion of NATO in violating the UN-imposed no-fly zone and arms embargo. Citing flights organized by the U.A.E., the report states that the flights “received deconfliction numbers from NATO, the existence of the no-fly zone and the arms embargo imposed by the Security Council in resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011) notwithstanding.”

The report confirms that, since the overthrow of Qaddafi, “The Syrian Arab Republic has presented a prominent destination for Libyan fighters. A number of them have joined brigades as individuals or through networks to support the Syrian opposition.” …

[M]ilitary mat,riel has also been sent out from Libya to the Syrian Arab Republic through networks and routes passing through either Turkey or northern Lebanon…. Transfers of military mat,riel have been organized from various locations in Libya, including Misrata and Benghazi. The significant size of some shipments and the logistics involved suggest that representatives of the Libyan local authorities might have at least been aware of the transfers, if not actually directly involved.”

During the same month that Qaddafi was assassinated, October 2011, according to the Daily Telegraph and other sources, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of the Libyan TNC, and Burhan Ghalioun, the head of the Syrian National Council, reached an agreement for military support to the Syrian opposition from Libya. The Emir of the LIFG, Abdelhakim Belhadj, then traveled to Turkey in November 2011 to meet with the Syrian Free Army to provide training and weapons.

That same month, according to the website Albawaba.com and the truthseeker.co.uk, 600 LIFG terrorists went to Syria to commence military training and operations. They were led by Mahdi al-Harati, deputy commander of the Tripoli Military Council under Belhadj. Then, according to Ahmed Manai, President of the Tunisian Institute of Internatonal Relations, and a member of the Committee on Arab Observers in Syria, on Dec. 11, 2011, an agreement was signed in Tripoli among Jalil, Belhadj, Rashid al-Ghannushi (head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia), Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad Jabber bin Jassim al-Thani, and the number two of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, to provide weapons and fighters to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Stevens Secures MANPADS; Brennan Exports Them

According to Benghazi: The Definitive Report, by Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy (New York: William Morrow, February 2013), the operation was run by now-CIA Director John Brennan outside of the traditional command structure, with Obama’s approval.

The book reports that the United States had been facilitating, or, at the very least allowing, large weapons transfers from Libya to rebel fighters in Syria. The authors maintain that this did not fall under the purview of a Foreign Services officer in the State Department, such as Ambassador Stevens, but rather, “Stevens likely helped consolidate as many weapons as possible after the war to safeguard them, at which point Brennan exported them overseas to start another conflict.”

On Feb. 2, 2012, Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of S