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Congress Was Warned Of Libya Dangers

Sarah Parvini |
September 13, 2012 | 1:19 p.m. PDT

Senior News Editor


 Wikimedia Commons)
Wikimedia Commons)
The Congressional Research Service issued a warning that Libya's security concerns were an "immediate priority" back in August, according to Foreign Policy's E-Ring

The Congressional Research Service suggested that securing U.S. interests in Libya would require sustained attention and commitment of resources, far beyond what the U.S. was providing at the time. 

"Libya's security remains a function of Libyans' self-restraint rather than the capability of security authorities," the non-partisan group warned. 

But that restraint fell apart this week, as a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi lead to the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and other consulate workers. 

"Security has deteriorated since the election [in July] and the government has not appeared able to stop attacks on religious buildings or an ongoing string of assassination attacks on former regime security officials," the author of the report, Christopher Blanchard, told Foreign Policy. "The attacks on the U.S. offices in Benghazi were the latest and most severe in a series of attacks on foreign diplomatic facilities and international organizations in Libya." 

Blanchard also mentioned in the report that a series of isolated armed conflicts and attacks on international targets caused concern over the ability of the authorities to ensure order. 

From the report:

"As of August 2012, militia groups remained active and influential, with some acknowledging and participating in government efforts to assert central security authority. Public displays of weapons, attacks on international targets, and isolated armed clashes underscore the threats posed by some groups. Security officials continue to rely on irregular forces to provide security in much of the country. Differences of opinion over regional representation and the balance of power between national and local authorities may become a subject of greater debate and potential source of conflict as the transition continues."

separate report shows the State Department's internal watchdog, the Diplomatic Security office, recently acknowledged it lacked the funding for necessary improvements as far back as February.

But expansion of U.S. aid in the form of time and funds is controversial both for the United States and Libya, especially as the presidential election looms and candidates change their focus to how they will handle international relations and foreign affairs.


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on Libya here

Reach Senior News Editor Sarah Parvini here; Follow her on Twitter.



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