The Address | Benghazi – Libya
WASHINGTON – Newly released emails of the former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, revealed that France and Britain were making efforts in 2012 to encourage tribal and civic leaders in eastern Libya to establish semi-autonomous zone in the eastern region of Cyrenaica.
The U.S. State Department released on Sunday a number of classified emails of Clinton, after the current State Secretary Mike Pompeo announced the decision on Friday.
Clinton, who held the post from 2008 until 2014, faced controversy over using a private email server for official public communications in the wake of the investigation over the 2012 Benghazi attack.
In an email dated March 8, 2012, Clinton’s advisor Sidney Blumenthal said that “during the period between mid-January 2012 to March 2012 officers of the a French General Directorate for External Security (Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure DGSE), and the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS—MI-6) activated long standing contacts with tribal and civic leaders in Eastern Libya, in an effort to encourage them to establish a semi-autonomous zone in the historic province of Cyrenaica”.
Citing “extremely knowledgeable sources”, Blumenthal said this effort was initiated by advisors to former French President Nicholas Sarkozy after “complaints from concerned French business leaders that the new Libyan Government was not rewarding appropriately French firms for the leading role France played in supporting the 2011 revolution against former Dictator Muammar al Qaddafi.”
“SIS joined in this effort at the instruction of the office of Prime Minister David Cameron,” Blumenthal added.
“This highly confidential effort comes in response to the inability of the National Transitional Council (NTC) government in Tripoli to organize the country effectively and deal with Western business interests in an effective and efficient manner,” the Clinton advisor explained.
“The French and British business and intelligence officials believe that a semi autonomous regime in the Eastern city of Benghazi will be able to organize business opportunities in that region,” he said before adding, “These same officials believe that there is also reduced threat from Islamist militias in the East.”
Blumenthal said French officials believe that this situation is the natural result of the failure of former Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Rahim El-Kib, to “organize the country and disarm the ethnic and regional militias who did the majority of the fighting against [Muammar] Qaddafi’s forces during the revolution.”
Recalling the opinion of a “very sensitive source”, Blumenthal told Clinton that these French officials “made informal agreements with former Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and his advisors, only to see these agreements ignored or delayed” when el-Keib became head of government in October 2011.
“In their opinion, once el-Keib moved the government from the Eastern city of Benghazi to the national capital at Tripoli, the government became inefficient and inaccessible,” Blumenthal stated.
“An extremely sensitive source stated that the DGSE and SIS intend to control the move toward a semi-autonomous state under a federal system,” said the Clinton advisor. “However, they have been surprised by el-Keib’s intention, expressed both in public and in secret meetings with Minister of Defense Ousama al Juwali, a native of Zintan, to use force to hold the country together.”