A general's warning about militants in Libya
September 24th, 2012
10:21 AM ET

A general's warning about militants in Libya

By Barbara Starr

Just three months ago, the four-star chief of the U.S. Africa Command warned of a growing threat from al Qaeda and other militant groups in Libya.
"There is a real concern in Libya. As Libya is coming out of the revolution and forming its new government, there very clearly are those who wish to undermine the formation of that government," said Gen. Carter Ham in a speech to senior military and civilian officials from Africa, Europe and the U.S.

"We see some worrying indicators that al Qaeda and others are seeking to establish a presence in Libya," Ham warned. Ham often worked closely with the late Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Ham has been trying to establish the initial stages of a military relationship with Libya, but the effort has been slowed by the presence and influence of armed militias, such as those suspected of being involved in the attack.  Ham noted back in June the problem of bringing even more mainstream groups under the control of the central government.

More: Intel chairman doubts Libya attack linked to video

"Now how do you bring those disparate organizations under some degree of central government control?  How do you use those organizations to the benefit of the people? How do you transform some of them into border police, into national police, into maritime police and other areas of government where they can continue to be valuable contributors to overall Libyan security?"

Ham made much of the same case as early as February of this year in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, when he testified that there were "some small pockets" of "foreign fighters" in Libya.

"There are remnants of that and there are indications that al Qaeda senior leadership is seeking to re-establish those networks, and that's one of the challenges that lays ahead for us."

As commander of U.S. military operations across Africa, Ham would be the senior U.S. officer in charge, if the president were to order a military strike against potential targets believed to be responsible for the attack. He is considered to be extremely knowledgeable about al Qaeda movements in Africa, as was Stevens.

Ham has particularly made the case that al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb poses an increasing concern and that the group is operating unconstrained in a large portion of Mali and coordinating with other extremist elements across North Africa.

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Vince Crawley

    Thanks for referencing our event at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies back in June.
    I believe CNN taped this, but the full video of Ham's remarks also is on our YouTube site at: http://youtu.be/cxOyYVFWxQs
    In addition, our article, "AFRICOM’s Ham Says U.S. Interested in Stable, Secure Africa More Than Ever: can be found on our website at: http://africacenter.org/2012/06/africom-ham-at-africa-center-seminar/
    The full transcript is over on AFRICOM's website at: http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=8039&lang=0

    Thanks,
    Vince Crawley
    Africa Center for Strategic Studies

    http://africacenter.org

    September 26, 2012 at 9:15 am | Reply
  2. Peter Singhatey

    Reblogged this on peter singhatey.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:39 am | Reply
  3. fiftyfive55

    There's militants in the mideast ??? who'da thunk it ?

    September 25, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
  4. krm1007 ©™

    Let us focus on the causes of terrorism and try to fix the issues. They have been hanging out there for over 60+ years ...in India....in Israel..and now in the United States...England...Austrailia...Sweeden....all over the Europe. Let us focus on the victims of 9/11 and help the families more than we have done. Let us take care of their kids and put them through college. Let us take care of their wives/husbands/parents. Let us take care of families whose dear ones gave their lives in fighting al Qaeda terrorists...in Pakistan...in Afghanistan....in Iraq....in Yemen....in Africas. Let us focus on the victims of Pakistani sponsored terror networks....Haqqani...Pakistani Taliban...Hazbollah in Iran...Hammaz in Palestine. Let us honor US/NATO soldiers from all over the world who sacrificed their lives believing they were fighting for freedom, believing they were fighting evil terrorists in Pakistan....in Afghanistan....in Iraq....in Libya...in Syria...in Yemen....in Egypt....in Africas. They are so many. Just in last ten years, terrorist sponsoring countries like Pakistan, Iran, Pelestine have change our lives once and for all.

    September 24, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  5. improve image

    Dont let the internet scare off your customers! Let us improve your image!

    How many positive links you have in first pages of Google?
    Misleading, inaccurate or negative links in your search results adversely affect the impression you make when people Google you and can materially impact you or your business.
    Your search results are your reputation.
    People dont ask for character references anymore, they ask Google. And what Google shows people accurate or not is your reputation.
    Bad search results can be a real problem.
    Unfavorable search results influence how recruiters, insurance companies, loan officers, potential clients and business partners, and even romantic interests view you.
    How we can help
    Our reputation web-services help you look your best when others search for you by promoting accurate information and burying misleading materials.
    We make it so people will only see good links about you when they search your name. We have an easy sign-up process and accept credit cards online.
    Any business can afford our service starting from only $149 per month...

    Is your online reputation worth $149 Per Month?
    Visit: http://www.improveyourimage.org/
    Phone: (321) 327-9428

    September 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  6. mullah jim

    why do u amerikkaners continue to antagonize us? you place a general named " ham" in charge of the magreb.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • esoll

      That is funny... did not see it.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  7. Gerard

    That's the problem with the disconnect between the military and the civilan leaders. They dont listen to the guy on the ground that actually knows whats going on until its too late.

    September 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  8. Ryan

    what do you expect them to bring to your team and you

    September 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  9. For Your Eyes Only

    General, Let's be proactive for a change and attend to the following task at hand before they do us in. Hoo-yah !!

    TERRORIST GROUPS IN INDIA

    • RASHTRIYA SWAYAM SEWAK SHANG (R.S.S.)
    • VISHWA HINDU PARISHAD
    • HINDU MUNNANI
    • ARYA SAMAJ
    • SHIV SENA
    • BHARATIYA JANATA PARISHAD
    • SANT SAMITI
    • HINDU MAHASABHA
    • BAAJRANG DAL

    LEADERS: L.K. Advani/ Ashok Singhal/ Bala Saheb Devaras/ Bal Thackeray/ A.B. Vajpayee/ Savarkar/ Baikunnth Lal Sharma “Prem”/ Balraj Madhok/ The Shankaracharya of Puri, Niranjan Dev Theerth/ Rama Gopalan/ Variyar – Vishwan Hindu Parishad/ Dharmalinga Nadar/ Cho Ramaswamy

    September 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
  10. Andrey

    I wonder what took him so long!
    That was all too clear from the start: only politicians could ignore that, not military! It is probably so obvious to anybody now that they are allowed to talk about it to journalists!

    September 24, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.