Setting the Record Straight on Benghazi

What Really Led to Libya's Chaos

A person reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012. Esam Al-Fetori / Reuters

There has been no shortage of attention paid to the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Most of the questions, however, have centered on the shortcomings in Washington’s response to the crisis, rather than the causes and effects of the Benghazi attack itself. A closer look at Islamist politics in Libya reveals that this singular event was part of a larger plan to create an Islamic State within Libya after the fall of former leader Muammar al Qaddafi

In fact, over the span of a few years, Libya turned from one of North Africa’s least radicalized countries into a global Islamist hub. Benghazi may have been a flash point in the story of Libya’s unraveling, but it is one event among many that has forever altered the country’s trajectory. To understand what led to the siege on the U.S. installation in Benghazi,

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