There’s a rather interesting piece in Vice about reporter Sherif Elhelwa’s run in with with al-Qaeda types in Benghazi:
Earlier this week, I went to the Benghazi courthouse and confirmed the rumors: an al Qaeda flag was clearly visible; its Arabic script declaring that “there is no God but Allah” and a full moon underneath. When I tried to take pictures, a Salafi-looking guard, wearing a green camouflage outfit, rushed towards me and demanded to know what I was doing. My response was straightforward: I was taking a picture of the flag. He gave me an intimidating look and hissed, “Whomever speaks ill of this flag, we will cut off his tongue. I recommend that you don’t publish these. You will bring trouble to yourself.”
My hope is that we’re in a bit of a pause as security assistance and aid arrangements are sorted out. Eventually, hopefully quite soon, the NTC will have to push back with more authority against radical elements. It might be tempting for them to delay this while they consolidate power but that delay would deliver the same benefit to the enemy. Watch for serious NTC movement here before the end of the year and pay close attention to the response. If that movement does not occur or if militias are still running wild in Libya’s urban areas months from now the opportunity for stablization may slip away.
Recommended on Twitter: @Africom. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the U.S. Department of Defense.