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Fallout From Benghazi Inquiry - Four US State Department Officials Resign



WASHINGTON – Four senior U.S. State Department officials resigned after an independent review board determined their operational responsibility for "grossly inadequate" security when Islamic militants killed four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Among them is Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary for diplomatic security. A State Department spokeswoman says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accepted "Eric Boswell's decision to resign."

Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security and another unnamed person in the diplomatic security bureau, officials said, also resigned.

Raymond Maxwell, a deputy assistant secretary who oversaw Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, is believed to be the fourth official. Resignation is a very rare move in the U.S. State Department, veteran diplomats told the Los Angeles Times.

According to Voice of America, these officials were held responsible by the independent inquiry for failing to provide security for the U.S. compound in Benghazi, which came under attack on September 11.

An unclassified version of the report, which was released on Tuesday, cited “leadership and management” deficiencies, poor coordination among officials and “real confusion” in Washington. However, the report did not blame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The panel’s chair, retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering, said it had determined that responsibility for security shortcomings in Benghazi belonged at levels lower than her office, reports Reuters.

The assault carried out by a group of Islamist led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stephens. He was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1988. Three other American government personnel were killed in the assault.

The U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, was heavily criticized for initially describing the attack as a "spontaneous reaction" to protests near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. At the time, protests were held all across the Muslim world to condemn the anti-Islam movieTheInnocence of Muslims.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

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But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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