09-26-2021  2:57 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Lawmakers Fail to Agree House Districts as Deadline Looms

Republicans failed to show up for a session to redraw the state's congressional districts Saturday, thwarting majority Democrats’ attempts to pass new political maps before a looming deadline

Oregon School Board Ban on Anti-Racist, LGBT Signs Draws Ire

An Oregon school board has banned educators from displaying Black Lives Matter and gay pride symbols, prompting a torrent of recriminations and threats to boycott the town and its businesses.

New, Long-Term Black Lives Matter Public Art Piece Installed at Seattle City Hall

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture today announced that a new, long-term Black Lives Matter public art piece has been installed at Seattle City Hall.

Black Man Fatally Shot Outside Bend Nightclub, Man Arrested

A Black man was shot and killed outside a bar by a white man in central Oregon

NEWS BRIEFS

5th Annual Yard Tree Giveaway Events to Begin

Free trees for all Portlanders continue Portland Parks & Recreation’s Urban Forestry division’s mission to grow, preserve, and...

House Passes Historic Abortion Rights Legislation With Support of Reps. Bonamici, Defazio, Blumenauer and Schrader

Today’s vote to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act comes three weeks after Texas’s radical 6-week abortion ban went into...

Oregon Announces Stabilization Grant Opportunity to Assist Child Care Providers

Oregon received approximately 4 million in grant funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to be paid directly to eligible...

TriMet Plans Weekend Construction Along MAX Red Line to Help Keep Trains Running Efficiently

Shuttle buses will replace MAX Sept. 25-26 between Gateway Transit Center and Portland International Airport ...

Larsen Chairs Hearing on Surge in Air Rage Incidents, Effects on Workers, Airlines, Airports

The hearing was an opportunity for the subcommittee to examine the alarming increase in disruptive and unruly airline passengers, the...

Police: 3 killed in shooting outside bar near Seattle

DES MOINES, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say three people were killed and three others injured in a shooting early Sunday outside a bar in Des Moines, Washington. Police said shots were fired after a dispute between two people inside the La Familia Sports Pub and Lounge, just...

1 killed, WSU football player hurt in shooting near campus

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a man has been arrested in connection with a shooting that killed one person and critically injured another near the Washington State University campus early Saturday morning. Police in Pullman, Washington, later identified the injured...

AP Top 25 Takeaways: Clemson falls during frenetic afternoon

For about 45 minutes late Saturday afternoon, college football was on overload. North Carolina State went from agony to ecstasy against No. 9 Clemson. Baylor stopped a 2-point conversion to upset No. 14 Iowa State. No. 16 Arkansas finished off No. 7 Texas A&M to claim a Lone...

BC beats Mizzou 41-34 in OT on Flowers catch, Sebastian INT

BOSTON (AP) — Denis Grosel threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Zay Flowers in overtime, and Brandon Sebastian’s interception sealed the victory on Saturday as Boston College recovered after blowing two fourth-quarter leads to beat Missouri 41-34. BC coach Jeff Hafley said he...

OPINION

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

Letter to the Editor: Reform the Recall

Any completely unqualified attention seeker with ,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Nonprofit grants propel prosecutor push on racial injustice

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When Deborah Gonzalez took office in January as the district attorney for the Western Judicial District of Georgia, she noticed that too few defendants, especially Black defendants, qualified for a program that promised treatment for addiction or mental health and not jail. ...

Govt offices in Kosovo targeted as tensions soar with Serbia

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A public building in Kosovo was set on fire and another was hit by grenades that did not explode in what government officials described Saturday as criminal acts related to ethnic Serbs protesting a symbolic move on license plates. Serbian media quoted...

Biden risks losing support from Democrats amid DC gridlock

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden is losing support among critical groups in his political base as some of his core campaign promises falter, raising concerns among Democrats that the voters who put him in office may feel less enthusiastic about returning to the polls in next year's midterm...

ENTERTAINMENT

Harry and Meghan visit with students at a Harlem school

NEW YORK (AP) — Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, offered lots of hugs to kids at a Harlem public school Friday where she read her children's book to about two dozen students who sat cross-legged with her husband in the play yard. The hourlong visit to PS 123,...

'BMF' series explores climb of '80s drug kingpin 'Big Meech'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson remembered hearing stories about how two brothers emerged from rough inner-city Detroit streets to become wealthy drug kingpins and eventually embraced by hip-hop culture. Jackson heard Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory’s...

Elon Musk, singer Grimes 'semi-separated' after three years

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elon Musk and singer Grimes have ended their romantic relationship after three years. The Tesla and SpaceX founder tells the New York Post's Page Six that he and the Canadian singer are “semi-separated.” But he says they remain on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

UK gas stations run dry as trucker shortage sparks hoarding

LONDON (AP) — Thousands of British gas stations ran dry Sunday, an industry group said, as motorists scrambled...

What's the price of Biden’s plan? Democrats drive for zero

WASHINGTON (AP) — What will it cost to enact President Joe Biden’s massive expansion of social programs? ...

Utah's Lowe killed in shooting less than a year after Jordan

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah sophomore cornerback Aaron Lowe died in a shooting at house party early Sunday, less...

In Mexico, some Haitians find a helping hand

CIUDAD ACUÑA, México (AP) — Some of the thousands of Haitian migrants who briefly formed a camp in the Texas...

So close! Iceland almost gets female-majority parliament

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland briefly celebrated electing a female-majority parliament Sunday, before a...

Israeli troops kill 5 Palestinians in West Bank gunbattles

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli troops conducted a series of arrest raids against suspected Hamas militants across the...

Joe Sterling CNN

(CNN) -- The deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi underscores the gaping power vacuum across Libya since the toppling of Moammar Gadhafi's regime last year.

Fighting groups that battled Gadhafi have stepped in to maintain law and order after the fall of the regime, an expert on post-Gadhafi Libya told CNN.



Most of the groups are simply neighborhood watch entities. But some include hard-line Muslim Salafis and have "a very Islamist orientation," said Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The group accused of being behind the consulate assault, the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades, is said to be pro-al Qaeda.

"The problem is that the Libyan army and the Libya police forces effectively disintegrated," Wehrey said. "These groups are basically running the show" throughout much of Libya.

Wehrey, in speaking to CNN, cited two of his recent essays about security in Libya. One was in Foreign Affairs in July and the other appeared Wednesday on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace website.

He said the fledgling government is in a bind.

Officials are trying to demobilize and reintegrate the militias and bring these groups into the government security forces, he said.

But the militia members across Libya remain loyal to their groups and distrust the new government's authority, in part because of the "taint" of a link to the Gadhafi regime, Wehrey said.

The government has used militia commanders to quell tribal fighting, subcontracted border control and defense of oil installations to small brigades, and used armed groups to provide security during elections.

In Benghazi, he said, ballots for an election were stored and counted at the headquarters of the city's strongest militia.

"The strategy of trying to dismantle the regional militias while simultaneously making use of them as hired guns might be sowing the seeds for the country's descent into warlordism," he warned.

"It has also given local brigades and their political patrons leverage over the central government. Emboldened by the writ of state authority, brigade commanders have been free to carry out vendettas against rival towns and tribes, particularly those favored by ... Gadhafi," Wehrey said.

Violence between warring militias and attacks against Western and moderate Sufi Muslim targets erupted in recent months, Wehrey said. In Benghazi, there was a "rapid deterioration" of security before the U.S. Consulate attack.

A strike on a British consulate vehicle in Benghazi in June wounded a diplomat.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said its workers endured attacks at least five times in less than three month in Benghazi and Misrata. The group announced the suspension of its activities in August.

The Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades, in fact, first surfaced in May when it claimed responsibility for an attack on the ICRC office in Benghazi. The next month it claimed responsibility for detonating a blast outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. It also released a video of the attack.

Sufi mosques and tombs were among the sites targeted. Sufism is considered a more moderate form of Islam.

Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A'al was quoted by Human Rights Watch as calling the attackers "groups that have a strict Islamic ideology where they believe that graves and shrines must be desecrated."

That comment, Human Rights Watch said, refers to Salafists, the name for those Muslims who want a "return to Islam as they believe it was practiced in the days of the Prophet Mohammed."

Salafists have increasingly asserted themselves in eastern Libya. In June, hundreds of fighters wielding AK-47s and black Islamist banners converged on Benghazi to call for the imposition of sharia law.

This spring, an associate of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri addressed a large gathering in the town square of Derna, in eastern Libya. An online video of his address has been seen by CNN.

"Salafi militias have reportedly carried out assassinations of Gadhafi-era officials, taken over radio stations and shut down beauty parlors," Wehrey said.

Derna has for years been a recruiting ground for al Qaeda.

A 2008 diplomatic cable from Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was slain in the consulate attack, described the area as "a wellspring of Libyan foreign fighters" for al Qaeda in Iraq.

In some cases, Wehrey said, the revolutionary brigades have become "very sophisticated." They have checkpoints, security headquarters, ID cards, and their own payroll. Some militia coalitions have made handshake deals to police areas.

"These are militias that operate openly," and operate blogs and Facebook pages.

With that Salafi foothold in eastern Libya, Wehrey said, it wouldn't be hard for armed militia members to "converge on a target" in Benghazi with an hour's notice.

Was al Qaeda involved? Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the AQ branch that operates in Africa, would have connections in the country's far south, if it indeed has any network in Libya, Wehrey said.

But as for the network's actual involvement in the consulate attack, Wehrey said he thinks the strike "was a much more local affair" -- "the latest in a series of attacks by the country's increasingly active Salafis."

"Libyans' public reaction to such strong-arm tactics has been vociferous and damning," Wehrey said. "Tribes, women's groups, and civil society -- as well as the country's increasingly active social media community -- have all mobilized to condemn the recent attacks on Sufis, while mounting demonstrations of their own against the Salafis' shows of force."

Wehrey said "much of the violence suggests a movement in search of a cause."

Salafis "are now grasping at foreign causes they believe will excite Libyans' emotions," such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, and anti-Americanism, he said. Meanwhile, the country's provisional government has had to deputize revolutionary brigades for security work.

"Invariably, these poorly trained bodies contain a number of Salafi militias who have used their warrant from the government to enforce draconian social mores, conduct vendettas against Gadhafi-era intelligence officers, and attack Sufis," Wehrey said.

Citizens have voiced outrage over Salafi shows of force and have mobilized against their "strong-arm tactics against, for example, the Sufis."

"For the citizens of Tripoli, Benghazi and other cities, all this is a stark and tragic reminder of the perennial problems of poor governance and the security vacuum," Wehrey said.

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