2005-03-12

Libya

For a really excellent analysis of why the U.S. involvement in Libya was a mistake,
see 2016-03-16-Politico-Preble-dont-intervene-in-libya-again.

Leaving that aside,
here are some articles about Libya,
presented in chronological order:






2011


2011-03-21-Walt-neocon-liberal-alliance
What intervention in Libya tells us about the neocon-liberal alliance
by Stephen M. Walt
foreignpolicy.com, 2011-03-21



2011-03-23-Dowd-Valkyries
Fight Of The Valkyries
By MAUREEN DOWD
New York Times, 2011-03-23

They are called the Amazon Warriors, the Lady Hawks, the Valkyries, the Durgas.

There is something positively mythological about
a group of strong women swooping down
to shake the president out of his delicate sensibilities
and show him the way to war.
And there is something positively predictable about
guys in the White House pushing back against that story line
for fear it makes the president look henpecked.

It is not yet clear if the Valkyries will get the credit or the blame on Libya.
But everyone is fascinated with the gender flip:
the reluctant men --
the generals, the secretary of defense,
top male White House national security advisers --
outmuscled by the fierce women around President Obama
urging him to man up against the crazy Qaddafi.

How odd to see
the diplomats as hawks and the military as doves.

[Actually, that has been fairly common since, say, Bush-41.
Remember Madeleine Albright asking
“What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about
if we can’t use it?”
]



“The girls took on the guys,”
The Times’s White House reporter, Helene Cooper, said on “Meet the Press.”

...

Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador
and former Clinton administration adviser on Africa,
was haunted by Rwanda.
Samantha Power, a national security aide
who wrote an award-winning book about genocide,
was thinking of Bosnia.
Gayle Smith, another senior national security aide,
was an adviser to President Clinton on Africa after the Rwandan massacre.
Hillary Clinton, a skeptic at first, paid attention to the other women
(putting aside that tense moment during the ‘08 primaries
when Power called her “a monster”).
She also may have had some pillow talk with Bill,
whose regrets about Rwanda no doubt helped shape
his recommendation for a no-fly zone over Libya.

...

There have been women through history who shattered gender stereotypes,
from Cleopatra to Golda Meir to the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher,
whose critics on the left sniffed that she was not really a woman.
As U.N. ambassador,
Madeleine Albright pushed back against Colin Powell on a Balkans intervention --
“What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about
if we can’t use it?” she asked him --
and Condi Rice pushed ahead with W. and Dick Cheney on invading Iraq.

When President Obama listened to his militaristic muses,
it gave armchair shrinks lots to muse about.
As one wrote to me:

“Cool, cerebral president
chooses passion and emotion
(human rights, Samantha, Hillary, Susan)
over reason and strategic thinking
(Bob Gates, Tom Donilon).

Is it the pattern set up by his Mom and Michelle --
women have the last word?”

White House aides smacked back hard on the guys vs. girls narrative....

[For more on why some women are supporting and promoting these wars,
see the post “The Global War on Sexism,”
in particular, the article 2011-04-03-Parker,
where Kathleen Parker specifically asserts:
Whether the topic is Libya’s rebels
or Afghanistan’s “reconciliation” with the Taliban,
the pivotal question is, or should be: What about the women?
(Kathleen Parker's words, not mine.)]




2011-03-23-Scheuer-lies-in-the-air-of-libyas-spring-the-return-of-unintended-consequences
Lies in the air of Libya’s spring –
The return of “unintended consequences”

by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2011-03-23

[1]
The rising concern in Washington, London, and other allied capitals over what is happening in Libya
is reminiscent of concerns about Iraq
once it became clear that the aftermath of removing Saddam would not be a cakewalk for the U.S.-led coalition.
This concern is best seen in the increasing number of U.S., UK, and French officials — named and anonymous — and pro-war journalists
who are talking about the possibility of encountering “unintended consequences” from the Libyan intervention.

[2]
In Iraq, as all recall, the resistance to the U.S.-led coalition was described as an “unintended consequence,”
a phrase meant to suggest that what happened in Iraq was not predictable.
[Of course, in reality "unintended" and "unpredictable" are two different things.
My belief is that at least some of the smart people who advocated intervention
knew perfectly well the high probability of negative consequences,
but that didn't faze them.
On the other hand,
my belief is that Hillary Clinton was simply unable to predict
the negative outcomes of many of the policies she has supported,
such as the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Libya.
One would hope that she will be asked the following question in a debate or interview:
"Mrs. Clinton, when you advocated for U.S. intervention in Libya back in 2011,
did you recognize that the current situation might be the outcome of the intervention?
If you did, what (possibly rough) probability did you give the outcome we have seen?"
]

We also have heard the same term used to the same purpose in Afghanistan.
In both cases, the phrase is meant to mislead the voting public
and to disguise the failure of both Western leaders and their generals
to have done even a cursory review of the history of foreign interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan before they launched their own.

[In my view, that's a very serious charge against Western leaders.
If it does not hold,
where is the evidence of the review of history,
and also, one would hope,
of the possible outcomes of the proposed intervention?]


[3]
Since 2003, nothing that has happened in Iraq is much different than what British forces experienced there after World War I
[This is well discussed in the 1989! book
A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin]
,
and absolutely nothing that U.S. and NATO forces have encountered in Afghanistan
is alien to the experiences of the Soviet army, the British army (twice), and the forces of Alexander the Great.
In two wars that have cost the U.S. and its allies in excess of a trillion dollars,
a pre-war investment of a few hundred dollars in history books and military memoirs
would have precisely detailed what Western militaries would encounter in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More important, the works would have recounted the strategies and actions
that failed to bring foreigners victory in either place.
Because civil and military leaders did not prepare in the most rudimentary historical terms before invading,
both wars are being lost by Western militaries who seem to believe
they are the first to walk on what is very well-worn ground.

[4]
All this is to say that when we hear the somber phrase “unintended consequences”
there is no reason to believe that such consequences
could not have been predicted, and at time easily predicted.
In Libya, no less than in Iraq and Afghanistan,
the stable of coming disasters that Western officials will describe as “unintended consequences”
will have been fully predictable. Here are just three:

–1.) There is no reason — logical or historical — to believe that air power alone can win much of anything.
Air power always fails to achieve victory, unless it is used to support ground forces, which are the real key to any successful military operation. When this becomes clear in the next weeks or months, and the question of introducing Western ground forces is debated, any assertion from Washington or London that ground forces are needed because “Qaddafi was tougher than we thought” will be a facade to cover the perfectly predictable failure of air power alone to bring victory.
[I didn't follow the downfall if the Quadaffi regime that closely,
but my impression is that air power indeed was critical to the rebel victory.]


–2.) There is good reason to assess that whatever military backbone there is in the Libyan resistance
comes not primarily from defectors from Qaddafi’s military,
but rather from current or former Islamist mujahedin.
For nearly 30 years, young Libyan males have been prominent in number and talent
in Islamist insurgencies in Afghanistan —
against the Soviets and the U.S.-led coalition —
Iraq, the Balkans, Central Asia, the North Caucasus and elsewhere.
In addition, Libyan Islamist groups have long struggled against Qaddafi’s regime inside Libya, especially in the country’s east.
Indeed, one of the reasons Washington associated with and supported Qaddafi after 9/11
was because he was delighted to kill, persecute, and incarcerate Libyan Islamists at home
and help us attack others overseas.
In this regard, Qaddafi, like Egypt’s Mubarak, Tunisia’s Ben Ali, and Yemen’s Salih,
was a key element in Washington’s counter-Islamist strategy.
After U.S.-led forces lose their political leaders’ war in Libya,
and it becomes clearer that
we gave air cover to men who share bin Laden’s goal
of driving the U.S. from the region and destroying Israel,

we will hear Obama, McCain, Kerry, and their fellow European war-mongers complain about “intelligence failures.”
They will assert that those “failures”
yielded the unintended consequence of U.S. and Western aerial support
that ensured not only Qaddafi’s survival [???]
but also the survival and re-invigoration of Libya’s Islamist mujahedin.
This claim will be a lie to hide what was and is a perfectly predictable outcome.

–3.) No one in the Muslim world will be fooled by the insistence of President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Rice, and Senators McCain and Kerry that the war on Libya is not being led by the United States.
Having witnessed on television two U.S.-led wars on Iraq; the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan; drone operations in Pakistan and Yemen; and numerous other examples of impressive U.S. military power, Muslims will perceive — and perception is reality — that only the U.S. military could manage, supply, logistically administer, and coordinate the Western military offensive against Libya.
As to the goal of “protecting innocent Libyans” so often stated by Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, and the UN Secretary General,
Muslims will reject that contention out of hand after seeing — in color and in real-time —
U.S., British, and French warplanes killing their brethren in Libya,
while several hundred miles to the east they simultaneously saw Israeli pilots flying U.S.-made aircraft on missions to kill Palestinians.
After the offensive war against Libya sharply deepens Muslim hatred for the United States and its allies, Washington will be bemoan this fact as an unintended consequence and Secretary Clinton will blame it on bad public diplomacy.
Nonsense.
Intensifying Muslim hatred for the West — and especially for the U.S. government —
was easily predictable before the first cruise missile landed near Tripoli.
And this is something that “mad- dog Qaddafi” and Osama bin Laden knew with certainty,
even if all the genius Ivy Leaguers who infest, confuse, and debilitate Washington did not.

[5]
There are another dozen examples of the claims of “unintended consequences” that Washington and its allies will make after their offensive air war on Libya fails and they either ignominiously acknowledge defeat or arrogantly forge ahead toward an even greater defeat by committing ground forces.

Since 9/11, as I have argued elsewhere,
Washington and its allies have been marching toward hell
because they refuse — despite overwhelming and readily accessible evidence —
to understand that their war with the Islamist movement is based on
the mujahedin’s intense, religion-based motivation for self-defense
which flows from the impact of U.S. and Western policies and actions in the Muslim world,
and not from blind hatred for what Western societies think and how they behave at home.

The West’s attack on Libya is proof positive that Washington and its allies remain abjectly ignorant of the Islamists’ motivation, and have chosen to studiously throw ever more fuel on a fire that may yet spread into a clash of civilizations.




2011-03-25-Raimondo
Conservatives Challenge Obama Over Libya
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2011-03-25

The antiwar right vs the neocon-neoliberal alliance


2011-03-29-Walt-Horton-Antiwar-radio
Scott Horton Interviews Stephen M. Walt
Antiwar.com Radio, 2011-03-29


2011-03-31-CNN-scheuer-libya-was-none-of-our-business
Scheuer: Libya was none of our business
CNN, 2011-03-31 09:38 AM ET

A U.S. intelligence source has confirmed the presence of CIA operations in Libya. What does an operation like this look like and what does it mean for the U.S.?

Michael Scheuer, former CIA Counterterrorism Analyst who headed CIA's Bin Laden Unit, says the U.S. should not have gone into Libya.
Scheuer discusses the situation with Kiran Chetry and Christine Romans.

[This web page then has an embed of a video of the interview.

The key quote comes in a passage that starts with a CNN question at 5:00.
Scheuer's response starts at 5:15.
As part of his answer, Scheuer says:]


If you listen to Mrs. Clinton and especially the rather crazed Ms. Rice at the UN,
this is all about democracy in a world where democracy is not going to take hold.



2011-03-31-antiwar-Scheuer-michael-scheuer-vs-cnns-war-cheerleaders
Michael Scheuer vs. CNN’s War Cheerleaders
by Eric Garris
antiwar.com, 2011-03-31

Former CIA Chief of the “bin Laden Unit” Michael Scheuer went on CNN this morning
to explain the folly of US intervention in Libya
and easily handled CNN’s war cheerleaders.

Check it out:
[Followed by an embed of the CNN video.]


2011-04-01-Preble-libya-poses-dangerous-delusion
Libya poses dangerous delusion
By Christopher Preble
Politico Opinion, 2011-04-01

...

“Not acting is acting if you’re the United States,” said Princeton’s Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former director of policy planning in the State Department. “It would have simply been criminal to sit back.”

Another adviser, Samantha Power, won a Pulitzer for her book “A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide” and speaks often of the world’s responsibility to protect innocents from harm.

What Obama, Slaughter and Power see as a clear moral imperative and an unadulterated good is, in fact, deeply problematic.

...


2011-04-20-Scheuer-libya-the-road-to-invasion-has-been-straight-not-a-slippery-slope
Libya: The road to invasion has been straight, not a slippery slope
by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2011-04-20

The announcement this week that British, Italian, and French military officers are being sent to “advise” the Libyan resistance expands NATO’s intervention in Libya and adds to the number of U.S., French, and British Special and intelligence forces already on the ground there. As well, the Obama administration’s decision to send military equipment worth $25 million to the resistance deepens U.S. involvement. The “just-protecting-civilians” and “no-boots-on-the-ground” mantras emanating from Washington and NATO capitals are quite simply lies.

This first small tranche of U.S.-NATO ground forces were sent to Libya to pinpoint targets for NATO air attack; size up the composition, attitudes, and talent of the anti-Gaddafi resistance; and find and prepare landing strips and assembly areas for Western troops. The just deployed British, Italian, and French officers will assess the work accomplished to date; provide general-staff-like direction for the resistance’s military operations; and prepare for an influx of U.S.-NATO troops if Washington and its allies lack the manliness to admit the intervention was a mistake, and instead continue what Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy have implicitly described as a crusade for democracy.

The slow, deliberate advance toward inserting substantial ground forces is hardly a surprise. Air power can win nothing by itself; Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy were surely told this by their military advisers before the intervention began. It also is clear that the citizenry that supports Gaddafi’s regime — for reasons of loyalty, self-interest, or fear — is as large or larger than that supporting the Libyan resistance. On this point, there is neither media reporting nor U.S. or NATO propaganda reporting any problems — sabotage, ambushes, assassinations, etc. — in the rear of Libyan regime forces as they push east toward Benghazi. If Libya was truly a nation-in-arms against Gaddafi, we surely would be seeing his forces’ rear areas plagued with hit-and-run attacks by resistance fighters.

So two months into the Libyan Democracy Crusade, Obama, Clinton, McCain, Graham, and their colleagues among Europe’s Knights Templar are where anyone with a lick of commonsense knew they would be once the decision to intervene was made. These great and worldly Wilsonian minds must soon decide whether to admit defeat and leave the Libyan resistance to its fate — the correct option — or authorize what will amount to a Western invasion of Libya to take power from Gaddafi and give it to a resistance based in the country’s most thoroughly Islamist and pro-mujahedin region. Odds are that they will do the latter because, as Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy wrote in an invasion-justifying article in the New York Times on 14 April 2011, “Britain, France, and the United States will not retreat until the United Nations Security Council resolutions have been implemented and the Libyan people can choose their own future.”

On the eve of a potential U.S.-NATO invasion, then, it is worth looking at the costs — beyond wasted funds — that this Libyan misadventure will impose on the United States and its allies. If Obama, et. al, make the right decision and abandon the Libyan resistance, the price will be high but tolerable. The Muslim world will claim the resistance was abandoned by an anti-Muslim West because it would increase the role of Islam in governing post-Gaddafi Libya — which it would. The UN also would be discredited, although for some this would be a net positive given that the UN’s founders never intended it to be the pivotal agent for destroying member states, as it has been so far in 2011 in Libya, Egypt, Ivory Coast, etc.

If, on the other hand, Obama and his brother democracy crusaders decide to invade Libya to fulfill a UN “mandate” to “protect innocent civilians,” the West’s self-imposed defeat and the costs attendant to it will be much greater. Why?

–There is no guarantee that the military forces of a U.S.-NATO-Libyan-Mujahedin coalition can long survive as a functioning entity, let alone defeat Gaddafi. U.S.-led military coalitions are zero for three in winning interventions to date in Muslim lands — Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan — and the Islamist portion of the Libyan resistance will be as inclined to attack “crusader forces” as they are Gaddafi’s. The word quagmire is much overused, but this situation would surely merit that description.

–If a U.S.-NATO invasion defeats Gaddafi — then what? A stable democratic successor regime? An Islamic government? A combination of the two? Or a failed state? The last option probably is the most likely, which means either a long-term Western occupation — which would spur an Islamist insurgency — or a quick Western skedaddle which would leave Libya to the best organized portion of the resistance, the Islamists. (NB: Hows that for a lose-lose situation?)

Both of these bad options are in the future and so remain avoidable. But the West already has suffered an enormous loss by choosing to try to destroy Gaddafi’s regime, which the Wikileaks’ documents show was an anchor of the West’s counter-al-Qaeda efforts in the Maghreb. If Gaddafi survives, his regime will be hesitant — to say the least — to renew cooperation, and it will be weaker and facing a reinvigorated and now well-armed domestic Islamist opposition.

This, in turn, will mean Tripoli will have less control over its borders and so the movement of North African mujahedin into and out of Tunisia and Algeria will be much improved, causing increased trouble for the still inchoate regime in Tunis and the already-at-war-with-al-Qaeda regime in Algiers. Needless to say, reliable access to Algeria’s energy production is infinitely more important to the United States and its European allies than anything to be found in Libya.

The unnecessary Libyan intervention, then, is marching toward a disaster for the U.S. and NATO, as well as toward a triumph for the Islamist movement inspired and symbolized by bin Laden. There are absolutely no unintended consequences at play in the deteriorating situation. It is the direct and utterly predictable result of the daft, messianic Wilsonianism of Obama, Clinton, McCain, Graham, Sarkozy, and Cameron, leaders who, by intervening to install democracy, are on the verge of making the Maghreb and Egypt safe for the spread of Islamist militancy.



2011-07-02-Scheuer-of-muslim-brothers-bin-ladens-papers-bloombergian-tyranny-and-libya
Of Muslim Brothers, bin Laden’s papers, Bloombergian tyranny, and Libya
by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2011-07-02

...

–Libya:
The unconstitutional Obama-Clinton-McCain-Graham-led NATO war on Libya seems bound to make North Africa a mujahedin paradise from Mauritania to the Suez Canal. Colonel Gaddafi, Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and the current Algerian regime were long the reliable if bloody-and-brutal bulwark against an effective Islamist movement in North Africa. With Ben Ali and Mubarak gone and Gaddafi on the ropes, only the Algerians remain, and they — with more discreet Moroccans, Mauritanians, and Chadians — are signaling in every way possible that the U.S.-French-British-UN crusade against Libya is going to yield an enormous Islamist victory, but so far to no avail. The interventionists Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy seem to think that they know far better than their little Third-World brothers — they are Muslims, after all — and are content to wage the war and wait for what they have determined will be the inevitable triumph of secular democracy across North Africa. Indeed, so confident are the interventionists that the Libyan rebels are true-blue democrats that the French are air-dropping arms to the resistance’s Islamist-dominated military forces, even as the latter are cleaning out several of Gaddafi’s enormous arsenals of modern weaponry and reinforcing themselves with veteran fighters by opening Gaddafi’s prisons. If mindless wishing for the best can make it so, the West will not suffer from the Libyan war. If reality and history have their way, however, it is best to start battening down the hatches.


















2012

2012-11-18-NYT-susan-e-rice-caught-up-in-furor-over-benghazi
Diplomat on the Rise, Suddenly in Turbulence
By MARK LANDLER
New York Times, 2012-11-18

...

[In 2011],
working with [Samantha] Power (now herself in the National Security Council),
[Hillary] Clinton,
and other officials,
Ms. Rice helped persuade the president
to back NATO military intervention in Libya.





















2013

2013-03-23-Scheuer-in-mali-the-interventionist-establishment-already-is-lying-about-%E2%80%9Cunintended-consequences%E2%80%9D
In Mali, the interventionist establishment already is lying about
“unintended consequences”

by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2013-03-23

...

Just as in Iraq and Afghanistan,
there is no way to truthfully argue that
“unintended consequences” are at work
in Libya, Mali, or elsewhere in Africa.
The events that are occurring in North Africa and the Sahel
presumably are not wanted by either the academy
or the political leaders of the United States, Canada,
the UK, and the rest of Europe, but
they were perfectly predictable as a consequence of
Western intervention in Libya.

When the relentless, war-causing interventionists in those places
decided to remove Gadhafi in favor of
a “democratic revolution” that did not exist
in Libya, or in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Pakistan, Syria
or anywhere else in the Arab world,
they ushered in everything that has happened since,
and if they knew anything about
history, the region, and the Islamist movement
they would have known it.

How could these genius Western interventionists know that
they were deliberately opening Pandora’s Islamist Box?
A few facts that should have been obvious to anyone with a bit of commonsense
as the Islamist Spring unfolded
make a claim of “unintended consequences” preposterous in the extreme.
...
–The leaders of Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt were experts at
keeping almost all weaponry under their governments’ control,
just as President Obama seeks to do in the United States.
At the time of the Islamist Spring,
the militaries of Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt
were exceptionally well-armed with up-to-date weaponry,
and their many arsenals —
like those of Sadam Hussein in 2003 —
were stuffed to overflowing with reserve weapons and ammunition.
When the tyrants fell,
each country’s internal-security apparatus naturally disintegrated
and the arsenals were thoroughly looted by Islamists
who ferried away massive amounts of modern arms and munitions
for safe keeping in rural areas or in remote regions of nearby countries.
Thus the Islamist Spring yielded an international mujahedin force
better armed than at anytime since its inception in the 1980s.

Each of these important points was easily knowable
before the Islamist Spring began in February, 2011.
And the results of the Islamist Spring
that the world is now seeing in North and West Africa
were just as easily predictable.
Honest and responsible Western leaders, professors, and journalists
would have warned their citizens that
the Islamist Spring would cause Islamist militant organizations —
al-Qaeda, its allies, and groups no one had yet heard about —
to soon grow larger, more lethal, bolder, more geographically dispersed,
and more bitterly opposed to U.S. and Western interventionism than ever before.
Instead,
those Western leaders knowingly and deliberately lied,
applauding the fictitious advent of secular democracy in the Arab world —
of which there was never a chance —
and, as President Obama likes to say,
the substantial receding of the Islamist threat.

...





2015-06-06-WP-in-libyas-civil-war-the-islamic-state-shows-itself-as-the-main-threat
Libyan gains may offer ISIS a base for new attacks
By Hassan Morajea and Erin Cunningham
Washington Post, 2015-06-06

MISURATA, Libya — As the Islamic State scores new victories in Syria and Iraq, its affiliate in Libya is also on the offensive, consolidating control of Moammar Gaddafi’s former home town and staging a bomb attack on a major city, Misurata.

The Islamic State’s growth could further destabilize a country already suffering from a devastating civil war. And Libya could offer the extremists a new base from which to launch attacks elsewhere in North Africa.

The Libyan affiliate does not occupy large amounts of territory as the Islamic State does in Syria and Iraq. But in the past few months, the local group has seized Sirte, the coastal city that was Gaddafi’s last redoubt, as well as neighborhoods in the eastern city of Derna.

A key reason for the Libyan affiliate’s expansion is the chaos that has enveloped this oil-rich nation since the 2011 Arab Spring revolt. The country has two rival governments and is rent by fighting between militias that emerged from the anti-Gaddafi struggle.

Although the Islamic State claims allies in many countries, the Libya branch is especially close to the main organization. Its core fighters in Libya are veterans of the Syrian civil war.

Security experts estimate there are as many as 3,000 fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Libya. The country has become one of the primary locations to train with the group outside of Syria and Iraq. Volunteers from Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries have flocked here to fight with the extremists and other jihadist organizations. The Islamic State also has succeeded in pulling away members of other Libyan extremist groups.

In the latest signs of their growing strength, Islamic State fighters last month seized the airport and an adjacent air base in Sirte, where they have controlled most government institutions since February. The militants also took over the nearby headquarters of a mammoth network of pipes that pump fresh water to Libyan cities.

...

Gaddafi cracked down on domestic Islamist groups during his four-decade rule. But Islamists became powerful after the 2011 rebellion, with some joining the government and others openly running armed factions.

Still, the Islamic State did not appear in Libya until mid-2014. A group of Libyan militants who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State while fighting in Syria returned home and began to organize in the eastern city of Derna, according to experts and Libyan Islamists.

At the time, Libya’s weak government was fracturing into two entities: an Islamist-led administration in Tripoli, and a Hifter-aligned authority in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Later in 2014, the Islamic State leadership sent a delegation from Syria to Libya to formally receive pledges of allegiance to its self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Libyan group set up three caliphate “provinces” in the east, in Tripoli and in the south. Each province has an Islamic State governor, but there is no single spiritual or military leader inside Libya, experts say.

For the Islamic State, Libya is attractive because of its location along the Mediterranean Sea, making it a potential launchpad for attacks on places such as Egypt and Tunisia, analysts say. The country’s vast desert regions and general lawlessness also mean the Islamic State could operate quite freely.

...

The Libyan affiliate also lacks a stream of revenue, hampering its ability to offer social services.
In Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State has far more income because of its control of some of the countries’ oil production,
[Interesting. I wonder who is buying oil from the Islamic State, and thus supporting its activities.
If the U.S. wants to oppose the Islamic State, why not apply punitive measures, sanctions, to those who are supporting it?]

as well as its ability to impose taxes and collect ransoms from kidnappings.
Libya’s petroleum resources remain under the control of the two governments.

Still, the Misuratan military official said the Islamic State militants in Sirte are capable fighters.

“We are not sure how many [fighters] there are, and they are pretty well-armed,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment to the media. “Of course they are a threat.”

Wehrey said the number of militants in Sirte is probably in the low- to mid-hundreds.

...












2015-10-27-Paul-house-benghazi-hearings-too-much-too-late
House Benghazi Hearings: Too Much Too Late
by Ron Paul
Antiwar.com, 2015-10-27

Last week the US House of Representatives called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to appear before a select committee looking into the attack on a US facility in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.
The attack left four Americans dead, including US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

As might be expected, however,
the “Benghazi Committee” hearings have proven not much more than
a means for each party to grandstand for political points.

In fact, I would call these Congressional hearings “too much, too late.”

Four years after the US-led overthrow of the Libyan government –
which left the country a wasteland controlled by competing Islamist gangs and militias –
the committee wants to know
whether Hillary Clinton had enough guards at the facility in Benghazi on the night of the attack?
The most important thing to look into about Libya
is Hillary Clinton’s e-mails or management style while Secretary of State?

Why no House Committee hearing before President Obama launched his war on Libya?
Why no vote on whether to authorize the use of force?
Why no hearing after the President violated the Constitution
by sending the military into Libya with UN authorization rather than Congressional authorization?

...





2016

2016-02-04-WP-Libya-a-tough-call-on-libya-that-still-haunts
A tough call on Libya that still haunts
Hillary Clinton says the 2011 decision to bomb the country was ‘smart power.’
Critics say it was a failure to learn from Iraq.
Story by Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post, 2016-02-04

When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton walked into the gilded Elysee Palace in Paris on March 14, 2011, she found a fired-up French President Nicolas Sarkozy eager to launch military strikes in Libya.

It had been nearly a month since Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s security forces had gunned down more than a dozen protesters in Tripoli, touched off a civil war and threatened to slaughter thousands more rebels like “rats.”

[So how different is that from how Israel treats Palestinian protestors?
Why the double standard between
the view of Israel's treatment of its internal rebels and
the view of how Muslim rulers treat rebels against their rule?]


...

A few hours later, after consultations with British and Arab allies and a leader of the Libyan opposition all demanding action,
Clinton joined a White House meeting of President Obama’s National Security Council by phone and forcefully urged the president to take military action.

Clinton’s decision to shed her initial reluctance and strongly back a military operation in Libya was one of the most significant — and risky — of her career.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates,
national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon and others
were against military action,
contending that the United States had no clear national interests at stake
and that operations could last far longer and cost more lives than anyone anticipated.

But Clinton joined U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice and White House adviser Samantha Power
in pressing Obama to back a U.S.- and NATO-led military campaign,
arguing that the United States could not let Gaddafi butcher his citizens.

[Note the gender difference in desire to intervene.]

Obama sided with Clinton’s argument, and three days later, on March 17,
the U.N. Security Council passed a U.S.-backed resolution authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians.
U.S. warplanes immediately destroyed Libya’s air defenses before turning the operation over to NATO,
which continued strikes until Gaddafi was captured and killed in October.

...

But Libya today has deteriorated into a virtual failed state run by hundreds of private militias. Eighteen months after the initial airstrikes, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in attacks by militants on a U.S. diplomatic post and a nearby CIA site in Benghazi. The North African nation has become a primary outpost for the Islamic State, which has exploited the chaos to take territory, train soldiers and prove its strength outside Syria and Iraq.

[Note also that arms seized from Libyan army depots
were used by the forces which have destabilized many of the states south of Libya,
such as Mali.
The downfall of Gaddafi’s regime played a significant role, possibly a necessary one,
in spreading chaos through much of the region.]


...

Clinton has repeatedly defended the Libya military intervention as U.S. “smart power at its best.”

“We had a murderous dictator . . . threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people,” she said during an October [2015] Democratic presidential debate. “We had our closest allies in Europe burning up the phone lines begging us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a mass genocide, in their words. And we had the Arabs standing by our side saying, ‘We want you to help us deal with Gaddafi.’ ”

But where Clinton sees “smart power,” her attackers see poor judgment and a failure to learn from mistakes made in Iraq — a war that Clinton initially voted for as a senator, then acknowledged was a mistake during her 2008 Democratic primary campaign against Barack Obama.

As in Iraq, Clinton backed a military operation that toppled a dictator yet was marred by poor postwar planning that led to violent chaos and the ultimate rise of new and even greater threats to U.S. interests.

Much of the criticism has been over the killing of Gaddafi when the U.N. mandate was only to protect civilian life.

While few mourned the loss of Gaddafi, his death, at the hands of opposition forces, has had long-term effects on U.S. relations abroad. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was his country’s prime minister during the debate over Libya, remains highly critical of the decision to pass the resolution, which he asserts Washington used as a justification for eliminating Gaddafi. Analysts have said Putin’s anger over Libya has been a key stumbling block in diplomatic discussions about whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stay or go.

“How did we move from protecting civilians to the decapitation of the entire military and the state? I don’t know the answer,” said the European diplomat. “The Russians accused us of playing fast and loose with the resolution, and Putin never misses a chance to throw that in our faces.”

...

“The horrific situation in Libya demands more than just public condemnation; it requires strong international action,” Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) said in a statement.

The senators, Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and others were calling for the United States and allies to establish a no-fly zone over Libya to ground Gaddafi’s planes and helicopters, which had been attacking and killing rebels and protesters.

“Libya was a case where we needed to get out there, seize the moment and support these people,” said Lieberman, who retired from the Senate in 2013. “We wanted [Obama and Clinton] to understand that what was happening in Libya was important to the future of the Arab world and American credibility.”

...

A powerful group of Obama national security officials,
starting with Vice President Biden and [former Defense Secretary Robert] Gates,
were lined up solidly against any U.S. military involvement in Libya.

In his book “Duty,” Gates wrote that as of Feb. 26,
other officials on his side included
[National Security Adviser Thomas] Donilon,
Chief of Staff William M. Daley,
Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen,
deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough and
homeland security adviser John Brennan.
[All male.]
The primary advocates for military action were
[U.N. Ambassador Susan] Rice and
[White House adviser Samantha] Power.
[All female.]

The secretary of state had to pick a side.

[So those for intervention were one black male (President Obama)
and three women (SecState Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Rice, and Power).
Those against were all white men.
Interesting demographics.]


...


2016-03-14-GlobalResearch-exposing-the-libyan-agenda-a-closer-look-at-hillarys-emails
Money, Power and Oil.
Exposing the Libyan Agenda:
A Closer Look at Hillary’s Emails

By Ellen Brown
Global Research (Center for Research on Globalization), 2016-03-14

[Original source for article: The Web of Debt Blog.
Also at:
Exposing the Libyan Agenda: a Closer Look at Hillary’s Emails]

Critics have long questioned why violent intervention was necessary in Libya.
Hillary Clinton’s recently published emails confirm that
it was less about protecting the people from a dictator
than about money, banking, and preventing African economic sovereignty.


...

US-NATO intervention was allegedly undertaken on humanitarian grounds, after reports of mass atrocities; but human rights organizations questioned the claims after finding alack of evidence. Today, however, verifiable atrocities are occurring. As Dan Kovalik wrote in the Huffington Post, “the human rights situation in Libya is a disaster, as ‘thousands of detainees [including children] languish in prisons without proper judicial review,’ and ‘kidnappings and targeted killings are rampant’.”

Before 2011, Libya had achieved economic independence, with its own water, its own food, its own oil, its own money, and its own state-owned bank. It had arisen under Qaddafi from one of the poorest of countries to the richest in Africa. Education and medical treatment were free; having a home was considered a human right; and Libyans participated in an original system of local democracy. The country boasted the world’s largest irrigation system, the Great Man-made River project, which brought water from the desert to the cities and coastal areas; and Qaddafi was embarking on a program to spread this model throughout Africa.

But that was before US-NATO forces bombed the irrigation system and wreaked havoc on the country. Today the situation is so dire that President Obama has asked his advisors to draw up options including a new military front in Libya, and the Defense Department is reportedly standing ready with “the full spectrum of military operations required.”

The Secretary of State’s victory lap was indeed premature, if what we’re talking about is the officially stated goal of humanitarian intervention. But her newly-released emails reveal another agenda behind the Libyan war; and this one, it seems, was achieved.



Of the 3,000 emails released from Hillary Clinton’s private email server in late December 2015, about a third were from her close confidante Sidney Blumenthal, the attorney who defended her husband in the Monica Lewinsky case. One of these emails,dated April 2, 2011, reads in part:
Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver . . . .
This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion
and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar.
This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).

In a “source comment,” the original declassified email adds:

According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:

  1. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
  2. Increase French influence in North Africa,
  3. Improve his internal political situation in France,
  4. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
  5. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa

Conspicuously absent is any mention of humanitarian concerns.
The objectives are money, power and oil.

...


2016-03-16-Politico-Preble-dont-intervene-in-libya-again
Don’t intervene in Libya again
War hawks want to make you think it worked the first time.
Don’t believe them.
By Christopher Preble
Politico Opinion, 2016-03-16

[This most excellent piece appears on the web at www.politico.eu,
not www.politico.com,
but it appeared in print on page 16 of the U.S. Politico dated Wednesday, 2016-03-23
(I'm looking at it right now).]


[1]
As the Islamic State has captured more area in Libya in the past few months, the U.S. and European countries are worried that the militants will have yet another stronghold where they can plot attacks against Western interests. In response, President Barack Obama has authorized the military to bomb targets in the country. Some politicians are calling for even deeper U.S. involvement, including possibly ground troops.

[2]
The arguments for intervention in Libya sound eerily similar to those made just five years ago, before NATO undertook a bombing campaign that eventually killed former Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi, destabilized the country and created a power vacuum that ISIS has filled. Then, we heard of averting a humanitarian catastrophe and creating a democracy to defeat radicalism; now, we would settle for squashing ISIS. But
the underlying belief that military force will produce stability and that
the U.S. can reasonably predict the result of such a campaign
remains the same.


[3]
As the U.S. considers whether to increase its military efforts, the advocates for intervention are attempting to rewrite the history of the first Libyan war to pave the way for more like it. But an honest accounting of the 2011 bombing campaign reveals it as yet another foolish adventure in the Middle East—and offers a lesson for why the U.S. shouldn’t intervene once again.

[4]
In March of 2011, the Obama Administration in concert with the U.N. Security Council set up a no-fly zone over Libya to protect peaceful, pro-western, pro-democracy Libyans who they felt were threatened under the reign of Qaddafi.
Obama claimed the sole objective was a humanitarian one—
to protect the people of Libya from their own government
and to spread peace and democracy in a world
that has never lived under democratic rule.

The NATO bombing campaign continued throughout the summer and rebel forces captured and killed Qaddafi in October. On October 31, NATO ended its operations over Libya.

[5]
This humanitarian case for war convinced the world to drop bombs on Libya but the case was always filled with holes. Midway through the NATO campaign, the nonpartisan International Crisis Group (ICG) reported that
the most dramatic story of anti-civilian violence was dubious,
and the risk of exacerbating the humanitarian situation with NATO intervention was real. “[T]here are grounds for questioning the more sensational reports that the regime was using its air force to slaughter demonstrators,” ICG said, “let alone engaging in anything remotely warranting use of the term ‘genocide.’”

[6]
As journalist Michael Hastings reported in 2011,
“Over the course of seven months, America spent $1 billion on the war in Libya. As NATO flew more than 22,000 sorties, including hundreds of bombing runs and drone strikes,
the goal of the war quickly morphed from
a limited desire to protect civilians into
a more sweeping and aggressive push for regime change.”


[7]
More recently in 2013, a policy brief from Alan Kuperman at Harvard’s prestigious Belfer Center found that the humanitarian case for intervention was significantly overstated in the run-up to war. The brief was tellingly entitled “Lessons from Libya: How Not to Intervene.” Kuperman explained how NATO’s initial humanitarian goals were replaced by regime change, which resulted in the spilling of more Libyan blood.
“NATO’s action magnified the conflict’s duration about sixfold
and its death toll at least sevenfold,” Kuperman estimates,
“while also exacerbating
human rights abuses,
humanitarian suffering,
Islamic radicalism, and
weapons proliferation in Libya and its neighbors.

As others have argued,
the dramatic stories of regime-sponsored genocide were mostly rebel propaganda
designed to tug at Western heartstrings.

[8]
The result of the bombing campaign wasn’t a democratic, stable Libya. Instead, an estimated 30,000 people died and many thousands were displaced. The country is now split between a group led by a former Qaddafi loyalist who controls territory in the east and a coalition of Islamist militias that control the capital, Tripoli, and much of the rest of the country. It is difficult to imagine how Libya could possibly be in worse shape today had NATO chosen bargaining over bombs to deal with Qaddafi—and he did try to bargain. Before its final fall, the beleaguered Qaddafi regime was willing and able to deal.

[9]
Leaders in the Pentagon recognized this when they allegedly opened back-channel negotiations in 2011, circumventing the State Department, with Qaddafi’s son and heir apparent in an effort to deescalate the situation. Qaddafi then publicly offered negotiations and internationally-monitored elections in an effort to avoid further NATO intervention, an offer U.S. officials rejected. Though by no means a trustworthy or laudable actor, the old regime was at least more tangible than the shifting sands of rival governments that have struggled to maintain even basic administrative function since the dictator’s death. Moreover, Qaddafi had previously cooperated with U.S. officials on counterterrorism and counterproliferation.

[10]
It is possible that a hypothetical Libya, one that hadn’t undergone Western-imposed regime change, would be just as unstable as the real one is now. Such speculation may be comforting for the architects of the 2011 war, but it is hardly a compelling argument for further entanglement today. If Libya was doomed either way, it is difficult to see why U.S. intervention was either necessary or wise.

[11]
The Obama administration does not deserve the complete blame for ISIS’s presence in Libya. But there were ample warnings in 2011 which the White House could have heeded—cautions that intervening could well lead to more misery, instability, and terrorism in Libya. One such admonition, from that ICG report, now looks particularly prophetic:

[12]
“If, in the event of such an escalation, the regime should soon suffer total military defeat, it would be reckless to ignore the possibility that the outcome may be not a transition to democracy but rather a potentially prolonged vacuum that could have grave political and security implications for Libya’s neighbours as well as aggravate an already serious humanitarian crisis.”

[13]
Exactly such a vacuum did arise thanks to American-led NATO intervention. ISIS is now trying to fill it, but that doesn’t mean that they will, and it certainly won’t be easy. They are merely one of many factions competing in a multisided civil war, and the others have proved their mettle on numerous occasions. They are unlikely to allow foreign interlopers to steal the country away from them.

[14]
Despite this clear record of failure, interventionists refuse to back down. The most recent example is the former director of Libya for the National Security Council, Ben Fishman, who claimed that “The Obama administration is not responsible for the rise of the Islamic State in Libya.”

[15]
This assertion—and more broadly the pardoning of anyone who orchestrated the disastrous 2011 intervention—is a necessary step in the current push to re-enter the Libyan quagmire. If they admit that the 2011 campaign failed, it will be hard to garner support for more bombing. That is why the cheerleaders for yet another intervention are anxious to shift the blame for Libya’s collapse elsewhere.

[16]
However, the outcome of the war has made a skeptic of U.S. intervention of one important actor: Barack Obama. In his recent interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the president admitted that the intervention in Libya failed. “Libya proved to him,” Goldberg writes, “that the Middle East was best avoided.” The President reportedly told a former Senate colleague, “There is no way we should commit to governing the Middle East and North Africa…That would be a basic, fundamental mistake.” But despite these reservations, the president has already expanded the bombing campaign in Libya.

[17]
The battle for the future of Libya should be decided by the people of Libya. U.S. involvement would be unlikely to tip the scales decisively in the favor of our preferred faction—presuming we could find one—and would undermine its authority if it prevailed. And we shouldn’t be goaded into acting by our putative allies who have busily fueled the Libyan civil war, and others raging in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. U.S. officials should advise them to stay out, too. If they ignore that warning, and perpetuate the violence in Libya, they should understand that Americans won’t save them from the aftermath.

[18]
Having apparently learned nothing from the missteps in Libya and the ongoing catastrophe of nation-building in Iraq, the bipartisan foreign policy establishment is ready for another round. Counterfactual excuses and historical revisionism should not persuade us to let them try. Americans should understand that we don’t need to overthrow distant governments and roll the dice on what comes after in order to keep America safe. On the contrary, our track record over the last quarter century shows that such interventions often have the opposite effect.

Christopher Preble is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.



2016-03-30-WP-Will-libya-debacle-undermines-clintons-foreign-policy-credentials
The Libya debacle undermines Clinton’s foreign policy credentials
by George F. Will
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2016-03-30

...

[3]
...
Libya, however, was what is known in tennis as an “unforced error,” and [Hillary] Clinton was, with President Obama, its co-author.

[4]
On March 28, 2011, nine days after the seven-month attack on Libya began and 10 days after saying that it would last “days, not weeks,” Obama gave the nation televised assurance that “the task that I assigned our forces [is] to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger and to establish a no-fly zone.” He said that U.S. forces would play only a “supporting role” in what he called a “NATO-based” operation, although only eight of NATO’s 28 members participated and the assault could not have begun without U.S. assets. Obama added: “Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”

[5]
The next day, a Clinton deputy repeated this to a Senate committee. And then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at the time that no vital U.S. interest was at stake. Recently, he told the New York Times that “the fiction was maintained” that the goal was to cripple Moammar Gaddafi’s ability to attack other Libyans. This was supposedly humanitarian imperialism implementing “R2P,” the “responsibility to protect.” Perhaps as many as — many numbers were bandied — 10,000 Libyans. R2P did not extend to protecting the estimated 200,000 Syrians that have been killed since 2011 by Bashar al-Assad’s tanks, artillery, bombers, barrel bombs and poison gas.

[6]
Writing for Foreign Policy online, Micah Zenko, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, notes that “just hours into the intervention, Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from a British submarine stationed in the Mediterranean Sea struck an administrative building in [Gaddafi’s] Bab al-Azizia compound, less than 50 yards away from the dictator’s residence.” A senior military official carefully insisted that Gaddafi was “not on a targeting list.” This was sophistry in the service of cynicism: For months, places he might have been were on targeting lists.

[7]
The pretense was that this not-really-NATO operation, with the United States “supporting” it, was merely to enforce U.N. resolutions about protecting Libyans from Gaddafi. Zenko, however, argues that the coalition “actively chose not to enforce” the resolution prohibiting arms transfers to either side in the civil war. While a senior NATO military official carefully said “I have no information about” arms coming into Libya, and another carefully said that no violation of the arms embargo “has been reported,” Zenko writes that “Egypt and Qatar were shipping advanced weapons to rebel groups the whole time, with the blessing of the Obama administration.”

[8]
On May 24, 2011, NATO released a public relations video showing sailors from a Canadian frigate, supposedly enforcing the arms embargo, boarding a rebel tugboat laden with arms. The video’s narrator says: “NATO decides not to impede the rebels and to let the tugboat proceed.” Zenko writes, “A NATO surface vessel stationed in the Mediterranean to enforce an arms embargo did exactly the opposite, and NATO was comfortable posting a video demonstrating its hypocrisy.”

[9]
On Oct. 20, 2011, Clinton, while visiting Afghanistan, was told that insurgents, assisted by a U.S. Predator drone, had caught and slaughtered Gaddafi. She quipped: “We came, we saw, he died.” She later said that her words expressed “relief” that the mission “had achieved its end.”

[10]
Oh, so this military adventure was, after all, history’s most protracted and least surreptitious assassination. Regime change was deliberately accomplished by the determined decapitation of the old regime, and Libyans are now living in the result — a failed state.

[11]
Stopping in Libya en route to Afghanistan two days before Gaddafi’s death, Clinton said, “I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya.” If you seek her presidential credential, look there.


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