AntiWar.com & Agence France-Presse – 2016-03-03 23:38:16
Libya: How Hillary Clinton Destroyed a Country
Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com
(March 3, 2016) — “We came, we saw, he died,” exclaimed an ebullient Hillary Clinton, as she exulted over the horrific death of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, who was sodomized with a bayonet before being brutally murdered by rampaging militiamen. Visiting Tripoli, the Libyan capital, the American Secretary of State was eager to take credit for the “liberation” of yet another Muslim country by Western powers acting in concert.
An extensive and quite revealing New York Times investigation (Pt. 1 here, Pt. 2 here) reports on “a ‘ticktock’ that described her starring role in the events that had led to this moment. The timeline, her top policy aide, Jake Sullivan, wrote, demonstrated Mrs. Clinton’s ‘leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish.’ The memo’s language put her at the center of everything: ‘HRC announces . . . HRC directs . . . HRC travels . . . HRC engages,’ it read.”
These days, however, out on the campaign trail, Mrs. Clinton is not quite so eager to take ownership of what can only be characterized as an unmitigated disaster, a case history dramatizing the perils of “liberal” interventionism from inception to bloody denouement.
Mrs. Clinton was easily won over by the Libyan rebels who presented a utopian view of what the post-revolutionary era would look like: there would be free elections, a free media, women would be able to “do it all,” and everyone would get a pony.
They “‘said all the right things about supporting democracy and inclusivity and building Libyan institutions, providing some hope that we might be able to pull this off,’ said Philip H. Gordon, one of her assistant secretaries. ‘They gave us what we wanted to hear. And you do want to believe.'”
Confirmation bias in a writer or reporter is fatal, but only to his/her own career: in a Secretary of State it is a death sentence for thousands. And that’s exactly how it turned out in Hillary’s case.
To this day, Clinton avers that “it’s too soon to tell” whether the Libya intervention qualifies as an unmitigated failure — even in the face of marauding militias, no less than two self-declared governments, the horrific death of an American ambassador at the hands of the very militias we empowered, and the incursion of the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and other terrorist outfits. She refused to be interviewed for the Times article.
While Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Vice President Joe Biden opposed regime change, Clinton took the side of the younger “back-benchers,” as the Times calls them, who wanted to go in there and “get on the right side of history.” The misnamed “Arab Spring” was in full bloom, and the media was pushing the idea that this was a great awakening of “democracy.”
Hillary, who had hesitated at first to jump on the bandwagon during the Egyptian events, made up for lost time in Libya. She “pressed for a secret American program that supplied arms to rebel militias, an effort never before confirmed,” the Times reports. Those arms would be used to attack a CIA outpost in Benghazi, where Ambassador Stevens would fall at the hands of these very militiamen.
While initially the US was purportedly acting only to prevent civilian deaths at the hands of Gaddafi — a “humanitarian disaster” that turned out to be nothing but media-driven war propaganda — Hillary and her staff soon fell down the slippery slope to actively aiding the rebels. The ‘responsibility to protect” soon became another regime change operation, as in Iraq.
“‘We don’t want another war,’ she told [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov, stressing that the mission was limited to protecting civilians. ‘I take your point about not seeking another war,’ she recalled him responding. ‘But that doesn’t mean that you won’t get one.'”
The French were pushing particularly hard for a more muscular Western response, and in a meeting with French and British officials the frogs played their “trump card,” as the Times describes it. Although the meeting was convened to decide whether to act, Clinton was informed that “French fighter jets were already in the air” — but, added the French official, “this is a collective decision and I will recall them if you want me to.”
This certainly gives new meaning to the phrase “leading from behind” that administration officials used to describe our role. Clinton was supposedly “irritated,” but she capitulated readily enough.
“‘I’m not going to be the one to recall the planes and create the massacre in Benghazi,’ she grumbled to an aide. And the bombing began.”
The Libyan leader, who had ruled his country for more than 40 years, knew what the outcome would be. His regime, “he railed to anyone who would listen,” was Libya’s sole defense against Islamist crazies who would overrun the country if not for him. But no one in the West was listening.
Clinton was jazzed that this was supposedly a model of “multilateralism,” with the Arab League as well as the Europeans in on the deal. But that proved to be the original mission’s undoing as Qatar — a little shithole of an oil-rich country long dependent on the US military for its miserable existence — starting funneling weapons to Islamist militias with dubious credentials.
This is how we were pressured into going from “humanitarian intervention” to regime change. If we didn’t arm the “good” militias, Clinton argued, the bad ones being empowered by Qatar would prevail. Yet military officials were not convinced:
“NATO’s supreme allied commander, Adm. James G. Stavridis, had told Congress of “flickers” of Al Qaeda within the opposition. Mr. [Tom] Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, argued that the administration could not ensure that weapons intended for ‘the so-called good guys,’ as one State Department official put it, did not fall into the hands of Islamist extremists.”
As the Times makes all too clear, Clinton has a bias in favor of action, as well as relying on what can only be called a woman’s intuition. Her aides, the Times says, “described her as feeling her way through a problem without being certain of the outcome.” Another word for this is recklessness.
Clinton eventually succeeded in persuading President Obama, who signed a presidential finding authorizing a covert action to overthrow Gaddafi. US weapons poured into the country. The militias were unleashed, while Clinton hailed the elections that were staged shortly after the “liberation.”
Yet, as it turned out, the elected officials had no real power: the guns were in the hands of the militias, who extorted government officials for more weapons in return for not being killed.
The country went to pieces rather quickly, but our Secretary of State and would-be President had already moved on: she was too busy plotting regime change in Syria to be bothered with the unraveling of Libya.
Clinton wanted to make a deal with the Qataris that we would arm their favored radical Islamists in Syria if they would lay off aiding al-Qaeda-type crazies in Libya. But when the President vetoed her Syrian regime change plan, the proposed deal was off — and Libya continued to deteriorate into the Mad Max scenario we see today.
She quit the State Department after losing the internal debate over Syria, and is now campaigning for the highest office in the land on a platform of “love and kindness.”
Not that there’s much “love and kindness” in the country she destroyed almost single-handedly.
This Times story dropped like a stone: although normally one would expect such a damning account of a presidential candidate’s tenure as Secretary of State to be grist for the media mill, there wasn’t so much as a peep about it from anywhere else — including from the Republican candidates, never mind from Bernie Sanders.
A woman who could very well occupy the highest office in the land, with near total control of US foreign policy, basically committed an entire nation to perdition. Where’s the outrage? Who is drawing the lessons learned from all this?
Antiwar.com is almost alone in underscoring Hillary Clinton’s horrific foreign policy record. The Republicans, who mostly agree with her interventionist views, are screaming about “Benghazi! Benghazi!” without understanding what led to the death of an American ambassador.
The liberal media, which is clearly rooting for Hillary, isn’t about to point to this horrific example of incompetence and hubris. So it’s left to us — our little singlejack operation here at Antiwar.com — to speak truth to power.
Troops Trickle in as West Prepares for Libya War
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(March 3, 2016) — Last week, major French newspaper Le Monde reported that the French government is engaged in a “secret war” in Libya, and has deployed special forces already. The Pentagon has also talked about its own presence in Libya, and Britain is understood to have some special forces there as well.
The numbers keep growing, and other assets for a Western war in Libya, which officials have been publicly championing for months, are being moved into place. It’s only a matter of time until the “secret war” becomes a public one, but how long?
That’s not clear, as leaked Italian documents confirm that they too are poised to send some ground troops across the Mediterranean, though officially the Italian Defense Ministry insists that there is no “war room” and that the conflict is awaiting the formation of a Libyan unity government.
These nations have all been emphasizing the growth of the ISIS affiliate in Libya, and indicating that they believe the ISIS war needs to be expanded there.
The selling of the “merits” of the war seems to be running concurrent to the actual deployments in this case, indicating how perfunctory the whole PR effort is.
Libya Intervention: Jigsaw Near Completion
But Final Pieces Still Missing
Fanny Carrier / Agence France-Presse & France24.com
ROME (March 3, 2016) — Planning is at an advanced stage, special forces are already on the ground and air power assets are being moved within range: a new Western military intervention in Libya is edging ever closer.
But a long-anticipated move against offshoots of the Islamic State group remains on hold as long as Libya has not formed a unified government with the authority to ask for help to stem the extremist group’s growth.
The legitimacy of any intervention is a delicate issue and key for Italy, which has agreed to lead a UN-mandated international stabilisation force into its troubled former colony provided it also has credible cover from a national authority.
Hence the hasty reaction from Italian officials when Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, the commander of US special-operations forces in Africa, let slip this week that a “coalition coordination centre” was already up and running in Rome with a view to eliminating the IS threat in Libya.
Domenico Rossi, number two in the Italian defence ministry, was quick to fire off a terse rebuttal. “We are awaiting the formation of a Libyan government, there is no ‘war room'” Rossi tweeted.
Handfuls of US, British and French special forces have already been spotted in Libya. And a contingent of around 50 Italians is about to join them, Il Corriere della Sera reported Thursday, citing a classified order signed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi last month.
The secret services have been tasked with evaluating the balance of forces on the ground, providing intelligence and perhaps weapons and communications tools to potential allies against IS.
Action Needed Urgently
The group controls significant territory around the central city of Sirte and also has forces in the eastern city of Benghazi and, to the west of Tripoli, around Sabratha, where a US air strike aimed at an alleged IS training camp left some 50 people dead on February 19.
That attack was carried out with the use of British airbases. The US has since secured agreement from Italy that a base in Sicily can be used for drone strikes against IS in Libya and French aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle has been redeployed from the Gulf to the Mediterranean, officially for training exercises with Egypt.
In Sabratha, the commander of a group loyal to the Fajr Libya (Libyan Dawn) coalition, told AFP that British forces had been been in touch with local militias and that he anticipated a campaign against IS starting soon.
IS’s presence in Libya has become an increasing source of concern to Western governments wary of a repeat of Paris-style attacks on their soil.
The group is estimated to have between 3,000 and 5,000 fighters in the Sirte region, including Tunisian, Sudanese, Yemeni and Nigerian nationals.
“It is urgent to act,” said Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, a prominent critic of the 2011 NATO-led intervention in Libya which led to the current chaos in the country.
“We have already seen how illusory can be the benefits of intervention without a medium to long-term perspective. We have to avoid repeating the errors of the past by acting precipitately.”
‘A Viable Partner on the Ground’
US officials said the currently stalled attempts to establish a sole Libyan authority would have to be completed before any action could be contemplated.
“There has to be a viable partner on the ground to work with,” a US defence source said. “I don’t think there is an interest in attacking blindly without a viable partner.”
As things stand, the internationally recognised government based at Tobruk in eastern Libya has said it must have a veto on any intervention while its Islamist-influenced rival in Tripoli says it would regard military action as tantamount to an invasion.
With the stabilisation force envisaged at around 6,000 troops maximum, it seems likely any anti-IS campaign would be largely conducted from the air and designed to back up local groups seeking to oust the Islamist group from Libya.
“A military occupation would be absurd, has never been considered and certainly remains ruled out,” insisted Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti.
But there was also a word of warning from a close Libya watcher. “Experience elsewhere has clearly shown air strikes are not enough. Without ground forces, national or international, they will not work,” warned Alshiabani Abuhamoud.
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