by John Glaser
The new Libyan government – which exists thanks to the NATO intervention in 2011 – is providing aid and comfort to al-Qaeda linked groups.
Mohamed Eljarh at Foreign Policy reports, “Ansar al-Sharia returns to Benghazi“:
On Sunday, March 3, four pickup trucks filled with Ansar al-Sharia militiamen pulled up at the European School in Benghazi. The men jumped out and stormed the school, saying that they were searching for teaching materials that they viewed as contradicting sharia law or the values of Libyan society. The incident at the school continued for about two hours and caused mixed reactions among Libyans as they followed the story.
Eljarh reminds us that Ansar al-Sharia is a radical, al-Qaeda-linked group – “linked to the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi back in September of last year, which led to the death of four Americans” – that “advocates the implementation of strict sharia law across Libya.”
Aided by the West in NATO’s war of regime change, Ansar al-Sharia “fought with other Libyans to topple the Qaddafi regime in 2011.”
“Since the fall of Qaddafi,” Eljarh reports, ”the heavily armed group has declared itself to be an independent paramilitary body that does not fall under the government’s direct command and control.”
During the US-NATO war in Libya, Antiwar.com took up the rather lonely task of warning against intervention. Among the many, many reasons to stay out was the fact that it was known that many of the Libyan rebels had ties to al-Qaeda linked groups or were otherwise unscrupulous Islamists, heavily armed from the outside.
And now, the shaky Libyan government is “cooperating” with Ansar al-Sharia, even though “they remain firmly opposed to the idea of democracy, which, they contend, contradicts sharia law.”
“The basis for Ansar’s reappearance seems to be an arrangement with the Libyan Ministry of Defense,” Eljarh reports. ”At the time of the attack on the consulate, the government promised to do everything in its power to bring the perpetrators to justice — but now we see the Libyan authorities actually cooperating with the militia.”
The reason, according to the Foreign Policy report, is that the Libyan government is having a hard time achieving the central enterprise of a state: maintaining a monopoly on the legitimized use of force. Ansar al-Sharia has the guns. The Libyan government wants in on some of that.
And what better way to do that than to ally with thuggish armed militias that hold democracy in contempt?
Prophesies of blowback – and doom – that could be read at this site at the time of our heroic, humanitarian intervention in Libya were readily dismissed by most of official Washington and their obedient news media. Again and again, the predictions are being realized.