Category Archives: Libya

The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West’s Disastrous Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars

Max Blumenthal writes for AlterNet:

The heinous suicide bombing by British-born Salman Abedi of an Arianna Grande concert in Manchester was not merely the work of an “evil loser,” as Donald Trump called it. It was blowback from interventionist policies carried out in the name of human rights and “civilian protection.” Through wars of regime change and the arming and training of Islamist proxy groups, the US, UK and France played out imperial delusions across the Middle East. In Syria and Libya, they cultivated the perfect petri dish for jihadist insurgency, helping to spawn weaponized nihilists like Abedi intent on bringing the West’s wars back home.

The son of anti-Qaddafi immigrants to the UK, Abedi grew up in Manchester’s community of Libyan exiles. A  report in the London Telegraph indicated that he had traveled just weeks before his attack to Libya, where Salafi-jihadi militias are competing for control of the destabilized country. Abedi had also reportedly traveled to Syria to join up with the extremist rebels that have waged a six-year-long insurgency against the country’s government, with billions of dollars in assistance from the West and its Gulf allies. According to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, it was in these conflict zones where Abedi was radicalized.

The impressionable 22-year-old returned to the UK with enough training to make a fairly sophisticated bomb that massacred 22 concert goers, many of them children. “It seems likely — possible — that he wasn’t doing this on his own,” Britain’s home secretary, Amber Rudd, told the BBC. She described the bomb as “more sophisticated than some of the attacks we’ve seen before.”

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‘Sorted’ by MI5: How UK Government Sent British-Libyans to Fight Gaddafi

Amandla Thomas-Johnson and Simon Hooper report for Middle East Eye:

The British government operated an “open door” policy that allowed Libyan exiles and British-Libyan citizens to join the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi even though some had been subject to counter-terrorism control orders, Middle East Eye can reveal.

Several former rebel fighters now back in the UK told MEE that they had been able to travel to Libya with “no questions asked” as authorities continued to investigate the background of a British-Libyan suicide bomber who killed 22 people in Monday’s attack in Manchester.

Salman Abedi, 22, the British-born son of exiled dissidents who returned to Libya as the revolution against Gaddafi gathered momentum, is also understood to have spent time in the North African country in 2011 and to have returned there on several subsequent occasions.

British police have said they believe the bomber, who returned to Manchester just a few days before the attack, was part of a network and have arrested six people including Abedi‘s older brother since Monday.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said that Abedi was known to security services, while a local community worker told the BBC that several people had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline.

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The Only Real Way to Stop Atrocities Like Manchester is to End the Wars Which Allow Extremism to Grow

Patrick Cockburn, author of The Rise of Islamic State, writes for The Independent:

trump-saudi.jpeg[…] The bombing in Manchester – and atrocities attributed to Isis influence in Paris, Brussels, Nice and Berlin – are similar to even worse slaughter of tens of thousands in Iraq and Syria. These get limited attention in the Western media, but they continually deepen the sectarian war in the Middle East.

The only feasible way to eliminate organisations capable of carrying out these attacks is to end the seven wars – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and north east Nigeria – that cross-infect each other and produce the anarchic conditions in which Isis and al-Qaeda and their clones can grow.

But to end these wars, there needs to be political compromise between main players like Iran and Saudi Arabia and Trump’s belligerent rhetoric makes this almost impossible to achieve.

Of course, the degree to which his bombast should be taken seriously is always uncertain and his declared policies change by the day.

On his return to the US, his attention is going to be fully focused on his own political survival, not leaving much time for new departures, good or bad, in the Middle East and elsewhere. His administration is certainly wounded, but that has not stopped doing as much harm as he could in the Middle East in a short space of time.

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Manchester Bombing: Libyan Chaos Proving Fertile Breeding Ground For Extremists

Robert Fox writes for the London Evening Standard:

[…] Libya today is a bewildering chaos of competing militias and jihadi groups broadly following IS, al Qaeda and affiliates such as Ansar al-Sharia, and the Muslim Brotherhood in several guises and shadowy forms.

Despite serial attempts by the UN to patch up a viable national government, Libya is gripped by the standoff between those grabbing power in Benghazi in the East – with the military strongman General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army to the fore, and the UN sponsored Government of National Accord in the capital Tripoli to the West.

In between are hundreds of militias, furnished with the arms from the Gadaffi arsenals and residues of funds from Libya’s $100 billion oil industry – garnered when the oil was still flowing.

There have been suggestions that Salman Abedi may have been trained in an IS camp in Syria. But as such expertise can easily be picked up in Libya, and neighbouring Tunisia.

IS has recently been losing its hold on towns like Derna and Sirte, but it is present along the coast in places like Sabrata and Zawia towards Tunisia.

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Pundits Who Helped Sell NATO’s Destruction of Libya Push for Trump to Lead Syria Regime Change

Ben Norton writes for AlterNet:

Pundits across the U.S. are amplifying the calls for further military intervention in Syria, as the Trump administration indicates regime change may be back on the agenda. The U.S. attacked the Syrian government on April 6, launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a major air base, destroying 20 percent of its planes, according to the Pentagon.

Major media outlets, most politicians from both sides of the aisle and irascible war-hawk writers applauded the Trump administration’s strike with gusto. The uniformity with which the commentariat has embraced the attack hearkens back to six years ago, when many of these same people and publications cheered as NATO overthrew Libya’s government, plunging the oil-rich North African nation into chaos from which it is still reeling.

The 2011 war in Libya was justified in the name of supposed humanitarian intervention, but it was a war for regime change, plain and simple. A report released by the British House of Commons’ bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee in 2016 acknowledged that the intervention was sold on lies — but by the time it was published, the damage was already done.

Today, Libya is in complete ruins. There is no functioning central authority for swaths of the country; multiple governments compete for control. The genocidal extremist group ISIS has, in Libya, carved out its largest so-called caliphate outside of Iraq and Syria.

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Overthrowing Qadafi in Libya: Britain’s Islamist Boots on the Ground

Mark Curtis writes in an extract from Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam:

Image result for Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical IslamBritain’s willingness to work with Islamist forces has been evident in Libya, where it took a brutal civil war between armed opposition forces and remnants of the regime to overthrow Libyan ruler, Muammar Qadafi, who was killed in October 2011. Massive NATO air strikes, mainly by Britain and France, were conducted during March-October in support of the rebel forces and significantly contributed to the rebel victory. What concerns the story here is not a review of the whole intervention but the extent to which it involved an Islamist element being supported by Britain in furtherance of its objectives in the Middle East.

The Islamist forces were only part of the military opposition that overthrew Qadafi, but were an important element, especially in the east of the country which was where the uprising began and which provided the centre of opposition to Qadafi. The episode, to some extent, echoes past British interventions where Islamist actors have acted as among the foot-soldiers in British policy to secure energy interests. That the British military intervention to overthrow Qadafi was primarily motivated by such interests seems clear – in the absence of access to government files – to which we briefly turn later. Such oil and gas interests in Libya, however, has been downplayed by ministers and largely ignored by the media, in favour of notions of Britain being motivated by the need to support the human rights of the Libyan people and promote democracy: concerns completely absent when it came to defending the rights of other Middle Easterners being abused at precisely the same time, notably Bahrainis.

Britain provided a range of support to the rebel Libyan leadership, which was grouped in the National Transitional Council (NTC), an initially 33-member self-selected body of mainly former Qadafi ministers and other opposition forces, formed in Benghazi in February 2011 to provide an alternative government. UN Security Council Resolution 1973 was passed on 17 March, imposing a no fly zone over Libya and authorizing ‘all necessary measures…to protect civilians’ under threat of attack. In an echo of Kosovo in 1999, it was certainly questionable whether civilians in Libya were under the extent of attack described by British ministers as justification for their military intervention, such as David Cameron’s claim that ‘we averted a massacre’.

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Erik Prince’s Mercenaries Are Bombing Libya

Arnaud Delalande reports for War Is Boring:

On Jan. 11, 2017, Intelligence Online — a professional journal covering the world’s intelligence services — revealed that the pilots of Air Tractor attack planes flying from Al Khadim air base in Libya are private contractors working for Erik Prince, the founder of the company formerly known as Blackwater.

War Is Boring’s own sources in Libya confirmed the assertion. Our sources said that the pilots flying the United Arab Emirates Air Force IOMAX AT-802 Air Tractors — converted crop-dusters — are mercenaries and aren’t Arabs.

Most of the for-profit aviators are American, according to IOL. Prince denied involvement in the UAE air operations.

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HyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis

Documentary by British filmmaker Adam Curtis released on 16th October 2016 exclusively on BBC iPlayer. (BBC)

Obama DOJ Drops Charges Against Alleged Broker of Libyan Weapons

Kenneth Vogel and Josh Gerstein report for Politico:

160410-clinton-obama-libya-1160The Obama administration is moving to dismiss charges against an arms dealer it had accused of selling weapons that were destined for Libyan rebels.

Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion.

The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State, and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.

Government lawyers were facing a Wednesday deadline to produce documents to Turi’s legal team, and the trial was officially set to begin on Election Day, although it likely would have been delayed by protracted disputes about classified information in the case.

A Turi associate asserted that the government dropped the case because the proceedings could have embarrassed Clinton and President Barack Obama by calling attention to the reported role of their administration in supplying weapons that fell into the hands of Islamic extremist militants.

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How Goldman Sachs Lost $1.2 Billion of Libya’s Money

Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel report for Bloomberg:

Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya was a miserable place for a business trip.

In 2008, a few years after renouncing its nuclear and chemical weapons program, the desert nation remained a menacing and ugly place, with cratered highways, awful restaurants with no booze, and Qaddafi’s leathery visage everywhere, staring balefully down from billboards. The dreary capital, Tripoli, sat at the edge of the Sahara, in the least barren sliver of a country defined in the West by dictatorship, terrorism, and billions of dollars’ worth of oil.

Goldman Sachs’s Youssef Kabbaj was one of the few that enjoyed the commute. A securities salesman based out of the bank’s London headquarters, Kabbaj found that Libya reminded him of his native Morocco, and he considered the ruins in Tripoli’s old quarter enchanting. The city had a single decent hotel, the Corinthia, a crescent hulk the color of sand, and that year Kabbaj was such a frequent guest that he stored a rack of pressed suits there at all times. With slick black hair, round cheeks, and a mischievous smile, he was fluent in English, French, Arabic, and the language of international finance.

Qaddafi’s peaceful turn had reopened Libya to Western banking for the first time in two decades. Its $60 billion in oil wealth, no longer dammed up by international sanctions, was ready to flood into the market, as directed by the Libyan Investment Authority, Qaddafi’s brand-new sovereign wealth fund. With his North African pedigree, Kabbaj had been one of the first at Goldman to spot the opportunity. The LIA had become his biggest client, transforming him in a year from rookie salesman into possibly the No. 1 rainmaker at the world’s most profitable investment bank. He was 31 years old.

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Crispin Blunt, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, on Whether War Should Have Waged on Libya

Afshin Rattansi speaks to British MP Crispin Blunt, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, about the new report on the 2011 military intervention in Libya. (Going Underground)

MPs Deliver Damning Verdict on David Cameron’s Libya Intervention

Patrick Wintour and Jessica Elgot report for The Guardian:

David Cameron’s intervention in Libya was carried out with no proper intelligence analysis, drifted into an unannounced goal of regime change and shirked its moral responsibility to help reconstruct the country following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, according to a scathing report by the foreign affairs select committee.

The failures led to the country becoming a failed a state on the verge of all-out civil war, the report adds.

The report, the product of a parliamentary equivalent of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, closely echoes the criticisms widely made of Tony Blair’s intervention in Iraq, and may yet come to be as damaging to Cameron’s foreign policy legacy.

It concurs with Barack Obama’s assessment that the intervention was “a shitshow”, and repeats the US president’s claim that France and Britain lost interest in Libya after Gaddafi was overthrown. The findings are also likely to be seized on by Donald Trump, who has tried to undermine Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy credentials by repeatedly condemning her handling of the Libyan intervention in 2011, when she was US secretary of state.

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Vijay Prashad on the ‘Ruthless’ Bombing of Yemen and Palestine, How Libya Mirrors Iraq, and the U.S. Election

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez are joined by Vijay Prashad to discuss a number of issues covered in his latest book: The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. Prashad briefly covers the conflicts in Yemen and Palestine, how the regime change operation in Libya mirrors what happened in Iraq, and whether there are any differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to the outside world. (Democracy Now!)

How the Arab World Came Apart: Interview with Scott Anderson

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to Scott Anderson about his in-depth new report, Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart. Occupying the entire print edition of this week’s New York Times Magazine, it examines what has happened in the region in the past 13 years since the the U.S. invaded Iraq through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Anderson is also author of the book, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East(Democracy Now!)

U.S. Says New Bombing Campaign Against ISIS in Libya Has No “End Point at This Particular Moment”

Alex Emmons reports for The Intercept:

The U.S. launched a major new military campaign against ISIS on Monday when U.S. planes bombed targets in Libya, responding to requests from the U.N.-backed Libyan government. Strikes took place in the coastal town of Sirte, which ISIS took in June of last year.

The strikes represent a significant escalation in the U.S. war against ISIS, spreading the conflict thousands of miles from the warzones in Syria and Iraq.

All of these attacks took place without Congressional authorization or even debate.

“We want to strike at ISIL anywhere it raises its head,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. “Libya is one of those places.” He said the airstrikes “would continue as long as [the Libyan government] is requesting them,” and that they do not have “an end point at this particular moment in time.”

The U.S. has long planned to spread its military campaign to Libya. In January, General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the U.S. was preparing to take “decisive military action against ISIL” in Libya.

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U.S. Announces New Front Against ISIS in Libya: Interview with Phyllis Bennis

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez speak to Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the author of Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror, about the U.S. military carrying out two airstrikes in Libya against ISIS fighters on Monday in the latest escalation of the U.S. war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. (Democracy Now!)

Leaked Tapes Expose Western Support for Renegade Libyan General

Karim El-Bar reports for Middle East Eye:

A multinational military operation involving British, French and US forces is coordinating air strikes in support of a renegade general battling Islamist militia groups from a base near Benghazi in eastern Libya, air traffic recordings obtained by Middle East Eye reveal.

The leaked tapes appear to confirm earlier reports suggesting the existence of an international operations centre that is helping General Khalifa Haftar in his campaign to gain control of eastern Libya from groups he has declared to be “extremists”.

At least one air strike was heard being coordinated in the tapes, which total just under an hour in length, suggesting the operations room is being used not only for reconnaissance.

The recordings were passed to MEE from the Benina air base, which is considered to be Haftar’s most important military facility.

The leaks could prove damaging for the international parties involved because Haftar has refused to support the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli and has been fighting some groups that have taken part in the Western-backed campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group.

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What the Military Intervention in Libya Left Behind for the Next Sitting President

Bill Powell writes for Newsweek:

A more democratic region will ultimately be more stable for us and our friends. Even if someone wants to be dictatorial, it’s going to be difficult.”
—An American diplomat, after the overthrow of a Middle Eastern dictator

That quote sounds as if it came from what the foreign policy elite in the Obama administration would call some “neocon nut job,” with an eerie echo of the blindly confident rhetoric from the early days of the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003. Except this time the speaker wasn’t a neocon nut job, and it was May 2012. Denis McDonough, then Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, was taking a victory lap in a speech at a Washington think tank. And he wasn’t boasting about Iraq; he was crowing about Libya.

The Obama administration, “leading from behind” (a term used by an Obama adviser quoted in The New Yorker), had allowed NATO to bomb Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s army to oblivion, and the Libyan dictator had been killed by rebels on October 20, 2011, in his hometown, Sirte. Then, in 2012, in Libya’s first post- Qaddafi election, a secular party called the National Forces Alliance won the largest bloc of seats and gained 48 percent of the vote. All that was missing was video of beaming first-time voters dipping their thumbs in blue ink, Iraq-style. Democracy was on the march in Libya!

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Weapons trafficking questions remain unanswered in Benghazi report

Rachael Bade reports for Politico:

In this March 5, 2011 file photo, an anti-government rebel sits with an anti-aircraft weapon in front an oil refinery, after the capture of the oil town of Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya.The National Security Council would not allow the House Benghazi committee to review information about possible U.S. covert action in Libya that might have preceded the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.

And employees at the CIA, State Department and Defense Department refused to answer specific questions about whether the U.S. sent, oversaw or was otherwise involved in weapons transfers to Libyan rebels, according to an exclusive copy of a section of the final Benghazi committee report provided to POLITICO.

“Over the course of nearly a dozen interviews with the State Department, the Defense Department and the CIA personnel witnesses consistently refused to answer questions related to certain allegations with respect to the U.S. activity in Libya even though the House specifically gave the committee access to materials relating to intelligence sources and methods,” reads an excerpt from the “compliance” section of the report.

“Most of these questions related in some way to allegations regarding weapons,” the report continues. “These refusals meant significant questions raised in public relating to Benghazi could not be answered.”

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The Benghazi Report Misses the Real Scandal of Libya

Ted Galen Carpenter writes for The National Interest:

The much-anticipated report by the House Select Committee regarding the 2012 Benghazi incident in which U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed proved to be decidedly anti-climactic. Despite years of GOP partisan hype and the length of the report (some eight hundred pages), there was no “smoking gun” proving negligence on the part of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or blatant deception on her part about the tragedy. The report, though, is a classic case of asking the wrong questions and, unsurprisingly, then getting meaningless answers.

What the committee members should have asked is what Ambassador Stevens and his staff were doing cavorting with Islamist militias in Benghazi in the first place. But that would have required a deep inquiry into an embarrassing fiasco of a Libya policy that many Republicans had also supported.

The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney has it right when he contends that the real Benghazi scandal was “Obama’s drive-by war” in Libya to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi. More correctly, it was Hillary Clinton’s war, since she was the principal architect of and lobbyist for the U.S.-led NATO intervention against Qaddafi.

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UN Report Taps Libya as ‘Next Key Battleground’ for ISIS War

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

A new UN Security Council report on ISIS once again claims that the group is suffering “setbacks” in Iraq and Syria, but suggests that the group is looking for more countries to expand into as “alternative regions,” with Libya seen as the start of a major move into Africa.

ISIS has a significant presence in Libya, holding key oil regions in the central coast, including the city of Sirte. The report describes ISIS as a “real threat” in Libya, and Security Council officials say the group is raising money selling oil in Libya to fund operations in other countries.

The claims of ISIS losses in Iraq and Syria are likely overstated, however, with regular claims of massive percentages of territory lost depending on arbitrary assignments of control over vast areas of empty desert back and forth.

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From U.S. Ally to Convicted War Criminal: Inside Chad’s Hissène Habré’s Close Ties to Reagan Admin

Amy Goodman speaks with Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch, who has worked with victims of Hissène Habré’s regime in Chad since 1999 and played a critical role in bringing Habré to trial. Habré’s close role with the United States. Hissène Habré is a former U.S. ally who has been described as “Africa’s Pinochet.” He came to power with the help of the Reagan administration in 1982. The U.S. provided Habré with millions of dollars in annual military aid and trained his secret police, known as the DDS.  (Democracy Now!)

Trump Suggests U.S. Should Bomb Libya

Jeremy Diamond reports for CNN:

Donald Trump on Friday suggested that the United States should bomb ISIS in Libya, a decision that would mark a serious escalation of the U.S. military campaign against the terrorist group. It’s also a new position for Trump, who has argued both in favor of and against military intervention in Libya over the past five years.

Claiming that ISIS controls oil fields in Libya, the presumptive Republican nominee questioned during a rally here why the United States isn’t “bombing the hell out of” ISIS in Libya.

“ISIS has the oil. And then you say if ISIS has the oil, why aren’t we blockading so they can’t sell it? Why aren’t we bombing the hell out of –” Trump said, stopping short as he pivoted to slamming President Barack Obama as “grossly incompetent.”

The U.S. has bombed ISIS in Libya, including a major strike on an ISIS camp back in February. The Pentagon recently acknowledged there is a “concept of operations” for Libya that includes continued airstrikes against ISIS targets when they can be located.

Trump has previously argued in favor of bombing oil fields in ISIS hands in Iraq — where the U.S. already has several thousand troops — but his remarks on Friday mark the first time the de facto Republican nominee has raised the possibility of a U.S. military campaign in another country.

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NATO Mulls Use of New Drones Near Libya

Nikolaj Nielson reports for EU Observer:

Nato is procuring powerful new Global Hawk drones and may seek to deploy them near the Libyan coast, Euobserver has learned.

“Perhaps if the EU moves more closely to the Libyan shores, as we see what happens in New York with the new Libyan government, we can perhaps have some kind of division of labour with Nato providing situational awareness,” said an official, who asked not to be named, with knowledge of Nato’s plans at a security conference in Brussels on Thursday (26 May).

Nato would still have to seek permission from the Libyan authorities.

He said a team from Nato will be visiting Libya in the next few days to discuss a mandate that includes on-the-ground “capacity defence building”.

“These I stress are just ideas, we haven’t yet come to any particular agreement,” he said.

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NATO Allies Divided Over Bigger Role In Stabilising Libya

Reuters reports:

Many in NATO are looking to its so-called Active Endeavour counter-terrorism mission in the Mediterranean, which was set up after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, to switch roles and link up with an EU naval mission.

Diplomats say Libya would have to make a formal request for NATO and the European Union to go after smugglers in Libyan territorial waters and NATO would possibly even a U.N. Security Council resolution, which Russia has said it is unlikely to grant because it believes NATO’s 2011 air campaign went too far.

The EU’s “Sophia” mission is operating in international waters near Libya, but it is too far out to destroy boats used by people smugglers, catch traffickers or head off migrants trying to reach Europe by sea from Libya.

Another area of support for NATO would be helping set up a Libyan Defence Ministry in the lawless country, and to work with the European Union to train police and border and coastguards.

Britain would like to see that training in Libya itself, whereas Germany is adamant its personnel will not be on the ground in the country and that training should be in Tunisia.

The new Libyan government, which arrived has yet to establish itself across the country, is also wary of being seen as a foreign puppet and is keen to show its independence.

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Patrick Cockburn’s New Book ‘Chaos & Caliphate’ Serialised in the i

Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent. He was awarded Foreign Commentator of the Year at the 2013 Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards. This past week his latest book Chaos & Caliphate was exclusively serialised in the i.

Obama Sees Not Intervening Even More in Libya as ‘Worst Mistake’ of Presidency

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

Asked about the “worst mistake of his presidency” in a new interview, President Obama insisted it was the lack of further military intervention in Libya after imposing regime change on the nation in 2011, which he still insisted was “the right thing to do.”

Obama made similar comments last month about Libya, at the time bragging that the $1 billion war was “very cheap,” and blaming Britain and France for not doing more in the aftermath, saying British PM David Cameron “got “distracted.”

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Weapons For Sale on Facebook in Libya

Gabriel Gatehouse reports for BBC Newsnight:

Map of controlA new study suggests there is a growing market in the illegal trade of guns and weapons in Libya via social media sites, in particular Facebook.

The report covered 18 months and found sales of a wide range of items – from handguns to rocket-propelled grenades.

Most were offered for sale on “closed” or “secret” Facebook groups.

The illicit sale of guns is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service, and a spokesperson said they encourage people to report any such postings.

The report was commissioned by the Small Arms Survey, and used data collected by Armament Research Services (ARES) on a total of 1,346 sales. Researchers believe this is just a fraction of the full trade taking place on social media.

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The Big Lie About the Libyan War

Micah Zenko writes for Foreign Policy:

The Big Lie About the Libyan War In this fifth anniversary week of the U.S.-led Libya intervention, it’s instructive to revisit Hillary Clinton’s curiously abridged description of that war in her 2014 memoir, Hard Choices. Clinton takes the reader from the crackdown, by Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime, of a nascent uprising in Benghazi and Misrata; to her meeting — accompanied by the pop-intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy — with Mahmoud Jibril, the exiled leader of the opposition National Transitional Council; to her marshaling of an international military response. In late March 2011, Clinton quotes herself telling NATO members, “It’s crucial we’re all on the same page on NATO’s responsibility to enforce the no-fly zone and protect civilians in Libya.”

Just two paragraphs later — now 15 pages into her memoir’s Libya section — Clinton writes: “[By] late summer 2011, the rebels had pushed back the regime’s forces. They captured Tripoli toward the end of August, and Qaddafi and his family fled into the desert.” There is an abrupt and unexplained seven-month gap, during which the military mission has inexplicably, and massively, expanded beyond protecting civilians to regime change — seemingly by happenstance. The only opposition combatants even referred to are simply labeled “the rebels,” and the entire role of the NATO coalition and its attendant responsibility in assisting their advance has been completely scrubbed from the narrative.

In contemporary political debates, the Libya intervention tends to be remembered as an intra-administration soap opera, focused on the role Clinton — or Susan Rice or Samantha Power — played in advising Obama to go through with it. Or it’s addressed offhandedly in reference to the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. special mission and CIA annex in Benghazi. But it would be far more pertinent to treat Libya as a case study for the ways that supposedly limited interventions tend to mushroom into campaigns for regime change. Five years on, it’s still not a matter of public record when exactly Western powers decided to topple Qaddafi.

To more fully comprehend what actually happened in Libya five years ago, let’s briefly review what the Obama administration proclaimed and compare that with what actually happened.

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Troops Trickle in as West Prepares for Libya War

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

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?

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