Sunday, January 27, 2013

Feelgood Foreign Policy

Today’s nominee for the Now They Tell Us Award: the Associated Press for an excellent article about what has followed the overthrow of Moammar Qaddhafi.

You remember Libya: that was the NATO attack where President Obama was leading from behind.

Run by amateurs in the State Department and the White House the Arab Spring was feelgood foreign policy. It worked to Obama’s advantage in the election campaign, but, as with all policy decision, the proof lies in the outcome.

In more Biblical terms, from the book of Hosea: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

Yesterday the Associated Press offered a long, detailed and comprehensive article by Maggie Michael. Here’s the opening:

Libya's upheaval the past two years helped lead to the ongoing conflict in Mali, and now Mali's war threatens to wash back and further hike Libya's instability. Fears are growing that post-Moammar Gadhafi Libya is becoming an incubator of turmoil, with an overflow of weapons and Islamic jihadi militants operating freely, ready for battlefields at home or abroad.

The possibility of a Mali backlash was underlined the past week when several European governments evacuated their citizens from Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, fearing attacks in retaliation for the French-led military assault against al-Qaida-linked extremists in northern Mali.

More worrisome is the possibility that Islamic militants inspired by - or linked to - al-Qaida can establish a strong enough foothold in Libya to spread instability across a swath of North Africa where long, porous desert borders have little meaning, governments are weak, and tribal and ethnic networks stretch from country to country. The Associated Press examined the dangers in recent interviews with officials, tribal leaders and jihadis in various parts of Libya.

 Already, Libya's turmoil echoes around the region and in the Middle East. The large numbers of weapons brought into Libya or seized from government caches during the 2011 civil war against Gadhafi are now smuggled freely to Mali, Egypt and its Sinai Peninsula, the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. Jihadis in Libya are believed to have operational links with fellow militant groups in the same swath, Libyan fighters have joined rebels in Syria and are believed to operate in other countries as well.

Libyan officials, activists and experts are increasingly raising alarm over how Islamic militants have taken advantage of the oil-rich country's weakness to grow in strength. During his more than four-decade rule Gadhafi stripped the country of national institutions, and after his fall the central government has little authority beyond the capital, Tripoli. Militias established to fight Gadhafi remain dominant, and tribes and regions are sharply divided.

In the eastern city of Benghazi, birthplace of the revolt that led to the ouster and killing of Gadhafi, militias espousing an al-Qaida ideology and including veteran fighters are prevalent, even ostensibly serving as security forces on behalf of the government since the police and military are so weak and poorly armed. One such militia, Ansar al-Shariah, is believed to have been behind the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in the city that killed four Americans, including the ambassador. Since then, militants have been blamed for a wave of assassinations of security officers and government officials.

There’s much more. It’s well worth a read.

And remember when French philosopher and self-appointed moral beacon Bernard-Henri Levy was agitating for the overthrow of Qaddhafi. Remember that he was supposedly instrumental in convincing French President Sarkozy to intervene.

How long do you think it will take BHL to accept responsibility for the horrors the policy has wrought?

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

BHL will not accept responsibility. The time is infinite; he will die first.