Libya: America's New Playground

"Power is a breath on the wind and soon lost."
--Louis L'amour

Those Libyans -- they sure are ungrateful.

One would think that after having been bombed into chaos by NATO warplanes, and left to watch their country fall increasingly into the hands of radical Islamist guerrilla groups, the country's new leaders would be a little more appreciative of western governments' ability to wield power at will.

Instead, they're learning what it means to be a satrap of the US.

According to this report on MSN.com, Libyan officials are "bristling" over a recent US special forces raid in Tripoli that resulted in the capture of Abu Anas al-Libi, an alleged extremist suspected of involvement in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. 

Secretary of State John Kerry boasted after the raid that "this makes clear that the United States of America will never stop in the effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror." 

The Libyan government sees it differently:

"In a statement Sunday, the Libyan government said it asked the U.S. for 'clarifications' about what it called the 'kidnapping,' underlining that its citizens should be tried in Libyan courts if accused of a crime. It said it hoped its 'strategic partnership' with Washington would not be damaged by the incident."

This New York Times report paints a grimmer picture:

"Libya’s fragile interim government condemned the United States on Sunday for what it called the 'kidnapping of a Libyan citizen' from this capital city a day earlier, and Libyan lawmakers threatened to remove the prime minister if the government was involved." [Emphasis mine]

Such strong language suggests that all is far from well in Libya, an image confirmed by MSN's candid description of conditions there:

"Libya's central government remains weak, and armed militias — many of them made up of Islamic militants — hold sway in many places around the country, including in parts of the capital. Amid the turmoil, Libyan authorities have been unable to move against militants...Libyan security officials themselves are regularly targeted by gunmen. The latest victim, a military colonel, was gunned down in Benghazi on Sunday." [Emphasis mine]

Clearly the Libyan government is walking a tightrope. While it struggles to maintain control even in its own capital, actions like this by the US government exacerbate a fragile situation; jihadists will happily exploit American arrogance to further destabilize an already weak government and consolidate their control.

After the raid, dozens of members of the Islamic group Ansar al-Sharia, which is known to have ties to violent militias, protested with black flags in Benghazi, denouncing the abduction and criticizing the government. Militants have already vowed revenge against the government.

"[S]ome Libyans angry at the raid expressed exasperation at their government’s failures to bring any measure of security to its people," reports the Times, adding that the Libyan government "has been unable to finalize a system to elect a constitutional assembly, to ensure the flow of oil that is the lifeblood of the Libyan economy, and even to protect its own government buildings from periodic siege by armed militias." [Emphasis mine]

There are even "fears of a collapsing state."

At the same time, this weak government must kowtow to the US, whose warplanes it may well need again.

We've seen this pattern before -- in IraqPakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. The results in Libya will likely be just as disastrous for the people living there.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Stephen D. Clark October 08, 2013 at 06:41 PM
The results "will be" disastrous for Libyans? You've been saying all along that they have been. You should make up your mind. It's like you don't know what you're talking about but are eager for the opportunity to criticize a liberal president with the flimsiest of evidence. ******************************************************** There's nothing yet to suggest that Libya is even close to following the model of Iraq. Pakistan and Yemen are neither failed states nor U.S. results. Somalia's problems are not U.S.-caused.
David Seals October 10, 2013 at 12:06 PM
I've lived in Tripoli for years, and oil is not the "lifeblood" of the country, nor are most of the militias islamist. They are simply indigenous tribes (pre-Islamic) trying to survive on their ancient homeland territories.


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