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Topic: Libya (Read 68859 times)
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Enters Third War
Reply #50 on:
March 19, 2011, 08:07:21 PM »
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Enters Third War
Tommy De Seno · 3 hours ago
The American Tomahawks have been launched. Congressional approval of the action against Libya is as easy to find as hen's teeth. Mick Jagger is writing a song about the President called "sweet neo-con" (oh wait, only Republicans can be neo-cons).
Good thing a Peace Prize winner is in charge.
Who can forget his beautiful words on limiting presidential war powers that gave us such hope for change to finally come to the way America waged war, like this:
"The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." December 20, 2007
"Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. The world, and the Iraqi people would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history." March 27, 2007
"I think the first question is whether we should have gone into the war in the first place. Six years ago, I opposed this war because I said that not only did we not know how much it was going to cost, what our exit strategy might be, how it would affect our relationships around the world, & whether our intelligence was sound, but also because we hadn’t caught bin Laden." Septmeber 26, 2008
Or this gem about priorities:
"What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war....What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income." October 2, 2002
Oh and here is a glimpse into the money you and I will be expected to spend later on:
"We have to have humanitarian aid now. We also have two-and-a-half million displaced people inside of Iraq and several million more outside of Iraq. We should be ramping up assistance to them right now. But I always reserve the right, in conjunction with a broader international effort, to prevent genocide or any wholesale slaughter than might happen inside of Iraq or anyplace else." February 11, 2008
Barack Obama - He's George Bush with a Peace Prize.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #51 on:
March 19, 2011, 10:50:10 PM »
But isn't Hillary Commander in Chief now?
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #52 on:
March 19, 2011, 11:00:10 PM »
I thought it was Bill.
Must be that "co-president" thing the left used to coo about in the 90's.
What I like about Obama
Reply #53 on:
March 19, 2011, 11:07:39 PM »
What I like about Obama
Obviously, the biggest problem with Bush was sending the military into an Arab Muslim country that hadn't even attacked us. Among the several things that made that offensive were
* the rush to war - it was only several months after the possibility of military involvement was raised that combat operations began
* lack of United Nations sanction - only 17 relevant resolutions were ever passed before they were enforced
* lack of Congressional oversight - the President authorized the use of military force based on the flimsy pretext of a bill passed by Congress titled "Authorization of the Use of Military Force", rather than seeking a document that had the words "declaration of war" in it; that's every bit as bad as getting no Congressional approval at all
* obvious financial motives - clearly no one approved of the murderous dictator or sought a normal working relationship with him besides the French; at the same time, one couldn't help but be suspicious of the fact that the population we were ostensibly protecting was located conveniently near the oil fields
* stretching our military - we were overburdened as it was, and our brave military despite its courage lacked the resources for yet another operation
* inflating our military - the only way to keep the bloodthirsty Pentagon beast fed was to give it the hordes of jobless young men who had no prospects in an economy that saw unemployment skyrocket above 4% in most states
* ignoring our generals - the decision to go to war was made by political hacks who had never worn a uniform
* inflaming the Arab Street - despite some touchy-feely talk about Islam, it was impossible for the Muslim world not to notice how the President made repeated, insistent proclamations of his Christianity, how he only ever used the military against Muslim targets, and how at the time the war started he'd kept the concentration camp at Guantanamo open for over a year
* wasting money - it was completely irresponsible to commit the military to an expensive mission when the President's fiscal mismanagement had resulted in a budget deficit of over $150 billion in 2002
But anyway, what I really like about Obama is that he's gone 29-3 in his bracket picks over the first two days. You have to spend a lot of time watching college basketball to be that good.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #54 on:
March 20, 2011, 12:22:17 AM »
I don't get it: what is this, let's make fun of Obama for doing something? GM, I thought that is what you wanted??? d Oh yeah, whatever Obama does, isn't right... I forgot...
Personally, I could care less about Libya. I agree with Gates. A lot of Americans do too. But GM seems (I thought) to be carrying the flag to intervene. GM should be happy!
According to GM's previous posts.....
GM: "Here's hoping that Saddam and his sons soon have company in hell."
GM: "Makes sense to me. I'm sure we have US operators more than happy to go in and do the job. But what of Obama's spiritual leader of 20+ years? Will he approve of his friend getting whacked by US forces?"
GM posted: "If something doesn’t change soon, Muammar Qaddafi will kill his way back into power over all Libya’s territory. His forces are retaking rebel positions. The opposition is crumbling. And it looks like the United States and Europe will stand back and just let it happen.
This isn’t the first time an Arab tyrant has made a startling comeback after an uprising nearly swept him away. Saddam Hussein lost control of most of Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, but tens of thousands of dead bodies later, he was firmly and ruthlessly back in the saddle.
There are good arguments against getting involved. Not even the most hawkish interventionist would have chosen a war against Qaddafi a month ago. There aren’t many worse human-rights abusers out there, though there are some. And there are certainly countries where the West has more national interests at stake, the most obvious being Iran. But let’s not pretend there won’t be consequences beyond the shores of Tripoli if Qaddafi butchers his way back to Benghazi."
GM: "the public may like anti-Qaddafi rhetoric but they’re awfully chilly about bombing Libyan air defenses, a necessary precondition to a NFZ"
GM: "Obama and other Western leaders cannot declare the objective of removing Qaddafi and then sit idly by as people rising to oust him get massacred. That’s as criminal as encouraging the Shiites of Iraq to resistance in 1991 and then watching them be slaughtered by Saddam.
If anyone is dumb enough to take Obama seriously at this point, you deserve what comes to you."
GM: "Libya or March Madness?"
So I ask GM, why not say "thank you" President Obama? Is that so hard?
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #55 on:
March 20, 2011, 12:35:18 AM »
So, then it's ok to use military force to remove a middle eastern dictator when sanctions fail?
You'll note that I'm for directly killing Ka-daffy and his sons. No-fly-zones? Not so much. Obama's half-assed involvement? Not so much. As usual, he's found a way to vote "present" while working on the important things, like college basketball, golf and vacations.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #56 on:
March 20, 2011, 12:39:44 AM »
A former top CIA official who helped oversee the agency’s investigation into the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, tells NBC News there is "no doubt" that Moammar Gadhafi personally approved the bombing.
"There are two things that you can take to the bank," said Frank Anderson, who served as the agency's Near East affairs chief between 1991 and his retirement in 1995. "The first one is, Pan Am 103 was perpetrated by agents of the Libyan government. And the second thing is, that could not have happened without Moammar Gadhafi's knowledge and consent.
"There is no question in my mind that Moammar Gadhafi authorized the bombing of Pan Am 103."
Now JDN, directly targeting Ka-daffy is quite different than a NFZ. Where are the "No blood for oil" chants?
If I called Obama impotent.....
Reply #57 on:
March 20, 2011, 01:06:23 AM »
I take it back.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #58 on:
March 20, 2011, 10:56:12 AM »
Quote from: G M on March 20, 2011, 12:35:18 AM
So, then it's ok to use military force to remove a middle eastern dictator when sanctions fail?
You'll note that I'm for directly killing Ka-daffy and his sons. No-fly-zones? Not so much. Obama's half-assed involvement? Not so much. As usual, he's found a way to vote "present" while working on the important things, like college basketball, golf and vacations.
I thought assassination of a foreign leader was illegal?
As for it being "ok to use military force to remove a middle eastern dictator when sanctions fail", I suppose it is, but then I don't and I don't think very
many Americans think it's worth it to lose American lives and use American money. We're tired. And broke. Yeah, Hussein is gone, but the world is full of bad guys; where do we stop?
We have lost thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, spent billions upon billions of dollars we don't have for basically nothing in return in my opinion.
The region was tribal before, it will be tribal after we leave. I admit I don't get it, nor do I agree, but the people overwhelmingly seem to want Sharia Law.
Our conception of democracy, while noble is not going to stick. It's been one debacle after another. I agree with Gates; let's try to never get involved again. I am tired of us being the world policeman, judge, and jury. We intervene in Libya because he's a bad guy (this is suddenly news?) and that there might be a mass slaughter, but we don't intervene in Rwanda, N. Korea, etc. Better I think we work through the UN and/or we simply stay out. America has enough problems to address at home. Let's save our military for direct threats against us and/or
or our allies. Sometimes I think these foreign wars are a distraction and an excuse not to solve our problems at home.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #59 on:
March 20, 2011, 11:18:38 AM »
He's a military leader. Note the Col. in front of Ka-daffy, thus very much fair game.
"As for it being "ok to use military force to remove a middle eastern dictator when sanctions fail", I suppose it is,"
Like when President Bush removed Saddam?
"The region was tribal before, it will be tribal after we leave."
You are correct. Much of the Libyan rebels are AQ members or another strain of jihadist. Nothing good will emerge from Libya if the rebels win. Still, Ka-daffy has lots of our blood on his hands and no longer feels restrained, so he needs to die. As I've said elsewhere, this doesn't mean we try nationbuilding or boots on the ground, and it sure doesn't mean a decade of a NFZ over Libya either.
Lefties react to Libya
Reply #60 on:
March 20, 2011, 11:37:13 AM »
Anyone remember how we were told that if we voted for McCain, that we'd have 4 more years of Bush? They were right!
Lefties react to Libya
March 20, 2011 by Don Surber
I have all along wished for Barack Obama’s success because I knew the only way for him to be a successful president would be to adopt the policies of President Bush.
So this silliness about civilian trials for combatants and for closing Gitmo or pulling out of Iraq — all this manure that lefties wallow in — has been cast aside.
Obama wants a second term.
We will not re-elect a pussyfooter.
So we have the president joining the allies in Libyan adventure. He did not find the time to break from his Spring Break in Rio to come home and explain to the American people why he is putting our soldiers in harm’s way.
He mimics only Bush’s policies — and not Bush’s class, honor or humility.
The Left finds itself betrayed.
From Andrew Sullivan, who took the You Hypocrite route and regurgitated an Obaman quote: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.“
Actually, he does. It’s called the War Powers Act. It has been around since 1973. Liberals. Think they know everything.
From Robert Dreyfuss of the Nation, who took the misogynist route: “So Obama’s women wanted war against Libya. We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less pro-war, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. All three are liberal interventionists, and all three seem to believe that when the United States exercises military force it has some profound, moral, life-saving character to it. Far from it. Unless President Obama’s better instincts manage to reign in his warrior women — and happily, there’s a chance of that — the United States could find itself engaged in open war in Libya, and soon. The troika pushed Obama into accepting the demands of neoconservatives, such as Joe Lieberman, John McCain and The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, along with various other liberal interventionists outside the administration, such as John Kerry. The rode roughshod over the realists in the administration.”
So basically women are all Jezebels and Delilahs to He Men like Robert Dreyfuss.
From FOQ (Friend of Qaddafu) Louis Farrakhan: “Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?”
Frrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright are friends of Qaddafi and they talked him into releasing an black American pilot in 1984. I mention race because none of those three race-baiters would have lifted a finger for a white pilot.
Well, maybe the middle one.
From Michael Moore lame jokes. Poor John Nolte, forced to follow Michael Moore on Twitter. I’d rather clean toilets.
From the Associated Press:
NEW YORK — An anti-war demonstration in Times Square Saturday that was meant to mark the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq quickly became a protest against the military strikes launched by the U.S. and other countries against Libya’s belligerent government.
About 80 protesters gathered near the U.S. military recruiting center in Times Square, chanting “No to war!” and carrying banners that read, “I am not paying for war” and “Butter not guns.” A quartet of women in flowered hats who called themselves the Raging Grannies sang: “No more war, we really mean it!”
Other protesters carried placards showing pictures of women with bleeding children in their arms.
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel , D-N.Y., joined the protesters, saying he’s undecided on whether the military action against Libya was justified. He said he was angry that Congress was not consulted beforehand.
Gee, maybe these lefties should vote in one of their own… oh.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #61 on:
March 20, 2011, 11:46:16 AM »
Yes, as far as I'm concerned, it was "ok", i.e. for Bush to have removed Saddam (he was "tried" convicted and put to death), I just don't think
the Iraq war was worth it in lives lost and money spent. But then I don't think Afghanistan is worth the lives or cost either.
As for assassination, and the Col. being a military leader, well most dictators were military leaders; how else did they get in power? Castro too. For that matter our
President is Commander in Chief. President Eisenhower, Grant, et al were military men. Assassination? Either we follow the law, vote to change the law, or we
are no better than those who disobey the law.
Frankly, I don't care if the Col. dies or not (but good riddance), he is not a nice guy. I just hope we don't put boots on the ground and our involvement is over in days, not weeks or months or years...
As you point out, nothing good is going to happen if the rebels win and AQ takes over. I believe in democracy, but I have the same concerns in Egypt and the entire middle east' "democracy" movement. Next, we should be happy the King is overthrown in Saudi Arabia? I don't think so.... We eliminate a dictator, but rather than thanks, we gain another strain of jihadist who support Sharia Law and hate America. I say stay home.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #62 on:
March 20, 2011, 11:52:23 AM »
If you really want to get into the legal details related to targeting heads of state, go read the analysis below.
Attacks on Designated Personnel.
Additionally, targeting of designated officers have been
allowed and the legitimacy of such attacks have been accepted
without considerable dissension. As previously stated all
belligerents are liable to attack at any time so long as the
means utilized are compatible with the law of armed conflict.
It is irrelevant whether the belligerent is enlisted, officer, or
the king. The implementation of this theory was portrayed by
two events that took place in World War II and the Korean War.
One occurred on 18 April 1943, when the United States received
evidence involving the exact time Japanese Admiral Osoruko
Yamamoto would travel from Rabaul. Because Admiral Yamamoto was
deemed essential to the Japanese war endeavor, the United States
decided it would attempt to attack his plane. A number of
United States planes were deployed for that objective and Admiral
Yamamoto was killed. Since he was a belligerent, the attack was
lawful under international law. The next event took place on
30 October 1951 when a naval airstrike killed 500 senior Chinese
and North Korean military officials involved in a war meeting at
Kapsan, North Korea. (33) (34) (35)
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #63 on:
March 20, 2011, 11:55:38 AM »
To JDN's question: "why not say thank you President Obama? Is that so hard?"
My take is a little different. I agree with the no fly zones. I think the process might lead to removal of Ghadafy. Marginally better to take him alive than dead but I place no moral value on that, taking a phrase from Marianne Pearl, he is a 'nuisance to humanity'. Down a civilian jetliner like beheading a journalist, if we can't take action against things that egregious, our species doesn't deserve the oxygen we breathe on the planet. The reason I don't give immediate and full credit to Obama is the delay. Power that shifted during the delay, ground was lost and lives were lost. He captured back most of the country while we argued within the administration, evaluated brackets and waited for return phone calls from Europe. Maybe this will all turn out so well that the delay was insignificant to the result. In Iraq, the 6 months notice we gave our enemy while we dithered with ally and international approvals were extremely costly.
Consultations and cooperation of allies is great. That process needs to happen faster - hours, not weeks and months.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #64 on:
March 20, 2011, 11:58:51 AM »
Remember when Ka-daffy was surrounded in Tripoli? Would have made things much easier had somebody acted then.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #65 on:
March 20, 2011, 12:04:55 PM »
Executive Order 12333
2.11Prohibition on Assassination. No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.
I understand there are nuances.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #66 on:
March 20, 2011, 12:09:31 PM »
Major nuances. Also, as the president, Buraq can modify any EO as he wishes.
The Saturday Skedaddle
Reply #67 on:
March 20, 2011, 12:29:10 PM »
Friday, March 18, 2011
The Saturday Skedaddle
UPDATE//19 March//The U.S. Navy is denying that our 5th Fleet has departed Bahrain. But western diplomatic sources the the World Tribune that only a "skeleton staff" remains at fleet headquarters in Manama. Likewise, those sources also confirm our assessment: the U.S. has written off the current government in Bahrain, and is preparing for its near-term collapse. We should also note that the USS Enterprise carrier battle group remains in the Red Sea, despite the start of No-Fly Zone operations over Libya.
The presence of the Enterprise in that area suggests that Washington is focused on the situation in Yemen and Bahrain. If the governments in those countries collapse, the U.S. would need the "Big E" to support evacuation operations in one (or both) locations. Put another way, you don't keep a fleet carrier (with dozens of fighter aircraft) out of the Libya operation unless you're worried about other contingencies.
Almost without notice, ships of the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain slipped from their berths and headed into the Persian Gulf early Saturday. An "extended" exercise with Oman was the official reason given, but few believe it. As the security situation in the Manama continues to deteriorate, the Navy cannot afford to have even a single vessel--and its crew--in a port that may be hostile in a few days (or less).
Radio talk show host John Batchelor was among the first to report the news. Experts he spoke with said our relations with key Middle East allies have reached the breaking point:
The news from Manama, the capital of the small island state of Bahrain, is that the Fifth Fleet HQ has gone on maneuvers to Oman for an indefinite time frame. In sum, bug-out from the proxy war in Bahrain between Riyadh and Tehran. Am told that the IRGC has staffed and funded the so-called protesters. The social media messaging that now floods the web, #bahrain, is suspect of being an IRGC disinformation campaign. Of most significance, am told the Bahrain confrontation marks the breakdown of the 65-year-long alliance between Washington and Riyadh. The Kingdom has now turned away. China through the Pakistan connection looks like the choice to replace the US. Spoke Barry Rubin, GLORIA, to learn that Egypt is also tumbling away from the US. Pat Lang, Sic Semper Tyrannis, said that Cairo is looking for another sponsor. What has caused this break between Washington and its allies in the Middle East? Am told that the White House is deaf to experienced diplomats in the region. That the White House is piously ideological in supporting so-called democratic-leaning youth protesters despite the evidence that the "yuppie bloggers" are either naive ideologues themselves, without experience in governance or diplomacy, or else they are tools of the anarchists, Islamists and Twelvers. Asked Barry Rubin if the US is on the brink of losing Egypt. Answer: over the brink. Asked Pat Lang if there was any repairing break with Riyadh. Answer: no.
We should point out that both Lang and Rubin represent the minority viewpoint in these matters, but they are not alone in their thinking by any means. With American vacillation and weakness on display throughout the Middle East, long-time allies are maneuvering for their own survival, and looking for anyone (read: not Iran) who can guarantee their security.
Also of interest is the claim that Tehran is fomenting the unrest, through its IRGC. Before readers dismiss that as a conspiracy theory or crazy talk, remember: Hillary Clinton said essentially the same thing during Congressional testimony last week. Oddly enough, the MSM has yet to follow up on Mrs. Clinton's claim.
Given our retreat across the region, moving ships U.S. Navy vessels (and their crews) of Manama was the prudent thing to do. Now, the speculation is over when they might return. At the moment, the optimistic answer is "no time soon." The worst-case scenario is "never."
We're waiting to hear if the 5th Fleet Commander has shifted his flag to sea. That move, along with the sudden departure of our ships, suggests we have no confidence in the ability of security forces to contain the unrest, and we're preparing for a likely collapse of the Bahrain government.
Meanwhile, our commander-in-chief is reportedly having a swell time in Rio.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #68 on:
March 20, 2011, 12:47:38 PM »
That is very big news GM. Lets take it over to the Saudi/Arabian peninsula thread.
Amen to GM's comments on the costs of having dithered.
For me the larger point is the larger war that is going on. Is it between Islam and the West, or is it between Barbarism and Civilization? IMHO this is a choice that has not yet been determined.
(This question is being presented now in the context of moving from a unique unipolar moment in history back to a multi-polar world. Unlike the militarily bi-polar and economically multi-polar world of the 50s-80s and the unipolar 90s-00s, we are now entering a multi-polar world on both the economic and military fronts.)
OBL and AQ sought an Islamist uprising against the various governments of the Arab/Muslim world. This has not happened , , , yet something IS happening!
Even allowing for the deceptions of our Pravdas, as best as I can tell, the various uprisings around the Arab world have not had anti-America attitudes and sloganeering taking the lead. Indeed, there have been calls upon us to support democratic aspirations (and even in some quarters a re-examination of the Iraq War and the neo-con aspects to its motivations!) by defecting Libayn military, diplomats, and officials.
Baraq failed to speak for freedom and democracy in Iraq and bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia; he failed to speak for freedom and democracy when the people of Iran sought to rise up yet spoke up for them against our long time strategic ally Mubarak; he sabotages our free and democractic ally Israel yet weeks went by before he could even speak Kadaffy's name.
IMHO it would have made great sense for him to wish the rebels well from day one, and to have provided humanitarian support (perhaps across the border in Tunisia and/or Egypt)-- (and maybe some ammo too.) and maybe have provided air cover over rebel held cities (which is not the same thing as a NFZ)-- and told the rebels that they would have to win or lose from there. The Arab/Muslim world would see the US being consistent with its Freedom/Democracy agenda-- and we would not be entangled.
Instead what we have now has many of the ingredients of an incoherent clusterfcuk. Baraq says Kadaffy has to go but does nothing to make it happen, until, as predicted by Intel Chief Clapper, Kadaffy is about to win. WTF is our strategy? Where is our spare bandwidth should anything start happening with Iran, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia? Or if Iran stirs things up in Iraq? Or , , , ?
As much as we may regret it, Baraq is our Commander in Chief and we must wish for success for America and the good things for which it stands.
Reply #69 on:
March 20, 2011, 12:50:34 PM »
The U.S.-led international military assault on Libya could achieve its stated goals without forcing Moammar Gadhafi from power, the top U.S. military officer said Sunday as the bombing campaign continued.
After a barrage of attacks by sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles Saturday, an array of U.S. warplanes — including several Air force B-2 stealth bombers — followed in the pre-dawn hours Sunday with a coordinated assault using precision-guided bombs, according to a U.S. military official.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military missions, said the planes included Air Force F-15s and F-16s, Navy EA-18G electronic warfare planes and Marine attack jets.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs, described the campaign's aims as "limited," saying it "isn't about seeing him (Gadhafi) go." Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mullen was asked whether it was possible that the mission's goals could be achieved while leaving Gadhafi in power.
"That's certainly potentially one outcome," he replied.
Pressed on this point later in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Mullen was more vague. "How this ends from the political standpoint, I just can't say," Mullen said. He said it was too early to speculate.
U.S. officials said at the outset of the missile strikes on Saturday that the goals are to prevent Gadhafi from inflicting further violence on his own people and to degrade his military's ability to contest a no-fly zone. Mullen said Sunday that the no-fly zone was now in place, with Gadhafi having put no aircraft in the sky.
Reply #70 on:
March 20, 2011, 01:22:08 PM »
Didn't take long, did it?
Arab League criticizes allied airstrikes on Libya
(AP) – 4 hours ago
CAIRO (AP) — The head of the Arab League has criticized international strikes on Libya, saying they caused civilian deaths.
The Arab League's support for a no-fly zone last week helped overcome reluctance in the West for action in Libya. The U.N. authorized not only a no-fly zone but also "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.
Amr Moussa says the military operations have gone beyond what the Arab League backed.
Moussa has told reporters Sunday that "what happened differs from the no-fly zone objectives." He says "what we want is civilians' protection not shelling more civilians."
P. Townsend: Who are you? Who? Who?
Reply #71 on:
March 20, 2011, 06:26:44 PM »
Libya's Opposition Leadership Comes into Focus
March 20, 2011 | 2222 GMT
Libya has descended to a situation tantamount to civil war, with forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the west pitted against rebels from the east. However, one of the biggest problems faced by Western governments has been in identifying exactly who the rebels are. Many of the rebels, including former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil and former Interior Minister Gen. Abdel Fatta Younis, defected early on from the Gadhafi regime and represent what came to be the Transitional National Council (TNC), which promptly lobbied Western government for support after its formation. In light of logistical and maintenance capabilities militarily, further defections would certainly help the rebels achieve victory, though there has been no sign of such defections.
Editor’s note:This analysis was originally published March 8 but has been significantly updated with current, accurate information.
Identifying the Opposition
One of the biggest problems Western governments have faced throughout the Libyan crisis has been in identifying who exactly the “eastern rebels” are. Until the uprising began in February, there was thought to be no legitimate opposition to speak of in the country, and thus no contacts between the United States, the United Kingdom, France or others. Many of those who now speak for the rebel movement headquartered in Benghazi. There have been several defections, however, from the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to the eastern rebel leadership, and it is men like these with whom the West is now trying to engage as the possible next generation of leadership in Libya, should its unstated goal of regime change come to fruition.
The structure through which the Libyan opposition is represented is formally known as the Interim Transitional National Council, more commonly referred to as the Transitional National Council (TNC). The first man to announce its creation was former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who defected from the government Feb. 21, and declared the establishment of a “transitional government” Feb. 26. At the time, Abdel-Jalil claimed that it would give way to national elections within three months, though this was clearly never a realistic goal.
One day after Abdel-Jalil’s announcement, a Benghazi-based lawyer named Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga held a news conference to refute his claims. Ghoga pronounced himself to be the spokesman of the new council, and denied that it resembled a transitional government, adding that even if it did, Abdel-Jalil would not be in charge. Ghoga derided the former justice minister as being more influential in the eastern Libyan city of Al Bayda than in Benghazi, which is the heart of the rebel movement.
The personality clash between Abdel-Jalil and Ghoga continued on for most of the next week, as each man portended to be running a council that spoke for the eastern rebel movement in its entirety. It was significant only insofar as it provided just a glimpse of the sort of internal rivalries that exist in eastern Libya, known historically as Cyrenaica. Though Cyrenaica has a distinct identity from the western Libyan region historically referred to as Tripolitania, that does not mean that it is completely unified. This will be a problem moving ahead for the coalition carrying out the bombing campaign of Libya, as tribal and personal rivalries in the east will compound with a simple lack of familiarity with who the rebels really are.
The TNC officially came into being March 6, and (for the moment, at least) has settled the personal and regional rivalry between Abdel-Jalil and Ghoga, with the former named the TNC head, and the latter its spokesman. Despite the drama that preceded the formal establishment of the council, all members of the opposition have always been unified on a series of goals: They want to mount an armed offensive against the government-controlled areas in the west; they want to overthrow Gadhafi; they seek to unify the country with Tripoli as its capital; and they do not want foreign boots on Libyan soil. The unity of the rebels, in short, is based upon a common desire to oust the longtime Libyan leader.
The TNC asserts that it derives its legitimacy from the series of city councils that have been running the affairs of the east since the February uprising that turned all of eastern Libya into rebel-held territory. This council is, in essence, a conglomeration of localized units of makeshift self-governance. And while it may be centered in the east, the TNC has also gone out of its way to assert that all Libyans who are opposed to Gadhafi’s rule are a part of the movement. This is not a secessionist struggle. A military stalemate with Gadhafi that would lead to the establishment of two Libya’s would not represent an outright success for the rebels, even though it would be preferential to outright defeat. Though it has only released the names of nine of its reported 31 members for security reasons, the TNC has claimed that it has members in several cities that lie beyond the rebel-held territory in the east (including Misurata, Zentan, Zawiya, Zouara, Nalut, Jabal Gharbi, Ghat and Kufra), and promised membership to all Libyans who want to join and asserted that the council is the sole representative of the whole of Libya.
The TNC’s foremost priorities for the past several weeks have been garnering foreign support for airstrikes on Gadhafi’s forces and the establishment of a no-fly zone. Absent that, they have long argued, none of their other military objectives stood a chance of being realized.
It was the lobbying for Western support in the establishment of a no-fly zone that led the TNC’s “executive team,” also known as the crisis committee, to go on a tour of European capitals in mid-March designed to shore up support from various governments and international institutions. Mahmoud Jebril, an ally of Abdel-Jalil, and de facto Foreign Minister Ali al-Essawi, the former Libyan ambassador to India who quit in February when the uprising began, comprise the executive team. The result of this trip was the first recognition of the TNC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, which was provided by France on March 10. France, as we were to see in the following days, was to become the most vociferous advocate of the international community coming to the aid of the TNC through the use of air strikes.
Before the decision was made to implement a no fly zone, the Libyan opposition forces collapsed in the face of Ghaddafi’s onslaught, and have shown little sign of coalescing into a meaningful military force. While the loyalist eastward thrust was against a disorganized rebel force, Ghaddafi’s forces have demonstrated that they retain considerable strength and loyalty to the regime. That means that even with coalition airstrikes taking out armor and artillery, there will still be forces loyal to Ghaddafi inside any urban center the rebels might encounter in a westward advance, meaning that the rebels would be forced to fight a dedicated force dug in in built up areas while operating on extended lines, a difficult tactical and operational challenge for even a coherent and proficient military force. So the even though the coalition airstrikes have since shifted the military balance, the fundamental challenges for the rebels to organize and orchestrate a coherent military offensive remain unchanged.
It is important to note that little of the territory that fell into rebel control in the early days of the insurrection was not actually occupied through conquest. Many military and security forces in the east either deserted or defected to the opposition, which brought not only men and arms, but also the territory those troops ostensibly controlled. Most fighting that occurred once the situation transitioned into what is effectively a civil war, particularly in the main population centers along the coastal stretch between Benghazi and Sirte, consisted of relatively small, lightly armed formations conducting raids, rather than either side decisively defeating a major formation and pacifying a town.
Just as the executive team represents the TNC’s foreign affairs unit, the council also has a military division. This was originally headed by Omar El-Hariri, but the overall command of the Libyan rebels has since reportedly been passed to former interior minister Gen. Abdel Fattah Younis. Younis’ name arose early on as the man with whom the British government was engaging as it tried to get a grip on the situation unfolding in rebel-held territory. He was not included in the original TNC membership, however, despite several indications that he did in fact retain widespread support among eastern rebels. This, like the clash between Abdel-Jalil and Ghoga, was another indication of the rivalries that exist in eastern Libya, which paint a picture of disunity among the rebels.
Younis, however, now appears to have been officially incorporated into the command structure and is presiding over a TNC “army” that, like the TNC itself, is the sum of its parts. Every population center in eastern Libya has since the uprising began created respective militias, all of which are now, theoretically, to report to Benghazi. Indeed, the most notable of these local militias, created Feb. 28, has been known at times as the Benghazi Military Council, which is linked to the Benghazi city council, the members of which form much of the political core of the new national council. There are other known militias in eastern Libya, however, operating training camps in places like Ajdabiya, Al Bayda and Tobruk, and undoubtedly several other locations as well.
Younis has perhaps the most challenging job of all in eastern Libya: organizing a coherent fighting force that can mount an invasion of the west — something that will be difficult even after an extensive foreign bombing campaign. More defections by the military and security forces in the west, like the earlier defections in Zawiya and Misurata, would perhaps benefit the TNC even more than the bombing campaign under way. There is no sign that immanent defections from the west, however, which will only reinforce the military and geographic challenges the TNC is faced with.
Libyan society is by definition tribal and therefore prone to fractiousness. The Gadhafi era has done nothing to counter this historical legacy, as the Jamihiriya political system promoted local governance more than a truly national system of administration. Ironically, it was this legacy of Gadhafi’s regime that helped the individual eastern cities to rapidly establish local committees that took over administration of their respective areas, but it will create difficulties should they try to truly come together. Rhetoric is far different from tangible displays of unity.
Geography will also continue to be a challenge for the TNC. The Libyan opposition still does not have the basic military proficiencies or know-how to project and sustain an armored assault on Tripoli; if it tried, it would run a serious risk of being neutralized on arrival by prepared defenses. Even Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte — almost certainly a necessary intermediate position to control on any drive to Tripoli — looks to be a logistical stretch for the opposition. An inflow of weapons may help but would not be the complete solution. Just as the primary factor in eastern Libya’s breaking free of the government’s control lay in a series of military defections, the occurrence of the same scenario in significant numbers in the west is what would give the newly created National Libyan Council its best chance of overthrowing Gadhafi.
Speaking of gratitude, here is an oldie but goodie-note date:
Kuwaiti official praises Hurricane Katrina as "Soldier of Allah"
Kuwaiti: 'The terrorist Katrina' is a soldier of Allah'
Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Thursday, September 1, 2005
Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment's
research center, published an article titled "The Terrorist Katrina is One
of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda."(1) the Aug. 31
edition of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa. Following are excerpts:
"...As I watched the horrible sights of this wondrous storm, I was reminded
of the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah [in the compilations] of Al-Bukhari
and Abu Daoud. The Hadith says: 'The wind is of the wind of Allah, it comes
from mercy or for the sake of torment. When you see it, do not curse it,
[but rather] ask Allah for the good that is in it, and ask Allah for shelter
from its evil.'
"When the satellite channels reported on the scope of the terrifying
destruction in America [caused by] this wind, I was reminded of the words of
[Prophet Muhammad]: 'The wind sends torment to one group of people, and
sends mercy to others.' I do not think — and only Allah [really] knows —
that this wind, which completely wiped out American cities in these days, is
a wind of mercy and blessing. It is almost certain that this is a wind of
torment and evil that Allah has sent to this American empire.
"But I began to ask myself: Doesn't this country [the U.S.] claim to aspire
to establish justice, freedom, and equality amongst the people? Isn't this
country claiming that everything it did in Afghanistan and Iraq was for
truth and justice? How can it be that these American claims are untrue, when
we see how good prevails in the streets of Afghanistan, and how it became an
oasis of security with America's entrance there? How can these American
claims in the matter of Iraq be untrue, when we see that Iraq has become the
most tranquil and secure country in the world?"
"But how strange it is that after all the tremendous American achievements
for the sake of humanity, these mighty winds come and evilly rip [America's]
cities to shreds? Have the storms joined the Al-Qaeda terrorist
"How sad I am for America. Here it is, poor thing, trying with all its might
to lower oil prices which have reached heights unprecedented in all history.
Along with America's phenomenal efforts to lower the price of oil in order
to salvage its declining economy and its currency — that is still falling
due to the 'smart' policy America is implementing in the world — comes this
storm, the fruit of Allah's planning, so that [the price of] a barrel of oil
will increase further still. By Allah, this is not schadenfreude.
"Oh honored gentlemen, I began to read about these winds, and I was
surprised to discover that the American websites that are translated [into
Arabic] are talking about the fact that that the storm Katrina is the fifth
equatorial storm to strike Florida this year... and that a large part of the
U.S. is subject every year to many storms that extract [a price of] dead,
and completely destroy property. I said, Allah be praised, until when will
these successive catastrophes strike them?
"But before I went to sleep, I opened the Koran and began to read in Surat
Al-R'ad ['The Thunder' chapter], and stopped at these words [of Allah]: 'The
disaster will keep striking the unbelievers for what they have done, or it
will strike areas close to their territory, until the promise of Allah comes
to pass, for, verily, Allah will not fail in His promise.' [Koran 13:31]."
Endnote: (1) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), August 31, 2005.
Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 06:30:02 PM by Crafty_Dog
Reply #72 on:
March 20, 2011, 07:00:07 PM »
For weeks as international pressure built against him, Muammar al-Gaddafi insisted again and again that the rebel forces that he was fighting in eastern Libya were linked to al-Qaeda. The mere fact that Gaddafi said it was seemingly enough for virtually all commentators to dismiss the claim out of hand. And in case doubts about the source were not enough, then we had the New York Times to send a reporter to Darnah, one of the eastern Libyan towns at the heart of the supposed Islamist uprising, and to assure us that there was nothing to see there, “move along.”
But the problem is that it is not only Muammar al-Gaddafi who has identified the coastal cities of Libya’s eastern Cyrenaica region as al-Qaeda strongholds.
The analysts of the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point have as well. The findings of the latter are based on the so-called Sinjar Records: captured personnel records identifying foreign combatants who joined al-Qaeda in Iraq between August 2006 and August 2007. (The full study is available online here. The relevance of the study to the current situation in Libya was first pointed out by Andrew Exum in a blog post here.)
The West Point analysts’ statistical study of the al-Qaeda personnel records comes to the conclusion that one country provided “far more” foreign fighters in per capita terms than any other: namely, Libya. Furthermore, the records show that the “vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s Northeast.”
The contributions of two cities in particular stand out. One of these has in the last month become a household name: Benghazi. The second is precisely Darnah: the city in which, according to Libyan government sources, an Islamic emirate was declared when the unrest started in February and that thereby earned a visit from the New York Times to prove that it was not so. Darnah lies to the east of Benghazi, behind the battle lines created by the furthest advance of Libyan government forces prior to the announcement of Thursday’s UN Security Council resolution.
While in Darnah, New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid even spoke with Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi: the man who, according to Libyan government sources, had declared the Islamic emirate. Shadid found al-Hasadi “running Darnah’s defenses.” According to Shadid’s would-be reassuring account of their conversation, al-Hasadi “praises Osama bin Laden’s ‘good points,’ but denounces the 9/11 attacks on the United States.” (One must read backwards from the introduction of al-Hasadi’s name into Shadid’s narrative to realize that these quotes come from him.)
A report from Benghazi in the French daily Le Figaro identifies the same al-Hasadi as the “voice of Libya’s Islamists” and claims that a transitional government could only be formed with his approval. The New York Times — or the Obama administration — might remember that the Osama bin Laden whom al-Hasadi “praises” has declared war on America.
According to the West Point study of the Iraqi Sinjar Records, of the 440 foreign al-Qaeda recruits whose hometowns are known, 21 came from Benghazi. This makes Benghazi the fourth most common hometown listed in the records. Fifty-three of the al-Qaeda recruits came from Darnah. That is the highest total of any of the hometowns listed in the records. The second highest number, 51, came from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, the population of Darnah (80,000) is less than 2% the population of Riyadh. This is to say that in per capita terms more the fifty times more foreign fighters joined al-Qaeda in Iraq from Darnah than from Riyadh. As the authors of the study put it, Darnah contributed “far and away the largest per capita number of fighters.”
It may not be Cricket
Reply #73 on:
March 20, 2011, 09:39:15 PM »
MI6 knows hardball.
British intelligence is warning Colonel Gaddafi’s generals that it could be fatal to remain loyal to the Libyan leader.
MI6 spies and military officials are contacting commanders in Tripoli trying to persuade them to defect, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Their message is blunt: ‘General, we’ve got the GPS co-ordinates of your command post. They are programmed into a Storm Shadow missile. What do you want to do?’
As Gaddafi vowed to wage a long war with the ‘crusader alliance’, British officials said the intelligence services had the telephone numbers of many key military officials in his regime.
A senior source said: ‘They will be doing their best to get in touch. This is a situation where success breeds success. Once you get air superiority it becomes suicidal for Libyan army commanders to want to move tanks or to use artillery.
‘That’s pressure. It worked in Iraq.’
Former Army chief Lord Dannatt said: ‘If I was a Libyan military commander I’d be thinking very closely about my loyalty.
‘What about loyalty to my country, my tribe? I think it’s those ground commanders’ loyalty we expect to see changing when they realise they have no hope against the international air forces.’
The Big Dither
Reply #74 on:
March 21, 2011, 10:39:11 AM »
“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly.” Macbeth’s famous line before he kills Duncan came to mind last week, when President Obama belatedly changed his mind about military intervention in Libya. Like Obama, Macbeth fervently hopes that “this blow might be the be-all and the end-all”:
But in these cases … we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
To our own lips.
The president has been more Hamlet than Macbeth since the beginning of the revolutionary crisis that has swept the desert lands of North Africa and the Middle East. To act or not to act? That has been the question. The results of his indecision have been unhappy. Hosni Mubarak, for so long an American ally, has been overthrown in Egypt. Muammar Gaddafi, the erstwhile sponsor of terrorism so foolishly rehabilitated by the West just four years ago, has—until now—lived to fight another day in Libya. Meanwhile, in Bahrain, another insurrection is being quelled with the help of Saudi Arabia—an American ally even more important than Libya.
Alex Majoli / Magnum for Newsweek
Photos: Libyan Conflict
Libya at War: Clashes from Benghazi to Ras Lanuf
Obama, a novice in foreign affairs, is a president without a strategy. Once a critic of American military intervention in the Middle East, once a skeptic about the chances of democratizing the region, he now finds himself with a poisoned chalice in each hand. In one there are the dregs of the last administration’s interventions: military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan that he is eager to wind down. In the other is a freshly poured draft of his own making.
Make no mistake. Whatever the wording of the United Nations Security Council resolution, the United States is now at war with the Libyan government, and the aim of this war is the overthrow of Gaddafi. In the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “If you don’t get him out and if you don’t support the opposition and he stays in power, there’s no telling what he will do.” She doubtless remembers more clearly than Obama what happened in Bosnia, when her husband took years to approve effective military intervention. Had she been president, my guess is we’d have taken swifter action. But in this play, she’s Lady Macbeth, urging Obama to get tough.
This was the right thing to do. Was. But it should have been done weeks ago, when it first became clear that Gaddafi, unlike Mubarak, was able and willing to unleash military force against his opponents. Now, with loyalist forces approaching the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, it may well be too late. It certainly seems unlikely that an exclusively aerial intervention in Libya’s civil war can topple the mad dog of Tripoli. And even if it’s still possible to tip the balance in favor of the rebels, then what? When the news of the no-fly zone reached Benghazi last week, it was relayed from mosque loudspeakers, and the crowds responded with cries of “Allahu akbar!” not “God bless America!” Significantly, the rebel spokesman quoted by The New York Times was an imam.
POTH op-ed: A very liberal intervention
Reply #75 on:
March 21, 2011, 11:55:23 AM »
A Very Liberal Intervention
By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: March 20, 2011
In its month-long crab walk toward a military confrontation with Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Obama administration has delivered a clinic in the liberal way of war.
Just a week ago, as the tide began to turn against the anti-Qaddafi rebellion, President Obama seemed determined to keep the United States out of Libya’s civil strife. But it turns out the president was willing to commit America to intervention all along. He just wanted to make sure we were doing it in the most multilateral, least cowboyish fashion imaginable.
That much his administration has achieved. In its opening phase, at least, our war in Libya looks like the beau ideal of a liberal internationalist intervention. It was blessed by the United Nations Security Council. It was endorsed by the Arab League. It was pushed by the diplomats at Hillary Clinton’s State Department, rather than the military men at Robert Gates’s Pentagon. Its humanitarian purpose is much clearer than its connection to American national security. And it was initiated not by the U.S. Marines or the Air Force, but by the fighter jets of the French Republic.
This is an intervention straight from Bill Clinton’s 1990s playbook, in other words, and a stark departure from the Bush administration’s more unilateralist methods. There are no “coalitions of the willing” here, no dismissive references to “Old Europe,” no “you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Instead, the Obama White House has shown exquisite deference to the very international institutions and foreign governments that the Bush administration either steamrolled or ignored.
This way of war has obvious advantages. It spreads the burden of military action, sustains rather than weakens our alliances, and takes the edge off the world’s instinctive anti-Americanism. Best of all, it encourages the European powers to shoulder their share of responsibility for maintaining global order, instead of just carping at the United States from the sidelines.
But there are major problems with this approach to war as well. Because liberal wars depend on constant consensus-building within the (so-called) international community, they tend to be fought by committee, at a glacial pace, and with a caution that shades into tactical incompetence. And because their connection to the national interest is often tangential at best, they’re often fought with one hand behind our back and an eye on the exits, rather than with the full commitment that victory can require.
These problems dogged American foreign policy throughout the 1990s, the previous high tide of liberal interventionism. In Somalia, the public soured on our humanitarian mission as soon as it became clear that we would be taking casualties as well as dispensing relief supplies. In the former Yugoslavia, NATO imposed a no-flight zone in 1993, but it took two years of hapless peacekeeping and diplomatic wrangling, during which the war proceeded unabated, before American air strikes finally paved the way for a negotiated peace.
Our 1999 intervention in Kosovo offers an even starker cautionary tale. The NATO bombing campaign helped topple Slobodan Milosevic and midwifed an independent Kosovo. But by raising the stakes for both Milosevic and his Kosovo Liberation Army foes, the West’s intervention probably inspired more bloodletting and ethnic cleansing in the short term, exacerbating the very humanitarian crisis it was intended to forestall.
The same kind of difficulties are already bedeviling our Libyan war. Our coalition’s aims are uncertain: President Obama is rhetorically committed to the idea that Qaddafi needs to go, but Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, allowed on Sunday that the dictator might ultimately remain in power. Our means are constrained: the U.N. resolution we’re enforcing explicitly rules out ground forces, and President Obama has repeatedly done so as well. And some of our supposed partners don’t seem to have the stomach for a fight: It took about 24 hours for Amr Moussa, recent leader of the Arab League, to suggest that the organization’s endorsement of a no-flight zone didn’t cover bombing missions.
And the time it took to build a multilateral coalition enabled Qaddafi to consolidate his position on the ground, to the point where any cease-fire would leave him in control of most of the country. Hence Admiral Mullen’s admission that our efforts could end in a stalemate, leaving the Libyan dictator entrenched.
The ultimate hope of liberal warfare is to fight as virtuously as possible, and with the minimum of risk. But war and moralism are uneasy bedfellows, and “low risk” conflicts often turn out to be anything but. By committing America to the perils of yet another military intervention, Barack Obama has staked an awful lot on the hope that our Libyan adventure will prove an exception to this rule.
Re: Libya and other Arab countries
Reply #76 on:
March 21, 2011, 12:05:09 PM »
So if there is a uprising in Iran, we going to provide "missiles of peace"/NFZ as well?
Al Qaida commander backs Libyan rebels in message
Reply #77 on:
March 23, 2011, 11:01:08 AM »
Al Qaida commander backs Libyan rebels in message
Abu Yahya al-Libi urges anti-Gaddafi forces not to retreat; reports of mutiny among Gaddafi forces slowing attack on rebel-held Misrata.
A senior member of al Qaida urged Libyan rebels to continue their fight against Muammar Gaddafi and warned of the consequences of defeat, in a videotaped message posted on Jihadi websites, the Qatar-based Gulf News reported on Sunday.
The message from Libya native, Abu Yahya al-Libi, marked the first time a top ranked al Qaida commander had commented on the uprising in Libya. Gaddafi has repeatedly blamed al Qaida for inciting the unrest against him.
“The Libyan people have suffered at the hands of Gaddafi for more than 40 years ... He used the Libyans as a testing ground for his violent, rambling and disgusting thoughts,” Abu Yahya stated.
He warned that "Retreating will mean decades of harsher oppression and greater injustices than what you have endured.”
Abu Yahya also accused the West, and the US in particular, of having supported oppresive Arab regimes at the expense of the people.
The taped message could not be independently authenticated, according to the Gulf Times report.
Reply #78 on:
March 23, 2011, 11:16:53 AM »
As a good American I wish us and the people of Libya success--even if Baraq gets credit-- but there is much to worry about here.
Blithely off to war
By GEORGE F. WILL
Posted: 11:10 PM, March 21, 2011
The missile strikes that inaugurated America's latest attempt at regime change were launched 29 days before the 50th anniversary of another such -- the Bay of Pigs of April 17, 1961. Then, the hubris of US planners was proportional to their ignorance of everything relevant, from Cuban sentiment to Cuba's geography. The fiasco was a singularly feckless investment of US power.
Does practice make perfect? In today's episode, America has intervened in a civil war in a tribal society, the dynamics of which America does not understand. And America is supporting one faction, the nature of which it does not know.
"We are standing with the people of Libya," says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, evidently confident that "the" people are a harmonious unit. Many in the media call Moammar Khadafy's foes "freedom fighters," and perhaps they are -- but no one calling them that really knows how the insurgents regard one another, or understand freedom, or if freedom (however understood) is their priority.
But, then, knowing is rarely required in the regime-change business. The Weekly Standard, a magazine for regime-change enthusiasts, serenely says: "The Libyan state is a one-man operation. Eliminate that man and the whole edifice may come tumbling down." Then good things must sprout?
In Libya, mission creep began before the mission did. A no-fly zone wouldn't accomplish what President Obama calls "a well-defined goal," the "protection of civilians." So the no-fly zone immediately became protection for aircraft conducting combat operations against Khadafy's ground forces.
America's war aim is inseparable from -- indeed, obviously is -- destruction of that regime. So our purpose is to create a political vacuum, into which we hope -- this is the "audacity of hope" as foreign policy -- good things will spontaneously flow.
But if Khadafy can't be beaten by the rebels, are we prepared to supply their military deficiencies? If the decapitation of his regime produces what the removal of Saddam Hussein did -- bloody chaos -- what then are our responsibilities regarding the tribal vendettas we may have unleashed? How long are we prepared to police the partitioning of Libya?
Explaining his decision to wage war, Obama said Khadafy has "lost the confidence of his own people and the legitimacy to lead." Such boilerplate seems designed to anesthetize thought. When did Khadafy lose his people's confidence? When did he have legitimacy?
American doctrine is that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. So there are always many illegitimate governments. When is it America's duty to scrub away these blemishes on the planet? Is there a limiting principle of humanitarian interventionism? If so, would Obama take a stab at stating it?
Congress' power to declare war resembles a muscle that has atrophied from long abstention from proper exercise. This power was last exercised on June 5, 1942 (against Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary), almost 69 years, and many wars, ago.
It thus may seem quaint, and certainly is quixotic, for Indiana's Richard Lugar -- ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- to say, correctly, that Congress should debate and vote on this.
There are those who think that if the United Nations gives the United States permission to wage war, the Constitution becomes irrelevant. Let us find out who in Congress supports this proposition, which should be resoundingly refuted, particularly by Republicans insisting that government, and especially the executive, should be on a short constitutional leash. If all GOP presidential aspirants are supine in the face of unfettered presidential war-making and humanitarian interventionism, the GOP field is radically insufficient.
On Dec. 29, 1962, in Miami's Orange Bowl, President John Kennedy, who ordered the Bay of Pigs invasion, addressed a rally of survivors and supporters of that exercise in regime change. Presented with the invasion brigade's flag, Kennedy vowed, "I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana."
Eleven months later, on Nov. 2, 1963, his administration was complicit in another attempt at violent regime change -- the coup against, and murder of, South Vietnam's President Ngo Dinh Diem. The Saigon regime was changed, so perhaps this episode counts as a success, even if Saigon is now Ho Chi Minh City.
Reply #79 on:
March 23, 2011, 12:18:51 PM »
What is Next in Libya?
As the air campaign over Libya enters its third night, command of military operations will soon transfer from the United States to either the Europeans or NATO. By most accounts, the opening gambit of the air campaign went well and was effective in achieving initial objectives — destroying or suppressing air defenses and destroying what remained of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s air force. The loyalist drive toward Benghazi appears to have been halted, and the rebels have made tentative movements toward Ajdabiyah. There were no reports of combat losses; also, the coalition has not acknowledged responsibility for any civilian casualties.
“Control of the skies over Libya can help defend Benghazi from loyalist formations of armor but it does not provide control of the streets in Tripoli.”
This is not a surprise. The coalition air campaign, with ready, uncontested access to regional air bases, has become a hallmark of U.S. and NATO military operations. Though complex, it is a discipline of warfare that has been carefully refined, and there was little doubt that within days, the coalition would get to this point. The issue was never the ability to apply airpower to Libya. The problem of Libya is twofold. The first is what the coalition seeks to achieve and what forces it is willing to dedicate to that end, a subject about which there has been glaring contradiction from the United States, the United Kingdom and France. The second is the the applicability of airpower to that problem, however it is ultimately defined.
Airpower alone cannot force Gadhafi from power unless his position can be pinpointed and he can thereby be killed. Even if Gadhafi is killed, forces loyal to him cannot be removed from built-up urban areas without the risk of massive civilian casualties. At its core, Gadhafi’s forces are not tanks or artillery pieces — and certainly were not combat aircraft before they were destroyed. Gadhafi’s forces remain a ruthless internal security force loyal to the regime and oriented toward the management of internal dissent. At its heart, this is a light infantry force.
Dismounted forces in an urban area are difficult to target by fast moving aircraft even when forward air controllers are on the ground and are able to talk to and guide aircraft. Doing so still entails a significant risk of civilian casualties and in any event, aircraft are not the ideal tool for that job unless the entire area can be declared hostile.
So, the coalition is rapidly running up against a fundamental incompatibility with the air campaign. The objective is to prevent civilian casualties. Even setting aside the fact that airpower is not a precise tool and that its continued application will in all likelihood entail civilian casualties, the problem is that the danger to civilian lives is ground forces loyal to Gadhafi. While some of those forces were caught in the open in readily identifiable armor, others will continue to move in civilian vehicles and perhaps not even wear uniforms. For example, with troops on the ground in Afghanistan, Western military forces struggle to distinguish between and protect local populations from Taliban intimidation. It is not possible to do this from the air.
The question was never one of establishing air superiority over Libyan skies. The question remains what the coalition will do with that air superiority to further its objective. Control of the skies over Libya can help defend Benghazi from loyalist formations of armor, but it does not provide control of the streets in Tripoli. With or without Gadhafi, the country remains fractious and divided. The coalition has stepped into the fray in support of a loosely affiliated opposition that has thus far failed to coalesce into a meaningful military force capable of challenging Gadhafi. The removal of Gadhafi ‘s air force and the reduction in his ability to move conventional military vehicles do not fundamentally alter the underlying tactical equation: Loyalist forces have proved dedicated and capable; the opposition’s forces have not.
It is at this point in the air campaign that the question of “what is next” begins to become much less abstract and much more real.
WSJ: An AF General's analysis
Reply #80 on:
March 24, 2011, 07:21:43 AM »
By CHARLES A. HORNER
The military operations against the Gadhafi regime in Libya appear to be going well. But going where? To succeed, military leaders need clearly defined goals that can be achieved by the use of force. You need to know what you are tasked to accomplish, and then you can evaluate pertinent factors such as friendly and enemy capabilities, terrain and weather to define a strategy.
In 1990-91, coalition forces confronting Iraq had two objectives: to protect the Gulf Cooperation Council nations from Iraqi attacks, and to liberate occupied Kuwait. Some argue that these objectives were too narrow to do such things as topple Saddam's regime or bring representative government to Iraq, both desirable goals from a coalition standpoint. Regardless, we knew we could achieve the goals set forth by our political leadership with military force, and we went on to prove it during Operation Desert Storm.
The air strikes in Libya are aimed at the objective of "protecting civilians," but the U.S. has not defined whether the rebel forces are civilian, military or both. If they go on the offensive, do they deserve our protection (and inherent support)? Furthermore, our political leaders have stated that "Gadhafi must go," but they altered their pronouncements upon recognizing that ousting Gadhafi might not be achievable under the use-of-force rules set by the United Nations Security Council resolution.
Other unstated coalition goals likely relate to the fact that it is in the national interests of Britain and France to have continued access to Libyan oil. Disruption of the status quo in the Arab world may also work for or against the interests of Israel. So one's view of the desired outcome in Libya can hinge on factors independent of the best interests of the Libyan rebels. Failure to precisely define the objectives of military operations can lead to confusion regarding the best ways and means to achieve them.
Fortunately, because of the relative strength of the competing militaries, it may be possible to live with the current lack of focused political leadership.
The forces supporting Gadhafi are vulnerable to coalition air operations due to their weaknesses, the terrain and the weather. This was evident from the ease with which the coalition seized control of the air. While the coalition leaders announced that they will not provide air support to rebel ground forces, they have already done so during very effective operations at Ajdabiya. Finally, the command of air operations is coordinated but diffused, a situation that could not be tolerated if confronted by a more capable opponent.
U.N., NATO, European, Arab League and U.S. leaders may yet come to agreement on the objectives of our military operations in Libya. They are likely to include the need to protect civilians, replace the Gadhafi regime, and be willing to accept the uncertain end state that will come about.
In Afghanistan, we demonstrated that an inferior indigenous ground force can prevail if supported by modern air power. In Kosovo, we saw an undefeated Serbian army depart because of effective air power alone.
Air power in support of rebel ground forces can defeat Gadhafi's fielded forces. This will require putting tactical air-control parties on the ground to advise the rebel forces and control air strikes. This will also result in civilian casualties, an unfortunate side effect of any armed conflict. It may also result in an end state that we may come to regret. At a minimum, failure to define the operational objectives could result in the protracted conflict Gadhafi promised.
But the shooting has started, and now we must seek a strategy to end it. The Libyan army relies more on artillery and armor than on air power. The "no-fly zone" concept of operations deceptively promised to end civilian suffering but did not provide the range of options needed for coalition forces to do it. Apparently, the rebel forces are not capable of defeating the forces loyal to Gadhafi in the absence of overwhelming air support. It may not be sporting to take out tanks with precision munitions dropped from a stealth bomber above 25,000 feet, but it is effective.
Failure to fully unleash air power will allow Gadhafi to play for time, exploit tribal loyalties, and otherwise frustrate the coalition's attempts to protect Libyan civilians. The actions to date against Gadhafi have failed to bring about the desired end state. The start of this war was characterized by half-measures, ill-defined thinking, and conflicting political objectives. Now, to end it, we need to build on our remaining strengths.
Gen. Horner (Air Force, ret.) commanded coalition air forces during Desert Shield and Desert Storm and flew F-16 sorties in the southern no-fly zone over Iraq.
Stratfor: Kadaffy's terrorism options
Reply #81 on:
March 24, 2011, 10:49:42 AM »
Libya's Terrorism Option
March 23, 2011
By Scott Stewart
On March 19, military forces from the United States, France and Great Britain began to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized the countries involved in enforcing the zone to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians and “civilian-populated areas under threat of attack.” Obviously, such military operations cannot be imposed against the will of a hostile nation without first removing the country’s ability to interfere with the no-fly zone — and removing this ability to resist requires strikes against military command-and-control centers, surface-to-air missile installations and military airfields. This means that the no-fly zone not only was a defensive measure to protect the rebels — it also required an attack upon the government of Libya.
Certainly, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has no doubt that the U.S. and European military operations against the Libyan military targets are attacks against his regime. He has specifically warned France and the United Kingdom that they would come to regret the intervention. Now, such threats could be construed to mean that should Gadhafi survive, he will seek to cut off the countries’ access to Libyan energy resources in the future. However, given Libya’s past use of terrorist strikes to lash out when attacked by Western powers, Gadhafi’s threats certainly raise the possibility that, desperate and hurting, he will once again return to terrorism as a means to seek retribution for the attacks against his regime. While threats of sanctions and retaliation have tempered Gadhafi’s use of terrorism in recent years, his fear may evaporate if he comes to believe he has nothing to lose.
History of Libyan Reactions
Throughout the early 1980s, the U.S. Navy contested Libya’s claim to the Gulf of Sidra and said the gulf was international water. This resulted in several minor skirmishes, such as the incident in August 1981 when U.S. Navy fighters downed two Libyan aircraft. Perhaps the most costly of these skirmishes for Libya occurred in March 1986, when a U.S. task force sank two Libyan ships and attacked a number of Libyan surface-to-air missile sites that had launched missiles at U.S. warplanes.
The Libyans were enraged by the 1986 incident, but as the incident highlighted, they lacked the means to respond militarily due to the overwhelming superiority of U.S. forces. This prompted the Libyans to employ other means to seek revenge. Gadhafi had long seen himself as the successor to Gamal Abdel Nasser as the leader of Arab nationalism and sought to assert himself in a number of ways. Lacking the population and military of Egypt, or the finances of Saudi Arabia, he began to use terrorism and the support of terrorist groups as a way to undermine his rivals for power in the Arab world. Later, when he had been soundly rejected by the Arab world, he began to turn his attention to Africa, where he employed these same tools. They could also be used against what Gadhafi viewed as imperial powers.
On April 2, 1986, a bomb tore a hole in the side of TWA Flight 840 as it was flying from Rome to Athens. The explosion killed four American passengers and injured several others. The attack was claimed by the Arab Revolutionary Cells but is believed to have been carried out by the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO), one of the Marxist terrorist groups heavily sponsored by Libya.
On the evening of April 5, 1986, a bomb detonated in the La Belle disco in Berlin. Two U.S. soldiers and one civilian were killed in the blast and some 200 others were injured. Communications between Tripoli and the Libyan People’s Bureau (its embassy) in East Berlin were intercepted by the United States, which, armed with this smoking gun tying Libya to the La Belle attack, launched a retaliatory attack on Libya the night of April 15, 1986, that included a strike against Gadhafi’s residential compound and military headquarters at Bab Al Azizia, south of Tripoli. The strike narrowly missed killing Gadhafi, who had been warned of the impending attack. The warning was reportedly provided by either a Maltese or Italian politician, depending on which version of the story one hears.
The Libyan government later claimed that the attack killed Gadhafi’s young daughter, but this was pure propaganda. It did, however, anger and humiliate Gadhafi, though he lacked the ability to respond militarily. In the wake of the attack on his compound, Gadhafi feared additional reprisals and began to exercise his terrorist hand far more carefully and in a manner to provide at least some degree of deniability. One way he did this was by using proxy groups to conduct his strikes, such as the ANO and the Japanese Red Army (JRA). It did not take Gadhafi’s forces long to respond. On the very night of the April 15 U.S. attack, U.S. Embassy communications officer William Calkins was shot and critically wounded in Khartoum, Sudan, by a Libyan revolutionary surrogates in Sudan. On April 25, Arthur Pollock, a communicator at the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, was also shot and seriously wounded by an ANO gunman.
In May 1986, the JRA attacked the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, with an improvised mortar that caused little damage, and the JRA conducted similar ineffective attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Madrid in February and April of 1987. In June 1987, JRA operatives attacked the U.S. Embassy in Rome using vehicle-borne improvised explosive device and an improvised mortar. In April 1988, the group attacked the USO club in Naples. JRA bombmaker Yu Kikumura was arrested on the New Jersey Turnpike in April 1988 while en route to New York City to conduct a bombing attack there. The use of ANO and JRA surrogates provided Gadhafi with some plausible deniability for these attacks, but there is little doubt that he was behind them. Then on Dec. 21, 1988, Libyan agents operating in Malta succeeded in placing a bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103, which was destroyed in the air over Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew members aboard that flight died, as did 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, the town where the remnants of the Boeing 747 jumbo jet fell. Had the jet exploded over the North Atlantic as intended instead of over Scotland, the evidence that implicated Libya in the attack most likely never would have been found.
But the United States has not been the only target of Libyan terrorism. While the Libyans were busy claiming the Gulf of Sidra during the 1980s, they were also quite involved in propagating a number of coups and civil wars in Africa. One civil war in which they became quite involved was in neighboring Chad. During their military intervention there, the Libyans suffered heavy losses and eventually defeat due to French intervention on the side of the Chadian government. Not having the military might to respond to France militarily, Gadhafi once again chose the veiled terrorist hand. On Sept. 19, 1989, UTA Flight 772 exploded shortly after taking off from N’Djamena, Chad, en route to Paris. All 156 passengers and 14 crew members were killed by the explosion. The French government investigation into the crash found that the aircraft went down as a result of a bombing and that the bomb had been placed aboard the aircraft in Brazzaville, the Republic of the Congo, by Congolese rebels working with the Libyan People’s Bureau there. Six Libyans were tried in absentia and convicted for their part in the attack.
The Current Situation
Today Libya finds itself once again being attacked by an opponent with an overwhelmingly powerful military that Gadhafi’s forces cannot stand up to. While Gadhafi did take responsibility for some of Libya’s past terrorist attacks and publicly renounced terrorism in 2003, this step was a purely pragmatic move on his part. It was not the result of some ideological epiphany that suddenly caused Gadhafi to become a kinder and gentler guy. From the late 1980s to the renunciation of terrorism in 2003, Gadhafi retained the capability to continue using terrorism as a foreign policy tool but simply chose not to. And this capability remains in his tool box.
Unlike his views of past crises, Gadhafi sees the current attacks against him as being far more dangerous to the survival of his regime than the Gulf of Sidra skirmishes or the French military operations in Chad. Gadhafi has always been quite cold and calculating. He has not hesitated to use violence against those who have affronted him, even his own people. Now he is cornered and fearful for his very survival. Because of this, there is a very real possibility that the Libyans will employ terrorism against the members of the coalition now implementing and enforcing the no-fly zone.
Gadhafi has a long history of using diplomatic staff, which the Libyans refer to as “revolutionary committees,” to conduct all sorts of skullduggery, from planning terrorist attacks to fomenting coups. Indeed, these diplomats have often served as agents for spreading Gadhafi’s revolutionary principles elsewhere. Because of this history, coalition members will almost certainly be carefully monitoring the activities of Libyan diplomats within their countries — and elsewhere.
As illustrated by most of the above-mentioned terrorist attacks launched or commissioned by the Libyans, they have frequently conducted attacks against their targeted country in a third country. This process of monitoring Libyan diplomats will be greatly aided by the defection of a large number of diplomats in a variety of countries who undoubtedly have been thoroughly debriefed by security agencies looking for any hints that Gadhafi is looking to resume his practice of terrorism. These defectors will also prove helpful in identifying intelligence officers still loyal to Gadhafi and perhaps even in locating Libyan intelligence officers working under non-official cover.
But diplomats are not the only source Gadhafi can tap for assistance. As noted above, Gadhafi has a long history of using proxies to conduct terrorist attacks. Using a proxy provides Gadhafi with the plausible deniability he requires to continue to spin his story to the world that he is an innocent victim of senseless aggression. Perhaps more important, hiding his hand can also help prevent reprisal attacks. While most of the 1980s-era Marxist proxy groups the Libyans worked with are defunct, Gadhafi does have other options.
One option is to reach out to regional jihadist groups such as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), while another is to cultivate already improving relationships with jihadists groups in Libya such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). Indeed, Gadhafi has released hundreds of LFIG members from prison, a process that continued even after the unrest began in February. It is doubtful that the LIFG really feels any affinity for Gadhafi — the group launched an insurgency against his regime in the mid-1990s and actually tried to assassinate him — but it could be used to funnel funds and weapons to regional groups like AQIM. Such groups certainly have no love for the French, Americans or British and might be willing to conduct attacks against their interests in exchange for weapons and funding from Libya. AQIM is desperate for resources and has been involved in kidnapping for ransom and drug smuggling to raise funds to continue its struggle. This need might help it overcome its disdain for Gadhafi.
In the long run groups like AQIM and LIFG certainly would pose a threat to Gadhafi, but facing the very real existential threat from the overwhelming military force now being arrayed against him, Gadhafi may view the jihadist threat as far less pressing and severe.
Other potential agents for Libyan terrorist attacks are the various African rebel and revolutionary groups Gadhafi has maintained contact with and even supported over the years. Many of the mercenaries that have reportedly fought on the side of the Libyan loyalist forces have come from such groups. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Gadhafi could call upon such allies to attack French, British, Italian or American interests in his allies’ respective countries. Such actors would have ready access to weapons (likely furnished by Libya to begin with), and the capabilities of host-country security services are quite limited in many African states. This would make them ideal places to conduct terrorist attacks. However, due to the limited capabilities exhibited by such groups, they would likely require direct Libyan oversight and guidance (the kind of direct Libyan guidance for African rebels demonstrated in the UTA Flight 772 bombing) if they were to conduct attacks against hardened targets in Africa such as foreign embassies.
Also, as seen in the wake of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Christmas Day bomb plot in 2009, which originated in Ghana, passenger and cargo screening at African airports is not as stringent as it is elsewhere. When combined with Libya’s history of attacking aircraft, and placing bombs aboard foreign aircraft in third countries, the possibility of such an attack must surely be of grave concern for Western security officials.
Terrorism, however, has its limitations, as shown by Gadhafi’s activities in the 1980s. While the Libyans were able to launch several successful terrorist strikes, kill hundreds of people and traumatize many more through terror multipliers like the media, they were not able to cause any sort of lasting impact on the foreign policies of the United States or France. The attacks only served to harden the resolve of those countries to impose their will on Gadhafi, and he eventually capitulated and renounced terrorism. Those Libyan-sponsored attacks in the 1980s are also an important factor governing the way the world views Gadhafi — and today they may be playing a large part in the decision made by countries like France that Gadhafi must go. Of course, it is also this attitude — that Gadhafi must be forced out — that could lead him to believe he has nothing to lose by playing the terrorism card once again.
Re: Libya and
Reply #82 on:
March 24, 2011, 07:38:23 PM »
We simply send our young men and women to remove all the despots of the Middle East. Then Asia, Then Africa.
Sound absurd? It would have some years ago.
Throughout history countries with our power would have taken over the conquered.
Now we risk our blood and treasure to free everyone else?
I don't get it. Have those calling for us to get involved in Libya lost their minds?
Why we are f?)&*^%g broke! Get out in front of what I ask Gates who lectured that comment to Israel? Getting out of every one of these messes jump in the middle and spend the next multiple generations building their countries?
I am finding myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan more and more.
The enemy of my enemy....
Reply #83 on:
March 25, 2011, 09:39:01 AM »
Can be my enemy too.
Rebel Commander in Libya Fought Against U.S. in Afghanistan
On his own admission, rebel leader Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi fought American troops in Afghanistan and recruited Libyans to fight American troops in Iraq.
March 25, 2011 - by John Rosenthal
Shortly after unrest broke out in eastern Libya in mid-February, reports emerged that an “Islamic Emirate” had been declared in the eastern Libyan town of Darnah and that, furthermore, the alleged head of that Emirate, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, was a former detainee at the American prison camp in Guantánamo. The reports, which originated from Libyan government sources, were largely ignored or dismissed in the Western media.
Now, however, al-Hasadi has admitted in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that he fought against American forces in Afghanistan. (Hat-tip: Thomas Joscelyn at the Weekly Standard.) Al-Hasadi says that he is the person responsible for the defense of Darnah — not the town’s “Emir.” In a previous interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail, he claimed to have a force of about 1,000 men and to have commanded rebel units in battles around the town of Bin Jawad.
“I have never been at Guantánamo,” al-Hasadi explained to Il Sole 24 Ore. “I was captured in 2002 in Peshawar in Pakistan, while I was returning from Afghanistan where I fought against the foreign invasion. I was turned over to the Americans, detained for a few months in Islamabad, then turned over to Libya and released from prison in 2008.”
Al-Hasadi’s account is largely confirmed by investigations conducted by Praveen Swami, the diplomatic editor of the British daily The Telegraph. Swami originally wrote about al-Hasadi’s background in the Afghan jihad in a March 21 column. In response to a query from the present author, Swami was able to obtain confirmation of al-Hasadi’s arrest and transfer to Libya from what he describes as a “senior source” in the Afghan government.
According to a separate UK intelligence source contacted by Swami, al-Hasadi was released by the Libyan government as part of a deal that was struck with the al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIGF). The LIGF has long opposed the rule of Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya.
On February 25, al-Hasadi had issued an ambiguous statement claiming that he had been a “political prisoner” and accusing the “Dictator Gaddafi” of spreading “lies.” Al-Jazeera provides an English translation of the statement here. (Scroll down to “12:46pm”.) A video of al-Hasadi reading his statement is available here.
In his more recent remarks to Il Sole 24 Ore, al-Hasadi admits not only to fighting against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but also to recruiting Libyans to fight against American forces in Iraq. As noted in my earlier PJM report here, captured al-Qaeda personnel records show that al-Hasadi’s hometown of Darnah sent more foreign fighters to fight with al-Qaeda in Iraq than any other foreign city or town and “far and away the largest per capita number of fighters.” Al-Hasadi told Il Sole 24 Ore that he personally recruited “around 25” Libyans to fight in Iraq. “Some have come back and today are on the front at Ajdabiya,” al-Hasadi explained, “They are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists.” “The members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader,” al-Hasadi added.
The revelations about al-Hasadi’s involvement in the anti-American jihad are particularly troubling in light of clear evidence that Western forces are coordinating their attacks on Libyan government targets with rebel forces.
Sen. Kerry: The Case for
Reply #84 on:
March 26, 2011, 09:58:41 AM »
By JOHN KERRY
The seas of people who thronged Cairo's Tahrir Square are gone now. But walking across its now-celebrated ground this week, I couldn't help but remember the inspiring scenes of Egyptians from all walks of life peacefully demanding freedom and dignity. The world watched in awe as the protesters and their young leaders changed the direction of a country and, together with Tunisians, perhaps the whole Arab world.
On Monday I shook hands with young Egyptians and listened to them speak of their hopes for their country. At a town-hall meeting I could sense some questioning whether the United States would really be there when it counted. I was proud that our answer came this week in Libya.
Everything I believe about the proper use of American force and the ability of the community of nations to speak with one voice was reaffirmed when the world refused to stand by and accept a bloody final chapter of the uprisings sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East. With a mandate from the Arab League and the Gulf states, the United Nations Security Council approved a limited military intervention to avoid a massacre. Multilateralism may be messy, but it's powerful when diplomacy pays off.
Make no mistake, neither the U.N. nor any nation should be drawn into military intervention lightly. But there were legitimate reasons for establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and forcing Gadhafi to keep his most potent weapons out of the fight. If you slice through the fog of misinformation and weigh the risks and benefits alongside our values and interests, the justification is clear and compelling.
What is happening in the Middle East could be the most important geostrategic shift since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Absent U.N./NATO resolve, the promise that the pro-democracy movement holds for transforming the Arab world could have been crushed.
Other dictators would have seen the world's failure to challenge Gadhafi as a license to act with impunity against their own people. The vast majority of the protesters in these countries are crying out for the opportunity to live a decent life, get a real job, and provide for a family. Abandoning them would have betrayed not only the people seeking democratic freedoms but the core values of the U.S. and other democratic nations. It would have reinforced the all-too-common misperception on the Arab street that America says one thing and does another.
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A Libyan man takes part in a march in Benghazi to show support for the no-fly zone, March 23.
.We are already spending billions of dollars to fight increasing extremism in many parts of the world. We didn't choose this fight; it was forced on us, starting with 9/11. To fail to see the opportunity of affirming the courageous demand of millions of disenfranchised young people for jobs, respect and democracy would be ignorant, irresponsible and short-sighted. It would ignore our real national security interests and help extend the narrative of resentment toward the U.S. and much of the West that is rooted in colonialism and furthered by our own invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Remember, the pleas for help came not just from the Libyan rebels, but from the Arab League and the Gulf states. Silently accepting the deaths of Muslims, even at the hand of their own leader, could have set back relations for decades. Instead, by responding and giving the popular uprising a chance to take power, the U.S. and our allies sent a message of solidarity with the aspirations of people everywhere that will be remembered for generations. Rather than be forced to debate "who lost Libya?" the free world is poised to say "remember Tripoli" every time demagogues question our motives.
The particular nature of the mad man who was vowing to "show no mercy" to the "dogs" who dared challenge his rule demanded that his threats be taken seriously. Gadhafi is after all the man behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, which claimed the lives of 189 Americans.
The military intervention in Libya sends a critical signal to other leaders in the region: They cannot automatically assume they can resort to large-scale violence to put down legitimate demands for reform without consequences. U.N. resolve in Libya can have an impact on future calculations. Indeed, the leaders of Iran should pay close attention to the resolve exhibited by the international community.
Every potential conflict is unique, and there is no simple formula for when to weigh in with force. It is fair to ask, why Libya and not other humanitarian situations? The truth is that we must weigh our ideals, our interests and our capabilities in each case when deciding where to become involved.
We must not get involved in another lengthy conflict in a Muslim country. With French and British willingness to lead, we do not need to take on the primary ownership of this conflict—and the Obama administration has made clear we will not. (With the burden we are already carrying in Afghanistan and across the globe, no one can legitimately doubt America's sacrifice.) So the risks are manageable and, in my view, the rewards are potentially enormous.
The military intervention was not directly intended to force Gadhafi from power, but the international community will remain united in maintaining diplomatic and economic pressure on a thug who has lost any legitimacy he ever possessed. There are many options and tools available to us to achieve our ultimate desire of seeing Gadhafi go. While it is impolitic perhaps to suggest it, I'd underscore that destroying his Soviet-era military capacity has been the biggest step towards that goal.
By supporting the Libyan opposition and keeping alive the hopes of reformers across the Arab world, we can counter the violent extremism of al Qaeda and like-minded groups, encourage a new generation of Arab youth to pursue democracy, and transform the way the U.S. is perceived by Muslims world-wide. This is a moment where we are able to advance our values and protect our interests at the same time.
The Arab awakening began in Tunisia and flowered in Egypt. Saving lives in Libya is the least we can do to give those dreams the opportunity to flourish and change the history of the entire region—as well as our relationship with its people.
Mr. Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He's for it now.....
Reply #85 on:
March 26, 2011, 10:21:09 AM »
"The seas of people who thronged Cairo's Tahrir Square are gone now. But walking across its now-celebrated ground this week, I couldn't help but remember the inspiring scenes of Egyptians from all walks of life peacefully demanding freedom and dignity. The world watched in awe as the protesters and their young leaders changed the direction of a country and, together with Tunisians, perhaps the whole Arab world."
They did, but not in the way this idiot thinks.
What could go wrong?
Reply #86 on:
March 27, 2011, 07:33:52 AM »
Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya".
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists," but added that the "members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader".
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad's president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, "including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries".
Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against "the foreign invasion" in Afghanistan, before being "captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan". He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.
US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.
Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military's West Point academy has said the two share an "increasingly co-operative relationship". In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG emmbers made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of "the stage of Islam" in the country.
British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for "Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya" had "shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese".
Bolton: "Kill Ka-daffy"
Reply #87 on:
March 27, 2011, 11:40:20 AM »
The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations—and possible GOP candidate in 2012—tells Lloyd Grove of his decidedly undiplomatic solution to the crisis in Libya: Assassinate the dictator. Plus, Babak Dehghanpisheh reports from Libya on the rebels' key victory in Ajdabiya.
Former ambassador John Bolton, President Bush's decidedly undiplomatic envoy to the United Nations who is considering running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, has a decidedly undiplomatic solution to the crisis in Libya: The United States should terminate Muammar Gaddafi with extreme prejudice.
Speaking Saturday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa, at Republican Rep. Steve King's Conservative Principles Conference—a cattle call for presidential prospects in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses—Bolton said: "Our military has a wonderful euphemism called 'national command authority.' It's a legitimate military target. In Libya, Muammar Gaddafi is the national command authority. I think that's the answer right there."
Re: Libya and
Reply #88 on:
March 27, 2011, 04:32:26 PM »
AL-QAEDA'S offshoot in North Africa has snatched surface-to-air missiles from an arsenal in Libya during the civil strife there, Chad's President says. Idriss Deby Itno did not say how many surface-to-air missiles were stolen, but told the African weekly Jeune Afrique that he was "100 per cent sure" of his assertion.
"The Islamists of al-Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere," a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad, Deby said in the interview.
"This is very serious. AQIM is becoming a genuine army, the best equipped in the region," he said.
His claim was echoed by officials in other countries in the region who said that they were worried that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) might have acquired "heavy weapons", thanks to the insurrection.
"We have sure information. We are very worried for the sub-region," a Malian security source who did not want to be named said.
AQIM originated as an armed Islamist resistance movement to the secular Algerian government.
It now operates mainly in Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, where it has attacked military targets and taken civilian hostages, particularly Europeans, some of whom it has killed.
"We have the same information," about heavy weapons, including SAM 7 missiles, a military source from Niger said.
"It is very worrying. This overarming is a real danger for the whole zone," he added "AQIM gets the weapons in two ways; people go and look for the arms in Libya to deliver them to AQIM in the Sahel, or AQIM elements go there themselves."
Elsewhere in the interview, Chad's president backed the assertion by his neighbour and erstwhile enemy Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that the protests in Libya have been driven in part by al-Qaeda.
"There is a partial truth in what he says," Deby said.
"Up to what point? I don't know. But I am certain that AQIM took an active part in the uprising."
After years of tension between the two nations, which were at war during part of the 1980s, Deby has more recently maintained good relations with Gaddafi.
The Chadian leader described the international military intervention in Libya, launched a week ago by the United States, France and Britain, as a "hasty decision".
"It could have heavy consequences for the stability of the region and the spread of terrorism in Europe, the Mediterranean and the rest of Africa," he cautioned.
Deby denied assertions that mercenaries had been recruited in Chad to fight for Gaddafi, though some of the several thousand Chad nationals in Libya may have joined the fight "on their own".
National Transitional Council
Reply #89 on:
March 28, 2011, 02:27:34 PM »
I wonder if it has ties to Soros,
****March 24, 2011
Notes from the Pentagon
U.S. backing Libyan council
The Obama administration is beginning to throw its support behind Libya's recently formed National Transitional Council (NTC), a combination of rebel groups that is viewed as the most likely successor to the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
The issue of who succeeds Col. Gadhafi came up during a recent White House briefing by senior officials from the State Department, Pentagon and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
According to officials familiar with the briefing, the main speaker was a senior State Department official and career Foreign Service officer well-versed in Libyan affairs who said the NTC leadership appears pro-democratic, while questions remain about some of its members.
If the council's military forces lose the current war against Col. Gadhafi's military, their fate is certain to be dismal, according to the official.
The State Department regards the NTC leadership to be an “honorable group” committed to democratic principles. But the department's knowledge of the group is limited to its leadership. As for the rank-and-file, "There are probably some wild cards and independent players still to be heard from," said one official familiar with the briefing.
Some in the Pentagon are wary of the NTC based on assessments showing that the Libya's opposition forces include many Islamists who are anti-Western and are masking their views to gain Western support.
A White House spokesman had no immediate comment.
Last week, White House press secretary Jay Carneysaid the administration still was assessing the NTC. France's government has extended diplomatic recognition to it.
A U.S. official familiar with intelligence reports said Wednesday: "This group is a key touchstone for engagement with the Libyan opposition -- and not just for the United States, but for other countries, too."
Outside Libya, expatriates are rallying to support the NTC, and former military officers who recently defected from Col. Gadhafi's forces are joining the fight against the Tripoli regime by supporting the NTC.
Militarily, rebel forces fighting for the NTC have extensive problems that make the likelihood of their prevailing in the fight uncertain. Problems include poor equipment, lack of organization and a shortage of troops.
Still, the U.S. intelligence assessment is that the fight is not over, and the rebel forces appear to be getting stronger, according to materials presented at the briefing.
Army vice chief hacked
Computer hackers tried to break into the bank account of Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli but were blocked by bank security detectors, according to defense officials familiar with the incident.
The hacking was discussed during a recent Pentagon briefing on threats posed by groups that conduct thousands of attempts each day to get inside Pentagon computer terminals and networks.
During the attempt against Gen. Chiarelli's bank account, the hackers were prevented from getting into the account, and the bank later alerted the four-star general of the attempt.
No other details were available, and no group has claimed responsibility.
Asked about the incident, Army spokesman Col. Thomas W. Collins said: "We acknowledge that hackers have previously attempted to access the personal information of some senior Army leaders." The goal of the bank hackers is not known, but computer security specialists say the attempt may have been focused on stealing his credit information or money, or sabotaging his account. Hackers routinely target bank computers in order to obtain financial data, specifically numbers for credit and debit cards.
Hacking against banks has been traced in the past to crime groups in Russia, Eastern Europe and China.
The Army briefer -- Maj. Gen. Mark Bowman, director of architecture, operations, networks and space for the Army's chief information officer-- also told defense officials that cybersecurity specialists recently were alerted to a group called Hackers.org that is behind a cybercampaign to avenge the arrest and detention of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier suspected of providing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
Russians seek hit-to-kill
Russia's government plans to exploit the Obama administration's eagerness to conclude a missile defense deal as a way to obtain valuable technology from advanced U.S. missile defenses, according to U.S. national security officials.
The Russians specifically are seeking a defense technology cooperation deal with the Pentagon that will permit them to gain access to U.S. hit-to-kill missile defense know-how, the key technology for the most current strategic long-range and tactical short-range defenses that were developed at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars over the past two decades.
The reason, the officials said, is that Moscow knows it can offer very little in the way of cooperative missile defense with the U.S. The current strategic anti-missile interceptors around Moscow are armed with nuclear warheads -- tactical weapons that Moscow is not expected to use against an Iranian missile attack.
Additionally, the nuclear-tipped interceptors are supposed to be the subject of follow-on U.S.-Russian tactical nuclear arms reduction talks based on the recently ratified New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The notion that Moscow will share sensor data also is doubtful. Missile defense experts say Russia's key radar are designed and deployed to detect U.S. submarine-launched missiles and are not useful in detecting Iranian missile launches, the main goal of the administration's European-based missile defense plan.
Moscow also has problems getting U.S. technology because current law limits the transfer of technology under U.S. anti-proliferation law, specifically related to Iran, that bars Russia's government from access to U.S. high-tech exports based on its past and ongoing arms proliferation to Iran.
The Obama administration is loosening export controls as part of a major reform effort, and administration arms-control officials, including Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, are hoping the reforms will make it easier to reach her long-sought goal of concluding a missile defense or defense technology deal with Moscow.
"It's the perfect storm: loosened export controls, reset with Russia and arms control fever by the administration," said one official concerned about the pending Russian technology cooperation.
The Pentagon is said to be lukewarm at best over missile defense cooperation because of concerns the technology will be used to counter U.S. systems or sold covertly to U.S. adversaries.
Ms. Tauscher did not respond to emails seeking comment, and her spokesman, Jonathan E. Kaplan, declined to comment. Ms. Tauscher, undersecretary of state for international security, told a conference Monday that talks with Russia on missile defense cooperation were progressing but that a final agreement was not assured.
According to the U.S. officials, Russians close to the government stated in recent talks that their main interest in any U.S. deal is getting access to military technology generally and missile-defense know how specifically.
The interest in U.S. technology followed a sharp turnaround in Moscow policy several months ago, when the Russians said they were no longer opposed to U.S. missile defenses. The Russian military hopes its engagement and a missile defense agreement will lead to obtaining strategic hit-to-kill missile technology.
Hit-to-kill involves ultra-high-speed, non-explosive guided warheads that destroy targets -- such as missile warheads in flight -- by slamming into them.****
Re: Libya and
Reply #90 on:
March 28, 2011, 04:01:16 PM »
Some important stuff there; please post the relevant portions of that in the Military Science thread and/or the Russia-US thread.
WSJ editorial on BO speech
Reply #91 on:
March 29, 2011, 10:16:07 AM »
President Obama made a substantial case for his Libya intervention for the first time Monday evening, and however overdue and self-referential ("I refused to let that happen"), we welcome the effort. Perhaps it will give Republicans a reason to emerge as constructive, rather than partisan, foreign-policy critics as well.
We say "perhaps" because the instinctive temptation for some Republicans has been to oppose the Libyan mission led by a Democratic Commander in Chief. Some object to the operation's cost amid record deficits, others gripe about Mr. Obama's reflexive bow to the "international community," while still others are responding to a part of the GOP cable-TV and Internet base that wants fewer foreign interventions after Iraq and Afghanistan.
A few prominent Republicans are already throwing out that last pitch. "What are we doing in Libya?" asked Mississippi Governor and possible Presidential candidate Haley Barbour last week in Iowa. "I mean, we have to be careful in my mind about getting into nation-building exercises, whether it's in Libya or somewhere else. We've been in Afghanistan 10 years."
Yes, America has, and for national security reasons that the last two Presidents have found persuasive. As for "nation-building" in Libya, we have yet to notice a U.S. official who has advocated the deployment of American ground troops, much less a long-term mission rebuilding a Libyan state.
Mr. Barbour's glib resort to this trope of the isolationist left suggests he hasn't thought very hard about foreign policy. It is the kind of politics Americans have come to expect from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid—"this war is lost"—not Republicans who have since Reagan been the party of robust nationalism.
This is not to say that Mr. Obama's policy is above criticism, which he invites by so overtly disavowing American global leadership. Republicans instinctively recoil when they hear a President put greater moral stock in the Arab League and U.N. than in Congress before using military force.
House Speaker John Boehner's questions to Mr. Obama last week concerning the Libyan mission's goals are certainly appropriate, and it was clear from Monday night's speech that they have influenced the Administration's argument. Mr. Obama was at pains to portray the Libyan effort as the product of U.S. leadership, though the French, Arabs and Libyan rebels all had to plead the U.S. to act.
This is what we mean by constructive criticism by a loyal opposition whose goal is to help the U.S. succeed in its mission—as the American military is well on its way to doing, by the way. Despite the diplomatic confusion of last week, the expansion of a no-fly zone to target Moammar Gadhafi's forces is already paying benefits on the ground. The rebels have retaken several cities and yesterday were moving on the Gadhafi hometown of Sirte. Gadhafi's loyalists must be recalculating the cost of their allegiance.
Republicans ought to prod Mr. Obama to push for a faster resolution that ends with the toppling of Gadhafi and his sons from power. Any result short of that guarantees a divided Libya that may well require international peacekeepers to separate the warring factions. If there's any leader whose terrorist nature the American people understand, it is Gadhafi. Rather than predict doom for the Libyan exercise, Republicans should insist that Gadhafi must go for it to be successful.
Republicans also have a chance—and for GOP Presidential candidates the obligation—to put Libya in the context of the larger changes in the Middle East. One reason to intervene in Libya is to show the Assads and Ahmadinejads that the West is willing and able to act against tyrants who slaughter their own people and foment terrorism. Hillary Clinton's weekend howler that Syria's Bashar Assad is different from Gadhafi because he is a "reformer" is the kind of thinking that deserves rebuttal, if not ridicule.
The credibility of U.S. power is essential to maintaining our influence in a Middle East that is erupting in popular revolt against decades of injustice. The U.S. should be working actively to influence events so that the Middle East that emerges is freer and less hostile to American purposes. Yet our sense is that President Obama has been needlessly, and perhaps dangerously, passive in the face of this major strategic upheaval. Republicans should challenge Mr. Obama on the subject of U.S. leadership, especially in the Middle East.
We understand the instinctive mistrust of this most political of Presidents, a man whose every decision now is rooted in his desire for re-election. This is not a President who leads from the front—on the budget, or on Libya. But that doesn't mean that Republicans should wash their hands of American global leadership. Their opportunity is to make the case for what American leadership should look like.
The Sun Tzu of Dithering
Reply #92 on:
March 29, 2011, 10:31:20 AM »
MARCH 26, 2011 4:00 A.M.
The Art of Inconclusive War
Why is it that the United States no longer wins wars?
It is tempting and certainly very easy to point out that Obama’s war (or Obama’s “kinetic military action,” or “time-limited, scope-limited military action,” or whatever the latest ever more preposterous evasion is) is at odds with everything candidate Obama said about U.S. military action before his election. And certainly every attempt the president makes to explain his Libyan adventure is either cringe-makingly stupid (“I’m accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also somebody who aspires to peace”) or alarmingly revealing of a very peculiar worldview:
“That’s why building this international coalition has been so important,” he said the other day. “It is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally.”
That’s great news. Who doesn’t enjoy volunteering other people? The Arab League, for reasons best known to itself, decided that Colonel Qaddafi had outlived his sell-by date. Granted that the region’s squalid polities haven’t had a decent military commander since King Hussein fired Gen. Sir John Glubb half a century back, how difficult could it be even for Arab armies to knock off a psychotic transvestite guarded by Austin Powers fembots? But no: Instead, the Arab League decided to volunteer the U.S. military.
Likewise, the French and the British. Libya’s special forces are trained by Britain’s SAS. Four years ago, President Sarkozy hosted a state visit for Colonel Qaddafi, his personal security detail of 30 virgins, his favorite camel, and a 400-strong entourage that helped pitch his tent in the heart of Paris. Given that London and Paris have the third – and fourth-biggest military budgets on the planet and that between them they know everything about Qaddafi’s elite troops, sleeping arrangements, guard-babes, and dromedaries, why couldn’t they take him out? But no: They too decided to volunteer the U.S. military.
But, as I said, it’s easy to mock the smartest, most articulate man ever to occupy the Oval Office. Instead, in a non-partisan spirit, let us consider why it is that the United States no longer wins wars. Okay, it doesn’t exactly lose (most of) them, but nor does it have much to show for a now 60-year-old pattern of inconclusive outcomes. American forces have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan for a decade: Doesn’t that seem like a long time for a non-colonial power to be spending hacking its way through the worthless terrain of a Third World dump? If the object is to kill terrorists, might there not be some slicker way of doing it? And, if the object is something else entirely, mightn’t it be nice to know what it is?
I use the word “non-colonial” intentionally. I am by temperament and upbringing an old-school imperialist: There are arguments to be made for being on the other side of the world for decades on end if you’re claiming it as sovereign territory and rebuilding it in your image, as the British did in India, Belize, Mauritius, the Solomon Islands, you name it. Likewise, there are arguments to be made for saying sorry, we’re a constitutional republic, we don’t do empire. But there’s not a lot to be said for forswearing imperialism and even modest cultural assertiveness, and still spending ten years getting shot up in Afghanistan helping to create, bankroll, and protect a so-called justice system that puts a man on death row for converting to Christianity.
Libya, in that sense, is a classic post-nationalist, post-modern military intervention: As in Kosovo, we’re do-gooders in a land with no good guys. But, unlike Kosovo, not only is there no strategic national interest in what we’re doing, the intended result is likely to be explicitly at odds with U.S. interests. A quarter-century back, Qaddafi was blowing American airliners out of the sky and murdering British policewomen: That was the time to drop a bomb on him. But we didn’t. Everyone from the government of Scotland (releasing the “terminally ill” Lockerbie bomber, now miraculously restored to health) to Mariah Carey and Beyoncé (with their million-dollar-a-gig Qaddafi party nights) did deals with the Colonel.
Now suddenly he’s got to go — in favor of “freedom-loving” “democrats” from Benghazi. That would be in eastern Libya — which, according to West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center, has sent per capita the highest number of foreign jihadists to Iraq. Perhaps now that so many Libyan jihadists are in Iraq, the Libyans left in Libya are all Swedes in waiting. But perhaps not. If we lack, as we do in Afghanistan, the cultural confidence to wean those we liberate from their less attractive pathologies, we might at least think twice before actively facilitating them.
Officially, only the French are committed to regime change. So suppose Qaddafi survives. If you were in his shoes, mightn’t you be a little peeved? Enough to pull off a new Lockerbie? A more successful assassination attempt on the Saudi king? A little bit of Euro-bombing?
Alternatively, suppose Qaddafi winds up hanging from a lamppost in his favorite party dress. If you’re a Third World dictator, what lessons would you draw? Qaddafi was the thug who came in from the cold, the one who (in the wake of Saddam’s fall) renounced his nuclear program and was supposedly rehabilitated in the chancelleries of the West. He was “a strong partner in the war on terrorism,” according to U.S. diplomats. And what did Washington do? They overthrew him anyway.
The blood-soaked butcher next door in Sudan is the first head of state to be charged by the International Criminal Court with genocide, but nobody’s planning on toppling him. Iran’s going nuclear with impunity, but Obama sends fraternal greetings to the “Supreme Leader” of the “Islamic Republic.” North Korea is more or less openly trading as the one-stop bargain-basement for all your nuke needs, and we’re standing idly by. But the one cooperative dictator’s getting million-dollar-a-pop cruise missiles lobbed in his tent all night long. If you were the average Third World loon, which role model makes most sense? Colonel Cooperative in Tripoli? Or Ayatollah Death-to-the-Great-Satan in Tehran? America is teaching the lesson that the best way to avoid the attentions of whimsical “liberal interventionists” is to get yourself an easily affordable nuclear program from Pyongyang or anywhere else as soon as possible.
The United States is responsible for 43 percent of the planet’s military spending. So how come it doesn’t feel like that? It’s not merely that “our military is being volunteered by others,” but that Washington has been happy to volunteer it as the de facto expeditionary force for the “international community.” Sometimes U.S. troops sail under U.N. colors, sometimes NATO’s, and now in Libya even the Arab League’s. Either way, it makes little difference: America provides most of the money, men, and materiel. All that changes is the transnational figleaf.
But lost along the way is hard-headed, strategic calculation of the national interest. “They won’t come back till it’s over/Over there!” sang George M. Cohan as the doughboys marched off in 1917. It was all over 20 minutes later and then they came back. Now it’s never over over there — not in Korea, not in Kuwait, not in Kosovo, not in Kandahar. Next stop Kufra? America has swapped The Art of War for the Hotel California: We psychologically check out, but we never leave.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.
Sun Tsu and China are all laughing
Reply #93 on:
March 30, 2011, 10:30:36 AM »
Oh we are sooo humanitarian!
Well if true how humanitarian is it to have let Ghadday kill some people and gain back control vs what we are seeing now - a *more prolonged* back and forth war?
At this point more people will die then if we had not done the "no-fly" thing.
Yes playing coy with Momar buys time to "get to know" the opposition (Clintons now notorius "getting to know you" rant), but dithering on what to do with Ghaddaffy probably will turn out to be worse. We should just get rid of this one guy or stop the half assed stuff altogether. This total chirade of trying to help other kill the guy or pray he flees even though we are also saying he must stand trial for war crimes - the whole rational is confused and is dithering. Kill him - the one guy holding this whole country at bay or don't get involved at all.
More people are now dying as we speak.
Covert support for Libya rebels!
Reply #94 on:
March 30, 2011, 06:33:49 PM »
Cognitive dissonance of the American voters
Reply #95 on:
March 31, 2011, 04:52:01 PM »
" Last week, 45% of all voters supported the president's decision to take military action in Libya."
"Just 21% Say U.S. Has Clearly Defined Mission in Libya"
So nearly half of likely voters support his military action in Lybia yet barely one in five have a clue as to why we are there?
And these are likely voters, the ones who are more likely to keep up with current events.. I think. Can anyone imagine the confusion and ignorance of unlikely voters?
****Just 21% Say U.S. Has Clearly Defined Mission in Libya
Thursday, March 31, 2011 Email to a Friend ShareThisAdvertisement
Despite President Obama’s address to the nation Monday night, most voters still aren’t clear about why the U.S. military is engaged in Libya.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 21% of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States has a clearly defined military mission in Libya. Fifty-six percent (56%) disagree and say the military does not have a clearly defined mission. Nearly one-in-four voters (23%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The president apparently did not close the sale with his address explaining his decision to commit U.S. forces to Libya. The survey was taken Monday and Tuesday nights, and the findings from the first night prior to the speech and the second night after the speech showed little change.
The numbers also didn’t change over the two nights when voters were asked if Libya is a vital national security interest for the United States these days.
While the president is hopeful that longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi will step down, it is not a stated U.S. policy aim. But 62% of voters think it is at least somewhat likely that Gadhafi will be removed from power as a result of the military action now being taken by the United States and other countries. Just 23% say it’s unlikely. These findings include 30% who say Gadhafi’s removal is Very Likely and only three percent (3%) who believe it’s Not At All Likely. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.
(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 28-29, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Prior to the president’s decision to commit U.S. forces to Libya, Americans were lukewarm to the idea of involvement in the political situations in Arab countries like Libya. But, at the same time, 76% of voters feel it’s generally good for America when dictators in other countries are replaced with leaders selected in free and fair elections.
Male voters feel more strongly than female voters that America does not have a clearly defined military mission in Libya. But men are more confident that Gadhafi will be removed from power because of the military action by the United States and other countries.
Seventy-three percent (73%) of Republicans and 67% of voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties feel the United States does not have a clearly defined mission in Libya. A modest plurality (38%) of Democrats disagree and think the mission is clearly defined.
Democrats also feel strongest that the Libyan mission will drive Gadhafi from power, although a majority of GOP voters also think it’s likely. Unaffiliated voters are more skeptical.
Sixty-two percent (62%) of the Political Class feels the United States has a clearly defined military mission, but 67% of Mainstream voters don’t share that assessment. Both groups are in general agreement, however, that the military action in Libya is likely to remove Gadhafi.
Last week, 45% of all voters supported the president's decision to take military action in Libya. Thirty-four percent (34%) disagreed with that decision, and another 21% were not sure about it.
In early December, just 28% of voters believed the United States has a clearly defined military mission in Afghanistan. Forty-nine percent (49%) said the mission in the nine-year-old war is not clearly defined, and 23% more were not sure.
Thirty-one percent (31%) of Americans described Libya as an enemy of the United States in August 2009 when the British released the terminally ill terrorist convicted of blowing up a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland so he could return home to die. Only two percent (2%) viewed the North African country as an ally. For 52%, it fell somewhere in between an ally and an enemy.
Even before America’s stepped-up involvement in Libya, 58% of Americans worried that the political unrest in Arab countries like Egypt and Libya may get America into another big war.****
Re: Libya and
Reply #96 on:
March 31, 2011, 10:45:41 PM »
"these are likely voters... imagine the confusion and ignorance of unlikely voters?"
Very funny - if it wasn't true. We don't get the intelligence to know all the subtleties, we just hire the best and the brightest and trust them with these things (what were his grades at Columbia?) and we rely on congressional authorization (oops) and oversight (whoops again), and we know we have our very best commanders in the field in charge (NATO/Arab league?). What could possible go wrong?
BTW, why are we there?
Re: Libya and
Reply #97 on:
March 31, 2011, 11:55:47 PM »
You want the reason they are saying or the real reason?
Re: Libya and
Reply #98 on:
April 01, 2011, 06:24:43 AM »
OK coy one, I will bite. What is the real reason?
McCain and Lieberman
Reply #99 on:
April 01, 2011, 07:03:09 AM »
Not that I agree with this, but worth noting. Tangential reflection is to wonder what kind of a President McCain would have been , , ,
By JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN AND JOHN MCCAIN
President Obama made a compelling case for our intervention in Libya on Monday evening, and U.S. actions there deserve bipartisan support in Congress. As the president rightly noted, failure to intervene militarily would have resulted in a humanitarian and strategic disaster. Because of our actions, the Gadhafi regime has been prevented from brutally crushing its opposition.
The president was also correct in framing what is happening in Libya within the broader context of the democratic awakening that is sweeping across the broader Middle East—the most consequential geopolitical realignment since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
If Gadhafi is allowed to hang onto power through the use of indiscriminate violence, it will send a message to dictators throughout the region and beyond that the way to respond, when people rise up peacefully and demand their rights, is through repression and slaughter—and that the rest of the world, including the U.S., won't stand in the way.
What is needed now is not a backward-looking debate about what the administration could or should have done differently, but a forward-looking strategy that identifies America's national interests in Libya and works to achieve them.
As President Obama has rightly and repeatedly insisted, a successful outcome in Libya requires the departure of Gadhafi as quickly as possible. It is not in our interest for Libya to become the scene of a protracted stalemate that will destabilize and inflame the region.
While both Arab leaders and public opinion are hostile towards Gadhafi personally—a fact that helps explain the Arab League's unprecedented decision to support intervention in Libya—we are concerned that regional support will waver if Western forces are perceived as presiding over a military deadlock. We cannot allow Gadhafi to consolidate his grip over part of the country and settle in for the long haul.
View Full Image
A Libyan rebel
.There are several steps urgently needed to prevent this outcome. First, while we understand the diplomatic reasons behind the Obama administration's reluctance to make Gadhafi's removal an explicit goal of the coalition military mission, the reality on the ground is that our coalition's air strikes against his forces must work toward this objective.
In the days ahead, it is imperative that we maintain and if necessary expand our air strikes against Gadhafi's ground forces, which pose a threat to civilians wherever they are. In doing so, we can pave the way for the Libyan opposition to reverse Gadhafi's offensive and to resume their quest to end his rule.
The battlefield reversals suffered by the opposition this week, when weather conditions hampered coalition air strikes, underscore the need for a more robust and coherent package of aid to the rebel ground forces.
The U.S. should also expand engagement with the Libyan opposition, led by the interim Transitional National Council currently based in Benghazi. We have been encouraged by the Obama administration's growing rhetorical support for the opposition, but we hope to see more tangible manifestations of it in the days ahead.
In particular, we and our allies should be providing the council with the communications equipment, logistical support, training, tactical intelligence and weapons necessary to consolidate rule over the territory they have liberated and to continue tilting the balance of power against Gadhafi. We do not need to put U.S. forces on the ground precisely because the Libyans themselves are fighting for their freedom. But they need our help, and quickly, to succeed.
Another immediate priority should be getting humanitarian assistance into eastern Libya and restoring telecommunications access there, where Gadhafi has cut off land lines, mobile networks and the Internet. While top opposition leaders have satellite phones, we have both humanitarian and strategic interests in restoring the ability of people in liberated parts of Libya to communicate with each other and the rest of the world. We should also take steps to get Gadhafi's satellite, television, and radio broadcasts off the air, while helping the opposition air its broadcasting.
Finally, we should follow France and Qatar in recognizing the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government of Libya, and we should encourage other allies and partners to do the same.
Some critics still argue that we should be cautious about helping the Libyan opposition, warning that we do not know enough about them or that their victory could pave the way for an al Qaeda takeover. Both arguments are hollow. By all accounts, the Transitional National Council is led by moderates who have declared their vision for (as their website puts it) Libya becoming "a constitutional democratic civil state based on the rule of law, respect for human rights and the guarantee of equal rights and opportunities for all its citizens."
If there is any hope for a decent government to emerge from the ashes of the Gadhafi dictatorship, this is it. Throwing our weight behind the transitional government is our best chance to prevent Libya's unraveling into postwar anarchy—precisely the circumstance under which Islamist extremists are most likely to gain a foothold.
We cannot guarantee the success of the Libyan revolution, but we have prevented what was, barely a week ago, its imminent destruction. That is why the president was right to intervene. He now deserves our support as we and our coalition partners do all that is necessary to help the Libyan people secure a future of freedom.
Mr. Lieberman is an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut. Mr. McCain is a Republican senator from Arizona.
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