It is discouraging to hear media people marvel that there apparently was no AQ connection to the Benghazi attacks. It has always been true that Sunni jihadism is a movement rather than a group. Get it? pl
It is discouraging to hear media people marvel that there apparently was no AQ connection to the Benghazi attacks. It has always been true that Sunni jihadism is a movement rather than a group. Get it? pl
"As for armed drones or AC-130 Spectre gunships, officials say that they were too far away to help. Unclassified data put the range of Predator and Reaper armed drones at 770 miles and 1,150 miles, respectively. The nearest known base for armed drones, in Djibouti, is about 1,700 miles from Benghazi. Regarding the Spectre gunships, Little said: “No AC-130 was within a continent’s range of Benghazi.”" David Ignatius
Yes, nasty embarassments result from; distances and times and numbers of thingies. That's what adequate risk assesments, measuring distances on maps, figuring out tonnages and throughputs of supplies are all about. I spent months at the Armed forces Staff College in 1974 beginning to learn how to plan expeditions large and small. How to "get there with the most men," supplies and sustainable fire power was always the "name of the game." This will always be the name of the game.
It may well have been impossible to make that "consulate" hard enough to make it capable of holding out until help came. Does that mean that the place should have been abandoned? This is not necessarily the case. Sometimes the national interest requires the acceptance of a lot of risk. Ask soldiers about that. Ask them that rather than chanting the meaningless mantra of your thanks at them.
Should scarce national level assets like Hercules gunships (AC-130) be dedicated to stake-outs for the purpose of protecting little posts like this one at Benghazi? There are 25 such gunships in the whole USAF.
If such aerial firepower had been available should it have been used against unknown enemies on the ground without regard to the effect on the inhabitants of Benghazi?
These are real questions. These are questions that should be answered We should be talking about these factors not some Baron Munchausen nonsense about magic carpets that span the globe in an instant. pl
Let us have a discussion on the subject of whether or not reinforcements were realistically available during the attacks. pl
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday said the first line-of-duty death of a U.S. ambassador since the Carter Administration was on her. "I take responsibility," Clinton told CNN's Elise Labott during a brief trip to Lima, Peru. "I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision."" The Atlantic
Hillary Clinton properly took the rhetorical "spear" for this. As she says, she is responsible for everything that happens in her department of the US Government. As she also said, there was very little chance that POTUS or VPOTUS would have known anything of the details of security in Benghazi unless something spectacular occurred before the fact to alert them. The assumption would have been made by them that State Department administrative services would respond to incidents as appropriate. Does that seem odd? It should not. The US Government is too big and wildly articulated for it to function any other way. State Department security consultants had recommended greater security. Security consultants always recommend greater security. Those recommendations justify their contracts. Whether or not work gets done in hardening particular facilities is largely a matter of available budgeted funds. Priorities have to be set in an environment of world-wide threat and a Congress that has always liked to pare down State Department requests for money. This is in notable contrast to the largesse heaped on Defense and the intelligence community. Bottom Line: Some mid level person in the State Department probably gave more work in Banghazi a lower priority than proved prudent. Whoever made that decision should be held accountable for it, not because of some lack of virtue in the decision, but rather to make others more alert to such situations.
The Romney campaign is doing everything it can to make a moral issue of this unfortunate event. How sad! They should listen to the appeals of Stevens' father for a dignified response.
Will this be a significant factor in the outcome of the election? I doubt it. The American electorate is actually too smart to be deceived on this. pl
Fouad Ajami wrote "The Dream Palace of the Arabs" a couple of years back. Bernard Lewis is the author of "What went Wrong."
The central thesis of both books is the same. This is the notion that Muslims generally and Arabs in particular suffer from a collective belief that the material and financial superiority of the West is unnatural, ungodly and fated to disappear with the emergence of a world wide human condition that represents the will of God.
This viewpoint is often crudely represented by the endless power point presentations sold by contracters to governments on the subject of the jihadi obsession with the establishment of a world-wide "caliphate."
The events of the past week, events stimulated by the TV trailer disgrace, tend to support Lewis and Ajami in their view.
The reaction of the mobs across the world, even unto the Antipodes, is grossly exagerated, disproportionate and obviously fueled by a boundless hatred for America that makes a mockery of all the social science gibberish about deprivation, oppression, etc.
Last year it was generally assumed in the West that removal of authoritarian governments in the Arab World would result in accession to power of westernized elites who hold dear the political philosophy of the post Enlightenment West.
That has not happened. In the last century (20th) the liberals failed miserably at the polls in Iraq. In Egypt the liberals are a political joke and not enough of a factor to be worth discussing. In Tunisia, possibly the most Westernised of all Arab countries, it is necessary to withdraw most of our diplomatic mission from fear of their safety.
Nevertheless, the Washington Post persists in the jacobin doctrine of the neocon "freedom agenda." According to the Post all we have to do is "stick with" the westernized liberals and all will be well. This is the triumph of theory over experience.
The Arab Spring has revealed that the Arab masses have a substantial inclination toward political Islamism in government. Western media and governments, and particularly the USA helped and continue to help in the release of forces in the Arab World that consider the West to be "the other," the enemies of God, this god being the very special god of their dreams.
Is Mubarak still alive? Did the inquisitors ever find the vast sums that the Mubaraks supposedy stole from the people with rocks in their hands outside the US Embassy in Cairo. Perhaps we will remember the Mubaraks et al fondly in the depths of the Arab Winter. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
The Innocence of Muslims affair (incident? incidents?) has become a fast moving story that seems to get more fantastical the more that gets reported. It is now pretty clear that Sam Bacile is not an Israeli, Israeli American, or even Jewish. Bacile is, apparently, a pseudonym for a Nakoula Basselly Nakoula - who appears to be an Egyptian emigre and was involved in this project with a number of naturalized American Copts and native born American Evangelicals. Members of the cast have clearly indicated that the film was supposed to be/originally about Coptic persecution and was overdubbed in both English and Arabic with the anti-Islamic dialogue that has led to some serious problems in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen including the death of four American foreign service personnel. The thirteen minute clip, posted to You Tube in July, began to gather interest over the past several days due to its being promoted by both Quran burning advocate Terry Jones and Egyptian-American Copt Morris Sadek. The fatal anti-American violence in Libya may have partially been the result of various media and extremist movement sources claiming that the video had been produced for the 9-11 remembrances and was being widely shown on American TV on that day.
While the story will continue to undergo change over the next several days as more facts come to light, the real issues are how does the US adjust its strategies and policies in the Middle East in response to these activities. It also demonstrates very clearly that no matter what America's official positions, messaging, and actions are they can all be overcome by events regardless of whether they are unofficial messaging being transmitted by Americans - official or otherwise or the activities of the actual actors on the ground in the Middle East.
*Adam L. Silverman, PhD is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College (USAWC). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAWC and/or the US Army.
Mursi and the MB are riding a tiger in Egypt and throughout the Muslim world. They were elected to create a Salafist (larger sense) sharia law state. There are still many people who are against this kind of thing in Egypt. The US did everything it could to deter such people from revolt but they are still there. Mursi needs to keep burnishing his salafist credentials with his base. This means defiance of the West, particularly America, and the norms of Western behavior such as; our belief in freedom of speech and the international law involved in the Vienna Convention of 1961 0n diplomatic missions. A confrontation with the US just fits the bill for Mursi. He has been to Riyadh and Teheran recently. Who knows how much money he has been promised in support of such a crisis with the US? Don'r forget. The Saudis play it both ways, always. Mursi and company also understand very well how delicate BHO's position is when operating this close to a very nearly tied election. Last and by no means least, Mursi is not a "rational choice" kind of guy, in the sense that "rational choice" is understood in Western international relations studies. Does that means that Mursi does not make rational choices? No. It does not mean that. He makes rational choices. He is a believer and he chooses Allah first, last and always. That is the same choice he made when he chose to leave his teaching job in California.. pl
"A shrine in the Libyan capital Tripoli venerating a Sufi Muslim saint has been partly destroyed - the latest in a series of attacks blamed on ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists. Tripoli residents said men with bulldozers attacked the shrine of al-Shaab al-Dahmani, unimpeded by police. The attack came a day after hardliners were accused of damaging the tomb of a Sufi scholar in the city of Zlitan. Hardline Salafists regard the shrines as idolatrous. On Friday, a group attacked the tomb of 15th-Century scholar Abdel Salam al-Asmar in Zlitan, about 160km (100 miles) south-east of Tripoli. The Reuters news agency said its dome had collapsed. Video footage showed chunks of masonry littering the floor, bullet holes pockmarking the walls and ornate Islamic tiling destroyed." BBC
It has seemed that Libya might perhaps have escaped the curse of Salafist Wahhabism. This seemed true because of the peculiar nature of the country with its small population, its long history of Sufi involvement in religious affairs, and the high percentage of Libyans who were educated abroad by the unlamented Qathafi government.
There is, however, a sizable Salafist group. Their eventual role in the country is uncertain. These Salafists are showing up in places like Syria and more particularly in Central Africa. In Mali they are attacking the Zawiyas of Sufi lodges and the tombs of Sufi saints. In Mali the Salafists now hold Timbukto (veriously spelt). If they succeed in capturing the capital, Bamako, their will be an even more severe "purge" of Muslims who are thought to be less than pure.
Sufism is a varied expression of Islam that concentrates on the Batn, the inner spiritual life of Muslims rather than the rule driven Islam of the Salafists who seek everywhere to impose their inhumanly austere Sharia law. They hate the Sufis for their belief in the importance of the love of God.
The distinctions among various forms and belief systems within Islam still escape almost everyone in the US, and, especially within the US Government. It is my impression that people do not wish to understand. What they want is the GWOT. Ignorance makes the endless devotion to that cause easier. pl
In Egypt the brave boys and girls of the State Department lead the fight for consolidation of political Islamist rule. In Afghanistan the kleptocrats, Afghan and American, are finishing up the construction of their fortunes in Dubai and the Cayman Islands. In Pakistan the mobs are harangued against the United States and new, even greater nastiness against the US is planned. In Tunisia the Islamists sidle steadly toward power. The Washington Post demands active military support for Islamist rebels in Syria. Their paper has a story today that features video of Islamist rebels smashing a truck full of Scotch while chanting "God is Great!" In Lebanon Sunni preachers are much more active in demanding punishment of the Shia. Are they not encouraged by US support of people like Mursi?
We released 1.3 billion dollars to the Egyptian military to keep them in line while Mursi sharpens his knife.
Would Romnay do better in managing US interests in the greater Middle East? No! He would simply surrender to AEI/AIPAC and the Likud.
In Libya a secular leader seems to have won election.
God is Great! pl
"Most officials think that relations with the Arabs are gradually going to get
worse, perhaps for decades, before democracy really takes root and the Arab
public, perhaps, will be ready to accept the Jewish state. The challenge for
Israel is how to avoid inflaming Arab public opinion, a newly important factor,
while protecting the country. " Ignatius
Ignatius' Israeli friends are right to be fearful of revolutions that seem to unleash Islamist forces that have as their "raison d'etre" the elimination of Israel as an insult to Islam and the 'Umma. The game has not been played out in Libya but Libya is a special case in terms of smallness of population and percentage of people educated abroad.
Al-Ahram has a story on-line that government receipts will be much smaller this year than they were under Mubarak "the terrible." Let's see, how does that relate to all the billions that the Mubaraks stole from Egypt? Hmmm! That's the way to cover the government deficit! They could torture the Mubaraks to find the people's money.
The Israelis prefer Bashar Assad? How can that be? Perhaps HC can fly by Tel Aviv to explain why they are wrong.
Now Mursi has reinstated the Islamist parliament. There must be great satisfaction in Foggy Bottom about how well things are going in Cairo. pl
"Much of the evidence was later challenged. It emerged that Mr. Gauci had repeatedly failed to identify Mr. Megrahi before the trial and had selected him only after seeing his photograph in a magazine and being shown the same photo in court. The date of the clothing sale was also in doubt.
Investigators said Mr. Bollier, whom even the court called “untruthful and unreliable,” had changed his story repeatedly after taking money from Libya, and might have gone to Tripoli just before the attack to fit a timer and bomb into the cassette recorder. The implication that he was a conspirator was never pursued.
In 2007, Mr. Lumpert admitted that he had lied at the trial, stolen a timer and given it to a Lockerbie investigator. Moreover, the fragment he identified was never tested for residue of explosives, although it was the only evidence of possible Libyan involvement.
The court’s inference that the bomb had been transferred from the Frankfurt feeder flight was also cast into doubt when a Heathrow security guard revealed that Pan Am’s baggage area had been broken into 17 hours before the bombing, a circumstance never explored." NY Times
I have always thought that Megrahi was a convenient scapegoat. Before the "Counter-Terrorism Task Force" at CIA (or whatever it was called then) fastened on him and his later aquitted colleague as the culprits, the CTTF had floundered for a long time, unable to "sort out" the crime. Careers had been damaged and a new director of the center was brought in to "crack the case." Miraculously, this man (a turk at his job) discovered the truth hidden in the midden heap of faulty evidence.
Libya denied the crime until the Saudis persuaded Qathafi that he could come in from the cold with regard to the United States by confessing to the deed and offering up culprits who could bear the burden of guilt.
Qathafi found that easy enough to do and threw in his non-existent nuclear weapons program as a sweetener. The warehoues full of equipment that the Libyans had no idea what to with were an easy sacrifice. The Bush Administration and its CT "experts" lapped this up as proof of their genius and knowledge of how to handle the Arabs.
Who really did it? Probably some combination of Iran and the more extreme Palestinian groups would be my guess. pl
"What we’re seeing now in Egypt is something that might be called electoral bin Ladenism. Take the group Gamaa Islamiya, which under its spiritual leader, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, made the first unsuccessful attempt to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993. Today, the organization has formed a Salafist political party with the benign name Building and Development Party. This organization, which like al-Qaeda traces its roots to the Islamist theorist Sayyid Qutb, has 13 seats in the new Egyptian parliament.
Syria will be a test of whether this post-bin Laden Islamist movement can continue to reject violence or will instead be radicalized by the jihadist magnet that is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The successor to bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has tried to use the anti-Assad battle to rehabilitate the al-Qaeda brand — even though it’s another fight that embodies the Muslim-on-Muslim violence that bin Laden came to abhor." Ignatius
"... a year of mostly nonviolent democratic revolution. But it has brought to power some Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood groups that share common theological roots with bin Laden. And the al-Qaeda goal of driving the “apostate,” pro-American President Hosni Mubarak from power has been achieved." Ignatius
Truer words were never..., etc. Islamic revivalism (especially in Sunni Islam) is a cyclical phenomenon. Islam sees itself as a universal truth that should become a way of life for all. All else is tactics.
Special Forces doctrine, organization and training has traditionally centered on UW and the mission "to develop, organize, equip, train, and direct non-US forces in the conduct of guerrilla warfare." However, US foreign policy and our military operations have increasingly gravitated towards the other side of this COIN. The pun, though unintentional, describes the problem perfectly. In Viet Nam SF worked the UW mission with the Montagnards, Hmong and others while the Viet Cong conducted their own brand of UW. In Central and South America, SF more frequently worked with government military forces to combat local insurgencies. After 9/11, the focus became even more solidly on defeating insurgencies. The cult of COIN and the SOF operators reigned supreme.
With this year's Arab Spring and the near textbook example of a successful insurgency in Libya, I suggest that US foreign policy will be better served if it dispenses with its distrust of all insurgencies and releases its death grip on the status quo. As Thomas Jefferson advised us, a revolution now and then is a good thing. In this article I will point out a few salient points of current US doctrine on insurgencies and then examine the Libyan revolution through the lens of UW.
How did he die? Who cares? IMO the "Gs" killed him after they got through kicking him around. They are not soldiers. They are undisciplined civilian enthusiasts with a smidgin of training. If MQ had died in an ambush or as the "Gs" shot their way into his hideout a lot of you would think nothing of it.
The Washington/New York foreign policy clique is now wringing its hands over the fate of Libya. "They might not be ready fpr DEMOCRACY. Oh my! The US should establish a another Coalition Provisional Administration." Yes, sure, the last one (Iraq) was such a success that the Iraqi government that we fostered has now thrown us out.
Americans can't seem to get it into our thick skulls that other people do not necessarily want to be like us and that this does not mean that they are retarded (oops - mentally special).
LEAVE THE LIBYANS ALONE!. Let them work out their problems. They are not children. If they want one country or three that is THEIR BUSINESS, not ours. The think tank crowd can't leave people alone. What would they do for a living if they did? What would their next book or TV appearance be about? pl
As anyone with access to a radio or television now knows, Sirte has fallen and Qathafi is dead. Al Jazeera is showing the film of the cheering rebel forces around his lifeless body. Saif is likely still out there, but his father's death should take the wind out of the sails of any continued serious resistance by Qathafi holdouts. The many rebel groups that paid dearly for this victory will rightly want a say in forming the new Libya. This will be difficult work.
On the recent thread about Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing, the question came up as to whether the US really is at war or not. This is an important issue, and its answer carries much wider significance beyond just the legality of killing Awlaki.
The short answer to the question, of course, is: it is war, because the US chooses to treat it as such. But it’s the dawn of a very different kind of war.
When George Bush declared his Great War on a nebulous noun (which most people understood to mean Islamists, though some construed it as Islam), he still waged it in the conventional manner. Pinning the blame for 9/11 on Afghanistan and Iraq, he invaded both countries. This was not much different from Austria-Hungary declaring war on and invading Serbia in 1914 because of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by a Serb nationalist.
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
This afternoon one of my colleagues came into my office and was very keen on having me look at something. That something is this article from the Economist. The article reports that an Israeli woman named Gita Boaron is claiming that her great-grandmother was Qhattafi's grandmother, which, according to both Judaic Law (as membership in the Am or People is transmitted maternally) and Israeli Law (the right of return regarding Jews and Israeli citizenship), makes Qhattafi eligible for Israeli citizenship. Oy vey indeed!
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
J sent this as a comment to my last post about Libya. I think it deserves post status. I
The following is designed to generate further discussion regarding a post-Qaddafi Libya. There are now questions being raised by 'many' regarding the war in Libya:
1. 'Why' was Qaddafi overthrown, especially when some say/allege that he worked in his people's best interests. a. 1951, Libya was the poorest nation in the world. b. Before the NATO invasion, Libyans enjoyed the highest standard of living in the entirety of Africa. A standard of living that was even ahead of Russia, Brazil, & Saudi Arabia. c. In Qaddafi Libya, homes were considered a 'human right'. d. Newly married Libyan couples received $50,000 from the Qaddafi government to buy their own home. e. Electricity under the Qaddafi government was 'free' to 'everyone'. f. Qaddafi personally vowed to house 'every' Libyan before his own parents. Qaddafi kept that promise to his people, his own father died before he was able to be housed. g. 'Before' Qaddafi, only 1/5th of Libyans were literate. Under Qaddafi, Libyan education was free and considered high quality when measured against Western education standards. The literacy rate under Qaddafi rose to 83%. h. Under Qaddafi, Libya's healthcare was free and high quality when measured against modern healthcare standards. i. If Libyans could not find the healthcare or education they needed in Libya, then the Libyan Government of Qaddafi 'funded them' to 'go abroad' and access it. j. Under Qaddafi ALL loans were 'interest free' a.k.a. 0%, this was 'by law'. k. If a Libyan went to buy a car, the Qaddafi Government paid for 50% of its price, while the Libyan paid the remaining 50%. l. In Qaddafi Libya, the price of gasoline was $0.14/gallon. m. Any Libyan wishing to become a farmer was given 'free use' of -- 1. land; 2. a home; 3. farming equipment; 4. livestock & seeds.
The hysterics who pass for "experts' on shows like "Morning joe" should be ignored. Their performance over the last day or so with regard to Libya is pathetic. They know nothing of military affairs of any kind, and even less of a sophisticated business like the support of an indigenous revolt by guerrilla forces. They bleat continuously of one "terrible" event or another. Most of their "correspondents" are hiding in a Tripoli hotel where their largest concern appears to be the availability of air conditioning and the possibility that the hotel might "catch" a stray bomb. Richard Engel is a notable exception to this criticism as well as at least one woman reporter who moved into the capital with the French advised guerilla forces coming from the west.
I have "news." Wars are messy, uncertain things. They "move" in fits and starts.
Qathafy's government is finished. This has been a very successful effort. What sort of government will the Libyans make? It is not our business. The only demand we should have on the new Libyan government is that they do not harbor enemies of the NATO alliance. That includes us.
Do not give the Libyans money. We do not have it to give. Our instinct is to want to "control," "reform," and fund. No. Give them back their own money, the money that is now impounded all over the world and then get out of their way so that the petroleum industry can make the oil and gas flow for export again. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
The Libyan rebels appear to have not only entered Tripoli, but seem to have brought about the collapse of Qhatafi's government. It is also being reported that three of his sons, including his two eldest, are in custody and that Qhatafi's location is currently unknown.
*Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
As Colonel Lang said, the Libyan insurgency is prospering. The recent conquest of Az Zawiyah and Gharyan have put Tripoli and Qathafi's forces in a logistical stranglehold. There are now reports of armed uprisings in Tripoli itself. The NTC in Benghazi have issued statements that "Zero hour has started. The rebels in Tripoli have risen up." Apparently this is the beginning of Operation Mermaid, the liberation of Tripoli. It may happen in a few days. It may happen in a few weeks. But it will happen.
The military success of the mostly Berber rebel groups from the Nafusa Mountains have been remarkable. They have managed to raise, equip, train, lead and employ an effective, albeit still rag tag, army to the brink of victory. Perhaps the largely rural, pastoral nature of these hill people provided a more suitable pool of recruits than the coastal urban areas. However, the exploits of the boyos from Misrata offer an effective counterpoint to this argument. What was common to both fronts was that the terrain was more suitable to guerilla operations than the area from Benghazi to Sirte. And the rebels in both the Nafusa Mountains and Misrata knew their operational areas like the back of their hands.
The drive to Az Zawiyah was a brilliant move… a check if not a checkmate move. The recent incorporation of Az Zawiyah resistance fighters into the Nafusa army not only strengthened the rebel army, but provided critical local intelligence for the assault on that city. The NTC decision to move a force composed of rebels from the Tripoli area from the eastern front to the Nafusa front will undoubtedly prove to be just as key during the final battles.
I only wish that we had inserted the ODAs into Misrata and Az Zawiyah back in March. It would have saved a lot of Libyan lives and ended this revolution a lot sooner. In the months to come, it will be interesting to learn if the rebels received any type of on the ground assistance. The NATO air campaign was clearly a great help at a critical time. It gave the rebels some breathing room and helped to level the "playing field."
What will happen after the final military victory? Unlike the other revolutions of the Arab Spring, the rebels will be left with a clean slate. What kind of leaders will step forward? What will the Berbers gain from the final victory? Whatever happens will be up to the Libyan people. The leaders of a future Libya must remember that whatever they create must be worthy of the great sacrifices of a heroic band of brothers that won this opportunity at a great cost.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would extend formal recognition to the Benghazi-based TNC until a fully representational interim government can be established." Reuters
This will make a big difference in closing the Qathafi regime out. This should have been done months ago. This makes Qathafi the "rebel" and the former rebels the real government. Much will follow from this action.
Why was it not done before? Answer the question for yourselves. pl
"President Barack Obama decided he could continue the air war in Libya without congressional approval despite rulings to the contrary from Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers, according to published reports.
The president relied instead on the opinions of other senior administration lawyers that continuing U.S. participation in the air operations against the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi did not constitute “hostilities,” triggering the need for Congressional permission under the War Powers Resolution, the New York Times reported in its online edition Friday night." Washpost
I support the NATO intervention in Libya.
Nevertheless, President Obama IMO is completely wrong in arguing that the US role in that intervention does not suffice to compel him to notify Congress under the War Powers Resolution. Presdient's of both parties have resisted the war making authority of the Congress for far too long.
This the time for that to end. pl
"The United States views the Transitional National Council as the legitimate interlocutor for the Libyan people during this interim period," Clinton saidduring a June 9 speech at a meeting of the Libya Contact Group in the United Arab Emirates (emphasis added). Foreign Policy
The press and many here at this space think the intervention in Libya is foolish and will be fruitless. I do not. War is sometimes useful. This is one of those times. Iraq was a foolish mistake. The disastrous situation there in 2006 was somewhat improved by the application of traditional colonial methods of "divide and rule" and empowerment of politicians who, at least on the surface, were cooperative. In Afghanistan the initial liberation of the country from Taliban rule was a worthwhile effort. The attempt to build an Afghanistan that had never existed in spite of massive foreign aid during the monarchy, that was foolish. It continues to be foolish. This effort is beyond our strength and means, especially in bad economic times.
Libya is another matter. Qathafi will be gone and the price is cheap. pl
- al-Qa’ida and Iran are close allies.
- The Shia in Yemen are allies of the Iranians.
- The tribal forces fighting to force Salih from power are AQAP in disguise and there is a serious danger that AQAP could take power in Yemen.
- The revolution in Yemen is stalemated and Obama must be forced by the congress to abandon it.
None of this is true.
* Al-Qaida and Iran have always been enemies. The Shia and Sunni divide is too great for such an alliance to exist on anything other than a very temporary basis. Iran supports Hamas. a largely Sunni movement, but they do nt do it in conjunction with Al-Qa'ida.
* The Shia in Yemen are Zeidi or Fiver Shia. They have never had a significant relationship with the Iranians who are Twelver Shia ( a different religion) and do not have one now.
* The tribesmen fighting Salih in Sanaa are Fiver Shia. AQAP is exclusively a Sunni movement. They regard the Shia (any Shia) as apostates.
* The revolution in Libya is progressing nicely. The Libyan government is crumbling. israel wants Qathafi to remain. They also want t odemonstrata they, not Obama, are in charge in Washington. pl
"In rebel-held Misurata, a besieged coastal area in western Libya, people welcomed the news. "I believe it's the first step on the true path to justice and freedom," said Abdsalam Abdullah, a member of the local governing council.
A doctor in Misurata, Aiman Abu Shama, was joyful. "Kadafi has no power," the doctor said. "His end is coming soon."" pl
The MQ government is crumbling. They couldn't even contain the pathetically underarmed and trained rebel militia "besieged" in Misurata. Drone attacks have MQ hiding in various holes in the ground. One slip in security and he gets the Bin Laden treatment, this time with bunker busters. NATO air attacks go forward with US targeting, re-fueling and ECM support. This relentless pounding is gradually attriting the will of the MQ regime to continue. At the same time the rebels are being "improved" by European advisers. In the end the present rebel junta will occupy Tripoli to fill a vacuum left by the disappearance of the present government.
A lot of you do not seem to understand that governments and businesses that face situations that will destroy them keep up a good facade until the very end, and then the wall falls over. A greater degree of patience than that exhibited by teenagers is necessary to understand this process.
Why did Obama not recognize the junta when he met with their leader this wek? I really don't know, but I suspect that the "little birds" who have been whispering of the possibility of Islamists in the rebellion had a lot to do with it. pl
"We know it is our fight to win or lose, but there is also much at stake for the international community. If the Libyan revolution stalls or is defeated, a vindictive or resurgent Colonel Qaddafi and his regime will present the world with a greater danger than even Osama bin Laden. The faster the regime comes to an end, the better it will be for Libya and the safer it will be for the world." El Warfally
Bonaparte insisted that "men are nothing, the man is everything." The current unrest has not had a voice. In this Libyan, the "Arab Spring" has found a voice. Let us heed that voice.
Gates carps that weapons expended, fuel, etc. have cost 750 million dollars so far? The rebels in Libya are fighting for a set of goals that are at least comprehensible from a Western point of view. What are getting for our 2 billion a WEEK in Afghanistan as well as the money we are pouring into Pakistan?
I will answer my own questions.
In Afghanistan we have bought entre into a proxy war between India and Pakistan. As our contribution to that conflict we are attempting to build a new and different Afghanistan.
In Pakistan we have made a down-payment in a process that if continued to a logical conclusion leads to ever bigger and bigger "investments" in "building" a new Pakistan as well, one that would be unfriendly to Muslim zealots. There will, of course, be no such Pakistan, but the COINistas and the neocon zealots who still have remarkable influence in the US government fervently believe that this would happen if we just persisted for another decade or so.
I have preached before that consistency is not a virtue in foreign plicy. A country's interests must set agendas and priorities. Having said that, I think the time has come to consider whether the behavior of the Arab autocrats and the Pakistani deceivers does not demand a re-examination of American interests in that part of the world.
In that light Al-Warfally's statement seems to summon us to a commitent to modernism and popular government in the Middle East and South Asia. We should think that through carefully. pl
"Gadhafi's rebel opposition, meanwhile, received major political boosts from abroad. Britain promised to provide them with police gear, and the Obama administration invited a rebel delegation to the White House for talks on Friday." AP
Hallelujah! "De day ob jubilo am comin'." Translation - The day of liberation is coming in Libya.
Qathafi's forces have either withdranwn from or been driven from Misrata. Some of the recent improvement in th eperformance of the rebels may reflect the effect of NATO advisers. NATO air seems improved in its effectiveness. There is increased political support as well.
Someone should find Qathafi a plausible refuge. A place in which he may persuade himself that he will not be extradited.
We have a different policy in the Gulf? Ah, well, life is hard. pl
Ali Misbah, a captured Libyan soldier who had been wounded in the leg, was held under guard in a tent in the parking lot of the Al Hikmeh Hospital, one of the city's smaller medical centers.
Misbah, 25, said morale was low among Gadhafi's troops. "Recently, our spirit has collapsed and the forces that were in front of us escaped and left us alone," he said.
Misbah said he and his fellow soldiers were told that they were fighting against al-Qaida militants, not ordinary Libyans who took up arms against Gadhafi." Yahoonews.
Qathafi's "army" is an armed mob. That is the real story behind what has happened in Misrata. The rebels are also an armed mob, but that is to be expected in the absence of structure and training in their forces. McCain and Graham are right in this matter. It will not take much to take the fight out of Qathafi's partisans and turn what lookslike a stalemate into a rout.
Bombing Qathafi's headquarters compound is a good idea. It is a powerful symbol of his powerlessness. It is unlikely that such attacks will succeed in killing him. Before the strikes in '86 he was filled with a great illusion of the "toothlessness" of the United States, but he has learned his lesson and is in hiding except for unscheduled, sudden appearances.
Getting rid of the Qathafi government looks easier than ever. pl
"Britain is sending up to 20 military advisers to help Libya's ragtag rebel force break a military stalemate with Moammar Gadhafi's army, even as NATO acknowledges that airstrikes alone cannot stop the daily shelling of the besieged opposition-held city of Misrata." Yahoo News
It is now about six weeks since we (SST committee) began to discuss the need for trainers, and advisers to help the Libyan rebels. It was clear from the beginning that air power would not be enough. Why? As I have written so many times, people live on the ground. Aviators do not live in the air, nor do sailors live in the sea. The people who are always the true objective of any armed conflict live in houses, tents, apartment buildings, etc. They and the land they live on are the objective, always. No matter how much you attack people from the air, someone must always advance and close with the enemy. Six weeks have been wasted. I understand that both the French and the British will participate in this effort. Perhaps it is not too late. Perhaps there should be some American volunteers to help wth this, a new AVG. Yes, I know that we are "broke." We broke ourselves. This may be our last hurrah.
Does this mean that the carping, whining incessant propaganda drivel about the "unkown" nature of the rebels will end? I doubt it. Take a hard look at who and what is "pushing" that line. pl
One banner read "No, no America," while another said, " Yes, yes for Quran."
American troops are scheduled to depart from Iraq at year's end under a bilateral agreement between the Iraqi government and the United States." CNN
The conspiracy mongers are having a field day ascribing to the US and NATO wonderfully bizarre deviousness in the thwarting of the "Arab Spring" revolts and alarums. "The US was only lukewarm to the Egyptian revolutionaries." "The US wanted Mubarak to leave in something other than the manner of his actual going." "The US has tacitly approved Saudi and Bahreini repression of the Shia revolutionaries in those places."
Predictably the NATO political council has restricted the provision of air support to the Libyan rebels to the point that a military stalemate is now a likely outcome if the present policy continues. This was foreseeable and probably forseen by the Obama Administration.
At the same time someone has encouraged former congressman Curt Weldon to go to Tripoli to discuss various "straw man" proposals with Qathafi. Since it is a violation of federal law for an American private citizen to conduct diplomacy, it seems likely that the encouragement was official. Weldon (the suitcase nuke man) was seen on CNN this morning explaining that he will tell Qathafi that the last time we bombed Tripoli (1986) Qathafi complained that we had not warned him. Weldon says that he is there to warn him. That seems a pretty clear threat. One of the "staw men' is an offer to have Qathafi made "honorary head of the African Union." ?????
This sounds like something from a poorly written farce, but.... Qathafi is certifiable, so, you never know, he may go for some of this.
More interesting is the WAPO break with Obama policy and behind that, the obvious inclination of the Natanyahu government. BTW, what was Peres here for yesterday? pl
"The Libyan rebel movement that controls the country's eastern half wants to install a parliamentary democracy across the country once they topple the regime of longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi, a top rebel official said Sunday. AP
I suppose that a lot of people will simply refuse to believe the rebel spokesman. He is a lawyer from Benghazi. Most people in the US do not want to do anything to help the rebels in Libya. A variety of reasons for this are presented; money, unwillingness to inflict casualties deliberately or accidentally, indifference to MENA affairs except for Israel and oil, etc. In truth this is all about war weariness. The Bush Administration expended the emotional war making potential of the United States. The staffs can "roll up the maps" in the planning shops in the Pentagon. They will not be needed for a long time. One can say (tongue in cheek) that now is the time for Canada and Mexico to exercize whatever revanchist and irredentist inclinations toward the US that they may have.
Having said that, I can only hope that there is enough common sense left in the engaged portion of the American people that there will be continued support for NATO's military and diplomatic actions in Libya.
A stalemate in the rebellion, de facto partition of Libya, reconquest of the east by Qathafi, all these things would be perceived as defeat of the United States by the forces of reaction across the world. Perception is the greater part of reality in international politics.
Having supported the Libyan rebels rhetorically, President Obama has ventured the strategic capital of the United States in this matter. He should get his mind "in the game" enough to focus on that.
There is still time to do enough covertly or openly with our NATO allies to save the day in Libya. pl
- Someone has gotten the rebels up off their haunches and headed back to the west. Who that someone might be is, at this point, a bit of a mystery. The passage of time will undoubtedly clarify that point.
- The provision of air support to the rebels has made a decisive difference in tihs civil war. All the lawyerly obscurantism about the UN Resolution cannot obscure the fact that a NATO led coalition, supported by the US is going to drive Qathafi's forces all the way back to Tripoli with the rebels following along behind on the coast road.
- Qathafi's "forces" are extremely brittle. They have already begun to run from air attacks or even the sound of aircraft, abandoning their equipment and supplies as they flee in civilian vehicles. It is not necessary to arm or supply the rebels. Qathafi's disintegrating forces will provide the needed materiel as they withdraw.
- As the rebels approach Tripoli the populace will rise again. How long will all this take? As I have written elsewhere, an outside estimate of six months is reasonable. The actuality may be a considerably shorter departure date for Qathafi.
- Am I concerned about an Islamist "takeover" in Libya? No. The chance that Islamist parties are likely successors in power in any of the presently disputed countries is minimal. There are far too many non-Islamist political forces in all these coutries for the Islamists to rise to power. Will they still exist in these places? Yes, but they will not rule. pl
It is amusing to listen to the tortured musings on television today of the usual collection of talking heads and International Relations inspired eunuchs. "Oh, let's not do this! Let's not do that! Someone might be hurt! If only this had been done a week ago! Too late! Too late! This will be like Iraq! This will be like Afghanistan!"
Rubbish. This will not be like either of these wars unless we truly "take counsel of our fears."
The same people were wringing their hands a week ago saying much the same things. In fact, Libya is a perfect place to exercise modern air power against the forces of a man like Qathafi. The UN resolution contains language with regard to "protecting the Libyan people." Qathafi is an inherent threat to the Libyan people. Therefore...
IMO, the coalition air and naval forces will cripple Qathafi forces. A handful of covert trainers, equipers and coordinators should be inserted into the country to shape, not a conventional army, but rather an irregular, guerrilla force that can shoot, move and communicate in a motley collection of vehicles for an advance to the west and east upon Tripoli behind a moving curtain of aerial firepower. The covert coalition personnel will be vital as well for preventing air strikes on friendly forces.
There should be no occupation. The Libyans can sort their political affairs out by themselves.
We need to get this over quickly before the chorus of high pitched voices overwhelms the chance of liberation for Libya. pl