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26 January 2016

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William R. Cumming

Wiki Extract:

The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Resolution of 1973) (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) is a federal law intended to check the president's power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congress joint resolution. It provides that the U.S. President can send U.S. Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, "statutory authorization," or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without a Congressional authorization for use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.

It has been alleged that the War Powers Resolution has been violated in the past – for example, by President Bill Clinton in 1999, during the bombing campaign in Kosovo. Congress has disapproved all such incidents, but none has resulted in any successful legal actions being taken against the president for alleged violations.

William R. Cumming

Is there a Libyan government?

Margaret Steinfels

It appears there are several (ineffective) governing bodies.

cynic

Is this to be the diversion of media and public attention from the failure of the plan to destroy Syria? The remaining terrorists can be transported to Libya and a lot of unoccupied sand can be bombed in fake attempts to fight them, while Syria is pushed down the memory hole. Just in time for someone to claim a legacy of success before heading for the golf course? So much the better for the Syrians and Russians if so.

The Twisted Genius

Margaret,

In my opinion, General Dunford was letting his jarhead shine through when he talked about taking decisive military action in Libya. From the article, I gather that war on the down low is already in progress. If our special operations forces are already doing intelligence collection on the ground and Is leaders are being struck by airstrikes (drones?), then war is well under way. However, I think this war will remain quietly in the shadows. It may be conducted under a Presidential finding rather than any existing or desired AUMF. A Congressional declaration of war on IS and its allies, which I would prefer, will never happen. I am in favor of efforts to prevent IS getting any further embedded in Libya. This can be done by unilateral reconnaissance and strikes as it appears we are now doing or, preferably, assisting local government/militia in taking on IS forces.

As you may remember, I was strongly in support of the rebels taking out Qadaffi with Western support. I'm still glad he is gone, despite his graphically brutal demise and the ensuing chaos. I wish Special Forces teams were involved on the ground and stayed there to continue the resistance through the demobilization phase. It's an integral part of conducting a resistance and probably the most difficult phase. That's were we failed in Libya.

Matthew

Cynic: So much better for the whole world, actually.

Margaret Steinfels

TG: "Letting his jarhead shine through"? You mean he's looking for a little publicity and applause from the willing?

Babak Makkinejad

What I am hearing is that there is no conceivably positive future for Libya except war for the foreseeable future.

I am coming to think that the Muslim scholars were correct in preferring Tyranny to Chaos.

Fred

Matthew,

It would be nice if a few go missing in transit too. I suspect if the jihadists on the run from the R+6 can't cross the Turkish border they are in for a hard slog through the desert.

mbrenner

A few things to bear in mind. There is no clear legal justification for military action by the US in Libya. You would have to stretch those 2011 UNSC resolutions quite a bit to find even an approximation. The internationally recognized government has not given its formal approval. That is the government that rules Benghazi and inner suburbs. A UN brokered coalition arrangement was rejected yesterday by the ad hoc legislative body that substitutes for a national assembly.

ISIL in Libya is an aggregation of local Islamist militias (initially backed by Qatar)that has assumed the Islamic State label for branding purposes - with a seeding of a few operatives from the Middle East. This Islamist "Front" also lacks solidarity because of cross-cutting regional and tribal loyalties/identities. It would take a genius to figure all this out and then to design a strategy capable of achieving its objectives. There are not even signs that we have an objective at this point. As for genius, the evidence of the past 15 years tells us that the phrase "American strategy to eliminate Islamic extremism" is an oxymoron.

JMH

Sir,

If the GBs stuck around, I believe they would have been targeted by their partners. Coincidentally, before I read this post, I was thinking of the story of the fox and the gingerbread man and how it relates to Benghazi. I believe folktales like this are the vessels of the wisdom of the ages.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gingerbread_Man

One alibi, the Toubou in the south are far more trustworthy than the Arabs in the north.

Babak Makkinejad

There is no government in Libya, in my opinion.

Someday there might be one but that day will be decades into the future.

The reason is I say that are 2 folds:

Libya has never had a unitary government during centuries past.

and

Who is or could be the Legitimate Authority in Libya?

Prior to independence, the Zonouzi Order supplied the initial legitimate authority; which was overthrown and supplanted by Qaddafi.

Potentially, NATO states can go and occupy Libya indefinitely, as they are currently doing in Bosnia, but I do not think they are willing to do so, spend 40 years teaching the Arabs there how to run a government, and then go home.

Libya is lost, in my opinion.

turcopolier

TTG et al

Sirte is yet another place where IS can/will destroy part of our cultural heritage. If Dunford is actually pushing for a NATO occupation of Libya he is truly "feeling his jarhead." I agree with Babak. Our/my gamble on Libya failed. Let it go. pl

bth

What would happen if we helped Egypt intervene in eastern Libya? They have manpower and they need access to oil. The Libyans need a stabilizing force and I don't see it coming from the west.

turcopolier

bth

IMO the Egyptian military are probably not up to the job. They are a static internal security force. pl

The Twisted Genius

Margaret,

Marines have the reputation for favoring a "high diddle diddle, straight up the middle" approach of charging until a decisive victory is achieved. The Special Forces approach is more circumspect and patient.

robt willmann

The other day, I mentioned that last week Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, along with "Senator" Lindsey Graham and a few others, had sneaked in a so-called authorization to use military force against ISIS/ISIL, and that it was an open-ended and unlimited grant of authority to the president with completely vague language that can be interpreted to mean anything, including using force within the borders of the U.S.A. The bill was read twice, and McConnell then put it on the Senate calendar for today, but luckily, both yesterday and today the Capitol offices are closed due to the weather. It is Senate Joint Resolution 29 (S.J.Res. 29)--

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/29/all-info?resultIndex=1

As of a little while ago today, you could only find the text in the Congressional Record from last week--

https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2016/1/20/senate-section/article/S133-1

https://www.congress.gov/crec/2016/01/20/CREC-2016-01-20-pt1-PgS133.pdf

This despicable resolution would "authorize" full-blown military action anywhere, including in Libya and Syria.

The only remaining question is whether the resolution will be officially placed on the floor of the Senate for a vote. It is on the calendar, and although I am not familiar with the Senate rules, if there is unanimous consent from those present when the bill is called -- meaning no objection from anyone -- then the bill can be voted on. I am not sure whether a cloture vote would be required first--

https://www.congress.gov/legislative-process/calendars-and-scheduling

https://www.congress.gov/legislative-process/senate-floor

But it is a certainty that McConnell, et. al. are trying to sneak this through the Senate, and it is dangerous because McConnell, as majority leader, is the Big Man in the Senate and he got it put on the calendar without it even going to a committee first. If it slips through the Senate without any member slowing it down, then all it needs is a majority vote in the House of Representatives.

My comment from the other day is here, at the bottom--

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/01/httpforeignpolicycom20160120u-n-envoy-signals-that-riyadh-is-obstructing-syria-peace-talks.html

LeaNder

In other words a stupid idea to start with? Since extremism never mind of what ethnic type can ever be "eliminated"? Or stupid to assume there could be something both American and strategic?

sorry, this suddenly triggered the memory of a prof, who was the first I encountered that used oxymoron in a private conversation. One of my favorite profs, by the way. Forgive: I couldn't help it. ;)

The Twisted Genius

JMH,

I would have felt relatively safe with the Berbers of the Nafousa mountains.

The Librarian in Purgatory

No. The LY Supreme Court ruled that the Tobruk-based govt (actually mostly in EG) was unconstitutional, even though that was the largely internationally recognized one. However, their legal mandate expired last OCT, unless they have voted themselves some kind of extension. The Tripoli-based govt's claim to legitimacy was is based, in part, on the illegitimacy of the former and generally recognized by no one, though it was, at one time, the legal govt.. The Central Bank pays the salaries of all parties (and militias) and is on a fast track to near-term insolvency. Lastly, a West/UN team appointed a new govt which is currently based in Tunisia and recognized by no one in an effort to get/create a legal fig leaf for the bombing they want to do. In reality, there are a smattering of city/regional states: Tripoli, Misrata, Zintan, Tobruk, and then Benghazi as a free-fire zone and Sirte as Daesh's defacto LY capital. Each has their own affiliated militias with Misrata, Tripoli, and Benghazi forming one camp and Tobruk and Zintan another.

The place is a (West) self-created mess and most do not understand it or just how dysfunctional it is. At this point, I'm not sure that you can break it anymore and taking unilateral action there, while likely angering many (me, my brothers, and cousins against everyone)is not likely to be an impediment to some burgeoning democratic movement waiting for the right conditions to spring forth.

Hope that helps.

VietnamVet

TTG

I agree that a NATO Libya invasion may well be an “inner jarhead” moment but there aren’t the forces or the will to do it. However, the Russian Intervention has really turned the Middle East upside down. The end of the game in Syria is foreseeable and the West’s proxy forces there dead or scattered. What is in Libya are lots of tribal militias. In addition, drone strikes keep the hornet’s nest stirred up. Africa is the new frontier to keep military contractor funds flowing. Plus, flight capital ends up on Wall Street. The West is running on creative destruction for profit.

Closing borders and governing for the good of the people would stop the downward spiral.

turcopolier

VV

Actually, there ARE the forces to do it with. The major units of the Army and USMC have been uncommitted for several years. You are correct in saying that the national will is non-existent. The neocons used that up. pl

A

The best way to get a government in Libya, it's to occupy it. This assures a unification of all the bandits against the foreign invasion and eventually an independent state will come forth and a decade of struggle, is my guess.

Brunswick

There has been "talk" on and off for over a year, ( Britain, France, Italy, the US), of "military intervention" in Lybia.

As far as I can tell, what has been holding military intervention back, is they don't know who's side to intervene on, whom to intervene against, where to intervene, what units they can use to intervene, or what the intervention is supposed to accomplish.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/west-rebuffs-egypt-proposals-for-military-intervention-in-libya-1424388828

http://news.yahoo.com/italy-weigh-military-action-libya-diplomacy-fails-151857969.html

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/fresh-military-intervention-libya-complicated-task-western-nations-161959765

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/western-nations-plot-fresh-military-intervention-libya-say-military-sources-619439313


Babak Makkinejad

If I were Sisi, I would train light infantry supported by mobile artillery and send them over to occupy all of Libya and to incorporate it into the United Arab Republic.

This would revolutionize Egypt's position and get her out of a rut that she has been in since the time of the Romans.

And no one could do a damn thing against this scenario.

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