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Libya: Worse Than Iraq. Sorry, Hillary
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George W. Bush destroyed the state and army of Iraq, but it was located within a constellation of relatively powerful and capable states interested in some form of stability or control. The United States also poured massive doses of money and power into Iraq in an attempt to influence its outcomes.

However, when the US pitched in to “lead from behind” and destroy the Libyan state at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s urging, even though Libya was surrounded by relatively vulnerable, at-risk states unable or unwilling to project power beyond their borders, the U.S. refused to go “Pottery Barn”, to use Colin Powell’s analogy, and fill the power vacuum in Libya with its own forces.

The United States did worse than just walk away. In a misguided and morally and intellectually lazy (my opinion!) gambit it tried to “export” its way out of the Libyan problem by supporting the migration of destabilizing elements, i.e. the Islamist fighters who had brought down Qaddafi, to another adventure in Syria. Now, with the Syrian project faltering despite 5 years of foreign-funded Islamist insurrection, Libya has emerged as a preferred destination not only for returning Libyan fighters, but also a growing population of transnational fighters from dozens of countries.

Security analysts are quietly flummoxed about the establishment of the Islamist fighter “colony” in Libya, because after three decades of cynically exploiting Islamist fighters as a deniable asset against the Soviet Union and uncooperative secular regimes, the number of transnational Islamist fighters has roughly quintupled. Fact is, the number probably more than doubled in the last couple years alone, thanks to the competing recruitment efforts of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and ISIS in the Syria/Iraq theater.

The inability to stop the growth in foreign fighters in the old-fashioned way by killing them in various battlefields is probably behind the well-funded US interest in the seemingly bizarre, ineffectual, and rather desperate anti-recruitment propaganda/psyops/Twitter wars blanketing the Internet, as well as the announcement that Hollywood has enlisted in the “anti-ISIS” struggle.

Dealing with the transnational fighter migration to Libya is kinda tough, you know, because we destroyed the Libyan state & army, didn’t replace those power factors with our own troops, nobody else has the juice to restore order, and so the primary military forces are the Islamist militias themselves. And Libya is surrounded by shaky states that offer attractive secondary refuge/employment opportunities for Islamist militias whether or not the US/NATO campaign to restore a semblance of national authority in Libya through bombing/proxies/stern rhetoric succeeds.

This cavalier disregard for the consequences of the Libyan war indicates that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State with an army of wonk and advisors and spooks, did not grasp one of the essential lessons of the Iraq invasion and its trillion-dollar aftermath. Or she anticipated the outcome and didn’t care which, in terms of her brief to act as steward of America’s interests, is probably worse.

Heckuva job, Hillary.

But Job One is dealing with an even more important problem: the threat the Libya fiasco might pose to Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

In an apparent effort to help Hillary Clinton shed the signature incubus of her tenure as Secretary of State, the New York Times ran a two-parter which rather generously slotted the Libya disaster into the “we meant well” category. Secretary Clinton didn’t agree to an interview for the story but a key foreign policy advisor at the time and, I imagine, helpful surrogate for the purposes of this piece, Anne-Marie Slaughter, contributed the observation that Clinton was guilty of the sin of “getting caught trying” i.e. trying to accomplish great things but coming up short.

I have a lot of problems with this framing and the piece in general, to put it mildly. I think a good title reflecting its basic theme would be “White World’s Failed Crusade in Libya: How Silly and Shortsighted Browns Screwed Up the Nice Democracy NATO and the U.S. Tried to Give Them”. However, my main gripe is that it completely and, I suspect, intentionally disregards the context of the Libyan adventure: a disastrous U.S. alliance with the Gulf autocracies intent on a) nailing Gaddafi and b) responding to the challenge of the Arab Spring with a Sunni counterrevolution reliant on Islamist fighters instead of “boots on the ground”.

But let’s leave that question to the philosophers and consider an interesting and dire consequence of the Libyan campaign: how the US not only helped created a failed state haven for Islamist fighters but tried to export its problem to Syria and only made matters much much worse.

Amazingly, US foreign policy is still hooked on irregular Islamist fighters–to the extent of cooperating with al-Qaeda after 9/11 (please read this before judging if I’m engaging in hyperbole)– even as Islamist fighters continue to spread death and chaos around the world. I guess in think tank land it’s a problem that “we’ll get right the next time” so “let’s make sure there’s a next time”.

However, it turns out that Islamic fighters are a bit like the national debt. They’re almost impossible to retire, and the easiest solution is to roll them over into another conflict and, in the process, create more Islamic fighters.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if one reason Islamist fighters have wreaked havoc all over the Eastern Hemisphere in the last quarter century is their patrons can’t figure out any endgame for them other than shipping them off to another conflict.

Since we shrink from overtly backing these groups, we never feel obligated to address this issue, at least in public.

But it’s clear neither hosts nor patrons of jihadi fighters want them to hang around once they’ve outlived their usefulness; “reprogramming” them as docile citizens of their country of origin doesn’t work very well; and the easy solution is to kick the can down the road i.e. send the fighters off to some other convenient conflict. Saudi Arabia seems addicted to this formula and is always looking forward to a jihad opportunity for cranky militants who might otherwise target its incompetent autocracy.

And maybe not just Saudi Arabia, as this interesting perspective on how the Russian Federation may have addressed its disgruntled Dagestani problem:

Why do the intelligence services of many countries including Russia not stop people who go join IS? How did Nadir abu Khalid [a charismatic preacher tracked by the security services] get to IS?…Look at Dagestan. Before our mosques were full of people and lessons were conducted by people like Nadir…People flocked to Islam, constantly learned and the infidels were in a panic and did not know what do to. And what now? All gone, no lessons, there are almost no calls, at the pulpits there are only “peaceful” types…

And for Turkey, it muddles along in a state of barely concealed anxiety about its “chickens”—the thousands of fighters it allegedly funded and imported into Syria—coming home to roost as the fortunes of the twin insurrections in Iraq and Syria wither under a combined Russian, Syrian, Hezbollah, Iraqi, and Iranian assault leavened with some Western airstrikes.

And, make no mistake, foreign fighters are on the move.

Torn from the headlines, here’s General Breedlove, the NATO honcho,addressing the flows out of Syria on March 1:

In that latter category, foreign fighters, some of them were there and are returning. What worries, I think, the nations is that these foreign fighters return home and then, if — and then in a situation where there are no jobs or no way to address their desires and their approach to life, then they might use their skills in a bad way.

But criminality, terrorism and foreign fighters in there. The numbers, recently I’ve seen reported, are numbers I had not seen in the past, but some are reporting now that they believe as many as 9,000 fighters have gone and as much as 1,500 fighters have returned back to Europe. That’s not our numbers, but that’s the numbers I’m seeing widely reported.

In my opinion, the key perspective on the Islamist militant migration problem is not scary browns menacing Europe (or Breedlove’s efforts to spin the flood of refugees and fighters out of Syria and Iraq as a Russian attack on NATO members); it’s the creation of a tag-team dynamic between various terrorist battlefields and their core, the ultimate terrorist safe haven that has emerged in Libya.

Libya serves this function because the United States not only destroyed the secular, hostile-to-Islamists government; it went the extra mile to empower Islamists both by arming them during the anti-Qaddafi insurrection and by then declining to occupy Libya and slug it out with the locals as the US military did in Iraq post 2003.

Result: a failed state with few effective local or foreign institutions capable of displacing Islamist fighters.

The problem appears to have been exacerbated instead of resolved by a makework solution: exporting Libyan fighters out of country to conduct generously-compensated mayhem in Syria.

In my opinion, Libyan Islamist fighters—and the catastrophically failed scheme to dump them in Syria–are the genuine skeleton in Hillary Clinton’s closet.

Qaddafi was no friend of Libyan Islamists and not a few of them became radicalized fighters who fought all over Asia until the Libya regime change campaign provided a local outlet for their energies. They formed the core force, supported by US/NATO/GCC air and special operations forces, which overthrew Gaddafi.

However, relations between key Islamist commanders and the United States were relatively fraught.

During the brief rapprochement between Qaddafi’s Libya and the West, the US and UK had helpfully renditioned some key Libyan Islamists from overseas havens into the hands of Qaddafi; these leaders were subsequently released by Saif Qaddafi as part of a conciliation process that turned out to be, to say the least, ineffective. The released detainees were promptly and generously patronized by Gulf sponsors and received money, arms, and training that were critical to the overthrow of Qaddafi. They might have been enthusiastic anti-Qaddafi assets, but by no stretch of the imagination could they be considered tractable US proxies in the post-Qaddafi period.

Notably, after the deposition of Qaddafi in 2011, both Libyan fighters and leaders found their way to Syria in bulk. Solidarity with Sunni Islam against another apostate potentate undoubtedly played a role, but the United States was apparently anxious to give the US-backed civilian government of Mustafa Abdul Jalil some breathing space.

Abdul Hakim Belhadj, one of the renditioned Islamists, a veteran commander who received planeloads of aid from Qatar, whose Tripoli Brigade had broken through to the capital, occupied it, and administered it, and hoped to become Minister of Defense in the new order, was instead encouraged to take his talents to Syria—via Turkey on a ship with 400 tons of munitions. By early 2012, the US and GCC had responded to the collapse of the local Syrian democratic revolution by turning unambiguously to a strategy of foreign-supported insurrection using imported Islamist muscle and supplying them in part through the Libya ratline described by Seymour Hersh.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was regarded as the cleverest of clever tricks: channeling Libyan fighters to Syria where they would become Assad’s headache instead of our headache: two birds with one stone!

Libyan fighters established a significant presence in Syria, providing training to inexperienced locals as well as serving as a fighting force eventually organized as the Katibat al-Battar brigade. The brigade provided a home for a variety of European militants (the Libyan dialect is intelligible to the European descendants of Moroccan and Algerian immigrants who form the backbone of the radical Islamic groups in France and Belgium). Its Euro-alumni formed the core of the group that perpetrated the Paris outrage in November 2015.

How’s that for blowback?

Understandably, the idea that the Paris attackers were nurtured by the same bunch we used to overthrow Gaddafi and then shipped to Syria in a clever little trick is a little too much bitter moral culpability to sweeten the West’s morning café au lait, so the Libyan angle is downplayed to emphasize the role of big bad ISIS to an almost ludicrous degree.

For that matter, the assault on the Benghazi US government annex that killed Ambassador Stephens is also unconvincingly dismissed as one of those inexplicable outbursts in Libya’s Wild East implicating an “eccentric, malcontent” Islamist and a stupid movie. The whole incident feels a bit different—and demands a more sophisticated explanation–when it’s characterized as violent dispute involving the US government and unknown interlocutors (just the fighters? What about their backers in the GCC or Turkey?) at a key MENA regional directorate and depot for export of fighters and material to Syria.

Maybe the US government knows the real reason why over 100 Islamist fighters stormed a CIA annex in a carefully planned operation—did somebody want to push the US and its qualms about delivering heavy weapons and MANPADs to Syria out of the way?– but doesn’t really want to talk about it.

Now the original fighters are coming home to Libya with their stature enhanced, their skills and connections upgraded, and their perspectives internationalized.

On top of homeward bound emigres, Libya can also attract a growing population of footloose transnational fighters brought into being by lavish Gulf and Turkish support of paramilitaries in Syria, and the fruits of an ISIS strategy to bulk up the Iraq/Syria Caliphate through the import of amateur enthusiasts as well as experienced fighters from around the world.

In addition, ISIS has taken advantage of the assets and opportunities offered by Libya to port its foreign-fighter driven insurrection model to the Libya platform and build a local operation from the ground up using freshly-recruited foreign fighters from places like Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria.

Beyond the hopefully obvious point that the United States has completely lost the plot when it comes to controlling, managing, and directing the murderous energies of Islamist fighters, I have another observation about the unappreciated consequences of an unacknowledged multi-decade rolling clusterf*ck:

The number of transnational fighters is getting bigger. It used to be there was a hard core of a few hundred to a few thousand Islamist fighters who would show up to help the locals in their struggle against the infidel du jour; now it’s tens of thousands.

And I think the Western security wonks are quietly going apesh*t over the fact that the reservoir of foreign fighters keeps growing even as JSOC whacks ‘em retail and the military campaign in Syria & Iraq takes ‘em out wholesale.

As the Jamestown Institute noted:

A March 2015 report commissioned by the United Nations Security Council found that the number of foreign fighters for Islamist causes worldwide was higher than it has ever been and had soared by 71 percent between mid-2014 and March 2015. The study concluded that Syria and Iraq, by far the biggest destinations for foreign fighters, had become a “finishing school for extremists.”

I am indebted to a master’s thesis prepared by Colonel Dallas Shaw, Libyan Foreign Fighters and Their Effects on the Libyan Revolution for some historical context.

Apparently, a total of perhaps 25-30,000 Arab fighters cycled through Afghanistan during the anti-Soviet war, with perhaps 3,000 to 4,000 present at any one time.

They mainly came from seven countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Algeria, Libya, and Morocco. In Afghanistan, they were a small part of big local effort (perhaps as many as a quarter million mujahedeen supported by hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign funding).

Colonel Shaw endorses the theory that foreign fighters have the biggest impact when they return to their home countries, which is, of course bad news for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Algeria, Libya, and Morocco.

Therefore, it was something of a relief in the homelands, I expect, when someArab veterans of Aghanistan found their way to Chechnya, which was considered to be a potential replay of Afghanistan, i.e. defending a Muslim polity from Russian oppression.

Even a small number of hardened fighters can make a big difference. Al Qaeda’s Ibn al-Khattab took over effective control of the Chechen insurrection in the early part of this century with less than 1000 experienced and effectively led Arab fighters who had learned the ropes in Afghanistan. In the process, al Qaeda’s veterans trained a bunch of Chechen fighters.

And guess what! When the Chechnya/Dagestan effort foundered under a remorseless Russian assault, a cadre of Chechen fighters became available to the international jihadi effort. Chechen fighters allegedly went as far afield as Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban. By 2005, Chechen fighters were unambiguously established among forces fighting the US occupation in Iraq.

In a graphic illustration of the multi-conflict continuity of the Islamist fighter culture, by 2014 Chechens were “one of the four pillars of ISIS”, and a Chechen, Tarkhan Batirashvili,, a.k.a.. “Omar al-Shishani” or “Omar the Chechen” had been designated as the military commander of ISIS.

In other words, a fighter in a second-generation conflict, Chechnya, which had been seeded by the first generation of fighters out of Afghanistan, was now not only fighting in but leading a third-generation conflict in Iraq/Syria.

In 2005, Andrew Cordesmann and Nawaf Obaid estimated there were 3000 foreign fighters opposing the US occupation in Iraq, perhaps 4-10% of the total force.

And what’s going on today?

In all, between 27,000 and 31,000 foreign fighters from 86 countries have travelled to Iraq and Syria, the Soufan Group said, compared with a figure of about 12,000 foreign fighters in Syria when it last published a similar study in June 2014.

The Soufan Group added that between 20 and 30% of foreign fighters were returning to their home countries, creating major challenges for domestic security agencies as Isis in particular looks to carry out an increasing number of attacks overseas.

So, despite the JSOC, air strike, and drone-powered campaign to, depending on your perspective, either rip out terrorism at its roots or retire embarrassing assets, I’m guesstimating here, the number of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq today are four to five times as many as were present at any single time in Afghanistan during the anti-Soviet effort, or in Iraq during the campaign against the US.

That’s a lot of fighters, even assuming there’s a large percentage of hapless cannon fodder, which is apparently ISIS’ preferred use for the inexperienced enthusiasts it recruits wholesale through local scouts and the Internet, as these purported recollections of a disgruntled Dagestani jihadi on the Chechens in Syria website indicate.

And note, when Breedlove talks about fighters leaving Syria, they aren’t necessarily leaving in body bags. Globally, we’re not seeing a measurable reduction in the number of Islamist fighters. They’re just going home or, if they can’t go home, they’re ending up in other more hospitable jurisdictions.

Like Libya!

The U.S. now estimates that the number of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria has decreased to between 19,000 and 25,000 resulting from battlefield deaths and a reduced flow of foreign fighters into Syria. Yet, as ISIS numbers have been reduced in Iraq and Syria, they have increased in Libya to 5,000 where ISIS has seen an increased flow of foreign fighters, U.S. officials said today.

The number of ISIS fighters in Libya was previously estimated at 2,000 to 3,000, the official said, speculating that there might be a correlation between the new ISIS estimates in Iraq/Syria and Libya as it’s getting harder for foreign fighters to get into Syria and that they may be diverting to Libya as a result.

Libyan fighters allied with ISIS already went back to Libya to establish a beachhead for the organization a couple years ago in the Islamists’ stomping grounds of Benghazi and Derna. Now that things in Syria and Iraq are, to put it mildly, going rather poorly for Islamist fighters, more of them are headed off to Libya, allegedly with assistance from Turkey and the Gulf States.

It’s not just footsoldiers looking for a Libyan hidey-hole.

On February 11, 2016, the Daily Mail announced that Omar al-Shishani, the Chechen in charge of ISIS’ military operations, had apparently arrived in Libya in a 14 car convoy. So he can carry on the Afghan/Chechen/Iraq & Syria tradition to a new generation of conflicts in North Africa!

And not only that, Abdelhakim Belhadj—the strongman we shipped to Syria because he was too much of a handful for the civilian government in Tripoli–is back! Belhadj is a military mainstay of the General National Congress (GNC) the faction holding down the Tripoli end of a pretty much de facto partitioned Libya.

In more news of the burgeoning Libya Islamist franchise, Al Jazeera, which indefatigably stooged for Qatar-backed Islamists in Libya during the anti-Qaddafi operation, reported that Qaddafi’s home town of Sirte is now in the hands of ISIS, specifically in the hands of foreign fighters predominantly from North Africa. So it looks like ISIS has ported its “recruit in bulk” strategy for foreign fighters out of Syria and into the more favorable environment of Libya.

America’s swing at neutralizing Libyan militants through a “fight abroad” program in Syria looks like a spectacular screwup.

Clearly, with the US & NATO apparently short both on will and capable proxies, let alone an effective Libyan army, and without an effective and anxious neighbor like Iran (Egypt apparently unwilling or unable to try to set things right), Libya has emerged as a haven for Islamist fighters.

Instead of disappearing into the maw of the Syrian conflict, our Libyan Islamist proxies are coming home, and bringing a lot of new buddies to operate in the Libyan chaos that was somehow supposed to get fixed while they were gone.

The US botched execution of two simultaneous regime change gambits has fostered the creation of a durable colony of Islamist fighters in what used to be Libya, one that looks uniquely dangerous and difficult for the US to contain or eradicate.

Libya, thanks to the grim dynamics of Islamic insurgency, Gulf cupidity, and Western malign neglect, has become established as the key host and supplier and resupplier and recruiter of transnational fighters and the numbers are increasing. It’s not just a full circle for Hillary Clinton, it’s an escalating spiral, one that she probably doesn’t feel like celebrating.

The US and NATO are anxiously trying to come up with a plan to neutralize Islamist fighters in Libya, without explaining to the public or itself how it’s going to do that with the complete absence of a national government and functioning army and without putting foreign boots on the ground—and avoid admitting that the deposition of Qaddafi created a worse crisis than the one we were allegedly trying to resolve.


But the consequences of this particular fiasco are more than the usual litany of US failure, mismanagement of murderous proxies, well-concealed embarrassment, and massive loss of local life that blots the US Middle East copybook like a trail of blood spatter.

In a piece of bad luck that Secretary Clinton perhaps didn’t consider while blithely imploding Libya, Libya happens to be in a neighborhood of rickety regimes ill-equipped to handle a failed state swarming with professional Islamist militants in their midst.

Nowadays Libya-wise we get maps that look like this as the militants, conveniently and centrally located in the heart of Muslim Africa, not only pitch in to fight the civil war against Tripoli-based Islamists and the Qaddafi-regime retreads that the US is now vainly hoping will restore order, but also pursue mischief in North Africa:



Let’s number some interesting consequences that conventional reporting/think tankers appear rather loath to confront, largely because the problem grew out of the morally and strategically lazy reliance on arm’s length Islamist fighters to do the geopolitical dirty work from Afghanistan onward—and the inability to permanently retire them.

First, there is a sizable cadre of transnational Islamist fighters.

Second, the cadre appears to get bigger with every conflict.

Third, the disruption this cadre causes looks to become bigger and bigger as it feeds on fresh conflicts.

Fourth, thanks to the irresponsible decision to go regime change on the cheap simultaneously in Libya and Syria using Islamist assets, we seem to have a deadly dynamic where the Islamists can trade off between Middle Eastern and North African havens/battlegrounds. Containment is a fantasy; we are looking at chasing militants over multiple fronts in a number of failed/failing/distressed states.

Fifth, the will is lacking to engage in a truly ugly no holds barred hemispheric war to eradicate this cadre. On one end of the spectrum, you’ve got sponsors quite rightly terrified that their proxies will come home and turn on them (and probably covertly throwing money at them to keep them happy and their activities directed elsewhere); on the other, you’ve got a global hegemon loath to put “boots on the ground”.

Sixth, an understandable instinct is to kick the can down the road, i.e. hope/help the fighters get distracted by some remote conflict, even though it feeds the beast and lets the problem grow bigger.

Kicking the can into Libya is the worst possible strategy if anybody’s serious about trying to eliminate Islamist fighters as a global security priority. Who’s gonna slug it out on behalf of the secular/national forces? General Haftar, currently running some regime in Tobruk with one foot in Egypt? The GCC, hopelessly bogged down in Yemen? The US, EU, and NATO, who want to pretend Libya is roadkill in the rear view mirror and not a T. Rex of Islamist fighters gaining on the West?

I have a terrible feeling that Muslim Africa is the next region to get mauled. The inevitable strategic brainwave is to quietly bomb & drone the cr*p out of Libya, but even if the Islamist fighters are put on the defensive, they’ll just slop over into a neighboring vulnerable at risk-state. Libya borders on six such states. That might be too big a mess even for Africom to want to dip its boot in.

I wonder if US strategists appreciate the fact that it was only thanks to the resolve, unity, and national capacity of Iran that the heart of the Middle East is experiencing even a modicum of stabilization after two US-sponsored sh*t shows. Unfortunately, there’s no Iran down by Libya, there’s just Egypt. Good luck with that.

Seventh, no need to wonder why PRC is paranoid about Xinjiang. I’m sure there are natsec geniuses in a number of Western capitals (I’ll include Ankara in the category) who think pumping some fighters—including Uyghur formations Erdogan had thoughtfully inserted into northern Syria–into Afpak/Central Asia would be the best way to ease their local pressure & put some heat on the PRC. The PRC’s response will be to pave the entire AR if necessary to contain the problem, instead of letting it spin out of control as the US did in MENA. Anybody, whether of the cynical realist, romantic nationalist, Islamist enthusiast, or sentimental people-gotta-be free persuasion, who yearns for an Islamist-tinged rebellion in Xinjiang is criminally irresponsible. In my opinion.

We talk about the litany of US failure in Iraq under George W. Bush as a lost decade of catastrophe, with good reason.

But more and more it looks like the US adventure in Libya was a disaster with even more dire global consequences. It not only ruined that country; it turned Islamist fighters into a metastasizing transnational problem that will destabilize Africa and torment the world for at least another decade.

I don’t know how actively the United States supported the export of Libyan fighters to Syria, and if and how much it wrung its hands as the GCC and Turkey ran the ratline. It appears that the Obama administration did not share Turkey and the GCC’s enthusiasm for inflating the number of local and foreign forces inside Syria and Iraq as a recipe for victory. Judging by news reports, ISIS came up with the idea of mass recruiting of low quality jihadi wannabes in bulk on its own.

But as the movement of transnational Islamist fighters enters its fifth generation stage in North Africa, it looks like the key mistake was destroying the Libyan state, putting nothing in its place, and allowing it to be colonized by a growing number of Islamist fighters.

And Hillary owns that.

(Republished from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Hillary Clinton, Libya 
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  1. Rehmat says:

    Dear Lee, you should be thanking French ‘Jewish philosopher’ Bernard-Henri Levy for destroying Libya rather than Hillary Clinton.

    In November 2011, Bernard-Henri Levy told a meeting of country’s powerful Jewish Lobby (CRIF) that he convinced French president Nicolas Sarkozy to invade Libya as Qaddafi had to be removed because he became a threat to Israel.

    “What I have done all these months, I did as a Jew. And like all the Jews of the world, I was worried. Despite legitimate anxiety is an uprising to be welcomed with favor, we were dealing with one of the worst enemy of Israel,” said Levy.

    “Three states that were independent and considered enemy states by Israel and many US policy-makers and influential – Iraq, Libya and Syria – have been made into failed states and may be in the process of dismemberment,” says Edward S. Herman, political economy analyst, February 27, 2016.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
    , @dahoit
  2. utu says:

    “George W. Bush destroyed the state and army of Iraq, but…” Mr. Lee, what is this “but” for? But if you insist on buts I would say that Hillary destroyed Libya for a small fraction of money it took Bush to destroy Iraq. On the other hand Bush did it in full support of American people while Hillary did it in kind of sneaky way and was able to hid behind Sarkozy. So as far the pottery barn rule is concerned all Americans are more responsible for Iraq than for Libya as most of them even did not notice what was going on in Libya. Still these are minor differences that only matter in the unjust world. If the world was just Hillary, Bush and Obama and many many other Americans should all be taken to the Hague court.

  3. As this documents, Hillary went ahead knowing the likely consequences. The status of being a war criminal should be a disqualification rather than a qualification to act as US president.

  4. @Rehmat

    One thing to say go your comment….. What else is new? They always attempt to do things like this. Gaddafi was great for his country. And he also stopped the flow of immigrants into Europe. He was killed because he was going to create a gold backed currency called the Dinar. He was killed by NATO. Of course our good friend Shillary was involved.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @Marcus
  5. Greg Bacon says: • Website

    Trillions and trillions spent destroying ME and African nations so banksters can loot their gold and Israel can expand her borders.

    Back home, our infrastructure is going to hell, with roads, bridges, drinking water and sewer pipes, the electrical grid and outdated public schools and nuke plants combine to make the USA look like some 3rd world backwater country with an ‘El Presidente’ in the WH. (And you thought that funny taste in your drinking water was from lead?)
    But we’re ‘exceptional’ and lustily cheer anytime the Pentagon starts smashing some nation we have to search for on the Internet, since we’re clueless about who were currently killing.

    There can be NO economic recovery without a modern infrastructure in place.

    What ‘gifts’ we’re giving to our kids; a broken country, saddled with a mountain of debt and a gutted Bill of Rights.

  6. Rehmat says:

    On October 7, 2015, Abdallah Schleifer (Zionist Jew), posted an article at Al-Arabia claiming that chaos and bloodshed in the post-Qaddafi Libya can only be resolved by bringing back the good-old pro-Israel Senussi ‘dynasty.

    On February 24, 2016, Declan Walsh, Jew York Times’ Cairo bureau chief repeated the same proposal to bring the oil-rich Muslim majority Libya, destroyed for Israel a few years ago. He is the dude who discovered the only Jew in Karachi.

    In 2011, the original NATO plan called for bringing Prince Mohammad al-Senussi to power. Washington had also chosen as the flag of the Color Revolution that of former King Muhammad Idris al-Senussi (died 1983), a well-known collaborator of Western colonial powers.

    In January 2014, Libya’s self-declared eastern government of Cyrenaica hired a Montreal-based Iranian Jew lobbyist Ari Ben-Menashe to help it sell the region’s oil….

  7. Giuseppe says:

    What a context you have provided not only for the trajectory of US geopolitical trade in jihadis since Kissinger and Brzezinski, but also for Hillary’s levitous parody of Caesar, “We came, we saw, he died.”

  8. @RaceRealist88

    NATO is calling the shots. Yeah, that’s right … that’s the ticket.

    Hillary should be sent to the Hague if only for her crass “We came, we saw, he died!” cackle, which was an explicit admission of complicity in whacking the leader of a sovereign state.

    • Replies: @Ivy
  9. To me, the article is less an indictment of Hillary Clinton, although it certainly paints her in a bad picture, than an indication that the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment is incapable of thinking strategically in the Middle East/North Africa. Whatever the U.S. does seems always to have undesirable consequences. North Africans and Middle Easterners just don’t think the same way that we do! Maybe British colonialists could play one side off against the other indefinitely, but the U.S. can’t–maybe idealism always gets in the way, I don’t know.

    The best course of action would be to confess past errors, confront present incompetence and withdraw from future involvement. These people are entirely capable of killing each other without U.S. assistance or involvement.

    • Replies: @Rurik
    , @dahoit
  10. annamaria says:

    “…the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment is incapable of thinking strategically in the Middle East/North Africa.”
    Actually, the blueprint for achieving the current mess in the Middle East – the Yinon Plan – is quite clear and far-reaching. It is helpful to think about the US as a host for some vicious parasitoid using the resources of the much larger organism

    • Replies: @Sherman
  11. Sherman says:

    You left out the term “ziocon”.

    You usually like using that intellectual term.

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @dahoit
  12. Rurik says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment is incapable of thinking strategically in the Middle East/North Africa. Whatever the U.S. does seems always to have undesirable consequences

    Undesirable for you and me perhaps, but not for the people who determine policy. The Zionists and their stooges inside the US gov want the Arab and Persian countries of the Middle East to suffer instability and strife, death and misery. It’s considered good for Israel when Iraq is a dystopian hell on earth of terrorism and mayhem. When Libya has descended into some kind of ninth circle of horrors. When Syria is so racked by tribal hatreds and blood-lust that Israel can steal the Golan Heights.

    When these countries are viable states with functioning economies and some measure of stability, they’re able to put up some resistance to the ravages of the drooling fiend in Tel Aviv. So they send in their stupid, mindless golem- the US military to cut the head off the state, and turn the realities on the ground into some version of their stone age, Old Testament religious slaughter-fest.

    This is all deliberate. Isn’t that all obvious by now?

    These people are entirely capable of killing each other without U.S. assistance or involvement.

    ahh but they weren’t doing it! Libya was stable and thriving. Iraq too. Same with Syria. How can you steal other people’s land when they have functioning governments- was the problem. Today, problem solved!

    (in case there are any geopolitical neophytes here, Israel has been drilling for oil on land it does not own – the Golan Heights – which is universally recognized internationally as the property of Syria. This land is potentially valuable for it’s oil, among other things, and Israel would like to steal it from Syria and claim it as their own. If Israel, whom the US government has been obedient to for decades now, can get the US to destroy Syria the way they got the US to destroy Iraq (and other nations of the region), then Israel is certain to slaughter and/or expel the Syrian citizens still there and lay claim to this land. This is one of the major motivations for the intrigues that are behind the deliberate destruction of Syria today)

    • Replies: @skrik
    , @tbraton
  13. AG says:

    In Chinese history, it was always rebel armies fighting each other for final control after fall of central government. The final winner almost never was one that overthrow central government. Before the fall of dynasty (or central government), all rebel armies were allies in their common goal of overthrowing central government. Once their common enemy gone, they turn the fight on each other in the kill of hill style of struggle.

    In most recent history, Kuomintang rebel overthrown Qing dynasty only lead to numerous warlords fighting each other for final ruling power. Yet, communist party emerged as final winner for the struggle.

    Interesting enough, USA idea of exporting democracy to overthrow dictator government always ends up with extremist political group winning. Society always evolved against people original wishful thinking.

  14. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Hillary Clinton is a stupid, incompetent person who wrecks whatever she touches and seems to get a sadistic thrill out of seeing people get harmed. It’s been reported that the acts of violence that occurred during the Bill Clinton years, such as bombing the Balkans or massacring the people at Waco, were instigated and egged on by her. Julian Assange, an expert on her and one who has read thousands of her cables, stated that a vote for her would be a “vote for stupid, endless war”, that she “gets an unseemly emotional rush out of killing people” and has “increased terrorism, killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians”. This says quite a bit.
    Jihadism is pretty much a movement that’s taken off and hasn’t been confined by borders or national identities, coming out of the vast world of Sunni Islam. Recruits die and are replaced by up-and-coming volunteers. It was the height of short-sightedness to encourage this for short term advantage against those the US did not like such as the Russians, Khaddafi, Assad and others. As always people are too clever for their own good and their attempts at playing Machiavelli usually boomerang. We’re seeing the results of that now.

  15. Marcus says:

    Libya was the wealthiest country in Africa per capita, obviously not saying much, but it was relatively stable as well.

    • Replies: @RaceRealist88
  16. skrik says:

    G’day; nice comment. Rurik “drooling fiend in Tel Aviv. So they send in their stupid, mindless golem- the US military” then annamarina: “some vicious parasitoid,” me: Not ‘some,’ but a particular one; from Sherman: “ziocons,” then again from me; with modus operandi of lying, cheating and murdering for spoil.

    In the US, the parasitoid amounts to less that 2.5%, in the world, ~0.2%. In the ~50 years following Herzl’s 1st Zionist Congress, the ziocons premeditated, then with Plan Dalet etc., they descended into ‘supreme international criminality,’ and so it continues, ~68+ years down the bloody track. The parasitoids seem to infest ‘Western democracies’ and especially so the so-called ‘leaders,’ in actual fact, tyrants.

    Now, the ‘masses,’ the 99%, 1984’s proles, are dumbed-down to the point of total impotence (“Der, I didn’t think”), thanks, but “No, thanks!” to the ‘Bernays haze,’ but (posit:) There must be a rump, a remnant, some number of decent thinkers who a) can see what’s happening and know it’s wrong, but b) remain silent. Q: Why?

    • Replies: @Rurik
  17. Rurik says:

    Hey skrik, G’day to you too

    ‘supreme international criminality,’ … The parasitoids seem to infest ‘Western democracies’

    it began in earnest about 100 years ago, when US pres Wilson handed the international Jewish banking cabal the keys to the US treasury- when he authorized their central banking scheme; the Federal Reserve Bank- that allowed them to consolidate total control over the organs of our society. They simply used their money machine to buy up the media and politicians and the results have been endless wars and cultural rot.

    can see what’s happening and know it’s wrong, but b) remain silent. Q: Why?

    for the same reasons as it happens in down under and everywhere else. Bovine apathy. People at survival mentality. The elites are those opportunists that always are a certain percentage of a nation who’re willing to betray their own for personal gain.

    The good news is that there appears to be a man on the political stage and a general awakening of the proles that is threatening the 2%s homicidal death-grip on the Western world. He even said we need to audit the Fed. This is the kind of talk that is causing them to lose their collective bladder, (pardon the vulgarity). But that’s how it seems to me ; )

    He called the war on Iraq a lie, and he wants to be friends with Putin. There is much angst in certain circles today.

    dare I say.. there is hope?

    • Replies: @skrik
    , @dahoit
  18. Forests and trees? The Empire crushed Gaddafi because he was maintaining order and repressing the rise of Imperial mercenaries in Libya. Same same with Saddam Hussein. Likewise Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

    None of the individual imperial war crimes in the Middle East and North Africa are better or worse than others. Hillary is no better or worse than her husband or Dubya or Obama. They are all employed and enriched by war profiteers. Washington created the terrorists. Washington is the state sponsor of terrorism. Hillary and all of the Republican candidates except Trump are mass murder wannabees.

  19. Agent76 says:

    General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years

    “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

  20. tbraton says:

    “On February 11, 2016, the Daily Mail announced that Omar al-Shishani, the Chechen in charge of ISIS’ military operations, had apparently arrived in Libya in a 14 car convoy. ”

    From whence did that “14-car convoy” come, and why wasn’t it stopped? (I clicked on the link to the article, but it wouldn’t open.) If that doesn’t prove that the U.S. is working hand-in-glove with ISIS, I don’t know what proof would be necessary. Either the U.S. or one of its allies could have taken out the entire convoy with one plane before it completed its journey. The fact that it wasn’t speaks volumes.

    • Replies: @dahoit
  21. DaveE says:

    I must admit, time has a way of answering questions. When we demolished Libya, the question I couldn’t get out of my head was, “Why would the zionists (Jews, whatever) take out one of their own, i.e. Gadaffi, who had served them so well for over 30 years?”

    Seems pretty damn obvious now. a.) Battlefield training for the mercenary army to take out Syria b.) they didn’t want a Libyan National Bank actually based in Libya and c.) they were getting tired of Gadaffi mouthing off to the Big Bosses in Tel Aviv.

    Mobsters take out their own all the time if they outlive their utility.

  22. annamaria says:

    Imagine that instead of Fallujah the location for using the depleted uranium was the state of Israel or some western European country.
    Should not the civilized international community be alarmed by the enormity of the war crime? And should not the cheerleaders for and perpetrators of the Iraq War be persecuted for the crimes against humanity? Bush, Blair, Cheney, Rice, Woolsey, Wolfowitz, Kristol, Perle, Frum, Feith, the Kagans…
    It seems that you are trying to imply that merely noticing the inordinate presence of Israel-firsters among the architects of the Iraq War makes a person expose his/her proclivity for anti-semitism. In short, reality has an anti-zionist bias when people discuss the genesis and consequences of the Iraq war. Look again at the images of the deformed babies (above). Does the desired (and achieved) destabilization of the Middle East worth this?

  23. tbraton says:

    “(in case there are any geopolitical neophytes here, Israel has been drilling for oil on land it does not own – the Golan Heights – which is universally recognized internationally as the property of Syria. ”

    The astounding thing, Rurik, is that an investment group comprised of many influential Americans (such as one Rupert Murdoch) that is getting part of the action. Astounding. Is that legal for Americans to invest in an area that the U.S. government has declared is illegally occupied by Israel from the very start?

    • Replies: @Rurik
  24. skrik says:

    Err, with all due respect, could that be a ‘mistaken’ jpg URL?

    IF I google: audit the Fed war on Iraq a lie friends with Putin Trump OR Kristol

    THEN I get this as 1st hit:

    Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “It is so important to audit The Federal ……/donald_j_trump_on_twitter_it_is_so_important_to/

    AND on the 1st page of hits, 1 * Kristol and 31 * Trump.

    Perhaps you meant:

    But in any case, “Hopey-changey” broke as good as all promises, and murders by drone, say.

    What would prevent *any* representative from same betrayal, then there’s the “JFK-sanction?”

    • Replies: @Rurik
  25. Dr. X says:

    Philosophical question: If a war happens in the desert, and Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink don’t protest it, did it really happen?

  26. edNels [AKA "geoshmoe"] says:

    […”so “let’s make sure there’s a next time”.
    However, it turns out that Islamic fighters are a bit like the national debt. They’re almost impossible to retire, and the easiest solution is to roll them over into another conflict and, in the process, create more Islamic fighters.
    In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if one reason Islamist fighters have wreaked havoc all over the Eastern Hemisphere in the last quarter century is their patrons can’t figure out any endgame for them other than shipping them off to another conflict.”]

    Could it happen, that the inside leaders; point men, liaisons etc. of ”Islamist contingents” have become blackmailers, down the line, of their bosses? In ways that put them in complete… ”shadow” control of, shadow government, or, the shoe, mysteriously got on the wrong foot. The Tail Wags the Dog!
    So sorry American tax payers, and… humanity!

    I mean, US policy, the pathetic rhetoric, the Lameness! no sensible recourse even hinted at, only shadiness, trickiness, subterfuge, (nailbiting!) Seems to just shout out: FEAR.
    These boisterous, clever, bellicose, narcissists, usually aren’t diffident about much, but can’t work their way out of this bag they got into.
    Would the uncontested Hegemon the presumptive ”Adult in the Room”, be incapable of that? or is he compromised?

    No patch work of incompetent flunkies, can remove that question… !… ?

    xcerpt to this aspect of it:

    […(the Libyan dialect is intelligible to the European descendants of Moroccan and Algerian immigrants who form the backbone of the radical Islamic groups in France and Belgium). Its Euro-alumni formed the core of the group that perpetrated the Paris outrage in November 2015.
    How’s that for blowback?]

    That conceivably, as a tiny message of what may hang overhead.
    Magnify that potential by unrestrained population reengineering now underway worldwide.

  27. Excellent article.

    The elephant in the room is, of course, that the US is separated from the World Island by two giant oceans. 9/11 regardless, the real threat from radical Islam to the US will always be relatively very low. This makes it very understandable that they would use them as pawns to occupy the attention of any potential hostile hegemons in Eurasia.

    • Agree: Stephen R. Diamond
    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @NoseytheDuke
  28. Ivy says:
    @The Alarmist

    Hillary’s new Royal We media blitz, playing out until November:

    “We came, we saw, we got indicted”

    • Replies: @RobinG
  29. Rurik says:

    Astounding. Is that legal for Americans to invest in an area that the U.S. government has declared is illegally occupied by Israel from the very start?

    yep tbraton,

    it is astounding. and it goes to the heart of all these wars, and the devil’s spawn who’re foisting them. You probably know all of this, but for anyone out there that doesn’t already know why the US is destabilizing all these countries and creating all this death and misery, here you go…

    U.S. energy company Genie Energy Ltd. (NYSE:GNE) jolted almost 20% on the New York Stock Exchange today as the company announced it has found oil in the southern Golan Heights, an Israeli-occupied and disputed territory in southern Syria.

    Genie Energy’s Strategic advisory board is composed of: Dick Cheney (former vice president of the United States), Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, Rupert Murdoch (media mogul and chairman of News Corp), James Woolsey (former CIA director), Larry Summers (former head of the US Treasury), and Bill Richardson, an ex-ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary.[2]

    aren’t you glad the US is smashing country after country so Israel can steal some land? And some international super-criminals can get even wealthier?

    and it’s all done out in the open in blatant violation of every known international law, not to mention US laws. And the media is silent. And the evangelicals are silent because they think Jesus is going to rapture them if they allow Cheney and Obama to kill enough Palestinian Christians.

    Trump in 16

  30. Rurik says:

    it was a picture of little Billy Kristol skrik, looking all angst ridden

    there’s a lot of people unhappy about Trump’s potential to end the wars, the poor dears

    • Replies: @annamaria
  31. annamaria says:

    The New-York ladies of Jewish persuasion are livid about Trump. One wonders why… And here is more: “Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims. … The State of Israel respects all religion and strictly adheres to the rights of all its citizens.” Wei. Suddenly the word “islamofascist” has disappeared from Israelis’ discourse.

    • Replies: @dahoit
  32. The PRC’s response will be to pave the entire AR if necessary to contain the problem, instead of letting it spin out of control as the US did in MENA.

    What is “AR”?

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  33. RobinG says:

    “We came, we saw, we got indicted

    ………………..We wish!

  34. MarkinLA says:
    @Stephen R. Diamond

    It’s called the Uyghur Autonomous Region in maps of China so I would guess that is what the AR means.

  35. @Marcus

    I seem to remember that Gaddafi wanted to create an African Union. Am I remembering correctly?

  36. Agent76 says:

    Mar 11, 2015 Prof. Michel Chossudovsky: Terrorism is Made in the USA.

    Dr. Chossudovsky said terrorism is made in the US and that terrorists are not the product of the Muslim world. Prominent academic and author Dr Michel Chossudovsky warned that the so-called war on terrorism is a front to propagate America’s global hegemony and create a New World Order.

  37. dahoit says:

    We’ll worry about our goddamn liars,let the French worry about theirs.
    Actually,she is a mediocre bubblehead from my perspective,but evil and corrupt to the core.Stop defending her.
    Go Trump.

  38. dahoit says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Pathetic.They weren’t killing each other prior to 1948.Somebody sprinkled the Zionist dust of divide and conquer over the area.

  39. dahoit says:

    How about ziomonsters?Make you happy Allen?
    Gotta call it as I see it.I will grant a lot of pos Americans are ogres too,joined at the hip with the aforementioned.

  40. dahoit says:

    The bastards are working overtime to deny Trump the nomination.
    Same with Sanders,the fix is in for the hell bitch.

  41. dahoit says:

    Yes,a repeated question?How do they get there from Syria?Sisi gives them a pass?
    Israeli subs.

  42. dahoit says:

    The Zionists are so corrupt,they have absolutely no sense of shame,or honor.
    Yahoo snubbed Australia,and now the WH.
    We are too radical in our hatred of Islam.sheesh.triple sheesh.
    Whom the gods destroy,they first make mad.

    • Replies: @RobinG
  43. RobinG says:

    Our presstitutes headline the story “Yahu turns down invitation”…but in the text we see that Israel asked for the meeting, but when the WH said, OK how about this day, Bibi declined, said he wasn’t coming at all.

    Well, this is terrific news, don’t you think? The proposed date would have coincided with the AIPAC annual conference (March 20-22) in DC. So if Yahu isn’t coming, that means he won’t be doing his usual strut at the AIPAC conference.

    BTW, if you (anybody) is near DC, there will be a big protest. Alison Weir will be there, and Phil Giraldi and our fledgling group, LIBERTY from the LOBBY. Join us (and help carry our banner, maybe).
    National March on Washington D.C. to Support Palestine

  44. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    The elephant in the room is, of course, that the US is separated from the World Island by two giant oceans. 9/11 regardless, the real threat from radical Islam to the US will always be relatively very low. This makes it very understandable that they would use them as pawns to occupy the attention of any potential hostile hegemons in Eurasia.

    Yes, unfortunately the US is now in the role of an arsonist setting other people’s homes on fire, convinced the flames will never jump over to itself. It’s willing to wreck half the planet for it’s own gain and whatever profit can be squeezed out of it. This is why the US is the enemy of the entire rest of the world.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  45. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    A simple person can have an ‘eye-opening’ experience in the short time it takes to read Moammar Gaddafi’s little Green Book. It’s subtitle being ‘The Solution to the Problems with Democracy’. Interestingly, it’s debut in 1979 coincides with the introduction of green ‘smokescreen’ sub-topics (e.g. greenpeace, green energy, even ‘Kermet’ and demonization of Gaddafi/Libyans) and their insertion into western pop culture.

    Seek the truth. There is no God higher than truth.

    Freedom to the illegally occupied Libyan Jamahiriya! Green Libya is Free Libya!

  46. annamaria says:

    “…the US is now in the role of an arsonist setting other people’s homes on fire, convinced the flames will never jump over to itself.”
    The expensive inflaming deeds by the arsonist have brought him into a situation when his house could be endangered for some long-distance petards. Hence some recent sings of sane reasoning (though still minuscule) on the side of the arsonist.

  47. Sam J. says:

    This is great article and ties together a lot of threads.

    As many have noted you say the Americans were responsible for this but a lot of people know the Jews run the US and this specific policy. I wonder if the best plan of action for the US is to just remove ourselves all together from the equation and let the Israeli’s be consumed by their meddling.

  48. @Anatoly Karlin

    What causes you to believe that radical Islam was involved in 9/11?

  49. Kiza says:

    Yes, this is an excellent article, one of the best I have read in the last couple of months. Peter writes well plus he appears to have perused someone’s PhD thesis as the basis of this article.

    It is hard not to turn into a deep cynic after fallowing the USraeli shenanigans.

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