The New American
by Alex Newman
When the Obama administration and NATO, acting under the purported “authority” of a United Nations resolution, backed al-Qaeda-linked jihadist rebels and helped overthrow the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, a former U.S. terror-war ally, Libya was supposed to have been “liberated.” Instead, it spiraled into deeper and bloodier civil war, and has now essentially become a terror state — with groups ranging from the Islamic State (ISIS) to al-Qaeda openly roaming the capital and operating training centers across large swaths of the nation under their control. Libya today, following what analysts and even former U.S. generals described as Obama “switching sides” in the terror war, also features multiple self-styled “governments” battling each other for control over the ruins and traumatized survivors. Amid the chaos, it has become open season on Christians and journalists, too.
Across Libya, there are myriad warring factions, tribal groups, terrorist organizations, self-declared “authorities,” criminal gangs, and more competing for power. According to analysts, though, the most powerful forces can be broadly classified into two opposing camps. Making up the first faction are jihadists under the “Libyan Dawn” umbrella, such as those supported by the Obama administration during the war on Gadhafi — al-Qaeda-related organizations, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, their affiliates, and others. It currently controls the capital, Tripoli, as well as other major cities across Libya. On the other side are less-hardline Islamists and more secular forces organized under the “Libyan Dignity” banner. Each loose alliance claims to be the “legitimate” regime and reportedly has the backing of various foreign powers as they battle each other for control.
In an effort to elicit support from the “international community” — really the governments and dictatorships involved with the UN, and the UN itself — one of Libya’s competing “prime ministers,” Abdullah al-Thani, warned that Islamist terrorists could soon overrun the whole nation if his government does not receive more foreign assistance. “The international community must co-operate with Libya to put an end to extremism and terrorism and help government institutions,” al-Thani declared to AFP from his would-be government’s headquarters in the eastern Libyan city Al-Baida, seeking, among other measures, an end to the arms embargo on Libya. The UN “dictators club” reportedly recognizes his government as the legitimate regime in Libya, though his opponents accuse him of trying to restore the remnants of the Gadhafi regime to power.
Referring to the Obama administration’s supposed “anti-ISIS” coalition (that both Vice President Joe Biden and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey have admitted was funding and supporting ISIS), Thani added, “The international community classified Ansar al-Sharia as a terrorist organization and it is leading an international coalition to crush such groups in Iraq and Syria.” “But in Libya, the government and armed forces are battling these groups alone, without any support from the international community. We are afraid that the groups that are in Syria and Iraq will infiltrate Libya if they [coalition forces] tighten the noose around them there.”
Of course, in the real world, ISIS and other terror groups are already all over Libya, and have been since it became a safe-haven and regional arms bazaar for Islamic terrorists following Obama’s unconstitutional “regime change” plot. The self-styled Islamist government occupying Tripoli, for example, is closely tied to Ansar al-Sharia, according to news reports. Last month, at a rally held in the jihadist-controlled Libyan city of Derna, commanders from the al-Qaeda-linked group publicly declared their allegiance to ISIS. The city in question, with a population of about 100,000, was reportedly taken over by ISIS and its cohorts late last year, along with parts of Benghazi, where the Obama administration’s alleged gun-running-to-jihadists plot resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador and other Americans.
Another ironic but predictable occurrence in Libya after being targeted for “regime change” by Obama and the UN has been the establishment of ISIS terror-training camps that the U.S. government admittedly knows about. Last month, U.S. Army General David Rodriguez, who leads the U.S. military’s “Africa Command,” even told reporters about the camps at a Pentagon briefing: “[ISIS] has begun its efforts over in the east [of Libya] to introduce some people over there.” He added, “But we’ll have to just continue to monitor and watch that carefully in the future to see what happens or whether it grows on unabated.” Downplaying the ISIS camps in Libya as “small and nascent,” the general claimed they were “mainly about people coming for training and logistics support.”
News reports and photographic evidence, however, suggest that ISIS power in Libya today extends well beyond some “small” terrorist-training camps. Just last week, Libyan newspaper Al-Awsat published pictures showing what was described as ISIS operatives running wild in the capital city of Tripoli — raiding businesses, marching, and riding around in pick-up trucks on “patrols,” while waving the ISIS flag, and more. Other reports in Middle Eastern and international media outlets declared that whole cities and towns were under ISIS control, or under the rule of ISIS allies. In fact, the escalating chaos and the dizzying array of warring factions has become so complex that virtually nobody even seems to have a firm grasp on what is really happening in Libya today.
One fact is clear, however: Islamic extremists in Libya, backed by Obama and his allies with arms and air support just a few years ago against “apopstate” Gadhafi, are largely free to run wild. Just last week, ISIS-aligned jihadists released photographs and claimed responsibility for abducting almost two dozen Egyptian Christians working in Libya, whom they referred to as “crusaders.” A few days before the mass kidnappings, Ansar al-Sharia, which declared its allegiance to ISIS last year, executed two Tunisian journalists reporting from Libya. Another ISIS affiliate in Southern Libya reportedly killed a dozen soldiers. Since the Obama- and al-Qaeda-backed overthrow of Gadhafi — as in Iraq and other nations where the U.S. government and the UN have intervened — persecution of Christians and other minorities has gone into overdrive.
Apparently never willing to learn a lesson from past horrors unleashed by U.S. government interventionism abroad, some fringe neo-con voices are once again calling for another round of American military involvement in Libya. Ironically, the neo-con interventionists are citing the bloody fruits of the Obama’s “responsibility to protect” interventionism as the excuse — even while trying to cover up the fact that Gadhafi, a brutal and wildly eccentric dictator, had been enlisted by the neocon George W. Bush administration in the endless global “terror war.” Gadhafi’s jihadist enemies, including al-Qaeda, once top targets in the U.S. government’s unending terror war, ultimately ended up supported by the Obama administration in its unconstitutional “regime change” machinations. Iraq and Syria, both targets of U.S. intervention, are suffering a similar fate, with innocent civilians, especially Christians, enduring the brunt of the horror.
Of course, Obama’s war on Libya was, by definition, and by Obama’s own definition, illegal and unconstitutional. Not only did the administration refuse to ask Congress for a declaration of war or even an illegitimate “authorization to use military force” — relying instead on a UN Security Council resolution that has no legitimate power to order U.S. forces into battle — then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly told lawmakers they would be ignored if they tried to stop the assault. Now, the fruits of the UN-declared and Obama-led war on a former U.S. terror-war ally are plain to see: Death, chaos, destruction, terrorism, a failed state, and wanton bloodshed. The American people should demand that their elected representatives hold those responsible for the mushrooming tragedy in Libya fully accountable — all the way up to the White House.