The Great Loon is long gone, but Libya continues to burn. The country is still awash in violence more than two years since NATO toppled the Qaddafi regime in 2011, and there’s no end in sight. A piece by Owen Jones over at the Guardian outlines Libya’s troubles:
Today’s Libya is overrun by militias and faces a deteriorating human rights situation, mounting chaos that is infecting other countries, growing internal splits, and even the threat of civil war. Only occasionally does this growing crisis creep into the headlines: like when an oil tanker is seized by rebellious militia; or when a British oil worker is shot dead while having a picnic; or when the country’s prime minister is kidnapped.
According to Amnesty International, the “mounting curbs on freedom of expression are threatening the rights Libyans sought to gain“. A repressive Gaddafi-era law has been amended to criminalise any insults to officials or the general national congress (the interim parliament). One journalist, Amara al-Khattabi, was put on trial for alleging corruption among judges. Satellite television stations deemed critical of the authorities have been banned, one station has been attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, and journalists have been assassinated. […]
Ominously, Libya’s chaos is spilling across the region. The country is awash with up to 15 million rifles and other weapons, and a report by the UN panel of experts this month found that “Libya has become a primary source of illicit weapons“. These arms are fuelling chaos in 14 countries, including Somalia, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Niger.
The piece is well worth reading in full.As ever, we can’t simply defeat the bad guy and ride off into the sunset. A newly volatile Libya is exporting violence to other states. To his credit, President Obama has sent special forces to Libya and elsewhere in north Africa; he hasn’t washed his hands of the region. But in the end, Libya’s descent into mayhem is the direct consequence of his administration’s ill-conceived and poorly executed foreign policy.