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Chaos in North Africa
The Libyan Afterparty Lingers On

The Supreme Court of Libya has dissolved the UN-backed, elected parliament, sending that country into deeper chaos. As the BBC reports:

The ruling was celebrated by militias occupying the capital Tripoli, who have set up an alternative parliament. […]

Abu Bkr-Bouiera added that the ruling was “baseless” and said it was “a step towards dividing the country”, which Libya’s parliament, elected in June, would not comply with.

Recent clashes forced the country’s parliament to move to Tobruk.

The groups that took control of the capital in August attempted to reinstate Libya’s previous parliament and appoint a parallel government, but this has not been recognised internationally.

Meanwhile, gunmen appear to have seized an important oil field in the country, according to Reuters:

It was unclear exactly what happened at the field, which at maximum capacity produces about 340,000 barrels per day. It is Libya’s biggest operational field, located in the remote south where rival tribes have clashed since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted three years ago.

The closure is a blow to government efforts to keep oil production isolated from the spreading chaos in the North African country, where two prime ministers, parliaments and army chiefs of staff compete for control.

The repercussions of this could extend well beyond Libya’s borders, as its oil production has been a significant factor in keeping prices at the low levels we have been seeing: Reuters reports that OPEC’s reported 800,000 barrel-per-day current output could be cut by almost a quarter by this closure.

When the United States announced its intervention in Libya it was supposed to be the ultimate demonstration of the President matching foreign-policy pragmatism with the idealism of democracy, human rights, and international law. The rationale for intervention was not American interests in the country or the region, but the “responsibility to protect” the people of Libya. It was supposed to be the antithesis of everything George W. Bush had done. It was, in the President’s words, supposed to be the perfect example of not doing “stupid stuff.”

We won’t get into the futile and tasteless accounting exercise of comparing the projected toll of the massacre that Qaddafi (allegedly) had been planning for Benghazi with the number of deaths that have resulted in the chaos since his fall. But it’s worth pointing out that Obama’s Libyan adventure has been, and continues to be, anything but a resounding success. Heckuva job.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    If you are suggesting that if America broke it, we bought it, I completely disagree. None of the nations dominated by the backward Islamic culture are our responsibility, nor should we do anything to help them. Let them take personal responsibility for their own country, and the poverty and squalor Islam culture condemns them too.

    • Andrew Allison

      I beg to differ. Having “successfully” overthrown Libya’s peace-keeper-in-chief, however unsavory he may have been, on the basis of a “responsibility to protect” the people of Libya, the US bears responsibility for the consequences. That said, our participation should be purely humanitarian.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Your point is a reasonable one, but I must disagree. Those actions that our government takes (presumably on our behalf, though often…and Libya is a good case…this isn’t always so) are in theory taken in the interest of the United States, this leaves us with no obligations, moral or otherwise, other than those we have accepted already.
        Would you suggest, for instance, that some moral obligation existed in the years following the end of the Korean war to rebuild the damage we caused? Or in Vietnam, for that matter? Lets be very clear, the rebuilding of Japan and Western Europe (it would have been Eastern Europe as well, had the Soviets permitted those states to accept Marshall plan aid) was done with a keen sense of our own self-interest in mind, first and foremost. This was as it should be…
        I have always been a believer in the adage that ‘rubble don’t make trouble’, and this is particularly valid in the various third world pestholes that we find ourselves engaged in at this time. Destroy the source of the problem, rinse and repeat as necessary. If some individuals or NGOs want to clean up the mess, that is nice for them, but why this should be a general obligation is simply not clear.
        Had the US simply destroyed Saddam’s regime and then left, precisely what would be different (other than much treasure not spent and many good lives not lost or damaged) than what has come to pass? Afghanistan even more so, and Libya perhaps most of all. Bomb them flat, and let them sort it out themselves. Perhaps over time they might even learn that screwing with us is a very, very bad idea.
        Not a nice point of view, I know, but a practical one

        • Andrew Allison

          I didn’t suggest that it was a general obligation. In the case of Libya, we simply didn’t approve of the (admittedly brutal) leader of the country. The action was not in the national interest (Gaddafi was no threat to the US) and has resulted the virtual destruction of the country. There’s no analogy with Korea or Vietnam, where we were a) involved at the behest of the governments, and b) had a national interest in preventing the spread of Communism. WRT Iraq, the question is not whether things would have been any different if we had destroyed Saddam’s regime and left, but whether they would be different if we had not intervened. I think an argument could be made that it was in the national interest to engage the Taliban in Afghanistan, we just did a lousy job of it and if not gave birth to, at least greatly strengthened al-Qaeda. The subject, however, is Libya, and the phrase “you broke it, you own it” comes to mind.

          • f1b0nacc1

            While I understand your point of view here, I simply do not share it. I think that it was an extremely bad idea to intervene in Libya (the first hint of this is that the Obamites thought it was a good idea, but any reasonable investigation beyond that shows its bankruptcy), but good or bad, that intervention, predictated as it was (correctly or incorrectly) upon the national interest of the United States, obligates us to absolutely nothing. That Gaddafi was no threat to the US is not in dispute, but on the other hand he was a very bad man that in the words of a good friend of mine in Texas…’needed killing very badly’.
            Do I regard what has happened in Libya since our ill-advised intervention as tragic? Of course I do, and one cannot look at the misery in that unfortunate land without being moved. With that said, the US has no obligation to any other state for acting in its own (as it perceives it) best interests. Now, do I believe that the leadership (such as it is) of this country DOES have an obligation to the citizenry to act responsibly and with some degree of forethrought? Absolutely so, and they have not done so in this case, nor have they in many others. Be that as it may, it means nothing in terms of our obligation to other states.
            Finally, you mention that our action in Libya has resulted in the virtual destruction of the country, and I agree with a reservation. The US (and the Western Europeans, who used us as their enabler) destroyed numerous physical and institutional supports, but the population, far more likely to support sectarian militias and any number of noxious warlords, are what destroyed the country. They don’t see themselves as a country, but as a collection of tribes, clans, and sects. The real problem here was the end of the colonial period, where these benighted peoples were restrained from acting upon their baser impulses and butchering each other.

  • LarryD

    Well, Obama’s Libyan Adventure certainly gives evidence that the pragmatists position, that tolerating a dictator is a lesser evil than the chaos following his removal, is valid.

    And the well at the UNSC has been salted for years, if not decades, to come. What did Samantha Powers think the consequences of exceeding the terms of the No Fly resoultion would be?

    And her R2P war was illegal under both American and International law.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Precisely right. There is no ‘responsibility to protect’, that is typical leftie hogwash. We make a CHOICE to protect, and perhaps at times that might be a very good thing, but it is and remains a choice, not an obligation that we are bound to meet.

  • rheddles

    Could there be a good way for the Egyptians to bring peace to the region and find the cash to properly feed their masses?

  • Arkeygeezer

    We gave logistical support to the European NATO members (Britain, France, & Italy) to aid the rebels in Lybia. This was Obama’s first “lead from behind” mission to protect the people of Lybia. We then joined with the “moderate” Islamists to help them rebuild their nation, and lost an Ambassador and two consulate security guards in the process.
    If anything, this demonstrates the incompetence and naiveté of Hillary Clinton’s State Department.

    • f1b0nacc1

      But at this point, what difference does it make?

  • FriendlyGoat

    Islam is so dysfunctional as a group philosophy that bad-ass strongmen are required to keep a lid on the crazier citizens of places saturated in Islam. The propensity for chaos tends to overcome parliamentary government and leaders exercising only constitutional (reasonably limited) power.

    Bush did not know this and Obama did not either. Right now, the lid is off in several countries at once.

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