With Hillary back on the campaign trail and in the news, media demands for her to take questions have grown stronger and stronger. (So far, she’s only answered twenty total throughout the campaign.) If any reporter cares to do a service to the public—and, potentially, really put the former Secretary of State on the spot and make some news—two recent news stories offer some hints as to where to start. First, there’s this piece in The Wall Street Journal:
Islamic State leaders in Syria have sent money, trainers and fighters to Libya in increasing numbers, raising new concerns for the U.S. that the militant group is gaining traction in its attempts to broaden its reach and expand its influence.
In recent months, U.S. military officials said, Islamic State has solidified its foothold in Libya as it searches for ways to capitalize on rising popularity among extremist groups around the world.
“ISIL now has an operational presence in Libya, and they have aspirations to make Libya their African hub,” said one U.S. military official, using an acronym for the group. “Libya is part of their terror map now.”
Republicans have usually focused their critique of Hillary’s handling of Libya on Benghazi (indeed, yet another hearing on the subject is coming up). And yet, while accounts of that night are disputed, Clinton’s role in bringing down the Qaddafi regime without replacing it is not. And now, topping the Iliad‘s worth of woes that Libya has become, ISIS has reportedly not only gained a foothold, but is increasingly less of a “franchise” just renting the name and more of a colony taking orders from the Middle East.
Meanwhile, our European allies, at whose prompting we joined the coalition to attack the Qaddafi regime, are having their own problems with their neighbor across the Mediterranean. As Open Europe reports:
EU ministers have agreed a new naval mission ‘EU Navfor Med’ in order to “identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers” to smuggle migrants from Libya. The operation which will be launched next month will be headquartered in Rome under Italian Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino. EU officials have said that the operation is dependent on a draft UN resolution sponsored by the UK, France, Lithuania and Spain to allow the use of force in Libyan territorial waters. After the meeting Austrian Defence Minister Gerald Klug declared “Nothing will happen without a UN mandate.”
To sum up: spurred on by hopes of an Arab Spring, we wrecked the place and then left. And so, Madam Secretary, some aspiring reporter might ask: Was there a plan to avert what’s happened? What went wrong, and can you give a cogent explanation of how Libya wound up the way it is now? Would you countenance an Egyptian intervention? Would you support a more robust European anti-trafficking operation, up to and including sending forces to Libya’s coast? What’s your plan to stabilize the region now? And does ISIS’s presence warrant further U.S. involvement?
And so on. If, that is, we don’t have to wait for another Republican Administration for our media’s sense of curiosity to reassert itself.