On February 23, 2011 Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi appeared on State TV calling on his supporters to “cleanse Libya house by house.” Gaddafi also made an open appeal for imperialist support, claiming that Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi, was falling into the grip of Islamic fundamentalists and it “will give Al Qaeda a base.” Gaddafi gave us fair warning.
European powers, concerned about their oil interests, took his 70-minute rant seriously though nothing over the previous two decades indicated that he would follow through on his threat. Britain and France began bombing.
U.S. CIA officials were in Libya assessing the situation and making recommendations to train and arm the rebels.
March 17, 2011, the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action against the Libya regime led by Colonel Muammar el-Gaddafi.
On March 25th, Politico announced that the U.S. would engage in a kinetic military action in Libya to protect the Libyan people for humanitarian reasons. The United States then engaged in sustained bombing, supported ground troops by NATO, and enforced a no-fly zone which seems more like a war, but kinetic military action was the euphemistic label applied.
Also on March 25th, a CNN report on the Libyan conflict exposed the movement of the Muslim Brotherhood to assume control of the rebellion.
Prior to the war, they were banned, much as they had been in Egypt. In March, Al-Amin Bilhaj, a leading Libyan Brotherhood leader traveled to the rebel stronghold in Benghazi. Many other Brotherhood rebels returned to Benghazi at this time.
Esteemed spiritual leader of the Brotherhood in Libya, Yusaf al Qaradwi, issued a fatwa obliging any Libyan soldier to assassinate Gaddafi.
The Brotherhood agreed that Libya would legislate according to the Koranic principles but told the U.S. they were grateful to them and would never forget what they have done.
Hardline “Salafi” preachers have gained influence in neglected towns like Derna — on the coast near the border with Egypt.
“Conservative imams (in Derna),” a U.S. diplomat wrote in 2008, “deliberately sought to eliminate the few social activities on offer for young people to monopolize the social and cultural environment.”
On March 28th, President Obama gave a speech announcing our involvement in Libya but gave no specifics on what the end game would be. His involvement received strong support from Hillary Clinton and John McCain.
Gaddafi had a massive arsenal of weapons, including chemical weapons that were endangered by war but there seems to have been no pre-planning on how to secure the weapons because in the end, an unknown number of weapons fell into the hands of al Qaeda.
Usually, we go to war to protect American interests but this war seemingly protected European oil interests.
As concerns in Congress over the illegal war in Libya mounted, the Daily Beast reported in March, 2011 that fighters from the tribal area, linked to the Haqqani network which shelters many al Qaeda fighters, departed for Libya to join the fighting against Gaddafi. Al Qaeda, especially-Libyan-affiliates, saw the fighting as an opportunity to spread their radical Islamist theology.
One Taliban operative told The Daily Beast early in March 2011:
“This rebellion is the fresh breeze they’ve been waiting years for. They realize that if they don’t use this opportunity, it could be the end of their chances to turn Libya toward a real Islamic state, as Afghanistan once was.”
By mid-April, the reasons for going to war, or rather engaging in a kinetic military action for humanitarian reasons, appeared to be greatly exaggerated. President Obama claimed the intervention was necessary to prevent a “bloodbath” in Benghazi. They based their action on Gaddafi’s own words and the horror stories coming out of Misurata.
When the truth became known, with the release of data by the Human Rights Watch on the fighting in Misurata, it showed that Gaddafi was not massacring civilians but narrowly targeting armed rebels who were attempting to overthrow his government.
Obama had said, “If we waited one more day, Benghazi . . . could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.’’ Thus, the president concluded, “preventing genocide” justified US military action…
The facts did not appear to bear this out.
Also in mid-April information about atrocities by Libyan rebels began leaking out but were ignored by our administration and the media, at least publicly. Stories of mass rapes and murders were rampant. Business Insider
By the end of April, 2011, Charles Levinson ,writing for the WSJ, reported that ex-Mujahadeen [The Afghan Mujahedeen alliances with the Soviets and then the U.S. were ill-fated. Many went on to al Qaeda and other violent radical Islamist groups] were training and assisting Libyan rebels. Sufyan Ben Qumu, an ex-GITMO detainee and Islamist, was training many of the rebels. One ex-leader of al Qaeda said that about 1000 Jihadists joined Libyan rebels.
Abdel Hakim al-Hasady, an Islamic preacher, was training, recruiting and deploying troops.
Adm. James Stavridis, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s supreme allied commander in Europe told a Senate committee that U.S. intelligence has picked up “flickers” of al Qaeda among rebel groups in Libya.
In May, 2011, the Arab Spring began to topple regimes with the fall of Yemen and Tunisia to Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt began to rise up. President Obama sat back or encouraged it. Libya was getting pressure and troops from al Qaeda in these countries.
May 18, 2011, members of the Senate sent the president a letter requesting that he comply with the War Powers Act before continuing with the war on Libya. Obama chose to ignore the letter and the act. Congress did nothing. Media reported that the War Powers Act was a bad law that it was not meant to be followed.
To give LIbya some context, it is important to bring the Arab Spring into this historical narrative. On May 25th, 2011, President Obama’s response to the Fatah-Hamas-Palestinian terrorist alliance against Israel was made clear during his AIPAC speech. Obama, who originally told Israel to go back to indefensible 1967 borders, was now telling Israel to accept altered borders in land swaps (swaps-swap what?).
June, 2011, at a time when Egypt was choosing between Sharia and a Parliamentary form of government, Obama decided to empower the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama “reached out” to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Through his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, he said he “would welcome” dialogue with them.
Mid-June, 2011, Obama responded to demands that he follow the War Powers Act which would require him to ask Congress for a declaration of war against Libya before he continued the action.
He refused claiming that having the UN’s approval was sufficient:
U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo.
In other words, he ceded our war authority to a foreign body, a body which does not have our interests or Israel’s interests at heart and he did it for a war that did not involve our interests.
He also claimed, falsely, that we were not engaged in hostilities. He said this as he waged a bombing campaign against Gaddafi who had actually been helping the US find and arrest al Qaeda operatives prior to the war.
The President also claimed that U.S. involvement did not constitute “hostilities” – the term used by the War Powers Act of 1973. He said he was conducting military operations different from the kind of hosities contemplated by the Resolutions’ 60 day termination policy.
Also in mid-June, stories of atrocities against Syrian citizens began pouring in but Syrians did not qualify for humanitarian help under Obama. The Iranian rebels also did not qualify.
By the end of June, 2011, the U.S. recognized the Libyan rebels even though they did not know what groups comprised the rebels:
“I am announcing today that, until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC (the Transitional National Council, the loosely-knit leadership council for the Libyan rebels) as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis,” Hillary Clinton said, referring to the rebels’ Transitional National Council, according to the Washington Post.
One Libyan commander, Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, had admitted that his forces included anti-American jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq. Al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.” Hasidi himself fought against the United States in Afghanistan.
Joel Rubin (National Security Network and former State Department official) admitted that “We don’t have the comfort level with the rebels.”
Adm. James Stavridis, the NATO commander, said there were flickers of al Qaeda presence but he didn’t have information that the rebels were anything but responsible men and women.
The fact is that we didn’t know who the rebels were and yet we spent almost a billion dollars dropping bombs and drones on their behalf.
July, 2011, Obama planned to sell tanks and arms to Egypt without knowing who the rebels were. There was a pattern developing.
In early August, Gaddafi’s son Saif attempts to forge an alliance with the Islamists within the rebel forces, the Islamists that Obama was woefully unprepared to deal with. He didn’t succeed and is under arrest in a mountain village awaiting trial. Pro-Qaddafi forces continue to beg for his release.
August, 2011, Libyan rebels posted a draft constitution online upholding Sharia law. It was viewed with suspicion but later found to be the work of Islamists within the rebel forces.
Near the end of August, rebels took Tripoli.
In early September, Al-Qaeda’s north African branch had acquired a stockpile of weapons in Libya, including surface-to-air missiles that are threatening air travel, according to the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove.
Al Qaeda members of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have “gained access to weapons, either small arms or machine-guns, or certain surface-to-air missiles which are extremely dangerous because they pose a risk to flights over the territory,” said Gilles.
The Islamic Maghreb, AQIM, originated as an armed Islamist resistance movement to the secular Algerian government. It now operates mainly in Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, where it has attacked military targets and taken civilian hostages, particularly Europeans, some of whom it has killed.
Confirming the seizure of weapons was Chad’s President, Idriss Deby Itno, who told the African weekly Jeune Afrique in an interview that he was “100 per cent sure” of his assertion.
“The Islamists of al-Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere,” a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad, Deby said in the interview.
“This is very serious. AQIM is becoming a genuine army, the best equipped in the region,” he said.
His claim was echoed by officials in other countries in the region who said that they were worried that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) might have acquired “heavy weapons,” thanks to the Libyan insurrection.
The media continually called the Arab Spring a “spontaneous uprising” while there was nothing spontaneous about it or the Libyan war. In October, 2010, Gaddafi’s protocol chief, Nouri Al-Mesmari, arrived in France with his family and immediately went into talks with French intelligence. He gave them information on breaches in Gaddafi’s national security shield.
Mesmari joined forces with Libyan businessmen who had earlier staged unsuccessful revolts against Gaddafi and encouraged Sarkozy to plan a covert operation to topple the Gaddafi regime to get an inside track on Libyan oil. The British shared the concerns of the French and joined the operation.
In November, a French trade delegation, including representatives of multinational corporations, traveled to Benghazi to assess possibilities on the ground.
Sarkozy hoped for a Mediterranean Union.
On February 27, a National Transitional Council, made up of politicians, ex-military officers, tribal leaders, businessmen and academics, announced its launching in Benghazi as the rebel leadership.
The French and British began bombings of Libya.
Italy, reluctantly, and then the U.S. jumped on board.
While their slow and arduous battles were underway, Libyan rebels began rounding up black migrant workers for abuse and murder.
Obama said nothing. He voted present.
In October, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council, promised Libyans that they would be free under Sharia Law. Usually “free” and “Sharia law” are not used synonymously.
To quote Jalil,
“We are seeking to establish a state government by law and welfare — and Sharia, Islamic law, should be the main source of law.”
October 20th, Gaddafi was captured, brutally tortured, and killed in Libya.
For more context, Obama’s Cairo speech in 2009 encouraged rebellion. By October, he told the interim Egyptian government to negotiate with the Brotherhood. Obama held negotiations with Brotherhood leaders at the White House behind closed doors.
In November, Obama lauded the “courageous Brotherhood” in Yemen.
By November, 2011, the Black al Qaeda flag was flying over the courthouse in Benghazi.
In December, Obama appointed a Jew-hating zealot to negotiate between the Taliban and Afghanistan. Also in December, Islamists take over the Egyptian parliament. Libya was in the midst of a region-wide Brotherhood insurrection.
Joe Biden said this about the Talban:
Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.
Obama’s incoherent foreign policy was evident in Iraq most of all which began to disintegrate into tribal warfare.
In February, the U.N. Human Rights Council planned a resolution praising Gaddafi’s human rights record. Obama is a strong supporter of the U.N.
April, 2012, the Gaddafi army and his arsenal of weapons were used to conquer the NW of Mali, a democracy of peace-loving people now faced with starvation, rapes and pillaging. Christians are being driven out or murdered.
Libya has a pro-NATO government but there is a great deal of resistance to it. There is a pro-Gaddafi resistance movement which regularly attacks NATO workers. This movement is pro-Russian, something which Russia promotes through Pravda.
The NATO forces are referred to as NATO-Rats by pro-Gaddafi loyalists and they blame NATO for all the uprisings throughout the Middle East and for the violence in Syria. They hope to topple the “puppet government.”
Israel is caught in the crosshairs of all this turmoil in the mid-East, Africa, and Asia which was none of their doing.
Some reports say that abuse of Nigerians continues to the point that Doctors without Borders had to be discontinued.
The U.S. installed the current government in Libya which is filled with jihadis, al-Qaeda, and violent militias. In Bani Walid, there is strong pro-Gaddafi resistance to the U.S.-backed government so the “puppet” government simply bombed them.
The final chapter of the Libyan struggle for freedom is not yet written. The al Qaeda fight for control has appeared to have succeeded in Benghazi at least temporarily.
The tragedy of 9/11 was likely an effort to rid the area of the West. We were the “last flag standing” as Eric Nordstrom said.
Our administration just keeps lying to us. It is unfortunate, but when the Libyan president spoke I believed him and not our president. The Libyan president was truthful as it turned out.
Jennifer Griffin’s 10/26 report:
Tyrone Woods father speaks about the day the bodies came home: