In a move which the AP notes is “fraught with risk” the United States and other world powers said they would supply Libya’s internationally recognized government with weapons to counter the perennial bogeyman (whom the US armed in the first place), the Islamic State and other militant groups gaining footholds in the chaos-wracked country’s lawless regions.
Adding to the irony is that until just five years ago Libya was a relatively peaceful and organized nation, at least until the CIA and Hillary Clinton successfully unleash the “Arab Spring” domino effect in the MENA region, toppling various long-time dictators and converting nations such as Libya into a hotbed of militant instability, terrorism, and millions of Europe-bound refugees.
However, Libya promptly descended into chaos after the toppling and death of Moammar Gaddafi five years which turned the country into a battleground of rival militias battling for powers. More recently, the power vacuum has allowed the mysteriously ubiquitous Islamic State to expand its presence, giving it a potential base in a country separated from Europe only by a relatively small stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.
Even more ironic is that there is an ongoing embargo to supply Libya with weapons, which however it about to be circumvented. As AP writes, “aiming at once to shore up the fragile government, and prevent Islamic State fighters and rival militias from further gains, the U.S., the four other permanent U.N. Security Council members and more than 15 other nations said they would approve exemptions to a United Nations arms embargo to allow military sales and aid to Libya’s so-called “Government of National Accord.”
In a joint communique, the nations said that while the broader embargo will remain in place, they are “ready to respond to the Libyan government’s requests for training and equipping” government forces. “We will fully support these efforts while continuing to reinforce the UN arms embargo,” the communique said.
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What the UN meant is that by equipping government forces they are about to equip ISIS with even more state of the art weaponry and supplies as the Iraq fiasco is about to be repeated.
With support from all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the plan is unlikely to face significant opposition from any quarter.
The narrative is so worn out it can be seen from a mile away: “the step will boost the government’s efforts to consolidate power and regain control over Libyan state institutions like the central bank and national oil company.” As a reminder, this was the pretext used in virtually every failed US foreign intervention campaign. At least this time AP at least point out the obvious: the deployment of weapons “also comes with risks, not least of which is that the arms may be captured or otherwise taken by the Islamic State or other groups.”
Risk? We would call it the plan’s intention, a plan which, incidentally, John Kerry called the plan “a delicate balance.”
And just in case the Pentagon’s objective is unclear, defense officials told CNN that the US “is slightly expanding” its efforts to counter ISIS activity in Libya, sending in small teams of troops to try to establish relationships with groups that may be able to form a new nationwide government, according to a U.S. defense official familiar with the operation.
Translation: US arms for the “local government”, i.e., the current iteration of Syrian moderate rebels, are about to make the US military-industrial complex rich again.
CNN adds that the effort stops short of a formalized military presence on the ground, which means just one thing: yet another informal US military presence in a region which already has seen US troops in ever increasing amounts in both Iraq and Syria. We can now add Libya to the total.
The effort has been underway since late last year. In December, U.S. troops were photographed inside Libya but left after local militias objected. At that time, U.S. officials said it was not a regular task for U.S. troops to go to Libya. Now, that appears to have changed.The official noted teams do travel to both western and eastern Libya but insisted, “they have not established a permanent presence or anything like an outpost.”
The idiocy behind the official narrative is beyond commentary:
[US troops on the ground] are approaching militias and other groups around Benghazi, Misrata and Tripoli. The hope is that somehow groups like the declared Libyan House of Representatives and Government of National Accord, along with what is left of a military element plus powerful militias, can somehow band together to form a unity government.
The narrative behind the latest US troops deployment is so grotesque, that one should just call the US army on the ground “meeters and greeters”:
The U.S. troops, which the Pentagon is calling “contact teams,” are traveling into key areas and meeting with leaders from all groups to see about possible cooperation and eventually what assistance the U.S. could provide if a government can be formed.
So much for the justification for the deployment of thousands of more US troops in the region and the arming of local “moderate” militants.
The question then is what happens next? Our expectations is a rerun of the Syria fiasco, which will see a resurgent ISIS this time not in the middle east but operating in oil-rich and divided country of Libya, which in turn will unleash yet another refugee fiasco, which will impact Europe in the coming months. AP’s take is similar: “Worrying for Europe is the potential threat of a mass influx of refugees amassing in Libya, now that the earlier route from Turkey into Greece has been essentially shut down.” That may, however, change if tensions between Turkey and Germany are rekindled in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Hammond said his government had received a request from the Libyan government to bolster its Coast Guard — a project “which will address Libyan concerns about smuggling and insecurity on their border but will also address European concerns about illegal migration.”
In Libya, meanwhile, the U.N.-established presidency council on Monday effectively gave the go-ahead for 18 government ministers to start work, even though they have not received backing from the parliament.
The council was created under a U.N.-brokered unity deal struck in December to reconcile Libya’s many political divisions. It won the support of a former powerbase in the country’s capital, Tripoli, but failed to secure a vote of confidence by the country’s internationally recognized parliament, based in Tobruk, a city in eastern Libya.
The real wild card, however, is who ends up controlling Syrian oil now that ISIS can no longer trade freely with Turkey, and more importantly, who will end up buying ISIS oil via Libya.
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Last week the US also admitted it has troops in Yemen promoting a genocidal war by their Saudi arms clients against the shia Houthi minority. See here: Media Silent As US-Backed Saudis Starve Half Million Yemeni ….. Pentagon Acknowledges U.S. Troops on the Ground in Yemen… .. U.K. ILLEGALLY AT WAR IN YEMEN*