Oh, yay! Eleven Libyan airliners are missing!

September 3, 2014
"x11?"

“Times 11?”

Obama’s Libya war — it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Or maybe it’s Pandora’s box:

Islamist militias in Libya took control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners last month, and western intelligence agencies recently issued a warning that the jets could be used in terrorist attacks across North Africa.

Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.

“There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing,” said one official. “We found out on September 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.”

The author, Bill Gertz, cites experts who describe a range of frightening possibilities, from these jet liners being used themselves as guided missiles, as they were on 9/11/01, to being disguised as normal civilian flights, but carrying armed assault teams of terrorists who could then wreak mayhem. That these aren’t likely to be used against the US homeland is hardly any comfort: much of North Africa, the Middle East, and Mediterranean Europe would be in range. Imagine a multi-target strike a la September 11th (the anniversary of which is fast approaching!) that simultaneously aims at a giant Saudi oil refinery, a soccer stadium in Marseilles, and The Vatican.

And, thanks to a miserably conceived, off-the-cuff war launched by Barack Obama that served no US interest whatsoever, but did manage to overthrow a dictator whom we had tamed and who was keeping his country quiet, we may well have helped armed a future Mohammad Atta.

I’m sure our allies in the region are ever-so-grateful.

UPDATE: Snopes gives this a “probably false” rating, but Gertz is a pretty solid national-security reporter, so I’m not ready to write off his work on the say-so of a fact check site, even one with the pedigree of Snopes. Still I’m including it here for completeness’ sake. (h/t MissFuzzball)

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Libya: Daffy Qaddafi dead? And the country’s future?

October 20, 2011

Let’s hope so; I can think of few people more deserving of a trip to Hell. What’s certain, though, is that his “hometown” and last major focus of resistance, Sirte, has fallen:

There are unconfirmed reports deposed Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi has died of wounds sustained when fighters captured his home town of Sirte.

If true, his death, which came swiftly after his capture is the most dramatic single development in the Arab Spring revolts that have unseated rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and threatened the grip on power of the leaders of Syria and Yemen.

“He (Gaddafi) was hit in his head,” National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta said.

“There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

Mr Mlegta said earlier Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked.

There was no independent confirmation of his remarks and NATO said it was still checking on the reports, which could take some time to confirm.

“We are checking and assessing the situation,” a NATO official said.

“Clearly these are very significant developments, which will take time to confirm. If it is true, then this is truly a historic day for the people of Libya.”

I’ll say it would be, if true. That sharp-dressing psychopath made the lives of most Libyans a nightmare for over 40 years and was responsible for the murder of Americans and other nationals in acts of terror. In the 70s he was a backer of the Irish Republican Army, as well as the Italian Red Brigades, the Basque ETA, and Peru’s Sendero Luminoso. While it became easy to laugh at his public buffoonery (and here’s the sad truth about his female bodyguards), let’s keep in mind that Muammar Qaddafi was a seriously evil, vile human being. If he has indeed met the fate of Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceaucescu, and Benito Mussolini, let no tears be shed for him.

But what of Libya’s future? This morning I caught a few minutes of Fox and Friends and watched Gretchen Carlson interview a reporter from the New York Times (sorry, can’t find a video link) and almost laughed at the man’s naivete: the Libyans were fighting for “democracy” and the “rule of law,” and that they “want the same things we do.” It was the starry-eyed “they’re just like us” argument that’s almost inevitably lead to cries of “what went wrong” a few years later.

“Just like us?” Did this reporter know of the Libyan Jew who went home to rebuild a synagogue in his old neighborhood, only to be told to flee for his life? Or how the rebels would scrawl the Star of David over pictures of Qaddafi, implying he was a Jew and thus an enemy to the Muslims?

“Just like us,” only without the religious tolerance part.

Did the reporter recall that eastern Libya, the Benghazi area, where the rebels originated, was also a hotbed for Al Qaeda recruiting? Or that at least some influential rebel commanders and their soldiers have fought for Al Qaeda? I think the “rule of law” they’re fighting for may mean something a bit different to them then it does in a Western liberal democracy. (hint: Sharia)

“Just like us,” only without that equality under the law part.

I’m not saying all the Libyan rebels are Islamists nor that there are no liberals among them; they’re not and there are. Libya may yet become a recognizable constitutional democracy instead of another Islamic hellhole. Let’s hope so, for the world would be a better place. But no one can predict a revolution’s future, and I’m not nearly so sanguine and indeed positively chirpy about Libya’s as a “sophisticated” reporter from the nation’s fish-wrap of record.

They’re not “just like us.”

RELATED: Some great photos at The Atlantic on the fall of Sirte. (via Stephen F. Hayes)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Smart Power in Action: US and Iran on same side in Libya

August 29, 2011

Well, Obama did promise to offer an “open hand” to Iran to achieve a new era of more cooperation and less confrontation. But, somehow, I don’t think even the striped-pants set at the State Department thought that meant cooperating to overthrow another government:

Iran “discreetly” provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.

“We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Kadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi,” Salehi told the daily.

“The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping,” he added.

And so, for the price of some food and medicine (1), we and NATO did Iran a favor by removing a rival for influence in the Middle East and giving them easy access to eastern Libya and the Benghazi area, a region well-known as a fertile recruiting ground for Al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups. (2)

That’s “Smart Power” for you. Real smart.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying Daffy Qaddafi wasn’t a bad man — far from it, and I hope the Libyans catch him and string him up. But, from the point of view of American interests, there was no point to this war. Qaddafi had given up his nuclear program in the wake of our liberation of Iraq, there was intelligence cooperation against Al Qaeda, and he had largely stopped sponsoring terrorism. In other words, he had been tamed, and there was no pressing reason to go after him.

On the other hand, in Syria, where we have a great opportunity to weaken or even overthrow one of the key clients of our avowed enemy, Iran, an event that would greatly weaken the Mullah’s power in the region and genuinely serve our strategic interests, for weeks we did… effectively nothing. We clucked our tongues and wagged our fingers, even called the dictator a “reformer,” while the Assad regime, with the assistance and advice of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, slaughters thousands.

If that’s “smart power,” I’d hate to see what their idea of “dumb” is.

via Bryan Preston

LINKS: More from my friend Michael Ledeen, who argues that this is a big regional war with Iran at the center (which the Obama administration may be finally and belatedly starting to grasp), and then draws some lessons from Libya.

Footnotes:
(1) And if you believe the “humanitarian aid” was nothing but rice and bandages and the Iranians accompanying it weren’t Iranian Revolutionary Guards, I have just the bridge to sell you.
(2) Don’t fall for the “Sunnis and Shiites won’t cooperate” myth. Yes, they have a bloody internecine history, but Iran and Sunni radical groups are more than happy to cooperate to strike at us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sarah Palin: We deserve an explanation about Libya

April 26, 2011

I’m having cognitive dissonance here. On  the one hand, I’m assured by the Left and the major media (but I repeat myself), and by many on the Establishment Right, that Sarah Palin is a chillbilly airhead who has no idea what she is talking about and would be a disaster as president.

But then, after expressing puzzlement over the administration’s conflicting reasons for going to war (kinda-sorta) in Libya,  she goes and writes something like this:

At this point, to avoid further mission creep and involvement in a third war – one we certainly can’t afford – you need to step up and justify our Libyan involvement, or Americans are going to demand you pull out. Simply put, what are we doing there? You’ve put us in a strategic no man’s land. If Gaddafi’s got to go, then tell NATO our continued participation hinges on this: We strike hard and Gaddafi will be gone. If, as you and your spokesmen suggest, we’re not to tell Libya what to do when it comes to that country’s leadership, and if you can’t explain to Americans why we’re willing to protect Libyan resources and civilians but not Syria’s, Yemen’s, Bahrain’s, Egypt’s, Israel’s, etc., then there is no justification for U.S. human and fiscal resources to be spent.

I would also ask you to better explain your thinking on Libya. We can’t afford any actions that don’t take care of crucial U.S. needs and meet our own interests at this point. You are the Commander in Chief, so please explain what you believe is our “interest” there and not elsewhere.

Mr. President, your hesitation and vacillation in the Middle East breed uncertainty. It’s symptomatic of the puzzling way you govern. See, uncertainty is one of the factors over which you have control, and I would think you’d want to eliminate that additional element that helps breed problems like higher oil prices. Higher oil means exorbitant gas prices weighing down our economy.  Consistency and strength – and greater domestic energy production – will help fix higher gas prices and help heal the economy. But only with leadership. These sorts of problems don’t fix themselves.

Uncertainty breeds higher prices because those who thought themselves our allies suddenly find that may not be true(1), they may not be as secure as they thought and their oil supplies may not be as safe, all of which leads more risk being associated with Mideast oil, and contributes to higher costs passed on to us at the pump. Basic economics and common sense, both of which are alien to our president.

It seems to me the woman dismissed as a “Caribou Barbie” and a quitter(2) has a better grip on our national interests than the Smartest President in History ever will.

Darn her for confusing me by being right when our Cultural Elites (all bow) insist she’s wrong.

Go, ‘Cuda!

TANGENTS:

(1) Hey, if we unceremoniously dumped Mubarak, who, while a bloated dictator, at least often served our interests and wasn’t as bad as a lot of them, then who’s next? You can bet a lot are worried.

(2) An argument I no longer treat as serious, unless it can be made in the context of the Alaskan ethics law as it existed at the time of her resignation.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Libya: Just who-the-heck is running things?

April 22, 2011

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the administration’s decision to look into the composition and leanings of the Libyan rebels — after we decided to go into battle for them.

That was stupid odd then, but now it’s taken an even stranger twist: two rival generals, one a CIA protege, claim to lead the rebel forces. And, while we’ve put drones into action against Qaddafi, we’ve cut off non-lethal aid … to our “allies?”

Ed Morrissey has video and analysis:

It’s no small matter to the US, either. Haftar appears to be the reason that the US feels sanguine enough to provide military and diplomatic support to the rebellion. After his defection, Haftar reportedly worked with the CIA to create and maintain a militia in Libya, according to a French book titled Manipulations Africaines.  He only returned to Libya in the last few weeks, reportedly to “knock the rebel force into some kind of shape.”

That sanguine feeling appears to be dissipating, however.  Foreign Policy reports that the White House has blocked the transfer of $25 million in “non-lethal” aid to the rebels, but isn’t sure why:

  • On April 15, the State Department notified Congress that it wanted to send $25 million of non-lethal military aid to the Libyan rebels, but as of today that money is being held up by the White House and no funds or goods have been disbursed. …
  • “One of the reasons why I announced $25 million in nonlethal aid yesterday, why many of our partners both in NATO and in the broader Contact Group are providing assistance to the opposition – is to enable them to defend themselves and to repulse the attacks by Qaddafi forces,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on this morning.
  • “There’s an urgent situation here and they need our help,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Wednesday.

Suddenly, though, something more urgent has come up which has delayed that assistance.  FP tried to find out why, but the White House won’t comment.

I’d be surprised if the White House did comment; presumably the CIA or another intel agency found out something they didn’t like. Perhaps they uncovered corruption, as in the diversion of aid to the pockets of one of the generals and his followers. Or maybe “our guy,” doesn’t have the influence he claimed, and we’re reluctant to support the other, who was Colonel Quackers’ Interior Minister? We were burned a bit by Iraqi exiles making big claims and failing to deliver after the liberation of Iraq, so maybe we’re gun-shy here? Perhaps the situation is so unclear, it’s impossible to tell right who is in charge. Or, maybe, the credible reports of an al Qaeda presence have turned out to be truer than we feared, and we’d just be funneling money to our sworn enemies?

There’s just no way of knowing why promised aid has suddenly been held up, without an explanation from Washington, which we’re unlikely to get. This does, however, bring up again a problem I pointed out in my earlier post and elsewhere: the decision to intervene in Libya was undertaken in a casual, haphazard, and slapdash manner with no real prep work or intelligence investigations beforehand. We went in with one eye closed, and now it looks like we’re uncovering things that… give us pause. There was no need for this rush, and proper leadership on the part of the people in charge (supposedly) would have seen that the preliminary work was done first, before committing American prestige, treasure, and lives to battle.

As I wrote on the day after this started:

If there’s one thing Obama’s efforts overseas have shown us, it is that he is a Leftist ideologue who lacks a strategic vision and is in over his head. Whether it’s because of an innate passivity, a disinterest in foreign affairs,  or a Left-liberal reluctance to act like an “imperial” and “colonial” power, our policy lacks any sense of coherence or strategy. I seriously doubt he has asked himself and his advisers “What outcome do we want?” From that one question would come answers that would shape the nature of our intervention, giving it direction and logical consistency. We would know how to proceed.

But I just don’t see that from Barack Obama, which means the outcome is likely to be muddled and costlier to reach than if we had acted with clarity and decisiveness when Daffy Qaddafi was still on the ropes.

And it looks like we’re seeing that play out.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Libya: British officers to advise al Qaeda? — Updated!

April 19, 2011

Yes, you read that right. While the United States and Great Britain are in a global war against the jihad terror group, while we are in active combat against them in Afghanistan, and while al Qaeda is still plotting massacre in Britain, Great Britain has decided to send advisers to Libya to assist the rebels — who include al Qaeda:

British military officers will be sent to Libya to advise rebels fighting Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, the UK government has said.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the group would be deployed to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

The BBC understands 10 officers will provide logistics and intelligence training in a UK and French operation.

Mr Hague said it was compatible with the UN resolution on Libya, which ruled out foreign military ground action.

He stressed that the officers would not be involved in any fighting and the move was needed to help protect civilians.

The UN Security Council resolution, passed in March, authorised a no-fly zone over Libya.

Her Majesty’s Government claims they’re sending advisers to Benghazi only to advise the rebel leadership on organization, logistics, and how best to help the civilians under their control(1), but… Come on, don’t play us for dumb, okay?

Britain and her allies (including us) have invested tons of their prestige in this effort to oust Qaddafi(2) and they can ill-afford to let the rebels lose. Air power alone isn’t sufficient, as the fighting at Misrata shows, and especially after the US picked up its combat planes and went home and NATO started running low on ammunition. The rebels are few in number and don’t seem able to hold any gains made against Qaddafi without NATO’s help. The whole public purpose of this mission was to protect civilians from Qaddafi, so how do you do that when your “allies” on the ground are incompetent?

The logic is inexorable: if the goal is to protect civilians and if it can’t be done from the air alone, then these “logistical advisers” are eventually going to find themselves “at the front” advising in combat. And when that doesn’t turn out to be sufficient, the pressure will grow for the introduction of Western ground forces. And when simply cordoning eastern Libya off isn’t enough because Daffy Qaddafi wants revenge, the need to “protect civilians” will reach the point that anyone who thought about this for more than a few seconds saw long ago: the West has to take out Qaddafi himself.

“When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

Instead of admitting this truth now and getting it over with(3), Britain (and NATO) is stumbling deeper into this war with no clear plan, no forethought, and no strategic goal in mind. And unless Obama is willing to throw them under the bus (which wouldn’t surprise me), there will be heavy pressure for us to re-enter combat.

For all the Democrats and Euros lambasted Bush and Blair for rushing and stumbling to war in Iraq, I seriously doubt those two would have “done Libya” in such an offhand, amateurish, and strategically dunderheaded fashion.

They especially wouldn’t be aiding  al Qaeda(4).

via Undhimmi

UPDATE: I’m not the only one decidedly unimpressed with the US-NATO handling of Libya. From today’s Los Angeles Times:

“We rushed into this without a plan,” said David Barno, a retired Army general who once commanded U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. “Now we’re out in the middle, going in circles.”

The failure of the international air campaign to force Kadafi’s ouster, or even to stop his military from shelling civilians and recapturing rebel-held towns, poses a growing quandary for President Obama and other NATO leaders: What now?

That’s a darned good question.

UPDATE II: And right on cue, the rebels are now calling for foreign ground troops.

(1)Which is accomplished precisely how, as long as Qaddafi remains in power?

(2)Which is just what this is. Be honest.

(3)Really. Does anyone seriously think Colonel Quackers would last a day against 1,000 French Foreign Legionnaires backed by US airpower?

(4)In fairness, there seem to be some genuine liberals among them, too. But it’s hard to tell, since we didn’t bother to vet them before this started.

LINKS: More at Pirate’s Cove.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Great Moments in D’oh! History: Libya edition

April 18, 2011

Starting a war when you don’t have the ammunition to sustain it because you starved your defense budgets to feed the gaping maw that is the welfare state.

D’oh! 

via Big Peace