Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libya - Rank Speculation Regarding Our Silence 

I've been struck by the relative quiet from our current administration regarding events in Libya. Having said that, I am as yet reluctant to criticize our silence. It is possible that silence actually means something more intriguing and useful in this context. I'll grant you, this is an optimists view, but fueled by 2 possibilities - one highly likely, the other less so. The first - we have a material number of Americans and friends who need to be evacuated promptly so they do not become hostages to Qaddafi in the region. Active efforts to locate and evacuate them are better served by stealth rather than vocal antagonism.

The second possibility occurred to me this morning as I watched the news. The reporting boldly suggested that Qaddafi's hold on Libya was weakening and that outside of Tripoli, the rebels were getting control of the rest of the country. I asked myself, how is this possible in a tyranny where the nutcase has a monopoly on the use of force? Then they showed film of black clad "rebels" on rooftops, well-armed and celebrating.

Could it be that the US and other allies have inserted special forces or intelligence operatives into Libya, armed locals and are leading or supporting local tribes - not unlike what we did in Afghanistan 10 years ago?

Um, yes. I bet we have. In all likelihood, a small number of experienced and well-trained professionals are operating inside of Libya accomplishing a variety of objectives. Priorities would include: 1) securing and evacuating non-Libyan civilians; 2) securing strategic assets, such as military, communications and oil facilities and 3) turning the milirary, such as it is, into a neutral or anti-Qaddafi force.

This is pure speculation. But don't rule it out. Remember, even the feckless Carter Administration tried to insert our special forces to evacuate our hostages. They just failed ignominiously after months of blather and prevarication. It would not surprise me in the least if Obama was advised by Petraeus that he had the capacity to do exactly this, and he's been authorized to execute.

Let's hope so. IF so, Qaddafi should be swinging from a lightpole soon enough.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 24, 10:10:00 AM:

You give the Kenyan far, far more credit than he deserves. He is incapable of bold action, especially, on behalf of the US.
Those black clad troops are mercs Kaddafi's hired from Africa, Europe and places like North Korea. They will take over when Kaddafi falls.
The silence is because Obama is dithering. His whole administration believes that Bush invaded Iraq for no sound reason and they do don't want to be accused of the same thing are for seeking to seize Libyan oil so there will be no need to drill for US oil.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Feb 24, 10:30:00 AM:

One very good question I don't have an answer for is, "where the hell did the 'rebels' get all those pre-Qaddafi flags they're supposedly waving around?"

You can find pre-Revolution Iranian flags in lots of places, which have been selling to expatriates for decades, but not Libyan monarchy flags. That's a rare beast, and circumstantial evidence of outside support for all this.

But there's no reason to point the finger at any particular nation or group. I have no confidence that the US is involved. As sick as I get of Anonymous' 'Kenyan' remarks, he's right; Obama is too much of a feckless wimp to do something so 1) timely, 2) bold, and 3) illegal, even if the plans and resources were in place. The Brits have been dealing with Qaddafi, so his collapse actually works against them. Egypt is in chaos. The Israelis probably lost interest circa 2004, after confirming the end of Libya's WMD program. I don't know who else would be interested enough. Algeria?

I confess, my expertise in the region has a gaping hole when it comes to Libya and Tunisia. The former is a paranoid and largely closed society, and the latter is overshadowed by the other regional troublemakers.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 24, 10:55:00 AM:

France has long had a serious stake in Chad, Algeria and Tunisia. Could be their Foreign Legion/specfor  

By Anonymous QuakerCat, at Thu Feb 24, 11:02:00 AM:

TH - I have been positively consumed by work as of late as such I am only seeing things from 20,000 feet. With that said, the one thing that strikes me about the administration and their general stance towards the freedom movement throughout the Middle East is that they cannot respond because freedom for all is not a core value. Do you think Regan, H.W. Bush or G.W. Bush would not have reflexively given support to those brave souls who dared to take on these dictators? Even Clinton who at least grew up in the cold war probably would have been more coherent and supportive. My concern for the Obama administration is that they are triangulating this far too much. They fail to see that in the end, freedom is good for all people especially the U.S. Fewer people will want to blow up our cities if they rely on our consumers to buy their products. If everyone has a job and the prospect of a better future, there will be a lot less nut jobs that the mullah's can turn against us.  

By Blogger Willuz, at Thu Feb 24, 11:18:00 AM:

Obama is unwilling to comment because we don't yet know who will be in power instead. If he supports the protesters and they institute sharia law then declare war on the western devils he will be blamed. Finally Obama may be realizing that "change" can be for good or bad. As bad as Qaddafi is, it is not beyond possibility that a democracy could be worse.  

By Blogger Steve, at Thu Feb 24, 11:48:00 AM:

Bold and decisive. Yes, that is what comes to mind when I think of Obama's leadership style :)  

By Blogger Cap'n Rusty, at Thu Feb 24, 12:05:00 PM:

He's voting "present."  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 24, 01:05:00 PM:

Khadafi has never been popular in the east of Libya and this is where the main rebellion is occuring. Also, the east of Libya happens to be where Islamists are strongest.

The Islamists are also (probably) the best organized of the opposition forces in Libya. And just because they may be in a minority does not mean that they won't end up in charge, since the best organized often wins out in frantic scrambles for power (see, e.g., the Russian and Iranian revolutions).

As noted by Willuz, Obama is likely concerned that the Islamists may come out on top here and they are not well liked among the US electorate, nor are they well known for their support of democracy.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 24, 02:28:00 PM:

I really didn't expect Obama a to make a strong statement against Khaddafi.

I don't intend to imply anything sinister, or that there are any actual ties between Obama and Khaddafi.

But support for Khaddafi in particular runs strong in the milieu that Obama lived in in Chicago. His 20 year spiritual mentor visited Khaddafi in '84. Khaddafi gave Farrakhan a $5M interest free loan in '85.

And in general, anti-American anti-western regimes are seen as legitimate no matter how tyrranical, whereas pro-American repressive regimes are not. Hence the milquetoast response to violence in Iran and Libya, neither mentioning the leadership by name. But the strong call for Mubarak to go.

Again, nothing sinister; no grand conspiracy. It's simply a result of what Jonathan Chat at The New Republic laments as Obama's "untutored tiers mondiste instincts." The same kind of thing you'll find in the faculty lounge throughout the Ivy League. Chait is hardly a rightwinger, but I've arrived at the same conclusion.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 24, 03:15:00 PM:

" I don't intend to imply anything sinister, or that there are any actual ties between Obama and Khaddafi....

Yikes. Where to start?

--Which President removed Qaddafi--up to then known as the Mad Dog of the Middle east--from the terror watch list?

--Which President restored full diplomatic relations with Libya?

--Which President telephoned Qaddafi personally to thank him for making good on his promise to make retribution for blowing up a jumbo jet with 300 passengers?

--Which President's Secretary of State travelled to Libya to have dinner with Qaddafi--the first official US visit to the country in 56 years--and also visited with Qaddafi's son?

--Which President's Secretary of State cited Qaddafi as "a model' for others to follow?

One clue: It ain't Obama.

Good grief. Get a history book.  

By Blogger Steve, at Thu Feb 24, 04:27:00 PM:


Remember when Qaddafi renounced its WMD programs and welcomed inspectors to verify it was following through on its commitment? Do you think that may have inspired some of the changes you list? Good grief, history did not start in 2006.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Thu Feb 24, 05:29:00 PM:

When looking at the events in Libya and the current administrations non-response to them, two possibilities are most probable.

1) The Obama administration has a plan, and is secretly manipulating events "behind the curtain" with pre-positioned assets in support of a worthwhile goal.

2) The Obama administration is a feckless clueless bunch of dithering idiots who are terrified of actually taking a stand on this chain of events, for fear of winding up on the wrong side, and by such inactivity, attempting to look wise.

It is perfectly normal to assume #1, because of American history of being able to take lemons and make an international franchise of lemonade stands worth billions. And in all probability, much like EDS in Iran, many companies are playing the deadly serious game of "screw the expense, get our people out of there". However due to previous events, I'm pretty sure the Obama administration is #2.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Thu Feb 24, 06:24:00 PM:

Qaddafi is, if nothing else, a coward. History has proven that more than once.

The fact that there is NOT an aircraft carrier parked off the coast of Libya..and in communication with the only real democracy in the middle east is evidence enough for me that Obama simply WILL NOT use force to protect American interests.

Reagan would very likely have placed a cruise missile or two in the Qaddafi outhouse by now...just as a reminder.

So, as Egypt twists and Bahrain turns, as Libya burns and Pakistan arrests our CIA agents...what exactly IS THE ONE doing???

Why...he's making a strong statement about gay rights in the US by pulling back defense of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Folks...the electorate of the United States has sent a boy to do a man's job.

We are witnessing the response to the Mad Dog of the Middle East by the Chiuwawa of the United States.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 24, 10:18:00 PM:

Thanks, Steve, I've got plenty of history books.

What history books do you read that cause you to confuse the conduct of US foreign policy over the past decade with commentary on the insular world in which elite liberals live which lead them to believe favorable attitudes toward leaders in the developing world like Khaddafi as they confront US "imperialism, militarism, capitalism, and colonialism" are natural, correct, and widespread?

Whatever they are, you need to throw them out.  

By Blogger Willuz, at Fri Feb 25, 09:50:00 AM:

The most overlooked point in all of this is what democracy means to Libya. Many seem to think that democracy is, by itself, the ultimate form of freedom in government. Fortunately for us, our founding fathers realized that democracy alone was not sufficient without preemptive protections for religious and personal freedoms. Our constitution protects certain freedoms and prevents the majority from always trumping the needs of the minority. Libya cannot achieve the same results as the US through democracy unless they first accept certain inalienable rights of all citizens. It is most likely that all hope of this will be crushed from the start since islamists will be the ones creating their new "democracy".  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Fri Feb 25, 02:08:00 PM:

FWIW - debka is reporting that we, the Brits and the French are in Eastern Libya.

By Blogger Consul-At-Arms, at Mon Feb 28, 09:14:00 PM:

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms2.blogspot.com/2011/02/re-libya-rank-speculation-regarding-our.html  

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?