Libya: The sorry aftermath

I forget precisely why Barack Obama volunteered the United States to lead (“from behind”) the effort to depose Muammar Gaddafi back in 2011. I believe our involvement had something to do with the hypothetical harm Gaddafi might do to various tribes of Libya, but it didn’t seem to involve any interest of the United States. I do know we lost four good men in Libya in the sorry aftermath of Gaddafi’s fall, though at this point the administration’s position is that we shouldn’t worry our little heads about it.

As of this past weekend, the Washington Post was reporting:

Militias allied with a former Libyan general staged a brazen attack on Libya’s parliament on Sunday and declared it dissolved, in some of the worst fighting the capital has seen since the 2011 revolution.

By Sunday night, those forces announced that the elected General National Congress was being replaced by an existing constitutional drafting committee. It was far from certain that the order would be observed. But the power grab threatened to send Libya hurtling into a full-blown civil war.

Tripoli residents and journalists reported heavy fighting, including rocket attacks and gunfights, in several central neighborhoods. Dozens of vehicles mounted with antiaircraft guns could be seen speeding toward the center of the capital from a southeastern suburb. Plumes of black smoke rose over the city.

It was unclear whether ex-general Khalifa Haftar commanded sufficient force to prevail in the showdown in Tripoli — the latest chapter in a struggle for power, land and resources that has raged in this oil-rich country since the fall of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi. The central government has struggled unsuccessfully to rein in scores of militias that emerged from the anti-Gaddafi uprising.

Walter Russell Mead & staff at the American Interest pick up the thread here, drawing the conclusion that current developments suggest that the real failure of American policy lies beyond the deaths of our men in Libya. I think that’s a non sequitur if we can count up to two, meaning we have two failures to mull over — even if Obama is maintaining radio silence at this point.

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