By reflexively intervening to tear down Colonel Gaddafi, an ally of the United States capable of holding together a diverse population, President Barack Obama played a major role in creating a failed state in Libya. He is now reaping what he has sowed – a self-created anti-United States presence in an increasingly volatile Middle East.
The attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was entirely predictable. The fact that the compound was so badly under-protected demonstrates just how far from reality the Clinton-directed Department of State has drifted since January 2009.
For two months since Libya’s parliamentary elections on July 7, 2012, security across the country has collapsed. Ignored by the pro-Arab- Spring Western media, a series of car bombs, rocket attacks against police headquarters, and assassinations of Gaddafi-era officials has afflicted the city of Benghazi. Hillary Clinton presumably simply ignored this mounting evidence of security collapse.
The failure of the Libyan state is rooted in the nature of the rebellion against Colonel Gadaffi, which would easily have been put down save for outside intervention. The rebels were deeply divided among themselves, most especially as between the secular, the moderate Islamic, and the fundamentalist Islamic factions. Many of those opposed to Colonel Gaddafi had their greedy eyes more on his oil revenues than on individual freedom for the population at large.
To a considerable extent, the failed state syndrome is a direct product of the weak- to- zero legitimacy of the National Transitional Council. During the transitional period, many militias refused to demobilize or disarm until a government favorable to their particular demands was established in Tripoli. Meanwhile, the national army and police, much of which is tainted by association with the former regime, remained under-funded and ill-equipped.
So Libya’s transitional authorities cut deals with the militias – the so-called revolutionary brigades that had fought against Colonel Gaddafi. One of these militias – the Ansar al-sharia – with branches in Darnah and Benghazi – is hard-line Salafi fundamentalist Islamic and is directly implicated in the consulate attack.
“In the eastern towns of Benghazi, Darnah and Baida, militias have attacked the Red Cross and desecrated the shrines and graves of Libya’s Sufis, followers of a variant of Islam that the Salafis regard as idolatrous. More recently these attacks have spread to western cities. There have been signs that several attacks were sanctioned or tolerated by the provisional security forces, the Supreme Security Committee, formed hastily after the revolution as a way to harness the zeal of the rebels. Fred Wehrey, ‘A desperate Salafi attack in a weak Libyan state’, Financial Times, September 13, 2012
It is beyond belief that Secretary of State Clinton was unaware of this situation and the threat that it posed to United States personnel and property in Benghazi. We know that President Obama no longer attends intelligence meetings in the White House. Indeed, the day following the Benghazi attack, Obama was out on the campaign trail, sleeves rolled up, both hands held out to those who came to worship him, a broad smile on his face. Here was a man with no apparent troubles in his world!
‘Put not your trust in princes’, Mr Stevens. Princes take care exclusively of themselves, not of their faithful servants who put their lives at risk in furtherance of foolish international adventures.