I was re-reading a BBC article from September 2016 about the findings of a UK parliamentary committee, the foreign affairs committee, criticising ‘the intervention by Britain and France that led to the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011’.
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale summarises the report:
This report is effectively Parliament’s attempt at a Chilcot inquiry into the Libyan intervention, only quicker and shorter.
And the criticism is weighty: the government’s poor intelligence about the threat to civilians in Benghazi, its lack of awareness of Islamist elements among the rebels, the policy drift from saving lives to getting rid of Gaddafi, and David Cameron’s lack of strategy for what should happen next.
The subtext is that the lessons of Iraq were ignored.
Yet in truth the report also reveals the uncertainty among policymakers about military intervention, torn between avoiding another Srebrenica-style massacre when the West turned a blind eye to the killings of Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in 1995 and the need to avoid another Iraq-style intervention when Western countries got bogged down in an internal conflict.
What happened in Libya was a half and half policy, of intervention without occupation. And it is a model that did not work.
Crispin Blunt, chairman of the committee, told the BBC: “We were dragged along by a French enthusiasm to intervene, and the mission then moved from protecting people in Benghazi, who arguably were not at the kind of threat that was then being presented…
“Indeed, on the basis of the evidence we took, the threat to the people of Benghazi was grossly overstated.”
The committee said “political options” were available once Benghazi had been secured – including through ex-PM Tony Blair’s contacts with Gaddafi – but the UK government “focused exclusively on military intervention”.
I found this very sad. I had read this before and probably posted a comment about it on Facebook. But let’s look at the enormity of this finding and its implication. To be sure the government rejected the report. We read:
The Foreign Office defended the intervention.
“Muammar Gaddafi was unpredictable and he had the means and motivation to carry out his threats,” a spokesman said.
“His actions could not be ignored and required decisive and collective international action. Throughout the campaign we stayed within the United Nations mandate to protect civilians.
“After four decades of Gaddafi misrule, Libya undoubtedly faces huge challenges. The UK will continue to play a leading role within the international community to support the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord.”
Asked whether Prime Minister Theresa May disagreed with the report’s findings, Mrs May’s spokeswoman said: “The PM is clear on the reasons why action was taken in Libya.”
The alternative, she added, “would have been to stand by and witness another massacre of civilians”.
But there was a massacre of civilians, a catalog of atrocities, perpetrated by the ‘rebels’ on the ground and NATO from the air. We read in this March 2016 Salon article:
Today, Libya is in ruins. The seven months of NATO bombing effectively destroyed the government and left behind a political vacuum. Much of this has been filled by extremist groups.
Millions of Libyans live without a formal government. The internationally recognized government only controls the eastern part of the country. Rivaled extremist Islamist groups have seized much of the country.
Downtown Benghazi, a once thriving city, is now in ruins. Ansar al-Sharia, a fundamentalist Salafi militia that is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., now controls large chunks of it. ISIS has made Libya home to its largest so-called “caliphate” outside of Iraq and Syria.
Thousands of Libyans have been killed, and this violent chaos has sparked a flood of refugees. Hundreds of thousands of Libyan civilians have fled, often on dangerous smuggling boats. The U.N. estimates more than 400,000 people have been displaced.
The foreign affairs committee report presents this as an error, a ‘half and half policy’ to prevent a massacre while not being bogged down in an occupation, in short, a well-intentioned intervention based on false or dubious premises that went tragically wrong. It was no such thing. The assault on Libya was a cold and deliberate war crime, the murder of a nation that entailed several other deliberate war crimes. The individuals most responsible for this were David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy, Barack Obama and, perhaps most culpable of all, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Salon article notes that:
… the facts show that [Clinton] did not just push for and lead the war in Libya; she even went out of her way to derail diplomacy.
Little-discussed secret audio recordings released in early 2015 reveal how top Pentagon officials, and even one of the most progressive Democrats in Congress, were so wary of Clinton’s warmongering that they corresponded with the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in hopes of pursuing some form of diplomacy.
Qaddafi’s son Seif wanted to negotiate a ceasefire with the U.S. government, opening up communications with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Clinton later intervened and asked the Pentagon to stop talking to the Qaddafi regime.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich wrote a letter to Clinton and Obama in August 2011, warning against the war. “I have been contacted by an intermediary in Libya who has indicated that President Muammar Gadhafi is willing to negotiate an end to the conflict under conditions which would seem to favor Administration policy,” the Democratic lawmaker said. His plea was ignored.
A Pentagon intelligence official told Seif Qaddafi that his messages were falling on deaf ears. “Everything I am getting from the State Department is that they do not care about being part of this,” he explained.
“Secretary Clinton does not want to negotiate at all,” the U.S. intelligence official added.
And not negotiate is indeed what she did. In fact, after Qaddafi was brutally killed — sodomized with a bayonet by rebels — Clinton gloated live on TV, “We came, we saw, he died!”
No error, but cold, deliberate murder, not of one man, but of a whole nation.
Yet there are those who regret that Hillary Clinton is not the US President Elect. There are those who say that she was not elected because she is a woman or that Trump appealed to white racism. If this were true, and I do not believe it is, then we should all, for once, be grateful to sexists and racists.
Hillary Clinton sought the destruction of Syria on false premises as she had sought and engineered the destruction of Libya on false premises and as she had supported the war against Iraq which was prosecuted under false premises. Listen to her opening statement in this clip of a debate with Trump “Well”, she begins, “the situation in Syria is catastrophic”. She goes on the blame the ‘Assad regime’ and its Russian allies:
When Aleppo was retaken by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies in December we did not see the massacres of civilians that Clinton and much of the US and UK mainstream media predicted instead we saw people relieved, celebrating their liberation from the oppression of the terrorists that Clinton, Obama, Cameron and Hollande had enabled. I highly recommend that you watch this short French documentary featuring interviews with the people of Aleppo:
Bashar al Assad said, of the liberation of Aleppo, that it was a pivotal moment in history, not just for Syria but for the world. I hope Assad is correct that the Liberation marks the moment when the world, enough of the world, clearly sees the pattern and sees through the lies of the Camerons, Obamas, Sarkozys, Clintons, Hollands and their cohorts. These are not respectable people, they are not at all decent and their intentions are not good, their intentions are evil and their actions are evil and the consequences of their actions are evil. I don’t like saying this because these people are our leaders and are supported by our democratic representatives and our political structures, by our whole political and media establishment. What does this say about our structures, our beliefs?
There is a saying ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.’ The first time I have been fooled, the second time I am a fool. But fool me thrice? The third time I must be an accomplice.