Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Libya - SNAFU

U.S. intelligence operatives were on the ground in Libya before President Barack Obama signed a secret order authorizing covert support for anti-Gaddafi rebels, U.S. government sources told Reuters.

The CIA personnel were sent in to contact opponents of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and assess their capabilities, two U.S. officials said.

"They're trying to sort out who could be turned into a military unit and who couldn't," said Bob Baer, a former CIA case officer whose memoirs were turned into the Hollywood thriller "Syriana."


And they are not having a simple time of the sorting. I wonder if President #Compromise has a complete understanding of where he is in the chain of command. It’s behind the CIA, should anyone want to break it to him, which is why he signed an order after the fact.

Neither the CIA nor the White House have commented directly on U.S. undercover operations and plans in Libya.

"I will not and cannot discuss intelligence matters," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday. "What the president has made clear is that he will not send, has not sent and will not send American troops on the ground into Libya."


Other U.S. officials familiar with Obama's covert action order said while it authorizes a potentially sweeping range of measures to support Libyan rebels, each specific operation -- for example, sending in U.S. trainers, money or weapons -- would require further "permissions" from the White House.


And how are those rebels we’re supporting doing, by the way?

After the predominantly black city [of Tawarga ] was attacked by Misrata rebels, the residents were herded into refugee camps in Tripoli. When those camps were attacked by the same rebels days later, they scattered. Some ended up in Sirte, one of the few places inside Libya where having black skin isn’t a one way ticket to a prison cell. Presumably these Tawargans will find themselves under even deeper scrutiny if indeed the rebel forces capture them again, though prison space seems to be running low across a nation where open-ended detention is becoming the new normal.


For months, Libyan rebels and their international supporters insisted that Libya was not going to become another endless conflict in the model of Iraq or Afghanistan. And when Tripoli was taken by rebels a month ago, it seemed to many that the war was over.

But as Moammar Gaddafi’s loyalists put up a fierce resistance in the besieged towns of Sirte and Bani Walid, and bickering erupts among the revolutionaries, there are growing fears that the ousting of Gaddafi will not mean an end to fighting in the new Libya.


What? Ousting Saddam pacified Iraq. Why would you think Libya would be any different? (Please insert sarcasm font.)

Without a real government to deal with, the West will be forced to negotiate with the many tribal entities and independent actors who are splintering the former Libyan state into ever-smaller pieces. With the Western region demanding more representation in the NTC, the Gadhafi loyalists still on the loose, and thousands of weapons – some of them quite sophisticated – disappearing into the Libyan night, it’s quite a muddle – which just about describes the state of our Middle East policy at this juncture.

  Justin Raimondo

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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