Attack on ISIL in Libya

The town of Sabratha, just outside of Tripoli to the west,  would easily rank as one of the top 10 places I would want to visit in by lifetime.  It isn’t on many people’s list, and certainly not today, after the occupation of the town by ISIL.

Sabratha

It has beautiful beaches and well preserved Roman theatre.   But as reported on Feb 19, 2016, US warplanes have put a serious dent in ISIL’s plans by hitting a training camp.

US Daily News

Good.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Libya – Dire Situation

As Republican look through umpteen emails of Hillary Clinton,  the Benghazi committee is lost in the past.  It is not investigation; it is grand standing attack on Hillary.

The survival of  Benghazi  and 600,000 residents are imperil at this moment from ISIL.  Intervention from outside appears the only way to keep the country together,  but this could turn out to be a proxy battle, much worse than Syria.

Libya, Extremism and the Consequences of Collapse,  Al Jazeera, Jan 28, 2016

The above article is excellent, as it discusses the two main threats- ISIL and Al Qaeda. But the chaos created by the rival Tobruk and Tripoli governments, makes intervention very hazardous.

An initial attempt to assist in fighting ISIL with a US Special Forces Unit, on Dec 16, 2015 ended in disaster.  The group had expected a warm welcome from Libyan leaders.  Instead  as the soldiers were “captured” and  sent packing immediately.

Libyan Air Force Reveals Failed US Special Forces Mission, Newsweek

The UN Peace Talks looked very promising in December as a final peace ageement was ready for signing.  But, as reported on Dec 23, 2015, both the heads of state, of the Tobruk and Tripoli parliaments, refused to sign the peace agreement.

So, I guess the operating principle right now  with leaders in both Tripoli and Tobruk factions, is-  “whatever weakens my enemy, strengthens my position” and recognition of the absolute necessity of unity for battling the jihadists is lost.

Meanwhile,  I suspect a lot of options are being discussed, not really on how to save Libya, but with the limited goal of not seeing a ISIL flag raised over Benghazi.

Obama looks set to take fight to Islamic State in Libya

It is a terrible mess, and there are no really good alternatives, given the political disunity.  I feel for the people of Libya.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Hope for Libya

It has been a busy week.  It is hoped that the rival factions in Libya will finally sign a peace accord on December 16.   This was announced on December 11 at the conclusion of a two day meeting in Tunis.  See link below.

The Arab Spring in 2011 resulted in the overthrow of Gaddafi, and a National Transitional Government took over.  The calm came to an end in 2014, with open warfare broke out among the  various ethnic/ religious  groups.

The internationally recognized government is located in Tobruk, located on the far eastern side of Libya, close to Egypt.  The rival government is located in Tripoli, on the western coast, the traditional capital of Libya.  In the western desert areas, bordering Algeria,  the Tuareg forces are in control.  They were loyal to Gaddafi during the 2011 civil war.

ISIL apparently controls Sirte located on the coast in the center of Libya,  the birth place and the city most  loyal to Gaddafi.

Kerry flew to Rome today to take part in a high level ministerial meeting, and voiced strong support for a cease fire and the peace agreement.

I believe the strategy to unification , obtain a cease fire “peace” agreement between the Tobruk and Tripoli governments, and  then work jointly to defeat the more extreme  jihadist factions.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

A fierce battle for control of Libya’s deserts 

Kerry goes to Rome for talks on Libya unity government

Libyan parties set 16 December as date to sign political agreement – UN envoy

Libya – Wikipedia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libya- and the diminishing hope for peace

Avoiding a catastrophic war takes more cleverness than hubris- although both work.

“Force is all conquering, but it’s victories are short lived.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall take flack from both sides.”- Unofficial UN Motto

Imagine putting together a puzzle, and all of sudden, the pieces of the puzzle start dividing into more pieces.  But the pieces are hardly made of cardboard, but have money, arms and in many cases hold the most valuable resources of Libya- its oil fields.

Blessed UN  peacemaker Bernardino Leon of Spain has been attempting to negotiate a peace agreement among rival factions  in Libya.  It is far easier to topple a unpopular dictator, than to create a  unified country.   If Syria is the ultimate in a failed state and civil war by proxy,  then Libya easily qualifies for second place.

It has looked for many months as a peace agreement might be close at hand,  chiefly between the Tripoli based government and the Tobruk based government, but to also  include other rival factions.  The 42 year reign of Gaddafi came to an end in October 2011, after approximately 10 months of fighting.

There was great hope for a far more open and democratic society, post 2011 throughout Libya.  Things appeared to be returning to normal, with the election of a new President in 2013 – but there was a political storm brewing below the surface.  The second civil war began in May 2014 with Operation Dignity followed by Operation New Dawn.  These military operations captured the airport in Tripoli and drove the elected government out of Tripoli.

Leon’s time in Libya appears to be ending soon as he has accepted a position to head a thinktank in UAE, but not without controversy as UAE supports the Tobruk based government.

Leon Bernadino – New Assignment and Controversy

He will be replaced Martin Kobler, a German diplomat,  with extensive background in the Middle East.

German to take up UN Libya Post

The UN representatives can only make peace if the rival factions want peace.  If they believe more will be gained by waging war, then the Libyan civil war will continue.   But,  this immediately ends the attacks on Leon Bernardino, by the Tripoli based government, which I believe  were done  for popular support.  Bernardino had hammered out a peace proposal among the rival parties, but the Tripoli based government refused to sign it. Libyans have been fleeing their country in record numbers since last year as the civil war has continued.

So, perhaps the Tripoli government will sign the accord now, with Bernardino out of the picture.  Or more chaos will ensue.

Stay tuned,

Dave