• U.S. Set to Deploy (More) Ground Troops to Libya

    May 21, 2016 // 17 Comments »




    The decision by President Obama, egged on by his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to depose Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, led to near-complete chaos inside a country that had been otherwise stable since the 1960s.


    This lead directly to the tragedy at Benghazi, a massive flow of weapons out of Libya into Syria and elsewhere, the spread of violence into neighboring Mali and French intervention there, and turned Libya into an ungoverned space and a new haven for ISIS and other terrorists.

    Not content with that, the U.S. is about to double-down on the mess with the deployment of additional troops on the ground.


    The U.S. military’s top general said Thursday the Libyan government is in a “period of intense dialogue” that could soon lead to an agreement in which U.S. military advisers will be deployed there to assist in the fight against the Islamic State.

    “There’s a lot of activity going on underneath the surface,” said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “We’re just not ready to deploy capabilities yet because there hasn’t been an agreement. But frankly, any day that could happen.”

    There is interest among some NATO nations in participating in the mission, Dunford said, but the specifics of who and what would be involved remain unclear. “Unclear” and “Interest” when used in that way typically mean the U.S. will be going it more or less alone, with maybe a smattering of British and French thrown in for political/PR purposes.

    “There will be a long-term mission in Libya,” Dunford said.


    U.S. Special Operations troops have been deployed in the Libyan cities of Misrata and Benghazi since late last year, though the Pentagon only officially admitted that recently. The U.S. has conducted sporadic air strikes into Libya over the past few months.

    The advising mission will be complicated by political issues. Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj’s “government” that the U.S. thinks it will be supporting in Libya has not yet been accepted by existing rival “governments” in Libya. For Sarraj to hold power, he will require support from militias in Misrata and forces loyal to General Khalifa Hifter, a former Libyan military officer who launched his own war inside the country in 2014.

    The Misrata militias and the Hifter militias have fought one another from time to time, and uniting them behind a third party seems a difficult task.


    NOTE: If you chose to get in bed with the Devil, well, don’t be surprised if you get screwed.



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    Posted in Libya, Military

    War of Terror. Repeat as necessary.

    February 27, 2013 // 9 Comments »




    Iraq.

    U.S. completes half a regime change, over-throwing a stable government but fails to emplace a new government. Chaos results.

    Balance of power in Middle East upended, Iran ascendant.

    Weapons pour from Iran through Iraq into, among other places, Syria and Lebanon.

    Americans get killed.

    War on of Terror. Repeat as necessary.

    Libya.

    U.S. completes half a regime change, over-throwing a stable government but fails to emplace a new government. Chaos results.

    Weapons pour out of Libya into, among other places, Syria and Mali.

    Americans get killed.

    Mali has a military coup but fails to emplace a stable government. Chaos results.

    Americans and other foreigners are taken hostage in Algeria (asymmetrical war, look it up).

    U.S. considers how to intervene militarily.

    War on Terror. Repeat as necessary.

    Syria.

    That’s not an angry screed, correct? Now, you kids get off my lawn, and turn that damn music down!!!!!!



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    Posted in Libya, Military

    So How’d That Africa Thingee Work Out?

    January 2, 2013 // 10 Comments »

    W-a-y back in October 2011 the U.S. invaded, albeit in a small way, the Central African Republic, because, well, big countries can still do stuff like that in Africa. Now, in December 2012, we’ve evacuated our diplomats and civilians because the invasion failed and chaos reigns in yet another place the U.S. muddled. Happy New Year!

    Obama sent some 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to help battle a rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. American troops deployed to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The troops were combat-equipped to “fight only in self-defense,” a dubious statement given that as armed troops they are stomping around someone else’s country. That sort of calls for an armed response by the homeboys, and thus the need to self-defend, yes?

    FYI, The Lord’s Resistance Army are a bunch of terrible thugs who have conducted a two-decade spree of murder, rape and kidnapping. They have not, however, attacked the U.S. They live really far away from America.

    Anyway, like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and pretty everywhere else the U.S. has bumbled into, things are not working out in the Central African Republic. Another 50 U.S. troops have deployed to the African country of Chad to help evacuate U.S. citizens and embassy personnel from the neighboring Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui in the face of rebel advances toward the city. Obama informed congressional leaders of Thursday’s deployment in a letter Saturday citing a “deteriorating security situation” in the Central African Republic.

    For those keeping score at home, this all tracks the growing US military presence throughout Africa (Admitted: Uganda, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia and Djibouti, currently some 5,000 personnel), complete with complex special ops, US troops on the ground engaged in “training” and occasional combat, along with the sad, usual accidents involving prostitutes and naughty boys that follow our military worldwide, most recently in Mali.

    Bonus: As part of our ongoing public service, Where’s Hillary?, we note that the elusive still-recovering SecState had no comment on the evacuation of her diplomats from the Central African Republic.

    Extra New Year’s Bonus: While the primary US engagement in Africa continues to morph into a military one, China’s dominant relationships on the continent are economic.




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    Posted in Libya, Military

    Your Son May Die in Mali: Clinton Seeks Yet Another War

    October 31, 2012 // 6 Comments »

    While Hurricane Sandy dominated the ever-shorter attention span of America’s media, Secretary of State Clinton slithered off to Algeria in hopes of involving the US in another war in next-door Mali.

    Clinton was in Algeria seeking support for “intervention” into yet another country threatened by “al Qaeda.” She is doing this because the other interventions have worked out so well in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Never Neverland. The idea is to gather up some willing African troops as ground fodder, supported by US (and French) logistics, drones, special forces and the like, wrap it in a UN bow and start killing us some more Muslims (in Mali).

    Despite the attractiveness of having foreign troops marauding around its territory (and the French have a particularly horrific history in Algeria, of course), Algeria seems cool to the idea. Among other concerns, the Algerians are worried that the troops could push extremists out of Mali and back across its own borders. Algeria has maintained a modus vivendi with the bad boys on its border and sees no reason to stir things up just because the US has found another location to export the War of Terror to.

    The US of course remains blind to the continuing failure of its war orgasms, and in particular their horrendous secondary effects. In fact, the new “crisis” in Mali is sort of our fault. The fall of Qaddafi in Libya prompted ethnic Tuareg rebels from Mali, who had been fighting alongside Qaddafi’s forces, to return to northern Mali with weapons from Libyan arsenals. They joined with Qaeda-affiliated Islamist militants who had moved to the lightly policed region from Algeria, and the two groups easily drove out the weakened Malian army in late March and early April. Then the Islamists turned on the Tuaregs, chasing them off and consolidating control in the region in May and June. But hey, we got another regime change notch in our belt, so it’s cool.

    Mali is a wasteland, so the war is unlikely to make things too much worse, right? About half the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

    The 100% percent-substance free official State Department read-out of the Algerian trip was contained in the longest run-on sentence in bureaucratic history: Virtually the entire meeting portion focused on our counterterrorism cooperation and Mali, and they agreed that we need to now work together to build on our existing strong U.S.-Algerian counterterrorism cooperation to work together against the problems that are being exported from Mali and to help Bamako and ECOWAS with the AU and the UN support as well deal with the security threats inside of Mali.


    BONUS: Savage War of Peace by Alistair Horne is one of the best books about the Algerian war for independence against the French. The book is also important reading in that it discusses the French decision to employ torture against the Algeria rebels, and details the extreme costs to the French in terms of loss of moral superiority that flowed from that choice. The book is also a textbook in counter-insurgency warfare, albeit once again mostly negative lessons.




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    Posted in Libya, Military

    US Militarization of Africa: 5000 Personnel, Ten Countries+

    July 27, 2012 // 8 Comments »

    Here’s something genuinely different from TomDispatch.com.

    In response to Nick Turse’s July 12 piece, “Obama’s Scramble for Africa,” Colonel Tom Davis, the director of the U.S. Africa Command Office of Public Affairs, wrote in disputing a number of Turse’s points. Though TomDispatch does not normally post letters to the editor or have a comments section, this seemed interesting enough to make an exception. The debate is now up at the site.


    The article makes for important reading as we learn of a growing US military presence throughout Africa (Admitted: Uganda, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia and Djibouti, currently some 5,000 personnel), complete with complex special ops, US troops on the ground engaged in “training” and occasional combat, along with the sad, usual accidents involving prostitutes and naughty boys that follow our military worldwide, most recently in Mali.

    The back-and-forth between the Army and TomDispatch lays bare their two worldviews – Washington’s urge to garrison and control the planet militarily and a critical response that calls for a major downsizing of the U.S. mission in the world. There is a lot of information in this article on a topic covered lightly if at all by most other media sources.

    Bonus: While the Army took the time to read, respond and intelligently challenge TomDispatch, the web site remains blocked and unavailable to State Department employees still, due to some mysterious “Wikileaks” connection never made clear. State Department employees cannot follow this important debate, by senior management decision. Sorry, enjoy your irrelevance. Breaking: State Department people who do wish to read the article can do so on a mirror site, Salon.

    Bonus Bonus: While the primary US engagement in Africa continues to morph into a military one, China’s dominant relationships on the continent are economic.



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