Will America ever again be at peace? Pressure is building for the U.S. again to intervene in Libya.
Less than three years after Libya’s civil war the country has ceased to exist. This debacle offers a clear lesson for American policymakers. But denizens of Washington seem never to learn.
The administration presented the issue as one of humanitarian intervention, to save the people of Benghazi from slaughter at the hands of Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy.
Although he was a nasty character, he had slaughtered no one when his forces reclaimed other territory. In Benghazi he only threatened those who had taken up arms against him.
In fact, the allies never believed their rhetoric. They immediately shifted their objective from civilian protection to slow motion regime change. Thousands died in the low-tech civil war.
Alas, Libya was an artificial nation. When Khadafy died political structure vanished. The country split apart. Today multiple warring factions have divided into two broad coalitions.
“Operation Dignity” is a largely secular grouping including Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s “Libyan National Army” and the internationally recognized government. Last May Haftar launched a campaign against the Islamist militias with covert support from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
“Libya Dawn” is a mix of Islamists, moderate to radical, and conservative merchants which now controls Tripoli. They are backed by Qatar, Sudan, and Turkey, and deny that the Islamic State poses much of a threat.