Libya: We’re About To Return to the Crime Scene

The New York Times reports that the “government” of Libya is hiding in a hotel room in Tunis:

“Officials said there was agreement that the United States and its allies needed to find ways of shoring up Libya’s new government of national accord – established just this week with help from the United Nations but stuck, as of now, in a hotel in Tunis. France, General Dunford said, will work closely with the United States Africa Command on a plan.”

Plan? What plan? Why,the plan to fuck up“liberate” Libya for the second time in four years, which is even now in the works:

“Worried about a growing threat from the Islamic State in Libya, the United States and its allies are increasing reconnaissance flights and intelligence collecting there and preparing for possible airstrikes and commando raids, senior American policy makers, commanders and intelligence officials said this week.”

Having destroyed the country in their 2011 intervention – when the US and its allies bombed the place to smithereens, funded Islamist militias, and had Ghadafi hideously murdered – the regime-changers are returning to the scene of their crime on the theory that repeating the same failed “solution” endlessly will somehow solve the problem they created in the first place.

The plan, we are told, could go into operation “soon,” which is interesting on at least two levels. To begin with, Congress hasn’t authorized US military action in Libya, and is unlikely to do so. Secondly, the idea that the “government of national accord” – voted for by exactly nobody inside Libya – has one iota of legitimacy is a joke. Indeed, Libya is suffering from an oversupply of governments at the moment, with one in Tripoli and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk: only the fools over at 405 East 42nd Street could possibly imagine the addition of a third will help matters.

And the joke is exacerbated by the fact that the UN-approved Parliament in Tobruk has rejected the “government of national unity,” as our very own Jason Ditz notes.

As I noted way back when, Libya isn’t a real country and never has been: it naturally divides into western and eastern zones, with the interior completely separate from both. It is a make-believe nation, constructed out of whole cloth by the UN after World War II and only held together because Ghadafi managed to seize power and create a dictatorship. He wasn’t a Boy Scout, but then again no one in that rough neighborhood deserves many merit badges. Now those geniuses in Washington, Paris, and London – after arming Islamist militias, one of which murdered the American ambassador – have suddenly discovered the existence of a “terrorist threat.”

So what exactly is going on in Libya since we took out Ghadafi? Think Iraq, Syria, Somalia – or, perhaps, a Mad Max movie. The “government” in the East is lorded over by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a CIA creation, who defected to the West after botching Libya’s invasion of Chad and was domiciled in Falls Church, Virginia, for years – conveniently close to CIA headquarters in Langley – waiting for his Big Comeback. It came when Hillary Clinton’s State Department and Samantha Power teamed up with National Security honcho Susan Rice and the three of them prevailed on President Obama to approve US intervention in Libya. Hifter returned to his homeland, had his chief rival, Abdul Fattah Younis, killed, and – backed by Egypt, the Saudis, and the United Arab Emirates – seized power in the eastern province, what used to be the independent state of Cyrenaica.

The western Tripoli-centered “government,” supported by Turkey and Qatar, consists of a collection of Islamist militias and ostensible “liberals” known as “Libya Dawn.” Their biggest point of unity is opposition to Gen. Hifter, whose brutality under the Ghadafi regime has not been forgotten. They also insist on the imposition of Sharia law, which is  why they’ve attracted support from groups like Ansar al-Sharia, responsible for the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Is it a coincidence that the so-called Islamic State has prospered in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and now Afghanistan? What do all these nations have in common? Yes, that’s right: these are all countries that fell victim to the regime-changers. And then, as night follows day, the dreaded Terrorist Threat arose like the desert sun.

Backed by the UN, the US and its allies insist that Libya must remain just as it was when it was created by the Western powers after World War II. Yet “Libya” has no historical basis for its existence: even its name is an invention of its Italian conquerors, imposed at the turn of the twentieth century. Left to themselves, both the eastern and western regions would soon deal with a supposedly expanding Islamic State presence. But that isn’t permitted: the “Libyans” must follow the Western prescription of “unity” at all costs. After all, it’s easier to control one government than two: and who will make sure those lucrative oil contracts are handed out to the right Western companies?

The Times quotes Ben Fishman, “a former top National Security Council official” on North Africa affairs:

“On ISIS in Libya, we have to be more assertive. We have to increase bombing of ISIS while we are working to support the new unity government.”

In other words, we have to set the two rival governments against each other so we have a pretext to intervene in the name of the “war on terrorism.” Uncle Sam creates a problem, and then intervenes to “solve” it. That’s the story of Libya since the fall of Ghadafi. And the same can be said of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

The United States has no business intervening in Libya – no more than a criminal who returns to the scene of his crime to “make things right.” Unfortunately, there is as yet no means to jail the criminals responsible for the destruction of Libyan society, but the least we can hope for is that the US Congress will prevent them from repeating their crimes.


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You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].