- July 28, 2016 -

Hillary’s With Us…If You Want A Destabilized World (Libya Edition)

The Clinton-Kaine Ticket Is Running To Keep Things Just The Way They Are, And That’s The Problem.


CLINTON WAS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE UNITED STATES’ INTERVENTION IN LIBYA

Clinton Became A “Strong Advocate” For U.S. Intervention And Was Able To Convince Obama That It Was The Right Policy To Pursue. “By March 15, when Clinton spoke with Obama by phone to brief him on the meetings, she had become a ‘strong advocate’ for U.S. intervention, one administration official said. The president, who had been weighing arguments from a sharply divided Cabinet for several days, sided with his secretary of state.” (Joby Warrick, “Clinton Credited With Key Role In Success Of NATO Airstrikes, Libyan Rebels,” The Washington Post, 10/30/11)

Pushing The Intervention In Libya Was Clinton’s “Moment Of Greatest Influence.” “An examination of the intervention she championed shows her at what is arguably her moment of greatest influence as secretary of state. It is a working portrait rich with evidence of what kind of president she might be, and especially of her expansive approach to the signal foreign-policy conundrum of today: whether, when, and how the United States should wield its military power in Syria and elsewhere in the middle east.”(Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ And A Dictator’s Fall,” The New York Times, 2/27/16)

By Arguing For Intervention, Clinton Disagreed With Three Of Obama’s Top National Security Officials, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon, And Director Of Counterterrorism John Brennan, Who Cautioned “That The Libyan Rebels … Could Have Ties To Al Qaeda.” “In joining Ms. Rice and Ms. Power, Mrs. Clinton made an unusual break with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who, along with the national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and the counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, had urged caution. Libya was not vital to American national security interests, the men argued, and Mr. Brennan worried that the Libyan rebels remained largely unknown to American officials, and could have ties to Al Qaeda.” (Helene Cooper and Steven Lee Myers, “Obama Takes Hard Line With Libya After Shift By Clinton,” The New York Times, 3/18/11)

THE INTERVENTION WAS DUBBED “HILLARY’S WAR”

Clinton Was “Fairly Clever” In Advocating Intervention In Libya On The Grounds That If The U.S. Didn’t Intervene “We Will Be Left Behind.” “Dennis B. Ross, then a senior Middle East expert at the National Security Council, said he remembered listening to her and thinking, ‘If she’s advocating, she’s advocating in what I would describe as a fairly clever way.’ He recalled her saying: ‘You don’t see what the mood is here, and how this has a kind of momentum of its own. And we will be left behind, and we’ll be less capable of shaping this.’” (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ And A Dictator’s Fall,” The New York Times, 2/27/16)

Clinton’s View Was That You Have To Have “Skin In The Game” To Influence Arab Allies. “Her view, often relayed to her staff, was that to have influence with the fractious opposition and Arab allies, you had to have ‘skin in the game,’ Mr. Ross said.” (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ And A Dictator’s Fall,” The New York Times, 2/27/16)

Clinton Aides: Clinton Has Been “The Public Face Of The U.S. Effort In Libya”

On August 21, 2011, Secretary Clinton’s Aides, Cheryl Mills And Jacob Sullivan, Discussed What Appears To Be Talking Points Highlighting Clinton’s “Leadership/Ownership/Stewardship Of This Country’s Libya Policy From Start To Finish.” (Jake Sullivan, Email To Cheryl Mills, Victoria Nuland, 8/21/11, State Department Release, 5/22/15)

  • The Email Also Says Clinton “Has Been A Critical Voice On Libya” And “The Public Face Of The U.S. Effort In Libya.”(Jake Sullivan, Email To Cheryl Mills, Victoria Nuland, 8/21/11, State Department Release, 5/22/15)

(Emails Of Secretary Hillary Clinton - Benghazi And Libya, The New York Times, Released 5/21/15, pg. 342)

Clinton’s State Department Aides Developed A ‘Brag Sheet’ For Clinton And Joked That She Celebrated Like She Called In The Airstrikes Herself. “The timeline, her top policy aide, Jake Sullivan, wrote, demonstrated Mrs. Clinton’s ‘leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish.’ The memo’s language put her at the center of everything: ‘HRC announces … HRC directs … HRC travels … HRC engages,’ it read. It was a brag sheet for a cabinet member eyeing a presidential race, and the Clinton team’s eagerness to claim credit for her prompted eye-rolling at the White House and the Pentagon. Some joked that to hear her aides tell it, she had practically called in the airstrikes herself.” (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “A New Libya, With ‘Very Little Time Left’,” The New York Times,2/27/16)

Clinton Was Personally Involved In Efforts To Take Credit For Libya Policy

According To Emails Between Clinton And Confidante Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton Was Personally Involved In Efforts To Take Credit For The Libya Policy.

(Sidney Blumenthal, Email To Hillary Clinton, State Department Release, 10/30/15)

(Sidney Blumenthal, Email To Hillary Clinton, State Department Release, 10/30/15)

CLINTON DID NOT PLAN FOR POST-GADDAFI LIBYA

Following Major Combat Operations In Libya, NATO Left No Armed Stabilization Force For The First Time In The Alliance’s History

For The First Time In NATO’s History, No Armed Stabilization Force Was Left After Intervention Because NATO “Conclud[ed] That There Were No Opposing Forces In Libya That Needed To Be Separated.” “The NATO countries, concluding that there were no opposing forces in Libya that needed to be separated, decided for the first time in alliance history not to leave behind an armed stabilization force. Instead, a tiny U.N. mission with no executive authority was left to coordinate international efforts.” (Paul Richter and Christi Parsons, “U.S. Intervention In Libya Now Seen As Cautionary Tale,” Los Angeles Times,6/27/14)

The Administration Has Faced Questions And Been Roundly Criticized For Not Planning For Libya After Gaddafi

The 2011 Intervention “Offers A Case Study In The Hazards Of Embarking On Military Action In Political Transitions Without First Devising A Solid Political Strategy To Deal With The Aftermath.” “If planners in Egypt and elsewhere wish to avoid such mistakes, they could start by analyzing the shortcomings of NATO’s intervention in 2011, which offers a case study in the hazards of embarking on military action in political transitions without first devising a solid political strategy to deal with the aftermath.”(Mohamed Eljarh, “The Smart Way To Intervene In Libya,” Foreign Policy, 2/17/15)

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn: “This Was A Disaster.” “This was not a failure. It was a disaster… we made it worse. All I know is that in Libya we took a guy out—again not a great guy—but a guy who maintained stability in a bad neighborhood.”(Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “In Their Own Words: The Libya Tragedy,” The New York Times, 2/27/16)

French Ambassador To The U.S.: “It Was The Same Mistake You Made In Iraq.” “‘In a sense it was lost from the beginning,’ said Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador to the United States and an early advocate of the intervention. ‘It was the same mistake you made in Iraq. You organize elections in a country with no experience of compromise or political parties. So you have an election, and you think that everything is solved. But eventually tribal realities come back to haunt the country.’” (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “A New Libya, With ‘Very Little Time Left’,”The New York Times,2/27/16)

Former Defense Secretary Gates: Clinton Failed To Plan For A Post-Gaddafi Libya

In A New Report, Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates Criticized Clinton’s Libya Post-Intervention Plan: “We Were Playing It By Ear.” “The only strategy spelled out publicly was that the Europeans’ newly formed ‘Libyan Transitional Council’ would be at the forefront of the effort. Washington was ‘leading from behind,’ to use a famous phrase from the era. As then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who opposed the U.S. intervention, frustratingly explained to The Daily Beast: ‘We were playing it by ear.’” (Nancy A. Youssef, “Hillary’s Libya Post-War Plan Was ‘Play It By Ear,’ Gates Says,” The Daily Beast, 10/20/15)

As She Planned For The Intervention, Clinton Failed To Resolve How “Just How Libya Would Be Governed After Gaddafi.” “In 2011, as the United States considered intervention, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among those who pushed for intervention—without resolving just how Libya would be governed after Gaddafi, according to a senior defense official who was part of the decision-making process.” (Nancy A. Youssef, “Hillary’s Libya Post-War Plan Was ‘Play It By Ear,’ Gates Says,” The Daily Beast, 10/20/15)

  • The Consequences Of Clinton’s “Improvisation Are Still Being Felt Today.” “And the consequences of that improvisation are still being felt today. The country is an epicenter of the refugee crisis sweeping the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Part of Libya is under the control of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. And the Russians use the U.S.-NATO intervention in Libya to justify their own military incursions in places like Syria.” (Nancy A. Youssef, “Hillary’s Libya Post-War Plan Was ‘Play It By Ear,’ Gates Says,” The Daily Beast, 10/20/15)

“And As The Country Was Falling Apart, It Seems No One In The Higher Reaches Of Clinton’s Department Took Note. If They Did, They Did Not Take Action.” (Nancy A. Youssef, “Hillary’s Libya Post-War Plan Was ‘Play It By Ear,’ Gates Says,” The Daily Beast, 10/20/15)

LIBYA HAS DESCENDED INTO A CHAOTIC CIVIL WAR

April 2015: Libya “Is A Failed State,” A “Haven For Human Traffickers,” And “A Mess That No One Should Think Will Be Resolved By The Current UN-Backed Peace Process.” “Yes, Libya is a failed state and a haven for human traffickers. It is a mess that no one should think will be resolved by the current UN-backed peace process between its warring militias.” (Roula Khalaf, “Misplaced Nostalgia For Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi,” Financial Times, 4/29/15)

Following Clinton’s Failed Intervention, Libya Has Become “Turbulent,” “Lawless,” And A “Haven” For Islamic Extremists

Libya Is “Suffering From A Devastating Civil War.” “The Islamic State’s growth could further destabilize a country already suffering from a devastating civil war. And Libya could offer the extremists a new base from which to launch attacks elsewhere in North Africa.” (Hassan Morajea and Erin Cunningham, “Libyan Gains May Offer ISIS Base For New Attacks,”The Washington Post, 6/6/15)

“Libya Slid Into Chaos Following The 2011 Toppling And Killing Of Longtime Dictator Moammar Gadhafi.” (Rami Musa, “Libya’s Rival Governments Shun UN, Sign Separate Peace Deal,” The Associated Press, 12/6/15)

Libya Found Itself “In A Worse Situation Than It Was Under Gadhafi.” “In fact, the country is in a worse situation than it was under Gadhafi, Fadel says. Militias, divided by region, by ideology, by tribe, now divide Libya, controlling what are essentially a series of city-states.” (“Four Years After Revolution, Libya Slides Into Chaos,” NPR, 1/31/15)

  • “Very Few Diplomatic Missions Still Operate In Tripoli, The U.S. Presence Is Gone And The City Has No Centralized Security Force.” (“Four Years After Revolution, Libya Slides Into Chaos,” NPR, 1/31/15)

Clinton’s Failed Intervention “Left A Political Vacuum” And Has “Been Exploited By Groups Like Al Qaeda And ISIS That Have Identified Lawless Territory Ripe For Exploitation.” “But the U.S.-led operation to avert genocide, which eventually led to the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, left a political vacuum. It has since been exploited by groups like al Qaeda and ISIS that have identified lawless territory ripe for exploitation and a possible beachhead to launch terrorist attacks on Europe. And it has spawned a humanitarian crisis that has seen boatloads of refugees risk dangerous passage across the Mediterranean.” (Stephen Collinson, “Hillary Clinton’s Other Libya Problem,” CNN, 10/21/15)

Libya’s Post-Revolution Has Been “So Turbulent” With “Lawlessness That Has Made The Country A Haven For Islamic State Extremists.” “Even if an agreement can be reached, Libyans will face major obstacles to implementing that deal and, more fundamentally, resolving the issues that have made the post-revolution era so turbulent: replacing defiant militias with a cohesive national security force and ending the lawlessness that has made the country a haven for Islamic State extremists.”(Missy Ryan and Hassan Morajea, “In Libya, Trying To Make One Government Out Of Two,” The Washington Post, 9/18/15)

  • “Torn By Tribalism, Ruled By Two Rival Parliaments And With Hundreds Of Civilians Killed During The Subsequent Civil War, Libya Is Suffering A Complete Breakdown Of Political Authority, Which Has Spurred The Rise Of A Host Of Terror Groups.” (Stephen Collinson, “Hillary Clinton’s Other Libya Problem,” CNN, 10/21/15)
  • Libya “Is No Closer To Lasting Stability.” “Nearly three years after Libyan rebels overthrew a longtime dictator, the country is no closer to lasting stability. The civil war that culminated in Moammar Gadhafi’s 2011 death has given way to warring militias fighting over Tripoli’s international airport.” (Holly Yan, “How Did This Happen? Iraq, Syria, Gaza And Libya All In Flames,” CNN, 7/16/14)

“The Collapse Of State Institutions After The 2011 Rebellion Left A Mosaic Of Gun-Toting Militias Vying For Influence And Reluctant To Give Up Their Arms.” (Eric Cunningham, “Libyan General’s Forces Make Major Push To Oust Islamist Militants From Benghazi,”The Washington Post, 10/16/14)

LIBYA HAS BECOME A SAFE HAVEN FOR TERRORISM

Al Qaeda Has “Taken Advantage” Of The Ongoing Crisis In Libya

Al Qaeda “Has Also Taken Advantage Of The Instability In The Region, Particularly In Libya...” “Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has also taken advantage of the instability in the region, particularly in Libya and Mali. In 2014, AQIM and its affiliates staged separate large-scale attacks against Algerian and Tunisian security forces near the terrorist group’s stronghold in the Chaambi Mountain region that straddles the two countries in April and July respectively.” (“Country Reports On Terrorism 2014, U.S. Department Of State, 6/19/15)

  • The Report Noted That Al Qaeda And Ansar Al Sharia Had Increased Their Coordination “As A Result Of The Safe Haven Both Groups Found In An Increasingly Chaotic Libya.” “Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has also taken advantage of the instability in the region, particularly in Libya and Mali. In 2014, AQIM and its affiliates staged separate large-scale attacks against Algerian and Tunisian security forces near the terrorist group’s stronghold in the Chaambi Mountain region that straddles the two countries in April and July respectively. In addition, AQIM increased its coordination with Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia, partly as a result of the safe haven both groups found in an increasingly chaotic Libya.” (“Country Reports On Terrorism 2014, U.S. Department Of State, 6/19/15)

The Aftermath Of The Libya Intervention Has Become A Boon To Terrorism

“Libya Has Become North Africa’s Most Active Militant Sanctuary.” “Libya has become North Africa’s most active militant sanctuary, at the center of the resurgent threat that Obama warned about in a May address at West Point. A 2012 terrorist attack against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.” (Paul Richter and Christi Parsons, “U.S. Intervention In Libya Now Seen As Cautionary Tale,” Los Angeles Times,6/27/14)

Arms Trafficking From Libya Is Fueling Terrorism On Several Continents, Including Boko Haram In Nigeria And Palestinian Militants In The Gaza Strip. “Arms trafficking from Libya ‘is fueling conflict and insecurity — including terrorism — on several continents,’ an expert panel reported to the United Nations Security Council in February. Weapons smuggled out of Libya have been used by insurgents in Mali, by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria and by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.” (Paul Richter and Christi Parsons, “U.S. Intervention In Libya Now Seen As Cautionary Tale,” Los Angeles Times,6/27/14)

Benghazi Has Become A Regional Training Hub For Islamist Extremists. “The accounts of the officials, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the topic, are more evidence that this city in Libya has become a regional hub for Islamist extremists seeking to hone their combat skills.” (Nancy A. Yousseff, “Benghazi, Libya, Has Become Training Hum For Islamist Fighters,” McClatchy Newspapers, 12/12/13)

The Turmoil In Libya And The “Breakdown Of Government Functions” Has Provided A “Safe Haven” For Terrorists

The State Department’s Country Report On Terrorism: “In Libya, Civil Conflict, The Proliferation Of Armed Groups, And The Breakdown Of Government Functions Provided Space And Safe Haven For Terrorist Groups.” “In Libya, civil conflict, the proliferation of armed groups, and the breakdown of government functions provided space and safe haven for terrorist groups. Libya’s non-existent security institutions, coupled with ready access to loose weapons and porous borders provided violent extremists with significant opportunities to act and plan operations. There were indications that ISIL affiliates were active in Libya in 2014.” (“Country Reports On Terrorism 2014, U.S. Department Of State, 6/19/15)

“Libya’s Non-Existent Security Institutions, Coupled With Ready Access To Loose Weapons And Porous Borders Provided Violent Extremists With Significant Opportunities To Act And Plan Operations.” “In Libya, civil conflict, the proliferation of armed groups, and the breakdown of government functions provided space and safe haven for terrorist groups. Libya’s non-existent security institutions, coupled with ready access to loose weapons and porous borders provided violent extremists with significant opportunities to act and plan operations. There were indications that ISIL affiliates were active in Libya in 2014.” (“Country Reports On Terrorism 2014, U.S. Department Of State, 6/19/15)

Libya’s Disrupted Political Transition Has Resulted In The “Collapse Of Government Authority”

The Report Also Noted That “Libya’s Democratic Transition Was Disrupted” And That There Was A “Resulting Collapse Of Government Authority And Fragmentation Of The Country’s Security Forces.” “In 2014, Libya’s democratic transition was disrupted by the outbreak of violence between armed factions affiliated with rival tribes, cities, and political actors. The resulting collapse of government authority and fragmentation of the country’s security forces greatly impeded Libya’s ability to counter violent extremist groups active in its territory.” (“Country Reports On Terrorism 2014, U.S. Department Of State, 6/19/15)

“[T]here Were Signs That Violent Extremist Groups In The Region Sought To Take Advantage Of The Security Vacuum To Expand Their Foothold In Libya.” “Although all sides in the conflict claimed to reject terrorism, there were signs that violent extremist groups in the region sought to take advantage of the security vacuum to expand their foothold in Libya.” (“Country Reports On Terrorism 2014, U.S. Department Of State, 6/19/15)

  • “Libya Continued To Serve As A Key Source And Transit Hub For Foreign Fighters Traveling To Syria And Iraq.”(“Country Reports On Terrorism 2014, U.S. Department Of State, 6/19/15)

ISIS IN LIBYA

ISIS Exploited The Chaos In Libya To Expand Its Presence

Fighters Loyal To ISIS Took Advantage Of The Chaos In Libya To Rapidly Expand Their Presence. “Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna, population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union. The fighters are taking advantage of political chaos to rapidly expand their presence westwards along the coast, Libyan sources tell CNN.” (“Paul Cruickshank, Nic Robertson, Tim Lister and Jomana Karadsheh, “ISIS Comes To Libya,” CNN, 11/18/14)

  • ISIS Has Found A “Fertile Environment In Libya.” “The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) flourished in the vacuum created by the civil war in Syria. More recently it has found a similarly fertile environment in Libya.” (Vivienne Walt, “How ISIS Sprung Up In Libya,” Time, 2/26/15)

“Throughout The Turmoil, ISIS Has Been Steadily Gaining Influence, Displacing More Moderate Islamist Groups.” “Throughout the turmoil, ISIS has been steadily gaining influence, displacing more moderate Islamist groups. And U.N.-sponsored talks last week aimed at resolving the country’s political impasse were stalled when the representatives of the elected government failed to attend.” (Benoit Faucon, “Libya Oil Field Attack Reveals ISIS Methods And Strategy,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/20/15)

Intelligence Agencies Fear Libya Is ISIS’ Fall Back Option. “The leadership of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is now clenching its grip on Surt so tightly that Western intelligence agencies say they fear the core group may be preparing to fall back to Libya as an alternative base if necessary, a haven where its jihadists could continue to fight from even if it was ousted from its original territories.” (David Kirkpatrick, Ben Hubbard, and Eric Schmitt, “ISIS’ Grip On Libyan City Gives It A Fallback Option,” The New York Times, 11/28/15)

ISIS Now Has An Established Presence In Libya

ISIS Sent Fighters From Iraq And Syria To Libya In Late 2014. “ISIS, which sent fighters from Iraq and Syria to Libya last year, has also emerged as force in Libya, attracting some support among local militias. Last month Egyptian fighter jets struck ISIS targets in Libya after the group released a video showing the execution of 21 Coptic Christian hostages.” (Jared Malsin, “ISIS Fighters Take Over Major Libyan Oilfields,” Time, 3/4/15)

In Libya, The ISIS Flag Hung Over Government Buildings, Police Carried The Group’s Symbol, And The Local Stadium Was Used For Public Executions. “The black flag of ISIS flies over government buildings. Police cars carry the group’s insignia. The local football stadium is used for public executions. A town in Syria or Iraq? No. A city on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Libya.” (Paul Cruickshank, Nic Robertson, Tim Lester, and Jomana Karadsheh, “ISIS Comes To Libya,” CNN, 11/18/14)

In May 2015, The City Of Sirte Fell To ISIS Militants. “Standing guard at his frontline post, Libyan soldier Mohammed Abu Shager can see where Islamic State militants are holed up with their heavy weaponry less than a kilometer away. The militants have effectively taken over former dictator Muammar Gaddafi's home city of Sirte as they exploit a civil war between two rival governments to expand in North Africa.” (Ulf Laessing, “Gaddafi’s Home Town Falls To Islamic State In Anarchic Libya,” Reuters, 5/21/15)

ISIS Has Taken Advantage Of The Turmoil In Libya Following Clinton’s Failed Intervention

ISIS Has Benefited From The Existing Turmoil In Libya And The Continued Weakening Of Its Government. “Islamic State is benefiting from a conflict that has further weakened government control in Libya. For nearly a year, the U.S. and European powers have pointed to the Islamic State threat to press the rival governments to come to a power-sharing agreement. Despite a United Nations-brokered draft agreement for peace announced in October, neither side has taken steps to implement it.” (Tamer El-Ghobashy and Hassan Morajea, “Islamic State Tightens Grip On Libyan Stronghold Of Sirte,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/15)

  • “The Seeds Of Islamic State’s Growth In Libya Were Planted After Gadhafi’s Ouster.” “The seeds of Islamic State’s growth in Libya were planted after Gadhafi’s ouster. In the almost exclusively Sunni Muslim Libya, the Sunni extremist group exploited tribal and political rifts that lingered after the strongman’s death, particularly around Sirte.” (Tamer El-Ghobashy and Hassan Morajea, “Islamic State Tightens Grip On Libyan Stronghold Of Sirte,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/15)

According To The Pentagon, ISIS Has Doubled Its Presence To 6,000 Fighters In Libya Over The Last Year. “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has doubled its presence inside Libya in the last year, the top U.S. military commander overseeing operations in the region said Thursday. The number of ISIS fighters in Libya doubled to between 4,000 to 6,000 in the last 12 to 18 months, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez said at a Pentagon briefing.” (Kristina Wong, “Top General: ISIS Doubled Number Of Fighters In Libya,” The Hill, 4/7/16)