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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My answer to Secretary Clinton Re: US Death in Libya


One of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks upon hearing of the death of the US ambassador and his colleagues in Libya was:
The mission that drew Chris and Sean and their colleagues to Libya is both noble and necessary, and we and the people of Libya honor their memory by carrying it forward. This is not easy. Today, many Americans are asking - indeed, I asked myself - how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.
I believe the answer is that after the initial success of any revolution there are always elements of the old regime that go underground and attempt to wage counter-revolution. They can be expected to have ferreted away a large amount of cash and hidden stockpiles of weapons, they may get assistance from outside the country, and that they can launch a nagging terror campaign.

After listening to the news and views all day on the protest and attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, I strongly suspect we are looking at two distinct events with one consciously trying to confuse or associate itself with the other.

One event was a Salafist led mass protest of several hundred people at the consulate. What they were protesting is not entirely clear. There was the racist film on YouTube but there was also the announcement of the death of Abu Yahya, no matter, event one was an angry crowd, anti-US protest, at the US embassy; as in Egypt, the same day and more countries the next.

Two was a well co-ordinated military attack on the US compound that involved mortar teams and RPGs. This attack used the first event for cover and diversion. This attack, particularly given the target, was most likely the work of the remnants of the Qaddafi regime. Maybe they were also Salafists but ramrodded by the regime remnants, the way the terrorists that hit the polling station appear to be Federalists with regime remnants ramrodding them.

The so-called "Green Resistance" has been a complete failure in finding any support for a return of the old regime and they are far too tiny to wage even a guerrilla war, so they make mischief with what wedge issues they can and back extreme elements with money and weapons. The Qaddafi regime, such as it is, is still the number one security problem facing Libya today.

This attack is similar to an attack on a polling station in Benghazi on election day, done under cover of a small federalist protest. I also suspect that these pro-Qaddafi elements are strongest in Benghazi precisely because they had to go underground there the earliest.

With the election day attack, it was the revolutionary brigades saddling up and taking to the streets in their technical vehicles that stopped any further violence. The point here is that the question of arms in the hands of elements of the old regime should not be conflated with arms in the hands of the revolutionary brigades as is all too often done. The old-regime elements definitely must be ferreted out and dis-armed. The revolutionary brigades should not lay down their arms until that is done.

While this incident does reflect badly on the security provided by the revolutionary Libyan government to those the Qaddafi terrorist may target for revenge, including a number of generals that defected, it tells us nothing about the attitude of the Libyan people towards the US and certainly should not be taken in that light.

It probably can safely be taken as a reflection of the attitude of the remnants of the Qaddafi regime towards the US because while Clinton maybe right that "The mission that drew Chris and Sean and their colleagues to Libya is both noble and necessary" the Qaddafi people may still remember the good old days when they could torture people with the CIA in the room and feel betrayed.



Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

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