What Libya taught Europe about playing with fire
by JAMES POULOS
There is no way around it: The western intervention in Libya was in vain.
Americans, perhaps, have the luxury of feeling sorry for themselves about it. But in Europe, the feelings are of a different order and urgency. According to recent estimates, it is now likely that somewhere between half a million and a million persons will try to cross the Mediterranean this summer.
British authorities, joined in Europe’s belated effort to prevent mass drownings, predict 500,000 will leave shore, according to The Washington Post. Libyan officials, reported Voice of America, say one million illegal immigrants alone plan to climb aboard packed smugglers’ boats in the weeks and months to come.
For Americans grown used to a dwindling stream of unlawful border crossings from Mexico, the Mediterranean situation is a nightmare of complexity, staggering in scale. Many foreigners are vying not to escape to Europe but to make their way home — to Ghana for instance, from which workers and businessmen looking for opportunity came to Libya’s coastal cities in years past, and now find themselves in a long line to trade one humanitarian catastrophe for, quite plausibly, another.
But, of course, U.S. policymakers have not brought themselves to see the problem as their own. Along with their counterparts in the EU, they refuse to pick a side in Libya’s chaotic struggle for order among rival militias. The Islamic State, with whom we are allegedly at war, has seized the opportunity to capture Sirte, a strategic city midway between Tripoli and Benghazi that supplies half of all Libyans with electricity.
When President Obama ordered airstrikes against the Gadhafi regime, he did so out of fear that Benghazi’s 700,000 residents would be subject to a massacre. ****(these 700.000 residents never feared of a massacre because there was no order, it was faked by Obama’s, Cameron’s and Sarkozy’s regime to intervene their partner in this facade is Jalil of the NTC who in 2014 in national TV said that there was no order and the few who were killed were foreign SPOOKS. This how the FALSE FLAG STARTS also there is this “U.S. intelligence did not support the story that Mrs. Clinton used to sell the war in Libya, mainly that there was an imminent danger of a genocide to be carried out by the Gadhafi regime. The intelligence community, in fact, had come to the opposite conclusion: that Gadhafi would not risk world outrage by killing civilians en masse even as he tried to crush the rebellion in his country… the Pentagon and a key Democrat so distrusted Mrs. Clinton’s decision-making on Libya that they opened their own secret diplomatic conversations with the Gadhafi regime, going around the State Department.” There is also this: “As secretary of state under President Barack Obama, Clinton didn’t just vote for the war in Libya. She is one of the policymakers most responsible for the decision to go to war and how the “kinetic military action” would be conducted.Make no mistake, Libya was every bit as much of a foreign-policy blunder as Iraq. In some ways, it was worse. Iraq was at least authorized by a congressional vote. Libya was not.”)But another truth must have been at the back of his mind. As Gadhafi’s forces bore down, “Free Libyans” would do what people have done for millennia when confronted with onrushing armies: flee.
It was painfully apparent in March of 2011 that Europe couldn’t handle a wave of war refugees hundreds of thousands strong spilling into the EU’s weakest, most precarious economies. Now, with Greece on the brink and Italy straining to maintain stability, a wave of “boat people” the size of Benghazi itself would follow a humanitarian disaster with an economic one.
Europe’s response has been to bristle. Terrified that Libya will become a sucking wound, drawing in migrants from as far afield as Somalia, Afghanistan, and the imploding nation of Syria, the EU has made concerted preparations for an interdiction force designed to crack down on human smuggling. ****(I doubt that as human smuggling is a BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS… Europe will do nothing) In a strategy document obtained by The Guardian, planners noted the potential for an intervention on Libyan soil itself, where “heavy military armaments (including coastal artillery batteries) and military-capable militias present a robust threat to EU ships and aircraft operating in the vicinity.” ***(they intentionally do not mention that there are Russian and Chinese naval ships doing their naval exercise in the Mediterranean sea near the vicinity of the Libyan waters, which also complicates things as European and American ships can not doc on the Libyan ports and support the JIHADISTS which are ISIS/DAESH, LIBYAN DAWN, SHARIA, MUSLIM BORHTERHOOD. Just mentioning it. This is not a coincidence)
To state the obvious, a poorly led or ad hoc approach to this degree of escalation is certain to end in tears. “It is hard to imagine that these groups will stand by while European militaries operate on their turf,” Foreign Policy noted, “even if the targets of EU operations are smugglers rather than militants. The danger of armed action escalating out of control, and leading to further loss of innocent life, is very real.”
To be sure, smugglers are profiting handsomely while civilians are dying at sea en masse. Last week, over 2,000 perished, while one smuggler profiled by The Independent boasted a monthly income of $200,000.
But without a full-dress invasion and protectorate in Libya, Europe’s half-cocked halfway intervention is most likely to create only greater death and confusion. European leaders know they cannot count on America to bail them out this time around. The duty to lead therefore falls to France, the major power most committed morally and politically to the original Libyan crusade. France will have to take charge to forestall the kind of horror its attack on Gadhafi was designed to prevent.
This is a harsh lesson for Paris. Even more, it is a sobering signal of the new world Europe has finally been plunged into. Crisis does not stop at the eurozone’s edge. And despite the continent’s unwillingness to meet America’s demand to swell its own military budgets, the threat posed by Russia is one that will always draw in the U.S. The tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean is different. It is Europe, and Europe alone, that will now have to risk acting in vain.