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April 23, 2014

Report: Al Qaeda Affiliated Terrorist Now Running US Training Base In Libya

Smart power!

In the summer of 2012, American Green Berets began refurbishing a Libyan military base 27 kilometers west of Tripoli in order to hone the skills of Libya’s first Western-trained special operations counter-terrorism fighters. Less than two years later, that training camp is now being used by groups with direct links to al Qaeda to foment chaos in post-Qaddafi Libya.

Last week, the Libyan press reported that the camp (named “27” for the kilometer marker on the road between Tripoli and Tunis) was now under the command of Ibrahim Ali Abu Bakr Tantoush, a veteran associate of Osama bin Laden who was first designated as part of al Qaeda’s support network in 2002 by the United States and the United Nations. The report said he was heading a group of Salifist fighters from the former Libyan base.

That probably wasn't the original plan, huh?

This is why I'm so down on the interventionist wing of the GOP. They never seem to think through what happens after they get what they want. We simply don't understand enough about the internal realities of these countries, especially the ethnic and tribal relationships and loyalties (remember the State Department was counting on local militias to help protect the Benghazi compound? And how did that work out?).

It's this bomb first, "figure out what comes next....never" attitude that had me down on Syria. I'm not saying there's never a time for the US to use military power, I'm saying let's not pretend the domestic fissures of other countries are always solvable or even improved by the application of American firepower.

I admit non-action can carry as much risk as action in the long run but a little humility about lessons learned in the last decade or so seems to be in order.

By the way, speaking of Syria....

Secretary of State John Kerry touted on Tuesday the fact that Syria had given up almost all its declared chemical weapons and would finish the process by the end-of-April deadline.

“We now have the majority percentage of chemical weapons moved out of Syria, and we’re moving on schedule to try to complete that task,” he said at a State Department event.

But events in Syria paint a more complicated picture of Assad’s continued ability to kill civilians with chemical weapons.

Earlier this month, the Assad regime allegedly used chlorine gas — a weapon Syria is not required to relinquish — against civilians in the town of Kafr Zita, causing victims to suffocate, choke, vomit, foam at the mouth and develop hypertension, according to a letter from the head of the Syrian Coalition, a Western-approved opposition group, to the United Nations Security Council.

Oops.

It's almost as if when faced with existential threats to their regimes and their own lives, ruthless dictators will do whatever it takes to win and international agreements be damned.

The only way you are going to get Assad to stop using chemical weapons or killing people is to topple his regime. And if you topple his regime, well, see the story above about Libya.

There are no good answers in these hellholes. We should ruthlessly pursue our interests and security and that means keeping them fighting as long as possible.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:35 AM

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