Is This Hillary’s New Libya Narrative?

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Lanny Davis, trusted Clinton surrogate and advisor, told Washington’s WMAL radio station Thursday that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is not to blame for Libya’s current state of affairs because it the U.S role was under a joint NATO operation.

Davis’s comments may indicate the Clinton campaign intends to blame Libya’s failed state on NATO and President Barack Obama, to absolve her significant role in pushing for the intervention in 2011. Clinton was a strong advocate of military force against NATO in 2011. Sidney Blumenthal, a trusted Clinton confidant and Davis friend, even emailed Clinton in 2011 counseling her, “this is an historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it.”

When WMAL radio hosts asked Davis about Clinton’s complicity in the Obama administration’s withdrawal from Iraq, Davis retorted “that was Obama’s policy.” Davis’s comments may indicate the Clinton campaign intends to drastically play down Clinton’s role in the effects of Obama’s foreign policy, while simultaneously taking credit for the office of Secretary of State.

Davis’s comments portrayed the Libyan intervention as one that NATO, with France in the lead, would pursue regardless of a U.S. role in the operation. Washington committed significant U.S. assets to the operation, and were critical in bringing the fall of Libyan dictator Colonel Gadhafi. A New York Times report from February 2016 examining the U.S. decision-making process in Libya, revealed that Clinton was the key to Obama’s decision to intervene.

“I’ve always thought that Hillary’s support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach,” then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told The New York Times. Clinton reportedly sold the policy to Obama by emphasizing the competence of dissident Libyan leaders in waiting, believing they could set up a transitional government capable of quickly reestablishing rule of law. Clinton’s support convinced Obama to support a policy of regime change.

Five years since the intervention, thousands of Libyans fight for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and the country is the only place outside of Iraq and Syria where ISIS holds territory.

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