Libya is today a chaotic, failed state, and for that, we have Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy — by turns reckless and feckless — in no small part to blame.
Thousands of Libyan would-be refugees packed in rickety boats risking their lives attempting to make it across the Mediterranean to Italy brutally underscore the point.
The painful fact was also thrust onto the world stage last month after a radical Islamist suicide bomber killed himself along with 22 innocent souls at a concert in Manchester, England. Nearly 120 others were injured at 23-year-old pop songstress Ariana Grande’s show.
Bomber Salman Abedi, a British citizen of Libyan descent, reportedly had spent four weeks in Libya, returning to Manchester just days before he blew himself up to kill infidels in the name of Allah. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
British investigators are seeking to determine to what extent Abedi had co-conspirators in Libya help him build the bomb and plot the attack. But the probe will be more difficult because there’s no real central government in Libya beyond the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord.
To the extent that Libya is a failed state today, it’s because Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton made it so by leading an ill-advised seven-month NATO intervention in Libya’s civil war in 2011. Operation Odyssey Dawn resulted in the overthrow of longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
“We came, we saw, he died,” Mrs. Clinton, then secretary of state, guffawed, uproariously but inappropriately, about Gadhafi’s ouster in an October 2011 CBS News interview in what was a bad imitation of Julius Caesar’s apocryphal “Veni, vidi, vici.” (“I came, I saw, I conquered.”)
It was particularly callous because Gadhafi had been captured and killed by NATO-backed rebels who brutally beat him and sodomized him with a bayonet, all of it captured on video.
It could be argued that Gadhafi, who ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years, had gotten his due. “Sic semper tyrannis” (“Thus always to tyrants”), in the words of the state motto of Virginia.
Yes, Gadhafi was an SOB, but he was a defanged SOB, one who had forsaken his support of terrorism abroad and his weapons of mass destruction decades earlier. He posed no threat to anyone beyond Libya’s borders, and he was certainly no worse than a dozen other thuggish strongmen across the globe.
Worse, Gadhafi’s overthrow — billed triumphally as the “liberation” of Libya — unleashed radical jihadist groups there that had been long outlawed and suppressed by the secular strongman.
The chaos that has ensued over the past half-decade in Libya — continuing civil conflict and a series of civilian and military “leaders” — underscores the limits of being the world’s policeman. The folly of seeking to impose a Western-style democracy in Third World countries that have never been one has rarely been clearer.
Rival militias now reportedly control different regions of the North African nation, even among enclaves in the capital, Tripoli.
“Libya’s political and security crisis continues as three authorities, including the … Government of National Accord, compete for legitimacy, control of territory and of vital institutions,” Human Rights Watch reports. “Continuing armed clashes have displaced hundreds of thousands of people … .”
That in turn has set off a human tsunami of refugees and asylum-seekers attempting, one way or another, to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
According to The Washington Post, “Every Western embassy in Tripoli has been closed for at least two years, except for Italy’s, which reopened only this year.”
The entropy in Libya should serve as a cautionary tale as to what would likely happen in Syria as well, if interventionist Western “regime change” efforts to topple another strongman, Bashar Assad, were to succeed there.
The London Telegraph reported that Abedi is thought to have traveled to Syria, as well as to Libya multiple times since Gadhafi’s toppling.
Abedi’s sister, Jomana, speculated that he carried out the Manchester attack, in which most of the victims were presumably Britons, to avenge U.S. airstrikes in Syria. (While Ms. Grande is an American, she will be made an honorary resident of Manchester on July 12 as thanks for a June 4 benefit concert there that raised more than $5 million for victims of the nail bombing and their families.)
“I think he saw children — Muslim children — dying everywhere, and wanted revenge,” Abedi’s sister told the Wall Street Journal. “He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge. Whether he got that is between him and God.”
What we know for certain, however, is that the Manchester concert bombing victims’ blood is, indirectly, on Mr. Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s hands. As is the blood of the Libyan refugees drowning at sea trying desperately to escape the hellhole they created there.
Peter Parisi, a former longtime editor for the Washington Times, is a freelance writer and editor based in Northern Virginia.