Blowback from Stupid U.S. Policy
The U.S. is constantly fighting enemies which it helped to create.
For example, U.S. backing of Al Qaeda led to 9/11.
The fighters who overthrew Libya’s Gaddafi (as part of our “humanitarian” war there) were largely Al Qaeda terrorists. And after Gaddafi was killed, they flooded into Syria … where we are now fighting them.
As we reported in November:
The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gaddafi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.
According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:
The Hindustan Times reported last year:
“There is no question that al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition,” Bruce Riedel, former CIA officer and a leading expert on terrorism, told Hindustan Times.
It has always been Qaddafi’s biggest enemy and its stronghold is Benghazi.
Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya. Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.
(Incidentally, Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011, 4 years after the West Point report cited Benghazi as a hotbed of Al Qaeda terrorists. Gaddafi claimed – rightly it turns out – that Benghazi was an Al Qaeda stronghold and a main source of the Libyan rebellion. But NATO planes stopped him, and protected Benghazi.)
Similarly, the current war in Mali is a result of our intervention in Libya.
BBC noted in 2011:
Ethnic Tuareg fighters returning to Mali from Libya are said to have helped to launch a new rebel group.
The Tuareg are a nomadic community who mostly live in the Sahara desert and nearby regions of countries across north and west Africa.
Mali has been saying since the start of the conflict in Libya that the fall of Col Gaddafi would have a destabilising effect in the region.
Before he was ousted, Col Gaddafi had helped broker a deal to end a Tuareg rebellion in neighbouring Niger.
Many former fighters then went to Libya to join the army.
But in recent months, convoys of former Gaddafi loyalists have been crossing the desert to escape reprisals by the forces who ousted Libya’s long-time leader.
BBC provided an update a year ago:
Tuareg rebels – once part of Col Gaddafi’s Libyan security forces – have attacked two more towns in the north of Mali, in a second day of fighting.
The NMLA say they are in control of the north-eastern town of Aguel’hoc and are fighting for Tessalit.
The New York Times reported the next month:
After fighting for Colonel Qaddafi as he struggled to stay in power, the Tuaregs helped themselves to a considerable quantity of sophisticated weaponry before returning to Mali. When they got here, they reinvigorated a longstanding rebellion and blossomed into a major challenge for this impoverished desert nation, an important American ally …
The Tuaregs hoisted their rebel flag in the sandy northern towns …. Their sudden strength has deeply surprised a Malian Army accustomed to fighting wispy turbaned fighters wielding only Kalashnikov rifles.
Bajan Ag Hamatou, a lawmaker from Ménaka … angrily blamed the West for having created a mess in his backyard.
“The Westerners didn’t want Qaddafi, and they got rid of him, and they created problems for all of us,” he said. “When you chased Qaddafi out in that barbaric fashion, you created 10 more Qaddafis. The whole Saharo-Sahelian region has become unlivable.”
The Daily Star argues that the Tuaregs’ weapons came from the West’s arming of Libyan rebels in the attempt to topple Gaddafi:
French forces in Mali have been taken by surprise by the fighting strength of the Islamist radicals they are attempting to drive out of the centre of the country, it emerged on Sunday.
“But they’ve shown themselves to be well-equipped, well-armed and well-trained.”
The French officials believe the Islamists obtained many of their weapons during last year’s unrest, when arms were delivered to rebels fighting to overthrow Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
“In Libya they picked up modern, sophisticated kit that is a lot more robust and effective than could have been imagined,” the source added.
Similarly, ABC reported:
A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [affiliated with the Mali rebels], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”
Glenn Greenwald notes that the West’s idiotic campaign against Libya is the cause of the mess in Mali:
Within this new massive bombing campaign [by France - with the U.S. playing wing man - against Mali], one finds most of the vital lessons about western intervention that, typically, are steadfastly ignored.
First, as the New York Times’ background account from this morning makes clear, much of the instability in Mali is the direct result of Nato’s intervention in Libya. Specifically, “heavily armed, battle-hardened Islamist fighters returned from combat in Libya” and “the big weaponry coming out of Libya and the different, more Islamic fighters who came back” played the precipitating role in the collapse of the US-supported central government. As Owen Jones wrote in an excellent column this morning in the Independent:
“This intervention is itself the consequence of another. The Libyan war is frequently touted as a success story for liberal interventionism. Yet the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship had consequences that Western intelligence services probably never even bothered to imagine. Tuaregs – who traditionally hailed from northern Mali – made up a large portion of his army. When Gaddafi was ejected from power, they returned to their homeland: sometimes forcibly so as black Africans came under attack in post-Gaddafi Libya, an uncomfortable fact largely ignored by the Western media. . . . [T]he Libyan war was seen as a success . . . and here we are now engaging with its catastrophic blowback.”
Over and over, western intervention ends up – whether by ineptitude or design – sowing the seeds of further intervention. Given the massive instability still plaguing Libya as well as enduring anger over the Benghazi attack, how long will it be before we hear that bombing and invasions in that country are – once again – necessary to combat the empowered “Islamist” forces there: forces empowered as a result of the Nato overthrow of that country’s government?
Second, the overthrow of the Malian government was enabled by US-trained-and-armed soldiers who defected. From the NYT: “commanders of this nation’s elite army units, the fruit of years of careful American training, defected when they were needed most — taking troops, guns, trucks and their newfound skills to the enemy in the heat of battle, according to senior Malian military officials.” And then: “an American-trained officer overthrew Mali’s elected government, setting the stage for more than half of the country to fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.”
In other words, the west is once again at war with the very forces that it trained, funded and armed. Nobody is better at creating its own enemies, and thus ensuring a posture of endless war, than the US and its allies. Where the US cannot find enemies to fight against it, it simply empowers them.