Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Libya Model

Ah, how we learned from the Iraq War experience to improve chances of success in Libya!

Seven years after helping rebels overthrow Khadaffi in the 2011 Libya War, Westerners are hoping elections at the end of this year will finally settle Libya down and provide a national government to paper over divisions and hunt down jihadis who set up shop in the aftermath of the civil war and NATO-led intervention:

There is now general agreement in Libya, the UN and among key Western and Arab nations that national presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on December 10th and the new officials will form a national government. In the meantime the GNA (Government of National Accord) and HoR (House of Representatives), the two existing governments in Libya have agreed to increase their cooperation (already functional enough) to improve the operation of the National Oil Company and the Central Bank of Libya.

Remember when liberals said America should have just gotten out of Iraq after overthrowing the dictator Saddam to allow the locals to work out their problems without America's troop presence mucking things up? Remember how they said America created and caused jihadis to flock to Iraq because we had troops there?

So Libya was the glorious opportunity to prove how a simple drive by shooting of the dictator would allow the locals to avoid the horrible impact of American liberation "occupation" and sort out their differences like reasonable people.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

Fifteen thousand plus or minus 5K died in the 2011 fighting. Chaos, violence with over a thousand dead, and an influx of jihadis that destabilized neighboring Mali resulted; as well as the jihadi assault on the American diplomatic facility in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. And then a new round of intense fighting in 2014 began (including renewed American military involvement beginning in 2015), this time to destroy the ISIL territorial hold in the Sirte region), adding 10,000 more dead. And a path for migrants through Libya to Europe was created which has helped destabilize Europe. And still, factions dominate Libya.

So there have been about 26,000 Libyan dead in a country of about 6 million people in 7 years. Compare that to about 155,000 Iraqis who died in the 2003 invasion and insurgency after the fall of Saddam, through the end of American combat operations in 2009, to the withdrawal of American troops in 2011, in a country of over 25 million.

Clearly, Libya suffered a comparable casualty burden with the decision to keep American troops out of the territory to avoid "tainting" the overthrow of the dictator and attracted jihadis despite the absence of American forces in Libya and failed to unify peacefully or even begin to have a functioning democracy.

But let's hope that December 2018 elections will finally set the stage for a united Libyan government able to establish law and order throughout the territory.