Most in the U.S. who aren’t involved in politics or academics knew little of Libya before the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi where Christopher Stevens and 3 other Americans died.
We knew so little, in fact, that when President Barack Obama decided to enter the U.S. in the 2011 effort to oust Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi, most Americans were shocked.
Libya posed no threat to our country and the U.S. is not reliant on Libya for significant amounts of oil.
So what are we doing in Libya?
As activist and scholar Horace Campbell pointed out:
He [Stevens] had served as a 'Special Representative' to the Libyan Transitional National Council from March 2011 to November 2011 during the NATO intervention. Prior to this period he had served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya from 2007 to 2009. At that time, Stevens described Gaddafi as an 'engaging and charming interlocutor' as well as a 'strong partner in the war against terrorism.'
Campbell penned an analysis of the Libyan war for All Africa. What emerges is a cloudy situation made worse by competing interests like oil companies, Western nations, Arab nations and militias.
Mission in Libya falls apart
Campbell pointed out that after the Secretary General of NATO declared in October, 2011, the NATO mission to Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history,” daily fighting continued across the country where more than 1,700 militias still roamed.
Campbell believes NATO powers misled the world about the mission in Libya, that the war is not over, and the fighting has had a “tragic effect on all of the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa.”
Campbell sees the situation as one that must be resolved by the African Union—African unity is Campbell’s objective and that is currently at odds with what some other powers seek.
Campbell is an internationally known scholar whose politics would be far Left on some issues and for the U.S., non-interventionist. I would classify him as an anti-colonialist who buys into global warming reparations based on questionable government science by consensus funded largely by U.S. taxpayers to the benefit of alt-energy companies aligned with powerful Democrats like Al Gore.
War in Syria and Libya
Campbell noted U.S. attention to the war in Syria. A friend of Campbell from that country told him there was sorrow over the death of Stevens. “But we have an expression in Syria: ‘If you feed a scorpion, it will bite you.’”
Campbell criticized the hearings about Benghazi held by Republicans in the U.S. Congress, attributing those to political efforts to damage Obama.
What Campbell overlooks is that Obama’s decision to enter Libya was unilateral—neither Republicans nor Democrats in Congress were consulted.
The Benghazi attack was initially messaged to U.S. citizens as an attack based on an obscure film that insulted a Muslim prophet. Therein was the problem. Even those of us outside the intel sector knew what happened in Benghazi was not a typical protest.
If a president tells America there are 4 dead Americans at a U.S. Consulate and one of them is an "ambassador," congressional hearings are warrented regardless of who occupies the Oval Office.
Skewed domestic energy policy creates conflict abroad
As environmental lobbies aligned with corporate alternative energy interests continue to sequester America’s natural resources—resources that belong to all of us—we must ask ourselves whether it is an outrage that our government chose to enter a conflict in a foreign country whose oil really has little to do with U.S. interests.
Obama has supported drilling for oil by countries like China, Brazil and Mexico. However, after the BP spill, he basically “shut down the Gulf in a single day” as one small business owner noted. The president’s energy policy has been a factor in depressing the U.S. economy and spiking prices for everything from food to household energy.
Obama also nixed the Keystone Pipeline project that would have created U.S. jobs and federal revenue.
Campbell believes the Consulate in Benghazi had more to do with an intelligence operation than diplomacy.
He also said that in the original conflict, “Black skinned Libyans from Tawergha were expelled from their community and more than 30,000 displaced.”
Who is Campbell?
Campbell isn’t conservative by any standard, and he tends to ignore widespread slavery and other practices in Africa that, like in other countries, were ongoing long before colonial powers established interests there.
His essay on the Libya war, however, is worth reading if for no other reason than serving as an additional lens on a conflict that more than Afghanistan or Iraq, was not relevant to U.S. security interests.
Campbell supported Gaddafi and he cited a writer whose column appeared in a newspaper in the United Kingdom:
The United States supported the opposition against Libya's Colonel Gaddafi, helped Saudi Arabia and Qatar pour cash and weapons to the militias and had now reaped the whirlwind. America's Libyan 'friends' had turned against them, murdered US ambassador Stevens and his colleagues in Benghazi and started an al-Qa'ida-led anti-American protest movement that had consumed the Muslim world. The US had fed the al-Qa'ida scorpion and now it had bitten America. And so Washington now supports the opposition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was helping Saudi Arabia and Qatar pour cash and weapons to the militias (including Salafists and al-Qa'ida) and would, inevitably, be bitten by the same 'scorpion' if Assad was overthrown.
A can of ‘scorpions’
Obama opened a can of scorpions in Libya, sparking a war that most Leftists did not complain about despite assassinating the character of President George W. Bush after wars initiated with congressional approval post 9/11.
Campbell issued a warning:
African peoples everywhere are mindful of how the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 heralded the start of World War II. The slow and escalating wars across North Africa and the Middle East pose great dangers to humans everywhere. Vigilance is needed and clear political agendas to oppose African dictators while strengthening the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.
Campbell said Western media largely carried a narrative of pro-government disinformation about Libya, but most Americans realized that long before Benghazi.
Obama’s foreign policy has, in fact, unglued the Mideast and much of North Africa. One objective was to organize workers in foreign countries and the administration gave more than $28 million taxpayer dollars to an organization headed by labor chieftain Richard Trumka to accomplish that goal. Media haven’t reported on that either.
(Analysis by Kay B. Day//Oct. 16, 2012)
More on Syria with Obama's Syrian 'Fast and Furious'; this is compatible with what Campbell said in his essay.