US returns to Libya

Fathi Bashagha, interior minister for the Tripoli-based administration, said his government proposed hosting an American military base after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper laid out plans to scale back the US military presence on
the continent. Bashagha’s government has been engaged in a month-long battle with forces trying to seize the capital led by eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar.

“The redeployment is not clear to us,” Bashagha said, speaking in a phone interview with Bloomberg on February 21. “But we hope that the redeployment includes Libya.”

Libya’s advantageous geographical location (a 1,900-kilometer coast and ports) allows Americans to conduct military operations in any chosen direction: Middle East, Northern and West Africa. Economic resources also attract the attention of the US. Libya is rich in oil fields allow to control illegal traffic from the rest of Africa to Europe and Middle East.

In 2011 the US, Britain and France launched a bombing campaign against the Libyan government to bring about regime change. These same countries are contemplating a resumption of the war they thought was won when rebel forces they supported grotesquely tortured to death the country’s leader, Col. Moammer al-Qaddafi. The result today in Libya is in utter disarray. The US political system has learned nothing and forgotten nothing after all these decades of deep penetration in the Middle East, supporting reactionary regimes, causing the deaths of well over a million people and the destruction of entire societies.

NATO did its best to bring “peace, stability, freedom, and democracy“ to the region with its 2011 intervention. Now we see fully the result of it.

Before US-NATO forces wreaked havoc on the country in 2011, Libya had achieved economic independence, with its own water, food, oil, money and state-owned bank. It had arisen under Qaddafi from one of the poorest of countries to the richest in Africa. Education and medical treatment were free, having a home was considered a human right and Libyans participated in an original system of local democracy.

The destabilization in Libya brought illegal migration flow to Europe.
Moreover, the Mediterranean migration route opened a highway for terrorists set up sleeper terrorist cells or conducted terrorist actions across the whole of Europe. A possible deployment the U.S. military base in the country could only complicate the situation. It will provoke a new wave of rebellion among the Libyan people. Libyans know very well who plunged their country into bloody war. Thanks to NATO help thousands of militants loyal to ISIS operate in Libya and this number is growing every day.

Americans remembered well a jihadist-led mob attacked the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, killing the American ambassador, Christopher Stevens in 2012. In a 2016 interview with Fox News, then-President Barack Obama said that failing to plan for the aftermath of Qaddafi’s ouster was the worst mistake of his presidency.

The US hasn’t had forces in Libya since April 2019, when it withdrew them as Haftar’s forces marched towards the capital. Now control of the country has been divided between Haftar’s forces, who are also backed by Egypt and the
United Arab Emirates, and Libya’s government of National Accord which gets military support from Turkey and some European countries.

Esper’s plan to pull troops from Africa provoked criticism in Congress, with 11 lawmakers led by House Armed Services Committee Vice Chairman Anthony Brown, a Democrat, noting in a letter last month that China and Russia
were investing in the continent to strengthen their influence. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a top ally of President Donald Trump, was among a bipartisan group of lawmakers who confronted Esper on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich and said they wouldn’t back the plan, NBC reported.

In late January, Esper said the US wouldn’t withdraw all of its troops from Africa, but acknowledged a review is underway to account for a new strategy that makes countering China and Russia the priority. The US has about
6,000 troops in Africa, including those guarding diplomatic facilities, according to a defense official.

It is clear that deployment new American military base in Libya will not promote regional security. The failed US attempts to implement a peace settlement in Libya are clear. Washington has been politically and militarily involved
with the Middle East for over 70 years. It has overthrown governments and invaded countries to bolster its regional authority.During that time it has supported a plethora of dictators, working with them over the years to virtually destroy the entire political left and liberalism throughout the region. The US once again could turn the country into a foothold for terrorist operations because Americans diplomats measures are sanctions and military pressure only

By Clement Kpeklitsu

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