Salafists, Jihadists and other Islamist Extremists are Joining the Syrian Rebels

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 14th, 2012

Week in Review

During the Democrat National Convention two of the main themes were that GM is alive.  And Osama bin Laden is dead.  Over and over they hammered home how President Obama killed Osama bin Laden.  No doubt angering the Islamist world with excessive spiking of the Osama bin Laden football.  The only thing the president didn’t do was some taunting end zone dance.  And an ‘In your face, al Qaeda” from the president to the Islamist extremist world.  The president wanted to sound tough to dispel rumors that he’s too soft on national security.  So they made it clear to the people watching the Democrat National Convention, and to the world, that President Obama killed Osama bin Laden.

Shortly after this terrorists killed the American ambassador in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11.  Was there a connection?  Well, the Islamist extremists hated America to begin with.  And rubbing the killing of Osama bin laden in their faces probably didn’t help soften their seething hatred of Americans.  It may have played a part.  But being that it was on 9/11 and they used heavy weapons suggests that the attack was in the planning for awhile.  However the protests at embassies throughout the world following the Benghazi attack may have been inflamed by the spiking of the Osama bin Laden football.  Or the publicity of a YouTube video to blame the violence in Benghazi on that people in the Islamic world did not even see until the Obama administration brought it to their attention.

Of course, this Islamist reaction completely baffles the Obama administration.  For they have gone out of their way to be nice to these people that hate us.  When there were protests against our staunch ally in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, President Obama was quick to call for Mubarak to step down from power.  At the beginning of the Arab Spring.  Yes, he was a dictator.  Like most are in that region.  But he was a dictator that promoted regional stability.  That suppressed Islamist extremism.  Kept Iran in its place.  Prevented the flow of arms to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Made the Suez Canal safe for all shipping.  Kept the anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood out of power.  And made it safe for Western tourists to travel to Egypt.  But President Obama said Mubarak had to go.  He did not help him.  Did not try to broker a peace deal leaving him in power.  Or one with Mubarak in exile to live out his life.  So Mubarak stepped down.  The Muslim Brotherhood stepped up.  They threw open their border with the Gaza strip.  And talked about abandoning their peace treaty with Israel.  Causing great instability in the region.

When Libya erupted in civil war the Obama administration supported the rebels.  Even though no one knew who the rebels were.  Other than including members of al Qaeda.  Libya was no longer an active enemy of the United States.  And not even a major oil supplier to the United States.  They had even begun to clamp down on Islamist extremists in their country following the US invasion of Iraq.  Yet we supported the rebels with US air power.  Because if we didn’t the war could spill over their borders.  Leading to Libyans fleeing their country and causing a humanitarian crisis.

The Assad regime in Syria was not a friend of the US.  Saddam Hussein may have hidden his chemical weapons in Syria when the US invaded Iraq.  They are a supporter of terrorism.  A client of Iran.  They support Hezbollah in Lebanon.  So they are no friend to the US or regional peace.  Yet when they erupted in civil war the Obama administration did not help these rebels.  And the things they said would happen in Libya if they didn’t get involved there are happening in Syria.  And now because the US (as well as the international community) didn’t help the rebels someone else is (see Syria despatch: rebel fighters fear the growing influence of their ‘Bin Laden’ faction by Ruth Sherlock posted 10/13/2012 on The Telegraph).

Standing on a patch of muddy scrubland just inside Syria’s broken border fence with Turkey, the rebel commander watched glumly as the group of jihadists crossed into his country.

Scruffy, with long beards, some wearing khaki jackets and each clutching a black travel bag, the six men walked silently through the crowd of refugees who had assembled and were waiting to leave Syria. A driver in a pick-up truck quickly greeted the men and drove them away into the countryside.

“Libyans”, muttered the rebel Free Syria Army leader under his breath, shooting the men a dirty look. “We don’t want these extremist people here. Look at them; we didn’t have this style in Syria – who is this? Bin Laden?”

Even before President Bashar al-Assad has been defeated, a war within the civil war is brewing in Syria. It is a battle of ideas, a struggle for the overall direction of the insurgency that is pitting moderate-Muslims against Salafists, jihadists and other Islamist groups.

Syria’s most powerful Islamist brigades have united under a new “liberation front” to wage jihad against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and turn the country into an Islamic state.

President Obama’s foreign policy has not been much of a success.  In fact, he has made the Middle East, North Africa, the United States and the world a less safe place.  If he had purposely tried to help the Islamist extremist he probably could not have done a better job.  The Arab Spring was less about replacing dictatorships with democracy than replacing one kind of dictatorships with another.  A dictatorship of Islamist extremists.  Salafists, jihadists and other Islamist groups.

None of this is spontaneous.  And none of this had to do with a YouTube video.  Not even the spiking of the Osama bin Laden football.  But the spiking of the Osama bin Laden football is no doubt working as a recruiting tool to bring more jihadists into these extremist groups.

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Obama Shocks Israel in Middle East Speech on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 20th, 2011

The Six-Day War

In 1967, Israel was surrounded by armed forces from Egypt, Syria and Jordan (with some Iraqi assistance).  Egypt troops massed in the Sinai and closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.  An act of war in Israel’s book.  Again.  Instead of waiting for the attack, the Israeli Air Force executed a surprise attack on the Egyptian Air Force.  Wiped it out.  Gave Israel air superiority throughout the conflict we call the Six-Day War.  Which allowed it to repel the Arab assault.  Israel then went on the offensive.  And gained ground.  Moved the borders to more defendable positions.  Took the Golan Heights from Syria, making it harder for the Syrians to attack again.  Took the West Bank of the River Jordan (and East Jerusalem), making it harder for the Jordanians to attack again.  And took the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, making it harder for the Egyptians to attack again.

Of course, moving borders like this creates problems.  Though Israel was now more secure, there were some one million Arabs now living under Israeli occupation.  And a lot of refugees who were looking for a place to call home.  Many since the 1948 Israeli creation.  But no one wanted them.  So they lived in refugee camps just outside of Israel.  In sort of a ‘no-nation’ land.  Wanting to go home.  Where there was no longer a home for them.

Obama says Israel needs to Return to pre-1967 Borders

President Obama gave a speech on Thursday (5/19/2011).  The subject was the Middle East.  The democracy movements.  And the Israeli–Palestinian peace process.  It was the peace process comments that people are talking about today.  For he dropped a bomb on Israel.  Figuratively, of course.  He said the Israeli borders should return to what they were prior to the Six-Day War.  Which is very problematic for the Israelis.  First of all, it would make them very vulnerable to another pan-Arab attack.  And this inconvenient fact.  There are a lot of Israelis now living on that land that will be on the wrong side of the redrawn border.  That’s a bit of a problem, especially with all those refugees wanting to return home.  Israel is not happy.  And neither is much of the Arab world.  Because they wanted even more.  Such as Egypt’s UN ambassador (see Egypt says Obama speech will help Palestinians by Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, posted 5/20/2011 on The Daily News Egypt).

Abdelaziz welcomed Obama’s support for the pre-1967 borders with “mutually agreed swaps” of land because it “runs in conjunction with the efforts by the Palestinian leadership to garner the most possible number of recognitions of the state of Palestine on the borders of 1967, with those swaps.”

But the Egyptian ambassador said Obama missed an opportunity to address other key issues including Israel’s continued settlement activities, water, ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the return of refugees “which is a critical issue,” and the Palestinian demand for East Jerusalem as its capital.

Yes, the return of refugees.  The “critical issue.”  In other words, they want the right of the refugees to return home.  Not to the new Palestinian state.  But to the Israeli state.  Making it pretty much a Palestinian state, too.  Thus the two-state solution becomes a single-state solution.  And the Arab world gets what it always wanted.  The removal of Israel from the map.

By the time those negotiations end, he said, the next US presidential elections would be over, which presumably would mean the White House would not face the political pressures that exist today and might look favorably on UN membership for Palestine.

Of course, being in office during the destruction of Israel could have a negative impact on anyone’s reelection chances.  What with Israel being such an important U.S. ally.  So if you’re going to throw them under the bus, best to do that after the next election.

New U.S. Policy Position is a Nonstarter for Israel

Israel is not at all pleased with the new U.S. policy position (see Netanyahu Heads to White House After Obama Shift on Palestinian Statehood posted 5/20/2011 on FOX NEWS).

In a statement released late Thursday, Netanyahu said such a withdrawal would put at risk Israel’s security. He effectively called on Obama to recant his latest demand.

“Israel appreciates President Obama’s commitment to peace,” the statement said. “Israel believes that for peace to endure between Israelis and Palestinians, the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of the viability of the one and only Jewish state. That is why Prime Minister Netanyahu expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004. … Among other things, those commitments relate to Israel not having to withdraw to the 1967 lines.”

It would appear that the new U.S. policy position is a nonstarter for Israel.

Israel Refuses to Negotiate their Destruction

Part of the problem in trying to get an Israeli-Palestinian peace is that some of the Palestinians’ opening bargaining position is the destruction of Israel.  That would be Hamas.  Who still lobs missiles into Israel.  And who just recently moved towards a unity government with Fatah (see Obama, Netanyahu to Meet Amid Tense Backdrop posted 5/20/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

Many U.S. officials had hoped Mr. Netanyahu would use his trip to Washington to lay out new concessions he would be prepared to make as part of a peace agreement.

But hopes have faded significantly in recent weeks, primarily because of the formation of a unity government between the main Palestinian political factions, including the militant organization Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. Mr. Netanyahu has stated that he won’t return to negotiations while Hamas is part of the Palestinian side or before it renounces its use of violence against Israel.

So moving the borders back and discussing rights of refugees to return while someone on the other side of the border wants to destroy you is a problem.

An Israeli official said Mr. Netanyahu was disappointed the speech didn’t address the Palestinian demand to repatriate to Israel millions of Palestinians, most descendants of people who were driven from or fled homes in the war over the Jewish state’s 1948 creation.

“There is a feeling that Washington does not understand the reality, Washington does not understand what we face,” the official said.

Either they don’t understand or they have great faith in the Palestinians.  And Hamas.  That they won’t use greatly enhanced positions to do what they’ve been trying to do since 1948.  Or, perhaps, this is some grand plan to win the war on terror.  By abandoning Israel.  And giving Iran the Middle East.  And the Middle East oil.  In a desperate attempt to get America’s enemies to like her.  One thing for sure, though, it’s been proving to be a bad time to be a U.S. ally in the Middle East.

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The Libyan War is the First Battleground in the New War to End Human Suffering

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 3rd, 2011

Men and Women join the Military to Guard this county and our Way of Life

No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.  He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.  In case you don’t recognize these lines they’re from Patton.  In that opening speech George C. Scott gives in front of that giant American flag.  This is the sad reality of war.  People die.  And it’s not only the bad guys.  Often they’re our teenagers.  Our young men and women.  Who answer the call of duty.  Knowing they may die.  For it’s in the job description.  And in the Code of the U.S. Fighting Force:

I am an American fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

That’s why people join the military.  To risk their life guarding this county.  And our way of life.  This is the contract they signed on to.  Not humanitarian missions guarding other people and their way of life.  It’s one thing making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.  But it’s a whole other thing making the ultimate sacrifice just so another people can have a better life.  While your family is left with only memories. And a flag that draped a coffin. 

The Many Roads to War

Vietnam was yet another chapter in the Cold War to block Soviet Expansion.  Before Vietnam we were pretty successful.  We checked them in Berlin.  Greece.  Turkey.  Iran.  Failed in China.  Held the line on the Korean peninsula.  In Cuba (where we prevented the Soviets from placing their nuclear weapons there).  And tried again in South Vietnam.  And failed.  JFK was a Cold War warrior.  That’s why he went into Vietnam.  To check Soviet Expansion.  Our enemy in the Cold War.  Who was always trying to undermine our country and way of life.  People may not remember this, but Vietnam was a popular war before it was unpopular.  Because we lived in fear of the Soviet Union.  And their mushroom cloud.

Much of the world’s oil flows from the Persian Gulf region.  You stop that oil exportation and the world stops.  Remember the oil crisis of 1973?  We would dream of times as good as those should a Middle East dictator shut down that oil flow.  That’s why we threw Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in the Gulf War.  To stop him from controlling all of that oil.  We went into Afghanistan to topple the Taliban who was giving sanctuary to al Qaeda.  For we had traced the 9/11 attacks back to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

The Iraq War is a little more complicated.  Hussein had repeatedly violated the terms of the ceasefire ending the Gulf War.  He was a threat to the region.  And the Saudis were very reluctant to shut down the terrorist financing in Saudi Arabia lest the Wahhabi rise up and overthrow their kingdom.  Long story short, our Iraqi invasion forced their hand.  Because they feared Iranian hegemony in the Middle East more than the Wahhabi.  Say what you want about the Saudis, but they walk a fine line between helping us and maintaining Arab peace.  All the while not playing politics with their oil.  You can’t really ask for more in a friend and ally.

Now Libya?  Whatever happened in Libya would not have changed life in America.  It was not a national security interest.  It was to the Europeans who bought Libyan oil.  And those nations that may face an influx of refugees hitting their shores.  But there was no U.S. interest for Americans to die for.  It’s a purely humanitarian mission.  Sure, the slaughter of innocents is bad.  And we have a big and powerful military.  But the men and women who sign up to serve pledge to give their life to guard this county.  And our way of life.  Not theirs.  It’s a heavy burden to send men and women into harm’s way.  Especially when some may make that ultimate sacrifice.  But when families understand why their loved ones died, they can find some solace that at least their loss served a higher purpose.  But that ‘why’ in Libya is not going to assuage much of their grief.  Should there be grief.

So why Libya?  It doesn’t make any sense from a national security standpoint.  From a military standpoint.  A diplomatic standpoint.  It’s very confusing.  Why, we don’t even know who the people are that we’re helping.  It would appear that emotion, not logic, got us into Libya.

Women bring Distinctive Life Experiences to Politics

There’s a big push to get more women into government.  For they bring something to the office a man doesn’t (see For a woman to reach the White House, the 2012 elections will be key by Debbie Walsh and Kathy Kleeman posted 4/1/2011 on The Washington Post).

This isn’t just about numbers, though. Women bring distinctive life experiences to politics, and research shows that female officeholders change both the policy agenda and the governing process. Whether the issue is equal access to credit (Bella Abzug) or education (Patsy Mink), family and medical leave (Marge Roukema), or inclusion of women in medical research (Pat Schroeder and Olympia Snowe), female lawmakers have long been recognized as powerful voices on behalf of women, children and families…

Eager for more female candidates, including some who don’t fit the traditional patterns, we’re working on the 2012 Project — a national, nonpartisan CAWP campaign in collaboration with California political strategist Mary Hughes to increase the number of women in federal and state legislative offices. Our goal is to identify and engage accomplished women 45 and older to run for office, women who already have established careers and reduced family responsibilities. We are especially seeking women from fields and industries underrepresented in elective offices, including finance, science, technology, energy and health care.

So they’re trying to find women who also happen to have these qualities to serve in government.  It would seem better to find people with these qualities who happen to be women.  Because it sounds like we’re trying to find the best qualified women.  Instead of the best qualified.  I wonder what Margaret Thatcher thinks of this.  I mean, she was a great leader.  Not just the best woman they could find to be prime minister.

A Woman with “Distinctive Life Experiences” advises Obama to go to War in Libya

There are some women already in politics.  One in particular has quite a powerful position in the Obama administration.  A confidant and adviser to the president.  Well learned and scholarly.  Wrote a book.  Which won her a Pulitzer Prize.  So she’s quite accomplished.  And people should fear her abroad.  Because she likes to send the military on lethal humanitarian missions.  And she’s going places (see Samantha Power to be the next Secretary of State? by Cathy Hayes posted 4/2/2011 on IrishCentral). 

A flattering New York Times profile has increased speculation that Samantha Power, the Dublin-born aide to President Obama, could be his next Secretary of State or National Security Adviser.

She has been the main architect, along with Hillary Clinton, of the Libya policy and has an increasing influence in the White House inner circle.

Of course that new job may all depend on what happens in Libya.  Will the mission creep?  Will there be boots on the ground?  And coffins returning to Dover Air Force Base?  Or will Qaddafi leave and peacefully transfer power to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group?  Or al Qaeda?  The Muslim Brotherhood?  Or whoever the rebels are?

…she defended the administration’s decision in establishing a no-fly zone, adding failure to do so would have been “extremely chilling, deadly and indeed a stain on our collective conscience.”

Since she began her career working as a war correspondant in Bosnia at the tender age of 22, Power has believed that nations have a moral obligation to prevent genocide. She can bring life to these ideals from her position of the National Security Council…

Some of her critics say that she could be pushing the U.S. into another Iraq. The conservative blog American Thinker says that Obama has “outsourced foreign policy” to the Dublin woman. She has also drawn the ire of the Israeli lobby for her pro-Palestinian positions.

Another Iraq?  I think another Vietnam may be more appropriate.  Because of the mission creep (from advisors to airpower to boots on the ground).  And the affect on the Johnson‘s presidency.  Made him a one-term president.  Unpopular wars can do that.  Will the Libyan War stay popular?  If so perhaps it can be another Iraq.  If not?  Hello Vietnam.

This is the problem of getting women into politics because they are women.  They bring those “distinctive life experiences to politics.”  Emotions then cloud prudent deliberation.  For it would have been better if someone else had the president’s ear regarding Libya.  Someone who said, yes, the situation in Libya is bad.  But we can’t send young Americans on lethal humanitarian missions where ever there is horrible suffering and crimes against humanity.  Because there is horrible suffering and crimes against humanity everywhere.  We can’t pick and choose.  Play God.  Say these people are worthy of living.  While these people should die.  And we can’t encourage others to rise up because they think we will intervene in their country, too.  We just don’t have the resources.  And we can’t ask our brave men and women to do things they didn’t contract for when they joined the military.  Dying for someone else’s country and way of life.

Instead, it was the softer side of the Obama administration that cringed at the thought of people suffering.  And these women did not hesitate to put our men and women at risk to soothe their anguished souls.  And why not?  These leftist intellectuals hate the military (the Ivy League only recently -and reluctantly- let ROTC back on their campuses with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, no doubt conflicting them.  They enjoyed all the turmoil this is causing in the military.  But now they can’t use that excuse anymore to keep these people off of their campuses).  They don’t care if these people die.  You want to play war?  Okay.  Go play war in Libya.  Kill for us.  Be useful for the first time in your miserable lives.

The War to end Human Suffering

Now women in power is not necessarily bad.  Margaret Thatcher was a great leader.  I wish there were more of her to go around.  It’s getting women in power just because they’re women that is bad.  Especially when they bring those “distinctive life experiences.”  We can’t afford ‘nurturing mother’ types running our foreign policy.  Nurturers want to help.  Because they can’t bear to see suffering.  We need people who can see beyond the suffering.  Who can get past their emotions. 

The military is not a cold impersonal thing.  It’s our sons and daughters.  Our brothers and sisters.  Our fathers and mothers.  Our husbands and wives.  These are people.  Real people.  And we need to treat them as the precious resources they are.  Yes, some may die completing a mission.  So it is our duty to them to make sure they do not die in vain.  That we never ask them to make the supreme sacrifice just to make someone feel better.  Yes, suffering is bad.  But suffering is not a national security interest.  Oil is.  Stability in the Middle East is.  Sealing our southern border is.  Fighting al Qaeda is.  But suffering in Libya, the Ivory Coast, North Korea, (insert a country where there is suffering here), etc., is not. 

Suffering is bad.  But no reason to send Americans to die in war.  We cannot declare war on human suffering.  Because that’s a war that we can never win.  Like our war on drugs.  It requires changing human nature.  And until we can do that there will always be suffering.  And people using drugs.  We have a much better chance stopping terrorism. 

A war on terror?  Now there’s a war worth fighting.  Because winning that war is in our national security interest.

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When it Comes to the Libyan War, Obama must see George W. Bush when he Looks into the Mirror

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 30th, 2011

Dumb things and Turd Sandwiches

President Obama called what he’s doing in Libya dumb.  In 2002 when he was criticizing George W. Bush for toppling the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq.   He may not have changed much from this position.  Someone told Savannah Guthrie, NBC News, that the president used a phrase of a national security aide to describe his Libyan operations, calling them a “turd sandwich.”  You have to hand it to the president, he sure knows dumb and turd sandwiches.  Because they really describe well the Obama Doctrine in Libya.  And though it’s not a great delicacy, we the people may have to learn to enjoy this sandwich.  For we may be taking a bite from this sandwich for a very long time.

Libya to become a Recruiting Ground for al Qaeda?

First it was a no-fly zone.  Then we were attacking Qaddafi’s ground forces.  Now we’re taking it up a notch.  We may be supplying arms to the opposition forces.  And Obama has CIA operatives on the ground.  But I’m sure they’re not wearing boots.  For Obama promised there would be no boots on the ground. 

Get ready to take another bite of that sandwich.  Even though the UN Resolution 1973 did not authorize regime change, we’re sure acting like that’s what we’re doing.  And we really don’t know who the opposition is.  But what the hell?  What’s the worst that can happen in this chaotic, rapidly changing situation (see Al Qaeda’s Libya Pilgrimage by Ron Moreau & Sami Yousafzai posted 3/30/2011 on The Daily Beast)?

As debate rages in Washington over whether to arm anti-Gaddafi rebels, an exclusive report by The Daily Beast indicates al Qaeda forces are gearing up to join the rebels and seize power in Libya…

Since the anti-Gaddafi revolution began last month, al Qaeda—especially Libyan-born affiliates—have viewed the fighting as an opportunity to spread their radical Islamist ideology. Indeed, as one Afghan Taliban operative who helps facilitate the movement of al Qaeda militants between the tribal area and Pakistani cities told The Daily Beast earlier this month: “This rebellion is the fresh breeze they’ve been waiting years for. They realize that if they don’t use this opportunity, it could be the end of their chances to turn Libya toward a real Islamic state, as Afghanistan once was…”

According to the Afghan commander, al Qaeda fighters can’t believe their good luck that U.S. and NATO aircraft—the same forces that have dropped bombs on their heads in Afghanistan and Pakistan—are now raining down ordnance against Gaddafi.

You mean our actions in Libya will attract al Qaeda operatives?  Wait a minute.  Let me see if I understand this.  A country where radical Islamists were persecuted and exiled who then went abroad to get battle experience in foreign wars want to come home now because of the Obama Doctrine?  Why, that’s not good.  In fact, Obama can call his actions in Libya dumb again.  For he criticized George W. Bush for doing this in Iraq.  Recruiting al Qaeda where there was no al Qaeda.  And here is Obama.  Recruiting al Qaeda to Libya.  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Today, along the tribal border region, al Qaeda’s thirst for more immediate news has led even top leaders like Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan who serves as the movement’s senior Islamist ideologue and bin Laden’s head of operations for Afghanistan, to become almost foolhardy. The Afghan commander says that Yahya and some of his countrymen have even risked visiting villagers’ houses that have satellite television dishes on the roof to watch the latest Western and Middle Eastern news feeds from Libya. Their movements in public areas could easily expose these high value targets to human and UAV surveillance, and a deadly drone strike.

When important bad guys risk their lives for Libyan War updates you know something is afoot.

Whether Yahya himself will return to Libya remains to be seen, but speculation about what he’ll do is rife in the tribal area. “What Yahya will do is on the mind and in the words of everyone,” the Taliban commander adds.  “But I think he is probably preparing for his next move, contacting mujahideen in Libya and watching the situation in Libya…”

“They know they must tread cautiously, and not push too hard, for too much, too soon,” he says. Instead, he says, they expect to take a moderate line at first, while quietly trying to persuade rebel leaders that the preservation of Libyan sovereignty against Western “colonialists” depends on taking an anti-Israeli, anti-American line. Any move toward imposing Islamic sharia law, Yahya’s specialty, will have to come later. Still, Taliban sources say, if Yahya is successful in reaching rebel-held territory inside Libya, at least he’ll be able to operate with relative freedom, without worrying about Gaddafi’s secret police.

Oh my.  This is double plus dumb.  To play on an Orwellian phrase.  Some of us older people may have an eerie feeling of déjà vu.  Because this is how the Iranian Revolution went from democratic uprising to oppressive theocracy.  And we’re providing just the kind of environment to recruit mujahedeen.  Chaos.  Not only that, when they recruit them they may be already armed.  Because of the Obama Doctrine.  Perhaps it’s time to rethink this doctrine.

The Cities we’re Protecting are home to Libyan Jihadists?

All right, it looks like Islamist militants are coming home to Libya.  Thanks to our no-fly zone.  And ground support for the opposition.  Whoever they may be.  So what was this Islamist militant-Qaddafi relationship like?  And who was the real bad guy?  Well, if we focus on just this dynamic it appears that we may be backing the wrong horse (see Jihadist Opportunities in Libya by Scott Stewart posted 2/24/2011 on Stratfor).

Libyans have long participated in militant operations in places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq. After leaving Afghanistan in the early 1990s, a sizable group of Libyan jihadists returned home and launched a militant campaign aimed at toppling Gadhafi, whom they considered an infidel. The group began calling itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 1995, and carried out a low-level insurgency that included assassination attempts against Gadhafi and attacks against military and police patrols.

Gadhafi responded with an iron fist, essentially imposing martial law in the Islamist militant strongholds of Darnah and Benghazi and the towns of Ras al-Helal and al-Qubbah in the Jabal al-Akhdar region… Many LIFG members fled the country in the face of the government crackdown and a number of them ended up finding refuge with groups like al Qaeda in places such as Afghanistan.

While the continued participation of Libyan men in fighting on far-flung battlefields was not expressly encouraged by the Libyan government, it was tacitly permitted. The Gadhafi regime, like other countries in the region, saw exporting jihadists as a way to rid itself of potential problems. Every jihadist who died overseas was one less the government had to worry about. This policy did not take into account the concept of “tactical Darwinism,” which means that while the United States and its coalition partners will kill many fighters, those who survive are apt to be strong and cunning. The weak and incompetent have been weeded out, leaving a core of hardened, competent militants. These survivors have learned tactics for survival in the face of superior firepower and have learned to manufacture and effectively employ new types of highly effective improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In a Nov. 3, 2007, audio message, al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri reported that the LIFG had formally joined the al Qaeda network. This statement came as no real surprise, given that members of the group have long been close to al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Moreover, the core al Qaeda group has long had a large number of Libyan cadre in its senior ranks, including men such as Abu Yahya al-Libi, Anas al-Libi, Abu Faraj al-Libi (who reportedly is being held by U.S. forces at Guantanamo Bay) and Abu Laith al-Libi, who was killed in a January 2008 unmanned aerial vehicle strike in Pakistan.

Oh, oh.  The rebel cities are also home to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group?  Really?  The people who were killing Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq are the people we’re now helping in Libya?  We’re going to give these people arms?  So they can, basically, continue a struggle they started long ago to overthrow Qaddafi and impose Sharia Law?  Replacing one oppressive regime with another even more oppressive regime?  Do I understand this correctly?  Because this is dumb.  And worthy of the turd sandwich metaphor.

This toppling of brutal dictators is trickier than it looks.

The Libyan government’s security apparatus carefully monitored those Libyans who passed through the crucible of fighting on the battlefield in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and then returned to Libya. Tripoli took a carrot-and-stick approach to the group similar to that implemented by the Saudi regime. As a result, the LIFG and other jihadists were unable to pose a serious threat to the Gadhafi regime, and have remained very quiet in recent years. In fact, they were for the most part demobilized and rehabilitated.

Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam oversaw the program to rehabilitate LIFG militants, which his personal charity managed. The regime’s continued concern over the LIFG was clearly demonstrated early on in the unrest when it announced that it would continue the scheduled release from custody of LIFG fighters.

So Libya has been struggling with a Muslim problem.  Of the radical Islamist kind.  And some of those trying to now overthrow the regime may be Islamic militants.  How about that?  Maybe that crazy bastard wasn’t lying.  Maybe there were some chards of truth in Qaddafi’s ramblings.

This deep streak of radicalism in eastern Libya brings us back to the beginning. While it seems unlikely at this point that the jihadists could somehow gain control of Libya, if Gadhafi falls and there is a period of chaos in Libya, these militants may find themselves with far more operating space inside the country than they have experienced in decades…

While Seif al-Islam, who certainly has political motives to hype such a threat, has mentioned this possibility, so have the governments of Egypt and Italy. Should Libya become chaotic and the jihadists become able to establish an operational base amid the chaos, Egypt and Italy will have to be concerned about not only refugee problems but also the potential spillover of jihadists. Certainly, at the very least the weapons looted in Libya could easily be sold or given to jihadists in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, turning militancy in Libya into a larger regional problem. In a worst-case scenario, if Libya experiences a vacuum of power, it could become the next Iraq or Pakistan, a gathering place for jihadists from around the region and the world. The country did serve as such a base for a wide array of Marxist and rejectionist terrorists and militants in the 1970s and 1980s.

Refugees and jihadists spilling over Libyan borders?  Funny.  Because that’s sort of the focal point of the Obama Doctrine.  To prevent spillover.  That’s why we’re there.  To keep the region stable.  Avoid chaos.  And had we not intervened we may have just done that.  With less loss of life than we may have in this worst-case scenario.  And have a more stable Libya to boot.  But now we may have to nation-build for a third time in a Muslim country.  Or see jihadists radicalize the entire region.  In other words, turd sandwich.

Obama Doctrine or Chaos Theory?

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse in the Libyan War.  Obama Doctrine?  Truth be told there is no Obama Doctrine.  It’s chaos theory.  Without the theory.  For we sure seem to be doing a lot of things without thinking them through first.  Of course it could be worse.  If we did these things after thinking them through.  And we’re getting exactly what we expected.

Pass that sandwich.

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