Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Libyan Chalabi?

Three weeks before bombs fell over Libya, Iraq's Ahmad Chalabi opined in the WSJ:

The news from Libya is an all-too-chilling reminder of those dark days in Iraq. (Up to 330,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by Saddam's brutal tactics, which included using helicopter gunships to strafe neighborhoods and tanks to blast schools, hospitals and places of worship.)  It is no coincidence that Gadhafi often mentions Iraq in his tirades. He knows how Saddam clung to power by sheer brute force while playing on the West's fear of instability.

The Libyan regime has already used aircraft against unarmed protesters, among other atrocities. That's why it is imperative for the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over the most populous areas of Libya.

Two days before President Obama and allies implemented the Libyan "no fly zone", I wrote the following to a friend:

The U.S. had people in Afghanistan the day after 9-11, well before any UN resolutions.  If we wanted to help Libya's freedom fighters, the CIA long had methods for doing so. 

Once the no fly zone is established, it should take little time to decimate Libya's woeful air power, assuming Uncle Sam isn't lying.

The U.S. assessment of Libya's air capabilities:

"Only a small number of aircraft were actually flying. A Pentagon analysis of Libya's air capabilities shows the overall readiness of Libyan aircraft is poor by western standards and most aircraft are now dated or obsolete in terms of avionics or upgrades. Eighty percent of the air force is judged to be "non-operational and "overhaul and combat repair capability is also limited."

So what's next?  U.S. et al control air space over part of a country with a heinous dictator.  The global economy squeezes Gadhafi financially forcing his people to suffer, another humanitarian crisis.  Ask Madeline Albright about 500,000 Iraqi children, who died due to lack of medicines and/or safe drinking water.. 

The U.S. might have credibility under human rights if it didn't summarily execute thousands of people via drone fired missiles or systematically torture prisoners of war (renamed enemy combatants), renditioning them to countries known for torture, like our ally Egypt.

Libya is a terrible situation.  Gadhafi has long been nuts.  It just looks like an early Iraq and we know how that turned out.  I'd like to see the whole U.S. plan on Libya, not just the "humanitarian aid" marketing spiel. 
Fitting the early Iraq analogy, the U.S. sent the Libyan version of Ahmed Chalabi to help Libyan rebels. Khalifa Hifter, a former Libyan military leader, spent the last twenty years living in a D.C. suburb.  Newspaper reports make no mention of Hifter's work in the U.S.  Did the CIA have Hifter on its payroll, like Chalabi?  Did Hifter help the opposition set up a Libyan Oil Company and Central Bank two days after the UN Resolution?

WaPo reported:

Officials said Wednesday that President Obama has issued a secret finding that would authorize the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and other support to Libyan opposition groups.
NYT reported CIA operatives are on the ground in Libya, like they were in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the beleaguered rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials.
AlJazeeraEnglish discounts the West's ability to influence Libyan rebel leaders:

NATO's nurturing of the Libyan opposition means only one of two: Afghanistan's Karzai or Iraq's Chalabi.
 It looks more Chalabish at this point.  Violence causes more violence.  Military intervention kills, as do economic sanctions and no fly zones.  The score for Iraq pre-2003, Saddam killed 330,000 Iraqi civilians, the West 500,000 Iraqi children.  Secretary of State Madeline Albright found that an acceptable price to pay.  I'm still waiting for the whole U.S. plan on Libya.  It trickles out day by day.

Update 1-30-12:  Obama created a humanitarian crisis, as predicted.