January 28, 2013

IN THE TIMES OF INDIA: Did Obama’s Involvement In Qaddafi Overthrow Get Americans Killed In Algeria?

Barack Obama’s triumphal second inauguration as US President has been tarnished by Al Qaida’s attack on an Algerian gas plant that killed 38 foreigners. US analysts may ignore the connection, but the Libyan chickens have come home to roost.

A major Obama achievement is supposedly Gaddafi’s overthrow in Libya. Yet a line of direct causality runs from Gaddafi’s overthrow to the rise of Al Qaida in Mali and attack in Algeria.

Paranoid about the possibility of an internal coup, Gaddafi hired mercenaries from many African countries. These included Tuareg soldiers from Mali. . . .

After Gaddafi’s overthrow, his Tuareg mercenaries took their heavy weapons back to northern Mali. They joined hands with local Tuareg secessionists and an Islamist group, Ansar Dine. The Islamists soon came to dominate the new Tuareg combination. They linked up with Islamists in neighbouring countries to form Al Qaida of the Maghreb.

Mali had been a democracy for two decades. But after the Tuareg revolt, the Mali army staged a coup in Bamako. Under pressure of sanctions, the army allowed a partial restoration of civilian rule, but basically remained in charge. So, the NATO intervention in Libya, widely trumpeted as a triumph for democracy, actually ended up destroying both ethnic unity and democracy in Mali.

This must be more of that “smart diplomacy” we were promised.