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The Abduction of the Libyan Prime Minister

October 9th, 2013 - 10:40 pm

The BBC reports that “Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been seized by militants from his residence in the capital Tripoli”. The perpetrators, referred to as the “anti-crime department militia” sound like they are from comic-universe Gotham City.   But they were all business today.

Sources say Mr Zeidan was arrested by anti-crime department militia. On Tuesday he called on the West to help stop militancy in Libya.

In an interview with the BBC he said it was being used as a weapons base. The prime minister told the Newsnight programme that his country was being used to export weapons throughout the region.

There are suggestions the abduction was in retaliation for “the capture of suspected al-Qaeda leader Anas al-Liby in Tripoli” but “the BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli says that it is too soon to link Mr Zeidan’s seizure with the capture of Mr Liby.” However the AP says “the abduction early Thursday comes amid anger among Libya’s powerful Islamic militant groups over the U.S. special forces raid on Saturday that seized a Libyan al-Qaida suspect, known as Abu Anas al-Libi. Several groups accused the government of colluding in or allowing the raid, though the government denied having any prior knowledge of the operation.”

Zeiden was released after some hours, Sky News reports.

Sky’s Foreign Affairs Editor Tim Marshall said: “If this claim is true, it would appear that the prime minister of Libya has been detained by a faction that answers nominally to part of his own government.”

The public prosecutor’s office said it had issued no such warrant for Zeidan’s arrest.

Sky sources said the man believed to be behind the abduction is Abu Obeiida, who is thought to have taken over the militia group. …

The former rebel group appeared to post a warning of its intentions on Facebook on Monday.

It said it “holds everyone who is involved in co-operating with foreign intelligence” responsible for the “kidnap” of al Libi and “will pursue them and bring them to justice”. …

Marshall said: “The prime minister of Libya’s jurisdiction runs about to the end of his hotel corridor and then stops because there is no real government, certainly in the sense that we understand it.

The Telegraph account puts the PM in a slightly different place, with Zeidan at the Corinthia Hotel in the capital when “gunmen had arrived at the hotel in a convoy of cars before leading Mr Zeidan out of the building and driving him away. The clerk reported no gunfire during the incident, and said the gunmen were respectful and ’caused no trouble.’ One guard described it as an ‘arrest’.

If ‘arrest’ it was then the collar was designed to send a message to the Obama administration.

The kidnapping comes one day after Libyan Islamists threatened revenge on Westerners after al-Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was seized from his Tripoli home by US forces.

One Facebook page, run by “The Revolutionaries of Benghazi, Al-Bayda and Derna”, said: “We condemn this act, and pledge before God to fight those who betrayed their country and involved themselves in this plot.

“We also say to the Libyan people that we didn’t fight against the dead leader to replace him with a traitor or foreign agent who would deliver up our compatriots out of loyalty to the infidels.”

Zeid’s offense was supposedly approving a US raid on his own country. The NYT reported on Oct 9 that “the Libyan government in recent weeks tacitly approved two American commando operations in its country, according to senior American officials, one to capture a senior militant from Al Qaeda and another to seize a militia leader suspected of carrying out the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi.”

While American officials expected that the Libyan government would claim that it had known nothing about the operation, news of the raid has raised concerns that the suspect in the Benghazi attacks, Ahmed Abu Khattala, has now been tipped off that the United States has the ability to conduct an operation in Libya.

It is not clear why American military commanders did not conduct both operations simultaneously to avoid this problem. Some military commanders said conditions in Libya on Saturday may not have been opportune. But the backlash against a second raid could bring down the government of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, which has teetered on the brink of collapse and has little control over vast parts of the country, particularly in the eastern part near Benghazi. …

The Libyans’ consent marks a significant step forward for the Obama administration, which has been criticized by Congressional Republicans for moving too slowly to apprehend the Benghazi suspects.

And the backlash apparently did bring the Libyan government down, which makes the leak by “American officials” that much more mysterious. For having known it would bring down the man who granted it, the officials seemed none too careful who knew. It seems clear however, that the raiders of the US consulate have far more powerful backing than might be enjoyed by a YouTube movie producer in LA.

What exactly it signifies has not yet been divined. This comes amid news of a suspension of US military aid to neighboring Egypt. The BBC reports that “the US is suspending a large part of the $1.3bn (£810m) in aid it gives to Egypt’s military. … It said “credible progress” must be made towards free and fair elections. A review was launched in August after a crackdown by the authorities on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi left hundreds of people dead.”

The NYT reports that Israel has expressed dismay at the suspension of aid to Egypt, “one Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate diplomacy involved, warned that the implications of punitive cuts in Egypt’s aid could go far beyond the issue of Israeli-Egyptian relations. The United States is playing with fire, he said.”

It was a veiled reference to the fact that aid to Egypt was the “payoff” to Cairo for maintaining peace with Israel. “You cannot disassemble the peace treaty and take out this part or that part,” an Israeli official said.

Asked about American aid to Egypt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said he would speak only “in general terms,” but made it clear that any withdrawal of aid was a concern.

“Our interest is basically having the peace with Egypt continue,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a radio interview last week. “That peace was premised on American aid to Egypt, and I think that for us is the most important consideration, and I’m sure that’s taken under advisement in Washington.”

President Obama has managed to violate the cardinal rule that “you should make no enemies where you can make no friends” by pursuing the policy of making enemies where ever he once had friends, in order to make friends with those who will always be his enemies. In this wise he perhaps hopes to become best buddies with Iran and the Palestinians.

President Obama’s recent diplomatic moves have redrawn the affinity maps of the Middle East. Walter Russell Mead says the Saudis deeply resent his rapprochement with Iran and show it openly.

It’s not just our Syria non-policy that has the Saudis at arm’s length. The newfound cooperation between President Obama and President Rouhani of Iran has put an added strain on the US-Saudi relationship. The Saudis, like the Israelis, are displeased with the prospect of US-Iranian non-proliferation talks. They see them as an Iranian ploy to ease UN sanctions while continuing to press toward getting the bomb. And while the Saudis are a key American ally, they are adept at securing their interests in the region and are not beholden to Washington. If they continue to be dissatisfied with US policy, they might hinder, or at a minimum do nothing to help, other US interests in the Middle East.

It’s an open question whether the cartwheels that American diplomacy is performing in the region are intentional or simply the result of incompetence and ignorance.  The administration has been reluctant to admit any mistakes. The latest disasters will be spun as simply the result of a video or the subtle machinations of a policy too brilliant for anyone but the President to understand.

Just recently his Obamacare website advised visitors to call by telephone instead of applying online. That is the failure that passes for success in his administration.

As I wrote in an earlier post, Obama’s blunders are approaching the tipping point. He will smash something big soon at the rate he is going. “Playing with fire” was the phrase an Israeli official used. Somebody’s going to get burned. The only question is when.

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Top Rated Comments   
Clubbers, in case you haven't seen it:

(the beast begins to stir)
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The late Ed Koch said he knew in his bones that Obama would turn against Israel. What shocked him was it happened so soon. Alan Dershowitz, that other liberal icon who is also a supporter of Israel, the state, dejectedly admitted that Obama had left it to its fate.

Yet both Koch and Dershowitz are men of above average intelligence. Yet they seemed compelled to disregard the evidence of their own eyes, to dispense with every vestige of common sense in order to vote like zombies for someone who they know is going to shaft them. Like Charlie Brown they know Lucy is going to pull away the football, yet they still they try.

To what degree have they disabled their synapses? To what extent have they held down the logical circuit breakers God only -- or the ghost of Karl Marx only -- knows.

A man may die for his faith. But there is nothing so pointless as to perish for a cause that hates you, which you know hates you, and yet which you feel you must sacrifice yourself, your self respect and your culture for.

It's a kind of madness, a form of emotional slavery. I expect a spirited liberal defense of Obama tomorrow. They can't help themselves.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only mystery with this administration has been whether their actions reflect deliberate treason or extreme incompetence. It is difficult to form an opinion but it appears increasingly that they are in fact incompetent AND traitors in that they may destroy the whole of modern civilization in their class war. Of course, it could also be that they are closet jihadis working for the muslims who hate civilization.

The surprising aspect is that in the whole crowd of supposedly sophisticated erudite career elitists that work for the administration, there has been not one voice of caution, moderation, or dissent in even a leak to a reporter. There have been no misgivings expressed, but there must be some who see the folly.

It may be that the rank and file cadre of civil servants regard this administration as a do-or-die last stand for the left. They will destroy it all rather than lose.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (38)
All Comments   (38)
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mm asks: But aren't all liberals both treasonous and incompetent by virtue of their inverted orientation with respect to reality, as defined by the existence of truth?

Well, without trying to grapple with concepts like reality and truth, I just want to object to the hijacking of the term "liberal" to mean such twisted personalities. No doubt today's "liberals" are just those, but that means they aren't the least bit "liberal" by classic standards.

One can debate whether those who ask "Why not?" have a better or worse grasp on "reality".
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I haven't read O. Henry's The Ransom Of Red Chief in many years, but this reminds me of it. I hope Ali Zeidan had as much fun in his brief captivity as Red Chief did.

41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Clubbers, in case you haven't seen it:

(the beast begins to stir)
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not a vet [no service would take me, active or reserve, during the Vietnam War (!!) because of my eyes and back]; but if I could I would go in honor of my father who got his citizenship via Patton's Third Army. I expect that if any Smokey-the-bloody-Bear-hatted Obama Brownshirt or the private security goons they have hired to threaten citizens [Sec-Tec is the company doing it at Independence Hall and elsewhere around the country] pushes their stupidity too far; it might get far more kinetic than they expected. Captain John Parker's words might get used.

This is on Sunday. On Saturday Glenn Beck is going to have civilians there to clean up the monuments. What do you want to bet that the Regime will do something stupid? Which will set the mood for Sunday.

Subotai Bahadur
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wouldn't bet against that.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
But aren't all liberals both treasonous and incompetent by virtue of their inverted orientation with respect to reality, as defined by the existence of truth?

The problem here is that King Ubu and the rest of them are upside down and, as a result, either passively or overtly nihilistic.They can do nothing but destroy, and that is why we call it the culture of death.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
rp said: The only mystery with this administration has been whether their actions reflect deliberate treason or extreme incompetence.

Dogmatism can give us both, but that's not what I lose sleep over, one or two guys can be as dogmatic or batsh*t as you like. What I just don't get is how the entire Democratic party apparatus and the entire MSM just completely melts down over a brief historical period, maybe the last ten to twenty years. And the Republicans don't do much better, maybe less crazy but also less effective than ever, less effective than needed to survive. Well, we've had a little show of life in the Republicans recently, maybe that's a hopeful sign.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"..the last ten or twenty years..."

Read this book review in the Wall Street Journal about the Goldman Sachs IPO in 1999.

Ah 1999, I remember it well.

The Dot Com bubble

Clinton's impeachment

Rahm Emanuel as investment banker

"President Bill Clinton publicly declared "the Glass–Steagall law is no longer appropriate."


Prance on the radio singing "Let's party like it's 1999".

That was the peak of Democrat arrogance, with Bill Clinton escaping conviction in the Senate.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Start discussing the drafting of the Bill of Impeachment against Barack Hussein Obama II.

Taxation (the individual mandate) without representation is tyranny.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bipartisan support for repeal of Glass-Steagall.
Greenspan goosing the economy 1991-2005
Clinton should have been removed for filegate and travelgate alone, of course that would have left us with the bloated idiot of Algore.

Clinton should also have been impeached for shutting down the government, and arguably removed for that as well.

Would have set precedents that would be handy about now.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I suspect that they are melting down because they thought they had it all sewn up tight and they are beginning to see the stitches unravel...And everything they do to stop the widening gap in the emperors new clothes only exposes his skinny arse to more of the subjects.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Just recently his Obamacare website advised visitors to call by telephone instead of applying online. That is the failure that passes for success in his administration." - Wretchard

Presumably, those answering on the other end of that telephone line will be sitting in front of computers logged in to the same vapor-locked computer application as the rest of the consumers. Unless they are back to using paper and pencil to record new registrations an insurance applications, what will a phone call accomplish, other than an appearance of some level of customer service.

Popcorn, anyone? The REAL show is about to start ...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
When Soetero stopped the $1 Billion/year military aid to Egypt, he gave up much of his leverage over Egypt. No reason for Egypt's rulers to pay attention to Lil' Barry anymore.

So what would a rational Egyptian leader do -- with an imploding economy, civil strife, and the functional equivalent of Somalia on his western border? The smart thing -- and maybe the only practical course of action -- would be a 7-day war to occupy eastern Libya, get the oil flowiing again, and use the revenues to keep things going in Cairo. Of course, the US would not like it. But Soetero just threw away the last leverage he had.

Meanwhile, in Argentina, everyone with a brain is concluding that it is now or never to reclaim the Malvinas.

Incompetence has its price. Expect the unexpected!
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Incompetence set loose in a complex system is cumulative. At first nothing seems to happen, but the dysfunction is already afoot, being magnified by the size of the system and made unpredictable by its poorly understood interactions.

Obama you will remember, managed to burn through millions of dollars of the Annenberg Foundation's money without achieving anything, even by its own evaluation. But even those vast sums were not a fit setting for his monumental mismanagement skills, which he skillfully minimized by doing nothing -- voting present -- basically remaining a cypher throughout his entire career, a "blank slate" untainted by actual achievement.

Truly measuring his capacity for screwing up required giving him the whole Federal Government. And behold!

We ain't seen nothing yet. The only way this awesome demonstration of imbecility will stop is when his constituency becomes so trashed that even they would gladly eat crow just to get off the ride. It has to come from the liberal side of the aisle. With the country divided 50-50, just 50 won't be enough. The critical moment comes when the Obama base admits they've been had.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Incompetence set loose in a complex system does not have to be cumulative, stable systems reject it, healthy systems have working immune systems.

That's what gets me, our immune responses to incompetence and idiocy seem to have broken down. The idiocy itself is just something that happens.

Again, I can find these same pathologies going on in my local corporate work environment today where I have to look the principals in the eye and try do deal with it in detail, not just blogging about it. Frankly I don't do a very good job at dealing with it, perhaps because I don't try very hard, perhaps because I doubt there is a workable fix at all - if they didn't all WANT it fouled up, within broad parameters, it wouldn't BE fouled up. And I'm just not good enough to change what they WANT.

So, do people really WANT things fouled up? That, is a question.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
We saw a systemic failure in 2008. What was the response from everyone? Print money, borrow money, create and participate in another bubble, get things back to what they were. From voters to investors to business, top to bottom.

Yes. People want things fouled up. People yearn for the political glad handing and corruption that created Detroit. They just don't want the consequences.

Free markets and capitalism work for a very simple reason; stupid ideas and failures are punished. Severely. The great thinkers and economists of our time have made their name by devising systems and methods to shortcut the only raison d'etre of free markets, it is called 'smoothing the business cycle'.

Everyone wants unicorns and daisies. Obama promised them, and he has been granted power. Anyone who dares to point out that they don't exist is being punished.

This will not end well. Reality tends to discipline stupidity in equal measures. The lessons will be repeated until they are learned. The only way to discipline stupidity like the IRS stuff is for people to die. Unfortunately by the hundreds of thousands or millions. Stupid fools.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doesn't 't have to be the entire base. Just some of it, combined with a newly invigorated Conservative base. Enough to throw the money changers from the Temple.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not so sure of that - have you seen Detroit?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
When the USSR collapsed, Gus Hall, the head of CPUSA, announced that the problem was that the Soviet Union had not practiced “real” communism. Around that same time, US socialists began saying that Sweden was the real example to follow. The grass is always greener on the other side of the street, even when it’s obviously a desert.

So some of the faithful will not ever embrace even a detuned version of reality. But they might eventually be willing to accuse someone of being an imposter to the faith.

But I have no doubt that those black women in the street waving their Obamaphones and lining up to get their share of Obama’s “stash” will remain faithful even after those phones no longer produce a dial tone and the food in even the best dumpsters has gone rancid.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Alexander S., in The Gulag, repeatedly talked about innocent Soviets who were sentenced to the cruelest conditions, with no idea why (it was just to fulfill a quota somewhere), who still maintained their faith in the Motherland and would not speak against it.

Lenin said if he got the children for 4 years the seed would never be uprooted and in very many cases he was correct. Ditto the true believers surrounding Obama.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
If he can keep them on board for a little while longer he'll have so much police power it won't matter if he trashes them.

If Germany had been successful against the Soviets, the Third Reich might still be among us. The Soviets themselves took seventy years to collapse. That was with a level of technology considerably less than what exists today for police surveillance and operations. Te left's ultimate dream, Orwell's "boot stamping into a face, forever" is far more feasible now than ever. The trashing of his consitutents - both the ideologues in NPR's audience and the magic-check seekers in the welfare community and government employment and rent-seeking industries - had better occur soon, while the lock of a police state is not closed shut, or we are looking at multigenerational autocracy.

Wretchard, you once remarked that radical Islam must be taken out, that it must not reach the stars. So too is it with the descendant meme sets of the French Revolution. The window of opportunity to prevent that is rapidly closing. Will the LIV's, the ideologues, and the magic check worship peers be kept in line long enough for the consolidation of power to occur, to occur to the point that even if they find out they have been had there will be no recourse at that point? All the scales falling from all the eyes in the world won't matter then.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The administration policy has reached Hat Trick status. Major Major Major Major could not do better. Everything they touch implodes. Somalis should be insulted by comparison to Libyans. Who can Obama blame, Hillary or Boehner or Ted Cruz?

Do we have a wordsmith of the caliber of Conrad or Waugh or Greene who can do justice to our policy and its consequences? We should get a flood of both non-fiction and fictional portrayals in print film and TV. There is a creative desert starker than the Sahara. To shove this reality down the memory hole for Obama the MSM will need a squirrel bigger than the Stay Puft Man in Ghostbusters. The Open Borders rally was just the first salvo.

What can the next act be? The chaos cannot be kept "over there." I have three predictions.
1. Tourists will be attacked, some in places thought safe, such as India or Europe.
2. America will be attacked again.
3. Divisive inanities will flood the media zone.

Can the Israelis and Saudis work together to salvage something? Can they build support among the opposition to Erdogan and flip Turkey? Can the Russians be stopped from burning down the house to support Gazprom's choke hold on Europe?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
CNN is saying he has been released unharmed.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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