Belmont Club


According to a Reuters story Egypt is in the crosshairs of Islamic militants based in Libya. “Chaos in Libya has allowed militants to set up makeshift training camps only a few kilometers from Egypt’s border, according to Egyptian security officials.”

The militants, those officials say, harbor ambitions similar to the al-Qaeda breakaway group that has seized large swathes of Iraq; they want to topple Sisi and create a caliphate in Egypt.

A state security officer in Salloum said Egyptian authorities see a threat in Libya because of instability that stretches from the border to the town of Derna, an Islamist and al Qaeda hotspot a few hundred kilometers away.

The Muslim Brotherhood, now hunted in Egypt, has moved across the border to Libya to join up with the greater Jihad. The power of these militants was recently demonstrated by an attack on an Egyptian border post which killed 21 Egyptian soldiers. “The death toll is the highest in an attack against Egyptian army personnel since 25 police draftees were killed by Islamic militias in the Sinai peninsula last August.”

Libya, according to Rand Paul is a “jihadist wonderland” and every militant wants to go there.  There’s a lot of action. Militias are battling for the control of Tripoli’s airport. “Tank shells, rockets and artillery rained down on the airport and surrounding districts as militias from Misrata fought others from Zintan who are in control of the airport.”  What more could anyone want?

The two warring militias are the armed groups that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 revolution. Zintan, 90 miles south-west of the capital, has held the airport since capturing it in the revolution. Misrata, 140 miles east of Tripoli, accuses Zintan of holding it illegally….

Both sides are also battling in Benghazi, the eastern capital, in fighting between nationalists of the former general Khalifa Hiftar and Islamist brigades that has left more than 200 dead.

“The top United Nations envoy to Libya today warned that the risk of a major escalation of the recent fighting in the capital is high and threatens the fledgling political process in the country,” says the UN News Centre. Libya has sought UN help pleading that it was in danger of becoming a ‘failed state’.

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz asked the UN Security Council to dispatch experts to train the country’s defense and police forces to ensure they can protect oil fields, airports and other vital sites.

“We are not asking for military intervention,” said Abdelaziz. “We are asking for a team from the UN specialized in the field of security.”

Naturally the UN decided to evacuate most of its personnel after its compound took a number of direct hits from persons unknown. This came two weeks after gunmen shot a leading female human rights lawyer dead in her own home.

Libyan security forces have not yet identified the gunmen, but the country is being hit by a wave of assassinations targeting secular activists, judges, moderate clerics, policemen and soldiers.

Islamic extremists are understood to be behind many of these attacks.

Soft power doesn’t seem to be doing much against bullets. Despite this, Libyan oil production is paradoxically recovering. “Libya’s oil production has returned to its highest level in five months following the faster-than-expected ramp-up of its largest oil field, according to official data.” Maybe because to buy bullets you need money. The new model of oil security is for companies to hook up with a militia. In Iraq the Kurds have thrown a blanket of protection over foreign oil ventures.

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq more than a decade ago, western drillers have beaten a path to Kurdistan, a mountainous region that’s been less explored than the oil heartlands in the country’s southern deserts. First came small companies willing to take a gamble, then giants like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. followed. Kurdistan now hosts more than 20 foreign companies exploring for oil and gas, according to the regional government’s website…

Explorers in Kurdistan haven’t faced the same risks as those drilling in the more volatile south of the country. The region is protected by the Peshmerga, a well-armed military force that emerged from Kurdish resistance to Saddam Hussein’s regime, limiting the bombings and sectarian violence that have scarred other parts of Iraq since the U.S. invasion.

Which leads one to suspect that the production recovery in Libya is tied to the fact that militants also need to keep the oil flowing to stay in their “wonderland”. Perhaps al-Qaeda isn’t fighting to control Egypt after all. Cairo is bankrupt. No, the Holy Warriors are fighting to control the oil, since this buys guns, luxury and political influence in the Infidel West.

Everyone goes to War For Oil, even Europe and China, except they use American troops to do it.  Perhaps the saddest thing about all the last seventy years of idealistic political rhetoric is that it was ultimately founded on crass money and power.  At the end of the day it wasn’t “show me your heart”. It was show me the money.

Recently Victor Davis Hanson observed that president Obama boasted he had put the world on the path to tranquility.  It sounds delusional, yet in a way the president might have. For nothing has destroyed confidence in compromise solutions more than the last six years of his presidency.  Conflicts are being taken out of the state of suspended animosity and settled where they stand.

Recently the National Interest argued that the current conflict in Gaza proves that the “two state solution” is dead.  Everyone is too tired to return to the same old insincere promises of peace; the same old forced handshakes. Maybe Hamas even prefers to die rather than go one more round with Obama’s diplomacy. From now on must be one victor and one defeated and there an end to it.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian “final status” deal highlight American foreign policy elites’ instrumental attachment to a negotiated “two-state” solution as the only acceptable basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, though, underscores a fundamentally different reality: the two-state solution is dead. And no matter how much Israel and its supporters object, the reigning paradigm for addressing the conflict is shifting ineluctably from a two-state model to a one-state model.

Conquest, you might say, is busting out all over. When ISIS expelled the ancient Christians from Mosul they were not interested in a 2 state solution. They weren’t interested in brotherly love and reconciliation. They wanted dominance and to grind their heel in the faces of their enemies. The conflict in Libya will continue, not until people rediscover their yearning their common humanity, but until one side wins and the other loses. Until one faction is dead  and the other is smoking a hookah in the palace.

The old zero-sum games are returning, the kind where if you don’t win, you lose. And oddly enough the West will the last to know.

Recently purchased by Belmont Club visitors:
Dead Again
Magic Trip
Elizabeth of Vindobona: Book Three of the Colplatschki Chronicles
Out of the Silent Planet: (Space Trilogy, Book One) (The Space Trilogy 1)
The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral-And How It Changed the American West
The War of the Words (The World of Information)
Chopin: Nocturnes
SmartyKat CrackleChute Collapsible Tunnel Cat Toy

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Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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