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Tag Archives: United States
Al Jazeera uncovers evidence that influential Americans tried to help the now deposed Libyan leader cling to power. (See document below)
In the heart of Tripoli lays Libya’s intelligence headquarters, much of it was destroyed by NATO airstrikes which transformed the building that struck fear into the hearts of millions of Libyans for over four decades, into a symbol of how Gaddafi’s regime has been all but destroyed.
Guarding the compound are a couple of dozen armed rebel fighters, some of them tell me their friends and families went missing as a direct result of “intelligence” gathered by those who worked in the building.
It’s fair to assume that among the rubble and ransacked offices, lay some of the darkest, deepest secrets of Gaddafi’s regime. I’m looking for files entitled “Lockerbie” or “IRA”, but unfortunately the place is a mess.
I’m taken to the office of Abdullah Alsinnousi, he was head of Libya’s intelligence service and one of the Gaddafi regime’s most notorious and feared strong men.
Scattered on his desk are dozens of documents branded “top secret”, but the rebels accompanying me aren’t keen on me taking anything away. I find a folder titled “Moussa Alsadr”, he was the former head of Hezbollah who went missing in Libya over thirty years ago. Within seconds, the folder is taken by my minder who says none of these documents can leave the compound.
In the room adjacent to Sinnousi’s office is a bedroom with an ensuite bathroom kitted with a plush jacuzzi, an indication of the lush lifestyle led by the heads of the former regime. Sprawled on the bed lays a rebel fighter taking an afternoon nap. The scene is almost surreal, “gosh how times change”, I whisper.
Communication with US officials
I managed to smuggle away some documents, among them some that indicate the Gaddafi regime, despite its constant anti-American rhetoric – maintained direct communications with influential figures in the US.
I found what appeared to be the minutes of a meeting between senior Libyan officials – Abubakr Alzleitny and Mohammed Ahmed Ismail – and David Welch, the former assistant secretary of state who served under George W Bush and the man who brokered the deal which restored diplomatic relations between the US and Libya in 2008.
Welch now works for Bechtel, a multinational American company with billion dollar construction deals across the Middle East. The documents record that, on August 2, 2011, David Welch met with Gaddafi’s officials at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo, just a few blocks from the US embassy there.… Read More
By ADAM ENTOUS
WASHINGTON—U.S. military planners say they believe a post-Gadhafi Libya may require an international force to keep the peace, but the Obama administration has made clear to its allies that they shouldn’t expect American troops to participate.
With rebel fighters backed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization air power apparently on the verge of toppling Col. Moammar Gadhafi, talks are under way about winding down the NATO mission and putting international efforts under a United Nations umbrella, U.S. officials said.
“I don’t see much of a role for the U.S. military in postconflict Libya,” said a senior U.S. military official.
The U.S. and its allies want to avoid any appearance that NATO would be responsible for Libya should Col. Gadhafi’s regime fall. And they want any postconflict stabilization presence to be backed by the Transitional National Council, which represents opposition groups fighting to overthrow the colonel.
The Obama administration hopes the rebel council will be able to provide sufficient security in Tripoli and other areas, but military officials believe a peacekeeping presence may be unavoidable, depending on how the security situation evolves in the coming days and weeks.
Already engaged in two costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. believes the U.N. or another multinational coalition could take the lead in any post-Gadhafi stabilization efforts, said senior U.S. military officials and a senior Western diplomat working closely with the Americans.
From the start of the conflict in Libya, President Barack Obama has ruled out putting American troops on Libyan soil, and he pressured European allies to spearhead attacks from the air. Since leading the initial strikes against Col. Gadhafi’s loyalists, the U.S. has largely played a back-seat role, providing intelligence, unmanned aircraft and other logistical support for an air campaign dominated by the French, British and other NATO members.
After a weekend of fast-moving events in Libya, Obama administration officials stressed on Monday that the president still intends to keep the U.S. military role at a minimum. “We aren’t going to put boots on the ground,” an Obama administration official said.
A Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. will continue to fly surveillance and refueling missions in the days ahead.
A senior U.S. military officer said “a multinational coalition led by someone else” may well be “prudent.”
Washington’s reluctance to play an on-the-ground military role reflects domestic concerns about high war costs and a weak economy, as well as U.S. worries that the security situation could deteriorate, drawing an already-stretched American military into another protracted conflict.
Obama administration officials say post-Gadhafi planning is picking up pace and, other than saying they have no intention to participate in a peacekeeping force, they have made no final decisions about the way forward. “It is time to start thinking about next steps,” said another senior U.S. defense official.
Mr. Obama has recognized the rebel council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya, and officials want the group to lead any stabilization effort. “This is a Libya-led operation; they will be calling the shots,” a senior Obama administration official said of the rebel leaders. “We’re obviously in close contact with them at various levels on an ongoing basis, but this is their mission.”… Read More
Ali Oujali Libya’s Ambassador to the United States has reopened the Libyan Embassy in the United States on behalf of the Libyan Transitional National Council.
The embassy which is located outside the Watergate building in Washington was closed in March after all diplomats loyal to the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi by the State department.
The ambassador resigned from his… Read More
By James M. Lindsay
The United States and its NATO allies have been pushing for the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi for more than six months now. The Libyan strongman continues to hold on, but it may just be a matter of time before he is forced from power.
Given that likelihood, CFR’s Center for Preventive Action asked Daniel Serwer, a professor at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies and a scholar at the Middle East Institute, to think through the challenges that a post-Gadhafi Libya would pose for the United States and its allies. Dan’s complete report has been posted online.
We asked him to summarize the challenges the United States will likely face and what it should be prepared to do. Here is what he had to say:
The first challenge will be security. Failure to maintain public order is what got us into big trouble in Iraq, where Saddam Hussein’s “stay behind” operation stirred civic unrest and destroyed government buildings. The murder in Libya last month of the overall rebel commander is a reminder that internecine warfare among the more than forty-five rebel militias is a real possibility. People who lost family and tribal members to the Gadhafi regime may seek to settle scores. Former regime elements may seek to defend themselves and to “privatize” state assets. Criminals will see opportunities to traffic in arms, drugs and even people.
The humanitarian challenges will be no less daunting. Fighting has displaced at least half a million Libyans from their homes. Perhaps half of those are still in Libya, and many who are not will seek to return quickly once Gadhafi falls. Food, water, shelter and health services need to be secured for the most vulnerable. In addition, keeping water and electricity flowing to the residents of Tripoli and other major urban centers will be vital to maintaining public order, especially if Qaddafi falls this summer.
U.S. interests in Libya are limited, but a relatively successful transition from the Gadhafi regime to a united, stable, more open and democratic Libya would be seen in the region and more widely as a credit to the NATO-led intervention. It would also enable Libya to resume oil and gas exports, demonstrate the international community’s capacity to manage such transitions and encourage positive outcomes to other Arab Spring protests, including those in Yemen and Syria.
Failure to stabilize Libya could lead to chaos, breakup of the Libyan state that sets an unwelcome precedent elsewhere, or restoration of dictatorship. These outcomes would all damage American and allied credibility and likely also cause major problems for our European allies, including shortfalls in energy supplies, loss of major investments and a continuing refugee flow. Refugees could also cause problems in Tunisia, Egypt, and the rest of the Mediterranean.… Read More
By Ann Rodgers
A father and son from suburban Pittsburgh who returned to Libya to join the rebels fighting the Gadhafi regime died together on Saturday when a mortar struck their vehicle.
Mabruk Eshnuk was three days shy of his 49th birthday, and his middle son, Malik, was 21.
“My dad was found clutching, holding my brother,” Yaseen Eshnuk, the eldest surviving son, said through tears.
Regaining his composure, he spoke of them as martyrs who had died for the religious and human rights of fellow Muslims.
“We received congratulations on the news of their martyrdom, because we believe there is nothing that could be better for them. We believe that everyone has a predestiny, that when it’s your time, it’s your time. … We consider it a great blessing that they died in an honorable way,” he said.
The family lives in Scott. Mabruk Eshnuk had a real estate business. He also had been an imam at the Allegheny County Jail and the State Correctional Institution in Mercer. Malik Eshnuk was a student at the University of Pittsburgh, studying chemical engineering.
Mabruk Eshnuk fled Libya for Pittsburgh at 17 because his criticism of the Gadhafi regime endangered his family, Yaseen Eshnuk said. He was most concerned about religious oppression.
“They would be persecuted simply for having a long beard,” he said. “[Moammar Gadhafi] claims to be religious, but he knew his biggest opponents would be Muslims who couldn’t accept the robbery and evil things he was doing.”
The United States and European Union turned up the heat on Libya, as fresh fighting erupted on Wednesday along rebel lines at the oil town of Brega and state television showed footage of a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, days after rebels reported him dead.
US diplomats are visiting several African countries to urge leaders to press Gaddafi to leave power immediately, officials in Washington said, while the EU slapped new economic sanctions on Gaddafi’s regime.
Libyan television showed footage of Gaddafi’s youngest son, Khamis, supposedly visiting victims of NATO raids on Tuesday. But a rebel spokesman insisted that the 28-year-old, a feared military commander, was dead.
The date of the recording could not be confirmed. If genuine, it would be the first time Khamis had been seen in public since Friday, when rebels said a NATO strike on the western town of Zliten killed 32 people, including Khamis.
Gaddafi spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said at the time the claim was untrue, claiming it was ‘dirty lies to cover the murder of civilians’ in Zliten.… Read More
Senior US diplomats are visiting several African countries as part of continuing efforts to urge leaders there to press Libyan strongman Moamer to leave power immediately, officials said Tuesday.
Having benefited financially from Kadhafi’s policies, a number of African countries have been reluctant to call for the longtime leader to step down and have criticized the NATO-led military campaign in Libya.
Gene Cretz, the US ambassador who left Libya after Kadhafi launched his bloody crackdown on the opposition in February, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State Donald Yamamoto arrived Monday in Addis Ababa, headquarters of the African Union, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.
The diplomats “are in Africa to meet with African Union members to discuss the crisis in Libya and the need for Kadhafi to relinquish power now,” he told AFP.
Toner said the pair met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and would meet with African Union Chairman Jean Ping before leaving Addis Ababa later.
They also met with Mahmud Jibril, leader of Libya’s opposition National Transitional Council who was visiting Ethiopia.
“They had a productive meeting on the current situation in Libya and agreed on the importance of maintaining international pressure on Kadhafi,” Toner said.… Read More
Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi will “never run the country again,” US Senator John Kerry insisted Friday, although he urged patience over the embattled strongman’s departure from power.
Washington last month announced it would recognize the rebels in the five-month civil war as Libya’s de facto government, and US lawmakers have pressed for an American embassy in the rebel-held east of the country, but a defiant Kadhafi has so far refused to leave power in Tripoli.
“Kadhafi will never run the country again under any circumstances whatsoever,” Kerry told US broadcaster MSNBC, hours after rebels said a NATO air strike killed Kadhafi’s youngest son Khamis and 31 other people.
That claim has been sharply denied by the authorities in Tripoli.
Despite several blows to his regime and being slapped with an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for crimes against humanity, Kadhafi has clung to power in defiance of the NATO air strikes in support of rebels.
Members of Kadhafi’s inner circle have made proposals for democratic elections in recent months but have been dismissed by international powers including the United States.
Kerry stressed that Western forces “have prevented slaughter from taking place in a number of communities (in Libya) and we’ve given these folks an opportunity to decide their future, particularly those who are pressing for democracy and for rights.”… Read More