Middle East

Sep 13, 2012

Libya attacks a wake-up call for US policy in Middle East

Those who have been following Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011 would not be surprised by what transpired on Tuesday evening, writes Antoun Issa, a Beirut-based Australian journalist at Al-Akhbar English.

Those who have been following Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011 would not be surprised by what transpired on Tuesday evening. Libya has been a militia mess since the “war for democracy” ended, with almost daily accounts of violence between rogue militias who refuse to disarm for a variety of reasons.

The unstable and precarious state in which Libya finds itself led to one such militia — which US officials suspect was planned — attacking the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, killing the US ambassador along with three embassy staff and 10 Libyan security officers trying in vain to defend them.

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6 thoughts on “Libya attacks a wake-up call for US policy in Middle East

  1. Bill Hilliger

    Anti Americanism seems like almost a worldwide *phenomenon. I wonder why?

    I have my own theory on why that is; and it relates mostly to the behaviour and actions of the US government(s) over the planet earth since WW2. Am I on to something here?

    *The phenomenon is of course excepting the U.S itself. Although many Americans might challenge that observation.

  2. izatso?

    well, see ‘eisenhowers final address’ from 1961 …..

  3. j.oneill

    One should be cautious in attributing the Libyan violence to the production of an anti-Islam film. Evidence is emerging that the protest, by well organised and armed gangs, had been planned for some time. The main perpetrators seem to be the same jihadist thugs the US armed to overthrow the Gaddafi regime. Those self same people are also in Syria, carrying out the wishes of the US and its allies in attacking the Assad regime. We should not be surprised. This is a pattern with long roots. The use of so-called al Qaeda terrorists has been an important component of US destabilisation tactics since at least the 1980s, and their various equivalents long before then.

    The other point that emerges from the article is the important one that the ordinary man and woman in the Arab “street” have been shown in several reputable cross-national polls to overwhelmingly believe (80+%) that the US and Israel represent the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region. A solid majority believe that Iran having nuclear weapons would be a good thing, if only as a counterbalance to Israeli aggression that is a constant factor in the region.

    Unfortunately our mainstream media are not interested in the realities the author discusses and Crikey is to be congratulated for publishing such a thoughtful discussion.

  4. AR

    I’m only surprised that anyone is surprised that anti-amerikanism exists, on this planet, never mind the Arab world, Latin America, Asia, Europe, Oceania and errr, the penguins in Antarctica probably are all that well disposed either.
    …ponders…. “why is it so?”
    Is it too much to expect that the M/I complex might learn the lesson on Libya & Egypt and go quiet with the ‘regime change’ rhetoric about Syria?
    Of course that would require the learning ability of slime mould which has not been demonstrated for the last century or so.

  5. rupert moloch

    Thoughtful piece, thank you.

    US unwillingness to join Israel in attacking Iran should be considered in light of the unfolding Syrian debacle. For if the al-Assad regime falls (oft reiterated US policy aim), it will isolate both Iran & the Hizbollah in Lebanon, by removing the strategic link between the two. I suspect the US has committed to this course as a way of placating Israeli belligerence; it lessens Iran’s regional consequence & it wrecks the Hizbollah’s supply-line. Obvious danger is that it leads directly to a militant Sunni regime on the borders of both Lebanon & Iraq – the potential for further regional instability is huge. But such a disaster would be merely consistent with US foreign policy in the region since Reagan (at least).

    Illuminating guide to US intentions in the region is former CIA station chief Miles (father to Stewart) Copeland’s “Game of Nations”. Caveat: the setting is an era of global economic growth, when an autocratic nationalist like Nasser could effectively balance the competing interests of conflicted power blocs to the benefit of his nation. Contemporary policy-makers & their agents lack the subtlety & liberal ethics that sometimes marked that age.

  6. whoknows

    It should be remembered that Libyan forces fought and risked their lives to protect Americans. In opinion polling in Eastern Libya, the United States has a 60% favorability rating, while the Salafis or hard line Muslims stand at only 28% favorable. the Libyan government apologised for and vehemently condemned the attack on the consulate and the killing of its personnel. And, on Wednesday Libyans staged pro-American demonstrations in several cities.

    The spread of violence set off by a low-budget bad propaganda film gotten up by two-bit frauds and Christian supremacists, and then promoted by two-bit Egyptian and Libyan fundamentalists, has provoked some squalls and cost the lives of four men.

    The storm provoked by this has revealed character on an international scale. The steely determination of an Obama to achieve justice, the embarrassing grandstanding of a Romney, the destructive hatred of a handful of extremists in Cairo and Benghazi, and the decency and warmth toward the US of the Libyan crowds, all were thrown into stark relief.

    In the end, the violence and extremism of the hardliners on both sides is a phantasm of the past, not a harbinger of the future. The wave of democratic politics sweeping the region has left the haters behind, reducing them to desperate and senseless acts of violence that will gain them no good will, no popularity, no political credibility.

    However anti US sentiment remains and they have a damn hard job to reduce the effect of their bully boy antics.

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