POL103-Benghazi-6-The Implications

Although early in the October of 2012, the U.S officials already said they were laying groundwork for operations to kill or capture militants suspected in the attack — considering the weak Libyan government appears unable to arrest fighters who directly involved in the attack, it was until June 17th, 2014, Ahmed Abu Khattala captured by the U.S. military and the F.B.I jointly. At the outskirts of Benghazi, he was bundled into a car and driven to a waiting helicopter. No civilian or other casualties. Abu Khattala’s brother commented that as “ an insult to the honor of all Libyans because now the whole world sees how Libya has become like a hotel for the west where they can come in and out as they wish.” Nevertheless, President Obama praised the commandos, and this action proved that:“no matter how long it takes, [the U.S.] will find those responsible, and we will bring them to justice.”

Some people criticise the Obama administration had a “myopic view” of Libya and the international military incursion that had destabilized North Africa and the Sahel region. Obama admitted that they lack planning following Gaddafi’s fall. However, Obama and Clinton did not express any regret for their intervention. In 2016, during a joint Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump forum televised on NBC, Clinton condemn the brutality of the Gaddafi regime, and she talked about the involvement proudly: “I put together a coalition that included NATO, included the Arab League, and we were able to save lives. We did not lose a single American in that action…and I think taking that action was the right decision.”

Hillary Clinton was influenced by the attack during her campaign for the presidency for a long time. In 2014, when the House Intelligence Committee just started the investigation of Benghazi attack, they asked Clinton for her emails to check. The lawyer from the Statement Department noticed that some emails were from Clinton’s personal account. In 2015, the Benghazi panel had discovered that Clinton used her own private email server exclusively, instead of the government-issued email throughout her time as Secretary of State. Plus Clinton’s aides took no action to preserve emails sent or received from her personal accounts, which is required by law. In April 2015, she announced running for president, and her email controversy continues. This controversy eventually involved the investigation of F.B.I, which damaged her public image.

At the end of 2016, Donald Trump became the new president. During his term, another suspect of the attack, Mustafa al-Imam, was captured in October 2017. “[He] will face justice in the United States”, Trump said in a statement.

On the U.S side, the Benghazi attack seems came to a conclusion. However, this attack just reflected the seemingly endless conflict in Libya. After the attack, the officials of Libya apologized to the U.S. in the first place. There were demonstrations condemning the violence and the terrorist, and soon became the anti-militia demonstrations. The government took the opportunity of that, carried a campaign to disarm and disband the militias. However, the government did not gain enough military power by that. The campaign was not that successful in the remote areas. In the August of 2014, there were actually two governments in power — the General National Congress and the House of Representatives. During the fighting of the two sides, the Islamic State (ISIS) established a few strongholds in Libya. At the end of 2015, the ISIS has 2000 to 3000 fighters there. Since there was no actual government, the ISIS expanded rapidly. In June 2016, it has about 5000-8000 people.

In 2017, the country was basically divided by three governments. The authors Abdel Ghafer and Toaldo explain the situation of Libya in 2017. “The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, is recognized by the U.N. and the international community. In the east, the House of Representatives and its allied strongman, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, never approved the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), the interim government headed by Abdullah al Thinni keeps operating in this part of the country. Finally, a third government is based in Tripoli: the National Salvation Government, which represents the more radical anti-Gaddafi militias loyal to the country’s mufti.” The talks between these authorities are still going on, and we still don’t know what is the solution of Libya.

Appendix for Episode 6

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