Saturday, February 26, 2011

Is North African Turmoil To Protect Israel From Arab Nukes?

America's Next War Looms in Libya

"In what country have Americans fought more wars than in any other? The runners-up include the two wars in Iraq; a pair for Germany; Britain twice in the Revolution and 1812; and Cuba, a double-header if the covert Bay of Pigs operation is included. The invasions of Canada don't count since it was still a British colony. These worthy foes fall short by half. The U.S. Marine Corps ditty about the "shores of Tripoli" provides a clue.

The answer was given away by Muammar Gadhafi in his defiant comeback speech on Feb. 22, accusing the U.S. of instigating the current rebellion against his regime. His head wrapped in a saffron turban, he gave a rousing, if rambling, account of surviving dozens of U.S. bombs that blasted his desert encampment, wounding him and killing more than 40 aides in 1986.

The correct answer then is Libya, with four wars and counting. The two Barbary Wars of 1805 and 1815 were the first expeditionary campaigns for the newborn American republic. Storming across the Sahara in 1943, Gen. George Patton led the Allied attack on Rommel's Afrikacorps. Libya was then a colony of Mussolini Italy, one of the Axis powers. Later in 1986, President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes against Gadhafi's tent in a near-miss assassination attempt.

Now a chorus of human rights activists are calling for the U.S. military to impose a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace, as was done over Kosovo during the NATO campaign to partition Yugoslavia in the late 1990s. In the Balkans case, the no-fly policy led to shoot-downs followed by an invasion of ground troops.

Gadhafi's fiery pledge "to die as a martyr" is a signal that he is anticipating the Fifth American-Libyan War. President Barack Obama, with ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and his own record of civilian casualties, has so far not escalated beyond covert support for America's newfound allies among Islamic extremists and terrorists.

Libyan exiles and defectors deem Gadhafi to be out of touch with reality. Diplomats at the United Nations are shocked by his use of abusive language, with outright threats to kill rebels. They're not the first to be outraged. Reagan, in a fit of righteous anger, called Gadhafi a "mad dog,” a term traditionally used for Englishmen.

Yet in 1993, Gadhafi was hailed by the West as a model of virtue and sanity in the Mideast for his pledge to forsake weapons of mass destruction. The Rabta chemical weapons facility was converted into a pharmaceutical plant. Relations with Washington and London were normalized and soon Western oil companies including Chevron, Occidental, ConocoPhillips, Marathon and BP were exploring and drilling for oil and gas in Libya.

Following the 9-11 attacks, Libya became a key ally in America's war on terror, particularly in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, who escaped to the Saharan region at the start of the Afghan War, as I was told by sources from the Taliban while war reporting at that time. The Pentagon has since established a special forces base in the southwestern region of Fezzan. Under a $165 million contract, General Dynamics provided high-tech communications for Libya's mobile elite forces.

Thus for the Libyan strongman to renounce his new ties with the U.S. and accuse Washington of instigating protests cannot be mad ravings but must have some basis in fact. As shown in U.S. diplomatic cables, the U.S. intrigues against Gadhafi involve covert ties with religious extremists, including the Islamic Fighting Group, or al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya al-Muqatilah, which is on the State Department list of terrorist groups.

Most people around the world assume that the war on terrorism since the 9-11 attacks definitively ended any American and British support for Islamist insurgents. It didn't. Washington isn't just double-dealing; it's been triple-dealing in Tripoli."

"Not by coincidence, when confronted by Libyan officials, Al Jazeera producers admitted to broadcasting faked tapes, for example, of jets flying (in daylight) over protesters (in nighttime darkness). That admission of falsified images could back the regime's claims of atrocities against civilians were exaggerated and sometimes fabricated"


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