Washington Fights Fire With Fire in Libya
April 15, 2014 “ICH” - “TD” - Is the U.S. secretly training Libyan militiamen in the Canary Islands? And if not, are they planning to?
That’s what I asked a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). “I am surprised by your mentioning the Canary Islands,” he responded by email. “I have not heard this before, and wonder where you heard this.”
As it happens, mention of this shadowy mission on the Spanish archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa was revealed in an official briefing prepared for #AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez in the fall of 2013. In the months since, the plan may have been permanently shelved in favor of a training mission carried out entirely in Bulgaria. The document nonetheless highlights the U.S. military’s penchant for simple solutions to complex problems — with a well-documented potential for blowback in Africa and beyond. It also raises serious questions about the recurring methods employed by the U.S. to stop the violence its actions helped spark in the first place.
Ever since the U.S. helped oust dictator Muammar Gaddafi, with air and missile strikes against regime targets and major logistical and surveillance support to coalition partners, Libya has been sliding into increasing chaos. Militias, some of them jihadist, have sprung up across the country, carving out fiefdoms while carrying out increasing numbers of assassinations and other types of attacks. The solution seized upon by the U.S. and its allies in response to the devolving situation there: introduce yet another armed group into a country already rife with them.