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Obama’s Legacy: Libya on the brink of civil war

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Our ambassador Christopher Stevens was murdered along with his team. But that was just the beginning of Hillary and Obama’s horror.  The leader of the “rebellion,” Khalifa Haftar, lived in exile in the U.S. for two decades before returning to Libya during the 2011 rebellion. Thanks to BHO.

U.S. Removes Troops From Libya Amid Fighting in Capital

American military leaves as country stands on precipice of civil war, battle for Tripoli continues with airstrikes

A member of Libyan National Army, commanded by Gen. Khalifa Haftar, heads out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli on April 7.

By: Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2019:

CAIRO—The U.S. military said it pulled a small contingent of American forces from Libya as the country teetered on the brink of full-scale civil war, with fighting continuing around the capital Tripoli.

The evacuation is the latest turn in a troubled history of American military involvement in Libya, which has been in turmoil since the overthrow of Moammar Ghadafi in an armed uprising supported by North Atlantic Treaty Organization airstrikes in 2011. U.S. forces have also played a key role in uprooting Islamic State, which gained a foothold in Libya in the chaos that ensued after the Arab Spring.

Citing the ability of U.S. forces to “flex where required” in Libya, Col. Christopher Karns, a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, confirmed the departure from Tripoli. “Security conditions in pockets of the country have declined,” Mr. Karns said, declining to provide details on where the contingent is headed. “It is important various terror affiliated groups, such as ISIS, don’t have an exact map of our whereabouts,” he said, referring to Islamic State.

Sunday’s decision affects an unspecified number of American troops stationed in Libya to provide support to diplomatic missions and carry out counterterrorism and other activities, military officials said. Military officials said the declining security situation warranted their removal.

A rogue Libyan military commander, Gen. Khalifa Haftar, ordered his forces to attack Tripoli on Thursday in an offensive against an internationally recognized government based in the capital. The fighting continued over the weekend as both sides launched airstrikes, each making use of the small number of military aircraft in their possession.

“The security realities on the ground in Libya are growing increasingly complex and unpredictable,” said Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of Africom, which is based in Germany. The command said the decision was temporary, but didn’t specify a timetable for troops to return.

In response to The Wall Street Journal, an Africom spokesman declined to say whether other U.S. forces remained in the country. “We will continue to monitor conditions on the ground in Libya, and assess the feasibility for renewed U.S. military presence, as appropriate,” spokesman Nathan Herring said.

Libya has been torn by political strife and war since Gadhafi’s death. The country is split between two rival governments: the Government of National Accord based in Tripoli that is recognized by the international community, and one based in the east allied with Mr. Haftar and his Libyan National Army.

Mr. Haftar’s attack has crushed hopes for a negotiated solution in the near term, sending rival forces scrambling to defend the capital. By Sunday, there was no sign Mr. Haftar’s forces had made significant advances in the Tripoli region, raising fears of a long battle for the capital.

The United Nations mission in Libya called for a cease-fire south of Tripoli in order to allow for the evacuation of civilians and wounded people, while the U.S. has warned Mr. Haftar to stop his offensive.

“The Administration at the highest levels has made clear its deep concern about fighting near Tripoli,” a senior State Department official said, adding, “The United States opposes the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s forces and urges the immediate halt to all military operations against Tripoli, and return to status quo positions.”

The U.S. has in recent years worked with the GNA in Tripoli as part of the global campaign against Islamic State and other extremist groups.

In 2016, the U.S. launched some 500 airstrikes in support of the GNA in a military operation that dislodged Islamic State from the city of Sirte, then the group’s most prized piece of territory outside of Iraq and Syria.

Libya’s fertile ground for Islamic State was highlighted in 2017 when a Libyan member of the radical group blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people.

Libya’s slide into chaos has also transformed the country into a route for migrants trying to reach Europe, although the number of migrants reaching the continent by sea has plummeted recently because of a crackdown led by Italy.

A former army commander under Gadhafi, Mr. Haftar turned against the dictator in the 1980s. He lived in exile in the U.S. for two decades before returning to Libya during the 2011 rebellion.

From a redoubt in eastern Libya, Mr. Haftar declared a unilateral military operation in 2014 aimed at stamping out what he calls terrorists, a term his critics say has been used to paint a broad swath of the people and forces opposing him.

While his forces have restored calm to some of the areas under his control, his campaign has at times contributed to the chaos where groups like Islamic State have thrived.

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