Holbrooks is drawing attention to this because he’s Pindosi imperialist masquerading as an “Underground Reporter” in a web media ploy I hope you all know well by now, of creating free glossies with a pro-war slant and a youth-angled style – RB
Is This the Real Reason Pindostan Is Suddenly Bombing Libya?
James Holbrooks, Underground Reporter, Aug 7 2016
Last Monday, the DoD held a presser in which P Cook disclosed to reporters that the Pindo military, at the request of the officially recognized governing body of Libya, the Government of National Accord (GNA), has begun a campaign of precision airstrikes on Daesh targets inside the northern city of Sirte. Cook stated at the briefing:
GNA-aligned forces have had success in recapturing territory from ISIL thus far around Sirte, and additional strikes will continue to target ISIL in Sirte in order to enable to GNA to make a decisive, strategic advance.
The GNA is the interim government created by the UN and installed back in March in an effort to combat the instability, infighting both political and military and all-around chaos that have engulfed Libya in the years following the Pindo invasion of the country in 2011. That intervention resulted in the death of leader Muammar Gaddafi and forced his family to flee to neighbouring regions. One son, however, was captured by rebels in the southern desert of Libya. He was subsequently convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death by a Tripoli court.
But none of that is news. Gaddafi’s reign is long over and his son was sentenced over a year ago. As for the turmoil within Libya, it continues unabated, but with no major shifts to report on, save for one. Two weeks ago, JCoS Dunford, one of the two men who recommended Monday’s airstrikes against ISIL, stated at a press conference he is “encouraged by developments” regarding ISIL in Libya. He went even further, however:
I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the Islamic State in Libya is weaker than it was some months ago. There’s no question about it.
Additionally, he stated that Daesh’s numbers in Sirte, the very city targeted in the recent airstrikes, have been reduced to just a few hundred. Given this information, some reporters at Monday’s press briefing felt obliged to ask a very simple question: why now? One journalist asked Cook:
Could you give us a sense of why now? Is there something critical about Sirte right now that the airstrikes could be a game changer?
I think what’s changed right now is the specific requests we got from the GNA.
Which doesn’t answer the question. Cook would give similarly deflective answers to similarly direct questions regarding timing throughout the briefing. Worse, he refused to divulge details about how those requests were being vetted by the US before agreeing to strike. Cook said the airstrikes were approved by Obama, and came at the recommendation of Ashtray Carter and JCoS Dunford. When asked about the legal authority under which the strikes are being conducted, Cook cited the 2001 AUMF which gave Bush 43 broad discretion in
how he went after those responsible for the 9/11 attack launching war against anyone in the world that he chose, even countries demonstrably unrelated to the attack, such as Iraq. But the AUMF, which allows the president to sidestep the War Powers Resolution and send the military into other countries without congressional consent, has come under heavy fire from adherents to the Constitution. It was the AUMF that green-lit the Iraq War in 2003, for instance, not a declaration of war from Congress, as the Constitution requires. Since that time, the resolution has been repeatedly invoked as justification to launch military campaigns in countries throughout the MENA. As to Monday’s targets, Cook said the airstrikes took out a couple of military vehicles and a tank. This revelation prompted one clearly sceptical reporter to put another common-sense question to the press secretary. She begins:
Forgive me for asking a dumb question, but why would taking out a tank and two ISIS vehicles be so critical to the liberation of Sirte that it required airstrikes?
Cook responded with talk about precision and the need to avoid civilian casualties, which again fails to address the root question being asked by the reporters:
What’s happening in Libya right now that’s critical enough to require a new campaign of airstrikes?
While there may be nothing happening on the ground in Libya that would necessitate airstrikes of a sudden, indeed there is a reduction in the number of Daesh fighters those strikes are meant to take out, something has occurred recently that might have the US biting its nails. Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif, the one captured and sentenced to death, was inexplicably released from prison. On Jul 7, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s lawyers told France 24 that the most prominent son of the former Libyan leader had been released in April and was “well and safe and in Libya.” Saif was considered to be Gaddafi’s likely successor, and had fully backed his father’s stance following the intervention in 2011. And now that he’s free, Saif wants to “contribute to the political unification of Libya,” one of his attorneys says. And he has the juice to do it. Saif, who earned a PhD in global governance from the London School of Economics, was a high society player in England, where he lived before returning to Libya to support his father. The Guardianwrote in 2011, just after the Hague named him as war crimes suspect:
Saif was a magnetic presence for British politicians, bankers and business people who wanted to deal with oil-rich Libya but not with the international pariah his father had become.
It’s of great significance where this “magnetic” and highly connected favored son has been living since his release. Zintan, the town in southern Libya where he was captured and imprisoned, is also where Saif has been making his home. But Zintan is also home to one of the two major militia groups within Libya who’ve been battling for years to fill the power vacuum in the fragmented nation. Both Zintan and their rival Misrata refuse, like other political and military factions within Libya, to recognize the UN-installed GNA. Given that the Zintanis fiercely opposed the Gaddafi regime, however, many are questioning the motives behind Saif’s release, and the apparent safe haven given him in Zintan. Professor Yehudit Ronen of Bar-Ilan University, recently spoke to the JPost:
His recent release has aroused discussion in Libya and abroad. Does the Zintan armed militia that released him envisage his return to the center of the Libyan political stage? Do the Zintanis wish to seize upon his political charisma, experience and diplomatic talents and connections to gain the upper hand in Libya’s chaotic and violent struggle, which has reached in fact a tragic stalemate?
So it seems that Saif, the heir to the leader Pindostan waged a brutal military campaign to oust, may be rejoining the game. And with him apparently wishing to “contribute to the political unification of Libya,” it’s quite possible that Pindostan sees these recent events as a potential threat to the GNA, the installed government it wants in power. Remember, the legal authority used as justification for Monday’s largely ineffectual airstrikes is the AUMF, a resolution that essentially grants the president the power to send the military wherever he wants. So with Daesh’s influence diminishing in Libya, by Dunford’s own account, it’s logical to ask if the strikes were less about fighting terrorism and more about establishing the framework for a prolonged campaign against another Gaddafi-led force in Libya, albeit potential.
Here’s last month’s release of Saif al-Islam again:
Gaddafi son Saif al-Islam ‘released’ from Libya jail
France24.com, Jul 6 2016
Muammar Gaddafi’s most prominent son has been released by his Libyan jailors, his lawyer at the ICC has told France 24. Saif al-Islam was sentenced to death in 2015 for crimes committed during the revolution that overthrew his father. The former Libyan dictator’s second son “was given his liberty on Apr 12 2016”, lawyer Karim Khan said Wednesday, adding that Saif al-Islam was released under an amnesty previously declared by the Tobruk parlement, the internationally recognised authority that governed part of Libya before the national unity government of Fayez al-Sarraj took over in March. According to the lawyer, this release was made “in accordance with (Libyan) law.” Khan declined to say whether he had spoken to his client, saying only that he “is well and safe and in Libya.” Saif al-Islam, who was regarded as Gaddafi’s likeliest successor, had been held since 2011 by a militia in Zintan, in a mountainous western region beyond the control of authorities in Tripoli. His captors refused to transfer him to Tripoli, where he was sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Tripoli in Jul 2015 for his part in the killing of protesters during the uprising that toppled his father, but the sentence wasn’t carried through. The verdict had drawn condemnation abroad, with HRW saying the trial was riddled with legal flaws and carried out amid widespread lawlessness undermining the credibility of the judiciary. The proceedings began in Apr 2014 before fighting between rival factions in Tripoli erupted, and the power struggle has loomed large since. Saif is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which issued an arrest warrant in 2011 on preliminary charges of crimes against humanity, murder and persecution for being part of the inner circle of his father’s regime. Khan said he would file an application to make the ICC case inadmissible, arguing that his client has already been tried by his home country. Invoking the principle of “double jeopardy”, he said:
It is prohibited to try an individual twice for the same offense.
Asked whether When it was suggested to him that dropping charges against Saif would hurt reconciliation efforts, he said:
It’s up to Libyans to decide what is best for peace and reconciliation.
According to a source quoted Le Monde, Said has been living quite openly in Zintan in a “comfortable house with a new wife and their three-year-old daughter,” and able to move around freely.