CNN brings us a little reminder of the disaster Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton left in Libya at the dawn of Obama’s last full day in office.
US B-2 bombers struck and destroyed two ISIS camps in Libya overnight, killing several dozen militants, US officials told CNN Thursday.
The mission, which was confirmed in a later Pentagon statement and is expected to be the last, short-notice military operation ordered by President Barack Obama, was approved several days ago by the President, according to sources.
“They (the ISIS fighters) posed a security threat to Libya, the region, and US national interests,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. “While we are still evaluating the results of the strikes, the initial assessment indicates they were successful.”
A US defense official said the militants were seen immediately beforehand carrying weapons, wearing tactical vests, holding mortars and standing in formation. The number killed was not released by the Pentagon but it is believed to be “several dozen” and there were no women or children in the area, the official said.
The Pentagon explained that the sites had been under surveillance for weeks, as ISIS fighters withdrawing from their former stronghold of Sirte regrouped along the Libyan coast. The surveillance operation was disrupted once when the camps were moved, and it looks like some of the militants were clever enough to move again because the B-2s found some of their designated target sites had been abandoned.
This was such a major operation that the U.S. Navy was standing by to assist with Tomahawk missiles. And yet, the media has allowed Obama to coast through his second term without building one of its precious “narratives” around the ongoing Libyan disaster.
Libya still lacks a solid central government. There is a UN-backed “unity government,” and it has made some strides towards asserting control over the country, but by no means has it achieved total success.
In fact, the Russians are currently supporting a bid by one of the factional leaders to seize control of the country, another step toward consolidating Russian influence in the Middle East and North Africa.
Al-Jazeera views the UN-supported Government of National Accord as “crippled” and on the verge of collapse, ripe for displacement by the Tobruk-based faction of General Khalifa Haftar.
The UN is trying to fold Haftar’s faction into the GNA, but he is grabbing for the brass ring and angling to become national leader. Haftar is in such a strong position because the GNA’s military forces and militia allies have been fighting to evict Barack Obama’s “junior-varsity team,” the Islamic State, from Sirte.
That battle is not over yet. The New York Times writes that America’s overnight B-2 raids reflect “the resilience of the Islamic State in Libya,” with its hundreds of fighters still posing a military threat to whoever ends up running the show in Tripoli, plus a major terrorist threat to Europe.
The Times reports:
A recent analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, a policy organization in Washington, found that Islamic State militants operating as “desert brigades” south of Sirte had ambushed Libyan military positions, disrupted supply lines with explosives and established checkpoints on key roads. The Islamic State is recruiting foreign fighters into southern Libya and is most likely relying on the same havens used by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, according to the analysis.
Thus, Barack Obama was obliged to order bombing runs on his way out of office, and the final result of all the American blood and treasure spent on Libya, the reward for absorbing a migratory tide that threatens to tear Europe apart, might be another Russian client state.
No wonder Obama’s adoring media doesn’t like to talk about his “achievements” in Libya until the thunder of American bombs slamming into Islamic State positions leaves them no choice.