Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi told the Associated Press–without naming them–that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not succeed in fixing Libya, even though they did depose dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
“We long ago pointed out the danger in Libya and we said the mission in Libya remains incomplete,” el-Sisi said in the interview, which was promoted by the Egyptian embassy to reporters throughout Washington, D.C. “Following the ouster of the regime (of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011), weapons should have been collected, the army and security agencies should have been rebuilt, and there should have been help in setting up a democratic system that satisfies all Libyans. That never happened.”
El-Sisi was asked by the Associated Press if he’d intervene militarily in Libya to protect Egypt from the chaos happening within that country.
“We have a border with Libya that is 1,200-kilometers long and through which smuggling takes place,” el-Sisi stated, adding:
We are making an effort on our side in Egypt to stop that, whether it is the smuggling of weapons or fighters who could enter Egypt and carry out terrorist attacks as in the case of Farafrah (a western desert oasis where a deadly attack on Egyptian troops took place earlier this year). Our people died on two occasions in areas close to the Libyan border. So it is needed that we join forces to deal with what we are talking about here.
For now, el-Sisi said, Egypt and other nations must trust the Libyan parliament to carry out the will of that nation’s people.
“We and Algeria are keen to see Libya stabilized,” el-Sisi said. Elaborating, he declared:
The situation there poses a danger not just to us and Europeans, it requires a joint effort to restore stability in Libya. There is a parliament there which represents the will of the Libyan people. We support it, and every member of the international community must support the legitimate authority in Libya now.
In the interview, el-Sisi said that Egypt is “fully committed to cooperate in counterterrorism in the region and not just when it comes to dealing with” ISIS.
“No, we are talking about full support by Egypt to a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy in the region and the entire world too,” el-Sisi said, continuing:
We don’t want to limit the confrontation to only military and security measures. I imagine that the comprehensive strategy we’re talking about — part of it would be the security and military confrontation, correct, but it would also include fighting poverty. Economic support for countries in the region is also important. We are also talking about improving education, which is important, as well as changes in the Islamic religious discourse. When all this is done, we will achieve decisive results in counterterrorism.
El-Sisi’s comments on Libya are particularly interesting–especially the suggestion that deposing Qaddafi destabilized the nation–heading into the U.S.’s 2016 election cycle. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), currently the GOP frontrunner for the nomination, according to most battleground state polling data, has hammered Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee if she runs, for doing just that.
In a recent interview with Breitbart News, Paul argued that Clinton and Obama’s actions led to the destabilization of Libya–and, thus, the Benghazi terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012–and the rise of ISIS.
“I would say the objective evidence shows that Libya is a less safe place and less secure place, a more chaotic place with more jihadist groups–and really, we’ve had two really bad things happen because of Hillary’s push for this war,” Paul said in the late-August interview:
One is that our ambassador was killed as a consequence of not having adequate security and really as a consequence of having a really unstable situation there because of the Libyan war, and then most recently our embassy having to flee by land because they couldn’t leave via the airport because of such a disaster in Libya. So I think it’s hard to argue that the Libyan war was a success in any way. From my perspective, the first mistake they made was not asking the American people and Congress for authority to go to war.
Paul has also now criticized President Obama for not seeking congressional authorization for the airstrikes the President just launched against ISIS bases in Syria, saying that while he would support such airstrikes, Obama should have gone to Congress first.
“I support military action against ISIS but continue to believe the Constitution requires the President to receive congressional authorization,” Paul said in a statement provided to Breitbart News on Tuesday morning.