March 29, 2011

Next: Arming the Libyan rebels?

Send more guns!
I was just listening to Fox News this morning and apparently the unmentioned part of President Obama's non-military goal of regime change in Libya was that arming the rebels is an option that is seriously being considered. The details from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations courtesy of Ambassador Rice can be found here. It's big news and it's a bad idea. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, President Reagan chose to arm the Mujahidin with stinger missiles and other arms to combat the invasion. The differences between then and now are numerous.

Firstly, the freedom fighters were a greater unknown than they are now (I'll get back to that point later). Secondly they were provided with arms specific to a purpose. The missiles were given because they fitted the geography and the specific needs of combat in a mountainous region with an aerial adversary. Thirdly, and most importantly, it served a specific American geo-political purpose: halting Soviet expansion.

Afghanistan at the time was a resource rich nation and it put the Soviets a step closer to a port on the Indian Ocean. It was a logical step for an expansionist empire. It was the equivalent of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait for oil.

But the Libyan rebels while worthy in their goal of overthrowing their despotic "leader", are not the same circumstance as the Afghan freedom fighters.

The freedom fighters are a lesser unknown than in Reagan's time. As everyone knows, those freedom fighters who welcomed American help, eventually threw off their Soviet oppressors and eventually revealed their true nature or simply drifted towards radical Islamism. Either way, it is a lesson of history - choose your friends wisely. Protecting the rebels is quite different from arming them to enable regime change. The other point is that they have openly been shown to have links to Al Qaida.

Secondly Libya is not Afghanistan, what sort of arms would they be given? With ground forces as their major threat, portable SAM missiles aren't it. They need arms to shoot at soldiers and blow up tanks. That widens the opportunity for nefarious alternate uses after Gadhafi is gone.

Finally, what is the geo-political purpose of arming the rebels? Is it to ensure oil for Italy? Reagan stopped a specific threat but this is still a regional theater and without the broader Middle East picture, there are very minor global implications. In other words, what is the U.S. Geo-political interest in Libya? Unless it's part of a broader Middle East policy it doesn't serve any specific purpose other than to sustain a rebellion. However noble, it is expensive and entails risk if arming the rebels is an option.

Ambassador Rice who spoke about arming the rebels was either riffing ideas, foolish at best, or knows something that wasn't shared by the president. The first alternative is probably career-ending. The second option, far worse, is that the U.S. is currently or planning to in the future, assist those who may be grateful allies now, but will turn or be turned against America as soon as it has served its purpose.


  1. What the hell! This Muslim leaning Bozo is doing exactly what he wants. He will end up arming the very kind of people who were responsible for the loss of 3,000 people here at home! And he knows damn well that Al-Quaeda and other radical Anti-Western, Anti-Israeli are the brains behind the operations not only in Libya, but every country showing the unrest we are seeing. Anyone who doubts that the end run here is the eradication of Israel and in turn forcing Radical Muslim fundemantals on the rest of us has their heads way to deep you know where! Great post

  2. If we can get past 2012 and Obama, Israel should be okay. I hope.


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