West arming Libya? What Libya?

The West is going to arm the UN-backed government of Libya, which is fighting ISIS and others there. Sounds good, but this AP story notes that it is “fraught with risk,” without telling you what those risks are, besides the “risk” of another wave of immigrants into Europe.

So here are the real risks: Everyone’s fighting everyone in Libya. The government to benefit from the “training” (here we go again) does not have the backing of most of the people, who would rather support their friendly local militia.

What the West is not willing to recognize is that there isn’t any Libya anymore. The artificially defined nation is in the process of breaking up into at least three entities–in the west, east and south. There is little the West can do to stop that. Arming an artificially constituted “government” in Tripoli, the capital of one of the three entities, will increase the violence and play into the hands of the militants, who will now have their favorite enemy to fight–the corrupt West.

This is the place to note that the West did not “break” Libya by backing the rebels who deposed dictator Muammar Gadhafi. This progression was inevitable. Therefore, the West doesn’t have to try to “fix” Libya. In fact, whatever it tries to do in that area will backfire, anyway, for the above reasons.

What can the West do? It must protect its own security through intelligence, stopping the export of terror cells.

It can beef up Libya’s coast guard to intercept smugglers and refugee transports, which is part of the UN plan, but that’s not the answer. This is:

As with Syria, the West must concentrate on humanitarian efforts to ensure that Libya’s people suffer as little as possible from this turmoil. It’s a long-term commitment, and the only way to rebuild the reputation and brand of the West as the good guys, essential for building future alliances.

Arming this or that Libyan faction will accomplish the opposite.



3 thoughts on “West arming Libya? What Libya?

  1. Why does it seem to me that the Middle East is the region where the West fails most often? Even more than in sub-Sahara Africa?
    Is it because my sense is accurate or because the ME just gets greater media attention?
    Good piece. Thanks

    • No, you’re right. Starting with its obsession over Israel and the Palestinians, the West gets everything wrong here. It hasn’t screwed up in other places because it hasn’t tried as hard.

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