This week, the United States government began to bomb targets in the Libyan city of Sirte. Commentary on this bombardment has not taken in hand the brittleness of Libyan politics and its overwhelming complexity. My report this week for Alternet tries to provide some of the background to the grave difficulties inside Libya, most of it provoked by the 2011 NATO war on the country. Furthermore, it looks to me that these strikes will create more instability not only in Libya but also in Tunisia. The final paragraph of my report reads,
- Will the airstrikes actually degrade and destroy the Islamic State? It is not merely the Islamic State that is Libya’s problem. Airstrikes such as this will only move these fighters to other locations – to Tunisia, for instance, or to Benghazi. They will continue to be a serious problem in North Africa. Indeed, if they return to Tunisia, they will bring great peril to that country, which has only just seen its head of government lose a vote of no-confidence. In March, the Tunisian town of Ben Guerdane, on the Libyan border, saw virulent clashes between IS and the Tunisian army. What is now being called ‘Islamo-gangsterism’ has entered Tunis’ slums such as Ettadhamen. These are increasingly tinder-boxes. Or they will head to Benghazi, where the battlefield has destroyed the city that started the uprising of 2011.
You can read the entire story here.
Right at the center of the question of Libya is of course Hillary Clinton. She was the architect, on the US side, of the war (the French, as I show in my new book The Death of the Nation, egged on the war). Clinton is almost guaranteed to become the next president. My column for Frontline on the US presidential election is here. The essential point is that Trump's campaign is falling apart, and - in turn - Clinton is moving rapidly towards the Center Right. The space for an American Left is more open now than it has been before. In the next issue of Frontline, I will have an interview with CodePink founder Medea Benjamin. Look out for that one. One of the resources of the American Left is CodePink.
The new issue of Frontline has an excellent cover package on Kashmir. Please take a look at it.
The picture above - from the Democratic National Convention - sums up the disconnect between the people and the leadership. The sign is sharp in its accuracy. The pretense that everything is just alright no longer rings true across the planet. More is wanted. More honesty to begin with.