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Eastern Libya Devolving Into Chaos


Benghazi during a sandstorm (Photo credit: an agent)

The family of Libyan Police Lt. Colonel Nasser al-Maghrabi found his body in his olive grove on Saturday. Shot in both legs, al-Maghrabi was tortured before being shot in the chest and left for dead. He is the latest police officer to be attacked by the renegade militias that are overrunning eastern Libya, the militias our CIA was supposed to be tracking down so the Libyan government could deal with them. One or more militia overran our CIA base in Benghazi on September 11 and 12, killing two CIA contractors as well as Ambassador Chris Stevens and State Department employee Sean Smith, who died at the consulate nearby.

Last week, the head of Benghazi’s criminal investigations unit was kidnapped. Neither he nor his remains have been found. In November, the head of the Benghazi police, Faraj al-Deirsy, was shot dead in front of his home. Police stations and checkpoints have been attacked with homemade bombs.

According to those who knew him, Nasser al-Maghrabi was a quiet living man who did his job well, made no personal enemies, and was happiest on his farm with his family. He died because he chose to work for the future of his country.

Benghazi was the seat of the revolution, the place where a transitional government was formed to guide the military forces which eventually overthrew Moammar al Qaddafi. It was the city least impacted by the war itself. 

But when the transitional government became a real government, and it moved to 400 miles to Tripoli, it lost control of the situation in eastern Libya. The country devolved into tribal conflicts. It was exactly what Qaddafi had created. He had kept the tribes separate from each other, kept the government splintered and scattered. Foreign extremists have moved in, to take advantage of the chaos. Those who fought the regime never turned in their weapons, and more have been brought in since then.

Anyone who thought that the Arab Spring was going to be all sunshine and roses was as delusional as Dick Cheney believing that the Afghans and Iraqis would greet us as liberators.   We should have learned in Yugoslavia that you can’t liberate an artificial country made up of people who would never choose to be a single nation, and not have them revert to the conflicts they were engaged in before being forced to unify. 




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