Chuck Spinney’s Comments Below the Line
Americans do not hear or care much about the fruits of our “humanitarian” intervention in Libya (except for those Republicans trying to make domestic political hay out of the debacle in Benghazi), but the situation in the Libyan hinterlands is deteriorating rapidly. Even if we prevented a massacre, which can not be proven, since the evidence of the looming massacres is speculative, violence and suffering are now escalating rapidly. Chaos is also spilling over into neighboring countries with unpredictable consequences. Is another unending “whack a mole” Jihadi hunt in the tribal periphery looming in the offing of America’s perpetual war on terror?
No one can say, but the attached AP report by Paul Schemm places the Libyan deterioration in a regional perspenctive. I prepared the introductory map to help you orient yourself to the locations of the places and the patterns of the flows of fighters and weapons he describes. The map is a very superficial orientation, because these locations are far away places with highly evolved tribal cultures, about which Americans know almost nothing. Shemm tells us the so-called Jihadis are concentrated in the southwest and northeast of Libya. The remote areas of the southwest are safe havens where guerrilla fighters can move freely across porous borders. This is where they rest, regroup, and resupply themselves using money gained from smuggling and the weapons looted from Qaddaffy’s arsenals. These safe havens now serve as bases for forays into NW Libya, Algeria, Niger, Mali, and more distant places, like Nigeria — attacks will take the form of tips and strokes, not pushes, always retreating from superior forces. Note particularly the references to the increasing radicalization of Tuareg nomads. Borders mean nothing to Tuaregs — like the Pashtun in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they are an ancient tribal people who move freely and inconspicuously throughout the region. And like the Pashtun, they are a proud people with real grievances to motivate them … and they are good fighters.