Just looking at a few days worth of news from Libya shows that the country is a far cry from a peaceful democratic paradise, over a year after Gaddafi’s death.
- Libya’s largest parliamentary coalition is boycotting the national congress, protesting at delays in forming a committee to draft the country’s first constitution.
- Assailants tried to kill a prominent Libyan Islamist leader suspected of involvment in the Benghazi US embassy attack by planting a bomb under his car. They botched the attempt and one was killed. A formal investigation into the US embassy attack has not even been opened in Libya – and likely never will be.
- Attackers also tried to kill Libya’s interim president, opening fire on the hotel he was staying in. The gun battle raged for over three hours.
- A senior officer from Gaddafi’s old internal security services was found shot dead on his farm in Benghazi. Benghazi’s not exactly stable. Recently, as the UPI lists:
Four policemen were killed in December in Benghazi. The city’s police chief was assassinated in November and, last week, Abdelsalam al-Mahdawi, the interim head of criminal investigations in Benghazi, was kidnapped at gunpoint while he traveled to his office.
- The Libyan government continues to place national security in the hands of its militias, funding them instead of a national military force and sending them out as legally-approved vigilanttes even to shell and attack whole towns.
I understand that these are in many ways still early days for the new Libyan government, but none of these trends are pointing in the right direction. However, the “Libya model” is the one now held up by the D.C. beltway consensus of interventionists as the right way to do things, as iraq and Afghanistan are the wrong way. The Libyan intervention, now being strenuously advocated by “liberal” hawks as a model for Western-led and funded intervention in Syria and across Africa, may cost the U.S. and the West less in terms of blood and treasure at the time, but there’s no indication whatsoever that it is any better for those living there or that it will deliver better outcomes for the West itself in the long run. When will we learn the real Pottery Barn rule? It’s best not to break stuff “to help” at all, but instead to leave the store owners to break or fix their store as they see fit.