At least it’s a classic episode:
The Obama administration is “on the verge of taking action” against the Islamic State in Libya, where the terrorist network has flourished in recent months, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told POLITICO on Tuesday.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) declined to describe what kind of action the White House was considering or to put a time-frame on it. But his comments came amid increased chatter in the administration about a greater U.S. military role in Libya, where political turmoil has helped create a vacuum hospitable to jihadist groups.
We should temper this with the understanding that Corker is just relating an impression he’s gotten from talking to people in the administration, which could mean nothing. However, the idea that the administration is circling a new Libya intervention shouldn’t come as that big a surprise. It’s been about a week since the US and Europe issued their “we’re thinking about Doing Something, but not right now” declaration in Rome, which was a signal to anybody paying attention that a new intervention was on its way.
The best thing that anybody could do to get ISIS out of Libya would be to help rebuild the country, starting by transitioning it from having two governments that are actively tearing the country apart to having one government that’s just your garden variety well-meaning but irritatingly ineffective kind of government like the one we have here. That work should really start not in Libya, but in Abu Dhabi and Doha, where the Emiratis and Qataris should be encouraged to stop playing around with Libyans the way children play with little green army men.
Of course, it’s far more likely that whatever the administration is planning will involve dropping a lot of bombs on Sirte. That way it will look like we’re doing something damaging to ISIS, but we’ll be able to avoid doing the harder diplomatic work that would actually be damaging to ISIS. And, geez, who could argue with the results of the last time we dropped a bunch of bombs on Libya? It’s like the old saying: you break it, you…get to break it again.
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