President Barack Obama is now considering arming the Libyan rebels, some of whom may be members of al Qaeda. During a Senate hearing Tuesday, Admiral James Stavridis told U.S. lawmakers that intelligence reports indicate that there is a “flicker” of al Qaeda and Hezbollah within the forces opposing Libya′s Muammar al Qaddafi. Hillary Clinton has also stated that still little is known as to just who the rebels are? Meanwhile, Obama administration officials, including U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, are floating the idea of the United States supplying weapons to these ‘unknown’ rebels.
The original U.N. Resolution 1973, used to justify intervention in Libya, prohibits foreign troops to be ‘on the ground’, as well as strengthening an arms embargo to Libya. There is already speculation that special ops forces from NATO nations are involved on the ground to coordinate airstrikes. A conference in London among nations participating in the intervention are discussing further options, including foreign troops, presumably from Arab League countries.
While the Obama White House wants to call the operation in Libya a kinetic military action, the uprising is in fact a full-blown civil war. After a lull in NATO attacks on Tuesday, Qaddafi forces launched a fierce counter-attack, sending the rebels retreating about 50 miles after significant gains had been made the day before. The seesaw nature of the fighting, mostly along Libya′s 1,000-mile long coastline, is reminiscent of the North African Campaign during World War Two.
Obama now seems to be boxing himself into a strategy of escalation as it becomes more apparent that Muammar al Qaddafi is not going to simply cut and run. During his speech on Monday night, Obama continued to give his lame excuses for why we are intervening in the first place. That this was to prevent a possible slaughter of thousands of Libyan civilians. Critics duly point out that for the past two years, Obama has largely ignored ongoing slaughters of civilians in Darfur, as well as more recent government atrocities in the Ivory Coast, where over one0hundred thousand refugees have poured into surrounding countries since November. The fighting in Libya, albeit bad, is not much worse than what is currently happening in Yemen the past few weeks and now Syria, too.
If President Barack Obama begins supplying arms to Libyan rebels, this will set the stage for a very long, drawn out civil war. Much like he and other Democrats warned about Iraq. With still much uncertainty as to just who the rebels are, intelligence reports do indicate some level of involvement by al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. They may be just a “flicker”, as described by Admiral James Stavridis to U.S. senators during hearings yesterday. But only one spark is needed to touch off a powder keg, which appears to be inevitable now.