Thursday, October 20, 2011

No More Muammar

Muammar Gaddafi is dead.
Libya's ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after an assault on his birthplace of Sirte, officials say. 
Acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril announced the death, and later said the colonel had been killed in a crossfire between Gaddafi loyalists and fighters from the transitional authorities. 
He confirmed that Col Gaddafi had been taken alive, but died of bullet wounds minutes before reaching hospital.
President Obama's reaction:
[Obama] appeared to distance Washington from deeper entanglement in the North African oil-producing nation at a time of economic woes at home, placing responsibility for Libya's future squarely on the shoulders of the fractious interim leadership in Tripoli. 
"This marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya," Obama said in the White House Rose Garden.
That seems somewhat irresponsible; I would hope that the US would ensure Libya's new government isn't affiliated with or controlled by radical Islamists.
Obama made clear he considered Gaddafi's death a validation of his "leading from behind" strategy that had drawn criticism at home for casting the United States in a support role in the NATO air assault in Libya. Some of his Republican foes see it as an "Obama doctrine" that abdicates U.S. global leadership.
I'm no military analyst, but I would say Gaddafi's death occurred in spite of Obama's "strategy."  It likely would have happened sooner if the US would have taken more of a leading role.   

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