‘Libya’s painful lesson: Obama didn’t learn a thing from Iraq’
Failing to plan for the aftermath of the US-led military intervention in Libya was President Barack Obama’s worst mistake during his eight years in the White House, the American leader acknowledged to US media on Sunday.
RT: What’s your response to Obama’s comments?
Michael Maloof: Well, he is right. It was on his watch and it shows that he didn’t learn a thing from our experiences in Iraq, in which we just picked up and left. The problem with Libya is that we were working with Muammar Gaddafi. We had a lot of things going. He was actually keeping the fractions together; he was like the Tito of Libya, if you will. And we were working with him to keep down the spread of Al-Qaeda. He was somewhat successful at that. I think the primary problem with this administration was that oil was a major consideration, and the French were particularly interested in moving in, taking - once the unrest began a little bit - he was interested in taking it over.
RT: What kind of plan is even possible once you remove a government? Is it not a mistake going in there and intervening, and overthrowing - like you said - a government that was cooperating with the US in the first place?
MM: They went in without a plan. That was very clear because of the way the country just fell apart, and various fractions took over, various clans took over the entire country, which then allowed ISIS and Al-Qaeda to fill that power vacuum, if you will. It was clear that the administration’s goal was regime change, and we should have learned from, again, Iraq that you shouldn’t be doing that without having something viable. And we certainly didn’t have it in Iraq. Now with Libya it’s the same. And Hillary Clinton was very much responsible for that.
RT: There is a recent quote from the New York Times on Hillary Clinton: “Her conviction would be critical in persuading Mr. Obama to join allies in bombing Colonel Gaddafi’s forces. In fact, Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Robert Gates, would later say that in a 51-49 decision, it was Mrs. Clinton’s support that put the ambivalent president over the line.” Obama is calling this the biggest mistake of his presidency; Hillary Clinton is running for president. Shouldn’t that be an issue in this campaign season?
MM: It will be, but I think it is so complicated that unless you really focus on that and show the cause and effect, again she was probably looking for ways to improve upon her friends and contacts to extend business activities with a new government altogether… When they did take over and threw out Gaddafi, they didn’t have something to substitute; they didn’t have a government in waiting, if you will. And now they are dealing with a very precarious government that just doesn’t work. She was very much responsible for that. I think it clearly shows that her decision-making, her ability to function as a foreign policy expert is really wanting.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.