After the intervention in Libya the country has drifted into chaos. The chances for rebuilding the country are pretty low. Iraq has been torn to shreds. The West and its “humanitarian interventions” are co-responsible for the current situation in these countries, says Murray. Instead of intervening militarily the US and its allies should have sought diplomatic talks. The same would be true for Syria. You don’t have to like Gaddafi or Assad. But no one including the US has the right to decide which head of state has to go. McGovern makes clear that there can’t be any solution in Syria without Assad for the time being. The alternative would be the Islamic State. Thee former CIA analyst is skeptical that the Obama administration is "up to the task”.
Ray McGovern, former senior CIA analyst whose duties included preparing the President’s Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He was an analyst of Russian foreign policy for the first decade of his 27-year career with the CIA. McGovern is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Elizabeth Murray, served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Theresia Reinhold: Elizabeth, since the ousting of Gaddafi, militarily supported by the West in 2014, Libya has fallen apart and become a failed state or what is considered a failed state. With a continuing civil war and a collapsing economy – while the country was the wealthiest in North Africa before. What is the situation there at the moment and what is your assessment of the role of Western intervention?
Elizabeth Murray: I think Western intervention has everything to do with what Libya has become now, which is a chaotic state. At one point we had fairly good relations with Qaddafi and what happened to him just being allowed to be assassinated and murdered in a very cold-blooded way and with our own secretary of state Hillary Clinton literally laughing about it just saying, “I came, I saw, he died” or something similar. It’s really just made a mockery of any kind of civilized dealing with another country. Unfortunately, I think, what Libya is now is just an example of this kind of “humanitarian intervention” that has become a pretext for going into countries and just seizing the interests or the resources that are of interest to our governments. I’m very pessimistic about how we are going to rebuild this country; it’s similar to what has happened to Iraq. It has been completely destroyed, it’s completely fractioned and again – it really speaks to the need for the United States to step back from its policy of using military violence as a solution, or as a way to solve perceived problems. Why couldn’t they have sat down and have diplomatic discussions with the Libyan government? I have the same opinion of what has happened in Syria – you don’t have to love Assad, you don’t have to be in love with Qaddafi, but these were the legitimate recognized elected governments in these countries and under international law they have the right to stay there. What right did the United States have to suddenly and arbitrarily decide, that these leaders had to go? That’s unprecedented. How would anyone like if someone said that Obama just has to go? This is another example of just failed policy of the United States and of any involvement of other countries in this policy. Do you have anything you want to add, Ray?
Ray McGovern: Just as with Iraq, Libya has a lot of oil, right? And it's a special kind of (thin) oil that is coveted by France, Italy, Great Britain and others. So, it was really a kind of cabal in this case, that was justified by making sure that the rebels were protected from ... the good guys were protected from the air, from the rebels. The Russians and the Chinese were reluctant voters for that. But they were deceived and it became much more than simply protecting the people in the East. So we see a function of extreme arrogance. We might have said in 1952, 1953 – Assad has to go. We did say that, but we said it quietly. We didn't say it on CNN. "Assad has to go, let's get the British together, let's see how we can overthrow Assad." Ok. Now, they don't even say it in secret. "Well, Assad has to go". And Obama also has to go. What's – it doesn't make any sense. Es hat keinen Sinn. And now we're living with that. Now we have the Russians and the Armenians equally concerned about Assad. I think he should live a little bit longer, and he can stay in power a little bit longer. That'd be a good thing! Because, look at the alternative! The alternative is ISIS. So, these are complicated matters. I'm not sure that Obama or the people he has advising him are up to the task. They have marginalized people who know about the Middle East. Or who know about Russia. That is a major problem in our government.