UK — and US — pulling some staff from Tripoli as security deteriorates

posted at 10:41 am on May 10, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

How well has that Western intervention worked out in Libya? Starting well over a year ago, Western nations all pulled out of Benghazi — the city the intervention was supposed to protect — after it became clear to all but the US that radical Islamist “militias” had seized control of the city and region.  The US pulled out of Benghazi only after a terrorist attack by Ansar al-Sharia somehow caught the State Department and White House by surprise … on the anniversary of 9/11.  Afterward, the nations that staged the military decapitation of Moammar Qaddafi all fell back to Tripoli, where security could be better maintained.

At least until now.  The UK announced that it would withdraw some of its embassy staff from Tripoli as the same “militias” besiege government buildings and demand concessions:

The UK has withdrawn some embassy staff in Libya in response to “ongoing political uncertainty”, the Foreign Office says.

It said it was temporarily withdrawing a “small number” who work with Libyan ministries.

Armed militias have recently been blocking access to ministry buildings to push their political demands.

However, the UK embassy remains “open as usual”, including for consular and visa services.

For now, anyway.  The same lack of central government control in Benghazi has now manifested itself in the capital, which forces one to conclude that the central government isn’t really capable of governance at all.  The “militias” have blockaded official government ministries for more than two weeks now (with a brief one-day respite), including the defense ministry that apparently can’t even defend its own headquarters any longer.  Under those conditions, foreign embassies — especially those opposed to the “militias” and their radical Islamist agendas — are ripe targets for any kind of attack.

The US State Department appears to agree.  They published a travel warning to all of Libya yesterday that includes Tripoli, advising nothing but “essential” travel to the capital and no travel at all outside of it for American citizens  It also announces, albeit rather quietly, that the US is also pulling staff out of the capital that our military helped to liberate, emphasis mine:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Libya and strongly advises against all but essential travel to Tripoli and all travel to Benghazi, Bani Walid, and southern Libya, including border areas and the regions of Sabha and Kufra. Because of ongoing instability and violence, the Department’s ability to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in these regions of Libya is extremely limited. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated March 11, 2013.

In early May, the security situation in Tripoli deteriorated when armed groups seized Libyan government buildings in a dispute over a law regarding officials of the former regime. In response, on May 8, the Department of State ordered the departure of a number of U.S. government personnel in Tripoli.

The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable. Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have occurred throughout the country. U.S. citizens should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens traveling to, or remaining in, Libya should use caution and limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, and maintain security awareness at all times.

The warning includes this ironic advice:

For information on “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis,” please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Emergencies and Crisis link.

State published this the day after the wrenching testimony of three State Department whistleblowers about what the State Department couldn’t do in Benghazi, which was respond to a terrorist attack that should have been easily predicted.  How long will it be before the West gets chased entirely out of Tripoli, too, and the entirety of Libya becomes a launching pad for “militias” in North Africa?

And remind us again, please, how another 30,000-foot intervention in Syria will produce another stable and secure Mediterranean representative democracy.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

UK — and US — pulling some staff from Tripoli as security deteriorates

Obama..
WTF are you going to do about Libya?

Hello???

Electrongod on May 10, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Obama..
WTF are you going to do about Libya?

Hello???

Electrongod on May 10, 2013 at 10:42 AM

1. Pretend the problem doesn’t exist
2. Blame Republicans.

This is pretty much his and the media’s solution to every problem.

Doomberg on May 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM

1. Pretend the problem doesn’t exist
2. Blame Republicans.

This is pretty much his and the media’s solution to every problem.

Doomberg on May 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM

3. Blame Sequester.
4. Stay “above the fray”.
5. Golf.

Gatsu on May 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM

U.S. citizens should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

Nonsense. I have it on good authority that Al Qaeda is on the run in Libya.

Happy Nomad on May 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM

They should issue every consulate scissors.

After all, that’s the federal government’s weapon of choice when confronting an active shooter.

Washington Nearsider on May 10, 2013 at 10:49 AM

I’m shocked! Shocked I say! Its the Arab spring into tyranny. Maybe they should have run a “universal” background check or two.

oryguncon on May 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM

What difference, four months from now, will this story make?!

mjbrooks3 on May 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Osama is dead
Al Qaeda is on the run
Obama is awesome

wash rinse spit repeat…..

oh, and keep voting “D” folks….

ted c on May 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM

It is OK…no reason to panic…newly appointed US Ambassador Deborah K. Jones will handle it all…face down this Mohammedan threat with ease. She’ll just tell them to stop it. Just stop it right now, or they’ll all have to have a time out.

Our experienced, nuanced, and worldly wise multicultural President appoints a woman Ambassador to one of the most dangerous places on earth…a place where all women are considered a lot lesser creatures than cattle or goats…and where being a loud and proud gay can cost you your life…and Team Obama cannot understand the reality of such an appointment, as Ambassador no less?

Being PC is not big deal in Santa Monica, or out in Great Falls or Potomac…but in the Mohammedan world?

It can get you killed.

coldwarrior on May 10, 2013 at 10:52 AM

and the entirety of Libya becomes a launching pad for “militias” in North Africa?

Oh, no that would never happen. Say, if you were thinking of a Med cruise or beach trip to southern Europe anytime soon, I’d hurry before pirate raids make it look like Somalia. Its 750 AD all over again.

oryguncon on May 10, 2013 at 10:53 AM

International affairs are just a distraction from Obama’s agenda to fundamentally transform America. He doesn’t give a rat’s butt about foreign affairs.

The man is dangerous to our constitutional republic. The entire Democrat party and its special interest enablers are an existential threat to our basic freedoms. They want to turn the US into a socialist superstate run by their cadre of elitist technocrats.

Like boiling frogs though the public won’t know they are being slowly enslaved until it’s too late.

Charlemagne on May 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM

They should issue every consulate scissors.

After all, that’s the federal government’s weapon of choice when confronting an active shooter.

Washington Nearsider on May 10, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Running with scissors…sorta sums up the current Administration.

coldwarrior on May 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM

+1 doomberg and gatsu

cmsinaz on May 10, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Absolutely WN

cmsinaz on May 10, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Just another result of all that “Smart Diplomacy” as practiced by Hillary! and Barry.

GarandFan on May 10, 2013 at 10:59 AM

OT (sorta)- IRS admits to targeting conservative organizations with words like “patriot” in the name. We truly are living in a third world dictatorship.

Happy Nomad on May 10, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Obama’s opponents need to be honest about what’s happening in the Middle East. It’s easy to say he’s making bad decisions, but plenty of GOP folks have been pushing for arming Syrian rebels, or “doing more”. And many of those folks were pushing to help the Libyan rebels, too.

The truth is, right now there are a lot of situations in the middle east that don’t have any good choices for the U.S.

hawksruleva on May 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM

1. Pretend the problem doesn’t exist
2. Blame Republicans.

This is pretty much his and the media’s solution to every problem.

Doomberg on May 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM

3. Blame Sequester.
4. Stay “above the fray”.
5. Golf.

Gatsu on May 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM

6. Send more foreign aid to the MoBro.

slickwillie2001 on May 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Obama, facing re-election next year, chalked up Libya as another foreign policy success to place alongside the killing in May of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the drawdown of most US troops from Iraq by the end of the year, and the first phase of a gradual pullout of troops from Afghanistan. – guardian.co.uk, Thursday 20 October 2011 16.13 EDT

Winning!

bigmacdaddy on May 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Stupid Youtube video.

vcferlita on May 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Afterward, the nations that staged the military decapitation of Moammar Qaddafi all fell back to Tripoli, where security could be better maintained.

Says it all, Ed.(except to ask if it wasn’t all deliberate?)

Don L on May 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Obama’s opponents need to be honest about what’s happening in the Middle East. It’s easy to say he’s making bad decisions, but plenty of GOP folks have been pushing for arming Syrian rebels, or “doing more”. And many of those folks were pushing to help the Libyan rebels, too.

hawksruleva on May 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM

John McCain and Lindsey Graham do not constitute “plenty of GOP folks.”

But, by all means, let’s be honest about what is going on in the Middle East. Let’s throw the BS flag when the rat-eared coward talks about developing democracies throughout the region. The fact of the matter is that the filthy coward’s arbitrary and ignorant approach to foreign affairs have done great harm to many and propped up regimes almost as corrupt as our own. All because the the filthy coward does not want to admit he screwed up big time.

Happy Nomad on May 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Obama’s opponents need to be honest about what’s happening in the Middle East. It’s easy to say he’s making bad decisions, but plenty of GOP folks have been pushing for arming Syrian rebels, or “doing more”. And many of those folks were pushing to help the Libyan rebels, too.

The truth is, right now there are a lot of situations in the middle east that don’t have any good choices for the U.S.

hawksruleva on May 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM

OK, let’s be real honest. This is what happens when you don’t want to invest blood and treasure into nation building. I’m not saying that’s what we should do – can’t afford it any more. BUT, if you go knocking over dictators and hope for the best, you often end up with worse dictators. So yes, let’s be honest, democracies don’t just spring up on their own without some sort of “guns” backed up by an armed citizen to protect the process. If we aren’t going to nation build then in all honesty we have to content ourselves with standing around and watching the slaughter. What a shame, let’s play golf.

rhombus on May 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM

They should issue every consulate scissors.

After all, that’s the federal government’s weapon of choice when confronting an active shooter.

Washington Nearsider on May 10, 2013 at 10:49 AM

They should also teach them to pee and puke on demand. After all if it works against rapists it should work wonders against terrorists.

Oldnuke on May 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The West needs to sever all diplomatic relations with Libya and terminate any trade; starve the devils out. Then again, Europe gets so much oil from Libya that’s not likely to happen.

This problem will keep going until the West comes up with a solid solution. Given this Administration, I can’t see one forthcoming.

Liam on May 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Can someone convert the US travel warning into a YouTube video…you know, with Chris Stevens being dragged in the background, the Embassy up in flames, transcription of the 3 whistle blowers scrolling on the bottom…just to spite this administration..

hillsoftx on May 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM

It still amazes me how much conservative “told-you-so”s about Libya mirror liberal “told-you-so”s about Iraq, completely ignoring the counterfactual and pretending the administrations’ goals were to produce utopia in a decades-brutalized country, rather than to get rid of a dangerous dictator poised to defy the world and cross a — if you will — “red line.” Obama’s cover-ups are still newsworthy, but that doesn’t mean you have to act like the left circa 2005.

calbear on May 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Might as well pull out entirely. It’ll be good practice for most of the other countries over there.

trigon on May 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Ed, we need a thread on this…

IRS Admits to Targeting Conservative Groups During 2012 Election, Apologizes

The Nixonianism is strong with this administration.

Resist We Much on May 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM

leading from so far behind it almost looks like we’re not even there…oh, we’re leaving? m’bad

shotguns, issue shotguns to somebody over there

DanMan on May 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM

calbear on May 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

I seem to have a different recollection. While certainly no solid ally, ‘ol Mo did give up his nuclear stock pile and open up his oil fields for development by foreign nations. And then Obama came into office. Seems he aided in taking down ‘ol Mo. Here we are.

DanMan on May 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

OK, let’s be real honest. This is what happens when you don’t want to invest blood and treasure into nation building. I’m not saying that’s what we should do – can’t afford it any more. BUT, if you go knocking over dictators and hope for the best, you often end up with worse dictators. So yes, let’s be honest, democracies don’t just spring up on their own without some sort of “guns” backed up by an armed citizen to protect the process. If we aren’t going to nation build then in all honesty we have to content ourselves with standing around and watching the slaughter. What a shame, let’s play golf.

rhombus on May 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Well said. We basically need to either get in the boat, or stay on the dock. Destroying a nation’s existing government doesn’t magically create a stable democracy. It creates a power vacuum, and a situation where whoever has the most guns and the most will to use them can become the new leader.

Put another way, who’s better off right now – people living under the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, or the people living in the “democracies” of Libya and Egypt? Freedom is great, but overthrowing a dictator is not the same as freeing people.

hawksruleva on May 10, 2013 at 11:33 AM

DanMan on May 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Uncomfortable…but here goes…Louis Farrakhan was right.

“Mr. President, who the hell do you think you are?!!!”

coldwarrior on May 10, 2013 at 11:33 AM

coldwarrior on May 10, 2013 at 11:33 AM

let’s go 2/2, remember when Code Pink or whatever Soros group bought the Gen Betrayus ad? their timing was off but they nailed the man given his silence on the butchering his Benghazi report underwent

DanMan on May 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM

“Al Queda is on it’s heels.” ~President Obama

BKennedy on May 10, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Score another one for Obama & his ‘Arab Spring’, a Pro-Islamic Agenda to give back to Islamic Extremists / Al Qaeda everything they lost – plus some – during the 8 years under Bush when we were AT WAR with terrorists, hunted them down, killed them, and attempted to eterminate them while reducing the number of safe havens they had around the globe.

Under Obama Libya has been handed over to Al Qaeda (as was Ambassador Stevens & 3 other Americans)…Egypt was handed over to the Muslim Brotherhood…the Iranian people who cried for Freedom were ignored…and we are in the verge of aiding Al Qaeda-backed rebels in Syria take over there (through training & giving them weapons). The number of locations they now have as safe havens and training locations/bases have doubled…

Al Qaeda / the Muslim Brotherhood / Islamic Extremists world-wide have THRIVED and risenn under Obama while America and the American people have taken a physical, financial, spiritual, moral, & ethical beating / decrease.

easyt65 on May 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Libya… Somalia Redux… When one Somalia just isn’t enough.

gravityman on May 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM

easyt65 on May 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM

+100

the consistency removes the imcompetence angle I’d say, Obama is winning and we’re all losing

DanMan on May 10, 2013 at 11:56 AM

3. Blame Sequester.
4. Stay “above the fray”.
5. Golf.

Gatsu on May 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM

It’s worked so far. Democrats have learned that you don’t have to fool all of the people all of the time, just 50% on election day. And with the help of Rubio, they will soon have an additional 30 million low information citizens they don’t even have to fool.

Alabama Infidel on May 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM

The benefits of Obama and Hillary’s “smart power” just never stop, do they?

This administration is so friggin’ incompetent and corrupt it almost defies belief.

AZCoyote on May 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM

…Brits / Americans being ordered out….

I will at least say THIS for the Obama administration:

Despite not being Intelligent enough to either provide more security OR order Americans out of Benghazi before 9/11/12 AFTER 1) 2 previous terrorist attacks on Stevens, 2)Al Qaeda leaders putting a video out calling for a 3rd attack on 9/11/12 in retaliation for a Libyan-born Al Qaeda leader’s death months earlier, 3) Stevens telling Obama/Hillary Al Qaeda flags were flying over Libyan govt buildings & 10 new terrorist training camps being opened in Benghazi, & 4) Stevens warned that if there was a 3rd attack he would die…Obama & Hillary – under fire now for Benghazi – have learned their lesson & are clling for certain Americans to get ut of Libya. By their actions, I guess ‘it does matter’ after all, & they are trying to avoid a 2nd F*-up.

easyt65 on May 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Obama has taken credit for the outcome in Libya, let’s not forget that.

OxyCon on May 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM

calbear on May 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Weaksauce, mang, n u know it. We didn’t knowingly back AQ in Iraq against Saddam, with whom we dealt with at a time and place of our choosing. Can’t say the same for Libya, where we knowingly backed known AQ with American blood on their hands from Iraq and Af/Pak in order to deal with Qaddafi at a time and place of France and UK’s choosing. Disloyal opposition =/= loyal opposition.

Christien on May 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM

calbear on May 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

calbear, let’s forget for the moment that Democrats stood on the fllor of Congress and made the case why something needed to be done about Hussein & voted to give Bush the authority to take military action … let’s forget for aminute that Obama ordered our military, that had been fighting a war in part against terrorists that perpetrated 9/11, to AID that very same Al Qaeda organization take over Libya, dragging the U.S. into war without every going to Congress for approval (& ‘technically, legally’ violating the War Powers Act by going over the amount of time a U.S. President could do so)…let’s forget those 2 things for a second…

Bush took the nation to war, for which he was criticized…got it.

In THIS case, Obama/Hillary, who argued they were the most qualified to answer that ’3am phone call’, DENIED Ambassador Stevens additional security & did not order him out even after 1) 2 previous terror attacks were perpetrated against him, 2) after the Al Qaeda-associated militia they hired to protect him quite doing so 2 months prior to 9/11/12, 3) after the #1 Al Qaeda leader put out a video calling for a 3rd attack on Stevens on the anniversary of 9/11 in retaliation for the death of a Libyan-born Al qaeda leader, 4) after Stevens warned them of 10 new terrorist camps opening up in Benghazi, after 5) warning that if he did not have more security he would die in that 3rd attack if it happened.

In THIS case, this administration did not just ‘do nothing’…they took action, ordering the responding military aid to ‘Stand down’…and then despite KNOWING the real story within hours of the attack they continued to lie, deceive, & cover up for as long as 1 month after the attack.

Bottom line…there is no comparison between Bush’s actions & those of the Obama administration!

easyt65 on May 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Obamas Cairo speech will continue to reap dividends for decades.

tom daschle concerned on May 10, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Would a Combat Vomitorium be acceptable, or is that a chemical warfare violation?

goatweed on May 10, 2013 at 2:14 PM

You break it, you own it.

Right?

Or is that for Bush?

PattyJ on May 10, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Battleships should be OK. They aren’t automatic or semi-auto. Especially if we promise only to use the big guns (most of the time).

goatweed on May 10, 2013 at 2:39 PM

U.S. is in a war against radical islamists. We can either fight them overseas with the help of most of the population of the Arab countries or we can let them take control of the middle east and its oil which gives them more money to buy weapons and stage attacks against the U.S. and our bases overseas. Both Libya and Syria both give the islamists meaningful oil and gas reserves to use to attack the U.S. and other oil rich countries.

philrat on May 10, 2013 at 3:13 PM

philrat on May 10, 2013 at 3:13 PM

The unethical oil of which ManBearPig/AlGore recently spoke?

Being attacked for decades by the Religion of “peace”…but our President says “The future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet.”

Giving them same mohammedans hundreds of billions annually…to fund their quest for the Caliphate…and still..few regard cutting off the Middle east oil dependency a national security matter? We have more than ample reserves of oil in North America to last for decades and decades…and food…lots of it…and potentially a lot more…could easily be energy independent…but…this Administration wants us to stay dependent on the sheiks, jihadis, and the Wahhabist cults…because that call to prayer is the most beautiful sound in the world.

This presidency, this cancer upon America, must be removed…and our Constitution provides the means.

coldwarrior on May 10, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Whether the “red line” is non-cooperation with the UN over WMD, wholesale slaughter of civilians, or use of chemical weapons, the dynamic is fairly similar on all sides, from hawks to doves, and from dictators to terrorists taking advantage of the leadership vacuum. In Syria we might be tempted to sit back and eat popcorn while watching Al Qaeda and Hezbollah at each others’ throats, but meanwhile the body count of innocents heads towards six digits, the two sides get even more radicalized, heavy and chemical weaponry is spread willy-nilly, neighbors get drawn into the conflict, and America’s standing decreases bit by bit. What to do is not obvious, but the least we can do is not copy the left’s dishonest mid-2000s playbook when talking about it all.

calbear on May 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Not to say that everything’s parallel, but saying, “Why did you ever get involved in preventing catastrophe when you can’t replace it with a stable democracy?” is rather useless and disingenuous. Critique on the War Powers Act, “days not weeks,” consulate security, etc., but put away the stale straw men. That’s all I’m asking for.

calbear on May 10, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Here’s the video responsible this time!

profitsbeard on May 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM