Obama campaigns for Democrats while Libya burns: U.S. military evacuates embassy in Tripoli amid escalating violence

Three years after military intervention in Libya to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, the State Department evacuated the U.S. embassy in Tripoli with the assistance of U.S. Marines amid the escalating violence in the North African country:

A Pentagon spokesman said in a statement that military planes and spy vehicles assisted in the operation to protect American officials from a possible attack.

All embassy personnel were relocated, including the Marine security guards who were providing security at the embassy and during the movement. The embassy staff was driven in vehicles to Tunisia,” Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

“The mission was conducted without incident, and the entire operation lasted approximately five hours.”
“Securing our facilities and ensuring the safety of our personnel are top department priorities, and we did not make this decision lightly,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. “Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions.”

One has to wonder if this is another one of those instances in which the White House will try to “underscore” that problems in Libya are “not a broader failure of policy.” Of course, there’s not a video to blame this time around.

The State Department’s decision to evacuate its embassy personnel comes nearly two weeks after the United Nations announced that it was accelerating the withdrawal of staffers due to the deteriorating situation in Tripoli.

The violence in Libya is, of course, result of the 2011 military intervention to topple Gaddafi. That intervention was ill-advised and, arguably, illegal, given that President Barack Obama didn’t seek congressional authorization for the action. And now the United States is staring down yet another foreign policy boondoggle.

One shouldn’t be surprised that the result of the U.S.-backed NATO campaign is more violence and unrest in a hostile part of the world. After all, as Ed Krayewski recently explained, no real efforts were made to ensure that weapons were secure and, of course, Islamic militants were ready to take advantage of the situation:

[T]he security situation in Libya has been deteriorating for years. No substantive attempts were made after the Western intervention to secure Qaddafi’s stockpiles of weapons. Earlier this year a UN report called security in Libya “significantly deteriorated,” noting weapons had made it as far as Nigeria, Syria, and Somalia.

In the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, congressmen like Dennis Kucinich stressed that the security failures in Benghazi were ultimately caused by the U.S.-backed intervention that destabilized the country—one army official told Kucinich that Al Qaeda had a much larger presence in Libya in 2012 than the U.S. did even though the terror group practically did not exist in the country before the Western intervention.

So, as another country in which the United States intervened burns, where’s President Obama? Well, as Matt Lewis notes, he’s checked out. He’s attending fundraisers and campaigning Democrats. He’s whining about corporations moving overseas and recent federal court decisions that overturned his power grabs.

President Obama is doing anything and everything he can to try to distract Americans from his epic policy failures. And, based on the most recent Gallup poll, which found his approval rating at a paltry 39 percent, it’s not working.

Image credit: United States Embassy in Tripoli

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