Lessons of Libya

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Lessons of Libya

Yesterday, Ted Cruz, the US presidential nominee, a right-wing politician of Latin American origin, who is a Senator for Texas, suddenly spoke out against the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He said that such a mistake had already been made in 2011, when the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. “By overthrowing the Libyan government, we handed the country to radical Islamist terrorists. Now it is a chaotic military zone where ISIS and other terrorist groups are acting, which is a threat to the whole country,” Cruz said. However, not all politicians have learned the sad lessons of Libya.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Yevseyev, the head of the SCO department of the CIS Institute, a military expert, thinks that the Libyan Spring offers several lessons.

The first one. “Muammar Gaddafi purchased gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment, and, without even opening the boxes, gave them to the West. But this did not contribute to him staying alive. I can tell you that this lesson was very well received in some states,” Yevseyev thinks.

The second one. “The US didn't actively participate in the hostilities, but nevertheless their ambassador was killed in Benghazi. This was the second lesson that taught the Americans a lot, and they do not want to actively go there now,” the expert said.

The third one. “By overthrowing the authorities in such a way, we always run the risk of losing statehood. Is it possible to repeat the Syrian experience in the fight against Islamic State on the territory of Libya? I do not see any grounds for that. Russia has nothing to do in Libya. This is not our problem, as well as the problem of Iraq. Of course, we can participate in supplies of weapons to Iraq, but we are not going to fight in Iraq or in Libya,” Yevseyev is sure. According to him, nobody will fight on the ground in Libya, as there is no such confident power which you can rely on, such as the Syrian National Army in Syria.

At the same time, the expert believes that Libya created several myths.

Firstly, on Libyan territory there were significant chemical weapons stockpiles, and everyone was afraid that these chemical weapons would be spread worldwide. Fortunately, this did not happen. I suspect it was probably mostly in unsuitable condition.

Secondly, Libya gave portable air defense missile systems to Syria. And many of them were made in China, and, according to some sources, militants in Syria have them. A considerable amount of weapons from Libya were transported to radicals in Syria. But again, the situation did not become dramatic here.

Thirdly, we could not even expect that Libya could become the second state according to the number of refugees in Europe after Turkey. And in the end it turned out that this has become the biggest headache, and not chemical weapons, and not even the fact that a certain number of portable air defense systems got to the territory of Syria. Europe would like to reduce the flow of refugees.

Yevseyev doubts that an attempt to buy it off will work in Libya, as has happened in Turkey, where money is allocated to a settlement of the migration crisis, because there is no one to control the situation in Libya. The fragmentation of Libya virtually eliminates the possibility of major military assistance, and Syria's experience in the fight against Islamic State can’t be implemented there.