The Death of Ambassador Chris Stevens: United States Failed Policy in the Arab Spring

During the height of the Arab Spring last year, I repeatedly called our government and NATO for non-intervention or even outright support for embattled secular dictators Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi against the Islamic fundamentalists posing as freedom fighters. I repeatedly invoked the lessons from the popular Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 post-Pahlavi, the Islamization of Iraq post-Saddam Hussein, our aid to the radical “freedom fighters” including Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, and the rise of Hamas in Palestine through democratic election. I cited these case analysis as examples that we are safer and better off with secular dictators than fundamentalists and jihadists whether they are democratically-elected or not. Today, eleven years after the tragedy of September 11th, our ambassador to Libya was killed by the very element our government supported with our money during the Libyan Civil War last year.

This post is not an indictment on Barack Obama or an opinion about Democrats versus Republicans. In fact, many of the GOPers such as last election’s GOP presidential nominee John McCain advocated boots on the ground and opined that President Obama was not doing enough to help the Libyan rebels last year.

My feeling at the time remains unchanged: it takes an animal to control a country full of animals. I considered Gaddafi useful in preventing another 9/11. Despite the fact that he was our enemy in the ’80s and committed heinous terrorist acts in the past (allegedly involved in Lockerbie bombing and the death of Yvonne Fletcher, support for the Irish Republican Army) replacing him with Islamic fundamentalists does not make our country any safer nor does it help prevent another 9/11. The eccentric Gaddafi had his faults but his heir apparent, Saif al-Islam (British educated, Jewish ex-girlfriend), was making Libya a more pro-western, pro-Israel dictatorship. Gaddafi was a secular, socially-progressive (by Arab standard) leader whose own daughter is a lawyer and only had one wife. He allowed women to go to school and work unlike our Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Qatar allies. He also cooperated with us in the war against al-Qaeda. Now both the more secular-leaning Gaddafi loyalists and his tribes in his strongholds in Sirte, Tripoli, and Bani Walid that we bombed back to the Stone Age (creating hateful generation) and the Islamic fundamentalists we helped (al-Qaeda sympathizers who will never like us) have vendetta against the west.

Last year, our media glorified the Islamist rebels while demonizing the secular, socially-progressive (by Arab standards), and western-educated Gaddafi family when both sides were committing war crimes. There were reports of mass rape by Gaddafi loyalists and stories about one of his sons Saadi of being a sex-addicted gay man yet little to no coverage of Misrata rebels ethnic cleansing of black Libyans, imposing Sharia law, and impeding women’s rights. The ICC kangaroo court even charged Gaddafi and his son and heir apparent Saif al-Islam with crime against humanity while turning a blind eye on the atrocious war crime committed by the Misrata rebels that brutally lynched Muammar Gaddafi in front of the whole world and the Zintan rebels who are still refusing to hand Saif al-Islam to the ICC in Hague but instead want to execute him after a show trial. Late Night show hosts derided Gaddafi when he infamously said he would hunt down the rebels “shibber shibber, biet biet, dar dar, zenga zenga, ferd ferd” and the mainstream media accused the progressive-minded Saif of being anti-democracy when he said the rebels were terrorists during his infamous press conference. Some of us even applauded Gaddafi’s violent death by making comments such as “live by the sword, die by the sword”.

I still fail to understand what our government was attempting to achieve. If Mubarak and Gaddafi were being uncooperative and needed to be replaced, they should had been replaced by secular westernized leaders or secular military strongmen instead of Islamic fundamentalists. With the way the sizeable Gaddafi loyalists were being bombed by NATO, it certainly did not seem like a “humanitarian intervention”. If it were a humanitarian intervention, why did the international community ignored similar instances in Saudi’s puppet Bahrain and Iran’s puppet Syria last year?

As more information started to emerge in the past months, it became obvious that the relentless pursue of “regime change” in Libya due to humanitarian and democracy reasons was likely a scam. Two of the main proponents of the Libya no-fly zone, Nicolas Sarkozy and Tony Blair, had controversial ties and business dealings with the Gaddafi family. The potential scandal could very well explain the reason of singling out Gaddafi out of all the countries in the Arab spring, the relentless attempt at his life and purge of his family (one failed attempt resulted in the death of one of his sons and several of his grandchildren), and the bombing of his convoy in his last stand in Sirte resulting in his gruesome murder.

The irony is Ambassador Stevens was a believer of the rebels’ cause. He apparently sneaked into Libya on a cargo ship during the civil war last year to help the “rebels”. His naivety cost him his life.