Libya’s Carpe Diem?

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, US Army (Ret) was the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs from 2008-2009. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Affairs from 2006-2008. These positions followed a 30-year career in the military with service as Deputy Director for Strategy and Plans at US Central Command and Deputy Director of Operations for Coalition Forces in Iraq.

For most Americans, Libya has fallen off a crowded screen dominated by COVID, the tragic death of George Floyd, China, Russian election interference and a host of domestic issues. The odd coalitions among the adversaries, too, make it confusing. On one side is the UN-endorsed Government of National Accord (GNA), backed by the UN and most international organizations, Turkey and Qatar; on the other side is the opposition Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, a former colonel in the Libyan army and a US citizen. The LNA is supported by Russia, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France and Jordan. The US position was made clear in 2017 when President Trump said, “I do not see a [U.S.] role in Libya. I think the United States has right now enough roles”, a comment which has come to characterize the administration’s view regarding foreign interventions in general.

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