Monday, April 4, 2011

Intelligence Expert projects lengthy engagement in Libya, discusses the Al Qaeda, Rebels quandary

Bruce Riedel, a Senior Fellow for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and a former CIA officer and former adviser to President Obama on Afghanistan, told the Washington Examiner on Monday that the U.S involvement in Libya will likely be a protracted one. "Mission creep" is almost a certainty, he said.

"We have to recognize, whether we like it or not, we own this problem now," said Riedel. "The notion that you can intervene and walk away from it is very disingenuous. Half measures are likely to produce failed outcomes. As much as the administration wants to reassure this is no major operation, it is. Once you're in it's very difficult to get out."

Riedel also stated that the U.S. should stipulate to rebel leaders that they must weed out al Qaeda militants from their ranks, if they want to be supplied with weapons and aid from allies.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on Monday, Riedel opined that if two percent of the Libyan rebel forces are affiliated with Al Qaeda, "we can live with it, if it's more than that, we've got a big problem."

Experts have assessed the number of Al Qaeda militants in the rebel ranks to be significantly higher than two percent - which means, we're in deep doo-doo!

And, while the White House insists that Europe's involvement in the Libyan conflict will enable the U.S. to engage in a more limited role, Bruce Riedel made the following observation:
"The more the Europeans get drawn into a protracted conflict in Libya, the more likely they're going to start pulling troops out of Afghanistan, which makes the President's decision" to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan "in July even harder, because there are going to be fewer NATO boots on the ground in Afghanistan even if there starts to be NATO boots on the ground in Libya. It's a trade off... What we're going to see is... Europeans saying, 'we've now got this new mission, it's closer to home, it's more vital to us, and anyway, we wanted to get out of Afghanistan..., here's our excuse to start drawing down, which makes this an even more American operation in Afghanistan."
Which means the Obama administration's ongoing search for an exit strategy in Afghanistan - including on-and-off talks with so-called moderate elements of the Taliban - will only increase as Obama seeks to secure his core base for the 2012 Presidential election, while simultaneously, and paradoxically, using the Libyan conflict to bolster his claim to fame and his credentials as a genuine Commander-in- Chief.

Meanwhile, Pajamas Media informs us that "while American intelligence experts search for “flickers” of jihadist involvement in the Libyan rebellion, a French reporter on a brief visit to eastern Libya had no problem finding numerous jihadists on the front."

Good luck, Mr. President!

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