“U.S. establishes Libyan outposts …” Washpost


(One of Freedom's Frontiersmen – 2016)

"Two teams totaling fewer than 25 troops are operating from around the cities of Misurata and Benghazi to identify potential ­allies among local armed factions and gather intelligence on threats, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive mission overseas.

The insertion of a tiny group of U.S. personnel into a country rife with militant threats reflects the Obama administration’s worries about the Islamic State’s powerful Libyan branch and the widespread expectations of an expanded campaign against it. For months, the Pentagon has been developing plans for potential action against the group, which has at least several thousand fighters in the coastal city of Sirte and other areas. And the U.S. personnel, whose ongoing presence had not been previously reported, is a sign of the acceleration toward another military campaign in Libya.

The mission is also an illustration of President Obama’s reliance on elite units to advance counterterrorism goals in low-visibility operations."  Wahpost


Well, pilgrims, these are Green Berets, i.e., US Army Special Forces (not commando style SOF;  Delta, SEALS, USMC SOF, Rangers and other assorted cats and dogs).  How do I know that?  As has oft been writ on SST, the non-GB SOF types have no taste or skills for dealing with foreign people (especially irregulars) other than by fighting and killing them.

If it is the case that these descendants of JFKs "Freedom's Frontiersmen" as well as their French and UK colleagues are there to line up the various anti-IS groups against the true crazies, then I favor the idea.  They have done a great job in Northern Syria and Iraq with the Pesh Merga, SDF and YPG.

OTOH, I heard Missy Ryan, the author of this article, tell a PBS anchor today that the goals include teaching the Libyan "unity government" how to do better governance, do "reach out" to a wide variety of dissident political and tribal groups, advise on economic difficulties, etc.  Does this mean that the US has not understood that COIN is failed doctrine?  Are we really once again going to make a stupid effort to transform an alien society and make it be acceptable to the Borg and to Obama's revolutionary yearnings.  As I have screamed to the world the price to be paid for forcibly transforming another culture is much higher than we are willing to pay or should be willing to pay.  Will the program include guidance for transgender bathroom access?  pl 



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19 Responses to “U.S. establishes Libyan outposts …” Washpost

  1. Emad says:

    You see, COIN may have failed in Afghanistan, but it failed because it was Afghanistan. It’s going to do a good job in Libya, because well, Libya is no Afghanistan. We failed in Iraq as well? We may very well have, but then again, that was Iraq; this is Libya.
    This is what we’re going to hear from the more sophisticated interventionist types whether preferring COIN or another trend du jour. Basically, there’s no way to bring them down to reality, city on the hill and all.

  2. Cvillereader says:

    Apparently, Obama likes to forcibly transform cultures, including ours.

  3. Yes, everything about this article screams Green Berets. Yet they’re constantly referred to as special operations troops. Well according to set theory, that’s technically correct… but still very confusing to the public. As far as Missy Ryan’s comments to PBS goes, I bet she’s parroting the COIN pablum she picked up from the stuffed suits she encounters in the corridors of the Pentagon. I sure it still lays there thicker than manure in a feed lot.
    This reminds me of the words of my old team sergeant, “Well goddam sir. The first thing we do when we get off that goddam DZ is put a goddam round through that goddam radio.” Those teams in Benghazi and Misrata are too busy working with the local militias to worry about Libyan high politics. As long as the GB NCOs and captains are running the show on the ground and all the colonels and generals stay back at Stuttgart and DC, I feel good about this. I only wish we did this years ago.

  4. Doug Colwell says:

    That last sentence is a real gem.

  5. A. Pols says:

    Will the program include guidance for transgender bathroom access?
    I just love that last line. I know it’s tongue in cheek, but it nicely skewers the fatuities of our thick headed cultural imperialism.

  6. b says:

    The Fun thing with the Unity Government is that it
    a. does not exist (yet)
    b. there is no unity at all about it
    c. it is an outside creation.
    There is an internationally recognized(!) parliament in the east which has installed a government by itself and there is the former parliament and government of the Islamists in the west which did not what to give up its power.
    The U.S. and UN does not like either because they do not do what they are told.
    There is a not-agreed-upon “presidential council” formed under UN pressure of which 9 members only 7 agreed (after being heavily bribed) to install a “unity government” with some 30 ministers no one has agreed upon. That unity government can not be installed yet because the international recognized parliament in the east voted against it. The “west” has just sanctioned the parliament leaders in the east because they did not vote as they were told. Now that’s Democracy!
    The sole task of the “unity government”, should it ever be created, is to ask foreign troops to come into the country and to take over the Libyan national oil fund, the national wealth fund and central bank so that the $100 billion they together hold can be given away to finance the “western” military intervention. It is graft at the highest level. Point man for that is a British who is very near to Tony Blair.
    The UN and U.S. who want the “unity government” are now co-laborating with the Islamist in the west – many of them al-Qaeda types – against the Sirte people and the people in the east. The “threat” of the Islamic State in Libya is exaggerated. Those “thousands” are really tribesmen from Sirte and very few folks who earlier were in Syria.

  7. Dubhaltach says:

    “Will the program include guidance for transgender bathroom access?”
    Maybe the program should start with little baby steps. First little baby step could be teaching them that rape both of women and of men is wrong and that raping allies’ citizens is not only wrong but tends to attract unfavourable reactions.
    “the Obama administration’s worries about the Islamic State’s powerful Libyan branch and the widespread expectations of an expanded campaign against it”
    I greatly fear your suspicions are right and that the buffoons who orchestrated the state of affairs that put the Islamic State’s Libyan branch in a position of power are just going to continue being buffoons.
    Something like the Russians did in Chechnya might work?

  8. Ghost ship says:

    Not that I’m suggesting that the Borg is like the mafia.

  9. turcopolier says:

    Yes, in my experience success in the field for GBs and in field intelligence work is directly proportional to the level of danger and isolation so long as logistics brings you what you need. The danger and isolation are productive because the brass tends to stay away in the basic and true belief that you can’t get promoted if you are dead. pl

  10. Degringolade says:

    The logistics part is the real problem. I f$%#ing hated living off nature’s land.

  11. turcopolier says:

    I don’t recall “living off nature’s land” except in various kinds of training. pl

  12. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The days of direct & successful colonial interventions are over – Iraq is an excellent example of how that which could be accomplished in 1923 could not be accomplished in 2003.
    In my opinion, the best choice for US & EU is to leave Islamdom to its own devices; pretty soon there would be 3 billion Muslims – almost all of them hailing from outside of old Seljuk Boundary – and thus beyond the mental grasp of Western Diocletian states.
    It would be best for Euro-Americans and best for Muslims; in my opinion.
    By the way, on the Paseo de la Castellana, there is a joint Libyan-Spanish Bank – I wonder who is reaping the profits there.

  13. Bill Herschel says:

    Americans in Libya. What would happen if some Libyan Special Forces showed up in Wantagh, Long Island trying to line up local tribesmen to support Islamic government of Nassau County? What are we worried about? ISIS will control Libyan oil? Too late. It sure as hell isn’t about the lives of the average Libyan, about whom the U.S. Government cares as much as they do about the lives of the average [name a country in sub-Saharan Africa].
    It’s even more surreal than that. We didn’t care about ISIS controlling Syrian oil until the Russians embarrassed us.
    ISIS doesn’t have transgender bathrooms? Well, neither does Qatar or Saudi Arabia.
    None of it makes sense. A Greek teacher told me that we could tell when the American Empire was on its last legs when we saw increasing emphasis on the military. He told me that in 1962.

  14. Thomas says:

    “…the goals include teaching the Libyan “unity government” how to do better governance, do “reach out” to a wide variety of dissident political and tribal groups, advise on economic difficulties, etc.”
    An helpful hint to current day Borg leaders; it is annoyingly irritating for most humans to be told what to do by people who don’t have, and can’t get, their own act together. It is why you are seeing a growing consensus among many diverse groups to come together and put the proverbial foot up your fundament.

  15. bth says:

    Could the Italians or the Egyptians bring anything to the table as regards special forces or other forces for that matter in Libya?

  16. bth,
    The Italians are there. They are probably the “incursore” of the 9th Parachute Regiment. I worked with them in the 1980s. I love them dearly, but they are direct action commandos. During an exercise in Germany, I introduced a team of Incursore to the fine art of UW. One amusing scene was myself and a sergente maggiore of Incursore in rural mufti, including gummiboots, standing well past our ankles in a pool of soupy manure. We were deeply involved in an attempt to “drain the swamp” with our shovels. The sergente maggiore turned to me and, in a very somber tone, told me,”Capitano – thees es not work for Special Forces and Incursore.” I told him to be patient and all will work out in time. By the end of that exercise, we had a robust underground with support, transportation and intelligence networks that thoroughly humiliated the US mech infantry battalion and supporting Polizei aggressing against us. The Incursore came to appreciate our unorthodox (to them) ways. Much later we met again in Lebanon where they uncharacteristically worked closely with the locals.
    I’d like to think I had something to do with these Incursore mimicking some of our UW ways in Lebanon, but I know that’s probably just a bit of insufferable pomposity on my part.

  17. turcopolier says:

    But, can they make good Carbonara and Cannelloni? I went through the SF Officer Course in ’64 with an Italian captain named Rossi who was from the Sabotage Battalion of the Italian Army. He had been an Alpini officer. A splendid man. pl

  18. pl,
    Sergent Maggiore Roberto Tollini cut quite a figure. He looked like Robert De Niro in “The Deer Hunter” and wore a black silk cravat with his German field hand outfit. I had my team housed on four different farms. The Italians did prepare some fantastic meals with the German families – our Partizanen. Those Italians do have style. The farm where I normally stayed had 800 liters of pear wine in the cellar. It was the most enjoyable exercise I was ever on.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Italians are going to bring to the table the memory of evil deeds of their ancestors in Libya under Mussolini.
    “Remember Omar Mukhtar”.
    We will not see a unified Libya in our life times – in my opinion.

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