It seems a bit rich for Obama with his utter shambles in Syria to be criticising David Cameron for the shambles in Libya. Not that Obama (and Hillary Clinton) didn’t mess up in Libya as well but the UK and France were taking the lead there. And while it may have been the fall of Libya which unleashed the weapons and fanatics who morphed into ISIS, they would not have expanded as they did without Obama and Kerry dropping the ball in Iraq and Syria.
The Russian strategy seems to be actually forcing ISIS back, but plan B for ISIS seems to be to setup headquarters in Libya if they are eventually squeezed out of Iraq and Syria. The UK and France have to take their share of the blame for their sanctimonious but ill-thought out “regime change” in Libya, but the real frustration for Obama is that he has compounded the failed end-game in Libya and multiplied it in Syria.
David Cameron became “distracted” after the 2011 intervention in Libya, US President Barack Obama has said. Speaking to the Atlantic magazine, he said the operation went as well as he had hoped, but Libya was now “a mess”. The article also said he had warned the PM the UK would have to pay its “fair share” and spend 2% of GDP on defence. …..
…. BBC North America editor Jon Sopel said the unsolicited statement put out by the White House suggested Downing Street had reacted angrily to the article. “It’s like we’ve seen a curtain drawn back on the unspun thoughts of President Obama, complete with frustration as well, and what we’ve seen tonight is the White House trying to close the curtain as quickly as it can,” he added. …….
……. The toppling of the Gaddafi regime in Libya – following UN-backed air strikes designed to protect civilians – led to a power vacuum and instability, with no authority in full control. The intervention was led by the UK and France – and in his interview, Mr Obama reflects on “what went wrong”, saying: “There’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up.” Mr Cameron, he said, became “distracted by a range of other things”.
He also criticised former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying he had tried to claim the spotlight. The former French president, he said, “wanted to trumpet the flights he was taking in the air campaign, despite the fact that we had wiped out all the air defences and essentially set up the entire infrastructure” for the intervention. President Obama said the intervention “averted large-scale civilian casualties (and) prevented what almost surely would have been a prolonged and bloody civil conflict”. But he added: “And despite all that, Libya is a mess.”
Trying to pass on some of the blame onto Cameron and Sarkozy is not unjustified but it does not put Obama’s utter fiasco in Iraq and Syria into any better light. It really does not help the pot when it calls the kettles black.