The UN, Libya and the Beheadings in Sirte

The hysteria over the possible deployment of Western troops to West Asia and North Africa is again on the rise. With every passing day there is some new headline about rape, mutilations, beheadings and mass killings by ISIS. For the last nine months the news about these killings came out of Syria and Iraq, but in the week of February 15, there was the video clip of the beheading of 21 Egyptian workers in Libya. This writer joins with all those who condemn this vicious and barbaric act. The Pope has called the beheadings, “barbaric assassinations.” Naturally, the world vented and there was righteous outrage all around. What was missing, however, was a sober analysis of what created the conditions for this so-called “Islamic State” to grow in the Levant and now to appear in Libya.

In light of the beheadings the governments of France and Egypt called for urgent discussions in the UN Security Council in order for the UN to lift the arms embargo against Libya. From Italy, Western news sources are calling for an attack on ISIS in Libya before it reaches Europe. At the same moment while the Egyptians were soliciting political support from Europe for its intervention in Libya, the government of Qatar, which has been waging a proxy war with Saudi Arabia and Egypt in Libya, withdrew its ambassador from Egypt. Using the news organization Al Jazeera to bring out its point of view, Qatar’s foreign ministry said Doha had expressed reservations over the raids, stressing the need for “consultations before any unilateral military action against another member state.” The Qatari government was protesting the bombing of innocent civilians in Libya.

Some diplomats at the United Nations claim that the government of Egypt led by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is seeking the green light from the United Nations for more open military intervention in Libya. The Egyptian military leadership has been involved on one side of the widening wars in North Africa and West Asia for some time, having participated in bombing of some factions in Libya last year. The beheadings of 21 Egyptian workers in the town of Sirte in Libya has been the new reason used by General Sisi to launch a new wave of air strikes in Libya. Yet, although the beheadings had taken place in Sirte, the aerial bombings took place in Dernia, the seat of that faction of Libyan society that had been manipulated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) since the wars in Afghanistan in the eighties.

Although this inconsistency in the actions of the government of Egypt has been glossed over by the Western mainstream media, these same vehicles of militarism have expressed shock at the news of the beheadings of Coptic Christians in Libya, and the rise of the so called Islamic State in Libya. Where was this media when there was the ethnic cleansing of Tawergha? How did this same media act as cheerleaders for the NATO intervention in 2011? Our argument in this commentary is that the same Western states and their strategic think tanks that drove the wars in Iraq and the intervention in Libya cannot give leadership in the United Nations over the questions of peace and reconciliation. Angola, China, Malaysia and Venezuela will stand condemned in the court of progressive public opinion if these countries in the UN Security Council allow the world to be railroaded into another UN supported deployment of troops to support western military and economic interests in Libya. This writer is calling for an international commission that can document the role of NATO, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar with a view to setting the conditions for an international force to intervene in Libya to disarm the militias. Such an international force would exclude members of NATO and the current combatants in Libya: Qatar, Sudan, Saudi Arabia,Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. We will examine the context of the beheadings in Sirte and focus on the struggles over the Central Bank in Libya and how the NATO governments are maneuvering for their “internationally recognized” government to get their hands on the billions of dollars in reserves in Libya.

Beheadings in Sirte

The so called ISIS in Libya have mastered the art of propaganda and have learnt how to use the media to strike fear in the hearts and minds of the citizens of Western Europe and North America, while committing real crimes against humanity in the Levant. Military information operation is now such a central part of modern warfare, that those who have trained this Jihadist front know how to produce slick media products for maximum shock value. Although the small base of Libyans who say that they adhere to ISIS in Libya is in the East in Dernia, those who carried out the beheadings of the 21 Egyptian workers choose the city of Sirte. This was the birthplace of Gaddafi. It was the seat of the idea of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and it is near to the center of the institutions that hold real power in Libya: Tripoli. At the seat of power are two of the most important organizations for those who want to wield power, the Central Bank and the National Oil Company.

From all reports, the video that was produced on the beheadings had been skillfully produced with one of the beheaders pointing to Europe. This heinous media event had its desired effect. European newspapers have now carried stores about how ISIS considers Libya as the gateway to Europe. One British newspaper noted, “In Isis we are observing a level of atrocity towards mankind that, post-Nazism, we hoped we would never again witness.”[i]

Every killing, beheading and rape has become a media event without real alternatives to the Western drumbeat for perpetual war. Last year when the so-called ISIS made their appearance, it appeared that for westerners, ISIS was barbaric only when they killed westerners or those considered to be western allies in the region. But those suffering under their military advance know firsthand about these ISIS forces that had been trained by those who support radical extremists and use religion as a cover. In October 2014, Human Rights Watch reported that “Islamic State militants drove 600 Shia, Christian, and Yazidi male prisoners into the middle of the desert, lined them up along the edge of a ravine, and executed them at point blank range.”[ii]

Britain and the USA who clearly understand and know the sources of finance, weapons and training for ISIS have joined in the condemnation of the atrocities while retreating from exposing the real supporters of ISIS. The governments of Britain, the United States, France, Italy, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have the capabilities to track the financial backers of ISIS.

ISIS is following a grand tradition of beheadings and cutting off of hands that had been perfected by repressive governments for centuries. The difference here is that the forces of ISIS were nurtured out of the reckless actions of Western imperialism in North Africa and West Asia over the past twenty years. Progressive intellectuals and anti-imperial forces have for long been pointing to the fact that the war against the regime of Assad in Syria by the Saudi and Israelis provided the conditions for the rise of ISIS. Patrick Cockburn has spelt the regional and factional forces that coalesced into the formation that is now called ISIS in the book, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution. [iii]This knowledge is kept away from Western citizens as the military and political establishments skillfully use the atrocities of ISIS to promote their political agendas.

The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, condemned the murders in Libya and said the UK remains fully supportive of the UN’s efforts to build a national unity government for Libya.

“Such barbaric acts strengthen our determination to work with our partners to counter the expanding terrorist threat to Libya and the region. Acts of terrorism should not be allowed to undermine Libya’s political transition. We remain fully supportive of the UN’s efforts to build a national unity government for Libya and to bring a political solution to the ongoing security crisis. Those who support terrorists can have no part in this process.”

The White House called the killings “despicable and cowardly.”

“This wanton killing of innocents is just the most recent of the many vicious acts perpetrated by Isil-affiliated terrorists against the people of the region, including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, which only further galvanises the international community to unite against Isil,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

“This heinous act once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya, the continuation of which only benefits terrorist groups, including Isil.”

From the White House and from Britain, the world is alerted to the fact that the West is working on “political resolution” to the conflict in Libya.

But who is the so-called legitimate government in Libya?

When the United Nations Security Council passed the resolution that gave NATO the green light to intervene in Libya in 2011, it gained the support of a small group of opposition forces that called themselves the National Transitional Council. These Libyans created a political body with 33 representatives from most Libyan regions. The one thing they could agree on was opposition to Gaddafi, but they could not agree on how to develop a political program to reconstruct Libya. After the fall of Gaddafi and the withdrawal of the NATO jets and Special Forces from Qatar, the NTC split into different factions. Those who had access to the weapons gained the upper hand. The United States started out as a competitor with France and Britain, seeking to install a transition process. The late Ambassador Christopher Stevens was one of the foremost articulators of the ‘transition’ plan with the agencies and contractors such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Rand Corporation, the National Democratic Institute and the State Department travelling to Libya with consultancies to establish “good governance.” We learnt from the army newssheet Stars and Stripes that under this transition plan, the US Africa Command was supposed to gain a contract for US $600 million to training 8,000 Libyan soldiers.

As with all well laid plans, reality intervened. The civilian leaders of the NTC proved incapable of building basic political organizations and those with the guns who had been organized into militias refused to disarm. At first, the plan was for the Central Bank to pay off the more than 200,000 youths in these militias with monthly stipends, but as the elements with guns grasped the political and organizational weakness of those in the transitional parliament, they decided to flex their muscles. When these armed elements started kidnapping and killing the officials of the NTC, many of which ran away to Cairo, Malta, Dubai or to Geneva, depending on their financial strength. The infighting between the militias and the bureaucrats consumed many of the NGO workers who had joined in the rebellion such as Salwa Bugaighis. Small Gulf entities such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar took sides in the internecine battles providing weapons and logistics as the armed elements sidelined the politicians who had been anointed by the West to succeed in Libya.[iv] Frederic Wehrey, writing for Foreign Affairs magazine last year, noted that both sides of the Libyan political divide are supported by external forces:

“Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have backed Dignity, while Qatar, Sudan, and Turkey are purported to be backing Dawn. Contrary to some commentary, both sides have used force against civilians and elected institutions, and both show little sign of
compromise. Despite western diplomatic and political support, and with the military support of Egypt and the UAE, the rump of the NTC could not organize to defend themselves and gradually left Tripoli, settling to set up its Parliament in the far East in the area around Tobruk-Bayda. The seat of the western recognized government is supposed to be Bayda.”

What the knowledgeable reader will grasp here is that the fighting in Libya is being supported by the staunchest allies of the United States, Britain, France and Italy. These countries have pushed the United Nations to pass a resolution to buy time for the factions of the Libyan political class that has been pushed out of Tripoli. This section of the Libyan political class is organized around the Council of Representatives (COR). The State Department in their document on transition stated that, “The United States government, the European Union, and several Middle Eastern governments have stated their view that the COR and the interim government led by Al Thinni are the legitimate governing bodies in the country.”

With their diplomatic muscle in the Security Council of the United Nations, NATO members, especially the P3 (Britain, France and the United States) have opposed calls from the African Union and from the BRICS states for a full evaluation of the NATO intervention in 2011. Instead, the P3 pushed for the naming of a Special Representative to Libya. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Bernardino León, was handed the task of giving meaning to the transition plans that had been hatched by Western think tanks. Leon’s mandate was “to help establish a ceasefire, facilitate political dialogue and support the work of the House of Representatives and Libyan Government in establishing an inclusive political framework as part of the democratic transition.”

Reaping the harvest of western intelligence operations in Libya

Throughout the years of imperial opposition to Muamar Gaddafi, the Western intelligence agencies cultivated the Islamists in Libya because political opposition to Gaddafi had taken religious forms. The West invested heavily in the Eastern part of Libya and cities such as Benghazi and Dernia built networks of fighters who were interspersed with Western military forces in Afghanistan and other sites of destabilization. More than eight years ago, a West Point Study drew attention to the fact that the corridor which goes from Benghazi to Tobruk, passing through the city of Darnah (also called Dernia) represented one of the greatest concentrations of jihadi terrorists to beglobal nato found anywhere in the world.

It was from the East where the rebellion was stoked and after the fall of Gaddafi, it was from this same region where the CIA recruited Jihadists to fight against the Assad regime in Syria. However, these Jihadists could not be controlled and when they fell out, the world found out about the den of Jihadists in the East when the US Ambassador to Libya was consumed in the struggles between competing militias at a CIA facility in Benghazi in 2012. There is a long list of individuals that in the past worked with Western intelligence operations and are now labelled as terrorists. Ahmed Abu Khattala and Abu Anas al-Libi are two such individuals who have been involved in the shadowy networks of jihadists and western intelligence organizations. When Ahmed Abu Khattala was picked up in Libya by Western military forces, the New York Times ran the story: “Brazen Figure May Hold Key to Mysteries: Ahmed Abu Khattala Capture May Shed Light on Benghazi Attack.”[v]

In 2013, Abu Anas al-Libi was captured on the streets of Tripoli by US Delta Force and Al-Libi was quickly flown out of Libya. He was then extradited to New York to stand trial for helping to mastermind the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. Abdul-Hamed al-Ruquai is another name for Abu Anas al-Libi. His career as an operative with long connections to British and US intelligence services was about to be exposed in the trial which was supposed to start in January 2015. Then before his trial on terrorism charges was set to begin in Manhattan federal court, Anas al-Libi died in custody. This was a most convenient death because in his untimely death, the world will never know why the British government had released Al Libi when Britain knew full well the ties between the Al Queda forces and the extremists from Libya who wanted to fight Gaddafi.[vi]

Enter General Khalifa Hifter and “disputed legitimacy”

Abu Anas al-Libi and Ahmed Abu Khattala were only two of the hundreds of Libyans who had gained their expertise from the networks that were spawned by Western intelligence forces in the anti Gaddafi fight. These groups could never agree and ended up in rival militias. Those militias that were from the western parts of Libya coalesced around the groups called Dawn. Dawn forces were resisting the domination of the bureaucratic and professional elements who called themselves the legitimate government. This faction won the most recent ’elections’ in Libya. This is the faction that claims international legitimacy, the 200 member Council of Representatives (COR).

With the support of Qatar, Sudan, and Turkey, the “illegetimate forces” controlled one of the most strategic assets in post Gaddafi Libya, the Central Bank. It is reported that there is over US $100 billion under the Governor of the Central Bank. These militias, with the backbone forces hailing from Misrata had pushed through a law in 2013 excluding former officials of the Gaddafi government from participating in the government.[vii] This law was one of the many steps to marginalize those educated elements who had worked closely with Saif Al Islam as “reformers” but had jumped ship to place themselves at the head of the rebellion in 2011.

One of those who had placed himself at the head of the rebellion was General Hifter who had been part of the armed forces of Libya under Gaddafi. In the 1980s he joined the opposition and retreated to Virginia in the USA. After the incessant NATO bombings in 2011, he returned to Libya and placed himself as the most senior officer in the rebellion, especially after the assassination of General Younis. There were credible media reports that Hifter returned with the blessings of a faction of the US policy making community based in Langley, Virginia. Like the western supported (COR), Hifter could not build a real political and military base and was driven out of Benghazi militarily. In February 2014, Hifter called a coup d’etat but no one paid attention. It was after this failure that Hifter turned to Egypt , Algeria and the United Arab Emirates for military support. Then, these states bombed positions of rival militias in Benghazi. Hifter is supposed to be aligned to the internationally recognized government in Bayda, but as one can see from the withdrawal of the Qatar ambassador from Egypt, there are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council that do not recognize this government in Beyda. In many of the recommendations coming out of the think tanks and policy centers of the West there have been calls for reconciliation between the Hifter forces and the Misrata forces. The specter of continued proxy warfare between Qatar, Turkey and Sudan on one side and Egypt and Saudi Arabia on the other was very disquieting for the western imperial forces that want to dominate the future of Libya and North Africa. Hence, On August 27, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2174, authorizing the placement of financial and travel sanctions on individuals and entities in Libya and internationally who are found to be “engaging in or providing support for other acts that threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya, or obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition.”

There is real money in Tripoli

Having failed militarily and politically to hold power in Tripoli, the Western backed forces of the COR that had been driven to the border at Tobruk then sought the intercession of the United Nations. By the summer of 2014, Tripoli was no longer safe for Western embassies and their strategic planners. They fled to strategize from next door in Tunisia. The United Nations deployed Bernardino León to negotiate a settlement between the rival forces. Since these negotiations have been underway, there emerged an even deadlier struggle regarding the control of the Central Bank.

From the New York Times we learnt that the Treasury Secretary of the United States, Jack Lew, threw his support behind Sadik Omar el-Kaber, Chairman of the Central Bank of Libya. There is one branch of the Central Bank in Benghazi that was seized recently by the “internationally recognized government” forces loyal to Beyda, but the gold and reserves are held in Tripoli.

According to the New York Times,

“The central bank, which holds more than $100 billion in foreign cash reserves and investments, has so far remained aloof from the chaos that has steadily engulfed Libya since the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. The bank’s chairman, Sadik Omar el-Kaber, a respected veteran of several international banks who was appointed by the Western-backed transitional government after Colonel Qaddafi fell, had sought to remain neutral.

‘The central bank is the last line of defense of state institutions and it is very important that it stays far away from political struggles,” the bank said in a statement at the beginning of the month.’”[viii]

Where are the analysts who can shed light on why the US Treasury supports the faction in Tripoli that controls the Central Bank of Libya, while the Foreign Policy establishment and intelligence services support the Hifter faction that has been pushed to the margins of Libyan society in the Bayda –Tobruk region? In the past six months, the United Nations has been seeking to give weight to this faction camped out in the East while awaiting Egyptian military support. Members of the Security Council who have been destabilized by the activities of the NATO forces and their allies cannot be intellectually and politically lazy when it comes to this new quest by France and Egypt to seek the mandate of the UN to enter into Libya to give legitimacy to the Hifter faction. The “internationally recognized faction” of Libyan society has now called on the Security Council of the United Nations to lift the arms embargo against Libya, so that Libyans can defend themselves against ISIS. This claim must be scrutinized by the real international community, the billions of world citizens who are suffering from the repression, exploitation, militarism and plunder of the imperial project of Western capitalism.

Western destabilization, ISIS and the counter-revolutionary moment

The uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia signaled a profound turn of the peoples against the plunder and exploitation of their societies. The Western political establishment and military that supported governments such as Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak were taken aback by the swiftness of the removal of these loyal servants of neo-liberal capitalism. I argued in the book Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya that the intervention in Libya had been precipitated by the need to have a base to launch a war against the workers of Egypt when the revolution matures and the people rise up against the militarists of the region. The same Western media that have been pushing the drumbeats of war are in the main silent when Egypt imprisons and kills those who want fundamental change in Egypt. In the same week that Egypt was bombing Libya, the courts under the military leader Al Sisi sentenced the prominent Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah to five years in prison. Eighteen others were sentenced to three years in prison and also fined for opposing the military dictatorship in Egypt.

The politics of retrogression in Libya and Egypt has descended to such a state and the peoples do need peace. Yet, the nature of the political and economic crisis in Egypt is in many ways even more dire to the point where Egyptian workers will still go to Libya to eke out a livelihood. Many from the progressive movements have retreated from a clear position of support for the Egyptian workers and their allies who want peace. Everyone knows that the people of Libya need peace, but at this moment, the peoples of Egypt and North Africa who are feeling the heel of the repression of the Egyptian junta, also need peace. The Security Council of the United Nations must not be railroaded to place the Western backed forces in charge of Libya. There should be clear opposition to the proxy wars in Libya and for the UN to expose and expel Egypt, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia from their mischief making in Libya.

Western media have been most silent on the fact that it was the reckless NATO intervention of March 2011 that set in motion the warfare and killings that plague Libya today. Investigative journalists such as Patrick Cockburn have exposed the billionaires in the Gulf who bankroll the salaries of up to 100,000 fighters.[ix] Officials of the State Department are fully aware that Gulf states have an interest in facilitating or turning a blind eye to terrorist financing, Those members of the current Security Council of the United Nations this year, such as Malaysia, Angola and Venezuela cannot allow themselves to be railroaded by the members of NATO who authored the plans that gave birth to the present quagmire. When the New York Times queried, What Libya’s Unraveling Means, it was one other attempt by
the authors of the destruction to dominate the discussion on the possible alternatives to the quagmire that is now haunting the citizens of Libya and North Africa. The next day, the British newspaper the Guardian, carried the same sanctimonious tone with the headlines, “Libya’s descent into violence.” From the Guardian, we are then presented with those authorities such as Frederic Wehrey of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Mohamed Eljarh of the Atlantic Council, Peter Cole , and writers such as Alison Pargeter for the UK military think tank the Royal United Services Institute as the reliable base for information. [x]These sources differ from the writings of Patrick Cockburn, Maximilian Forte, Vijay Prashad and other progressives who have been writing and speaking on the thousands killed in Libya since the intervention. Alan J Kuperman has recently written a piece for Foreign Affairs on the debacle in Libya. In this article, Kuperman draws from the impressive documentation from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on the massive killings in Libya, unleashed since the intervention. He argued that, “This grim math leads to a depressing but unavoidable conclusion. Before NATO’s intervention, Libya’s civil war was on the verge of ending, at the cost of barely 1,000 lives. Since then, however, Libya has suffered at least 10,000 additional deaths from conflict. In other words, NATO’s intervention appears to have increased the violent death toll more than tenfold.”

Where Kuperman’s analysis is weak is that he refuses to interrogate the duplicitous role of the CIA and Western intelligence in the continued disaster in that region.

The Nonaligned world and the Spirit of Bandung

This year is sixty years since the peoples of the global South met in Bandung to oppose colonialism and imperialism. In those sixty years the frontiers of colonialism have been rolled back but the West now use financial warfare to oppress the peoples of the world to keep the bankers in power. In a world where the bankers are promoting austerity everywhere, the push by Global NATO is to control all sources of maneuver by oppressing people. Religious extremism has now been found to be a useful tool to promote barbarism and counter-revolution. In a context of neo liberal austerity and alienation, the payment of a monthly stipend by Gulf billionaires to unemployed youths is one more expedient to hinder the full mobilization and politicization of these youths of the full impact of capitalism on humans everywhere.

Pope Francis has weighed in on the beheadings and called the 21 Egyptian Copts who were murdered by supporters of the Islamic State “martyrs.” The Pope stated that the 21 died purely because they were Christians. ISIS is following a grand tradition of beheadings and cutting off of hands that had been perfected by repressive governments for centuries. Progressive intellectuals and anti imperial forces have for long been pointing to the fact that the war against the regime of Assad in Syria by the Saudi and Israelis provided the conditions for the rise of ISIS. Other independent authorities reach even further back as in the case of the former UN Secretary General. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany earlier this month, Kofi Annan blamed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq for the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), warning that the Middle East must evolve and adapt for lasting peace.

“The folly of that fateful decision was compounded by post-invasion decisions. The wholesale disbandment of the security forces, among other measures poured hundreds of thousands of trained and disgruntled soldiers and policemen onto the streets. The ensuing chaos has proved an ideal breeding ground for the Sunni radical groups that have now coalesced around the Islamic State label.”

This same statement about the outcomes of the war in Iraq can be stated quite firmly in relation to the outcomes of the NATO intervention in Libya. In short, it is not possible to fully discuss how to rid Libya and North Africa of the so-called ISIS without a full blown examination of the role and activities of the Central Intelligence Agency in Eastern Libya. Many of the misguided youths who are now called ISIS were recruited by the CIA in the aftermath of the overthrow of Gaddafi to go to fight in Syria. These same Libyans are returning and have understood the importance of propaganda. Hence, the slick video messages with profound bloodletting are staged for maximum shock. These recruits learnt the full meaning of Shock and Awe.

One can agree with the Pope that the beheadings represented a “barbaric assassination,” but the Pope needs to use the moral authority of his position to expose and condemn the known elements that bankroll ISIS. Now, the military regime in Egypt is working with the faction of Libyans who are supposed to be the legitimate government to call on the United Nations to lift the arms embargo against Libya and to authorize the open military intervention of Egypt into Libya. The Egyptian regime has now sought to neutralize BRICS by seducing the leader of Russia and presenting himself as being anti-imperialist. Israel and Saudi Arabia are at the same time seeking to seduce China so that the forces of the global South will be divided about what is going on in Libya and Egypt. In the UN Security Council both the representatives of China and Russia are proving that when it comes to questions of destruction in Africa they will take a backseat to the machinations of the P3.

The progressive forces will have to be cautious about the hype over the so-called Islamic state. The political leadership of Saudi Arabia cannot support violent extremists all over the world and then seek to distance itself from elements such as ISIS that emerged out of its financing of Jihadidts that are fighting in Iraq and Syria. When the academics and scribes for the military and foreign policy establishment join in this new call for military intervention in Libya to fight ISIS, the progressive forces must organize in all ways possible to expose and deter the UN from giving legitimacy to the repressive regime of Egypt to whip up militarism in order to maintain itself in power.

Horace Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse University. He is the author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya, Monthly Review Press, 2013. 


[1] Grace Dent, “If teenage girls want to join Isis in the face of all its atrocities, then they should leave and never return,” The Independent, February 23, 2015.

[2] Human Rights Watch, “Iraq: ISIS Executed Hundreds of Prison Inmates,” October 30, 2014.

[3] Patrick Cockburn, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution, Verso Books, 2014

[4] See Horace Campbell, “The US, NATO, and the Destruction of Libya,” Telesur, July 31, 2014.

[5] David D. Kirkpatrick, “Brazen Figure May Hold Key to Mysteries: Ahmed Abu Khattala Capture May Shed Light on Benghazi Attack,” New York Times, June 17, 2014.

[6] See Horace Campbell, “Lessons from the Kidnapping of Abu Anas al-Libi in Tripoli Counter-Terrorism and Imperial Hypocrisy’” Counterpunch, November 8-10, 2013. .

[7] David D. Kirkpatrick, “New Law in Libya Bans Some From Office,” News York Times, May 5, 2013.

[8] David D. Kirkpatrick, “Libyan Parliament Fires Central Bank Chairman,” New York Times, September 14, 2014.

[9] Patrick Cockburn, “Private Donors from Gulf States Helping to Bankroll Salaries of Up to 100,000 Isis Fighters,” Counterpunch, February 23, 2015,

[10] “Libya’s descent into violence – the Guardian briefing,” Guardian, February 16, 2015,  See also Frederic Wehrey and Wolfram Lacher , “Libya’s Legitimacy Crisis : The Danger of Picking Sides in the Post-Qaddafi Chaos,” Foreign Affairs, October 6, 2014

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Horace Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse University. He is the author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya, Monthly Review Press, 2013.  Notes.