In the news section today, Jason Ditz points to inter-militia fighting and rampant torture in Libya, America’s latest liberated country. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as we’ve pointed to the ugly humanitarian abuses of the so-called freedom fighters NATO helped oust Gadhafi since the beginning. As an illustration of how widespread the torture is, Reuters reports today:
Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has halted its work in detention centers in a Libyan city because it said its medical staff were being asked to patch up detainees mid-way through torture sessions so they could go back for more abuse.
“Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for more interrogation,” MSF General Director Christopher Stokes said in a statement.
“This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions.”
And again, it’s not just the nasty people we’ve put in charge. It’s also that they’re not even truly in charge, as tribal and factional disputes about who wields power are ongoing, indicating a brewing civil war. Ted Galen Carpenter writes that “the flare-up of violence in Libya could also be a symptom of profound divisions” and that “Libya is less a cohesive nation-state than an amalgam of competing tribes, with a marked division along a north-south line.” Carpenter explains that the ruling NTC has refused U.S. and NATO prodding to be more “inclusive” but that they “have ignored that advice, and there were already signs of growing discontent in western portions of the country.” More importantly, he writes:
The United States has nothing at stake in Libya that warrants involvement in that country’s internal disputes, and Washington erred by participating in NATO’s original intervention. If the current tensions escalate into a full-blown conflict between Libya’s eastern and western tribes, the Obama administration should not repeat that error.