The U.K. Daily Mail is reporting today that an Islamist group is now occupying the former U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya. This was a non-violent takeover. They basically walked in. Embassy staff had departed in July because of the deteriorating security situation in Libya.
The video embedded here shows the Islamic group, which goes by the name Fajr Libya, or Dawn of Libya, swimming in the pool and showing reporters around. The Mail cites one of the group’s commanders as saying they are occupying the compound to protect it from looters. The video however, suggests a group of men reveling in their newfound prize. According to the report, they have been there about a week.
Still, the commander may really want to keep the Embassy in presentable shape. While the country is racked by violent confrontations between the various militias that took down Qaddafi, this group has taken up positions throughout Tripoli and are telling foreign diplomats that it is safe to return. In fact it is part of a power play between the recently elected parliament and the former, Islamist parliament that took over following Qaddafi’s ouster.
The group is not associated with Ansar-al-Sharia, which was responsible for the Benghazi attacks in 2012, nor is it associated with the new parliament – called the House of Representatives – elected in June. It is allied with the deposed parliament, the General National Congress, which is now trying to reassert itself after Dawn of Libya secured Tripoli.
Its nominal Prime Minister, one Omar al-Hasi, was quoted as saying, “We reject extremism and terrorism. I am not with a specific group, party, operation or city but stand for a government for all Libyans.” However, the GNC is strongly Islamist, while the popularly elected parliament is not.
That may be irrelevant. Members of the House of Representatives have relocated to Tobruk, far away from the fighting after losing control in Tripoli to the Islamists. Meanwhile, Abdullah al-Thinni, the elected government’s caretaker prime minister and his cabinet, announced that it has resigned to allow the House of Representatives to form a new government. Being effectively a government in hiding however, it remains to be seen if it will be able to reassert its authority in any meaningful way.
However this story ends, the sight of those Islamists gleefully diving into the U.S. Embassy pool and shouting “Allah-o-Akbar!” are not good optics for President Obama, or for that matter, presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It serves to remind us all of the disgrace this administration has brought to the United States, how we have become the laughing stock of the world, and how Obama’s trainwreck foreign policy has turned the entire Middle East into a cauldron of anarchy, and Iraq into an unspeakably monstrous killing field. It is without precedent in American history.