Friends of Libya in Paris
Last night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left Washington bound for Paris and the Libya Contact Group—or “Friends of Libya”—meeting there. Rebels may have taken Tripoli, but they still need to figure out how to secure the capital and get services up and running. And that of course takes money. Participants in the meeting will hear from Libya’s National Transitional Council about what the opposition needs in terms of aid, economic reconstruction and security, needs which one U.S. official described as “enormous.” Clinton is expected to announce that $1.5 billion worth of aid, provided courtesy of Muammar Qaddafi & Co’s frozen assets, has been distributed on the opposition’s behalf.
At his retirement ceremony yesterday, General David Petraeus warned of hollowing out the army with budget cuts. He said that since we don’t always get to fight the way we want to, Washington “will need to maintain the full-spectrum capability that we have developed over this last decade of conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere,” including the counterinsurgency doctrine he helped make famous.
Amnesty International recently reported that the number of prisoners that have died in Syrian prisons has risen sharply as protests continue. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland condemned the “ongoing brutality,” saying, “Clearly a government that murders and tortures its own citizens including children can't be considered legitimate by any of us.”
Nuland said Washington also condemns the “illegal disclosure of classified information.” Her statement came in response to WikiLeaks’ recent advertisement of a 571 MB encrypted file containing unspecified material. The site promised to release the decryption key “at the appropriate moment.”