Libya: The Origins of the Failed State and the Rise of ISIS

In his new biography of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, BERLUSCONI: The Epic Story of the Billionaire Who Took Over Italy (Hachette Books; October 20, 2015), journalist Alan Friedman details Hillary Clinton's original crucial mistake over Libya: Ignoring the advice of the Pentagon and NSC and deciding to support Nicolas Sarkozy in bombing Gaddafi and seeking regime change.

At a time when Hillary Clinton is rebutting questions about Benghazi from Republicans on Capitol Hill, the new biography of Silvio Berlusconi contains another Benghazi-related story, this one involving Hillary, Silvio Berlusconi, and Sarkozy at a crucial summit in March 2011.

In the chapter on Libya, Berlusconi talks about how Hillary Clinton made the mistake at the start of the Arab Spring, ignoring warnings about jihadist threats and changing her mind about regime change in Libya at a meeting with Berlusconi and others at the Elyse Palace in Paris. Hillary was there with Sarkozy and Merkel and Berlusconi and others. She was representing the U.S. (Obama was on a trip in Brazil) and this was the final crisis meeting that decided to bomb Gaddafi's troops on the road to Benghazi.

In her memoirs Hillary recounted the "uproar" when Sarkozy announced at the start of the summit that French jets were already in the air. Was it all really to avoid a humanitarian disaster or did Sarkozy have another agenda in mind as he sent a squadron of French Rafale jets toward Libya even before the Paris summit began? Berlusconi claims that Hillary made a mistake of historic proportions by changing her mind within the space of a few hours and siding with Sarkozy on regime change in Libya. He says he warned Hillary and the others at the Paris summit that removing Gaddafi would lead to a failed state and the rise of jihadism and terrorism in Libya. He says the reality of Isis and a shattered Libya today is evidence of the reality of this "big mistake." The New York Times noted back in 2011 that Hillary Clinton had ignored the advice of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Tom Donilon of the National Security Council and John O. Brennan, counterterrorism chief.

Berlusconi explains in the book (now being published in more than 30 countries) what happened at that Paris meeting, what he said to Hillary, and how she agreed at first with him about not bombing Gaddafi and then changed her mind.

Alan Friedman is a journalist, bestselling author, television personality and producer, and documentary maker who has spent the past 30 years as an award-winning correspondent and commentator with The Financial Times of London, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal Europe, and Italian television. Mr. Friedman is also a former contributing editor at Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. He is presently an opinion columnist for Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper. His last book was widely credited with causing the collapse of the last Italian government in February 2014. He was the first American journalist to receive the Gold Medal of Honor from Italy's parliament.




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