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Corker Questions U.S. Approach to Libya

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today questioned the Obama administration’s approach to Libya. The committee heard testimony from U.S. Special Envoy for Libya Jonathan Winer about U.S. support for the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli as it attempts to establish legitimate authority over the entire country.

“Five years after the U.S. decision to intervene in Libya, which I think most of us…agree was a textbook case of what not to do in foreign policy, I am still wondering what our Libya policy is,” said Corker. “If we can cause people to come together through the efforts that are underway at present, we really would just be getting back to where [Libya was] in 2013.”

Corker questioned how a renewed attempt to arm and train Libyan security forces can succeed when previous efforts failed and if the GNA can govern given the rival government and the terrorist threat from ISIS and other groups. He also faulted U.S. policy for leaving behind instability after the decision to topple the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.

“For a country with vast oil wealth and thankfully void of widespread sectarian tensions, Libya should become a success story,” added Corker. “I think we are all disheartened that in many ways the failure of U.S. policy following the fall of Gadhafi has hindered Libya’s progress.”

He further suggested that the U.S. missed an opportunity to stop the advance of ISIS in Libya before the terrorist organization established a significant presence in urban areas.

“It still appears to me that we have a really light touch,” Corker said. “It still doesn’t appear to me that we’ve come together around [a policy] that has the sense of urgency or seriousness to it relative to the negativity that could occur if Libya fails.”

Archived footage and full witness testimony is available here.