Monday, March 17, 2014

SEALs take Libyan oil tanker

This is one weird story in my head:
The US has taken control of a tanker full of oil loaded from a rebel-held port in Libya, the Pentagon says.
The raid by Navy Seals took place in international waters south of Cyprus, said Rear Adm John Kirby....
Adm Kirby said the operation had been authorised by President Barack Obama and that no-one had been hurt.
As far as I can figure out, the president of the United States approved a (alleged) Navy SEAL operation on behalf of a foreign government. Why Libya could not conduct its own action is not clear. Does the United States routinely recapture pirated ships? In international waters? Does the president generally lend his name -- and, implicitly, the name of the United States -- to such actions?

I suspect, but don't know, that the SEALs involved were a part of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the president's shadowy personal hit squad that took down Osama bin Laden. Kirby fronts for JSOC. JSOC's nature and purpose and command structure is so murky that even Wikipedia suggests that more clarity would be useful: "This article's introduction section may not adequately summarize its contents."


  1. Wherever oil is involved, we'll be there.

  2. Could have been out hunting Leprachauns and pots of gold but no....

    Washington Post has another angle

  3. The Reuters version might clear it up for you.

  4. Thanks Anonymous for the Reuters story ... which seems to raise as many questions as it answers. Does the US detain or overwhelm ships in international waters when it fears a region might otherwise be destabilized? Does the US act as an effective police force for a country whose own forces are as yet ineffective? And at what point does imagining what MIGHT happen in given circumstances become sufficient grounds for interference in those circumstances?

    Iraq MIGHT nourish an attack on the US ... ergo war.
    Afghanistan MIGHT harbor those PLANNING to attack the US ... ergo war.
    An oil tanker bearing stolen goods MIGHT act as a destabilizer for a region rich in oil but poor in government ... ergo reclaim the pirated tanker on behalf of a wobbly government and coincidentally the American driving public.
    It's all a little too much like the Israeli takeover of ships in international waters when those ships (sometimes bearing arms, sometimes bearing peace activists) do not measure up to Israeli desires.

    It all makes perfectly good sense, from one point of view. The trouble is that it seldom accords any understanding to the other guy's point of view ... and too often people -- whether pink or brown -- tend to get killed. I know, I know ... handing out Medals of Honor is a wondrous thing, but creating a stable environment in which to LIVE impresses me a lot more.

  5. Your post just makes me think there are others who feel that an unstable environments present more opportunities to those not part of the status quo.

    I wonder how many of us have actually benefitted more during times of chaos than during times of apparent stability.