US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has emerged as the leading voice of the Barack Obama administration on Libya. She has been most vociferous about the support for 'democratic forces' (rebels) in Libya. She spearheaded the diplomatic campaign for UN resolution. She travelled to Cairo and Tunis to discuss Arab participation. She attended the summit in Paris last Monday to flesh out the coalition to implement Resolution 1973. She began interpreting the scope of R-1973. She is traveling back to London next week for the 'contact group' meeting on Libya. And now, above all, she has announced that US is taking the next step in the war by transferring command and control to NATO. "We are taking the next step: We have agreed along with our NATO allies to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO."
Furthermore, Clinton went one step ahead and anticipated that it is a matter of time before NATO is put in charge of the entire mission. "All 28 allies have also now authorized military authorities to develop an operations plan for NATO to take on the broader civilian protection mission." (Hey, where is Robert Gates?) Do UAE or Qatar have any problem operating under NATO? No. Because Clinton sorted it out with her Arab counterparts at the Paris meeting. Quite obviously, this isn't Obama Gates' war. Both have taken low-key roles while Clinton is leading and is in full cry.
What is there in Libya for Clinton? Significantly, Clinton is getting strong support principally from two unlikely camps: the interventionists and neocons in US. But what is not obvious in the ongoing discourses - or, more precisely, what is not being openly discussed - is that the Israeli Lobby has been in the vanguard of the campaign for the intervention in Libya. A large NATO presence in Libya is a huge security guarantee for Israel at a time when it faces the spectre of isolation in the Middle East.
The present blueprint of 'humanitarian intervention' is virtually a carbon copy of what was originally mooted by Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman in the course of their visit to Tel Aviv in early March. After their return to US, the two senators literally went on a media campaign projecting their blueprint for US intervention in Libya. Both senators have close links with Israel and obviously, they were spearheading an Israeli plan of action which was worked out in Tel Aviv. Now, to begin with, Obama didn't show interest and Gates was even mildly contemptuous of the McCain-Lieberman plan of action suggesting US intervention. But two top politicians in the Obama camp 'defected' to the pro-Israel camp - Senator John Kerry (high-profily chairman of US senate's foreign affairs committee) and Clinton. Obama immediately began backtracking. Did he sense a challenge from Kerry (or Clinton) in the upcoming presidential race with the support of the Israeli Lobby, which hasn't hidden its disenchantment with Obama? Both were Obama's opponents in the 2008 race and both are ambitious politicians. Conversely, is it what is in actuality there in Libya for Clinton to assume the lead figure in the management of the war? Given the pervasive Jewish influence over the US media and Israel's media management skills, these undercurrents lie sequestered from public view.