Prior to the February 17, 2011, “Day of Rage,” Libya had a national budget surplus of 8.7 percent of GDP in 2010, with oil production at 1.8 million barrels per day, on track to reach its goal of 3 million barrels per day. Currently, oil production has decreased by over 80 percent. Following the revolution, the Libyan economy contracted by an estimated 41.8 percent, with a national deficit of 17.1 percent GDP in 2011.
Before the revolution, Libya was a secure, prospering, secular Islamic country and a critical ally providing intelligence on terrorist activity post–September 11, 2001. Qaddafi was no longer a threat to the United States. Yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly advocated and succeeded in convincing the administration to support the Libyan rebels with a no-fly zone, intended to prevent a possible humanitarian disaster that turned quickly into all-out war.
Within weeks of the revolution there were two valid cease-fire opportunities, one presented to the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and a second opportunity presented to U.S. Africa Command for direct military commander negotiations to effect Gaddafi’s abdication, in which I was personally involved. Both opportunities were rejected and shut down by Secretary Clinton. Internal communications that went public last year revealed that on March 18, 2011, a colonel in JCS wrote, “. . . Due to the UNSCR, Libyan forces sped up ops to get to Benghazi, and will soon cease fire. As expected. Our contact will arrange a face-to-face meeting with Saif, or a skype/video-telecon to open communications if time does not permit. It will have to be with a high level USG official for him to agree. If there will be an ultimatum before any ops, the USG must be in communication with the right leaders and hopefully listen for any answer. A peaceful solution is still possible that keeps Saif on our side without any bloodshed in Benghazi.” However, on March 14, 2011 Secretary Clinton had already met with rebel leaders in Paris, including Mahmoud Jibril, number two in the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, and had committed to support their revolution.