The United States is involved in negotiations with Libya’s interim government over establishing a deal to help rebuild, train, arm, and equip a new national army for Libya.
“We’re looking for ways in which we can be helpful,” said General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command. “We’d like, for example, to begin having Libyan officers come to U.S. staff colleges,” he said.
Gen. Ham explained that the United States could also sell Libya military equipment, offer training, and develop a strong navy for “maritime security,” given Libya’s long coastline.
One aspect of this U.S. effort to develop Libya’s military is pure nation-building. Disparate bands of rival, independent militias now roam the country and clash with one another. Building up the new Libyan state as one with a monopoly on the use of force is essential if the U.S. intervention is to appear to have stabilized the country.
The other aspect important to national security planners in Washington is to secure for themselves another reliable client state that is dependent on its military welfare and thus subservient to U.S. interests, following a familiar model from throughout the region.