U.S. special forces' capture of a notorious al-Qaida leader in Libya has been hailed as a coup in the war against terrorists. It also was a reminder of just how badly President Barack Obama's administration handled regime change in that country.
American Delta Force troops staged a raid in Libya's capital, Tripoli, on Sunday. In it they captured Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, who had been on the FBI's most wanted list. Immediately after the terrorist was spirited out of the country, the Libyan government protested strongly. Meanwhile, U.S. officials were patting themselves on the back, saying the capture was a significant blow to al-Qaida.
There seems to have been many of those - yet the terrorist organization and its offshoots remain capable of staging murderous attacks on a regular basis.
Just how was it that al-Ruqai was able to live openly enough in Libya that U.S. intelligence pinpointed his whereabouts?
Since Obama employed U.S. forces to oust former Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, conditions in that country have deteriorated. It has become a haven for lawless militias and terrorists. The deaths of four Americans in a terrorist attack last year on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi made that clear. And Libya's economy has crashed; the country now produces only about one-tenth the oil it did under Gadhafi.
So Sunday's raid was a success, but it and other events raise serious questions about U.S. policy in Libya and elsewhere - including Syria.