Capturing Terrorists is Hard

Over at Beacon (subscribe here!), I explain why capturing terrorists is so difficult.

The politics of capturing terrorists can be challenging for two reasons: the governments in question may not agree on custody of the prisoner, and in many cases the local government is extremely sensitive to any action involving U.S. boots on the ground. In Libya’s case, both challenges exist. The Libyan government condemned the al-Liby raid as a “kidnapping,” and is demanding answers from the U.S. government. And reports are emerging that both on social media and in real life of protests about Libya’s violated sovereignty and Tripoli’s fecklessness in preventing the raid. The AFP even called the raid a “blow” to the “fledgling Libyan government.”

Al-Liby was captured as he left his house for morning prayer — reportedly masked men grabbed him out of his car and bundled him off (presumably to aU.S. Navy ship for the time being). But it is unclear what role, exactly, the Libyan government played in the capture. Al-Liby’s son, Abdullah al-Ruqai reportedly appeared on Tripoli’s Nabir TV station and said: “The people who took my father were Libyan, not Americans – they spoke with Tripoli accents.” The Libyan government denied any suggestion that they took part in the raid, but it remains unclear whether they approved of it beforehand.

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joshua.foust
Joshua Foust is a writer and analyst who studies foreign policy.