The Envoy
  • BHL

    When historians write the story of the international military intervention against Libya's Muammar Gadhafi, they will find much to mine in the role of French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy in swaying Nicholas Sarkozy to champion the cause.

    "B.H.L.", as he is called, is the rare public intellectual with a national nickname and a deeply unbuttoned shirt. He is one part noble humanitarian and champion of the oppressed, as well as one part soap opera.

    The New York Times' Steve Erlanger reports on B.H.L.'s influence in the Libyan conflict:

    It was Mr. Lévy, by his own still undisputed account, who brought top members of the Libyan opposition — the Interim Transitional National Council — from Benghazi to Paris to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy on March 10, who suggested the unprecedented French recognition of the council as the legitimate government of Libya and who warned Mr. Sarkozy that unless he acted, "there will be a massacre in Benghazi, a bloodbath, and the blood of the people of Benghazi will stain the flag of France."

    Mr. Lévy, a celebrated philosopher, journalist and public intellectual, gives Mr. Sarkozy sole credit for persuading London, Washington and others to support intervention in Libya. [...]

    He is known simply as B.H.L., a man of inherited wealth, a socialist whose trademarks — flowing hair, black suits, unbuttoned white shirts, thin blond women — can undercut his passionate campaigning on public causes, including stopping in Rwanda and Bosnia, strong support for Israel and an early critique of France's unthinking fascination with Communism, revolution and the Soviet Union.

    His flamboyant advocacy has annoyed many in the past, including the current foreign minister, Alain Juppé, who seemed largely excluded from Mr. Lévy's Libyan initiative. Mr. Lévy negotiated directly with Mr. Sarkozy, with whom Mr. Lévy has an extremely complicated relationship going back to 1983.

    While they were friends and once vacationed together, Mr. Lévy openly supported Mr. Sarkozy's Socialist opponent in the 2007 presidential election; Mr. Sarkozy then married Carla Bruni, who had broken up the marriage of Mr. Lévy's daughter, Justine, who wrote a novel about it. [...]

    Read More »from In “Sarkozy’s war” in Libya, a not-so-hidden hand
  • clintonsaleh

    The United States, increasingly resigned to the imminent fall from power of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a past ally in the war on terrorism, is seeking his negotiated exit.

    As New York Times writers Laura Kasinof and David E. Sanger report:

    The United States, which long supported Yemen's president, even in the face of recent widespread protests, has now quietly shifted positions and has concluded that he is unlikely to bring about the required reforms and must be eased out of office, according to American and Yemeni officials. [...]

    That position began to shift in the past week, administration officials said. While American officials have not publicly pressed Mr. Saleh to go, they have told allies that they now view his hold on office as untenable, and they believe he should leave.

    Read More »from U.S. seeks negotiated exit for Yemeni leader and ally
  • gatesmullen

    After facing grumbling and uneasiness amid reports it sent covert intelligence operatives into Libya, now the Obama administration is being criticized by some lawmakers for pulling back specialized U.S. gunships as it turns over command of the Libya no-fly zone to NATO.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen explained the evolving U.S. military role in Libya at grueling back-to-back hearings before House and Senate lawmakers Thursday. Air strikes over Libya have lessened over the past three days, apparently due to bad weather.

    During a House Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday morning, Gates--who has made little secret of his misgivings about another major U.S. military intervention in the Middle East--at one point compared the Libyan rebels' military efforts against the far better-equipped forces of Muammar Gadhafi to "a pick-up game" that lacked coordination and strategy.

    But Gates and Mullen also made clear that they did not think the United States should get involved with arming the rebels, either overtly or--as many suspect would be the case for such an action--covertly.

    Read More »from Some decry U.S. pull-back as NATO takes command of Libya ops

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  • Chelsea's Costa charged over Can 'stamp'
    Chelsea's Costa charged over Can 'stamp'

    Chelsea striker Diego Costa faces a three-game suspension after being charged with violent conduct for appearing to stamp on Liverpool's Emre Can, the Football Association announced on Wednesday. Costa seemed to deliberately stand on Can's ankle in the 12th minute of Tuesday's League Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge, which Chelsea won 1-0 to complete a 2-1 aggregate victory.

  • Neymar subbed for own safety, admits Barca boss
    Neymar subbed for own safety, admits Barca boss

    Barcelona boss Luis Enrique said he had to substitute two-goal star Neymar to prevent the Brazilian from being injured as his side's Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg with Atletico Madrid turned nasty. The Catalans went through 4-2 on aggregate after coming from behind twice to win 3-2 on the night as Atletico were reduced to nine men and were lucky not to be more harshly punished when Arda Turan was only booked for throwing his boot at an assistant referee. "The moment arrived when the game had got ugly and we took off Neymar so it didn't get any more heated," said Enrique. Neymar had already put Atletico's hopes of reaching the last four to the sword well before he was replaced by Pedro Rodriguez 13 minutes from time.

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