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Western Intervention in Libya - a consideration

by Zwackus Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:52:41 AM EST

In the comments of a recent Salon on an article about Libya and its future, I was called to task for being pro-intervention.

I don't think of myself as a rampant militarist, nor as an all-weather defender of "humanitarian" military intervention.  But I suppose I am a bit more supportive of the West's actions in Libya than some here.  I started to write a response on the issue, but it quickly became diary-length.  So here's the diary.

front-paged by afew


When thinking about the Western intervention in Libya, I think it's important to think about the particular situation in Libya, and not about the whole doctrine of "humanitarian interventionism" in general.  I tend to think doctrines, policies, and ideologies tend to be a whole lot of bunk when talked about in the abstract, and I have no interest in wasting my time trying to defend one particular ideology in which I don't particularly believe.  So, I want to confine my discussion more specifically to the Western intervention in Libya, and the particulars of that case.

I think it's important to think about the set of events that tipped this whole situation off to begin with, the initial uprising against Gadafi, and for that matter against Ben Ali and Mubarak and Assad, et al.  Was the Arab Spring created by, or even sparked by, the West?  I don't think so, and here is my reasoning.

Given how several of these leaders were solid pro-US authoritarian regimes, the realpolitik of the issues would argue otherwise.  If Iran did not have its own problems with domestic pro-democracy agitation, it would fit their interests far more to promote popular agitation against those dictators than it would the interests of the United States.  Further, the impetus behind these movements has only partially come from the hard-line Islamic sorts who would seem to be Iran's natural allies - were the whole Sunni/Shi'a split not a barrier to effective Iranian involvement to begin with.

Given that we are talking about generally pro-US authoritarian leaders here, who are not always terribly popular in, I think it is at least plausible to think that these movements were indigenous in nature.

In Tunisia and Egypt (who knows what's happening in Yemen), the indigenous movements seem to have succeeded without the need for significant outside support.  Whether there was outside support, and how significant it was, is an arguable point - I have seen no convincing evidence that any US involvement with the pro-democracy movements was particularly strong or effective.  But I could be wrong on this point.  I really don't know.

Libya, in the person of Gadafi, had quite possibly the worst authoritarian dictator of all the Arab countries.  Just look at him!  As such, it would not at all be surprising if the Libyan people were, on average, more angry at heart at Gadafi than the peoples of the other Arab countries were at their dictators.  Maybe anger isn't really comparable in that manner, and maybe it doesn't really matter.  But I don't think it's very controversial to say that Gadafi was not terribly popular with a good number of his people, regardless of the international position on him.

Despite that, at the beginning of the year Libya was stable, selling oil to the West, and cooperating with the international community.  There was no reason to support his ouster that there hadn't been since the 80's. I haven't heard anything to the contrary of this, but I suppose I could be wrong.

Then Tunisia happened, then Egypt, and then everywhere, including Libya.  Again, new evidence notwithstanding, this seemed to be a real indigenous uprising.  In Libya, the situation very quickly turned into a proper civil war, one half of the country versus the rest, well before the West did anything.

Maybe Western intervention was not a good idea.  Maybe we should have let Gadafi crush the rebels.  Maybe if we'd left the situation alone, the rebels could have gotten their act together on their own and beaten Gadafi, although I don't think it's unreasonable to say that the war would have gone on longer in that case.

But the West did not.  It intervened with a fairly limited airstrike campaign.  New evidence may contradict me, but I do not think a massive airwar of devastation was launched, nothing on the scale of the Iraq war.  Nonetheless, bombing did take place, people were killed, and stuff was blown up.  Partially because of that, the rebels got their act together fairly quickly, and now have beaten Gadafi.

Maybe this will turn out poorly.  Maybe the rebels will fall out amongst themselves, and Libya will still have a long and protracted civil war.  Maybe some radical group will take over, Bolshevik style, and impose a new crazy and insane government on Libya.  Maybe they will muddle through, and cobble something together.  At this point, we don't know.

Furthermore, whatever government emerges, it's not clear what sort of relationship with the West they will have.  It is rather unlikely that the entire country will be turned over to profiteers, as in the wake of the Iraq war, simply because there will be too many local politicans, warlords, and whatnot who will insist on taking their cut and have the ability to do so.  This may well be bad, but it probably won't be all that different than the division of spoils under Gadafi, where he personally pocketed everything.  Should the locals put together a strong government and demand tougher terms, I really have trouble imagining the international community organizing ANOTHER civil war, or a proper invasion, to oust them.  I suppose it's possible, it just doesn't seem likely.

All that said, I don't think "Just leave Libya alone" would have been substantially better for either the US or for Libya, as the country had already descended into chaos before the West did anything.  The fighting, for now, has certainly ended more quickly than it would have if the rebels won the thing for themselves, and it is arguable if the West caused more damage with its bombing campaign, and the fighting this allowed, than Gadafi would have employed to subdue his own people.  Just before the bombing campaign began, Gadafi was using heavy artillery and rockets to bombard rebel cities - in sustained fighting, he could well have destroyed far more of his own country, and killed more of his own people, than the West managed.  This is a truly hypothetical what-if that can never be answered properly.  But it seems truly debatable.

Further, assume Gadafi won on his own, bombing the rebels into submission.  He already ran the state for his own personal benefit, and it seems rather unlikely that he would spring for a massive re-building project in the rebel areas.  Time will tell if that dark prospect will look good in comparison to reality - but I find it unlikely.  Again, it's a false comparison to compare old Libya, before the Arab Spring, to whatever comes now, because that old Libya had already disappeared before the West did anything.

And to shill for Western capitalism, it's quite possible that Western companies could manage Libya's oil assets and exports far more effectively than whatever was in place before.  Sure, they profit insanely from it, when they are allowed to.  But that is a political choice, one that the government will allow or not.  And again, Gadafi ran the country for his own personal benefit, and it's hard to get much worse than that.  

Further, that involvement and participation could well make a variety of other large investment projects more feasible, in a shorter time-frame - the trans-African railway I heard DoDo mention, or Desertec, or whatever.  Further, North Africa has been cut up into tiny, isolated chunks since not long after independence.  Who knows what good will come from having Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt open to inter-African trade and travel?  That area had been interconnected for thousands of years, and its recent isolation is a bizarre abberation from that trend.  Libya has usually been an appendage of Egypt, and anything that helps re-build ties between the two countries is probably a good thing.

So there, I've defended the acts of the Western powers in Libya.  Discuss.

Poll
Is the West responsible for the Arab Spring?
. No, and it caught the Western powers by surprise. 45%
. No, and it happened despite the desires and actions of the West. 25%
. Yes, it was a direct creation of the CIA. 0%
. Yes, it was the long-term consequence of US support for pro-democracy activists. 0%
. Yes, because Obama's speech in Cairo was so influential. 5%
. Yes, but only because of Facebook, Twitter, and Google. 10%
. Some other answer. 15%

Votes: 20
Results | Other Polls
Display:
New "democratic" Libya has been born :(

http://www.scribd.com/doc/62823350/Libya-Draft-Constitutional-Charter-for-the-Transitional-Stage#

...Principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)...

Congratulations! Things will surely be much better now ;(

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 24th, 2011 at 10:55:21 PM EST
Its always refreshing to replace one dictator with another.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 24th, 2011 at 11:19:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Libya is a Moslem country, and a perfunctory reference to Islamic customary law is to be expected.
(Gaddhafi also constantly affirmed his allegiance to Allah, for what that's worth... precisely nothing).

Other than that, it's basic liberal-democracy stuff.

What's the name of the new dictator? I missed that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:26:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Other than that, it's basic liberal-democracy stuff.  

Other than that? Legal system in your view goes to "other than that"? FCS...
What's the name of the new dictator? I missed that.

You'll find out soon...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:42:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with a legal tradition with a long and complex relationship between secular and religious law, and none bats an eye.
by wu ming on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 02:52:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look at this guy...so called rebel...wearing Gaddafi's hat and golden chain, holding golden statue...
He thanks you guys...enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItCG_M0bNJQ&feature=player_embedded#!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 24th, 2011 at 11:36:05 PM EST
On economy under Gaddafi:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muammar_Gaddafi

The Economy of Libya is centrally planned and follows Gadaffi's socialist ideals. It depends primarily upon revenues from the petroleum sector, which contributes practically all export earnings and over half of its GDP. These oil revenues, combined with a small population, have given Libya the highest nominal GDP per capita in Africa.[65] Since 2000 Libya has recorded favourable growth rates with an estimated 10.6 percent growth of GDP in 2010, the highest of any state in Africa. Gaddafi had promised "a home for all Libyans" and during his rule, new residential areas rose in empty Saharan regions. Entire populations living in mud-brick caravan towns were moved into modern homes with running water, electricity, and satellite TV.[31] A leaked diplomatic cable describes Libyan economy as "a kleptocracy in which the regime -- either the al-Qadhafi family itself or its close political allies -- has a direct stake in anything worth buying, selling or owning".[63]

Gaddafi described the Great Manmade River as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" and presented the project as a gift to the Third World.[citation needed] It is a network of pipes that supplies 6,500,000 cubic metres (230,000,000 cu ft) of fresh water per day from beneath the Sahara Desert, from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System fossil aquifer, to northern cities, including Tripoli, Benghazi and Sirt.[66] The project consists of more than 1,300 wells, most more than 500 meters (1,600 ft) deep.
A Libyan stamp (in a stamp sheetlet) containing Gaddafi's image

Gaddafi ordered the Libyan National Telescope Project, costing nearly 10 million euros,[citation needed] expressing his passionate interest in astronomy. The robotic telescope was planned to be two metres in diameter and remote-controlled, to be built by France's REOSC,[citation needed] the optical department of the SAGEM Group. It is to be housed in an air-conditioned building, with a network of four weather stations deployed at a distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) around it to warn of impending sandstorms that could damage its fragile optics.[67] A desert site 2,200 meters (7,200 ft) above sea level near Kufra was chosen as the site, hosting North Africa's largest astronomical observatory.

On 4 March 2008 Gaddafi announced his intention to dissolve the country's existing administrative structure and disburse oil revenue directly to the people. The plan included abolishing all ministries; except those of defence, internal security, and foreign affairs, and departments implementing strategic projects.[68] In 2009, Gaddafi personally told government officials that Libya would soon experience a "new political period" and would have elections for important positions such as minister-level roles and the National Security Advisor position (a Prime Minister equivalent). He also promised to include international monitors to ensure fair elections. His speech was said to have caused quite a stir.[69]

As crazy as he was he had some pretty good idea...Let's see what "democracy" is going to bring to Libyan people.

I do not know if this is true but if it is Libyans will cry out loud for these benefits:

http://www.politicalforum.com/latest-world-news/177957-living-libya-under-gaddafi.html

Life in Libya:

  • GDP per capita - $ 14,192.
  • for each family member in the state pays $ 1,000 a year subsidy.
  • Unemployment - 730 $.
  • Salary Nurse - $ 1,000.
  • For every newborn is paid $ 7,000.
  • Suite as a gift $ 64,000 to buy an apartment.
  • The discovery of personal business one-time financial assistance - $ 20,000.
  • Major taxes and levies prohibited.
  • Education and medicine are free.
  • Education and Internships abroad - at government expense.
  • Chain stores for large families with symbolic prices of basic foodstuffs.
  • For the sale of products past their expiry date - large fines and detention units spetspolitsii.
  • Some pharmacies - with free dispensing.
  • counterfeiting of medicines - the death penalty.
  • rents - is absent.
  • Pay for electricity for the population is missing.
  • Sales and use of alcohol is prohibited - "prohibition".
  • Loans for buying a car and an apartment - no interest.
  • Real estate services are prohibited.
  • Buying a car up to 50% paid by the state militia fighters - 65%.
  • Gasoline is cheaper than water. 1 liter of gasoline - $ 0.14.
 


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 24th, 2011 at 11:57:26 PM EST
There are more of these on Internet:
http://wfol.tv/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2:facts-and-figures-about-libya-under-mu amar-gaddafi

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 12:24:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In all honesty, you should include the first two paragraphs of the Wikipedia entry on the Libyan economy under Gaddafi:

Muammar Gaddafi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Libya enjoys large natural resources, but the high gross domestic product has been concentrated on Gaddafi's family and his elites, who have amassed vast fortunes.[58] Most of the business enterprise has been controlled by Gaddafi and his family.[59] Meanwhile, a large section of the population lives in poverty. One of the worst situations is in the eastern parts of the country.[60][61]

When the rising international oil prices began to raise Gaddafi's revenues in the 1970s, Gaddafi spent much of the revenues on arms purchases and on sponsoring his political projects abroad.[62] Gaddafi's relatives adopted lavish lifestyles, including luxurious homes, Hollywood film investments and private parties with American pop stars.[63][64]

Secondly, perhaps you can explain why, with such wonderful benefits as those listed (without proof or reference) by the Internet poster you quote, so many Libyans were willing to fight and die to get rid of Gaddafi? Another CIA plot as we were told Tunisia and Egypt were?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You weren't told Egypt was a CIA plot as a piece of random hand-waving - there was solid evidence that the CIA trained people who were meant to influence and lead the insurgents. (Although the plan was only partly successful, because it was somewhat overtaken by events.)

Now we know the rebels in Libya have received impressively generous supplies of military-grade arms. Where did those come from?

It's obvious there would have been no insurgency without them, and it's unlikely the rebels bought them on eBay.

So some benign and generous spirit must have organised delivery and distribution. Considering the scale of the gift, it's really quite unlikely it's a disinterested private benefactor who wants to see the Libyan people marching forwards to a glorious democratic and prosperous future.

None of this is to disagree that Gaddafi was a runty little tassled psychopath. But so were/are many leaders supported without question by the West, and not a few home grown billionaires closer to home.

He's not different because of his psychopathy, exploitativeness, and appalling lack of proper democratic manners, but because of his political inexpediency and access to useful resources.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
it was somewhat overtaken by events

You bet. Denying there is a spontaneous movement in Egypt or Tunisia is futile. And I'd like to see the "solid evidence" for CIA intervention in Egypt, and some solid reasons for America to want to introduce instability into a major ally and regional stabiliser (from US/Israel policy point of view).

However, Libya is different in many ways, mainly because of NATO intervention. In past discussions here, I've pointed out the obvious oil interest - and though I don't think Gaddafi can be defended, I was not in favour of NATO bombing. Of course the rebels have received arms from the same countries that were bombing. However, their determination can't be denied - and it belies the Gaddafi propaganda about what a paradise his Libya was (which was my point).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But minus some clear and substantial new source of dissatisfaction with the use and exploitation of those resources, the motive is just not there.  Gadafi was developing his oil reserves, working with international oil companies to do it, and selling the oil to the west without stirring up trouble.  Now, as you have yourself claimed, it's entirely likely that the oil may well stay in the ground for quite a while.

Further, very early in the Libyan situation the rebels took over nearly half the county, including its military bases and police forces, almost entirely on the strength of their protests and their initial surge of momentum.  That's where they got their initial cache of weapons.  Yes, they've been armed and supported afterwards, but support is different from create, which is the key distinction here.

by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:48:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't understand.

Libya is currently retaining far too much of its oil wealth.

This is anti-competitive behaviour and holds back global growth.....(of corporate profits)

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:58:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And also I found somewhere (can't find it now, it's hidden in some of my links) that at some point (maybe recently I am not sure) he changed deal with those western companies. It was 50:50 and he changed it to something like 20:80. Not happy campers.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:07:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Libya: hunt for Gaddafi - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk

Sitting on Africa's largest oil reserves, Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) can expect foreign oil companies to be beating a path to its door clamouring for contracts, reports Mark Tran.

But campaigners urged the NTC to refrain from any new oil concessions until an elected government is in place to avoid perceptions of a Libyan "oil grab".

"Any deals at this time could raise concerns within Libya that international support for the NTC is driven by a desire for access to oil rather than for the benefit of the Libyan people," said Global Witness.

"The NTC is likely to have to honour Gaddafi-era contracts in order to get oil revenues flowing. But no new deals for the exploration or exploitation of oil fields should be considered until an elected government can review existing rules and laws to ensure robust transparency and accountability."

We will judge them by their acts.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:07:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are right.
Can anybody please search Internet and try to find what oil companies are right now operating in Iraq (I need to go to sleep soon). If you find ONE other then western I'll buy you a drink, ha-ha.
And then again it was also about DEAL they have about percentage of profit. Do we know anything about Iraq deals?


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:25:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but, contrary to the expectations of the Americans, they didn't get sweetheart deals on Iraqi oil. It took several years to get the "oil law" through the Iraqi parliament, because the government's draft was extremely generous to oil companies, and the elected representatives of the people didn't want to give their country's resources away. That's sort of how democracy works, when it works. Iraq has vast oil reserves, and an ambitious program to develop them. There are a bunch of oil companies tendering for projects, including the Chinese. I'll pay you a visit the next time I'm in Brisbane.

I'm sure there's someone who knows this subject much better, who can comment on it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 03:15:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK you'll have a drink :)

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 07:42:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
You weren't told Egypt was a CIA plot as a piece of random hand-waving - there was solid evidence that the CIA trained people who were meant to influence and lead the insurgents.

Maybe there is also some solid evidence of why the US wanted to topple Mubarak, one of the most reliably pro-American (and pro-Israeli) leaders in the Arab world, to replace him with a government much less sympathetic - especially to Israeli interests. Sure, I'm willing to entertain CIA plot stories as much as the next guy, but in that particular case, something doesn't compute.

Something else that I fail to compute: if the WestTM is behind the Egyptian uprising, what about Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and Saudi Arabia? Did they manage to revolt without any nudge from the CIA? Or is it a underhanded US plot in all these countries too? If yes, how would the US stand to benefit? If not, how is it possible that so many Arab countries would revolt without outside help, but Egypt, unlike the others, couldn't possibly do so without CIA maneuvering - seemingly against American best interests?

The odd man out here is not Egypt but Libya: it's the only Western military intervention to date, mostly from France, Italy and the UK. I don't know for the other countries, but I've detailed my own speculation on why Sarkozy went military on Gadaffi.

ThatBritGuy:

Now we know the rebels in Libya have received impressively generous supplies of military-grade arms. Where did those come from?

It's obvious there would have been no insurgency without them, and it's unlikely the rebels bought them on eBay.


Surely, arm trafficking has existed pre-eBay. It's always been appallingly easy to purchase military-grade weapons: AK-47 are cheap and plentiful, but bigger machine guns are not much more difficult to get.

Gadaffi also acquired "a generous supply" of weapons at the beginning of the unrest, plus mercenaries from sub-Saharan African countries by the plane-load; as a legit head of state, it was easier for him, of course.

ThatBritGuy:

So some benign and generous spirit must have organised delivery and distribution.

Well, the French government has "secretly" supplied some of it: they haven't been very good at covering their tracks. Other governments probably did the same - heck, even the CIA might have done so.

ThatBritGuy:

Considering the scale of the gift, it's really quite unlikely it's a disinterested private benefactor who wants to see the Libyan people marching forwards to a glorious democratic and prosperous future.

Nobody "private": just Sarko and other governments who, having sided with the rebellion and against Gadaffi, didn't want to risk having said rebellion crushed by Gadaffi - to their greatest embarrassment and other unpleasant consequences.

by Bernard on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 04:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you really think that UK France and "other governments" would do this on their own?
Yes there are things that are not clear and obvious especially with Egypt but what do we know about what they are cooking in back rooms?
Except for Libya and perhaps Syria my feeling is that other protests were actually genuine indigenous protests and west maybe was caught by surprise of the scale of it. Do they have strategy to deal with it? I am not sure. With Libya I am sure it was orchestrated, to catch the moment and use it to destroy Qaddafi. As we can see if they are not armed on a large scale by some outsiders people do not have any other choice but to keep protesting or to shut up. Yes they will be killed in some numbers and that's not funny but usually alternative is civil war and foreign intervention. And pretty much hell for decades. I remember people in Syria or Yemen I can't remember exactly where, when asked said "No thank you, we don't want Libya and we don't want foreign troops here".


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:57:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you really think that UK France and "other governments" would do this on their own?

Yes. The US State Department were not cheerleading for this war, and it's hard to see Sarko and Poshboy take marching orders from anyone else.

Besides, it's not like there's any great number of places that could hire Sarko as a hit man: Russia didn't want that war; China has no obvious interest in it (and a plausible interest in keeping Qaddafi in power as long as the oil continued to flow); Merkel doesn't care about foreign policy, and in any event has better uses for her political capital right now.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK. It's your opinion.
I don't think that UK and France would dare to do anything that USA would not endorse. Especially not when it comes to military...But that's just my opinion.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:01:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US did endorse it. That does not make it their idea. It only means that it was more trouble to say "no" than to say "yes."

If you want a good idea of how absent the American war propaganda was, ponder this: This is the first war the Freepers have not liked.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:08:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearly the US gave the OK, but between "the US orchestrated the uprising" and "France, the UK and Italy went ahead despite US objections, leaving the US to declare support to save face" is, "the uprising occurred, and in the circumstances, the US gave the OK to intervene in support of an insurgency on the proviso that no US boots would be on the ground".


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 01:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy was by no means in favor of waging this war. In fact it was against (ambiguously and at times overtly) given the country's strong economic and geopolitical ties with Libya. This was another American war waged by its ever more obedient satellite - France. How proud the French must be.
by Lynch on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 09:35:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for the UK, we already know that it is to the US what Bulgaria was to the Soviet Union.
by Lynch on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 09:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
This was another American war waged by its ever more obedient satellite - France.

Well, it's not frequent to see France being called America's "ever more obedient satellite", but I suppose there's a first time for everything.

As for Sarkozy, who famously loathes Obama, he also has his own reasons, some of which I tried to list here.

by Bernard on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 05:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only US objections were for CNN's cameras and public opinion at large, as can be discerned from NYT article "Libyan War Goes a Long Way to Improve the Pentagon's View of France as an Ally"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/27/world/africa/27military.html?ref=world

by Lynch on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:33:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
None of which turns it into a dichotomy between the US instigating the intervention from the outset by instigating the uprisings at the outset and the US being against the intervention all the way and being somehow pushed into doing it against its will.

Different people will use different mental models of how much freedom of action various actors have to find different positions in the range in between more or less plausible ... but both extreme ends of the range are implausible, and so a false dichotomy forces a choice between two implausible alternatives.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 01:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there is also some solid evidence of why the US wanted to topple Mubarak...

It would be perfectly understandable for the CIA to have and to be cultivating assets in Egypt prior to the first glimmers of the Arab Spring. I recall congressional urgings for the CIA to broaden its network from the time of Obama's Cairo speech. The purpose of these assets would most likely have been to provide insight and inside information and to be in a position to influence the course of events should they get out of control. But this would not validate claims that the USA instigated the events that led to Mubarak's downfall, a claim which I find preposterous. The CIA is perfectly aware of AIPAC, after all.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:28:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My theory is somewhat different.

I think that in a complex world, where technology increases the power of individuals and increases volatility (of values, power, trends) no single nation or organization can possibly control events.

The  objective of the American regime is, indeed, to control. But when it doesn't control - and this happens more and more often - its secondary objective is to give the world the impression that it is in control.

Egypt is a good example. The US regime was at a loss as events were unfolding - holding back from supporting the revolutionaries, and even supporting Mubarak until late in the uprising. But when all was lost, the US propaganda machine changed tack and began communicating how it had influenced the uprising all along... which is total BS.

Let them hate as long as they fear. Accius.

by Lynch on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 03:01:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wanted to make MY point so I put part that supports it. And I put link for you to read.
How do we know exactly HOW MANY is SO MANY? Libya has millions of people (I think 4 or 6)...We only see bunch of rebels here and there on the streets but we also have seen masses of people in Tripoli supporting him. So who are we to believe?


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is pretty popular too.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:09:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard that Bush was very popular too , and around the globe...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 05:19:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a dictator in power for decades, people turning out for rallies in support of the dictator is no strong sign of support, especially after large numbers of anti-government protesters have been shot and, at least locally, the government seems to have reasserted control.

The people turning out in Benghazi rallying in support of an insurgency on the basis of the hope that the dictator might be pushed out ... that is stronger evidence.

Whether it was regional disaffection in the east/west divide in Libya or nationwide disaffection, it may take some time to sort out.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 01:12:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://rt.com/news/russia-democracy-senator-mccain-091/

Russia needs democracy just like Libya does - Senator McCain
...US Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain has lashed out at Russia, saying it could be the next country to experience a Libya-style uprising.
...McCain is sure that the Arab Spring will rage on and will make it to countries like China and Russia, which according to him "need democracy" just as Libya does.
...Even as the National Transitional Council takes over in Tripoli, it is not the government chosen by the Libyan people. And many Libyans are outraged by the fact that foreign powers have essentially made this choice for them.And looking back to Egypt, people there too do not seem to have achieved what they were fighting for.
...As far as democracy is concerned in these countries, there are still a lot of questions, but according to McCain "It is all great and the fire of uprisings should move on to other countries."
And according to him the "next stop" is Syria. "After Gaddafi it is Bashar Assad who is next to fall," McCain said.
It is quite interesting that Senator McCain is pointing at some of the world's richest countries and basically calling for revolutions in those countries, presuming that their "livelihood is so bad, that they need to rebel immediately."
Meanwhile, polls show that most Americans are not happy with where their economy is going. And following McCain's logic the question arises: does this mean that Americans too need to take to the streets and revolt?

And this is another view to the situation in Libya"right now:
http://rt.com/news/death-victory-gaddafi-address-795-11-011/
Ted Rall, an American columnist and author says Libya is likely to be plunged into a long-running civil war.
"It's a striking replay of 2003, with the US invasion of Iraq, when the United States toppled a dictator who had effectively stifled his opposition, and [they] didn't know what they would be replacing him with,"

he told RT.
"We are seeing the same exact situation now in Libya. The Transitional Council is a hotchpotch of groups who inevitably are going to be in conflict with one another. Civil War is almost inevitable."
...Meanwhile, the National Transitional Council reports that 400 people have been killed and more than 2,000 injured over the last three days of fighting. Alternative reports claim that more than 1,000 people have died in the violence and NATO air strikes.
...Don DeBar, an anti-war activist and journalist, believes that whatever Colonel Gaddafi or the rebel leaders say, it is practically impossible to verify what is true or false at this point.
"But certainly what has been coming from the Western media has been proven to be lies," he declared. "Gaddafi opened up the armories to the people of Libya, more than a million rifles and other arms have been handed out to the people of Tripoli. The claim that has been made by the so-called `progressive' media of the United States is that Gaddafi is a hated dictator and that this is an indigenous rebellion. The dictator does not hand people guns and say: `Please, defend me!'"


Oh enough of me posting on this topic. I just wanted to show you that there is another angle to see things not just that that western media presents.
And do not get me wrong, I am not defending Gadaffi ...I wouldn't defend anybody staying for 40 years in power...but that's another story.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 12:51:05 AM EST
vbo:
I just wanted to show you that there is another angle to see things not just that that western media presents.

vbo, you've been on ET since the beginning. If you think we're all idiots who drink the western media like Koolaid, then you haven't understood anything you have read here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:39:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't think so, that's why I am still here.
Honestly we may not agree on many things (especially about Serbia) but reading ET is pleasure and enlightening for me.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:54:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The dictator does not hand people guns and say: `Please, defend me!'"

He also promises wads of cash.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:32:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and you got those rooftop snipers, shooting everything that moves.

He probably thought that he was invulnerable, because the people loved him and would fight to the last drop of blood. If they had in fact done so, Tripoli would not have fallen.

I suspect he's feeling disappointed and bewildered now.

And there is a large population of disappointed, bewildered and armed Ghaddafi supporters at large. Things could stay messy for quite a while; but I suspect that only a small minority will stay loyal to him.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:10:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IMHO the big issue is not a small minority staying loyal but the integration of the sizeable minority who once were loyal to the regime. Loyalty to the old regime is not the only possible motivation to oppose a new regime, as Iraq has shown.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:13:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Upcoming Occupation Of Libya

http://www.moonofalabama.org/

My best advice is to let the Libyans fight this out on their own. It will be bloody and take a while but it will very likely be much less bloody and shorter than with outside intervention.

But my advice will not be taken.

...The document includes proposals for a 10,000-15,000 strong "Tripoli task force", resourced and supported by the United Arab Emirates, to take over the Libyan capital, secure key sites and arrest high-level Gaddafi supporters.

The current UN Security Council resolution 1973 explicitly excludes "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."

...The countries involved might argue that any boots on the ground will not be an "occupation" but neither China nor Russia nor the public will accept that interpretation. Some legal cover from the UN will be needed for inner political reasons. It is doubtful that, after having been scammed with the "no-fly-zone" resolution 1973, China and Russia will agree to any new resolution without each demanding a very, very hefty price maybe even the size of Taiwan or Belarus.

...With the occupations we witness in Iraq and Afghanistan we can be confident to estimate how a "western" occupation of Libya will likely develop. The TNC puppet government will turn out to be mediocre and not inclusive. The troops send will soon be shot at by someone every once a while and will start to shoot back. An insurgency against the occupation will develop. Salafi fighters from the various countries around Libya will come in and join the fun. More troops will be needed and send. It will take years and a lot of blood will flow until everyone is exhausted, the fighting dies down and the foreign troops go home.

...The oil, which is mostly found in the southeastern desert and pumped through long pipelines, will be hard to recover.

Some ten years from now books will be sold describing the idea of supporting and installing a Libyan rebel government and the occupation following as an idiotic idea. Nothing will be learned from it.

I love MOA

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 04:51:55 AM EST

...The document includes proposals for a 10,000-15,000 strong "Tripoli task force", resourced and supported by the United Arab Emirates, to take over the Libyan capital, secure key sites and arrest high-level Gaddafi supporters.

The current UN Security Council resolution 1973 explicitly excludes "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."

Resourcing and support from a foreign government doesn't make a foreign occupation force. Here is a little more detail on that force:

Leaked Plan of Western Governments for "Post-Gaddafi Libya"

The 70-page plan, obtained by London's The Times, charts the first months after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. The document was drawn up by the National Transition Council in Benghazi with Western help.

Officials say the blueprint draws on lessons from the disastrous regime change in Iraq in 2003 and the rebel takeover in eastern Libya in March.

The plans are highly reliant on the defection of parts of the Gaddafi security apparatus to the rebels after his overthrow. This is likely to prove not only risky, but controversial, with many rebel fighters determined to sweep away all vestiges of the regime.

The document includes proposals for a 10,000-15,000 strong "Tripoli task force", resourced and supported by the United Arab Emirates, to take over the Libyan capital, secure key sites and arrest high-level Gaddafi supporters.

That's domestic forces. In detail, active rebels and hoped-for turncoats:

The blueprint contains plans for about 5000 police officers now serving in units not ideologically committed to the Gaddafi regime to be transferred immediately to the interim government's forces to prevent a security vacuum.

The documents claim that the rebel groups in Tripoli and surrounding areas have 8660 supporters, including 3255 in the Gaddafi army.

A mass defection by high-ranking officials is considered highly likely, with 70 per cent of them judged to support the regime out of fear alone.

One positive part of the plan is that the rebel leaders apparently recognise that their main force from Benghazi shouldn't appear in the capital as conquerors:

Rebel leaders express concern in the document that Tripoli's population should not feel they are being "invaded" by troops from eastern Libya. Significantly, there are no plans to deploy rebel forces from the east in Tripoli. Instead "sections of Nafusa Mountain and Zentan freedom fighters" from the west would be moved to the capital and media messages would stress that there is "no external imposition on Tripolitanians". Most of Tripoli's interim security force would come from the city.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:51:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
dennis kucinich tells it like it is

"NATO's top commanders may have acted under color of international law, but they are not exempt from international law," Kucinich said in a statement released by his office. "If members of the Qadhafi regime are to be held accountable, NATO's top commanders must also be held accountable through the International Criminal Court for all civilian deaths resulting from bombing. Otherwise, we will have witnessed the triumph of a new international gangsterism."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61920.html#ixzz1VtJHH0Hs

Posted by: somebody | Aug 23, 2011 5:50:29 PM | 16


C'mon Dennis
Americans unilaterally excluded themselves from International Criminal Court long time ago...because they can. Others are safe ...it's their Court, made by them FOR OTHERS...
They have no shame so ... they can bomb where ever and whenever they want.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 05:13:20 AM EST
No, it's most definitely not their court. The US excluded themselves both from the court and from its jurisdiction.

Get your conspiranoia right.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 05:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was talking about NATO countries (mostly UK, France and Germany) when I said OTHERS. And yes it is THEIR court and obviously USA court too. And yes Americans excluded themselves and for others, show me one single case where ANY of NATO commanders or solders (or any of commanders or solders from "coalition of willing fighting in Iraq) has been prosecuted for any crime? Having fights in so many wars lately is it really possible that they did not commit any crimes?
So it's their court FOR OTHERS (defeated).


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 06:01:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And yes it is THEIR court and obviously USA court too.

For the second time: the US is not part of the Court, as it didn't ratify the treaty. OK?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 06:29:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK formaly it's not USA court but in reality it's their Empire so it's their court too."
We all live in Aerica"

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:34:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:35:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2011/08/the-upcoming-occupation-of-libya.html#comments


Ghadaffi was bad, NATO rule, in conjunction with the Saudi salafist tyrants, is going to be much much worse. Not least because, until this organisation is given a good beating it is likely, in the way that bullies do, to carry on, from one country to another, making and breaking governments whimsically. If only to distract people from seeing that the member states, eunuchs in the Palace of Capitalism, have completely given up governing themselves, their economies, currencies and social security. The only job creation they can undertake involves killing foreigners, on behalf of Washington.
 

Hoping for NATO to fail is widespread: all sane people, concerned at the emergence of a Totalitarian Dictatorship over the entire world, have an interest in scotching this monster before it turns into the world's unelected police force cum Biker Gang.

So now we have NATO soldiers fighting for/with Saudi salafist tyrants' money as mercenaries in Africa.

Can anybody please wake me up...
Can

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 06:13:26 AM EST
Do you take this kind of personal opinion for fact?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:50:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nop...I just share it...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:00:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sovereignty is a bad thing. It will be replaced by an oligopolic empire of corporations and their satraps.

It's logical. What the hell are the good uses of national boundaries in the larger scheme of things?

Nationalism is invented, and soon will be superseded.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 10:23:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah I haven't read Booman Tribune for ages.Here is a great one:

http://www.boomantribune.com/?op=displaystory;sid=2011/8/24/94214/0829

"The Emperor's New Clothes?" How quaint.
...In a comment on Boomans's Libya-related article  Excessive Celebration Penalty, ivor ulfsson wrote:

    If Obama and nato don't start immediately protecting the civilian population of Tripoli from being slaughtered by the rebels, it will prove that the emperor has no clothes and was lying all along about the necessity to intervene in the first place based on  'protecting civilians.'
...I have seen a number of videos of the Qaddafi opposition forces and it appears to me that this is simply a mob of well-armed, poor young men who have been infected with the ongoing "Arab Spring" disease in its weakened form. The disease has already pretty much run its course and now all that is left of it are sporadic outbreaks that resemble areas of inflamed skin on a patient who is recovering from a really severe internal illness. Expecting an organized revolution to evolve from a well-armed mob is simply silly. It's "magical thinking" that has been hyped by the mass media, nothing more. I am sure that our leaders...rulers might be a more accurate term...are quite aware of this fact, so the current, massive hype machine that is trumpeting "VICTORY IN LIBYA" all over the news is just a smokescreen to hide what is really going on there.

Which is...Tah Dah!!!...

Simply more of the same oil-based economic imperialist hustle that has been the order of the day in North Africa since WW I and the British spook T. E. Lawrence's "Lawrence of Arabia" game.

Divide and conquer....from the Latin divide et impera. (The Romans knew.)
...A massive military intervention based on the based on the concept of protection for civilians? One that cost billions of dollars? Maybe even more?

What a quaint idea.

It was an investment. Nothing more and nothing less.

The millions who are dying or about to die in drought and famine-stricken Africa? Where is the multi-billion dollar investment in their protection? It's not there, and the reason it's not there is that those poor people are not sitting on enough highly desirable resources to make such an effort a reasonably good investment.

    It's just business. Nuthin' personal. You understand. Bada-BING!!!

The emperor is actually very well dressed, ivor.

Good stuff

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 06:33:20 AM EST
That article seems to clearly represent the "Arab Spring is destructive nonsense" line of thought.  It seems incredibly counter-intuitive to me.  But then again, I'm an American.
by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:57:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This guy is American too.
Let's say there are all kinds of different Americans (thanks God).
I do not know if he or I at least would like to dismiss "Arab spring" as genuine movement ...I only think that as always it was (miss) used for western interests...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:07:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the thing . . . I just don't see the American interests as there.

It's easy to talk about the Shock Doctrine, American mega-corps moving in and taking over and whatnot, but big infrastructure projects like oil require peace and stability, otherwise things get blown up.  The Arab Spring, on the other hand, has done nothing but introduce chaos and instability everywhere it goes, with no end in sight.  It's an incredibly unlikely vehicle for Western interests.  In fact, I would figure quite the opposite - pressure would be for the West to offer support to the dictators, in exchange for greater corporate access to stable, dictatorial economy.

by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:18:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see the Arab spring as tool of the West. I also think it unlikely that the West was behind the initial uprising in Libya. What I'm not confident about is that the rebels are still a popular movement as opposed to some a collection of amoral factions squabbling for power.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 11:30:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the fact that he refers to the Arab Spring as a disease that infects stupid and uninformed youth is a rather telling sign of his opinion on the matter.
by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:19:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  I did not understand it that way. Yes he compared it to disease as "virus of rebellion" figuratively (in my opinion) because this rebellion spread like a virus. As for Libyans (I think) he wanted to say that as "Virus" is obviously "dying" slowly in Middle East , now so weakened in Libya it "infected" manly young and uninformed. I see it as figuratively speaking. Because amongst the rebels we really do not see serious personalities...there are some ABROAD but they are too afraid to go there until they finish fighting.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:50:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am sorry Zwackus...I totally took over your topic as if it is mine. I'll shut up.
Now you talk...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 06:39:36 AM EST
No no, you went and sourced a bunch of claims, putting them up for discussion.  I just ranted off the top of my head.  Both are important.
by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 06:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, you've heard from me, and vbo has been kind enough to post a fair bit of research and information.  

I couldn't find any information on whether that telescope was actually completed or not - I am a bit curious, though.

by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 06:40:49 AM EST
LIBYA SEEKS U.S. COOPERATION ON ASTRONOMY, SEISMOLOGY AND SATELLITES TRIPOLI 00000133 001.2 OF 002 - Telegraph
Summary: The head of Libya's Center for Remote Sensing and Space Science expressed interest in renewing cooperation with the U.S. on astronomy, seismology and satellites. The Center's Director sought Embassy assistance in purchasing a U.S.-origin "mini-satellite" and telescopes for a new National Observatory project...

...Gashut outlined Libyan plans for a new National Observatory and requested Embassy assistance in identifying a U.S. supplier of 2-4 meter telescopes for the project. Ideally, the telescope would be robotic, and one which astronomers in other countries could remotely access. He said that Libya only had a small, mobile telescope (50 cm). The Libyans have had the specifications for the telescope for five years, and have also discussed the project with the Europeans but, according to Gashut, the Europeans "did not understand the importance" of the project and have not helped identify sources...



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:10:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I posted in reply to Jake who disapproves of my approval of the intervention :

It's not a matter of handing out points.
More a matter of an attempt at naive analysis of the emergence of public opinion as a real player in geopolitics over the last few decades.

I could give a shit about the effect on Sarko's popularity (his approval rating has stabilized in the low thirties over the last few months. Perhaps it would be in the 20s otherwise, who knows.)

You are probably too young to remember the CNN war (Gulf War I / Bush I). We knew it was all wrong, but all we could do was to turn off the TV.

Then Gulf War II / Bush II : fortuitously, "we" (Old Yurrup) found ourselves as adversaries of the US. Public opinion became aware of the disconnect : the US and its public opinion were clearly delusional, way the hell off the rails. We had much better access to information. That experience was a huge enabler of critical thinking, on a subject -- foreign policy -- that most people don't give any thought to.

The Arab Spring generated a spontaneous and damn near universal wave of empathy -- the facebook revolution. Easy to sneer at. Too easy. Our governments were caught wrong-footed, and were forced into a position of benevolent neutrality, by public opinon.

The military intervention in Libya is more complex - the symbolic importance of Libya for the British is immense (you may not know this, but the British won WWII in the Libyan desert). Sarko is an opportunist (you may not have known this either!) Obama and Clinton were eager to buy some good vibes in the Arab world, and thought it would come cheaply.

Libya needed and deserved a revolution, like its neighbours. The exceptional brutality of the regime doomed that revolution in the absence of outside help.

When politicians do the right thing, it's very often for the wrong reasons. That's the way it works. It's the best we can hope for.

I have no reason to suspect that the intervening powers will not promote or enable democracy in Libya. Post-Communist Central Europe is the precedent, and it didn't turn out too badly (we don't have to like the governments they elect, we can admit that they have functioning democracies).


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:20:53 AM EST
I have no reason to suspect that the intervening powers will not promote or enable democracy in Libya.

You mean like they've done in Iraq, Afghanistan, countless central American countries, and not a few African fiefdoms?

Post-Communist Central Europe is the precedent,

Poland etc may be more overtly capitalist, but it's not clear they're more democratic.

In spite of the common belief otherwise, elections are not democracy. The West itself hardly qualifies as a functioning democracy - not when bankers set domestic policy and arms dealers and oil merchants set foreign policy.

You are probably too young to remember the CNN war (Gulf War I / Bush I). We knew it was all wrong, but all we could do was to turn off the TV.

Well, quite. And likewise with the sham 'democratic' decision to wage GW II. And if there's no democracy at home, except for a bit of sham voting and campaigning every few years that has been proven reliably to have next to no influence on strategic policy, how can it be exported to Libya?

My prediction is that Libyan oil, like Iraqi oil, will mostly stay in the ground, keeping prices high for an extended period.

Someone will benefit from this, but it won't be the democratically engaged populations of Western countries - or of Libya.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:29:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Poland etc may be more overtly capitalist, but it's not clear they're more democratic.

Well, that sort of crystallises why I have difficulty having political discussions with you.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:29:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to agree.  Government in the West has problems, but most of them stem from the refusal of the population to participate in the system.  Sure, they aren't exactly encouraged to do so, but nothing would turn the direction of government around in the US and several other Western democracies than the revival of mass participation in the political system at every level.  Simply being part of the system provides an education into the nature and content of politics and government that is worth more than all the campaign ads in the world combined, and the media machine would quickly find itself drained of its power to manufacture consent.

Yes, I'm a bit of a utopian idealist, but I really do believe in the power of the formal structures of democracy.

That said, comparing political freedom under East Bloc Communism to the defective and distasteful forms of democracy we find now in Eastern Europe is just ridiculous.  Belarus, anyone?  Or for that matter, North Korea?

by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:55:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That said, comparing political freedom under East Bloc Communism to the defective and distasteful forms of democracy we find now in Eastern Europe is just ridiculous.

Well again you are falling for western media propaganda a little bit. You have not lived under communism so all you know is from your media. Ok you are talking about "political" freedom and obviously there was not political freedom under communists. There was one party and if you wanted to enter politic there was no choice. Then again not many people wanted to enter politics or even bother with it and a lot of them entered not because they were interested but because then it would be easier for them to get job and promotion. Ok there were at some point's dangerous times (not in my adulthood) when it was better to shut up but it's not that we all was in fear to be jailed daily. Free speech...Generally at least in ex YU it wasn't big deal to criticize Tito (we didn't pay attention who is in government because they were puppets anyway) and system. There was a lot of jokes/satire published and movies and tether plays or songs in protest to system. It wasn't all doom and gloom. As for media , yes we wanted free media but now experiencing western media I can see that it was an illusion .Most of us wanted democracy but when it came (sort of) many were disappointed. Not they would like to go back seriously but it did not fulfil people's expectations. Many "hard core communists" just changed "their suits" and became hard core nationalists, so called democrats etc. and most of the are in power to this day. Then if it wasn't them enough to bear we have new parties ex dissidents and so called opposition that is now far right to extreme right looking more and more like fascists in many of those countries as we can see now.
I do not live there for quite some time but I am listening to people there. It would be interesting to hear from DODO on this topic.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:37:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
It would be interesting to hear from DODO on this topic.

You can start by reading his diary:

European Tribune - Ostalgie today - by DoDo
Tue Jun 30th, 2009

Ostalgie was a word coined in the late nineties in Germany, for the nostalgia felt by part of the East Germans towards the lost artefacts, style, certainties, relative safety, and identity in the "German Democratic Republic". Something that was difficult to fathom for those in West Germany who saw it as nothing else but a big temporary prison -- and former East Germans who felt it like a big temporary prison. Hence, it is cause for emotional debates ever since.
by Bernard on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 04:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That diary is limited in its scope to East Germany. Democratic deficits felt by the population come up, though there is the more special context of German Reunification. IMHO the most relevant part to the discussion upthread is in this comment of mine where I take on the "nostalgia stems from unmet promises of material wealth" meme.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1 - Yugoslavia was not Romania, or Belarus, or China, or North Korea, or the Soviet Union.  Different leaders created different socialisms, and Yugoslavia had a reputation for being different.  You know the Yugoslav and ex-Yugoslav situation far better than I ever possibly can.  Neither of us know what it was like in Libya under Gadafi - we just hear stuff.

2 - I have not, and will not, make claims about the economy or daily life being much better in post-socialist countries after the fall of global Communism.  The number look bad, and I don't have the personal experience to judge them.  However, the political system is different now, and objectively free-er.  Whether this really matters or not is another question entirely, but it is more one of political philosophy than current events.  Is an authoritarian regime that provides social stability preferable to an oligarchic democracy that does not?  Which matters more, guaranteed food and housing, or opportunity (no matter how dirty and corrupt it may be) and a chance (however small) of political participation?

I don't think there is an easy answer, and I wrote this diary because I am dissatisfied with the various easy, and perhaps a tad cynical, responses to the Libyan situation that I have seen here in ET.  I don't think the easy answers and quick responses are appropriate in response to the variety of new problems that have emerged as a result of the Arab Spring.

by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 11:28:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are no easy or even at all good answers for Libyans. Qaddafi is gone, one way or another, so what is in front? I would consider democracy came to Libya if when election comes, Qaddafi's followers who would present ideas that had already been in place, are on a ballot paper too. And elections to be real not faked as in Iraq and Afghanistan and people choosing freely without presser. One can only dream about it.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 12:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best criteria for the arrival of "democracy" is when regular elections are held and incumbents peacefully turn over the reins of government to victorious opponents as a matter of routine. But that is only a necessary condition and is far from a sufficient condition, as the recent political history of the USA amply demonstrates. "Democracy" remains very much a work in process.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 01:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the main time people are daying...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 05:21:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you mean: in the meantime people are dying?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 05:28:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK yes that's it.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:50:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume you do not call democracy what took place in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why would it be different in Libya?
Its same old story with puppet governments, fake elections and mass killing on a daily bases...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 12:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... just as in a past era legitimacy was claimed by finding some real or invented lineage with the previous monarch, or claiming that the past dynasty had lost the mandate of heaven and then whomever ended up on top of the struggle to establish a new one had the mandate of heaven demonstrated by virtue of winning that struggle.

Actual democracy, in which the governed select between competing potential ruling elites, is an inconvenience if you have just beaten a previous dictator and are the new ruling elite, so the sham election is preferred by those already in power, unless existing institutions have become established in which pursuit of sham elections will undermine the governing coalition or lay the governing coalition open to being undermined.

While a puppet government is likely to be installed with a sham election, simple observation of a sham election is not sufficient evidence to conclude that the country has a puppet government, since a sham election may also be of use to the current domestic ruling elite.

Establishing an independent government in the middle of a foreign occupation is a highly unlikely outcome, unless its part of a negotiated withdrawal of that occupying force. But when foreign forces never actually occupied the country, establishing a government with some measure of real independence is a real possibility, since if the countries were willing to the invade to stamp their authority on the country, they could have invaded at the outset.

Of course, while establishment of authoritarian rule is sometimes simplified as an event, its normally a process, and democratization is always a process. Establishment of a government with some democratic institutions and some measure of independence makes it possible for democratization to be pursued by people in that country, but its advance depends upon the successes of those pursuing it.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 01:41:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yugoslavia was not Romania, or Belarus, or China, or North Korea, or the Soviet Union.

But this argument applies to what you said originally, too. Yugoslavia was not part of the East Bloc except for its first few years, and Tito's brutal era was constrained to the same years, but "East Bloc Communism" itself was rather diverse geographically and in time. Say, North Korea was much worse than East Germany most of the time, East Germany was worse than Czechoslovakia or Hungary from the seventies.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 04:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have not, and will not, make claims about the economy or daily life being much better in post-socialist countries

Read vbo again: she wasn't speaking about the economy. She was speaking about media freedom, old and new political elites, and rabid extremists. You probably read her "did not fulfil people's expectations" and thought of the standard Western mis-representation that assumes people expected economic Canaan.

However, the political system is different now, and objectively free-er.

Well, is it? When majorities don't participate in elections, when those who do vote for parties that take away the rights of parts of the population, when on the questions that matter all parties deviate from the popular will and/or the government defers to 'advice' from foreign institutions lacking oversight by an elected body, I have my doubts. Some forms of oligarchic multi-party pseudo-democracy can be worse than some forms of oligarchic single-party pseudo-democracy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 05:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The definitive government in the west is the US.

Just how much freedom - let alone political freedom is there in the US these days? Are the stories of left wing activists being carefully monitored and framed on political charges really unknown.

No the US is not as bad as North Korea - assuming you are in the US and not - say Uzbekistan where political dissidents are boiled alive. Traditionally the US maintains its worst for its client states. As the US collapses that is changing with things like a president sign off on assassination of US citizens - at home and abroad.

We have Pravda criticizing the obsequious nature of US media. We have arbitrary arrest and detention. Political assassination. Torture (At least one crucifixion.)  Extreme poverty. Petty bureaucracy (eg TSA). Extreme security apparatus with spying on all its citizens. Government secrecy and a court system that shows its deference to that security. Corrupt ideologically driven Supreme Court judges (Some indication that Clarence Thomas would fall in this category for example). Multi tiered legal system. Multiple wars and secret wars - I hear rumours that there are 7. Hell I can't even name them all.

Maybe East Bloc Communism is worse but the comparison is anything but ridiculous.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:03:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
edwin:
The definitive government in the west is the US.

That may appear to be true from where you're sitting, but to me it looks like an outlier. A two-year parliamentary term, infinitely renewable, and effectively no limit on campaign funding, etc... make for a degenerescence of democracy that I can't see any parallel for in other "western" countries. All have their specific or systemic problems, but for me the USA is the worst.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 07:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nothing would turn the direction of government around in the US and several other Western democracies than the revival of mass participation in the political system at every level

If that happened they would call it "a crisis of democracy".

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 10:10:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zwackus:
nothing would turn the direction of government around in the US and several other Western democracies than the revival of mass participation in the political system at every level

As far as I know, the eastern bloc had a nominally democratic system without real choices. But what would have happened if there had been active mass participation in the party? Would the nominal turned real? And would it have been crushed as attempts at counter-revolution?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 05:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
was the system. Discussion is allowed, but majority decicions must be upheld by all. It's easy, in such a system, to identify dissenting elements and purge them before they can form a majority.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 07:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I know, the eastern bloc had a nominally democratic system without real choices.

Yep. In fact there were even examples of nominal pluralism. Eastern Germany had the so-called bloc parties (Blockparteien), which were the nominal (entirely under control) remains of some non-socialist post-WWII all-German parties, which formed part of an election 'alliance' with the communists originally called the Anti-Fascistic-Democratic Bloc. That is, although nominally parties on their own right, in elections, they ran on the same single list with the SED. (After Reunification, the block parties were merged with the West German CDU and FDP for the latter to gain a local party infrastructure in the East; a history conveniently "forgotten" by those conservatives always blasting the Left Party for its 'communist past'.) In Hungary, although all other parties were merged into the Party or abolished, the umbrella organization for elections (here called the Patriotic People's Front) remained. Thus candidates weren't necessarily Party members, and there were multiple candidates competing for some seats (and almost all seats in the last election in 1985). One could say that in the last decade or two, the Patriotic People's Front served as a venue for the regime to gain legitimacy from those who want to participate in public life but don't want to be Party members.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that Iraq and not Eastern Europe is the precedent. The local military and security services were built to be hostile to the West and outright occupation was not feasible. Without at least the illusion of democracy there would probably be an USSR 2.0.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:

My prediction is that Libyan oil, like Iraqi oil, will mostly stay in the ground, keeping prices high for an extended period.

Ah, so the invasion of Iraq was not about developing Iraqi oil exploitation (as I had naïvely thought) but about keeping it in the ground?

Someone will benefit from this

So, the Iraq invasion and the Libyan intervention were sponsored by a coalition of OPEC ans renewable energy developers?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:40:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry Generic, I meant to reply to ThatBritGuy above. I won't reply to your comment. Too gnomic for me.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:41:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just meant to say that in the Post Soviet countries the army and security services were both institutionally hostile to the West and powerful enough to resist displacement. In Libya the power system and the army is in ruins and the rebels are full of western advisers.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 12:04:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think military and security services can be rather quick in switching sides after regime collapses. The nuclear deterrent had more to do with the lack of US boots on East Bloc soil.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:12:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the nuclear deterrent

Was the main reason occupation wasn't feasible. And even if the security services switch allegiance a lot faster than I give them credit for they still wouldn't be trusted. And they surely would be in a position to resist displacement by a foreign power.

It was in the Council of Europe report on secret prisons that some American apparatchik gave as reason why they kept the local services out of the loop that they still were KGB:

"In a lot of those countries, there is still a mindset formed during the Cold War that we are not always
on their side. There's a certain tendency to be less than open to our advances. You have to
remember most of the East European services are KGB services and that doesn't change overnight.
I think Poland is the main exception; we have an extraordinary relationship with Poland. My
experience is that if the Poles can help us they will. Whether it's intelligence, or economics, or
politics or diplomacy - they are our allies. I guess if there is a special relationship outside of the "four
eyes"85 group, then it is the Americans and the Poles."


Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 09:12:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Post-Communist Central Europe is the precedent

For what? Surely not for Western military intervention?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:26:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like post-communist Central Europe, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya all have pretty well-educated populations, have been subject to authoritarian regimes with a socialist alibi, and aspire to real democracy.

These are conditions in which it is possible for real democracy to emerge.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:19:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You spoke about the formation of democracy in the presence of foreign military involvement on the rebel side, which is a non-negligible factor and wasn't present in Central Europe.

Disregarding foreign intervention, thinking of whether there are counter-examples to real democracy growing from well-educated populations after revolutions, I think Iran is one.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:28:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, Iran did have real democracy until the Americans toppled Mossadeq. When you are up against a hostile great power that views ayatollahs as preferable to social democrats, the social democrats have to win every revolution and the ayatollahs only have to win one.

I would also quarrel with the notion that the ayatollahs sprang from a well-educated population - the revolutionary movement was a coalition between a conservative rural population opposed to the Shah's social reformism and an educated urban population opposed to the Shah's political police (and his acting as a pliable client to hostile foreign powers).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would quibble with "Iran did have real democracy until the Americans toppled Mossadeq." That was the first experience Iran had with democracy and it was brief, not sufficient to establish any real democratic institutions and traditions. That it was sabotaged by the UK and the USA is to the eternal discredit of both of those countries.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 11:38:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it important to intervene in Libya but not in Syria. Or, for that matter, in dozens of other countries where the elite class has monopolized the economy and captured the wealth for themselves?
by asdf on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 04:43:07 PM EST
it's a very mixed picture, with many enmeshed motives below the surface for sure.

camerozy, dickswinging for votegetting, especially after the embarrassing revelations about sarko's election campaign money being swollen by gadaffi, and cameron keen to score some easy brownie points, once the arab spring was well in motion.

gadaffi was too unpredictable for serious business, so the risk what's coming after maybe being worse seemed worth taking.

he had some genuine lefty ideals at one point, before becoming a parody himself to elvis levels. his followers hung in there perhaps he had a fairer distribution of wealth in his country than many others in the same kind of boat, ie lotsa oil$, medieval tribal setups, and lots of unemployed, irascible young males with too little to do.

mostly i think nato went in there because they need to use up some munitions, and because europe's right was tired of having its belligerence questioned by bigger dicks across the pond.

nothing like bombing brown people to take the public's mind off austerity measures at home, works every time, and libya is not afghanistan in terms of difficulty.

as for the letter agencies being the fomenters of these springs, i guess they had hedged their bets by being ready to turn on a dime if the wind shifted, so one day supporting the dictator du jour and the next praising/facilitating the use of social media when it's somewhere else, whereas in britain people are getting cautioned for planning a water fight on FB.

more of the usual incoherent bullshit on the surface, resource sequestration dependably proceeding under the froth and foam.

hopefully the fear of more ordinance landing on other dictatorships may make them proactive, that would be a good outcome of this sortie. i still have too mixed feelings about ever using military solutions to social problems, and time will tell more whether libyans can find better leaders than El Moamar.

the rebels are united in what they don't want, the bigger challenge will be to preserve that unity when deciding what they do once the bete noir is gone.

with all these new constitutions being written for egypt, tunisia and now libya, i wonder if they could come up with a template that could work for them all, possibly leading to a deeper discussion of what a future fairest, best designed global constitution could stipulate.

"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 07:30:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In no particular order:

  • Damascus has better flak than Tripoli.

  • The Syrian government has friends. Qaddafi had no friends who matter.

  • Sarko already got his photo op.

  • Syria shares borders with Israel and Iraq. 'Daffy's part of Libya is five hundred km from the nearest American client state.

  • The Syrian protests are protests, not a proper civil war - no matter how flat Sarko, Poshboy and Uncle Sam stomp the Syrian army, the protesters are still not going to be able to take control of the country unless a foreign power lends them a mechanised division or two. And for a variety of reasons, some of which are actually unimpeachable, nobody wants to drive a mechanised division to Damascus.

At least those would be my guesses.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 08:55:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreeing generally with JakeS, I'd just like to add that the particular situation and the particular circumstances really do matter.  That is why, as I stated in the original post, I do not think general ideologies are particularly interesting or relevant.  Just because something makes sense in one place and one time does not mean that it makes sense in every analogous situation.
by Zwackus on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 11:30:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, there is a greater potential of Sunni Islamist takeover.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:06:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That, or the fact that if you stomp the Syrian army flat, the only people with feet on the ground in the area are gonna be the Hezzies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 12:42:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-25/libya-key-players3a-gaddafi-and-rebels/2854882
Libya key players: Rebels and Gaddafis
 

Do you think these rebels' key players have any communication with young armed rebels on the streets...at list phone communication...?
Key players are either ex Qaddafi's people that defected recently (probably with a lot of unpopular history behind them) or exiles from USA. How will those fighters feel about them once they kill Qaddafi?
Any thoughts?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 09:10:42 PM EST
Leaders of a provisional governement are, necessarily, people who have experience of organizing and decision-making. Therefore, almost by definition, recent defectors, since the regime ruled everything, including economic activity.

Libyans have a decent level of education, so it probably won't be long before a new generation of decision-makers can emerge. Probably only a few years. The whole question is whether the Old Guard will attempt, or succeed, to cement themselves in place before then.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 07:55:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=08&dd=25&nav_id=76082

BELGRADE -- There is no possibility for Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to seek political asylum in Serbia, Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac has said.

He was reacting to reports in Croatian media today that cited a member of the leadership of Libya's rebels as saying that Gaddafi might seek asylum in "Chad, Algeria, Venezuela, Serbia or Croatia".

A large amount of disinformation is coming out of Libya at the moment, Šutanovac noted.

Reacting to another report that quoted the rebels - that said five Serbian citizens, allegedly "snipers", were captured near Tripoli - Šutanovac said he did not know who those citizens were, and added that there were no members of Serbia's security forces in the north African country.

"We are awaiting to receive information about the captured citizens," said the minister.

Šutanovac also stated that he believed the five men were construction workers, which is how they reportedly identified themselves, but added that should they prove to be members of the army or police - "that would mean their engagement there was personal".



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 25th, 2011 at 11:56:19 PM EST
If we can belive anything these people say...?

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/world-article.php?yyyy=2011&mm=08&dd=25&nav_id=76071

"Gaddafi could seek asylum in Serbia or Croatia"

ZAGREB, TRIPOLI -- Libyan Transitional National Council member Fatima Mahmoud has said that Muammar Gaddafi could seek asylum in Chad, Algeria, Venezuela, Croatia or Serbia.
She told Zagreb-based daily Večernji list that Gaddafi was still in Libya but that he had left Tripoli.

"We have information that he could seek asylum in five countries he has good relations with today, unless he gets caught or killed," Mahmoud stressed,
..."It is well known that those countries, their official governments or powerful politicians communicate with him and give him advice even today. It is known that he has very good relations with Serbia and former Croatian President Stjepan Mesić, who offered him help in the name of their great friendship," she was quoted as saying.

Mahmoud claims that there had been "many mercenaries and military experts from African countries, but also from the former Yugoslavia, especially from Croatia and Serbia" among Gaddafi's forces.

The rebels said on Wednesday night that they had captured five Serbians suspected of being Gaddafi's snipers.
...The Libyan Transitional National Council member fears that a civil war could break out after Gaddafi's fall, bearing in mind that there are many Islamists who follow Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's ideology among the rebels.
...He added that more than 500 people were killed and several thousands wounded on both sides.

"We don't have time to bury the dead, there are so many of them," he stressed, adding that Gaddafi's forces were still strong in southern parts of the country near borders with Chad and Sudan and that the rebel forces had seized Gaddafi's private jet that had been "full of money and gold"

Ah GOLD that is the stuff that they are able to find...Otherwise their purpose seems to be to spread rumours and lies. Not sure if they know where their ass is...let alone Qaddafi...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 12:43:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The administration also realized that it could not get support from its own party, which is equivocal on almost all use of force, nor from the opposition, which reserves the right to use force to Presidents of its own party. The Republicans are Republicans first, and at this point, Americans not at all. Democrats rally around a war President, Republicans rally around a Republican war President. Politics continues from the water's edge, and goes round the world at this point.

Thus, unconstitutionally, but pragmatically, they went to war by bombing. They delayed and stonewalled Congress, became involved in debt fights and other domestic issues, and continued that air campaign. The air campaign revealed the horrible weakness that a decade of occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan had wrought. Our own allies asked for American planes not to be involved, so bad was their marksmanship and fire discipline. Run ragged by virtually 10 years of non-stop use and abuse, our fighter bombers were less effective than they had been in the air war over Iraq 8 years ago. Instead, the focus shifted to missiles, and drones, close air support and some amount of, again illegal, ground presence by American troops.

This makeshift war policy, which had the brokered support of the Europeans, particularly the French and the British, was, at first, an abject disaster. The rebellion had already flared in Tripoli, and utterly failed to secure its objectives. The introduction of NATO force was, then on the peripheries of the Libyan state, without funds, without popular backing, and without trained fighters. It was essentially a series of clan rebellions gathered under one flag. The first months of the air campaign were, more or less, devoted to preventing them from being destroyed by Libyan tanks and air power.


"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 07:34:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Libya: rebels move government to Tripoli - live updates | World news | guardian.co.uk

Wired magazine's Danger Room blog has more detail about the concerns about Libyan weapons.

The ease with which the rebels were able to arm themselves points to their next massive problem: securing those weapons before they fuel a lethal insurgency or flood the global arms bazaar ...

Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, has spent time on the ground in Libya during the uprising. He tells Danger Room that "weapon proliferation out of Libya is potentially one of the largest we have ever documented -- 2003 Iraq pales in comparison -- and so the risks are equally much more significant."

Many in the west worry about the remnants of Gaddafi's chemical-weapons program and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles. However, Bouckaert says it's Libya's vast arsenals of low-tech gear like artillery shells and Grad missiles that are most likely to be fashioned into insurgent weapons, such as improvised explosive devices.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 08:16:22 AM EST
It's not just weapon. People are dying as we speak...they do not have electricity, water, food...In Tripoli people die when they go to trow rubbish and family will never know who killed them ( BBC last night).
I would appreciate your love for democracy if you are in that situation and if your brother just died going to trow rubbish...It is nice from far away to cheer...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 05:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was the Arab Spring created by, or even sparked by, the West?

I put that in the bullshit category; but, even regarding the role of Facebook et al, I again point to this excellent article on the Egyptian revolution: The Secret Rally That Sparked an Uprising.

Libya, in the person of Gadafi, had quite possibly the worst authoritarian dictator of all the Arab countries.  Just look at him!

He may look like an idiot, but when it comes to bloodshed, the dictators of Syria and Yemen don't stand back, and the authoritarians at the helm of the oligarchic pseudo-democracy of Iran at times outdid him. At any rate, a more important comparison is between the old and new regimes. The worst case example is again like Iran, where the brutal regime of the Shah was overthrown by a revolution which was overtaken by even more brutal forces. In Libya, amnesty international criticised the rebels for their share of disquieting human rights abuses, which extend from the mistreatment of black African guest workers to wanton killings and rape of detainees.

the rebels got their act together fairly quickly

Six months I wouldn't call quick. A lot of people died during that time in the conflict. Possibly more civilians than would have died had the West failed to help the rebels and let pro-Gaddafi forces crush them. On the other hand, these six months are short compared to the 12 years of the sanctions and no-fly zone regime over Iraq (which was originally intended as but failed to induce a regime collapse or overthrow from within).

Maybe this will turn out poorly.

You make that too hypothetical. The rebels already have a record of human rights abuses, they already have a record of assassinations and insubordinations, so the question is whether those who want French-style democracy will gain control of the situation or not.

it is arguable if the West caused more damage with its bombing campaign, and the fighting this allowed, than Gadafi would have employed to subdue his own people.

Is it? Given the speed the rebels were pushed back at after their first march West from Benghazi, it would likely have been over in a week or two. Instead, there was sustained fighting, for six months, and not without artillery use against inhabited areas (even if the air force wasn't used any more).

He already ran the state for his own personal benefit, and it seems rather unlikely that he would spring for a massive re-building project in the rebel areas.

Gaddafi may have run the state for his own benefit, but that included housing and road projects and strategic megaprojects like a countrywide freshwater canal system and a countrywide railway system. It remains to be seen whether the new powers that be will pull it off. IMHO the key will be whether they will rely on foreign aid. If so, that will come with strings attached that will economically strangle any ambition. If, instead, they will focus on self-reliance with oil income, then it can work out.

And to shill for Western capitalism, it's quite possible that Western companies could manage Libya's oil assets and exports far more effectively than whatever was in place before.

Effective or not is not what matters, keeping the profits and having a free hand over its spending is what does.

that involvement and participation could well make a variety of other large investment projects more feasible, in a shorter time-frame - the trans-African railway I heard DoDo mention

No, that would make it less feasible. Those lines (a domestic network, part of which would form the part of a line along the southern shore of the Mediterranean; not really trans-African) were built by Russian and Chinese companies, which aren't welcome by the new regime. European companies would finish the work for higher prices.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 06:05:00 PM EST
Thanks for carefully parsing my original post.  I'll respond later when I have more time.
by Zwackus on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:12:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Libya, in the person of Gadafi, had quite possibly the worst authoritarian dictator of all the Arab countries.  Just look at him!

The other Arab dictators were contend with screwing over their own people. Gadafi wasn't as careful. I'm not sure there is more to his comparable bad image.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter

by generic on Fri Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:22:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
>

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 05:04:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.moonofalabama.org/

It is worth reminding everyone something never mentioned, that UNSCR 1973 which established the no fly zone and mandate to protect civilians had

"the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;"

That is in Operative Para 2 of the Resolution

Plainly the people of Sirte hold a different view to the "rebels" as to who should run the country. NATO have in effect declared being in Gadaffi's political camp a capital offence. There is no way the massive assault on Sirte is "facilitating dialogue". it is rather killing those who do not hold the NATO approved opinion. That is the actual truth. It is extremely plain.
...
"Liberal intervention" does not exist. What we have is the opposite; highly selective neo-imperial wars aimed at ensuring politically client control of key physical resources.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:09:03 AM EST
As black is dark.
by Lynch on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, it is completely amoral. Wikileaks has a new bunch of cables out, McCain and Liebermann promised to arm Libya in 2009
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/24/1010162/-Wikileaks:-Sens-McCain,-Lieberman-and-Graham-promi sed-to-help-arm-Libya-in2009

Posted by: somebody | Aug 26, 2011 9:44:52 AM | 3



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:13:58 AM EST
Meh, I don't really see the problem here.

Libya was a problem for us for decades, and then Tripoli suddenly started to act somewhat non-belligerent, is it strange that we grasp for that? However, when there is an uprising by the Libyan people against the dictator, well, that's even better! Kadaffi is after all an asshole, even if he's behaving better than he used to.

So basically, having Kadaffi sponsor terrorists is bad. Having him behave like a run-of-the-mill tinpot dictator is better. Getting rid of him alltogether is the best. What's illogical about that?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 02:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meh, I don't really see the problem here.
...and then Tripoli suddenly started to act somewhat non-belligerent, is it strange that we grasp for that? However, when there is an uprising by the Libyan people against the dictator, well, that's even better!

Hah, no wonder that you can't see the problem...but others can
Westerners are so "dehumanised" they do not count death and suffering of all those nations that they engaged in war in their countries. And it's not only about "brown" people (it's even worse when it's about them).Unless the war and suffering is in their own yard, who cares. Obviously you people are so distant to a war and suffering because you did not have a war in your yard for so long...That's why you don't see people there, all you see is interest and market figures. Of course I am not saying that all the westerners are like that and I do respect those who consider people in their perception but I am afraid that there are a lot of those like you Starvid. I am kind of disappointed with your view on this...no offend.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 01:36:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not offended by your opinion. But I am somewhat confused, as it seems that your comment has nothing whatsoever to do with the opinion of mine which you are commenting upon.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:33:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alex Thomson (UK's Channel 4 News journalist) is in Tripoli's Abu Salim district. He went to the areas hospital 5 hours ago says the hospital has become a morgue with almost no medical supplies and no more room for the dead.

He also tweeted 4 hours ago that the water supply to most of Tripoli had just been cut off and taps were not working.

http://blogs.channel4.com/world-news-blog/the-horror-of-abu-salim/18014

Also while South Africa has agreed to release funds, the African Union (AU) has just voted to not recognise the Rebel Council without peace talks. Last night Algeria which borders Libya refused to recognise the Rebel government.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2011/08/algeria-not-recognizing-libyan-rebel-governmen t-fears-al-qaeda-ties.html

Also yesterday a UN Security Council meeting on Syria to discuss sanctions didn't go well with Russia and China refusing to even take part. "The Russian and Chinese seats were empty. They sent no one." said one UN diplomat.

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/world/russia-china-boycott-syria-sanction-talks-at-un-security- council/story-e6frfkui-1226122604525



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:36:27 AM EST
Chinese and Russian reaction sounds reasonable. Since the west reads UN security council resolutions like Bush reads the Geneva convetion there is not much to talk about is there? If western countries wants to bomb Syria why give them any bit of text that will be warped into a bombing manual.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:47:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why give them any bit of text that will be warped into a bombing manual

Well, they've given it on numerous occasions in the past. Yugoslavia, Iraq, Lybia, ...

by Lynch on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:53:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All the more reason for it to be sensible to not show up for the charade.

PN: The 2003 Iraq war had to use the text from the 90ies as the Security Council refused to issue a new one.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:58:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course... according to local witnesses the gruesome killings are attributed to the Quaddafi regime and an independent investigation will be initiated by the UK government which will, no doubt, express its deep concern and call for restraint while... bombing the fuck out of Syrta. Public opinion will swallow and even applaud. Just appalling.
by Lynch on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:50:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I've said on previous occasions, there will be no war with Syria. Wanna bet?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 02:29:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There will be no war with Syria but for two reasons:
  1. Small reserves of oil
  2. Russia
Where ever there is not enough oil West will not engage to "bring democracy" no matter how many people die...simple as that.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 01:07:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrta (or Sirte) not Syria.
by Lynch on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 01:47:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/middle_east/mh18ak01.html

Syria is an interesting case because it is, perhaps, the only current issue that Iran and Israel agree on. Iran is deeply invested in the Assad regime and wary of increased Sunni power in Syria. Israel is just as deeply concerned that the Assad regime - a known and manageable devil from the Israeli point of view - could collapse and be replaced by a Sunni Islamist regime with close ties to Hamas and what is left of al-Qaeda in the Levant. These are fears, not certainties, but the fears make for interesting bedfellows.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 02:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a complete mystery to me why Israel should be hostile to a Sunni takeover in Syria, given that this would almost certainly erode Hezbollah's and Iran's influence.

Yeah, it might give Hamas an ally. But the Hezzies are a lot scarier than Hamas in very nearly every way that matters.

Then again, Israel's foreign policy has never precisely been a shining beacon of sanity...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:43:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.moonofalabama.org/

Armed gangs in Libya have ransacked the residence of the South Korean ambassador, broke into the embassy of Bulgaria and looted the Venezuelan embassy.

The folks at Intelnews have some suspicions:

    [C]ould it be that these attacks are not led by the rebels themselves, but by some of their embedded American and Western European intelligence operatives, who may be taking advantage of the chaotic situation in the Libyan capital to collect valuable documents from selected foreign embassies?

Maybe, maybe not. It is weird that some embassies get protection by the rebels while others do not. One could explain this with regards to the Venezuelan embassy as Venezuela supports Gaddhafi's position, but why attacking the embassies of Bulgaria or South Korea?

It shows that the new puppet dictatorship of the Transitional National Council is either incapable of keeping foreign embassies safe or is deliberately leaving some unprotected. On who's advice?



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 10:54:10 AM EST
LOL. Europe isn't only heading for fascism... it's already there. Can't you see that?

Example... when the French taxpayers pay a billion Euros to wage war (read: lost limbs, burned children & blown off heads) for the interests of one company's shareholders (TOTAL's) which made 13 billion Euros of profits in 2010 and paid 0 in French taxes that same year... you've got fascism. Maybe you'd prefer to call it corporatism? How many wars are Europeans waging? In the name of?

That the masses are dumbed down by daily MSM propaganda and CENSORSHIP of free thought & expression to the point that they don't react anymore (65% of French support the war in Libya) doesn't make it any less of a fascist society. Quite the contrary...

by Lynch on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 12:46:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Total has been active in Lybia for some time, and apparently doing quite well with Gadaffis' regime (no surprise there): in 2010, Total's "production was 55 kboe/d", but has totally shut down "since early March" (source).

You claim that the war was waged (with French taxpayers money) by the French government to benefit Total: can you please back up these assertions?

by Bernard on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 05:21:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Being a small-time shareholder of Total, I haven't seen any of that alleged cash coming in my direction, but I'll be sure to notify you when it turns up in my account, or even on the income statement. ^^

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 02:27:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US oil companies are much bigger than Total in Libya. Chinese and Russian companies also are present. All existing contracts will be honoured. If all the new concessions go to Total... that will be interesting, but strikes me as not very plausible. Remind us what happened in Iraq?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 05:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters' analysis, FWIW:

ENI leads Libya oil race; Russia, China may lose out | Reuters

(Reuters) - Italian oil company Eni led the charge back into Libya on Monday as rebels hailing the end of Muammar Gaddafi's rule warned Russian and Chinese firms that they may lose out on lucrative oil contracts for failing to support the rebellion.
by Bernard on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 05:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, what did happen in Iraq?

I remember the outrage about the oil law, but not how it went down.

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News - US's Iraq oil grab is a done deal

The law represents no less than institutionalized raping and pillaging of Iraq's oil wealth. It represents the death knell of nationalized (from 1972 to 1975) Iraqi resources, now replaced by production sharing agreements (PSAs) - which translate into savage privatization and monster profit rates of up to 75% for (basically US) Big Oil. Sixty-five of Iraq's roughly 80 oilfields already known will be offered for Big Oil to exploit. As if this were not enough, the law reduces in practice the role of Baghdad to a minimum. Oil wealth, in theory, will be distributed directly to Kurds in the north, Shi'ites in the south and Sunnis in the center. For all practical purposes, Iraq will be partitioned into three statelets. Most of the country's reserves are in the Shi'ite-dominated south, while the Kurdish north holds the best prospects for future drilling.

The approval of the draft law by the fractious 275-member Iraqi Parliament, in March, will be a mere formality. Hussain al-Shahristani, Iraq's oil minister, is beaming. So is dodgy Barnham Salih: a Kurd, committed cheerleader of the US invasion and occupation, then deputy prime minister, big PSA fan, and head of a committee that was debating the law.

But there was not much to be debated. The law was in essence drafted, behind locked doors, by a US consulting firm hired by the Bush administration and then carefully retouched by Big Oil, the International Monetary Fund, former US deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz' World Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development. It's virtually a US law (its original language is English, not Arabic).

Daily Kos: What Happened to the Oil Law Benchmark?

Except for three vague sentences that deal with revenue sharing, the rest of a 33-page draft of the law effectively lays the foundation for the privatization of Iraq's oil industry.

As per the oil law, international oil companies could be granted 25 year (20, plus a 5 year extension) contracts which would give them much greater ownership of and profits from Iraqi oil fields than they would be allowed by other possible models for the development of the country's oil sector. Other major oil producers in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran maintain nationalized oil systems that do not allow foreign control of their oil reserves.

The IMF insists that forgiveness of some of Iraq's debt is dependent on the passing of the legislation. While re-establishing a state owned Iraqi National Oil Company and giving it a role in maintaining pipelines and extracting oil from fields which are already being exploited, the law provides for the long-term leasing of the country's vast untapped reserves to foreign companies.

I fail to find anything that says that the oil law was passed or what oil law is operational in Iraq today, but I did find this:

Daily Kos: What Happened to the Oil Law Benchmark?

Except for three vague sentences that deal with revenue sharing, the rest of a 33-page draft of the law effectively lays the foundation for the privatization of Iraq's oil industry.

As per the oil law, international oil companies could be granted 25 year (20, plus a 5 year extension) contracts which would give them much greater ownership of and profits from Iraqi oil fields than they would be allowed by other possible models for the development of the country's oil sector. Other major oil producers in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran maintain nationalized oil systems that do not allow foreign control of their oil reserves.

The IMF insists that forgiveness of some of Iraq's debt is dependent on the passing of the legislation. While re-establishing a state owned Iraqi National Oil Company and giving it a role in maintaining pipelines and extracting oil from fields which are already being exploited, the law provides for the long-term leasing of the country's vast untapped reserves to foreign companies.

BP group wins Iraq oil contract - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

BP, along with China's CNPC, secured the contract for the Rumaila oil field on Tuesday, the largest of Iraq's six oil fields on offer to foreign and state-owned companies.

The contract race is the first opportunity for global energy giants to gain a hold in the country since the Baath party nationalised the Iraq Petroleum Company in 1972, seven years before former president Saddam Hussein took power.

BP group wins Iraq oil contract - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

But Mahmoud Almusafir, a former Iraqi diplomat, told Al Jazeera that there were still questions over the transparency of oil contracts in the country.

He said: "This American propaganda [is] telling people that now Iraq is free to do whatever.

"But ... who is setting the price and who is controlling?

"Militias from Al Dawa party are controlling the country. They are under the American umbrella; the American occupation," he said.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 06:07:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for digging this...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 07:45:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iraq's oil: a lesson in transparency | Ali Al-Mawlawi | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

The fate of Iraq's oil wealth was effectively determined in 2009, when major international companies were invited to bid for service contracts at two licensing rounds broadcast live on state television. As per the terms of the deals, companies would raise production in the oilfields they were bidding on to agreed levels in return for a remuneration fee calculated per barrel of oil produced. Crucially, ownership of the oilfields would remain in Iraq's hands.

The first round was considered a failure by many observers after only one deal on offer was agreed. Iraq's hard bargaining tactics left few companies willing to commit for such low returns. By the second round, the companies caved in, and a further nine deals were struck with 15 international oil companies from 13 countries including China, Turkey, Malaysia, Angola, Britain and the United States.

Clauses in the contracts stipulated that management of projects would have to be undertaken in partnership with Iraqi state-owned companies who were also given first preference in subcontracting awards, and guarantees were made to protect the local environment.

Iraq's tough line had paid off. The best offer for the West Qurna oilfield during the first round came from Russia's Lukoil who were prepared to raise production to 1.8m barrels per day in return for $6.49 for each barrel of oil extracted. This bid was rejected, and subsequently awarded for only $1.15 per barrel at the second round. Overall, oil companies will take home a weighted average of $0.89 per barrel of oil extracted through their services.

My emphasis. The exploitation rights of gas fields was sold off under similar terms. After the panamas under occupation that included the mis-appropiation of Oil For Food funds by the US Department of Defense (mentioned in the article), although privatization came, the Shia-dominated Iraqi government waited long enough to gain control of the process from the US, and then set conditions favourable for themselves. Then again, if the agreed production boost will lead to a major drop in global oil prices, they are undercutting themselves and only supporting the aims of anti-OPEC US strategists.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:25:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFP: Iraq cabinet approves draft oil law
raq cabinet approves draft oil law

(AFP) - 16 hours ago 

BAGHDAD -- Iraq's cabinet approved a draft oil and gas law on Sunday in a bid to finally pass rules regulating the country's most lucrative sector after years of political deadlock.

The law would govern the sector and divide responsibility between Baghdad and Iraq's provinces but despite the lack of such guidelines, foreign investors have still poured in, signing 11 contracts to potentially boost the country's oil output five-fold.

The cabinet "approved the draft oil and gas law and transferred it to parliament," government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement, adding the draft law "voids all previous draft laws" on the issue.

The oil and gas, or hydrocarbons, law has been repeatedly delayed since it was first submitted to parliament in 2007. It has been held up due to disagreements between MPs from the country's many different communities.

Despite the lack of such a law, foreign firms have signed multiple deals to develop Iraq's oil fields.

And what sort of deals have been signed?

Lebanon news - NOW Lebanon -The oil myth

While many Arabs believe that controlling oil fields was the "actual" reason behind America's war in Iraq, nothing indicates that the US has had any say over oil resources in the country since the start of the occupation in 2003. America and its oil companies have not received any preferential treatment from the elected Iraqi government either, at least judging by the results of the several rounds of bidding for oil development and production.
 
Iraq is the home of the world's third-largest oil reservoir, with 115 billion barrels. Since the downfall of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi oil production has sat at around two million barrels per day. From day one, production was metered by the UN. Its crude is classified as "light sweet," and can be easily transformed into gasoline. Extracting oil in Iraq is also relatively inexpensive.

Baghdad has held three rounds of bidding and is now gearing up for a fourth. During auction, Iraqi negotiators not only proved to be stalwarts, but were so strict in their contracts that many oil companies, including US giants like Exxon, saw little or no profit in certain auctions and withdrew their bids.

If the US occupation led to control of the Iraqi oil fields, either for free or at discounted prices, US companies would certainly have fared much better in winning contracts. 

Iraq auctioned 20-year service contracts for its oilfields. British Shell and Malaysian Petronas won control of the huge field of Majnoon, beating a rival joint bid by French Total and Chinese CNPC after Shell-Petronas lowered their fee per barrel to $1.39.

But CNPC, together with Total and Petronas, won the smaller Halfaya field. America's Exxon Mobil, for its part, won a bid for West Qurna 1, charging a $1.90 fee per barrel produced, while Russia's Lukoil - together with Norway's Statoil - won West Qurna 2 for $1.15 per barrel.

Other national companies such as Italy's Eni and Angola's Sonangol were also in the game, showing that in Iraq, oil contracts went to the best bidders, American or not, and that oil prices are decided by the market.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Before US influence is taken completely off the hooks, let's remember the practical elimination of the oil workers' union (begun under Bremer, completed under minister Shahristani).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:12:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note the first article is news from yesterday, that is brand-new (the clock for "16 hours ago" was working right).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:23:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
contrast with libya

Crude Analysis of Libyan Liberation » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

And guess what? It turns out that companies from the Western countries that eagerly rained tons of death-metal on the Libyan people are being given the inside track to the post-Gaddafi gusher. Meanwhile, countries that had urged caution in humanely intervening with thousands upon thousands of bombs, drones and missiles to, er, protect human life now face relegation to the outer darkness.

Libya's old colonial masters, Italy, are leading the way in the new scramble, even ere the Green Pimpernel has been found. They, along with other Western oil behemoths, are being welcomed with open arms by the peace-loving democratic rebels, who murdered their own chief military commander just a few weeks ago. But for intervention skeptics like Russia, China and Brazil, there may be "some political issues" in renewing old deals and inking new ones, say the new regime's oil honchos. NATO si, BRIC no.

But remember. This is not a war for oil.



"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:27:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that what you're saying?

Just to be clear :

I believe that Cheney, Rummy and the ventriloquist's dummy went into Iraq mostly in order to increase world oil output (something that the Iraqis are just now getting underway with, and will take a decade or so). This was their strategic objective, because they saw the coming oil supply crunch that has since hit us.

Undoubtedly they also thought their clan would pick up the juiciest contracts; but that was just gravy. They really had a long-term vision.

However, as we know, they fkuced it up, and the Iraqis turned out to be monstrously ungrateful with the oil contracts.

Perhaps the Libyan provisional government will prove to be much more grateful, and will sell out their birthright in the coming weeks. But bear in mind that the "rebel leadership", at the base, is a bunch of human-rights lawyers.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to answer your first question, a simple 'duh' might suffice...(jes' kidding!)

i really can't be sure, especially as sure as the writer i cited, but it wouldn't surprise me even a little, considering our velocity in effecting humanitarian aid/support/protection seems to be quite high when the black gold is underfoot.

what impresses the hell out of me is how well the rebels did against an organised army, without coherent leadership. big lesson there...

i saw a brit labour mp on sky today saying there are audio tapes of brits giving commands to the rebels, ("no, go left!") was the one quoted, so my amazement may be the product of some propaganda, dunno.

do you think oil was part of the equation yourself?

"A fool with a tool is still a fool." - Abraham Verghese

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 12:26:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So they are still at it? Well, I guess the question of dsitribution of power and money between local and national government still needs to be sorted out, even after getting the americans out without reaching the benchmark of following the Washington script for oil law.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:02:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And now amongst lawlessness and chaos they are sending "INTERNATIONAL POLICE FORCES" to Tripoli. Have you ever heard about such a thing as "international police forces" before? So this time they are not sending solders but "police". Who they are? Are they regular police forces from various countries willing to participate? Isn't it against the international law ? Is there provisions to do this? And how it is not occupation if you send police instead of army?
Total madness...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 08:06:00 PM EST
Have you ever heard about such a thing as "international police forces" before?

Yes, plenty of times.

<sigh>

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 08:15:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are they actually sending police to patrol the streets and to take over other activities or they are just advising police in place?
I don't think there is such a thing as police in Libya right now...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Aug 27th, 2011 at 11:35:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru answered you questions, and here is the original news item:

UN mulls international Libya police force | News.com.au

"Clearly, the challenges ahead are enormous," Dr Ban told reporters after the video-conference talks with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairman of the AU commission, and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

"There is an urgent need to put an end to the conflict and restore order and stability. All agreed that, if the Libyan authorities request, we should be prepared to help develop police capacity, bearing in mind that the country is awash with small arms."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:41:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
should be prepared to help develop police capacity,

I am sorry for my ignorance but I really do not understand this "language". One can say if there is police in Libya, Catherine Ashton would be able to "develop capacity"...But as far as I see there is no police force in Libya and rebels are begging Qadaffi's police to come back and take orders from them ( I haven't heard that it happened yet). So what is there to develop?

bearing in mind that the country is awash with small arms."

I assume that she is not crazy enough to send "international" police there.
So in order for Libya  to come  to any kind of order, any time soon, I assume we'll need to see some "boots on the ground".

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 09:17:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not Ashton speaking, but UN general secretary Ban.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 10:48:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ban was apparently speaking on the basis of a contingency plan prepared for him:

UN 'plan for post-Gaddafi Libya' leaked - Americas - Al Jazeera English

The 10-page document, apparently written by a special UN team led by Ian Martin, the former British head of Amnesty International, was obtained and published by Inner City Press, the UN watchdog website.

The document outlines plans for UN-assisted elections in the next six to nine months.

It also calls for the deployment of 200 unarmed military observers and 190 UN police officers to serve as trainers.

But it says such a deployment would only be implemented if it was requested by Libyan authorities and authorised by the UN Security Council.

Part of the UN plan is helping the integration of former Gaddafi loyalists:

"If requested by the Libyans and authorised by the Council, the UN could contribute to confidence-building and to the implementation of agreed military tasks, through unarmed UN military observer (UNMOs).

"Such confidence-building might be necessary for the troops of the Gaddafi government which will find themselves under the control of hostile forces. The UNMOs might also act as some deterrence against ill treatment of the former enemy by rogue elements."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 02:05:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So much for the UN police force:

BBC News - Libya's interim leaders reject UN military personnel

Libya's deputy representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told the BBC that the situation in Libya was unique.

"They [the UN] put the possibility of deploying peacekeepers on the ground but in fact the Libyan crisis is a special case.

"It is not a civil war, it is not a conflict between two parties, it is the people who are defending themselves against the dictatorship."

Some rhetoric... however, the UN doesn't think that this is final:

However, Mr Martin said the UN did expect to be asked to help establish a police force.

"We don't now expect military observers to be requested," he said after a meeting of the UN Security Council.

"It's very clear that the Libyans want to avoid any kind of military deployment of the UN or others," he said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 31st, 2011 at 04:18:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uri Avnery
But I object to the patronizing assertion that it was all a NATO victory. It is the old colonialist attitude in a new guise. Of course, these poor, primitive Arabs could not do anything without the White Man shouldering his burden and rushing to the rescue.

But wars are not won by weapons, they are won by people. "Boots on the ground", as the Americans call it. Even with all the help they got, the Libyan rebels, disorganized and poorly armed as they were, have won a remarkable victory. This would not have happened without real revolutionary fervor, without bravery and determination. It is a Libyan victory, not a British or a French one.

This has been underplayed by the international media. I have not seen any genuine combat coverage (and I know what that looks like). Journalists did not acquit themselves with glory. They displayed exemplary cowardice, staying at a safe distance from the front, even during the fall of Tripoli. On TV they looked ridiculous with their conspicuous helmets when they were surrounded by bareheaded fighters.

What came over was endless jubilations over victories that had seemingly fallen from heaven. But these were feats achieved by people - yes, by Arab people.

This is especially galling to our Israeli "military correspondents" and "Arab affairs experts". Used to despising or hating "the Arabs", they are ascribing the victory to NATO. It seems that the people of Libya played a minor role, if any.

Now they blabber endlessly about the "tribes", which will make democracy and orderly governance in Libya impossible. Libya is not really a country, it was never a unified state before becoming an Italian colony, there is no such thing as a Libyan people. (Remember the French saying this about Algeria, and Golda Meir about Palestine?)

Well, for a people that does not exist, the Libyans fought very well. And as for the "tribes" - why do tribes exist only in Africa and Asia, never among Europeans? Why not a Welsh tribe or a Bavarian tribe?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Aug 28th, 2011 at 11:55:25 PM EST
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/middle_east/mh18ak01.html

Delusions abound in the Arab Spring
...The standard analysis of the situation was that oppressive regimes had been sitting on a volcano of liberal democratic discontent. The belief was that the Arab Spring was a political uprising by masses demanding liberal democratic reform and that this uprising, supported by Western democracies, would generate sweeping political change across the Arab world.
...If the assumptions of this past January and February prove insufficient or even wrong, then there will be regional and global consequences.
...It is important to begin with the fact that, to this point, no regime has fallen in the Arab world. Individuals such as Tunisia's Ben Ali and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak have been replaced, but the regimes themselves, which represent the manner of governing, have not changed.
...More important, what regime changes that might come of the civil wars in Libya and Syria are not going to be clearly victorious, those that are victorious are not going to be clearly democratic and those that are democratic are obviously not going to be liberal. The myth that beneath every Libyan is a French republican yearning to breathe free is dubious in the extreme.
...The important question is why these regimes have been able to survive. In a genuine revolution, the regime loses power.
...There was unrest in Egypt in January and February 2011, but the idea that it amounted to a revolution flew in the face of the reality of Egypt and of what revolutions actually look like.
...There were three principles shaping the Western narrative on the Arab Spring. The first was that these regimes were overwhelmingly unpopular. The second was that the opposition represented the overwhelming will of the people. The third was that once the unrest began it was unstoppable. Add to all that the notion that social media facilitated the organization of the revolution and the belief that the region was in the midst of a radical transformation can be easily understood.
...Tunisia and Egypt were not subject to very much outside influence. Libya became the focus of a significant Western intervention.
...but that a large network of Libyans benefited from Gaddafi's rule and stood to lose a great deal if he fell. They were prepared to fight for his regime.
...The opposition to him was real, but its claim to represent the overwhelming majority of Libyan people was dubious. Many of the leaders had been part of the Gaddafi regime, and it is doubtful they were selected for their government posts because of their personal popularity.

Others were members of tribes that were opposed to the regime but not particularly friendly to each other. Under the mythology of the Arab Spring, the eastern coalition represented the united rage of the Libyan people against Gaddafi's oppression. Gaddafi was weak and isolated, wielding an army that was still loyal and could inflict terrible vengeance on the Libyan people. But if the West would demonstrate its ability to prevent slaughter in Benghazi, the military would realize its own isolation and defect to the rebels.It didn't happen that way.
...Meanwhile, the eastern alliance has continued to survive under the protection of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but has been unable to form a united government or topple Gaddafi. Most important, it has always been a dubious assertion that what would emerge if the rebels did defeat Gaddafi would be a democratic regime, let alone a liberal democracy, and this has become increasingly obvious as the war has worn on. Whoever would replace Gaddafi would not clearly be superior to him, which is saying quite a lot.
...In part, these Arab leaders have nowhere to go. The senior leadership of the military could be tried in The Hague, and the lower ranks are subject to rebel retribution. There is a rule in war, which is that you should always give your enemy room to retreat. The Assad supporters, like the Gaddafi supporters and the supporters of Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh, have no room to retreat. So they have fought on for months, and it is not clear they will capitulate anytime soon.
...Since late 2010, we have seen three kinds of uprisings in the Arab world. The first are those that merely brushed by the regime. The second are those that created a change in leaders but not in the way the country was run. The third are those that turned into civil wars, such as Libya and Yemen.
...They do not mean that change will not happen, or that discontent will not assume sufficient force to overthrow regimes. They also do not mean that whatever emerges will be liberal democratic states pleasing to Americans and Europeans.
...Libya is a case study on the consequences of starting a war with insufficient force.
...The pursuit of human rights requires ruthless clarity as to whom you are supporting and what their chances are. It is important to remember that it is not Western supporters of human rights who suffer the consequences of failed risings, civil wars or revolutionary regimes that are committed to causes other than liberal democracy.
...The Arab Spring is, above all, a primer on wishful thinking in the face of the real world.  



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:25:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

An editorial note: please limit the amount you quote uncommented from single articles. We have a guideline on this in the NUG:

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*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:31:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry...did not know about 3 paragraphs rule.This is a long text...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:41:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that the article ignores the rebels active in the West around Tripoli when it emphasizes that the non-rpresentativeness of the Benghazi rebels (the "eastern coalition"). The article was published on 18 August (three days before Tripoli fell).

...Gaddafi's regime was more than simply a handful of people terrorizing the population. It was certainly a brutal regime, but it hadn't survived for 42 years on that alone. It had substantial support in the military and among key tribes.

Whether this was a majority is as unclear as whether the eastern coalition was a majority. But it was certainly a substantial group with much to fight for and a great deal to lose if the regime fell. So, contrary to expectations in the West, the regime has continued to fight and to retain the loyalty of a substantial number of people.

Although several reports indicate that many pro-Gaddafi fighters were paid mooney to shoot, there is much truth in the above. In that respect, it would be better for the future of Libya if Sirt would soon 'fall' by negotiation instead of a prolonged armed assault.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The before-last paragraph echoes a point of mine from upthread:

The survival of the Assad regime could lead to more slaughter than we have seen and a much firmer base for Iran. No regimes have fallen since the Arab Spring, but when they do it will be important to remember 1979 and the conviction that nothing could be worse than the shah's Iran, morally or geopolitically. Neither was quite the case.

(Note that the article, published on 18 August, argued that neither the Tunisian and Egyptian nor the Libyan or Yemeni situation can be considered regime change.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:56:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
neither Tunisia nor Egypt have undergone regime change, insofar as both sported the trappings of liberal democracy, without the reality thereof. This is completely different from the Libyan situation, where they have all the advantages and drawbacks of starting from zero, in terms of institutions.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:03:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IOW you agree with the Stratfor guy :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia Times Online :: Delusions abound in the Arab Spring
(Published with permission from STRATFORr, a Texas-based geopolitical intelligence company. Copyright 2011 Stratfor.)

Stratfor is a moderately interesting security company/conservative think-tank.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:57:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To assert that it was all a NATO victory is colonial, therefore it must have been a Libyan victory?

So if I do not agree, I a having a colonialist attitude, rather then a dsiagreement on what we actually know about what happened on the ground? That is an interesting way to argue, in particular considering that neither party has seen genuine combat coverage.

Then again, that is apparently his style:

To The Shores of Tripoli - Gush Shalom - Israeli Peace Bloc

So how could decent, well-meaning leftists, people of an unblemished humanist record, embrace such a person? My only explanation was that their hatred of the USA and of NATO was so strong, so fervent, that anyone attacked by them must surely be a benefactor of humanity, and all accusations against them pure fabrications. The same happened with Pol Pot.

If you do not agree to support a war against a dictator, you are supporting that dictator. How simple the world must be when you lack the imagination for any other explanation.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:44:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaddafi loyalists apparently executed scores of prisoners when Tripoli was overrun by the rebels:

Evidence emerges of Gaddafi's bloody revenge in final hours of war | World news | The Guardian

He said he found three bodies of prisoners who had been locked in a shipping container; all had suffocated. Another body washed up on the beach. The victim had his hands tied, and had been shot.

...Many were executed last Sunday or Monday as the rebels advanced into the capital and an uprising began inside it. Gaddafi loyalists shot 17 detainees held in an internal security building in the Gargur area. The victims were killed minutes before they would have been freed.

One survivor, Osama al-Swayi, told Human Rights Watch that 25 people had been held inside the prison. He said he heard the rebels shouting and expected to be released; his captors, however, ordered him and the others out of their cells and told them to lie on the floor. "I saw three dark men. One soldier gave the order: 'Just finish them off.' But I don't know who it was. There were three or four who fired at us ... I was near the corner and got hit in the right hand, the right foot, and the right shoulder. In one instant they finished off all the people with me," he said.

Another 18 bodies were found rotting in a dry riverbed between Gargur and Gaddafi's shattered compound at Bab al-Aziziya - further evidence of apparent war crimes. Some 50 charred bodies were also discovered in a military camp in Tripoli held by Gaddafi's supporters.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:02:59 AM EST
Meanwhile, the rebels are rounding up Gaddafi loyalists – and anyone suspected to be one.

The majority of prisoners - accommodated in a spacious single room and wearing striped hospital pyjamas - denied they had anything to do with Gaddafi. "I didn't do any fighting," Hamadi Ibrahim, from Mauritania insisted. Another man, Nasar Bashir, said he had been arrested after his brother-in-law tipped off the rebels. "True, I once worked for Gaddafi's security agency. But I hated him. I resigned 15 years ago."

..."There's no doubt the people here were with Gaddafi," Adnan Marwan, a dentist turned doctor, said. "We have people who informed for Gaddafi before the revolution. We also have Africans. Some of them speak Arabic so badly we had to find a translator."

He's black and barely speaks Arabic, see, evidence!... The assumption on the part of rebels that every African guest worker trapped in the country must be a mercenary hired by Gaddafi was a disturbing indication of prisoner interviews in Benghazi back in March already.

On the other hand, the actual loyalists include child soldiers:

Ayad Khalifa, 14, - a thin figure with a shaved head - said he was from Sabha, Gaddafi's southern stronghold. He had been allowed to phone his family to tell them he was now in jail - but they hadn't answered. What did he want to do next?

"Finish studying," he said.

Another teenage Gaddafi fighter, Ramzi al-Sifal, said he enlisted in June after being promised 300 dinars. "The officers told me I was fighting al-Qaida. They said the rebels were from Egypt and Algeria, and that I had to defend my country." Ramzi was recovering from a bullet wound. "I had one month's training. Then last week I was shot."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 04:07:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi 'at death's door' | World news | The Guardian

Megrahi, last seen at a televised rally in Tripoli last month alongside Muammar Gaddafi, was tracked down by CNN international correspondent Nic Robertson."He appears to be a shell of the man that he was, far sicker than he appeared before ... at death's door," Robertson said.

Megrahi's son, Khaled, told the broadcaster: "There is no doctor, there is nobody to ask and we don't have a phone line to call anybody."

Megrahi was discovered as the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council (NTC) ruled out extraditing him to Britain. The justice minister, Mohammed al-Alagi, said: "We will not give any Libyan citizen to the west. Megrahi has already been judged once and he will not be judged again. We do not hand over Libyan citizens. Gaddafi does."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 06:29:47 AM EST
Breaking news at Al Jazeera: Libya Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

AFP - Muammar Gaddafi and his sons Saadi and Seif al-Islam are in the town of Bani Walid south of Tripoli, Italian news agency ANSA said Monday, citing "authoritative Libyan diplomatic sources".

ANSA cited the same sources in Rome saying that Gaddafi's wife Safia and three of his other children, Aisha, Hannibal and Mohammed were in Algeria.

The Algerian foreign ministry later confirmed the four crossed into Algeria earlier Monday. ANSA said another Gaddafi son, Khamis, had "almost certainly" been killed on the way from Tripoli to Bani Walid.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 01:52:17 PM EST
Libya Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

Khamis Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi's son, was killed in a battle between Tarhoni and Bin Walid on Sunday, according to a rebel commander in Tripoli who spoke to Al Arabiya.

Senior rebel officer, Colonel Al-Mahdi Al-Haragi, in charge of the Tripoli Brigade of the rebel army, told the Reuters news agency he had confirmation that Khamis was badly wounded in the clash near Ben Walid and Tarhoni.

He was taken to a hospital but died of his wounds and was buried in the area, Al-Haragi told Reuters, without giving the timing.

No independent confirmation of the death was available.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 03:53:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Khamis the Cat...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 01:51:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Libya Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

Liam Fox, the British Defense Minister, told Al Jazeera that NATO airstrikes will continue until the threat to civilians is over. 

"As soon as they [civilians] are no longer threatened by remnants of the Gaddafi regime the NATO mission will be over," Fox said.

"The easiest way for it to end is for Gaddafi's men to lay down arms. The regime needs to recognise that they need to work with the NTC." 

In the battle for Sirt, it's the rebel attacks and the NATO airstrikes that put civilians in danger. Al Jazeera's reporter:

"The fighters are gathering here, this is the main road that leads to Sirte, about 130km from here. They are trying to stay a bit back because we have heard a lot of NATO activity over the last few hours. We have heard some jets as well as some strikes. NATO has been intensifying its heat in and around Sirte over the last 48 hours."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 02:01:24 PM EST
DoDo:
In the battle for Sirt, it's the rebel attacks and the NATO airstrikes that put civilians in danger

So that must mean that any UN member state has the obligation to shoot down those NATO planes.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 29th, 2011 at 05:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.moonofalabama.org/

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat - Abdelhakim Belhadj is the commander of the Libyan rebel Tripoli Military Council; he emerged as a leader during the Libyan rebels' operation to liberate the Libyan capital from Gaddafi control. Belhadj is also a former Emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which was banned internationally as a terrorist organization following the 9/11 attacks.
...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 02:32:02 AM EST
An estimated 50,000 people have perished in the Libyan uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, a military commander with the country's ruling transitional council said on Tuesday.

http://en.rian.ru/world/20110830/166310577.html

by Lynch on Tue Aug 30th, 2011 at 03:21:28 PM EST
http://outernationalist.net/?p=2559

The rigorous 24/7 coverage of the events in Libya by the satellite channels requires deep scrutiny. There were massive uprisings against the regime in several cities in the east and west of Libya e.g. the revolt in Al Zawiya near Tripoli. But many of these events were subject to intense exaggeration and disinformation. For example, the international media outlets claimed that Libyan airforce has bombed some areas in Tripoli, which was false; no Libyan plane bombarded any neighbourhood of Tripoli or Benghazi, despite the fact that some demonstrations and clashes took place on the ground.

The Western and Arab media kept repeating that the Gaddafi regime was killing its own people en-masse without producing the facts. A delegation of French Centre for Intelligence Studies travelled across Libya after the 17 February uprising and did not find any evidence of reports that were constantly aired on non-Libyan news channels. The French think tank says in its report that Al Jazeera reporters in Tripoli, mostly Westerners, travelled without hindrance by the Gaddafi regime, despite insisting otherwise.

The consequences of this disinformation were wide-reaching. The UN Security Council did not send any fact-finding mission to the unrest-hit areas to investigate the reported events. Instead, it approved the resolution 1973 on the basis of widespread misinformation from the media that mostly gave coverage to anti-Gaddafi protestors. The CIRET-AVT/CFR2 in its report says:

    "It is no exaggeration to say that Al Jazeera created the `event' that influenced the UN. The media hype around this situation is astonishingly similar to what happened in the Balkans in 1991, to the detriment of Serbia."



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 31st, 2011 at 07:57:24 AM EST
The two French think-tanks and still think-tanks, with an agenda. Scrolling their report, the is only a single one specific denial of civilian deaths at the hands of the Gaddafi regime is on page 21: a claim about Misrata referencing a HRW report. That's as gross a misinterpretation as it comes, here is the actual HRW report:

Libya: Government Attacks in Misrata Kill Civilians | Human Rights Watch

According to Dr. Muhammad el-Fortia, who works at Misrata Hospital, medical facilities have recorded 257 people killed and 949 wounded and hospitalized since February 19, 2011. The wounded include 22 women and eight children, he said.

A second doctor, interviewed separately, said that hospitals in the city had documented about 250 dead over the past month, most of them civilians. He believed the actual number was higher because many people could not reach medical facilities.

"The fighters know how to protect themselves, but the civilians are getting hurt," he said.

I note that the CIRET-AVT/CFR2 report makes much of the low number of women among the victims, as if it would be the women who go outside while there is shooting... And HRW makes clear that these aren't even their numbers (as claimed by the CIRET-AVT/CFR2 report):

Human Rights Watch could not verify the doctors' figures or determine to what extent government forces or rebel fighters were responsible for civilian casualties.

Here is the evidence collected by HRW, and a circumstance contradicting the above claims about easy media access:

On April 3 and 4, Human Rights Watch interviewed 17 civilians wounded by gunfire and tank or artillery rounds in Benghazi after they had been evacuated from Misrata by boat. Some described deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and showed the wounds they had suffered, though their accounts could not be confirmed.

Information on the fighting in Misrata, Libya's third-largest city with more than 300,000 residents, remains limited because the government has blocked access to the city by land for more than a month and had blocked it by sea until late March, Human Rights Watch said.

As for the quoted denial of visiting the site of a (or sites of multiple?) claimed shooting of people by the Gaddafi regime, I find it on page 16, and is totally without specifics. What evidence were they expecting to see? The site of which shooting exactly have they looked up? At any rate, here is another HRW report with info on shootings at people during the crackdown in Tripoli:

Libya: End Violent Crackdown in Tripoli | Human Rights Watch

The government crackdown in Tripoli began around February 20, 2011, when anti-government protesters converged on the city's central Green Square. Three witnesses to that protest told Human Rights Watch that security forces opened fire on the peaceful crowd, killing and injuring an unknown number.

"I watched two guys get shot, they fell right in front of me," said one protester who wished to remain anonymous. "I saw them shoot a third guy point blank."

...The government again used lethal force against peaceful protesters on February 25, responding to protests following Friday prayers that day. Human Rights Watch spoke with one protester who said he was shot in the leg that day after leaving a mosque.

"I had no time to say anything and he [a policeman] just opened fire immediately with a shotgun," said the man, who also requested anonymity for fear of reprisals. "I learned later that the guy next to me was shot in the stomach and another guy in the back lines was shot, I think with a rifle."

Could it be that CIRET-AVT/CFR2 only mean the claimed bombing/shooting by a Libyan military jet in Tripoli? They 'blame' the media for reporting this, but I don't see why they media should not report what two independent and non-anonymous sources claim, especially if the government1s counter-claim is also mentioned – read the original Al Jazeera article. And what is the basis for the claim that the report was false? CIRET-AVT/CFR2 doesn't say anything; on the web, I find all references are to this:

British Mission to Libya: "No Evidence of Gaddafi Violence"

In their interim findings, the campaign group claimed they had been able to "corroborate civilian casualties and fatalities due to Nato bombing" but "could find no evidence that three areas of Tripoli cited in UN resolution 1973 had been subjected to government forces bombardment".

...Although Mr Roberts acknowledged the group's visit had been facilitated and overseen by minders from the Libyan Government and a Libyan non-governmental organisation (NGO), he claimed they had been able to speak freely to organisations and individuals in many towns in western Libya, although not those which have seen the most significant fighting in recent weeks, such as Misratah, or Yafran, Zintan and Nalut in the Nafusa mountain range.

...However, when Sky's chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay put to the delegates that Sky News had recorded footage in Zawiyah which showed civilians and children being severely injured during government bombardment, it was unclear whether the campaigners had seen the report, or factored in reports like it in their conclusions.

Indeed, they admitted that they had not conducted any research into wider media reporting or into video posted online on social media networks by those who claim they witnessed the onslaughts.

Mr Roberts acknowledged that he and his fellow delegates were "not experts", adding: "We are deficient but we're the only people doing this... there is a need for an independent international fact-finding intervention by a professional, credible and acceptable organisation."

As evidence of lack of Gaddafi bombing, this is inconclusive at best. About the group's leader, the Guardian wrote already back then:

Gaddafi violence against Libya civilians exaggerated, says British group | World news | The Guardian

For some, it was their first visit to Libya. The delegation's leader, David Roberts, 55, from Leicester, said he had been several times before. A Dave Roberts, also from Leicester, is quoted in a web report as addressing a youth conference in Tripoli in 1999, ending his speech with a rousing cry of "Long live Muammar Gaddafi."

...and now here is this fresh report:

Gaddafi's regime `had plans for anti-Nato PR campaign in Britain', documents disclose « Shabab Libya

Documents discovered in an abandoned government building in Tripoli, and seen by The Daily Telegraph, contain the minutes of a meeting at which officials suggested paying up to £2 million to selected foreigners they thought would be sympathetic to Gaddafi.

...The proposal to pay groups for spreading Libya's message also identifies seven foreigners that the regime was hoping to pay £500,000 for undertaking fact-finding missions in Tripoli, including David Roberts, a Socialist Labour Party activist, and British resident Mohammad Elhaddad.

Mr Roberts led a British Civilians For Peace in Libya mission to Tripoli in April during which he told the press that there was "no evidence" that the regime had bombarded its own people to quell protests in the capital.

It is my impression that the CIRET-AVT/CFR2 report is think-tank bullshit from think-tanks focused on 'finding' Al-Qaida everywhere.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Aug 31st, 2011 at 03:07:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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