Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 07, 2011

Libya - A Tribal Insurrection

The "western" media is reporting the crisis in Libya as something similar to what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. But this is not a modern youth movement protesting against a dictatorship, this is a developing civil war between tribal entities - not exactly a novelty in Libya.


A bigger version of the map can be found at the Public Intelligence Blog

From a 2002 piece on Tribal Rivalries in Libya which explains why some army units are now with the rebels:

Such rivalries are most pronounced in the armed forces. Each of the main tribes is represented in the military establishment and the various popular and revolutionary committees. For instance, Qadhafi's Qadhadfa tribe has an ongoing rivalry with the Magariha tribe of Abdel Sallam Jalloud, the man who was second-in-command in the country for decades until he fell out of favour.
...
The Warfalla tribe, which turned against Qadhafi during the coup attempt in 1993, is numerous and is closest to Jalloud's Magariha tribe. The Al Zintan tribe backed the Warfalla as well. The coup attempt was spearheaded by Warfalla officers in the Bani Walid region, 120 km south-east of Tripoli. The main reason for the coup attempt was that, despite its size, this tribe was poorly represented in the regime and only occupied second-echelon posts in the officers' corps.
...
Moreover, Warfalla tribal officers have been excluded from the air force. The air force is reserved almost exclusively to the Qadhadfa tribe, to which Qadhafi belongs. It was the air force which crushed the coup attempt in October 1993.

It is possible that it, again, will be the air force that will put down this insurrection. But that end may also depend on one major tribe which so far has not taken a definite position:

The leadership of the Magariha tribe acknowledges a debt of gratitude to Gaddafi and his regime for securing the return of one of the tribe's members, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, from prison in Britain after he was convicted of being behind the Lockerbie bombing. However sources also told Asharq Al-Awsat that this has not prevented a number of youths of the Magariha tribe from participating – with members from other tribes – in the demonstrations and protests against Gaddafi's rule, especially in cities in eastern and southern Libya.
...
Experts say that the Magariha tribe is in the best position to carry out a coup against the Libyan leader, as many members of this tribe are in sensitive and senior positions of the Libyan government and security services.

There is more on the allegiances of the major 30 tribes and clans in Libya in the above piece. Additional information is here.

The misrepresentation of this conflict in the media may well lead to military intervention by "western" forces. These would then have to fight those tribes which for whatever reason support Ghadaffi. With "western" intervention the situation on the ground would quickly deteriorate. This would cost a lot more lives than any situation in which the Libyan people fight this out by and for themselves.

Posted by b on March 7, 2011 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

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diane johnson

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 7, 2011 10:23:49 AM | 1

thanks b. i'm curious what your take is on dan's link about the SAS captured in libya.

Posted by: annie | Mar 7, 2011 11:01:06 AM | 2

@annie - the capture (and released) SAS. That was a supreme stupidity by the Cameron government in Britain. Giving Gaddafi the best propaganda material he could think of.

Posted by: b | Mar 7, 2011 11:08:12 AM | 3

yeah, i heard they had been released. arriving by helicopter in the dead of night (or was it morning?) dressed is black combat gear w/explosives? hmmm. no US msm coverage. makes me wonder tho..they got caught but what if other teams are there?

interesting link r'giap.

Posted by: annie | Mar 7, 2011 11:24:20 AM | 4


But this is not a modern youth movement protesting against a dictatorship, this is a developing civil war between tribal entities - not exactly a novelty in Libya.

I must say, there is a creeping sense of cultural superiority in this argument - as if the Libyans are all just a bunch of noble savages who have been fighting tribal wars for thousand of years and are simply not capable of appreciating 'modern' representative government. An argument, I might add, that western powers have made for more than a century to justify the support of despotic governments all over the Middle East.

More importantly, your post completely ignores the real cause of the uprising both in Libya and elsewhere: namely, the depredations caused by globalist kleptocratic economic systems that beggar the populace while enriching the leaderships and their foreign clients.

On that score, Libya is by no means different than its neighbors.

The "western" media is reporting the crisis in Libya as something similar to what happened in Egypt and Tunisia.

Well, it started out kinda like the other demonstrations, until Q started using heavy weaponry on the protesters.

Or are you really arguing that Libya is in some hermetically sealed bubble of competing tribes that pays no attention to what is happening on both of its borders, and that the Libyan uprising happened sui generis with nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the leaders of both of its neighbors had recently been deposed?

The misrepresentation of this conflict in the media may well lead to military intervention by "western" forces.

There are a lot of reasons why intervention is being contemplated, some noble and some not so noble, but the most important argument in my view is that the Libyan Army reacted quite differently to the uprisings than did the armies of Tunisia or Egypt. There is no misrepresentation on that score.

This would cost a lot more lives than any situation in which the Libyan people fight this out by and for themselves.

Just because you say it, b, doesn't make it so. A rationale for why getting rid of Q later than sooner would cause less bloodshed would be helpful.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 7, 2011 12:04:19 PM | 5

well, b, I enjoy your felicitous responses to the accumulating crises.

It seems to me you're stomping outside of your standard operating procedure. About Iraq, you steadfastly demanded that USuk manufactured sectarian/ethnic divisions. Divide and conquer! This was the felicitous response and condemnation of US occupation. Arabs are really that stupid.

Now, with respect to Libya, and because the country's rebellion must be preserved in your original formulation as the "dignity of the people" to maintain solidarity against the interests of US imperialism, perish the fucking thought that people in Libya have grown tired of totalitarian rule! No, this was an inevitable dwindling into tribal cave groupings. And although Libyans repeatedly shake their fists in the air demanding an end to autocratic rule, really they're just fighting an antiquated gang turf war. That's how stupid Arabs are.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 7, 2011 12:25:37 PM | 6

I posted above without first reading nightowl's perspicuous response to the cultural chauvinism here masquerading as critique always sensitive to the looming destructive essence of the US empire.

Look forward to r'giap's complicated defense of Q, with obscure historical annotations, and links to insipidly lachrymose ECM mood jazz.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 7, 2011 12:29:55 PM | 7

@Night Owl I must say, there is a creeping sense of cultural superiority in this argument

Nonsense - Germany also still has its kind of tribes, especially in the south. It has nothuing to do with "cultural superiority".

Call the whatever you want, but their are certain groups of people bound by blood In Libya just as elsewhere and they have taken sides.

The split in army is a sign of this.

Libya crisis: what role do tribal loyalties play?

However, as his popularity diminished and as he began to fall out with his colleagues in the Free Unionist Officers corps - all but a handful of whom have now disappeared from public view - he relied increasingly on tribalism and tribal rivalry in order to consolidate his grip on power.

This has been most pronounced in the armed forces where each of the main tribes is represented.

Fostering rivalries among the various tribes in the army through selective patronage has not only strengthened his control over the military, but has also worked to draw attention away from Col Gaddafi and his regime.

Nowadays, tribal rivalries are evident within the armed forces, where Mr Gaddafi's own tribe, the Qadhadfa, are pitted against Magariha - the tribe of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi - which are close to the Warfalla tribe, said to number one million people.

In turn, the Warfalla are close to Al-Zintan who hail from the town of Zintan, 75 miles south of Tripoli - one of the first towns in western Libya to join the present revolt against Mr Gaddafi.

There are a lot of reasons why intervention is being contemplated, some noble and some not so noble, but the most important argument in my view is that the Libyan Army reacted quite differently to the uprisings than did the armies of Tunisia or Egypt.

Indeed it did act differently - it split along tribal/local lines and started to fight the other side.

Posted by: b | Mar 7, 2011 12:56:36 PM | 8

Sure seems to be a lot of "Western media" reporting about the factiousness of the Libyan rebellion.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 7, 2011 1:09:22 PM | 9

To be sure, if Libya had a history of gently rotating in the orbit of US imperial power, b's arguments would suddenly honor the ready-made condemnation that the US was dividing and conquering there.

It's all about ideology, not people.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 7, 2011 1:12:07 PM | 10

@5 I agree with some of your insights but there seem's to be some points worth revisiting in regards to western media's representation and political interests.

Although the uprising may have been influenced and share similar causes to that of Egypt and Tunisia it nevertheless has its own dynamics: it is happening in a tribalized society that under Q has created a Libyan state that shares power and privilige on tribal basis, the best illustration is the Sudan and of course post-collapse Somalia. The racialized tensions that exist between 'Arab' and 'African', again has echoes of similar cleavages that developed in Darfur, Sudan during the 1990s, is another cleavage that overlays the tribal structure, i.e. non-Arab Berber tribes are the most politically and economically marginalized, a situation that Q has used to his advantage but which benefited Southern tribes such as the Kal Tamasheq [even one's living in Algeria, Mali and Niger].

Unlike Egypt where class divisions within the military establishment and across society [workers, peasants allied to 'middle' class workers] bound by Egyptian nationalism made analytical sense of what was unfolding, this same 'formula' provides a highly superficial picture of Libya's uprising. Despite calls of unity [with 2 different flags] from both sides - elites on each side, Q and Rebels, have galvanized support on the basis of tribal support, which is the form of modern Libyan nationalism.

There is nothing 'hermetic' about Libya, in fact it has had one of the most dynamic and in some cases destabilizing foreign policies of African and MENA states. Yet, power in Libya is tribalized - much like in the Sudan but one could also see a similar system of power in Rwanda - not in a 'hermetically sealed' this-is-the-way-it-has-always-been way but as part of it's modern state making project.

b does well to point us towards the 'modern' dynamic tribal alliances that form the workings of the Libyan state and military. Who is in which camp is largely based on the benefits and grievances emerging from Q's Libya (including grievances from the recent neoliberal upsurge). The black and white representation of this uprising as Q 'bad' vs. Rebels 'good'/pro-democracy is far from reality. Q as an indvidual is a dictator but his regime has existed in a delicate alliance for over 40 years that has given it some legitimacy, so when one says the Q-regime is 'bad' and get a new one the question is 'who' are the actors that are going to build a post-Q regime and on what basis?

One of these [self-invited] actors does include the western powers. The uprising offers a prime opportunity to assist in establishing a regime that is in line with their own geopolitical interests, whether that brings democracy or not is not relevant for them, in fact I would suggest that a limited form of electoral democracy legitimizing a neoliberal regime (which is a form of authoritarianism) would actually be enthusiastically endorsed, see similar regimes in Algeria, Chad and Uganda. The issue of a No Fly Zone could actually assist the armed rebel movements drive to Tripoli and control of Libya's oil assets, but it also gives western powers leverage that, based on historical precedent, would certainly endanger the chances for a real popular democracy in Libya. It begs the question of those rebel movements calling for No Fly Zones - do they not care for popular democracy or do they have an inflated sense of autonomy and hunger for power?

I do agree that Libya's uprising and eventual resolution is an internal matter, despite many pretenders enthusiasm to jump in, and it is for that reason that b's focus on Libya's state [not just Q's biography], the politicization of tribal identity and how it works will help us see the unfolding events in a clearer light.

I have yet to see/hear what the armed rebel movements (consisting of tribal groups that cleaved off Q's military and political institutions forming new alliances of their own) actually want - no ten point program/clear demands? While there seem's to be some popular movements, with ad-hoc violent attacks against Q affiliated targets, there are also organized conservative and Q establishment rebel groups that knee deep in the uprising. There is much to be concerned about the Libyan actors - Q and rebels alike.

Finally, there is a difference between the principled stance rejecting Q as a dictator and policies of theft and economic pillage (ironically intimately tied to western democracies) that I share with some of you AND actually explaning what is currently happening.

Posted by: Minerva | Mar 7, 2011 1:21:26 PM | 11

b does well to point us towards the 'modern' dynamic tribal alliances that form the workings of the Libyan state and military.

Orientalism. Because of course the same dynamic occurred in Iraq. But acknowledging sectarianism didn't fit in with the USuk narrative, at the time.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 7, 2011 1:39:21 PM | 12

NightOwl,

I must say, there is a creeping sense of cultural superiority in this argument - as if the Libyans are all just a bunch of noble savages who have been fighting tribal wars for thousand of years and are simply not capable of appreciating 'modern' representative government. An argument, I might add, that western powers have made for more than a century to justify the support of despotic governments all over the Middle East.

More importantly, your post completely ignores the real cause of the uprising both in Libya and elsewhere: namely, the depredations caused by globalist kleptocratic economic systems that beggar the populace while enriching the leaderships and their foreign clients.

On that score, Libya is by no means different than its neighbors.

Again, you took the words out of my mouth... I wish I had time to add more Maybe later.

Anyways, thanks for your persistence. I don't understand the general attitude about Libya here at MOA.


Posted by: Rick | Mar 7, 2011 3:58:33 PM | 13

entretien mohamed hassan

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 7, 2011 4:44:15 PM | 14

Lets not forget the reality of Libya:

No Tahrir in Benghazi: A Racist Pogrom Rages On against Black Africans in Libya
by Glen Ford
etc
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/ford030311.html


'Libya is a deeply traditional society, plagued with some outmoded and bankrupt ideas that continue to surface to this day. In many ways, Qaddafi has had to struggle against the same reactionary aspects of Arab culture and tradition that the holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was struggling against in 7th century Arabia – Arab supremacy/racism, supremacy of family and tribe, historical feuding tribe against tribe and the marginalisation of women. Benghazi has always been at the heart of counter-revolution in Libya, fostering reactionary Islamic movements such as the Wahhabis and Salafists. It is these people who founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group based in Benghazi which allies itself with Al Qaeda and who have, over the years, been responsible for the assassination of leading members of the Libyan revolutionary committees.
etc
http://blackagendareport.com/content/libya-getting-it-right-revolutionary-pan-african-perspective

and guess what:
Libya is not Egypt and all rebellions are not Revolutions!
Hands off Libya, Hands off Africa!

Statement from the All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP)
http://panafricannews.blogspot.com/2011/03/libya-is-not-egypt-and-all-rebellions.html


Posted by: brian | Mar 7, 2011 4:47:10 PM | 15

'More importantly, your post completely ignores the real cause of the uprising both in Libya and elsewhere: namely, the depredations caused by globalist kleptocratic economic systems that beggar the populace while enriching the leaderships and their foreign clients.

On that score, Libya is by no means different than its neighbors.'

night owl is dead wrong:

'How was Libya doing under the rule of Gadaffi? How bad did the people have it? Were they oppressed as we now commonly accept as fact? Let us look at the facts for a moment.

Before the chaos erupted, Libya had a lower incarceration rate than the Czech republic. It ranked 61st. Libya had the lowest infant mortality rate of all of Africa. Libya had the highest life expectancy of all of Africa. Less than 5% of the population was undernourished. In response to the rising food prices around the world, the government of Libya abolished ALL taxes on food.

People in Libya were rich. Libya had the highest gross domestic product (GDP) at purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita of all of Africa. The government took care to ensure that everyone in the country shared in the wealth. Libya had the highest Human Development Index of any country on the continent. The wealth was distributed equally. In Libya, a lower percentage of people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

http://davidrothscum.blogspot.com/2011/02/world-cheers-as-cia-plunges-libya-into.html

Posted by: brian | Mar 7, 2011 4:49:01 PM | 16

brian i wish you would stop the repetitive posts, we are not dullards, after all - we get your drift

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 7, 2011 5:25:56 PM | 17

b,

Nonsense - Germany also still has its kind of tribes, especially in the south. It has nothuing to do with "cultural superiority".

Stop avoiding the issue. Germany is a representative democracy of the type that you believe the Egyptians and Tunisians deserve but not the Libyans because of their 'tribal' makeup.

I guess for you all tribes are equal, but some tribes are more equal than others?

Indeed it did act differently - it split along tribal/local lines and started to fight the other side.

The army split because the head of the government ordered it to assault its own people, which as you know but are loathe to admit, is the true difference between the Libyan and other uprisings. Indeed, had the Egyptian or Tunisian armies received similar orders you would have seen similar mutinies.

Of course, once the lower echelon commanders were forced to choose between their leader and their people, the choice tended to (but not automatically) be influenced by tribal considerations. But whatever tribal split that has occurred is a byproduct of Q's heinous orders, not the cause.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 7, 2011 5:52:12 PM | 18

Is a No-Fly Zone What Libyans Want

From the link above, a quote from the Guardian:

"Some Libyan rebels have called for a no-fly zone, but until now – and this may change – the mood of the Libyan uprising is that this is their fight and their fight alone ... The moral strength of the Libyan rebels and their political claim to represent the true voice of the people both rest partly on the fact that, <>like the Egyptians and the Tunisians, they have come this far alone.

Interestingly, a March 5 decree from a 'Interm National Transitional Council in Benghazi' states:

“we request from the international community to fulfil its obligations to protect the Libyan people from any further genocide and crimes against humanity without any direct military intervention on Libyan soil.”

The call for protection for civilians is clear in international law (its application a d/f matter) - but protection of armed groups in what looks like a civil war is a political act that becomes party to the conflict - on this reasoning what the f*ck is the 'international community', i.e. Security Council, doing about the civilian casualties and mass refugee crisis associated with electoral violence in Ivory Coast or even the literaly 1000X armed violence/rape against civilians esp. women by the RPF-Rwanda military and local proxy forces in the long suffering Congo-DRC? What about applying the same logic in French dominated Chad to get rid of its French-client dictator, why not help the rebels there?

Does calling Q's state violence and the rebels sporadic killings amount to genocide in Libya? Who is being targeted in whole/part? This reads way to much like the labeling of genocide in Darfur by some parties to justify military intervention and the demonization of the Sudanese government as a genocidal regime rather than the actual on-the-ground happenings as noted by UNHCR and other organizations. The 'interm' council sure sounds like their asking for military intervention from foreign powers.

Posted by: Minerva | Mar 7, 2011 6:02:46 PM | 19

Night Owl

The army split because the head of the government ordered it to assault its own people, which as you know but are loathe to admit, is the true difference between the Libyan and other uprisings. Indeed, had the Egyptian or Tunisian armies received similar orders you would have seen similar mutinies.

It would appear that the Egyptian army received similar orders.

Robert Fisk: As Mubarak clings on... What now for Egypt? - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent

But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

And refused.

Robert Fisk: As Mubarak clings on... What now for Egypt? - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent

Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.

Resulting in the army splitting off from the police that remained loyal to Mubarak, but not splitting internally. Different dynamic.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Mar 7, 2011 6:31:40 PM | 20

the egyptian & the tunisian security forces killed many hundreds of people - the exact numbers are yet to be defined bit considering the massacres that took place in alexandria & in other towns & villages of egypt - the brute numbers would be similar

the numbers of dead in the arab revolts is far from clear & in libya it is the most unclear. night owl is deliberately misreading the sense of what b is saying

i have made my own position quite clear though i am thankful for minerva's postings - your own, nightowl, are seeming not a great deal different from that delivered by cnn

& personally i was hoping the arab revolts would show exactly how western 'democracy' is just as polluted, just as corrupt essentially as the tyrants in the middle east

the pollution of political culture in the west stinks to high heaven

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 7, 2011 6:34:08 PM | 21

nightowl is making it much more simple than it actually is - i do not support gaddafi by any measure but to say that an armed revolt was not already in preparation, is naÏve

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 7, 2011 6:37:41 PM | 22

being sister stations, i wonder why al jazeera arabic is talking of an offer by gaddafi to resign while there is no mention of it all all on aje

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 7, 2011 6:41:41 PM | 23

Resulting in the army splitting off from the police that remained loyal to Mubarak, but not splitting internally. Different dynamic.

Point taken. And to the extent that the Egyptian military remained united under the circumstances is a testament to the type of professionalism and unit cohesiveness that Q deliberately undermined in is own military by playing tribal favorites.

As I've said before, any schisms that multicultural Libya may suffer from have been ruthlessly exploited by Q for his own nefarious ends. But to then turn around and claim, as b does, that the existence of these schisms somehow justifies a lack of political evolution is, in my mind, the worst form of blaming the victim.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 7, 2011 7:31:41 PM | 24

Either way, how exactly is a NATO intervention, and let's face it a NFZ is an intervention, justifiable by the very forces you claim have helped inculcate this dissidence on the part of the Libyan people?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 7, 2011 7:37:26 PM | 25

nightowl is making it much more simple than it actually is - i do not support gaddafi by any measure but to say that an armed revolt was not already in preparation, is naÏve

you know giap, for someone who spent the first few days of the revolt absurdly denying that there was any actual information to claim that the violence was even happening, you certainly appear now to hold some pretty clear conclusions about its causes.

Would that you were so circumspect about stating 'facts' that agree with your preconceived narrative as you are with those that don't.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 7, 2011 9:20:48 PM | 26

the egyptian & the tunisian security forces killed many hundreds of people - the exact numbers are yet to be defined bit considering the massacres that took place in alexandria & in other towns & villages of egypt - the brute numbers would be similar

more specious nonsense.

Libya has a population of roughly 6 million people. Egypt has over 80 million.

If the 'brute' numbers are indeed similar (an open question), it's only because there aren't more Libyans for Q to slaughter.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 7, 2011 9:51:55 PM | 27

if bloggers and commentators want to be taken seriously, i suggest they improve their evidence standards, and abvoid obvious libelous sentimenst, at least to appear objective.

And this month's "Lack of Self Awareness Award" goes to....

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 7, 2011 11:48:11 PM | 28

Time for another media class compare and contrast assignment:
Benghazi 2011 and South Ossetia 2008

Also, interesting site: http://benghazipost.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Biklett | Mar 8, 2011 12:13:14 AM | 29

Let's not be naive. Libya`s politics is driven by oil and oil only. And western secret services have been heavily involved always. And it is no nation state. Yes,b.the tribes theory is orientalist. Let's talk about Sykes-Picot. And yes, western colonialist default policy is to divide and conquer. And creating helpless mini-states. And yes, western colonialist policies now try riding the waves by toppling the regimes they do not like.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2002/nov/10/uk.davidshayler

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/07/libya-oil-idUSLDE7260SL20110307


Posted by: somebody | Mar 8, 2011 1:35:32 AM | 30

Minerva,

Despite calls of unity [with 2 different flags] from both sides - elites on each side, Q and Rebels, have galvanized support on the basis of tribal support, which is the form of modern Libyan nationalism.

Your implication here seems to be that 'unity' and 'tribal' are somehow incompatible.

On the contrary. A confederation of various groups of like-minded individuals is the foundation of any real democratic system. Indeed, it's the very variety of these 'tribes' that makes a union stronger, not weaker. (Just ask the Germans. ;))

The black and white representation of this uprising as Q 'bad' vs. Rebels 'good'/pro-democracy is far from reality. Q as an indvidual is a dictator but his regime has existed in a delicate alliance for over 40 years that has given it some legitimacy, so when one says the Q-regime is 'bad' and get a new one the question is 'who' are the actors that are going to build a post-Q regime and on what basis?

Please go here (comment 124) for my view on your historical relativism argument.

One of these [self-invited] actors does include the western powers. The uprising offers a prime opportunity to assist in establishing a regime that is in line with their own geopolitical interests,

In case you were not aware, since at least 2004 the Q regime has been in line with the West's geopolitical interests. (see same link above)

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 8, 2011 2:24:05 AM | 31

Rick,

Thanks for the nod.

I don't understand the general attitude about Libya here at MOA.

Misguided nostalgia seems to be a major factor.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 8, 2011 2:39:49 AM | 32

@Night Owl - Stop avoiding the issue. Germany is a representative democracy of the type that you believe the Egyptians and Tunisians deserve but not the Libyans because of their 'tribal' makeup.

Where please do you read that I believe that Libyans do not deserve what the Egyptians and Tunisians deserve? I never wrote such a thing.

So please stop interpreting something into my words that I have never said or meant.

The only issue my above post was pointing out is that Libya does have a tribal background, is pretty much an informal confederation of tribes, and that this anthropological fact is relevant for analyzing the current situation. That is neither an orientalist interpretation nor does it have anything to do with any opinion on who deserves what.

Posted by: b | Mar 8, 2011 5:24:11 AM | 33

FP interviews Benjamin Barber:

I've been arguing for some time that this is a tribal society. What you've got here is not Cairo, but the makings of a tribal war among two parts of Libya that before 1931 were distinct provinces (Cyrenaica and Tripolitania and among whom there's long been bad blood). Tripoli versus Benghazi is a very old story. I hope the new chapter leads to freedom and democracy, but there are no guarantees.

Posted by: b | Mar 8, 2011 6:00:45 AM | 34

night owl, i am not a cheerleader as you seem to be for foreign intervention - simply on what facts we are able to possess i attempt to interrogate the dominant narrative, that is all, there is no affection historical or otherwise for gaddaff - also i do not see this revolt in libya in the way that you interpret it, which is roughly the same as cnn's

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 8, 2011 6:47:47 AM | 35

yes, & i am not in full possession of the facts but it is quite clear neither are you

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 8, 2011 6:51:11 AM | 36

Slothrop may be right, afterall, an intervention in Libya may not be just about oil......there are other factors to consider.

http://poorrichards-blog.blogspot.com/2011/03/virtually-unknown-in-west-libyas-water.html

The 1st of September marks the anniversary of the opening of the major stage of Libya's Great Man-Made River Project. This incredibly huge and successful water scheme is virtually unknown in the West, yet it rivals and even surpasses all our greatest development projects. The leader of the so-called advanced countries, the United States of America cannot bring itself to acknowledge Libya's Great Man-Made River. The West refuses to recognize that a small country, with a population no more than four million, can construct anything so large without borrowing a single cent from the international banks......

The Great Man-Made River, as the largest water transport project ever undertaken, has been described as the "eighth wonder of the world". It carries more than five million cubic metres of water per day across the desert to coastal areas, vastly increasing the amount of arable land. The total cost of the huge project is expected to exceed $25 billion (US).

Consisting of a network of pipes buried underground to eliminate evaporation, four meters in diameter, the project extends for four thousand kilometres far deep into the desert. All material is locally engineered and manufactured. Underground water is pumped from 270 wells hundreds of meters deep into reservoirs that feed the network. The cost of one cubic meter of water equals 35 cents. The cubic meter of desalinized water is $3.75. Scientists estimate the amount of water to be equivalent to the flow of 200 years of water in the Nile River.

The goal of the Libyan Arab people, embodied in the Great Man-Made River project, is to make Libya a source of agricultural abundance, capable of producing adequate food and water to supply its own needs and to share with neighboring countries. In short, the River is literally Libya's 'meal ticket' to self-sufficiency.

The Masters of the Universe do not like self-sufficiency. No one shall be allowed self-sufficiency....ever.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 8, 2011 7:19:30 AM | 37

b, you may be interested in this for some light relief

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 8, 2011 8:09:15 AM | 38

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive

moa's resident pentagoon spokesman nightowl is on a roll to day hehehe

Posted by: denk | Mar 8, 2011 11:32:44 AM | 39

Where please do you read that I believe that Libyans do not deserve what the Egyptians and Tunisians deserve? I never wrote such a thing.

You never wrote it, but I'm not the only one who thinks it was implied by your post.

That is neither an orientalist interpretation nor does it have anything to do with any opinion on who deserves what.

You are very good at stating what your opinion is not, but you are still fairly cagey about what it actually is. Perhaps a clearer statement about what you think the Libyan people do deserve might go a long way to clearing up any confusion?

Oh and BTW: I never used the term 'orientalist'. I actually think you are more of Q nostalgist.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 8, 2011 12:15:43 PM | 40

Oh my, b. Benjamin Barber? Please.

Next thing, we'll have R'giap quoting George Will in support of non-intervention.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 8, 2011 12:22:34 PM | 41

also i do not see this revolt in libya in the way that you interpret it, which is roughly the same as cnn's

Really giap? CNN? That's the best you can do? Geez, you're starting to sound like denk.

FYI: I haven't watch any US cable news for a long, long time, so maybe the format has changed, but I don't seem to recall CNN anchors featuring pieces on how the depredations of the globalist kleptocracy are an underlying cause the uprisings.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 8, 2011 12:33:36 PM | 42

Benjamin Barber knows him just about as well as any Western intellectual. Barber -- president of the CivWorld think tank, distinguished senior fellow at the Demos think tank, and author of Strong Democracy and Jihad vs. McWorld -- was among a small group of democracy advocates and public intellectuals, including Joseph Nye, Anthony Giddens, Francis Fukuyama, and Robert Putnam, working under contract with the Monitor Group consulting firm to interact with Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi on issues of democracy and civil society and to help his son Saif implement democratic reforms and author a more representative constitution for Libya.

So a guy (who used to be?) on Q's payroll pushes the divided tribal Libya meme. Gee what a surprise.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 8, 2011 12:52:02 PM | 43

The Gaddafi faction doesn't seem that strong, other than in the amount of hardware and money it has, but time is clearly on their side. Given enough time even an incompetent and reduced 'army' will level down AzZawiyah and Misrata in the west. They don't seem to have the numbers required to occupy and pacify even a small town so they will have to keep bombing and shooting until everyone there is dead or too afraid to fight back.

The fight on the east remains around the oil ports, Ras Lanouf and Brega, where the pipelines converge but in the same vein I doubt they have the numbers to move east. Both sides are on their limits on terms of supply line and I doubt that's going to change in weeks. There is enough weapons and fighters on the east to keep defending their cities from other than a large force and reasonable mounted campaign. Or a counter-revolt. The same officers, army units or 'tribes' that were part of the regime could change sides at any time. Of course the same can happen the other way around. What's matter is who seems to have the winning cards or the best incentives. It's also clear that the Gaddafi faction has people lying down on Benghazi (and around the east): today someone threw a small bomb on a hotel where journalist were staying.

There has been rumors about clashes in Sirte and there is shooting regularly around Tripoli but for now the Gaddafi faction doesn't seem to be weaker than after the first days. If anything the false information spread through Libyan TV about retaking all cities on Sunday seems to point that something big may had happen on that night (there was a lot of shooting).

So it means that it will last long or the outcome will be decided based on who has the best external backing. And I have my doubts that the western powers really want the anti-Gaddafi prevailing. If anything they may prefer a 'de facto' partition. The uncontrolled amounts of weapons and ammunition in the east ... who knows who could get access to those.

One way or another it doesn't especially enticing for the development of a new democracy of the Libyan people, whatever side they are on.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 8, 2011 1:57:33 PM | 44

Very relevant article linked to by Morocco Bama about the Libyan Great River Project and some of the comments about this on the Poor Richard's blog site, if true, are just as enlightening. Here is one comment of interest:

victor ksiezopolski said...
I was a part of the project working as a Polish hydrogeologist on American-Polish-Egiptian join venture project in 1973 in the Misurata desert area and as a hydrogeologist-consultant for a Libyan Company on a contract in 1978-1983. I was supervising and documenting water wells drillied 50 km south of Jalo Oasis in Cireneica desert and in Ubari area. The project of Man Made River was well known and only sufficient amount of water wells was required to start it on. I was in the UN FAO roaster as an expert and only my immigration to Canada stopped my further services. We could reach 250 m3/h of groundwater from wells drilled in the desert at the depth of 250 meters. This was really a great project but done and proceeded by foreign specialists only. Mr. Khadafi put only his name and money to it. I wrote a book about that time.

March 6, 2011 9:18 PM

Oh well, looks like all the "waring tribal groups" got along well enough back then that such a wide area project could be considered. (Sorry, couldn't help the sarcasm.)

What follows is some random ramblings so feel free to stop reading here or forever hold your restraint, especially on the many different spellings of Quadaffi.

Again, I don't understand the great horror about a No Fly Zone (NFZ). The idea is shunned as even a hypothetical discussion as how to be done properly. As both Night Owl and myself predicted, the “West” appears to be in no hurry to help the Libyan people. Defense Secretary Gates has said flat-out, a NFZ, or any military intervention is not in the cards right now. Of course you have the NeoLiberals and NeoCons clamoring for not only a NFZ, but even further intervention for probably less than noble reasons, but 'what else is new'?

On another note, I find so many articles/posts here and in the overall media comparing the Libyan revolution to other recent and even less recent revolutions...everything from Tunisia to the U.S. Civil War. (OK, I may be exaggerating a little here.) And so many comparisons (some specifically troubling from Gaddafi apologists) comparing Gadaffi's response to the Libyan rebels to past insurrections of other nations, or even hypothetical future military responses to revolutions yet to come in the “West”. All these comparisons are meaningless... now is now and Libya is Libya. But hey , I might as well venture a comparison also: How about comparing Gadiffi's attempt to stay in power to the US. attempts to remain/gain control of Iraq after 2003? Seems just as valid as anything else I have read lately at least in some respects. Both the U.S. and Gadaffi blame al-Qaeda, whatever that is. The only big difference is, at least for the people involved and contrary to the Libyan tribal warfare meme, is that pro-Gadaffi air pilots seem reluctant to drop bombs on their own people. In the videos I have seen, the bombs miss every time by a long shot – one can only assume the Libyan pilots are missing on purpose. American pilots weren't so nice. Oh sure, they had their original “Shock and Awe” moment that was designed to be a “humane” show of superior force, but after a few U.S. dead soldiers came back to America, U.S. pilots had no national identity to the Iraqis for restraint. It appears many here and in the U.S. Administration are waiting for any current restraints to wear off in Libya and let the death/destruction proceed full force. The latest news seems to point in this direction, that is, the airstrikes in Libya are becoming more frequent and more deadly. Currently, the ground action is similar to what happened in “America's Iraq”, that is, pro-Gaddifi forces come into a town, time and time again, kill/wound/terrorize a few, then leave. This sort of reminds me of the tactics of the U.S. patrols in Iraq, especially at night. It all makes me wonder how much “western training” occurred with Gadaffi forces. Combined with increasing air attacks, the end result is destruction and desolation/desertion of towns, and these are not all small villages, many in the tens of thousands of people. The high number of refugees from the fighting is similar to Iraq also. Yet the thinking by some here is more of the opposite point of view, that the West have incited, armed, and even trained these rebels. If so, the West did a very poor job and has not learned a thing from past mistakes, but again, 'what else is new'? Even so, are the videos of Libyan youth learning to use anti-aircraft weapons by “on the job training” false and just more of this supposed media propaganda? I doubt it.

There is another notion floating around in the background of these posts that is troubling. That is, that the people of a nation are always able to dislodge their chains from outright slavery or a bad dictator completely on their own. History has not shown this to be a fact as generations upon generations have lived in slavery. A baby can be born in slavery, live its entire life in slavery, and die in slavery, likely at a younger age than any of us would prefer. Now there can be a valid argument made that nations need to mind their own business. Unfortunately in these times, the word “business” means an awful lot. But to the point, why is it wrong to assist those in dire trouble, whether such assistance comes from an individual, a small group, or a nation? Of course, the arguments against assistance in this case are: Gadiffi is not so bad (ie., it is the media that is misleading us), or why support one tribe over another, or why support sectarianism over religious extremism, or the West is worse with its ulterior motives, so they should stay out completely. None of these arguments are positive whether or not one accepts them at face value, and specifically, none address a real need by innocent people. I see little to the positive on these posts here at MOA. Therefore, I appreciated Night Owl's contributions as something more positive. And what I say next is not mutually exclusive: Do not prejudge or underestimate the positive qualities and abilities of these people, both young and old, from east to west, who are seeking their Libyan revolution towards more freedom. And let us not think we know more of their situation, their background, their hopes and desires, than they. To put it crudely, they are not fish in a fishbowl.

Posted by: Rick | Mar 8, 2011 2:16:47 PM | 45

For the conspiracy inspired. Other than Gaddafi and his petty navy (that who knows if it's still under his orders). Who could have used missiles, reaching from the coast, to destroy a large weapon depot in such a complete way?

1658: The BBC's Michael Buchanan in Benghazi has visited a weapons dump outside the city where there was a huge explosion earlier this week. It was thought to have been an accident, but a group of local shepherds told him they saw rockets fall on the area before the blast. They did not see planes, and speculated that the rockets could have been fired from the coast or offshore.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 8, 2011 2:22:27 PM | 46

night owl

the dominant narrative is that a no fly zone be put in place with all that means - that is what i witness whether it is french italian or english speaking media including al jazeera & that is what you have suggested from the very beginning

you attempt to read a sympathy for gaddafi that i have made clear from the beginning - does not exist - i know exactly the relationship libya has had in recent years

surely, i do not have sympathy for the constituents of the revolt especially the libyan national salvation front & those who seem the most prepared & organised are salafists who have a very strong connection with fis/gia in algeria & with corrupt elements within the algerian state

you criticize b for not offering a clear position but it is a far from clear situation - i'm not ashamed of my own confusion - the situation is far more oblique than tunisia or egypt - other than offering a general support for the arab revolts - i can't see what you actually want him to say

b's work on georgia & iran have been vindicated by the real, the concrete situation, b's instincts, his geostrategic understanding is more highly developed than my own & i trust that instinct

my own concern was simply stated at the beginning - that whatever the situation was in libya, i hoped it did not threaten the momentum of the arab revolts & secondarily a weakened imperialism is capable of great great damage & i fear that they are working rapidlly to degrade the effect of these revolts, already evident in oman, bahrain & saudi arabia

i apologize for the jibe but i certainly do not read the situation as you do

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 8, 2011 2:24:02 PM | 47

@Cloned Poster - thanks! Unfortunately "The service is not available in your area"

Looks like I will need a British proxy to access that flick.

Posted by: b | Mar 8, 2011 2:34:46 PM | 48

to put it bluntly - whatever he's for, i am against

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 8, 2011 2:39:57 PM | 49

sorry bout that but i think there must be a link to this article elsewhere by the criminal yoo

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 8, 2011 2:41:21 PM | 50

Diana Johnstone on Libya as the new Kosovo...excellent article
http://www.counterpunch.com/johnstone03072011.html

those out to attack gadafi may like to look at who they are supporting:

Meet the 'rebels'
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27621.htm

Posted by: brian | Mar 8, 2011 3:48:29 PM | 51

Q being Q - he would want to take a stand, to fight..he even wanted to join the protestors, against himself! - as the perpetual revolutionary...Then, there is the standard dictum, which applies in his case: fight to negotiate a better deal in the end. Show strength, such as it is, be a nuisance, make a lot of noise, act tough, and thereby force your opponents to make concessions they would never have otherwise. (I am not making light of horrors of civil war.) He hopes to cut a favorable deal of some kind, and may very well succeed.

Tribes in Lybia? Not relevant now.

The West (US - uk - EU) will be contemplating,

a) a break up into statelets (Tripolitania, Berlusconi can go stay on old stomping grounds!) (yugoslavia model)

b) take over, occupation, new figure, puppet Gvmt, ‘democracy’ (iraq)

c) let it rot, leave it be, wait and see - let the lybians fight it out (sudan)

d) take out Q, but then what?

none of these being palatable, not to mention manageable, in any way.

The arguments about a no-fly zone are to be seen in light of longer term aims.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 8, 2011 3:56:16 PM | 52

what's the big deal about a no-fly zone?

"To establish a secure no-fly zone, we would have to bomb radar installations, anti-aircraft batteries, missile sites, and airfields, and destroy the Libyan air force on the ground, to keep the skies secure for U.S. pilots. These would be acts of war against a nation that has not attacked us. Where do we get the legal and moral right to do this?" -- Pat Buchanan, U.S. right-wing commentator, arguing against intervention

http://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2011/03/07/its-their-war-not-ours/

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. | Mar 8, 2011 4:06:59 PM | 53

Those who want intervention in Libya should hop on a plane and offer their services to the side of their choice.

I am inclined to the view that the blood of tyrants should be used for irrigating the tree of liberty but I have no illusions about "my" government or "yours". They are neither of ours and the Imperial ruling class that they serve is, by its imperial nature, far more dangerous to the Libyan people than either side in their struggle.

Surely this is a fact that nobody can doubt?

Every instance of military intervention or robust sanctioning, as in No Fly Zones, by the "international community has been characterised by appalling massacres, enormous social and economic catastrophe and, in the end, the installation of a franchised kleptocracy. Under whose rule the only political freedom that individuals are left with is the freedom to be detained, tortured and executed by death squads.Or to do as they are told.

Such is and has been the experience of Iraq aince 1991. Similar fates have befallen Kossovo and every other recipient of the bounty from NATO's bomb bays.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 8, 2011 4:20:37 PM | 54

if richard cheney, david addington, 'scooter' iibby, john yoo, paul wolfowitz, richard perle & donald rumsfield were placed in the docks - judged for their crimes at the icc then i would believe in 'justice' & then i might be able to understand why gaddafi should appear there but until that moment - the court is an instrument of ideology &its judgements, worthless, not worth the copious paper they have been written on

it appears gaddafi has offered to resign -conditional on guarantees, this is something as i noted aj arabic talks about but aji does not - it would seem there is no attempt at what the soi-disant 'international community' likes to call 'conflict resolution'

as each day passes the narrative gets a little more bizarre - meanwhile yemen kills protestors in the streets, bahrain applies its security apparatus on the orders of saudi arabia who themselves are tightening the screws on the opposition. so too in jordan

eanwhile hariri & his criminal gang are up to their normal tricks

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 8, 2011 4:46:05 PM | 55

jean bricmont

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 8, 2011 5:19:07 PM | 56

the opposite view

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 8, 2011 6:47:39 PM | 57

rick
*Again, I don't understand the great horror about a No Fly Zone *

in case u missed it
http://tinyurl.com/4gbg7r3
owl n u seem to have evaded lots of my questions
to think that copeland dude call brian n me *artful dodgers*, lol

to sum it up.....
general william loony on iraq nfz
+"If they turn on the radars we're going to blow up their goddamn SAMs (surface-to-air missiles). They know we own their country. We own their airspace... We dictate the way they live and talk. And that's what's great about America right now. It's a good thing, especially when there's a lot
of oil out there we need."


Posted by: denk | Mar 8, 2011 8:43:01 PM | 58

Behind Libya Rifts, Tribal Politics

Many members of the new ruling class taking shape in eastern Libya are from long-privileged tribes that were relegated to second-class status under Col. Gadhafi.

Many of the leaders now emerging in eastern Libya hail from the Harabi tribe, including the head of the provisional government set up in Benghazi, Abdel Mustafa Jalil, and Abdel Fatah Younis, who assumed a key leadership role over the defected military ranks early in the uprising.

"If you scratch the surface, you'll find a lot of the new leaders, a lot of those who defected to the rebels early, are from old tribes and families who served the Senussi monarchy," said Jason Pack, a Libya scholar at Oxford University.


Posted by: Minerva | Mar 8, 2011 8:43:44 PM | 59

Survival Depends on Tribal Solidarity

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How does this tribal structure affect Libyan politics?

Mattes: Moammar Gadhafi's assumption of power in 1969 resulted in members of the Gadhafi tribe (the "Qadhadhifa") and the allied Maqarha and Warfalla tribes taking over all key positions in the security arena, that is, in the armed forces, police and intelligence service, thereby guaranteeing their control. For this reason, it was never to be expected, in the event of open political opposition questioning the dominance of the three tribes, that the members of the tribes would renounce their own tribes and defect to the opposition. This sort of situation has only materialized now, because the Warfalla tribe was opposed to the Gadhafi's tribe's harsh treatment of the opposition and therefore distanced itself from the Gadhafi tribe. The Warfalla tribe can afford to change course, because it's a powerful tribe. Smaller tribes are less likely to have this choice.

Posted by: Minerva | Mar 8, 2011 8:47:11 PM | 60

Coup or Insurrection

Coup or insurrection? The more we learn about how the 'insurrection' in Libya unfolded the more it appears that behind the demonstrations a coup was being launched. Nothing else explains the overnight appearance of weapons including attacks on arms depots and military installations accompanied by well-timed rumours of atrocities being committed by Ghadafi's air force and 'African mercenaries'.

So what prompted such an apparently instantaneous revolt? This is where it gets murky.

The most likely explanation is some kind of power struggle within the ruling elite aided by elements of the military/security forces that capitalized on popular discontent to escalate the confrontation from day one. So for example, in the early days of the revolt it's not clear which side fired the first shots but clearly from the very beginning both sides were using arms.

Posted by: Minerva | Mar 8, 2011 8:52:14 PM | 61

The artful dodgers would rather lionize a clearly ruthless autocrat, praising him as shrewd, not insane; though insane he is, and has been, for some time. This demented leader carries on for days and days, proclaiming that there is peace in his land where all his people love him.

As for those not directly in this fight (as the Libyans are), the more ethical and coherent position would be to oppose the brutal autocracy AND the calls for imperial-style intervention. But the dodgers love Gadhafi; they believe in his kind of government, they admire the leader's disconnect with reality, and apparently think of it as high-styling.

The artful dodgers believe that history vindicates Gadhafi, or will vindicate him, no matter what happens. Come rain or shine, in office or in exile, deposed with outside help, or solely undone by the hands of Libyans, with his Amazon bevy of bodyguards or without them; he will still shine in their personal Pantheon as a river to his people and one hell of a Good Joe.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 8, 2011 10:47:00 PM | 62

Those that pointed out the differences between the Libyan violence and that of Egypt Tunisia and Bahrain etc back in late February were howled down by exactly the same posters who are hysterically denouncing any criticism of the Libyan 'protesters' now.

It is difficult to comprehend the motive to be anything other than some ego driven need to be correct, so that the patently ridiculous contention that the civil war in Libya is one-sidedly violent, is clung to as if it were a shattered spar in a throiling sea - the only possible way of staying afloat- no matter how tenuous or uncomfortable that may be.
The 'protests started with the arson of two police stations in Beyida eastern Libya on the 16th of February. Within a week the arson of government buildings especially police stations had spread to the much larger Benghazi. It was around that time AJE which had been reporting on Libya daily but not saturation, stepped up the coverage, neatly drowning out stories about Bahrain, Jordan & Qatar & others.

No post I have seen in here has defended Muammar Qaddafi, but it seems that as far as a couple of posters are concerned, even suggesting that the leaders of the insurrection may not be any better and may in fact be worse (being members of the two tribes most deeply implicated in the monarchical and Italian colonial administrations) than Qaddafi is tantamount to a war crime.
The ugly racist subtext of as-Senussi and Warfalla tribal leaders was alluded to by a poster in here over a week ago. A shame that those determined to believe that all North African and Arab 'revolutionary's are as pure as the driven snow haven't stopped to consider the true nature of the likely horror for the people of Libya that will result from going back to the bad old divide and rule days of colonial & royal Libya.

Qaddafi is a tyrant, but like Saddam Hussein he didn't really discriminate in who he oppressed. That is to say just as women were substantially better educated in Iraq than anywhere else in the ME under Saddam, people were promoted or sacked in Qaddafi's Libya without regard to their clan. But the Warfalla tribe plus one or two other clans originating within eastern Libya make up a narrow majority of the Libyan population. This is why clan leaders in the east have been at odds with the Qaddafi regime so constantly and ferociously since the early 1990's.

They can see a good chance of controlling all Libya if only they can remove Muammar.

Now about the resident zionists nagging on claiming there were parallels between the sectarian violence in Iraq which led to a civil war and that of Libya.

As far as it is possible to judge the tribal (note Libya is a tribal/clan division, not a sectarian/religious difference) conflict of Libya has been entirely driven by idiots within Libya. However as we should all know, in Iraq where the Saddam administration had endeavored to have an inclusive tyrannical regime, the US was implicated in 'false flag' attacks on mosques and other religious sites, culminating in the Al-Askari Mosque bombing in 2006. The destruction of the golden dome was the final match which lit up Iraq and caused the civil war. Watchmen had reported hearing english spoken by some of the mine laying team. The resulting slaughter absorbed the energies of Sunni and Shia opponents of the US invasion.

oafs who maintain the us doesn't do that need to check out the peculiar perambulations of a man called Ray Davies -he is unrelated to the founder of the kinks incidentally. R Davies is a US agent who entered Pakistan claiming to be a Xe contractor. However after he got arrested for murdering Pakistanis, the Shirley Temple administration decided that Davies was a diplomat entitled full diplomatic cover. Shirley told the world Davies was a CIA employee. The Lahore police discovered maps and cell phone records of known members of Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) and sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

It seems Davies was the organizer of those two groups' activities against Pakistani civilians. Keeping the Pakistan govt wrong footed, by using the alleged islamofascists, then calling in drone attacks on villages that were totally unrelated to the attacks. No wonder investigators found US links to the 2009 Mumbai attack.
The empire keeps the pot simmering, stirs up trouble either for direct political gain or to be a distraction from their real nastiness.
As above there is nothing to link the US to the slaughtering in Libya yet, but that cannot be used as some sort of proof to deny the US' deliberate strategy of creating sectarian conflict in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon to name a few.

The Iran ructions of a coupla years back must have left some delicate petals over-sensitive to the asinine claims of zionists and their ilk that those who expressed reservations at the true nature of the post election riots in Iran were hypocrites. The only truth in any of that stupidity is that those making that claim are either ignoramuses carelessly revealing their flawed thinking to the world, or conniving game players who are more interested in winning an argument than exposing the depravities humans squashed at the bottom of the imperial shit heap are forced to endure.

Posted by: UreKismet | Mar 8, 2011 11:25:07 PM | 63

copeland is a not so artful dodger

in case u missed this
http://tinyurl.com/6j7xwe6
copeland
*'brian and denk are artful dodgers
brian and denk think Ghadhafi is the greatest thing since sliced bread*

explain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
i'm still waitin for ur evidence.

Posted by: denk | Mar 8, 2011 11:29:14 PM | 64

hey hey MoA
battle zones
but that's okay
when typing from the safety zones
proxy boxing
for some
is entertainment
(employment?)

who can say?

Posted by: lizard | Mar 8, 2011 11:59:43 PM | 65

Shrewdness is not synonymous with insanity, especially in a political leader. The two dodgers remind me of people in my country who are beguiled by "a strong leader". Some people don't want to be ennobled, or protected, or have their own petty sense of power magnified by a tyrant.

People who know where the real battle is waged, and the real stakes for which it is waged, win. We just saw this happen in Egypt. Most folks who read at MoA have come to the conclusion that people don't become saints if they are forced to take up arms against tyranny. No one knows if the outcome of bloody civil war in Libya will mean a better government or not. And who are we to judge how pure or impure the people in the insurrection are?


Posted by: Copeland | Mar 9, 2011 12:06:39 AM | 66

copeland has no evidence

u are a liar mr

Posted by: denk | Mar 9, 2011 12:16:18 AM | 67

They can see a good chance of controlling all Libya if only they can remove Muammar.

Muammar will be removed through some political process, because he's gone batty. Maybe he will finally face the facts and negotiate a departure from power; and this departure will not only preserve some dignity for him, but will possibly create conditions for an armistice, or at least a cease fire, that will permit Libyans to sit down and explore power sharing, before outside powers can push their way in, with the usual fomenting of chaos, and the age old divide and conquer routine.

Let me be clear. I am not for sending the man to the Hague. I am not for humiliating Gadhafi in any way. Unlike Bush and Obama, he is not a butcher who wears the smiling mask of civility.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 9, 2011 12:36:15 AM | 68

Go carry Ghadhafi's slippers for him, denk. It's almost nighty-night.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 9, 2011 12:37:58 AM | 69

i am calling copeland a bald faced liar

this pronoucement stands unless
he or anybody here can produce evidence that i've said anything to *lionise [sic] kadaffi n all that jazz

Posted by: denk | Mar 9, 2011 12:41:49 AM | 70

Copeland

We just saw this happen in Egypt. Most folks who read at MoA have come to the conclusion that people don't become saints if they are forced to take up arms against tyranny. No one knows if the outcome of bloody civil war in Libya will mean a better government or not. And who are we to judge how pure or impure the people in the insurrection are?

Well put.

I don't know about you, but I don't happen to recall too many people around here questioning the morality of the Egyptian protesters in such conspiratorial terms, or taking such heroic pains to diminish the legitimacy of their protests.

I guess the moral of the story is that semi-peaceful protests (those with a lot of rocks and some molotov cocktails) are brave and noble movements, but if the protesters end up getting gunned down in the streets, they must have had it coming.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 9, 2011 12:54:07 AM | 71

owl
*I guess the moral of the story is that semi-peaceful protests (those with a lot of rocks and some molotov cocktails) are brave and noble movements, but if the protesters end up getting gunned down in the streets, they must have had it coming*

*they had it coming*
really, who else but u say it owl ?

u keep trumpeting UNVERIFIED *atrocities* in libya
as per the rebel hq or the oh so honest msm
fool me once

yet u propose to let the perps of well documented crimes going back 200 yrs to intervene

like someone else has said, isnt it like asking a serial paedophile to run a childcare outlet ?

p.s. may be u should help copeland find his *evidence* , that poor dear ;-)

Posted by: denk | Mar 9, 2011 1:49:26 AM | 72

denk, you distorted the very effective irony of Night Owl's paragraph by pulling the phrase *they had it coming* out of context, and presenting it, as if it were a declarative sentence. Either you cannot read english effectively, in context; or like a troll, you are being deliberately dishonest.

But some of it may have to do with having fixed ideas. We have all have been guilty of that at times; but when I see a response like yours above (at #76), I can only think that you are trying to slap us silly with your ideas without any respect for our intelligence.

And when you write "who else but u say it owl" you both condescend and distort at the same time.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 9, 2011 2:48:45 AM | 73

copeland

lol
its owl who smear others posters who questions the unverified accusations of atrocities as kadaffi apologists who think that *the protesters had it coming to them* when no one had suggested anything remotely close
just like u repeatedly slanted me as ksdaffi apologist who *lionise the tyrant* but fail to substantiate it

i'd have thought that u'd feel a bit embarrassed after ur last performance....
yet u have the cheek to come back here for an *encore' hehehe

Posted by: denk | Mar 9, 2011 3:06:28 AM | 74

Video - The Battle for Zawiyah (long version)

The ant-Qadaffi forces have some pretty serious weapons ...

Posted by: b | Mar 9, 2011 4:24:55 AM | 75

I read somewhere they are supposed to have planes in Benghazi or other bases in the east. But they likely lack pilots or are not in working condition.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 9, 2011 5:27:47 AM | 76

Ivory Coast: rebellion, fighting, "genocide", rape. No fly zone? Carrier force? Intervention to promote democracy?Hahahahaha. Why not? NO OIL. West indifferent.

Burma recently. Same. NO OIL , so no "humane" intervention.

We gotta get that oil, so get rid of Gaddafi/Qaddafi/Khadaffi/etc

Posted by: hilerie | Mar 9, 2011 6:45:31 AM | 77

Incredible. I post a link about why Libya may be seen as strategically important to the Western forces who appear to be on the verge of intervening, and nary a word. Instead, we get useless, and I mean useless, bickering about who the good and bad guys are.

Water is as important in this century as oil was in the last. Libya is sitting upon an underground gold mine of water.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 9, 2011 7:37:16 AM | 78

Re Moroccobama 37:

Libya's Great Man-Made River Project. This incredibly huge and successful water scheme is virtually unknown in the West, yet it rivals and even surpasses all our greatest development projects.

Even in quoting Poorrichard, this issue is being misunderstood. This is a good idea, in its way. But you should understand that what it does is to pump water out of wells in the desert and send it by pipe to the coast for irrigating the agriculture of the coastal plain.

The main problem is that it is fossil water, never replaced by new rainfall. It is water that fell as rain during the last wet phase in the Sahara 25,000 years ago. My geography professor back in the 80s, who studied the project, said the water would last 30 years. Well, 30 years are nearly up. Maybe he was too pessimistic, but still.... The project evidently has no long term future in spite of all the money spent on it.

Posted by: Alexno | Mar 9, 2011 7:48:50 AM | 79

is geography a requirement for a degree in any of the social sciences?

Posted by: rjj | Mar 9, 2011 8:04:30 AM | 80

There were like 8000 UN troops in Ivory Coast with more being deployed after Gbago refused to step down after the presidential elections. When the civil war was happening there was a direct intervention by the French army. And other than the 'important' cocoa production (to be exported, processed and profited in western countries) there is oil.

You can hardly say there is no intervention there. It's a different matter if it's being reported in the Mass For Dummies Media. In fact the situation is very similar including the tribal undertones. So on your next attempt to troll use a better example.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 9, 2011 8:18:28 AM | 81

Excuse me for saying so, but I think you're wrong in supposing Libya to be at heart a tribal insurrection, b.

It's more about division of resources, or the personality of Gaddafi.

Yes, of course, Libya is a tribal society. The remaining support of Gaddafi is his tribe, and the mercenaries - the private army of Khamis Gaddafi. They seem to be moderately well organised, but not very well so, considering the money they have. For the moment the opposition don't seem organised at all, though they do have some weapons (as you note, b).

It is more that Libya is a classic petroleum producing economy, at least of the Middle East kind. I haven't checked the figures, but am I wrong in thinking that more than 90% of GDP comes from oil sales? Classically, all this goes to the state, which then diffuses it or not into the economy. It takes a strong-willed leader not to put a large proportion into his own pocket, and I don't know of any leader yet who has resisted the temptation. It is one of the main reasons that autocracy survives so well in the Middle East.

What we are seeing now is Gaddafi, his family, his tribe, and whatever money can buy, versus the rest.

It is in fact a traditional scenario that was first described on a theoretical level, by the famous Maghrebi historian Ibn Khaldun in the 14th century, in the Muqaddima. Although he didn't know about oil, according to him, a tribal dynasty comes to power, acquires wealth, acquires foreign mercenaries as protection (thus presumably not trusting his own tribe 100%), and in the second generation weakens and is replaced by another. Real history is naturally not as cyclical as he supposed, but Gaddafi is certainly in the stage of acquiring foreign mercenaries (they were called Mamluks in medieval times).

The question may soon come: will he place more reliance on the mercenaries or on the tribe? It is a weak point; the ones less trusted may leave him.

For me, Libya is more the classic autocracy of the oil state, and the issue is the personality of Gaddafi, much as it was Mubarak in Egypt or Ben Ali in Tunisia. The consequence may be democracy, but the immediate aim is to get rid of the tyrant.

Posted by: Alexno | Mar 9, 2011 8:27:14 AM | 82

said the water would last 30 years.

30 years based off of the grand plans they had in store for it. From what I gathered, those plans have not yet come to fruition, and the water still largely remains in the ground....waiting for that rainy day. I may be wrong, but I wonder if there are any reliable resources we can find that state the case objectively.

Assuming the water angle is not an angle at all, Alexno, why do you believe Libya is of strategic interest to the West, aside from the obvious. In otherwords, why is the media building a case for possible intervention in Libya versus anywhere else we are seeing uprisings? What is it about Libya?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 9, 2011 8:54:52 AM | 83

Morocco Bama @83 great questions. The uprising is a chance to secure a foothold in Libya through the rebel movements and retake the entire North African region.

US-NATO Prepare for War 'on' Libya

British efforts are part of multifaceted operation to construct a new Libyan regime that can suppress popular opposition and ensure that the major oil companies, banks and corporations have access to Libya’s resources [...] Italy has perhaps the closest economic and political ties with Libya of all the European countries. It gets a quarter of its crude oil and 10 percent of its natural gas from Libya. Italy is Libya’s largest trading partner and is the major EU exporter of arms to Libya. Its national oil company Eni has extensive investments in Libya, and Italian contractors are building a new coastal highway, railways and fibre optics networks.

The Libyan Investment Authority and other investors have stakes in some of Italy’s biggest companies. Last week, Italy suspended its 2008 Friendship Treaty with Libya. This means that Italy can now allow its military bases to be used for acts of aggression against the Gaddafi regime.

I'm note sure about the economic interests angel since Italy is on board and Britain has had lucrative oil/gas contracts.

Washington is seeking to exploit the mass opposition to Gaddafi to install a new client regime that will enable it to position its political and military assets to prop up reactionary regimes across North Africa and the Middle East—including Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Oman—that are being rocked by popular uprisings.

According to Time magazine, President Barack Obama is now refining the US response to the Libyan uprising and ensuring that the US has the full capacity to act very rapidly if necessary. Part of his strategy is to position military assets under the guise of mounting a humanitarian effort to transport refugees and provide aid to civilians. At the same time, Obama has formed a supreme intelligence committee consisting of Pentagon, National Security Council and CIA experts, which will attempt to bring together reports from US sources based among the opposition and Gaddafi’s forces.



Posted by: Minerva | Mar 9, 2011 9:33:26 AM | 84

When the west elite sees pictures like this, actions will follow. This is big in a psychological sense.

Sidre Oil Port
http://twitpic.com/47slaa

Posted by: Rick | Mar 9, 2011 9:37:11 AM | 85

Meet the political face of the revolution
Interim Transitional National Council

A National Transitional Council was formed on 27 February 2011 to act as "the political face of the revolution" … chaired by former justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil, who quit the government a few days before.

On March 5, an Executive Team was set up to act as the executive arm of the council. The team consists of Omar Hariri as the head of the military, Ali al-Essawi as the head of foreign affairs, and Mahmoud Jebril as the head of the team (chairman)
Omar Hariri, a confederate in Qaddafi’s coup who broke with him and led a failed coup of his own in 1975, and two other men were named to head the local government.
Mohammed Abdul-Rahman Shalgham, the Libyan UN ambassador who defected from the Qaddafi regime in mid-February.

So we have ….
Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil, Qadaffi’s Justice Minister as Chariman
Ali al-Essawi, Qadaffi’s ambassador to India as Foreign ‘Minister’
Mohammed Abdul-Rahman Shalgham, Qadaffi’s ambassador to the UN doing the same thing except for the rebels
Omar Hariri, member of the Revolutionary Council that ousted King Idris in 1969 and a leader of a1975 coup against the new republican Libyan regime … appointed to lead the rebels army to, what else, bring a coup and oust Qadaffi

Posted by: Minerva | Mar 9, 2011 9:56:12 AM | 86

re 83

Alexno, why do you believe Libya is of strategic interest to the West, aside from the obvious.

I don't. And I don't believe the West will intervene. It would be a bad idea. They're anxious at the moment, it's understandable.

If they want to get rid of Gaddafi, they should supply the rebels covertly with arms. Robert Fisk had a story at the weekend in the Independent about the US negotiating with Saudi Arabia to do precisely that. The Angry Arab pissed on Fisk's story. No idea whether there was any truth in it. But it's the right idea.

But if Gaddafi wins, there will be negative long-term consequences. Libya will be destabilised until Gaddafi does finally disappear. There's no future in a Gaddafi win; Libya just goes on hold. Libyans won't accept a second-generation Gaddafi now, except by force. There'll be a continuing destabilising force to the ME oil production scene.

And it will be embarrassing for the US to be forced to watch an ugly massacre right in front of its television cameras (or rather those of al-Jazeera, and thus not watched), another proof of things that go on in the world quite outside of its control.

Posted by: Alexno | Mar 9, 2011 10:13:03 AM | 87

That Lybia water project was according to Q, the 8th wonder in the world. (Biggest water project / world.) It was carried out by foreign Cos. Brown and Root, etc.

Greening the desert, you bet. Feeding the ppl, yes.

The project was not favored by the West, in fact they were furious (but that was before Q went to rehab) and Q indeed borrowed no money. It was made possible by oil resources. I have read, without any real knowledge of my own, that the aquifer itself stretches underground to Egypt, Chad and Sudan (see wiki.) Poses all the problems of resources that are off-shore (Law of the Sea), up in the sky, or far under the ground.

Estimates as to when it will run out - run out it will - vary from 4,860 years (great precision, heh, Fawzi al-Sharief Saeid, Lybian director at some point, see link) and 30 years, some Western pundit.

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

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Wonder_or_folly_33-bln-dollar_Libyan_water_scheme_stirs_debate_999.html

What about the Nile?

Way back in time, aka in 2010, an agreement was signed by several countries to share Nile water more equitably. This agreement is supported by the UN, WB, IMF, FAO, US, “everyone”, as was set to be slowly enforced.

The older arrangements, inherited from the Brits, attributed the waters of the Nile to Egypt and the Sudan.

for basic info search, type: nile basin initiative wiki

Egypt was already facing water scarcity before 2010.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 9, 2011 10:28:36 AM | 88

The ant-Qadaffi forces have some pretty serious weapons ...

As I've said previously, I think Az Zawiya is the key to the whole conflict right now. Az Zawiya is the major oil and gas terminal for the entire west of the country. With his reversals in the east up to and including the oil facilities at Ras Lanuf, Q desperately needs the facilities at Az Zawiya if he wants any realistic hope of prolonging the war.

Q has made the maximum effort there in recent days and, while reports have been sketchy, he appears to have come up short. In the process, he has lost a number of tanks and other equipment that he can't replace and now finds himself weaker and still without control of any of Libya's strategic oil assets.

In this context, it's not surprising that Q floated a second round of overtures to the opposition on a way out (the first coming from Chavez after Q's loss at Ras Lanuf).

Meanwhile to the west of Tripoli, Q has also been repelled at Misrata, which blocks his ability both to relieve Sirte and to concentrate his forces for a last ditch offensive to retake Ras Lanuf.

So long as Az Zawiya in the east and Misrata in the west both hold, Q's days appear to be numbered.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 9, 2011 10:59:14 AM | 89

Az Zawiya in the east and Misrata in the west both hold

sorry, got my easts and wests mixed up there.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 9, 2011 11:00:36 AM | 90

Night Owl,
I would think, and a retired Egyptian General mentioned this on AJ today, that any areas far from Tripoli Q will have a hard time to retake and hold because long supply lines needed. These are cities in the desert separated by long distances . b would be better to comment on this as he did an excellent job describing these problems in Afghanistan. I wonder if the coastal cities would be exempt from this tactical problem.

Posted by: Rick | Mar 9, 2011 11:51:30 AM | 91

Rick,

any areas far from Tripoli Q will have a hard time to retake and hold because long supply lines needed.

...which is another reason why Az Zawiya (only 50 km from Tripoli) is so critical for Q.

Supply to the east is feasible so long as there is a clear run from Tripoli to Sirte, but Misrata in rebel hands complicates matters significantly.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 9, 2011 12:04:48 PM | 92

would be better to comment on this as he did an excellent job describing these problems in Afghanistan

Well, no, actually.

b's position was that supply routes over the Khyber would be effectively cut off by the taliban, which hasn't happened. Meanwhile, b said that Russia would never permit transit of matériel through Russia and the former southern republics would not acquiesce, which hasn't happened.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 9, 2011 12:08:05 PM | 93

Az Zawiya has mostly fallen - had no chance at all - the eastern areas will fall too - yes, the supply lines are long for Qadaffi to send his military to the east - so what - he has the resources.

If you want to know the area and supply problems, read up on the Germans fighting there - they didn't have the resources the US/British forces had.

Posted by: b | Mar 9, 2011 4:18:47 PM | 94

Az Zawiya has mostly fallen - had no chance at all - the eastern areas will fall too - yes, the supply lines are long for Qadaffi to send his military to the east - so what - he has the resources.

I believe your assessment is overly pessimistic, especially with regard to the situation in the east. But as always, time will tell.

If you want to know the area and supply problems, read up on the Germans fighting there - they didn't have the resources the US/British forces had.

As a student of those campaigns, I'm sure you're aware of the necessity of an unhindered flow of gasoline for any offensive to succeed.

Currently, Q is running solely on his reserves, so unless he can pacify Az Zawiya to the point where he can get the gas flowing from there again, I have a tough time seeing how he can sustain any offensive operations at all, let alone operations that could carry him to Benghazi.

Posted by: Night Owl | Mar 9, 2011 6:32:02 PM | 95

chris floyd

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 9, 2011 6:35:56 PM | 96

The Chris Floyd article is a good one. As far as Gadhafi is concerned, it would be to his advantage to present his regime as opposing the imperial powers; it's what served him so well during the years when he was more in possession of his faculties. But early on in the revolt he was still complementing Obama, calling him a nice man and so on. Gadhafi is still reluctant to burn those bridges behind him, at least in his own mind. There is some kind of delusion at work when he claims al_Qaeda is behind the revolt, or suggests that the instigators are feeding the rebellious youth psychoactive drugs.

Milne's observations just expose the whole false facade American diplomacy. Obama for his part has just given the Guantanamo base he once promised to close, a perpetual lease on life, by signaling that the military tribunals can be empaneled to sit there, and judge prisoners who are left to rot in its legal limbo. And the example being made of Pfc. Bradley Manning has become even harsher; as his friends report that he was force to stand naked outside his cell for seven hours, where he is held in military custody in Virginia.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 9, 2011 8:28:31 PM | 97

he's lear to the end, copeland - i heard today he said he was the last line of defence for israel - this man who once sd he would lead the brigades into jerusalem

the whole situation is getting madder by the day - & if the oppositionists are those represented on al jazeera - they are even madder than him - all richard the lll's-in-waiting

& the pompous tool from the hoover institute foud adjani - a windbag en plus

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 9, 2011 9:00:55 PM | 98

why are my comments not being posted?

Posted by: brian | Mar 10, 2011 2:26:36 AM | 99

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday Muammar Gaddafi was using “mercenaries and thugs” to suppress his own people and said the Libyan leader must step down immediately.

It's the hipocrisy of the West that gets me

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 10, 2011 7:00:46 AM | 100

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