May 26, 2011
Libya: A Climb-down From Hubristic War Aims
Promoting their war on Libya the three stooges boosted:
[I]t is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power.
It seems that in sight of the stalemate in Libya they now have some second thoughts:
"I do think that is it going to be difficult to meet the UN mandate of security for the Libyan people as long as Gaddafi and his regime are still attacking them," [Obama] said. "And so we are strongly committed to seeing the job through, making sure that, at minimum, Gaddafi doesn't have the capacity to send in a bunch of thugs to murder innocent civilians."
The minimum Obama layed out does not include the removal of Gaddhafi. This smells of retreat.
The Independent, boosting an "exclusive" about yet another of Gaddhafi's ceasefire offer, also has some bits on this:
Behind the scenes, there are signs that Western powers may agree to a ceasefire without the precondition of Muammar Gaddafi and his immediate family going into exile.
Whitehall sources say there is a widespread feeling that the Cameron government "set the bar too high" in stating that the departure of the Libyan leader was a prerequisite for a deal to end the strife.
That indeed does sound like a change of purported aims of the war.
But now comes the problem:
Meanwhile the opposition's political leadership, based in Benghazi – some of them senior former regime officials – insists that no talks can be held until Colonel Gaddafi and his family go into exile.
Having rushed into the war without a strategy and any plan b, c or d, the three stooges now depend on the goodwill of the rebels they promoted. It will be very difficult to get them to agree to any scheme which keeps Gaddhafi in some position of power.
But the only alternative is a much longer and continuously escalating war to which the political constituencies of Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy are unlikely to agree.
A predicament for which they only have to blame themselves.
Posted by b on May 26, 2011 at 09:55 AM | Permalink
"But the only alternative is a much longer and continuously escalating war to which the political constituencies of Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy are unlikely to agree."
I think this is the most likely scenario, but, I would hope the west is rethinking their violent intervention.
Posted by: ben | May 26, 2011 10:11:02 AM | 1
And then there is this:
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The government of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has contacted foreign states offering an immediate ceasefire, but there was skepticism that the proposal could end the three-month-old conflict.
The ceasefire offer was unlikely to deflect Western leaders, meeting for a Group of Eight summit in the French seaside resort of Deauville, who say they are steadily moving closer to their goal of forcing Gaddafi from power.
Just don't see the west accepting anything coming from Mr. Q.
Posted by: ben | May 26, 2011 10:14:50 AM | 2
afp: US supplies bombs to allies for Libya war:Pentagon
The US military is supplying bombs and spare parts to allies carrying out strikes in the NATO-led air campaign against Libya's regime, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
"We have provided material support, including munitions, to Allies and partners engaged in operations in Libya" since April 1, spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said in an email.
The statement marked the first time the Pentagon had publicly confirmed it was providing ammunition to NATO allies, amid reports some countries were running out of supplies of precision-guided bombs or parts.
Lapan confirmed that the munitions included precision-guided "smart bombs."
Since NATO took the lead in the air campaign on April 1, the United States has provided allies and partners with about $24.3 million worth of "repair parts, ammunition, and technical support," Lapan said.
Posted by: b real | May 26, 2011 12:30:34 PM | 4
Just another brick in the wall of proof, that NATO=U.S.
Posted by: ben | May 26, 2011 1:13:23 PM | 5
so it seems they tried to scare Gaddafi, and failed? hope this is the correct interpretation
the rebels will have no choice but to follow orders of their sponsors
the real problem, I think, will be convincing Sarkozy to step back; he might also encourage the rebels, behind the scenes, to oppose any accomodation
political catastrophe, or at least a big humiliation awaits the "leaders" of this umpteenth western crusade; I still can't really believe we are about to give up so easily; I'm sure some nasty trick awaits Gaddafi; but he's an old fox
Posted by: claudio | May 26, 2011 1:40:04 PM | 6
This is just PR for the sheeple, via the compliant media. One of the Madrid protestors (no media coverage whatsoever) had a brilliant poster saying:
"The politicians are pissing on us but the media say it is raining"
Excellent caption for a blogging site.
Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 26, 2011 2:16:46 PM | 7
update: no the "leak" did not mean that, though the trace is hot
this is a Libyan government advertisement featuring Ghaddafi and Condoleeza Rice
this is a no nonsense summary from last year
and wikileaks finally answers the question:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/libya-wikileaks/8294929/LIBYA-INVESTMENT-CLIMATE-STATEMENT.html (for some reason the wording resembles the eubusiness.com report, they both probably copied from the same source.
"30. Libya's banking system is dominated by four banks which are owned in full or in the majority by the Libyan Central Bank (Jamahiriya Bank, Wahda Bank, Sahara Bank, Umma Bank and the TRIPOLI 00000131 006.2 OF 009 National Commercial Bank). These banks constitute almost ninety percent of Libya's banking sector assets. All of these banks have capital of at least 100 million Libyan Dinars, and two of them (Wahda Bank and Sahara Bank), are in the process of being privatized. France's BNP Paribas acquired 19% of Libya's Sahara Bank in July 2007, and took operational control of the bank. The deal also includes an option allowing BNP Paribas to purchase additional shares up to 51% of Sahara's capital over the next three to five years. In November 2007, five foreign banks were shortlisted for the privatization of Wahda Bank, including French, Italian, Jordanian, Bahraini and Moroccan institutions; Arab Bank (of Jordan) was selected. They bid on a 19% of the share of Wahda Bank, with the option to increase their ownership to 51% in three to five years. The Central Bank announced in October 2007 that it would merge Umma Bank and Jamahiriya bank into a single entity; that process was completed in 2008 although there are still branches open under the banner of each bank. The Central Bank also owns the Libyan Foreign Bank, which operates as an offshore bank, with responsibility for satisfying Libya's international banking needs (apart from foreign investment). In addition, there are four specialized banks owned by the General People's Committee for Finance: the Agricultural Bank, Real Estate Investment Bank, Development Bank and Reefi Bank. There are also four substantial private banks (Bank of Commerce and Development, Amen Bank, Al-Jimaa al-Arabi Bank and Wafa Bank) and forty-eight smaller regional banks.
31. The availability of financing on the local market is weak. Libyan banks offer limited financial products, loans are often made on the basis of personal connections (rather than business plans), and public bank managers lack clear incentives to expand their portfolios. Lack of financing acts as a brake on Libya's development, hampering both the completion of existing projects and the start of new ones. This has been particularly damaging in the housing sector, where particularly small-scale projects often languish for lack of steady funding streams.
32. The Libyan banking system is currently undergoing a substantial modernization program to upgrade available services/products, deal with large numbers of non-performing loans, establish a functioning national payments system, facilitate the use of non-cash payment instruments and institute new standards of accounting and training. While foreign banks are technically able to enter the Libyan market under the Banking Law of 2005, the Central Bank has sought to delay their entry until the reform process has taken hold. "
Posted by: somebody | May 26, 2011 2:58:02 PM | 8
Still using this laughable interpretation. I'll type this real slow for you, U.N. Resolution. Now go write that on the blackboard 100 times.
Posted by: par4 | May 26, 2011 4:17:18 PM | 10
Even though I don't know specifically about Goldman Sachs, I do know that many of our major financial firms have much to gain by the US dethroning Gaddhafi. John Perkins, author of "Confessions of A Economic Hitman", explains it pretty well:
"According to the IMF, Libya’s Central Bank is 100% state owned. The IMF estimates that the bank has nearly 144 tons of gold in its vaults. It is significant that in the months running up to the UN resolution that allowed the US and its allies to send troops into Libya, Muammar al-Qaddafi was openly advocating the creation of a new currency that would rival the dollar and the euro. In fact, he called upon African and Muslim nations to join an alliance that would make this new currency, the gold dinar, their primary form of money and foreign exchange. They would sell oil and other resources to the US and the rest of the world only for gold dinars..."
"...The US, the other G-8 countries, the World Bank, IMF, BIS, and multinational corporations do not look kindly on leaders who threaten their dominance over world currency markets or who appear to be moving away from the international banking system that favors the corporatocracy. Saddam Hussein had advocated policies similar to those expressed by Qaddafi shortly before the US sent troops into Iraq."
Now I know why Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., said that the financial lobby has got the oil lobby beat when it comes to wielding power in Washington:
Posted by: Cynthia | May 26, 2011 5:16:14 PM | 12
they obviously considered Ghaddafi an erratic stumbling block, who could and would nix any business plan (or political strategy). That explains much of the stubborn "Ghaddafi must go", and the isolation he seems to be in (though I do not think the Western press gives the full picture on that, lots of press reports are just psychological warfare, eg the "defections").
I suppose they did think they could replace him fast.
Now, however, they have more insecurity, Libya is dead for business except military business just now. There is no oil export, existing contracts are not served. Even if they manage the fall of the regime, they cannot be sure something stable will replace it.
And Libya was - since 2003 - very much into business with the western world. The freezing of assets maybe does not mean that much for the banks involved. Though they can not make business on frozen assets, that would be a nuisance.
The loss of investment, however, would mean that at some time they have to write it out of their books. It seems that would be France and Italy, the few countries that consider the Transitional Council the legal representation of Libyans.
The psychological warfare in itself is very interesting, consisting of trying to convince people of a growing trend of important Libyan figures deserting Ghaddafi or Ghaddafi/his family having left the country. On the other side news reports begin to be critical of the makeup of the Transitional Council.
So decision makers are torn between betting on the original plan and beginning to negotiate. I gather, negotiations have begun. They will be very complex as Britain, France and Italy are not really on the same plane, nor is the Transitional Council in itself or in its relations to NATO countries. Adding to the complexities will be the fact that six millions of Libyans seem to have ties to governement and business operations in Africa, China, the Mediteranean, Europe, Russia ....
The comparisons with Bosnia and Kosovo are laughable. Those parts of Ex-Yougoslavia were poor, their elites local, the wars were the final outcome of the cold war strategy to ethnically explode the Russian Empire.
If the plan was to ethnically explode Libya (I do not think so), Egypt and Tunisia, Algeria and all the other neighbours would have to take part.
Posted by: somebody | May 27, 2011 2:25:03 AM | 13
Lawmakers bar US ground troops from Libya
WASHINGTON — The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday to bar US forces and private contractors from operating on the ground in Libya, where rebels are fighting to oust Moamer Kadhafi.
The measure, passed in a 416-5 vote, was an amendment to a $690 defense bill...
Posted by: b | May 27, 2011 3:08:10 AM | 14
yes, it is a climb down
"Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, the most vocal Western leader on Libya, told reporters on Thursday that Gaddafi still had the option of remaining in his country but he should step down and call off his forces.
"We are not saying that Gaddafi needs to be exiled, that's not our problem," he said in Deauville.
"When we say he must leave, he must leave power and the quicker he does it, the greater his choice." from Al Jazeera
However, I suppose they are still trying to kill him accidentally.
Posted by: somebody | May 27, 2011 3:57:07 AM | 16
anon, link is broken
Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 27, 2011 6:52:34 AM | 19
anon, somehow I think it is unlikely. I might believe that the cluster bombs were planted as propaganda.
"I am still much more fascinated by this
In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and others, Sanders asked why the central bank made at least 46 emergency, low-interest loans to the Arab Banking Corp., in which the Central Bank of Libya owns a 59 percent stake.
In the same letter, Sanders asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner why the Treasury Department on March 4 let the Libya-controlled bank skirt the economic sanctions against Libya.
The senator also questioned why the Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corp. is even allowed to operate branches inside United States. “Why would the U.S. government allow a bank that is predominantly owned by the Central Bank of Libya – an institution on which the U.S. has imposed strict economic sanctions –to operate two banking branches within our own borders?” Sanders asked.
The Fed transactions were made public earlier this year as a result of a Sanders provision in the Wall Street reform law that forced the U.S. central bank to reveal which financial institutions it bailed out during the financial crisis from 2007 to 2010.
In another dubious twist, the Fed loans, at interest rates as low as 0.25 percent, relied on U.S. Treasury securities as collateral. In other words, at the same time that the Arab Banking Corp. was borrowing money at almost zero interest from one arm of the government, the Fed, it was lending money at a higher interest rate to another arm of the U.S. government, the Treasury Department."
Has international banking become to complex for national politics?
Posted by: somebody | May 27, 2011 7:30:11 AM | 20
Correct link from anon in comment 18
The cluster bombing of Misrata: The case against the USA
Posted by: Philippe | May 27, 2011 8:16:35 AM | 21
somebody, your link at 3 means that Libya invested its oil money in western banks.
The Libyan Investment Authority invested in lots of things, most of which I think has been grabbed by the west now. The rebels might get some of it if they win.
That the government "borrows" money from private banks after first borrowing it to them from its central bank is as it has been for some time. This might serve valid purposes, but I am not sure. Modern moentary theory (MMT) seems to be the school that actually sortes out how banking works, in opposition to the mainstream economists who do nonsense examples of Crusoe islands and such with shining mathematicla models. Steve Keens blog at debtdeflation.com is the thing to read.
Posted by: a swedish kind of death | May 27, 2011 9:00:29 AM | 22
a swedish kind of death,
the US government borrowing money from private banks after first handing it over to them at lower rates means government subvention of private banks.
Doing this to a bank which is 51% owned by Libya means a) US government subvention of Libya b) being indebted to Libya c) being dependent on Libya's ability to pay.
Why would the US government do something like that?
Posted by: somebody | May 27, 2011 9:32:52 AM | 23
All this simply shows that the ‘West’ (Nato) is in a contradictory position:
a) A need to quell ‘democratic reform’ - Let it go for Ben Ali and Mubarak but at some point a halt must come .. Saudi, Bahrein, Iraq, etc.
b) A need to appear to be on the side of of reformers for more freedom, democracy, etc.
These contradictions came to a head in Lybia. Not surprising, as Kadhafi is a master of contradiction himself. From terrorist goon he morphed into a very respectable strong-man partner.
From the pov of the West’s interests, is it best to go with the ‘rebels’ or to support K?
I guess there is no good or consensual answer to this question.
So it is a pesky bothersome problem, putting many investments and long term plans at risk, with desires, influences on various sides, etc. etc. The phones must be shrilling and burning hot. Ppl screaming that they want X or Y or Z plan to go forward.
K represented stability and a kind of guarantee. The ‘rebels’ are not an unknown quantity. Just, it would take a lot of effort, time, money, to get everything set up again and control the country, so that highly lucrative foreign biz could be done. Years and years. (partition would have been a good solution.)
But then there are the warmongers who want to attack anything that doesn’t wear a suit and keep the industry going...
I disagree with somebody on the “K must go” demand - that is just pap for the populace, in Lybia and outside it. Kill the symbol and start afresh - if only another K could appear!
(or maybe i misinterpreted somebody...anyway..i guess we are all saying much the same thing with different slants)
Posted by: Noirette | May 27, 2011 10:33:27 AM | 24
yes noirette, if it was not real people dying because of this, it would be comical, from where I sit it is farce.
I have no opinion on Ghaddafi, as I have no opinion on the opposition, as we are on the b. as in b.b. blog my opinion would be the morale of the Caucasian Chalk Circle, that if you love you surrender before you destroy.
I do consider Ghaddafi and entourage extremely intelligent and globally experienced, they must have studied what happened to Saddam Hussein thoroughly and designed all kind of hedging operations to escape Iraq's fate. After all they are trying to defend 1.775.500 km² from robbers with a population of 6 million people.
They seem to have diversified in a great way, so that sanctions annoy everybody. In the meantime, Western politicians nerves seem to lay bare
It seems the mantra "Ghaddafi has to go" is the only plan they have left.
Posted by: somebody | May 27, 2011 11:53:56 AM | 26
Should have added that I suspect that any assets Libya owns outside its borders (including bank-stocks) has been seized.
Posted by: a swedish kind of death | May 27, 2011 4:30:34 PM | 27
yes somebody i agree...
Posted by: Noirette | May 29, 2011 11:03:20 AM | 29
yes somebody i agree...
Posted by: Noirette | May 29, 2011 11:03:20 AM | 30