Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 24, 2011

Was This The Plan All Along?

On March 17:

The latter's National Libyan Council claims it is supported by 8,000 regular troops, including 3,000 Special Forces which are ready to die defending Benghazi.

But yesterday:

[N]ow, as they try to defeat Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s armed forces and militias, they will have to rely on allied airstrikes and young men with guns because the army that rebel military leaders bragged about consists of only about 1,000 trained men.

Down from 8,000 to 1,000 in just seven days. Judging from AlJazeerah and other video sources the real number of trained soldiers on the rebel site seems to be around zero. Indeed all I have seen so far are some rather lunatic unorganized folks with small and medium arms trying to run against superior forces. Even the special forces Great Britain, France and the U.S. have certainly put on the ground by now will have huge problems to create a disciplined fighting force out of these.

The political leadership of the rebels is also a weird creation. The "new government" "finance minister" is one Ali Tarhouni.

Mr. Tarhouni, who teaches economics at the University of Washington, returned to Libya one month ago after more than 35 years in exile to advise the opposition on economic matters.
[...] This week, the rebel leadership announced its latest evolution, a government in waiting led by Mahmoud Jibril, a planning expert who defected from Colonel Qaddafi’s government.

From the slick website (which PR company payed by whom created it?) of the Interim Transitional National Council we learn about Mr Mahmood Jibril:

Holds a masters’ degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1980. He also obtained a Doctorate in Strategic planning and decision-making from the same university in 1984 where he worked as a professor in the same subject field for several years.

So two U.S. professor with, no legitimacy or following in the country, now prepare to be the Libyen puppets of the "west".

But they will only get the job after the "allies" put many more boots on the ground. There is no way these rebels can win without a big invasion by "western" forces. Even in the desert air power can not conquer and hold any ground.

When that happens Gaddafi will do a Saddam and tell his troops to become "civilians" and to start an insurgency against the occupation forces. Even if he would not do so tribal resistance against invading troops is a certainty.

This is all so predictible that one has to wonder if this was the plan all along.

Posted by b on March 24, 2011 at 14:51 UTC | Permalink


Kurtz: What do you think of my methods?

Marlow: I don't see any method at all, sir.

I think it should be obvious that no-one involved in the whole sorry mess - the Libyan government, the Libyan opposition, the US/EU/NATO/UNSC - had/has much of a plan at all; everything is being made up on the fly.

BTW, nice to see you back up and running again, b. Hope the break did you some good.

Posted by: dan | Mar 24 2011 15:10 utc | 1

our host seems hostile to running dogs of imperialism

Consulting other sources re Jibril whom b describes as "U.S. professor with, no legitimacy or following in the country", I find that National Public Radio, quoting documents revealed by Wikileaks, says "Before the uprising, he was involved in a democracy promotion project and had served as head of the country's National Planning Council and National Economic Development Board. A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable from 2010 describes him as 'well-connected within the regime' but also as someone who was seeking to promote more open relations with the U.S."

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. | Mar 24 2011 15:36 utc | 2

I posted this to the Fukushima update thread, but it has a place here.

Speaking about Nuclear and how it relates to the EU's 2050 Decarbonization Plan, I ran across this, and it involves Libya. The plot thickens, and it could explain France's interest.

The EU has presented a strategy paper on the developments in North Africa. This includes the proposal of establishing an EU-South Mediterranean Energy Community. That could give the DESERTEC project a big boost. According to the EU's 2050 decarbonization scenario of reducing the emissions by more than 80 percent, "there is clear potential for building a partnership between the EU and Southern Mediterranean countries for the production and management of renewables, in particular solar and wind energy, and in having a joined-up approach ensuring energy security".......

Despite of current disturbances in North Africa, both, the DESERTEC Foundation and the Dii GmbH, express confidence that the concept will be implemented in EU-MENA. Current plannings, especially in Morocco, but also in further countries are not directly put at risk by the disturbances. A project like DESERTEC with its socio-economic benefits not only offers an approach to energy security but also creates perspectives for the region.......

Solar-thermal power plants: Win-win situation for North Africa and Europe

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) and Ernst&Young published results of their joint study on the local manufacturing potential for CSP projects in the MENA region. According to their forecast, economies in this region will benefit greatly from the extension of concentrating solar-thermal power's (CSP) capacities and up to 80,000 jobs will be created, some of which are highly-qualified. Apart from that, there will be growth opportunities for European industry as well. An action plan developed within this study, shows a way how solar-thermal power plants, that might be funded by the Worldbank's Clean Technology Fund (CTF), can be implemented.....

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 24 2011 15:40 utc | 3

And this, also.

I kept wondering why France took the lead on the Libya initiative, but I think we have the answer, and it has nothing to do with Sarkozy's election bid. That can always be bought, if need be, no need to start a war for something that can be done much more easily.

Desertec, a solar power project designed to supply some of Europe’s electricity needs from North Africa, will cooperate with France’s Medgrid group, Financial Times Deutschland reported today, citing Desertec’s Chief Executive Officer Paul van Son and Medgrid’s head Georges de Montravel.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 24 2011 15:41 utc | 4

It's not impossible that the Serbia/Milosevic model might apply. That the support in Tripoli for Gaddafi might fade when the elites realise how much damage is being done to the country, and how much it is going to cost to repair. Just to keep one madman in power, however much some like him. The elite could be simply realistic, and drop G. I don't think he's like Saddam, of whom Iraqis were mortally afraid.

There's a hint of it in McIntyre's article "In Gaddafi's stronghold, enemies of the state begin to find a voice", though he may be being optimistic.

But then it took two months bombing to get the Serbs to give way.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 24 2011 16:24 utc | 5

It seems likely to me that a NATO missile will find and kill Gaddafi in the not too distant future. In that event, what do the folks here think would be the effect on the fighters/interests currently supporting the Libyan government?

Posted by: Watson | Mar 24 2011 16:42 utc | 6

In that event, what do the folks here think would be the effect on the fighters/interests currently supporting the Libyan government?

Special ops on the ground will have to pay and train them to be insurgents, just like in Iraq and Afghanistan. It works great. People will do anything when they are desperate. The key is create an environment where they are desperate.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 24 2011 16:48 utc | 7

@mister charley; ... head of the country's National Planning Council and National Economic Development Board.

National Economic Development (NED) is cia

Posted by: crone | Mar 24 2011 17:08 utc | 8

@crone - a much different NED - the US NED is the National Endowment for Democracy and yes, it is part of the CIA cluster. But just because the acronyms fit, which you even get wrong, doesn't make a Libyan planing board a part of the CIA.

Posted by: b | Mar 24 2011 18:06 utc | 9

Some bold, audacious and forthright statements against France from Turkey's Erdogan and Gül.

Turkey has launched a bitter attack on French president Nicolas Sarkozy's and France's leadership of the military campaign against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, accusing the French of lacking a conscience in their conduct in the Libyan operations.

The vitriolic criticism, from both the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the president, Abdullah Gül followed attacks from the Turkish government earlier this week and signalled an orchestrated attempt by Ankara to wreck Sarkozy's plans to lead the air campaign against Gaddafi.

With France insisting that Nato should not be put in political charge of the UN-mandated air campaign, Turkey has come out emphatically behind sole Nato control of the operations......

The clash between Turkey and France over Libya is underpinned by acute frictions between Erdogan and Sarkozy, both impetuous and mercurial leaders who revel in the limelight, by fundamental disputes over Ankara's EU ambitions, and by economic interests in north Africa......

Using incendiary language directed at France in a speech in Istanbul, Erdogan said: "I wish that those who only see oil, gold mines and underground treasures when they look in [Libya's] direction, would see the region through glasses of conscience from now on."

President Gül reinforced the Turkish view that France and others were being driven primarily by economic interests. "The aim [of the air campaign] is not the liberation of the Libyan people," he said. "There are hidden agendas and different interests."

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 24 2011 18:07 utc | 10

"There are hidden agendas and different interests." of the Guardian I would say.

Posted by: Biklett | Mar 24 2011 18:38 utc | 11

b @ 9 thanks for catching my error... I read too fast sometimes.
My apology to mistercharley...

Posted by: crone | Mar 24 2011 18:43 utc | 12

b @ 9 thanks for catching my error... I read too fast sometimes.
My apology to mistercharley...

Posted by: crone | Mar 24 2011 18:43 utc | 13

Sorry mister charley you have got caught up in the old anti-arab no fly list trick which keeps millions of innocent muslims off planes around the world.

The Chairman of the National Transitional Council now in Benghazi is Mustafa Jalil the bloke who tried to take over the revolution but the protesters think got assholed to be replaced by Mahmood Jabril, when the opposition noticed that he was already head of state in the mistakenly termed ghadaffi regime.

Jalil as head of state was the bloke who put together the TOTAL and Shell deals when Libya was brought in from the cold so fukUS wanted him bad, when they couldn't get him they replaced him with Mahmood Jibril as interim prime minister. An amerikan trained technocrat he will do as he is told by Jalil who according to the wiki site is still head of state, but I guess fukUS haven't told the Libyans that it will all remain the same yet.

Could there be any more obvious indication of the true nature of this slaughter than that?

My guess is that it was Jalil who the poms were trying to hook up with in Benghazi a couple of weeks back when they got arrested by another faction. This isn't a revolution, it is a cabinet reshuffle with guns. The sort of thing the poms and frogs have been doing in africa & the ME for 150 years.

I still don't know why this is news I pointed out the Jalil/Jabril thing in the other thread yesterday.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 24 2011 18:49 utc | 14

i agree w/Erdogan and Gul.

thnx b

Posted by: annie | Mar 24 2011 18:50 utc | 15

If Ghadafi seems like holding sway in all of this it is assumed he will tear up the Total/Shell/BP concessions; I expect troops on the ground from Sarkozy and Cameroon.

No plan whatsoever.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Mar 24 2011 19:02 utc | 16

@CP - I expect that as well, but the French and Brits will be beaten there pretty soon and then the U.S. will take over.

Posted by: b | Mar 24 2011 19:24 utc | 17

pro-interventionist self-described "informed commenter" prof. juan cole lists Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone

his preferred term for the anti-Gaddafi forces is the liberation movement

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. | Mar 24 2011 21:10 utc | 18

like our own saakachvili here & his silly little wars - juan cole has not seemed so informed on many things, or that at the best of times it is quite intermittent, what he knows & does not know

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2011 21:28 utc | 19

& it is surprising at this point at the agression unleashed by the imperialists - that the leadership is still standing & there appears to be no dissension - there appears too, as b noted - not the ability of the soi-disant opposition to take advantage

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2011 21:33 utc | 20

mistah, phd@ 18 I always wondered why there was such vehement campaign against juan cole coming to Yale. He would actually fit in nicely.

The term I vomit over is "revolutionary" - just read some of the latest rags. Come to think of it - liberation movement - has a nice ring to it, liberate Libya from its oil and you can forget about the words we heard so often in relation to the Egyptian intifada ... 'dignity'

Posted by: Minerva | Mar 24 2011 21:34 utc | 21

got some strange reactions to my post of a Stratfor (George Friedman) analysis


Sorry, but I think of Stratfor as a mouthpiece for the US military

and the above sounds like propaganda to me... just my two cents


Claudio - thanks for the article from STRATFOR. And IMO, the opinion of the U.S. Military is an important factor in attempting to clarify the situation in Libya.


Interesting to see that the STRATFOR releases come with a complete set of sockpuppets. The article is disingenuous; the amerikan military machine has never been truthful about its actions much less the motives behind them [...]

it seems none of the three has read the article; but the first comment misled the second, and the second elicited the third, which contains a nasty insinuation which prompts me to respond

I really wish Stratfor was a mouthpiece of the Us military, because Friedman's analysis explains why the intervention is nonsensical, and gets even sarcastic on the rethoric used to justify it; one example:

Gadhafi did not run Libya for the past 42 years because he was a fool, nor because he didn't have support. He was very careful to reward his friends and hurt and weaken his enemies, and his supporters were substantial and motivated. One of the parts of the narrative is that the tyrant is surviving only by force and that the democratic rising readily routs him. The fact is that the tyrant had a lot of support in this case, the opposition wasn't particularly democratic, much less organized or cohesive, and it was Gadhafi who routed them.

I started reading Friedman's pieces during the demonstrations against Ahmadinejad in 2009: he was one of the very few mainstream analysts who took pains in describing how the protests were really fuelled by internal strife within the iranian élite, how Ahmadinejad held real popular support (and viewed him as a political leader, not a bloodthirsty madman), how the protestors were mainly young students hardly representative of the whole of iranian society.

As for sockpuppeting, debs, I'm not versed in that art and don't know what you are referring to. Read the article first if you want to comment, and hold your insinuations unless you have precise reasons of suspicion.

Posted by: claudio | Mar 24 2011 21:42 utc | 22

has the un had a vassal, a buffoon as great as ban ki moon - perhaps but he has made servility into a kind of art, a low art

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2011 21:47 utc | 23

responsibility to protect - (imperialist's interests)

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2011 21:48 utc | 24

I wonder if anyone here has heard/read on military support that is coming to Libya to help out Q from surrounding countries, esp. Idris Deby in Chad and some of the rebels in the Darfur area?


Eritrea sent these two battalions through Chad. A Chadian member of government told a french intelligence personel in Chad that the Eritreans sent the two battalions as coverup as “bakers, technicians, cooks, nurses and drivers to help in the humanitarian activities”.

The Chadian intelligence officer believes that the Eritrean artillery unit may have played a major role in the recent battle gains around Tripoli for Ghadafi.

So a battalion is 300-1,300 making this a low of 600 and max of 2,600 professional soldiers, a major contribution weighed against the 1,000-2,000 rebel fighters ... I'm sure we would have heard more about this, if it was true

Posted by: Minerva | Mar 24 2011 21:52 utc | 25

day after day almost every major practitioner or thinker of international law oppose without reservation this intervention - they have no hesitation in calling it what it is, war meanwhile in america obama strips miranda rights from people, they use jurisprudence as other people use crack. the only advocat & he is not a specialist on international law who has given an implicit support is the entertainer/barrister geoffrey robertson but he is a lone voice. those who are not practiced in legality & are therefore employed as journalists have no qualms at offering their ill bred views on regime change, decapitation leadership etc their way of describing common murder

we live in such lawless times

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2011 21:59 utc | 26

the disinformation my dear minerva is surrounding us like a desert wind

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2011 22:01 utc | 27

@claudio I wasn't referring to you I had read the article, disagreed and moved on but there was a post by never before seen posters commenting on how the stratfor stuff was spot on shit supporting amerikan military.

In fact you highlighted one of the suspected sockpuppets in your most recent post.

I dislike any westerner who tries to express a strategy for 'solving' another society's problems, which the stratfor article attempts to do. Westerners have a zillion idiot 12 step plans which insist that the person has to deal with issues themselves yet they are forever forcing their 'cures' on other countries when a spot of physician heal thyself is in order for them.

If your offended I'm sorry but you'll get used to it, I get pissed at peeps missing the meat of what I try to argue over minor issues the rightness or wrongness of which has absolutely no impact on the core of what I am trying to say, all the time. When it gets too much I go and work at other issues, where the fact I often rely on memory because I am under considerable time constraint isn't such a bugbear for others.

No one has yet picked up on the issue that the government of Libya will essentially remain unchanged when the fukUS have had their say, they are too busy with self congratulatory inconsequentialities - you get used to it.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 24 2011 22:01 utc | 28

"Was This The Plan All Along?"

Of course it was!

This is just another post-modern putsch, part of a pre-planned Spring string of "Arab Uprisings," with western-funded professional "dissidents" trained and aided by the vast western "Democracy" apparatus (as publicly trumpeted to Congress by CFR top "Arab expert" Eliot Abrams -- look it up if you don't believe me), and abetted by Obama's old Chicago cronies making a killing on the commodity markets driving the price of food into the stratosphere while the world starves -- and all the leaders will prove to be western trained neoliberal elites (the Chalabis and Allawis of their day) who have no scruples killing what might have once been their fellow countrymen for a place at the trough -- or greedy local dupes, bribed into complicity.

No one who cared about his country would so destroy it.

And for those armchair generals who see no plan (as revealed to them by the global elite through the magic of TV), or Bush-like incompetence, muck-ups are necessary if you want to hang around for a while... "We broke it, now we have to fix it..."

It is all so, so, sadly predictable already, isn't it?

Indeed all I have seen so far are some rather lunatic unorganized folks...

That might be what you see now, but let's not forget what you -- and everyone else here -- originally saw several weeks ago: A "tribal uprising" involving "the major 30 tribes and clans" -- and this at the time seemed crystal-clear despite the fact that evidence supporting your assertion was rather thin gruel, at best.

Perhaps, in order to better understand what you see now, it would be instructive to step back and review just what you did see a few weeks ago.

In your original post on Libya, where you set the frame for your readership to view the conflict, your link on "Tribal Rivalries" came from the shadowy APS Diplomat, a CIA-front pseudo-News Agency for State Department personel with neither website nor authorial attribution. This speaks for itself.

The map on your original post was of ethnic groupings by preponderance, not "tribes." Such maps are, by design divisive, as they ascribe a single entity to an area, like marking a state red or blue based upon how 23% of its inhabitants voted.

The website you cited, and linked to, in making your argument -- itself an intelligence blog -- enthused on the page you linked to (if anyone bothered to visit it) that "...The pendulum has been jolted off its top of the circle stability, and is in freefall. It will inevitably settle at the bottom of the circle with the people never again allowing force or finance to concentrate wealth and commit other atrocities. There are–in addition to populations finally fed (sic) with illegitimate governance, over 5,000 secessionist movements now ready to dispute the artificial political boundaries imposed at the point of a gun by the Western colonial powers supplanted by the US in the 20th Century. This will take a quarter century to play out."

Clearly, any source which publicly advocates 25 years of global warfare on a scale the world has never seen before (5000+ conflicts!) in order to balkanize the globe into de-industrialized, cloutless, ethnically-cleansed puppet nations (as in the former Yugoslavia) is highly suspect. "We must destroy the village (or Nation-State) in order to save it..." Cleverly, it is all done in the name of redressing the injustices of Western colonialism!

Interestingly, this is the same language as Eliot Abrams in his address to Congress, and of the so-called "Democracy promoting" groups, which seem to grow and spread these days like a cancer on 24/7 gamma radiation.

In many ways, the unstated interests of one's sources determines, at the very least, the direction of thrust of their argument. Without understanding this, a little knowledge becomes a very dangerous weapon. When I saw your posters uncritically citing the glossy Georgetown/State Department website, Jadaliyaa, it also brought this thought home. I myself used to receive the monthly magazine, ReVista, published by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard, a similar "leftist" publication concerned with that other tragic nexus of "tribal warfare," Central America.

Your Orientalist fantasy of "tribal uprising" employed the same method of misdirection as the despicable Juan Cole, a type of deceptive critical examination I call "Juan Coleism": As with Iraq, we are all invited to become amateur armchair anthropologists, assiduously analyzing Libyan society: ficticiously envisioned to be organized as groupings of pure endogamous lineages -- from tribe, through clan and sib -- in search of either real or perceived "grievance" -- so that as anthropological ostriches we may better keep our heads in the sand about who supplied the fuel, who provided the accelerator, who taught the art of "fire-making" and who lit the match to the current conflagration.

This viewpoint is both patronizing in the extreme, and dangerously divisive, providing no toehold for the type of coalition-building and compromise needed to better the lives of real people.

We, as First-World amateur armchair anthropologists are never meant to question -- but blindly accept -- why our "tribal" conflicts never lead to war, but, among the uncivilized natives, "tribal" conflicts always seem to. In this manner, the real arsonists always manage to escape scot-free.

In all of Juan Cole's blather about the differences between the Sunnis and the Shia in Iraq, and in all the hot air wasted by the liberal blogosphere about how "Bush the Barbarian" didn't even know there was a difference, and so was prosecuting the war (never invasion) incompetently, Raed Jarrar's astute comment that there had been a 40% intermarriage rate between Sunni and Shia at the time of the invasion passed as unnoticed as the wafting of a single grain of pollen in the vast blossoming of spring. 40%! Imagine that. If that had become better known, the First-World amateur armchair anthropologists would soon be out of business, and the arson squad would have to be called in. Well, we certainly couldn't have had that!

And so we were forced to succumb to Edward Said's bogeyman: Orientalism and blind martial tribalism: those ignorant tribes who can never seem to stop killing each other. As Said tragically lamented, “Since the time of Homer every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric.”

Sadly, apparently none of your astute readers noticed the obvious disparity between the maps of ethnic groups and talk of "tribes" in your post, or bothered to follow your links to their sources and thought critically about them.

And so, the frame of acceptable discourse was set -- what Chomsky terms "the bounds of the permissible" -- and your readers could now prattle on about "who to support," or analyze war strategy from the comforts of their armchairs.

Now, as in "The Picture of Dorian Gray," the frame reveals a picture that is infinitely uglier than originally believed to be. And the original Orientalist framing which enabled the conflagration is washed down the memory hole without a trace: the perfect crime.

Anyone who dissented from the party-line of acceptable framing of the conflict was subjected to calumny by the party regulars and eventually banned from the site. Sad. There has been near zero engagement with the arguments presented by those who attempted to dissent from the official lens of viewing this conflict. Sadder still.

This is all reminiscent of the treatment I was accorded when I (along with others like Paul Street and Webster Tarpley) made the case (since proven correct) that Obama would be far more destructive than Bush, both internationally and domestically. In that case, the hurt feelings of western liberals was deemed to be more important than the truth, which if widely known might have saved some very real lives outside the bloated bloviating beltway of the "Washington Consensus."

Understandably, people become attached to the way they choose to view the world. The Cult of Obamaism has fostered a type of magical thinking among the "Left" worldwide whereby people see the world, and the forces operating therein, as they wish it to be rather than how it really is. Magical thinking... The world as we wish it was.

Fortunately, now that we have an exciting military conflict to pontificate over, the dreary subterranean forces that brought this conflict into being can be happily dismissed.

The good hearts and noble intentions of both Arab students and protestors and Western liberals are being cynically exploited in yet another round of destabilization. Despite the West paying lip-service to Democracy (albeit through a welter of lies and incongruencies), the type of global governace structures being put into place, one area at a time, give rights to the investors who own the world over the people who inhabit it. Spreading balkanization, as we are seeing throughout the Arab world (Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Pakistan, and so it goes...) is designed to prevent the emergence of Nation-States strong enough to challenge the privatization of services, and the economic race to the bottom that our very own nations' are suffering from.

This is not my personal opinion. If one wanted to know the truth and took the time to read websites like those of the CFR, one could read these plans from the horses mouth instead of opinionizing.

Clearly, with 5,000 plus potential fires worldwide still to stoke we can expect to see more good hearts and noble intentions cynically exploited in the mad thrust forward to centralize the ownership and control of the world. When the net worth of a very few people -- perhaps the number of people whose names we know in our own lives -- exceeds the net worth of half the world, we must be very careful about what is put before our eyes, the images we see, the agenda we are told to think about and the choices we are presented with.

It is odd indeed that of the entire cosmos of democracy-promoting cancers that have seemingly sprouted up overnight with the emergence of Obamaism (internationally, once called humanitarian intervention), all of them employ the Alinsky/Sharp model which dictates that the ends justify the means; in other words, do whatever you have to as long as you don't shoot a gun or drop a bomb (others will do that for you) to get what you want. Shorter Gene Sharp: be ruthless, be in their face, don't even let them breathe until you get what you want.

It is the Democracy of a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum.

And yet in the inner city where I live, troubled kids are taught a very different brand of democracy: Learning to listen to others, to communicate one's feeling calmly without feeling impelled to take rash action, to respond rather than react, to compromise, to turn the other cheek instead of taking grievance, to live and let live, to reconcile, to find common needs and work together.

They are taught to understand the myth of Orientalism deconstructed: that tribes don't kill other tribes without someone else setting the fire.

This is something to think deeply about. Especially when we opine about others.

Perhaps, there is a pastor or a social worker that I might know here in my small town who could do more for the world, than all the Obamas, NATOs, UNs, and Democracy promoting organizations in the entire world.

But what do I know? I don't have a degree from Fletcher, after all.

If we in the so-called "First World" can't first control our own destiny and welfare, if we cannot stop the juggernaut -- and we clearly can't at this point, Wisconsin in the balance -- how do we hope to improve the lives of others? Certainly not through Orientalism, or interventionism, neo-liberalism, or even the very watered down flavor of procedural democracyism (better called corporate cronyism or legalized bribery) we are taught to accept.

In a time of rampant de-industrialization, perhaps the only well paying field left to liberals is in the burgeoning area of "Democracy promotion," and filling out ranks of the endless "civil society NGOs" that are necessary to pacify populations after the liberalization/privatization of their economies. Despite their liberal veneer and their caring affect, these golems of empire who fill these positions chill the heart more than any public utility executive ever did. (The head of TEPCO cried.) I was stunned to hear the daughter of a friend of mine -- a delightful 19 year-old, lithe, blonde-haired sylph -- who has never held down a job in her life -- tell me that she was getting a degree from a reputable Vermont College in just such a field, and that she would then be going off to a Bantustan like South Sudan to teach "competancy" -- I assume on the ingeniously novel premise that the Statelet was mapped out and created by the more incompetant bureaurocrats of the world. What could one say to such a beautiful bundle of self-assured ignorance? We both blinked and looked at the other as if they were crazy. My fate is slow death from economic slavery and a lack of adequate health care; her's is quite likely much worse.

A little knowledge being a dangerous thing. Indeed.

annie's unchallenged comment that "democracy promotion" had nothing to do with the government was astounding in its ignorance. And that it passed by unchallenged here was quite simply breathtaking.

Left leaders function to split and disempower the left, just as right leaders do to the right. It is sad to see whatever resistance might exist to the forces of globalization so factionalized, and so confused that they are, more often than not these days, working for their avowed enemy. The only solution I can see is a deeper examination of cause and effect.

I wrote several long posts -- full of authoritative links -- not the sort of idle speculation so rampant here -- but never posted them, as your readership seems to feel that they have a better way to understand the world, and largely seems disinclined to examine any material that would challenge their views, and engage them on their merits.

And yet, I would advise your readers to shut off their TVs for a few days a week and instead read publications like Foreign Policy in Focus, the house organ of the CFR, or perhaps sample the fare at the Brookings Institute, for instance. Read everything you can get your hands on from such globalist think tanks. Read everything you can about global governance structures: IMF, World Bank, NATO, and the EU, for instance. Read about "Democracy Promotion," and the work of liberal foundations, starting with Michael Barker's 73 piece (yawn... where's the action today?) series at Swans, and continuing on to Gene Sharp's website and publications,, and the State Department and the gaggle of "democracy-promoting" think tanks, foundations and organizations of the US, and whatever country you might be a resident of. Study the history of false flag, and covert destabilization activities.

Learn how they think and operate, not how you think they think and operate. Defuse magical thinking.

Only after one has undertaken such a study, and factored in the immense organizational and financial resources behind such hidden forces, could one properly contextualize events as those in Libya. Examine the creeping realization that what you thought you saw is not now what you think you see -- to pronounce such events as "Tribal Warfare" is to say you saw a small wave on the surface of the ocean, when beneath the surface lay a powerful tsunami. And we all know how destructive those can be.

Good luck to all the long-timers here. I have little to add to the argument, especially as it seems I disagree with most of the implicit premises, and I have not been writing for a long time anyway. If I ever do begin writing, I will let someone know.

And, b, sorry to come down so hard on you -- you really do run a great blog. Criticism is a sign of respect; one goes very gently on the hopeless.

Posted by: Malooga | Mar 24 2011 22:33 utc | 29


you are writing as beautifully & strongly as ever but i disagree with some of what you say. i think at least some of these revolts are historically determined & for those reasons possess an anti imperialist character - tunisia notably but also egypt & perhaps yemen. i do not believe that these revolts in particular have been co-opted by the gene sharp groups though they certainly did have an organizing factor. the workers movements & strikes in egypt gave the movement muscle, that is true also in tunisia where working classs movements played a central role

elliot abrams - this brute who covered central & latin america in blood is quite capable of the strategies you speak of - nor do i doubt elements of an elite possessing that psychopathic impulse that is necessary in 'nation building' as in all other elements of what they so crudely cover up as soft power

there is clearly no mass movement against ghaddafi in libya but it is extremely difficult to ascertain really what real support the opposition has with the people

i don' think any of us are armchair military strategists - merely sentient human being trying to understand a very fucked up world

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2011 23:24 utc | 30

i imagine i deserve a tongue lashing from you malooga, as far from being eloquent i am sometimes clumsy in expressing what i need to say, need to note

i still believe in historical forces, that is how i understand what happened in latin & central america but i think my vision is still dark, quite dark but yours is so deeply apocalyptic that is suggests there are forces within the elites that will always control & determine

i have essentially followed lenin's adage that the ruling class would sell you the rope to hang it with & also his comment on the central committee member who was also a spy - he sd that in the end on balance he did as much work for the party as he did for their enemies, perhaps that is an idealistic conception of the world

i do not doubt that within the ruling class they have many strategies for their long war with china but it presumes a knowingness on their part, a competence that it is clear they do not possess - i witness it a a local & a national level in france & all i witness especially amongst the cadre is an unbelievable thoughtlessness coupled with a practical incompetence - flowery & overly theoreticised language but no fucking idea about polity

so i think everything that happens historically can be turned, i refuse to use the term 'transformational' but it can be turned - the only negative factor within historical force, that is people - is the weariness - a bit like the sicknesses you & i suffer from that brings about weariness, fatigue but i have ben comforted by what i see in the streets of europe - mass demonstration agains 'austerity by very angry but forceful people

i am willing to cede though that the situation is far darker than i imagine, & that my humanism colors that

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 24 2011 23:59 utc | 31

The Malooga Whale returns!

Good to read your thoughts. Interesting and well written (like always).

Thanks for jumping-in, I'm glad you're still swimming out there noticing things...


Posted by: DaveS | Mar 25 2011 0:22 utc | 32

& as a comrade sd - capital has a way of poisoning the wells

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 25 2011 0:45 utc | 33

Malooga, thank you. Reading through your post, I am speechless with admiration. We all needed those words. You have to factor in, though, how all of us who have been around the block here at MoA suffer from PTSD. How could this not be so? If we have failed to be rigorous enough; this is partly because we are exhausted. I don't think it is an accident, that the PTB have taken advantage of these frames in the news cycle, which cover the apocalyptic tragedy in Japan, to jam this aggressive war through the Security Council.

The best of luck to you in all your efforts; and I hope you will be writing more for our benefit on this blog.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 25 2011 1:26 utc | 34

@32- We're gonna need a bigger punchbowl.

Posted by: Biklett | Mar 25 2011 1:29 utc | 35

Malooga @ 29: Game, set, match..Thank you.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 25 2011 1:30 utc | 36

despicable Juan Cole

This seems like bullshit. spend any time reading about Iraq's modern political history, and the oppression of a shia majority by the Sunni minority -- first via british support of the Sunni monarchy, second, by the baath--it is obvious.

As we learn more about Libbya's prewar domestic politics it appears that b was partially correct: tribal animosities are at work. among other things, there appears to be a combination of old loyalties to the former king shared by some eastern tribesmen, and a four decade-old policy of economic favoritism intended t reduce opportunities for people living in the east.

as I said, b chose to disingenuously argue the tribal angle in order to vindicate his own anti--FukUS obsessions.

Cole's dissertation book is really good history of the Iraqi sectarian schism. You ought to read it, malooga.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 25 2011 2:23 utc | 37

I should finish the thought: the dimension of complex tribal relations organized around peculiar state ordering of economic opportunities controlled by a weird despot , combined with genuine Urbane/educated demands for democratic political reforms, are at the root of conflict.

In any case, the invasion is complete insanity.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 25 2011 2:29 utc | 38

Sockpuppet here, I read the STRATFOR article, appreciate it being posted, simple as that. You got the right string baby, but the wrong yo-yo.

Posted by: mrmustard | Mar 25 2011 4:32 utc | 39

howdy malooga! and it's a fold-out couch, not an armchair.

Posted by: lizard | Mar 25 2011 4:40 utc | 40

Quite the screed Malooga! Always good for shaking up the ongoing narratives.

Must also disagree about the "tribal" thing. I think b was using the notion of tribalism in Libya to distinguish this insurrection from the others, in that the one in Libya is more of a civil insurrection grounded in tribal animosities driving and underpinning the political agenda. As opposed to Egypt or Tunisia which are more of a unified (tribally speaking) front designed to force better representation, rights, and liberties that deny the favoritism and privilege preferred by the nativist or tribalist orientation. But at the same time not unlike Iraq. Which no doubt accounts for why the current administration has jumped on the war option so quickly, seeing as it follows the same prescription as in Iraq - disable one (annoying) tribal faction currently holding political power in favor of the rival, in order to develop a new dependency more "sympathetic" to the needs of the West. Odd that Cole doesn't seem to have learned his lesson in this respect, championing Western intervention into Libya much as he did before in Iraq, at least until it all went to hell, predictably turning into a civil war, and he changed his tune, but then again most of the talking heads are following similar suit and so share the same old hackneyed myopia.

While its true that the notion of "orientalism" in the West has often served to veil xenophobia, racism, and bigotry with a depiction of the other in dog whistle metaphor in order to justify foreign exploitation (a tribal characteristic itself), I don't think many here have that intention. Certainly, most would even agree that within our own borders the term applies most adeptly to our own long tradition of tribalist - or nativist movements if you prefer (same thing, really), that have long made "exceptionalist" alliances with elite economic power. Tribalism, or nativism is at heart the remaining vestiges of, usually autocratic and aristocratic traditions established in pre-modern pre-capitalist societies that abhor centralized nation state government. With the rise of modernity/capitalism various tensions arise from the clash between the demands of capitalism and long established traditions which are always at odds with each other. In our case this has generated the exceptional and cynical alliance between the nativists like the KKK or the tea party types who are promised a continuation of (white) privilege in exchange for economic serfdom celebrated under the banner of freedom from government. For sure. Nonetheless many current insurrections also revolve around tribalism vs modernity. In Iraq or Libya the conflict is primarily a tribal conflict with little demand for modernity, in Iran it's a modernist/capitalist contingent unsuccessfully tying to unseat entrenched tribalism (unsuccessful because the tribal system in place is responsive enough to the people that they support it), while in Egypt&Tunsia it's a similar modernist contingent that has successfully ousted an unresponsive and oppressive tribalism. Of course all this is tainted by the outward influence of the West which supports the modern contingents to the extent that they are complicit to their own tribal objectives.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 25 2011 8:13 utc | 41

Malooga @29, you bring up great points, but are a bit ungenerous with b and MoA; most of your criticisms would be better applied elsewhere (also because the thesis that confront themselves at MoA are of many different varieties)

I agree (if I understood correctly) that the central issue facing us today is the struggle to restore sovranity at the state level versus the "empire", however one defines it

but I don't believe in the omnipotence of the conspirators, the problem seems to be that people ("the historical force", as rgiap said) haven't found the political ground on which to build an effective resistance;

and the solution to this problem lies hidden in various levels of propaganda, rethorics, paradigms, fables and mythologies, which concur to build a light, flexible, pervasive but until now unbreachable dominant ideology, which I propose to name Occidentalism, against which older political ideologies (marxism, liberalism, etc) are powerless

Posted by: claudio | Mar 25 2011 9:52 utc | 42

oh, and I propose to call the Likudization of the West the process of destruction of any sovereign political entity described by Malooga:

no fixed boundaries, blatant but unrecognized racism, the "democracy" meme, militarization of society, the security obsession, etc

Posted by: claudio | Mar 25 2011 10:12 utc | 43

Libya rebels coordinating with West on air assault

Leaders of the opposition national council in rebel-controlled eastern Libya say they are making regular, secure contacts with allied military representatives in Europe to help commanders identify targets for the U.S.-led air assault.

The contacts, conducted through the council's civilian representatives in France and elsewhere in Europe, are made by secure satellite telephone connections, according to spokesmen for the rebel leadership in its eastern base of Benghazi.
In addition, current and former American officials say that CIA operatives and equipment were sent into rebel-held areas to monitor the opposition forces' activity even before the air bombardment began. It's not clear whether those operatives are still in Libya, and if so, what their current role is.

Posted by: b | Mar 25 2011 10:15 utc | 44

Libya rebels coordinating with West on air assault

Leaders of the opposition national council in rebel-controlled eastern Libya say they are making regular, secure contacts with allied military representatives in Europe to help commanders identify targets for the U.S.-led air assault.

The contacts, conducted through the council's civilian representatives in France and elsewhere in Europe, are made by secure satellite telephone connections, according to spokesmen for the rebel leadership in its eastern base of Benghazi.
In addition, current and former American officials say that CIA operatives and equipment were sent into rebel-held areas to monitor the opposition forces' activity even before the air bombardment began. It's not clear whether those operatives are still in Libya, and if so, what their current role is.

Posted by: b | Mar 25 2011 10:15 utc | 45

I should finish the thought: the dimension of complex tribal relations organized around peculiar state ordering of economic opportunities controlled by a weird despot , combined with genuine Urbane/educated demands for democratic political reforms, are at the root of conflict.

In any case, the invasion is complete insanity.

No. What you describe are necessary ingredients for factionalization by outside forces. Divide and conquer. The Invaders/Occupiers take what may be a minor crack, and drive a substantial wedge through it, even if it's only a veneer. Many of the poor common folks, who didn't realize they had a beef with other "tribe" members, get caught up in the fabricated, factionalized conflict because they want to survive. It's a tried and true strategy. I've called the shot on Libya from the very beginning, but I guess I don't exist. I agree with what Malooga has said, it essentially what I've been saying all along, but I didn't wave my hands as he this:

Still, as I said on the other thread, many of you are caught up in the nuanced semantics of process, and you don't discuss the overall pattern and why Libya is of strategic importance. You do the matter no service if you think this is just a knee jerk reaction by Sarkozy to get reelected with the U.S. reluctantly bringing up the rear.. That may be an afterthought by Sarkozy and his team, but it's not the real reason for attacking Libya. War is for one reason, and one reason only. Expropriation of resources. Cab we now have that discussion, or will I continue to be ignored. I promise you I am not a sock puppet. I am Morocco Bama.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 25 2011 11:22 utc | 46

@46; Yep, the operative words being: " semantics of process", & "expropriation of resources." The process, and end game of this whole Libyan ball game.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 25 2011 14:26 utc | 47

Oh, and by the way, "the masters of the universe" have a plan for the rest of us also.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 25 2011 14:31 utc | 48

reflecting again on what you have said malooga, the more i believe for the most part historical forces are at play & the more that i believe that straussian elites are incapable of such a plan. abrams a crude practitioner, after all - he was caught - & these are people who not only know very little about arab history or society but for the most part they don't even speak the language. in the last analysis it has been revealed too that these straussian fuckwits are not too bright upstairs & you must admit it would take a collossal finesse to privilege one revolution after another no matter what alliances they were able to make. i don't believe they are that bright - for all their talk of making their own history - i doubt if most of them could make their own beds

in short i read your post as a comrade who simply demands more rigor -- though you know yourself that even for reasonable people working in this world there is only so much you can read & i read for my ill paid work

& on a practical level the poster that was asked to reduce his posting was in fact reposting the same article or an article that had already been posted elsewhere in the thread or on another & for me they went about their business with a sledgehammer while you do it with a scalpel

though with either tool, the conclusions you arrive at would make me want to put the blade at my own throat if i thought that the ruling class was that capable. they are not - they have wearied us, perhaps they have even wearied the people but in the end i believe in history's great mechanisms & what i have witnessed since their berlin wall fell down in september 2008 is that capitalism & imperialism are finished in the long run. in the short term they may be capable of creating all sorts of horror but they cannot win without extinguishing themselves

with respect

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 25 2011 15:50 utc | 49

good to see you found your way back to the bar, malooga. hope you do find the time and desire to write/expound/share links more -- do share those "long posts" w/ "authoritative links", perhaps -- for i found that rant and the arguments w/i disappointingly sub-par for what you have shown yourself to be capable of, replete w/ many of the very shortcomings you are quick to criticize in & attribute to others here.

Posted by: b real | Mar 25 2011 17:03 utc | 50

it is always a joy for me to read Malooga's work. I am not clever enough to find fault with his arguments and usually find that he goes directly to the heart of the problem without being misled by the pretty words our masters use to describe their actions to us. I suppose in a way it makes it even more sad to read as one can see that there are forces in this world that are focused on achieving their own short term goals at the expense of the many who are powerless to stop them. one would think that it would be enough to make others aware of what the few are doing but it seems that it isn't. perhaps because it is not all that bad for the most of us and those who are affected seem to carry on in spite of it.

I do hope he will post again.

ps, @ DaveS, Malooga's handle has nothing to do with whales. please see this cult film for another possible explanation

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 25 2011 17:57 utc | 51

I'm the only one who calls Malooga by that, um, pet name. Some of his writing, back in the old days, were a huge influence upon my thinking... He never stops peeling back the layers of the onion, and as you might have noticed from his suggested reading list, he doesn't mind wallowing in the muck a bit to find the truth.

He's got the heart the size of a whale and so that's why I call him that. Plus I like how it sounds ;)

And I too hope that it wasn't a lone posting... I really enjoy all the various viewpoints expressed here at the bar, his as well as many others. It's a fine place to drink, this place.


Posted by: DaveS | Mar 25 2011 19:09 utc | 52

As for "brian" who I blocked and who's comments I partially deleted. He vandalized this and other blogs earlier under the moniker "wadosi" (thanks to b real for waking me up to that). He is known in the blogsphere as the troll he is.

@Malooga - the map I posted shows ethnic areas, but it also shows main tribal areas. I picked it because it was the best one I could find AFTER I had read up on the issue and got my view, not because of where I found it. I did a Google image search and didn't bother much for the source.

From my experience, and I have been in "higher" economic circles (i.e. having serious management discussions about throwing non-virtual billions around), the planing you suggest being involved here doesn't exist. It is rather the system of rules which allows quite stupid actors to do their things that creates such issues. There is no big power that makes the system - it is one of convenience. The actors within it are mostly rather small lights who decide for primitive reasons. There is no big plan, just a system.

Hard do diagnose - so I try to run with the facts at hand on this blog - and only those. The rest is speculation and I try to mark it as such whenever I use it.

Posted by: b | Mar 25 2011 19:26 utc | 53

dan of steele

don't demonize your intelligence - you are a very alert person

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 25 2011 21:21 utc | 54

@b - you are confusing brian w/ flicker v (aka wadosy). they are unique posters. for those missing brian, he hasn't been banned yet from stephen gowan's blog :)

Posted by: b real | Mar 25 2011 21:26 utc | 55

Now that we made him angry, we must finish off

Kenneth Clarke has ratcheted up government pressure to depose Colonel Gaddafi by warning that the Libyan leader could stage a Lockerbie-style attack in revenge for Britain's role in the enforcement of the UN resolution if he is left in power.[...]
"The British people have reason to remember the curse of Gaddafi – Gaddafi back in power, the old Gaddafi looking for revenge, we have a real interest in preventing that." [...] He admitted victory would be hard to define: "ou cannot answer what is the destination, what it is going to be the moment when you can see the mission is accomplished. It is a little uncertain, but that would have been a dreadful reason for doing nothing."

Posted by: Lex | Mar 25 2011 23:08 utc | 56

oh yeah - "the system".

No, there are people planning and they take systems into account, but there is planning nevertheless and people are responsible for what they do, expecially the people who design those systems. Obviously, plans might not succeed, other planners may plot against you and designed systems may fail. So, there are many planners and many systems and the outcome is compley in a dialectic way, if you can project dialectics to many sides reinforcing or neutralizing each other.

Libya and planners' plans are best explained here

So all what is left for planners really is

Posted by: somebody | Mar 26 2011 8:02 utc | 57

Fairly busy with local issues at teh moment.
Just a couple of things 1/ How long before night owl or someone similar appears with 'the word' that syria needs a no fly zone (Bahrain the Yemen - never heard of those places lets capitalise on all the years of propaganda zillions of dollars spent telling the ignorati that Libya and Syria are evil).

2/ I am one of those who doesn't quite comprehend brian's sins Whatever they are his posts do not cause me any annoyance - they don't promote murderous interventions or seek to minimise the crimes of those powers most moa readers have a teensie sway over (ie assrtd western imperial asslickers). Still I no longer try to influence the editorial policies of this or any other site, I have eventually learned after much wasted energy, when they disturb me enough I have a very simple solution.

3/ the orientalist arabist debate. I loathe the lot of them as I have written inunerable times, I also believe that trying to learn what the buggers are up to by reading what they write is akin to trying to discover the unified field theory by reading all published scientific texts - time consuming and highly likely to be unsuccessful.

The capitalist technocrats have a complete spectrum of opinion on every issue, read them if you wish but whatever you learn is most likely to be no more than a distillation of your own subjective beliefs.

Like every large collection of ideas from the bible to the UN charter, you can find evidence to support any theory you want to disseminate if you read enough issues of "Foreign Policy in Focus" or the latest ullage of the Brookings institute.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 26 2011 23:16 utc | 58

First of all, debs, Syria's regime is controlled by the Asad family and assorted allawis. Recall also Assad sr.'s massacre of his own people, well documented, and Syria's ruthless interventions into the affairs of Lebanon.

Second, and most important, the uprising seems genuinely pro-Democratic. I would like to know more about the secretarian dimensions of the uprising.

Do these conditions vindicate intervention? How many people were murdered in hama?isn't a similar reaction from the regime plausible now? If so, shouldn't the international community intervene?

Overall, regardless of the sensitivities of your erudition applied to the myriad of conflicts blooming in this "Arab Spring," your ideology requires the following results: Moammar Qaddafi forever; the status quo in egypt because apparently you believe that the protesters there have been insufficiently anti-western, anti-FukUS; Assad forever; medieval Persian clerics forever; paranoid Iraqi Shiite clerics forever; Yemeni anti-FukUS, however that shakes out.

In short, the default reality for you is hyper-religious totalitarianism, evidently.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 27 2011 0:25 utc | 59

put a slightly different way, debs, FukUS sucks, sure. But arab anti-FukUS seems light years worse.

The difference here is something like Turkey, or something like Libya.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 27 2011 0:30 utc | 60

Syria Comment

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 27 2011 0:35 utc | 61


If so, shouldn't the international community intervene?

of course not!

I always wonder on what past experience the "IC" bases the notion that foreign intervention will be less bloody, and yield more commendable results, than the old fashioned rebellions, revolutions, civil wars, interstate wars, that shaped the modern western countries

Now the "IC", after having monopolized the right to wage war, wants to monopolize the right of a State to defend itself from rebellions, foreign meddling, etc;

A world open for western looting, and "democracy" as lock pick

Posted by: claudio | Mar 27 2011 0:56 utc | 62

I don't think a coalition of states should intervene for the simple reason that the movements for pro-democracy don't seem to threaten regional instability. And that the only reason there isn't a ranch in is because the Saudi monarch doesn't like the idea of democracy. Neither does Israel. So the other justifications, it seems to me, for intervention.

Even if Muammar Qaddafi managed to hang on without the intervention of the so-called international community, it seems unlikely that he would survive.

But each state or statelet has its own unique set of problems. Syria seems to me to be a real problem as the government has demonstrated a particularly open-ended ruthlessness in the past. So, we're kind of in Saddam Hussein territorywith respect to Assad. I imagine right now that Israel really is beginning to feel nostalgic about pere Assad.

But, you will notice I have reasons which I attempt to justify for not intervening. That's more than I can say for most of the people who post here.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 27 2011 2:47 utc | 63

the only reason there is intervention is because the Saudi monarch...

Sorry, I'm using voice recognition software.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 27 2011 2:49 utc | 64

the iraqi precedent shows how "regime change" imposed from foreign forces, without an indigenous alternative, leads to the collapse of the state and the disintegration of society (identities, cohesiveness, infrastructure, services, etc) - the worst possible scenario in which to live; just count the refugees, as an index

but you may even vote and get a colored finger to show on tv, and some may get rich in the course of the looting: the two real "human rights" the west recognizes

Posted by: claudio | Mar 27 2011 10:21 utc | 65

Hmmm - Libya. The Observer debate: Is it right to be intervening in Libya's struggle for freedom?Scroll down to Dennis J Kucinich

On November 2, 2010 France and Great Britain signed a mutual defence treaty , which included joint participation in "Southern Mistral" (, a series of war games outlined in the bilateral agreement. Southern Mistral involved a long-range conventional air attack, called Southern Storm, against a dictatorship in a fictitious southern country called Southland. The joint military air strike was authorised by a pretend United Nations Security Council Resolution. The "Composite Air Operations" were planned for the period of 21-25 March, 2011. On 20 March, 2011, the United States joined France and Great Britain in an air attack against Gaddafi's Libya, pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1973.

Have the scheduled war games simply been postponed, or are they actually under way after months of planning, under the name of Operation Odyssey Dawn? Were opposition forces in Libya informed by the US, the UK or France about the existence of Southern Mistral/Southern Storm, which may have encouraged them to violence leading to greater repression and a humanitarian crisis? In short was this war against Gaddafi's Libya planned or a spontaneous response to the great suffering which Gaddafi was visiting upon his opposition?

Posted by: b | Mar 27 2011 14:24 utc | 66

See: Southern Mistral Website

Posted by: b | Mar 27 2011 14:42 utc | 67

Some more context.

hat tip-ESNL

Posted by: Biklett | Mar 27 2011 18:14 utc | 68

Why are They Making War on Libya?

'The Western public was expected not to realize that those Arab leaders have their own reasons for hating Qaddafi, which have nothing to do with the reasons for hating him voiced in the West. Qaddafi has openly told them off to their faces, pointing to their betrayal of Palestine, their treachery, their hypocrisy. Last year, incidentally, former British MP George Galloway recounted how, in contrast to the Egyptian government’s obstruction of aid to Gaza, his aid caravan had had its humanitarian cargo doubled during a stopover in Libya. Qaddafi long ago turned his back on the Arab world, considering its leaders hopeless, and turned to Africa.'

Posted by: brian | Mar 27 2011 22:02 utc | 69

Tarpely on the Rebels : just who are they?

Posted by: brian | Mar 27 2011 22:07 utc | 70

@b - you are confusing brian w/ flicker v (aka wadosy). they are unique posters. for those missing brian, he hasn't been banned yet from stephen gowan's blog :)'

now why should Gowans engage in censorship? many leftists do...perhape imitating stalin

Posted by: brian | Mar 27 2011 22:13 utc | 71

Just a note to counter the z-troll's broadside. I never really form a strong opinion on what I want for a political system in the ME as it is neither my current nor former homeland. An accurate description of what I would like to see in arabs' counties (including greater Palestine) is for everyone who isn't an indigene to get the fuck out of the place and let the people there decide for themselves. Independant of amerikan french & english warmongering arms dealers, free from the phychopathic interference of fucked up amerikan jews and their desperate side kicks, materially-motivated east european migrants, and all the rest of the amoral carpet baggers who have been coagulating in the area since the invention of the infernal combustion engine.

Were that to occur in the ME and in Africa it is my belief that the locals would reach a durable accomodation real fast.

I've been reading Patrick Cockburn's biography of one of the great men of 21st century Arabia, Moqtada al Sadr; Cockburn points out that during the reign of Saddam Hussein, a man not well loved by most Iraqis, yet infinitely preferred by all to everything that has followed (see Zogby polls), 40% of marriages in Baghdad were inter-sectarian. That is to say 40% of all marriages involved a Sunni bloke marrying a Shia woman or vice versa. Sectarian conflict was a non-issue until USuk stirred it up with false flag attacks on Shia religious sites, the vast majority of the Shia sites important for all Shia everywhere, are located within Iraq - so when the seppos blew up kerbala, they weren't just pissing off the Arab underclass of Iraq, they were cranking up sectarian rivalries that had been dead for over 200 years, all around the world.

Say what you will about Assad or Muammar or any other non-western aligned ME leader, none of them have come close to doing the damage to the region, or killed the number of Arabs, in the last 50 years that USuk and friends wreaked in less than a decade.
They have always worked at achieving stasis, I think that some of these lies are promulgated so easily because of a general misunderstanding about the mechanics of a so-called strongman political regime. Maybe we will discuss that some time.
A classic example is the way that shia leaders in Iran and Iraq have created a system which allows criticism of either government (Shia is a religion of resistance although it is rarely a religion of rebellion).

For the last few centuries Shia religious leaders who are critical of Iran have lived and worked in Iraq, while those critical of Iraq, lived in Iran. That process stood the test of time and survived as well during the times Iran and Iraq were close as it did when they were at war. Natch enough it got badly damaged by amerikan efforts to 'use' an important safety valve for short term political gain. (eg. attempts to abduct Iranians in Iraq and pressure them into treason).

Who the fuck do outsiders think they are to act like they know the way through better than those who have lived the ME's issues and have a personal investment in ensuring the outcome is as good as can be managed?

Get all the destabilisers out and ME society will flourish.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Mar 28 2011 3:34 utc | 72

Cockburn's book about sadr is critical. Weird, debs. You've not read it. Or something. Your ideology poisons evaluation of the real.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 28 2011 4:00 utc | 73

@72 as always your language is flowery and your insights are on point!

Posted by: Minerva | Mar 28 2011 5:20 utc | 74

Do I smell CIA? New rebel leader spent much of past 20 years in suburban Virginia

WASHINGTON - The new leader of Libya's opposition military spent the past two decades in suburban Virginia but felt compelled — even in his late-60s — to return to the battlefield in his homeland, according to people who know him.

Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.
Since coming to the United States in the early 1990s, Hifter lived in suburban Virginia outside Washington, D.C. Badr said he was unsure exactly what Hifter did to support himself, and that Hifter primarily focused on helping his large family.

Posted by: b | Mar 28 2011 8:49 utc | 75

I disagree with your Counterpunch article, Brian. War is always about resources, whether that be direct, or indirect. Libya, and North Africa in general, has something "they" want, and they no longer trust the Marvelous Mug to play his part. The stakes are getting too high, and time is running out.

No doubt you will engage in dismissive ridicule to my post, and post a thousand and one links to counter me, but you won't engage in honest dialogue, which is the only beef I have with you. You spam the board and don't engage in dialogue.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 28 2011 11:39 utc | 76

well morocco bama..its your opinion vs my sources! Thats not a fare fight for you i admit!

als FYI
Open letter from Russian doctors in Libya, President of the Russian Federation (Update 2)

and Cynthia McKinney whose been to Libya:

Posted by: brian | Mar 28 2011 12:06 utc | 77

See, there you do again, Brian. Your sources are others' opinions passed off as more legitimate because it comes from a seemingly more official looking source. You engage in the same failure that the majority of the populace engages in.....that certain sources, even though they are largely opinion, are more legitimate. Take all the Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh fans, for example. These guys are disinformation and misdirection at its best, or worst, yet their fans worship them as the fountain of all knowledge on political matters, and more. At some point, Brian, you have to say what you think after viewing all the available information and weighing it against your own observations and experiences, past and present. Otherwise, you're all over the place, all over the map, which you appear to be, and you don't develop a coherent, logical narrative for what you are witnessing, but instead relying on others to develop that narrative for you. That's not critical thinking. It's sloppy and lazy.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 28 2011 12:29 utc | 78

Brian, I do agree with much of what McKinney espouses, but to call the Marvelous Mug a hero is over the top. He's a complex and contradictory character, to be sure, very much like Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, just on a grander scale, but labeling that as a hero, or heroic, is foolish. Engaging in talk of heroism is follish, IMO. It'ss disempowering.....woe the country, or cause, that needeth a hero.

If the West wanted the Marvelous Mug gone, he would have been gone 40 years prior, but he lasted this long because he was a useful idiot for the West. He served some kind of purpose, even if that purpose was unbeknownst to him. He no longer serves that purpose, and he has something "they" want, therefore, in "their" view, it's time for him to go.....and go he will. It's not a matter of either he's right, or the West is right. It is quite possible, and ion this case I believe it is so, that both are wrong, and the poor guy on the street, struggling to survive, is caught in the crosshairs....once again.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 28 2011 14:05 utc | 79

I reread chunks of Cockburn's Sadr anyone can come away from the book thinking that it justifies the view that the Americans created the Sunni Shia schism, is just mind-boggling.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 28 2011 14:46 utc | 80

Khalifa Hifter

They have to be joking, right? They give us a president named Barach Hussein Obama, which sounds like a combo of Osamma bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and now we get an Arab dictator puppet who sounds like a combination of the Marvelous Mug and Adolph Hitler. Who says these programmers don't have a sense of humor?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 28 2011 14:56 utc | 81

for someone who loves his rhetoric, slothrop, it seems that you do not read, at all - every book you mention, i am convinced you have not read & if you do - you don't do nuance - to a hammer, everything is a nail

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 28 2011 21:44 utc | 82

& again, your silence in front of brute numbers, when debs correctly points out the u s imperialism & its israeli allies have created an enormity of murder - that all the potentates & tyrants of the middle east put together can't even begin to match. the murder of a people you never, ever want to deal with except in some salacious way but usually - you pass over that question in silence

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 28 2011 22:07 utc | 83

good grief, there's just no way you can read that book and a) celebrate it as a hagiography, and b) claim that the US invented the Shia/sunni animus. That's just crazy.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 29 2011 0:40 utc | 84

that said, I agree there is much to admire about sadr, as much as there is to revile about his role -- regardless whether he was just a sloppy administrator, or not -- in the intermittent pogroms of sunni/baath. And the murder of HAkim was odious.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 29 2011 0:44 utc | 85

sloth, there is an article today, by thomas friedman & i would like you honestly to tell me, us - on this situation how does your understanding differ from his - i think the article is called something like - 'middle east needs mandelas' something like that - i presume it is from new york times but i read it somewhere else

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 29 2011 2:10 utc | 86

no mockery, a real question - i hope you will answer it

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 29 2011 2:12 utc | 87

I'm sorry... Thomas Friedman is a bit too much for me.or rather, to little.

I guess I'm considerably more optimistic about the changes in the Middle East. The indeterminacy is interesting. And the successes depending on your political point of view will vary as the dust settles. It seems to me that the events will force Israel to become both more paranoiac, but hopefully more pragmatic, especially when it comes to its domestic policies about democracy and all that which has been a complete travesty so far.

I'm cynical about the politics of energy, but the more I study this problem, the less convinced I am that this is the stuff that fuels the organization of "Empire."really, what is needed is not a response to a kind of classic second coming of colonialist resource exploitation, but a condemnation of neoliberal globalization. The problem is I just don't see movement on this problem from either the trade unionists and workers among the diasporic arabs revolting against dictatorships -- and most of all, because the labor movements in the West and in a disarray, there doesn't seem to be attempts at Solidarity or even Western domestic interpretations of these revolts as an open window inviting workers to fight neoliberal globalization. that is, I just don't see a lot of class consciousness. Call me an old time leftist. Oh well.

It just seems like, to me, the neoliberals are really winning the confidence game in the exploitation of these crises. We'll see.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 29 2011 3:59 utc | 88

Rick, that's priceless....for everything else, there's MasterCard.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 29 2011 13:12 utc | 90

Next thing you know, we'll hear the Rebels have signed a long-term contractual agreement with Desertec and Nestle (Bottled Water).

Patterns.....they're a damnable thing, aren't they?

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Mar 29 2011 13:15 utc | 91

For the record:

Interesting page. I about the GOLD.

Posted by: an idiot | Mar 29 2011 16:39 utc | 92

this should have been a time of light, yes even though a little light but it is clear the arab revolts have been usurped. the real tyrants of the gulf & their bosses in washington salivate at the way they have been able to do this so quickly with the full complicity of a world that seems to believe any nasty narrative they are told

i cannot really understand how the left could not imagine a position where they opposed tyranny but also opposed foreign intervention. ironically or not so ironically the broad front in tunisia opposes this foreign intervention. perhaps the only left to do so

the english & the french are performing the saddest exercise - an open display of their servility, their self importance, their impotence & finally as debs sd - a kind of grotesque repeat of suez where british & french imperialism died

u s imperialism has not only made a dogs breakfast of its own jurisprudence - so much so - that it does not really exist outside the very defined interests of the elite. now whatever cloth international jurisprudence possessed is now a rag, a dirty bloodied flag used to protect the interests of some & to attack others

it is not so odd that scholars of international law all over the globe have been of one voice about this intervention - it is the degradation if not the defeat of international law

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 29 2011 18:28 utc | 93

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