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254 responses to “Libya roundtable”

  1. Old Yobbo

    ” …. issues other than those raised on substantive posts.”

    Where to start ?

    Presumably, once Surt is surrounded and eventually liberated, and Gaddafi’s artillery and Grads and tanks are blasted all along the road to Misrata, then the end game can begin.

    But there’s many a slip between cup and lip, even yet. It’s a long way to Tripoli, militarily. Perhaps, As Katz says, Gaddafi has quite a bit of support in Tripoli, through his patronage networks and bureaucratic and police structures. So maybe there are a few weeks to run yet, and it still could get very messy.

    And afterwards ? The provisional authorities will have to go through the complex and unfamiliar process of cleaning up, getting the economy back to scratch, setting up government, organising political parties, holding elections and instituting democratic, representative government. Many a slip, all right.

    Can all this happen without any US ‘boots on the ground’ ? We’ll see. But very likely, there will be many US and British and French suits running around drawing up contracts. The offices of the Chinese and Russians (and Indians, Serbians, Iranians, Bolivians etc.) will be fairly quiet by contrast.

    In fact, the time might be ripe for a thorough reassessment of what it means to be progressive and internationalist, in the light of the non-‘interference’ of nominally progressive governments in Libya’s internal affairs. What are the limits of R2P ? I don’t mean just against autocracies which touted themselves as progressive (as, let’s be honest, Gaddafi’s regime claimed to be) but against all anti-democratic and anti-progressive, autocratic regimes, kingdoms, sheikdoms and Bolivariates as well. What are the limits to the solidarity between people across nations, of internationalism, if any ?

    Off in another direction: the insurgents’ flag was the independence flag, the Senussi flag, the monarchist flag, perhaps the flag of a particular Islamist sect as well. But perhaps more importantly, it is not Gaddafi’s flag, and that might be all there is to it. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Discuss.

  2. Hal9000

    Re flag: agree.

    On the oil contracts: since a large part of the impetus for the revolution has been maldistribution of oil wealth, I’d be surprised if there will be much change initially in Ghaddafi’s arrangements.

  3. Brendon

    The Americans have said if they stop the bombing the rebels would quickly lose.

    What that says is that in the end the aerial pounding will destroy Libya’s military. Has to to get their boys to win.

    So, Libya’s military will need to be built up for the new giovernemt. Bell the cat for me on this one: who sells new government od Libya the new military infrastructure they will so dearly need.

    And BTW, what a racket! They win going over, coming away, every which way.

  4. Brett

    No response to anything in my previous comment, Brendon? What are your thoughts on Iman al-Obeidi?

  5. Brendon

    Off in another direction: the insurgents’ flag was the independence flag, the Senussi flag, the monarchist flag, perhaps the flag of a particular Islamist sect as well. But perhaps more importantly, it is not Gaddafi’s flag, and that might be all there is to it. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Discuss.

    So basically, you vote anyone but the current Libyan government under Gadaffi.

    And thats a shame, because while like everywhere else there was discontent, nobody asked the Libyans. Protests in the streets, even with violent over-reaction from the government, does not translate to a violent take over from a part of the country with the help of foriegn major military powers.

    Keep in mind there is no Libyan wide revolt. This is one group making its way toward Tripoli.

    All under the flag of a former King, who was installed by the Americans and Britsh, and who used to have a US military base…. right there in Tripoli.

  6. Brendon

    Brett, that story is still unfolding. If the claim is true obviously its terrible for the woman and her family. If its more propaganda and its staged, it ise qually bad for the named accused. But it is an individual criminal case. If it was a government policy of terrorizing dissidents, then I doubt she would have been free to wonder into a foreign press meeting.

    Sometimes thes things unfold and its not like what it is first presented:

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

    Re the aerial bombing propaganda: I read the link you provided for the claim of Libyan government aerial bombing of protests. So, there is no proof, no corroboration, I checked HRW who published a death count from the protests, and they did not mention it. I’m pretty sure Amnesty International would have mentioned it. If true they most certainly would have. There would have been multiple accounts from survivors.

    Brett, you are claiming these things as fact. Are you prepared to say you were duped by propaganda?

  7. Brett

    Oh, I see how this works now, Brendon. Iman’s story is ‘still unfolding’, so you can suspend judgement until it makes no difference. Just like you can about every other claim made about regime atrocities. (Did you happen to read any of these claims made on HRW’s website, while you were there?)

    Yes, I said those reports about bombing protestors were unconfirmed (though supported by reports of defecting pilots and diplomats). You’re allowed to be sceptical. But again, you only ever exercise your scepticism one way.

    Does it not give you any pause whatsoever to see how Iman has been treated by Libyan State TV? Presenters called her a whore, said she was too ugly to have been raped, said no woman would publicly admit to being raped. This is your favoured news source on events in Libya?

    Ah, what is the point. Ideological purity is more important than human life, right?

  8. sg

    The Guardian is reporting that Iman al-Obeidi is now being held in Gaddafi’s compound, and is being charged with false accusations of sexual offenses by some of the (15!) men who raped her. Previously her “only” crime was entering the hotel where the journalists were staying.

  9. wmmbb

    The fact that Germany is not part of the now NATO operation in Libya for regime change(not too much of a stretch) means that the government there is subject to pressure from its allies and been pushed towards a closer association with BRIC and Turkey. Given that public support for wars in Euro-America soon wanes when they last beyond the promised quick fix as this one may well do, Germany’s new role will be an interesting development.

    Protecting civilians is a desirable humanitarian goal, but as the critics are quick to notice it is not likely to be achieved by a sustained barrage of cruise missiles (and hang the costs of war despite the domestic deficits). Regime change in turn changes the dynamic of conflict and oil wars, with Iraq as the defining case, may well create a larger humanitarian crisis for the subject population and moral infamy for the perpetrators of violence if they could conscientiously address their actions and their espoused values.

  10. Brendon

    Brett, the aerial bombing story has unfolded.

    There has been more than ample time for accurate reporting of this incident, if it occured. HRW and Amnesty International do not give any accounts of aerial attacks on civilians in their reports, and there is no other independent eye witness accounts. There would have to be by now if the story was credible. Its not.

    Nothing corroborates the rebel pilots claim. Including the fact that there is no evidence it did happen. Are you suggesting the rebel pilots were the only ones asked to bomb civilians, and when they left thar was it?

    Do you not agree you were duped by propaganda?

  11. Brendon

    Brett, regarding Iman’s story, it certainly is a terrible story either way. But we are talking about a city that is currently being bombed on a daily basis, waitresses trying to attack her, and the surreal event of her wondering into a press conference. Lets wait for a bit more to come out. Obviously that guy Moussa Ibrahim, the Libyan government spokesman is an idiot. I read what he said. Amazing.

    On the other hand, if the men who are accused of raping her can prove to Libyan authorities they were not there at the time and it could not have been them, who in the world would believe such a finding today? Gadaffi is worse than Hitler, and Libya has the worst women’s rights record in the world. They send fighter jets to bomb protesters over there

    So, if you want to run with it as further cause to bomb Tripoli, go for it. I’ll wait for more information.

  12. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    Yet you seem to regard him as a more credible source of news than the BBC, the ABC, the Guardian or any other newspaper.
    That is truly amazing.

  13. Brendon

    Andrew,

    I put it up for what its worth as there is a lot of our imposing values and assumptions of who is who over there, and what is going on.

    You were welcome to take it or leave it. But I think I may have done something wrong as its been taken off.

  14. Brendon

    A mixup Andrew,

    I thought you were talking about another post.

    Do you mean Moussa Ibrahim? If so, why do you say that?

  15. paul walter

    Just Reading the Beeb’s list and descriptions of the rebel leaders and they come across as a mixed bag.
    I think Libya does two things.
    It diverts attention away from Bahrain, Yemen etc and the moral failure with Egypt for the US, whose idiot neolib and neocon policies induced the 2007 recession that has impacted on many poorer countries and their people contributing to the current wave of discontent, that actually started in Greece six months ago.
    Secondly, I’d suggest that the US has belatedly realised the possibilities for a defacto annexation of this oil rich country, certainly a global realignment of power is under way. Does that mean I like Gaddafi?
    No.
    Of course not.
    I suspect Brendon sees where it’s going as to IR and others have sought to derail the thread to obscure his rationale.
    But the brutality there and the foreign affairs implications are two different things.

  16. joe

    Libya is another case of selective vigilantism by the west

    It is absurd to think that the reasons for bombing Tripoli or for the turkey shoot outside Benghazi are designed to protect civilians. This particular argument is designed to win support from the citizens of Euro-America and part of the Arab world. “Look at us,” say Obama/Clinton and the EU satraps, “we’re doing good. We’re on the side of the people.” The sheer cynicism is breathtaking. We’re expected to believe that the leaders with bloody hands in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are defending the people in Libya. The debased British and French media are capable of swallowing anything, but the fact that decent liberals still fall for this rubbish is depressing. Civil society is easily moved by some images and Gaddafi’s brutality in sending his air force to bomb his people was the pretext that Washington utilised to bomb another Arab capital.

    ‘Cause that’s how we roll. It’s true, man!

  17. Katz

    It is becoming clearer and clearer that if The Usual Suspects want Gaddafi’s regime to end, merely bombing the crap out of Gaddafi’s heavy weaponry will not be sufficient.

    The Eastern rebels are neither competent to win by feat of arms nor sufficiently charismatic to inspire emulation in other important parts of the country. To win, they need much more foreign help.

    As Old Yobbo acknowledged @1 above, I believe I mentioned this possibility several threads ago.

    Mission Creep, anyone?

  18. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    Perhaps because you call him an “idiot”, yet you regard what he is saying as correct. It is his briefings that establish the official Libyan government position that you have been quoting with approval in most of your comments.

  19. Brendon

    So many cats to bell for the interventionists.

    Just forgetting Western government motives for a minute, what is to become of the Libyans?

    Mission Creep, yes. I can see the Americans, French, and British bombing the Libyan military to smithereens and making a path for thousands of rebels from one side of the country to ready themselves to take the biggest city in Libya on the other side.

    That is what is under way, AFAIK.

    Then what? The is no down to earth practical scenerio that I can come up with. These questions are generally fobbed off with scenes of the people greeting the local liberators with flowers.

    Looking at Iraq as a template of coming problems: Much of the needless mayhem and destruction by lawless groups after Baghdad was taken was because all there were was soldiers, waiting to walk on flowers. There was no contingency plan for policing the city, and eventually the US military had to organize something out of the mess. That was a failure. Then, perhaps because the Bush administration believed its own propaganda (and Chalabi), they disbanded the Iraq army. That created the insurgency which even today is very influential and powerful.

    So, Obama is on record as currently as saying the goal is not for regime change in Libya. Huh? How can any part of the Libyan government suvive, because acording to the media it is worse than the Nazi rulers Germany and not to be trusted. So what happens to current ruling class. Are they all to be shot or hung, and the population that back them to be ethnically cleansed? They did that in Iraq, and there are still thousands of insurgents who represent millions of disenfranchised Sunnis.

    Lots of future issues not discussed.

  20. Brendon

    Andrew, you seem fixated on issues that make for emotive rallying cries in favor of the current aerial bombarment of Libya. Its fair to say its an alleged rape case because the accused are named and they are refuting the claims. But I also recognize if her accusationations are all true this has happened at the worst possible time for her to get a fair hearing.

    Still, its incredible that these guards were drunk on whiskey performing security operations while their city was being bombarded on a daily basis. If that is representitive of the state of affairs in Triploi, then its a wonder the city hasn’t fallen apart with thousands fleeing from these madmen. Have you heard? Then again, if its an isolated case by some rogue elements it has nothing to do with the current bombing program you support, and is a criminal matter.

  21. Old Yobbo

    As each day passes, Katz, I incline more and more towards your superior analysis. As for mission creep, which I don’t think is necessarily such a bad idea in the circumstances, here’s the Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/libya-rebels-armed-by-us-uk

    But a line in the sand would still be ‘boots on the ground’. Once there is something like a level playing field (a rare occurrence in the history of revolutions), then the people would still have to do their own fighting.

    And as you allude to, Katz, one major problem may turn out to be that the ‘revolutionaries’ with the most battle experience may well be those seasoned fighters, on leave, as it were, from Afghanistan. I fervently hope that this does not turn out to be the case, that the people can get themselves organised and trained to tackle Gaddafi’s troops on their own.

  22. Brendon

    Andrew,

    Since you are infavor of the bombing, do you have any idea of what is next? What do you see happening after the fighting and bombing has stopped.

  23. Katz

    Thanks, OY.

    Here is one source of foreign help: 1000 foreign jihadists.

    The border between Egypt and Libya is long, dry, and virtually unguarded.

  24. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    I hope something that the Libyan people have been denied for a very long time – at least since Gaddafi took over – justice and the ability to choose for themselves who will govern them.
    I also hope this does not end up like Iraq.
    What do you hope for? Gaddafi to still be there, bombing and torturing his fellow citizens if they dare express discontent with his people’s republic?

  25. Andrew Reynolds

    Again, Brendon – why to you regard an “idiot” as a credible source of information? What does that make you?

  26. paul walter

    Interesting to note that Obama still, publically at least, eschews boots on the ground. This seems an echo of that mind set that had US duck interventionism for a short time, after the “Blackhawk Down” incident in Somaliland in the early nineties. Very much a contrast to the gung ho Cheney Bush approach.
    Which is not to say he’s not preparing for a change to some thing more aggressive a little later, should the oportunity arise.

  27. Brendon

    Andrew @24

    Well, I hope you are right about that, Andrew. Democracy is a good starting point. As you point out Iraq was not a success for the people of Iraq. Perhaps because the people were marched out to the elections more as a photo op than an expression of the ability to choose for themselves who will govern them. I don’t particularily trust a democracy that has its Parliament locked away behind barbed wire in an enclosure that also contains the foreign embassy of the occupying force.

    What to I hope for? For me the wheel was already set in motion as soon as they started bombing and actively supporting the rebels instead of forcing the two parties to negotiate. I don’t hope now, I just see a future mess.

    Perhaps beyond this, I hope for honest debate about the role of the UNSC and its member and how the major powers can be curtailed in their whacky bombing adventures. Also, if we could look into the banning of selling equipment specifically designed to keep governments in power: tear gas, riot trucks…etc.

    I can think of a few other things. The abolition of the main stream media. We don’t need it or its state sponsored propaganda any more with the advent of the intertube. Haven’t thought that one out too well yet. lol

  28. Brett

    Brett, the aerial bombing story has unfolded.

    No, it has not. You may have noticed that lots of other things have been going on in Libya since then, including more attacks on civilians by Gadaffi’s military and security forces. It’s just possible that nobody has had the time to investigate what is now old news.

    Nothing corroborates the rebel pilots claim. Including the fact that there is no evidence it did happen. Are you suggesting the rebel pilots were the only ones asked to bomb civilians, and when they left thar was it?

    Err, nothing corroborates the rebel pilots’ claims that they were ordered to attack civilians except the eyewitness accounts of air attacks on civilians. Then again, nothing corroborates the eyewitness accounts of air attacks except the rebel pilots’ claims that they were ordered to attack civilians. So I suppose you’ve got me there.

    Do you not agree you were duped by propaganda?

    I do not. I’ll agree it’s possible, which is more than you’ve ever done. But it fits in with everything else that’s been happening so I’m giving it some weight.

    Brett, regarding Iman’s story, it certainly is a terrible story either way. But we are talking about a city that is currently being bombed on a daily basis, waitresses trying to attack her, and the surreal event of her wondering into a press conference.

    Surreal event? She was trying to get help, bring what had happened to her to international attention. For which she was physically assaulted, verbally trashed, disappeared and now charged. How can you just say, let’s wait and see, as though this was a sexual assault case in a country with some rule of law? The rape is part of the repression. Imam was arrested and detained because she spoke with an eastern Libyan accent (i.e, she was from rebel country). So much for Libya’s wonderful HDI rating.

    So, if you want to run with it as further cause to bomb Tripoli, go for it. I’ll wait for more information.

    Yes, because when Gadaffi’s troops opened fire on their own people for having the nerve to want freedom, I jumped for joy: my long-held dream of seeing Tripoli bombed was one step closer to coming true. In case you didn’t notice, Andrew Reynolds brought up Imam’s case as an example of the utterly untrustworthy nature of the Libyan state media you keep offering as a trustworthy source. From his repeated questioning of you on this point, it would seem you didn’t in fact notice.

  29. Brett

    What to I hope for? For me the wheel was already set in motion as soon as they started bombing and actively supporting the rebels instead of forcing the two parties to negotiate. I don’t hope now, I just see a future mess.

    Moral equivalence. Fail.

  30. Brendon

    Brett @28 says:

    No, it has not. You may have noticed that lots of other things have been going on in Libya since then, including more attacks on civilians by Gadaffi’s military and security forces. It’s just possible that nobody has had the time to investigate what is now old news.

    The only eyewitness account to this I could find was a Adel Mohamed Saleh, who described himself as a “political activist”. And I believe this Al Jazeera report is the source of all the subsequent headlines of the Libyan air assaults on Libyan civilians. It was phoned in from Tripoli. There don’t seem to be any Al Jazeera reporters in Tripoli.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/02/201122261251456133.html

    The Al Jazeera report also added a denial by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi who said that there was bombing of “arms depots situated far from populated areas”, but “no air strikes had taken place in Tripoli and Benghaz.”

    I looked for a confirmation of this from HRW, or AI. I couldn’t find it.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is reluctant to get sucked into Libya’s increasingly messy conflict, despite its fears that the oil-producing North African country is descending into chaos.

    WHAT COULD TRIGGER U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION?

    Possibly a major jump in the death toll. Analysts say massacres of civilians, aerial bombing of civilian targets or a concerted military offensive by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to retake rebel-held territory could be possible triggers.

    While the Obama administration is sensitive to criticism that it has been slow to respond more forcefully to Gaddafi’s bloody crackdown on opponents, it has made clear it will not be rushed into making any hasty decisions.

    Media reports of aerial bombing of civilians have helped drive calls for international military intervention but Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday the United States has so far been unable to confirm them.

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/8943486/q-a-what-could-trigger-u-s-intervention-in-libya/

    Despite the claims by Al Jazeera, the US Defence Department will not give any credence to the claims that have been trumpeted around the world’s media’s headlines as absolute fact and a major factor in the justification of the intervention.

    Now there is no doubt Gadaffi’s regime is guilty of opening fire on protesters like several other regimes in the region. And it is a sign of the times that these dictatorships should be swept away. By the people. But not by superpowers, or by another extremist group from the other side of the country who think its their turn for a slice. Certainly not by the Al Qaeda militants. Latest reports have these militants flooding in from Egypt. So much for your foriegn mercenaries.

  31. Brendon

    Brett @28 says:

    “Yes, because when Gadaffi’s troops opened fire on their own people for having the nerve to want freedom, I jumped for joy: my long-held dream of seeing Tripoli bombed was one step closer to coming true.”

    Oh, I see.

    Thanks for letting me (and others here) know that about you.

  32. tigtog

    Brendon, your irony meter is broken beyond what mere recalibration can sort out. It can’t even detect the broadest brush of sarcasm any more.

    You seriously need a whole new unit.

  33. Katz

    I guess some folks thought that air cover would suffice to bring Gaddafi down. Did Cameron, Obama and Sarko really think even the NFZ on ‘roids would suffice? If so, then they were ignorant of facts on the ground.

    I guess some folks never thought they would have to decide whether or not to support arming the Libyan rebels. Were Cameron, Obama and Sarko really among that number?

    But it looks like that day has arrived.

    And after that, what next? Oh, yes … boots on the ground.

  34. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    Even if you are correct (not conceded, but for argument) then you are still taking the word of an “idiot” and the dictator’s son over that of a number of other news sources.
    You are still giving the word of the organs of a dictatorial regime more credibility than (IMHO) they deserve.

  35. joe

    I’m starting to think this really is going to be a disaster. The whole thing is just snowballing and there still appears to be no plan. I mean, can you imagine it?! This isn’t like, should we eat out tonight? This is high stakes: a politically very fragile part of the world, military intervention (! WTF are we even doing there?!), aiding an unknown party against a common, but relatively insignificant enemy… And no plan?!! Like it’s a minor detail?!!

    We’re still speculating about almost everything. We don’t even know that in the final balance, lives are being saved. It’s just so irresponsible. Such an incompetent way to govern a situation. Unbelievable.

    Has Hillary Clinton done anything well yet? She seems to be completely incapable of being able to come to terms with any of her tasks. And Sarkosy should retire with Gadaffi and Berlusconi to the Italian riviera.

  36. Brett

    Brendon, your irony meter is broken beyond what mere recalibration can sort out. It can’t even detect the broadest brush of sarcasm any more.

    You seriously need a whole new unit.

    I thought sarcasm was already the lowest form of wit, but evidently I should have been aiming even lower!

  37. sg

    Katz, arming the rebels and enforcing a no fly zone (with a bit of bombing) was sufficient for the west to get Franco in. Sure it helped that the good marxist anti-imperialists left the republicans out to die (after they stole their gold) but it was basically a done deal unless the Soviets intervened properly on behalf of the republicans.

    This situation could follow that pattern.

  38. Brendon

    Tigtog @32

    No it isn’t. But you might want to check yours.

  39. Patrickb

    As I said back on the first Libya thread, the key phrase will be and is “exit strategy”. There isn’t one. Iraq put paid to any “cavalry over the hill” last minutes deus ex machina scenarios. It’s typical of the media to raise unreal expectations and then let every idiot with a gripe against Obama have a go at him for being “indecisive”.

    The situation in Libya looks like developing into stalemate. Maybe we’ll end up with a partition, wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe G will go but his support base won’t come over to the new consensus. Either way, if I was in Obama’s shoes there’s no way I’d put my boots on the ground as I’m sure his feet are much larger and I’d trip over.

  40. Brendon

    Andrew @34

    I don’t quote or defend much of what the Libyan government or news services has to say. They don’t deliver this far south. I just note the normal bs and propaganda that comes out of the western media that as ever relays government agendas to us public with all the investigative journalism you would expect from an idiot savant.

    I have a memory. I remember all this bs before from the same news services. I see the agendas. It hits you right between the eyes. I see the big headline, and I see “unverified reports that….” down about the 9th para.

    As for defending the regime, I don’t particularily. Strangely, after having a closer look at the Libyan regime I find they are not as bad as I once thought. Not that crash hot, but there are worse about. What I rail against is the cynical demonization to justify all sorts of abuses in the name of humanitarian intervention. Things will get worse in that area soon enough.

  41. Con

    Joe, it’s true that the West appears not to have planned the attack on Libya, but in interesting point of fact is that a simulated attack on an North African country was planned, for this very date, before the current wave of uprisings in the region even began. The name of the planned operation was “Southern Mistral”, and in the exercise the British and French were to launch a series of long-range airstrikes on strategic targets in Libya – sorry “Southland”:

    Southland is a country with a specifically authoritarian government. The former dictator resigned handing over power to his son. Since that time, the country’s policy has become more aggressive; military operations have been launched against the French territory. Proofs of aggression clearly showed Southland’s responsibility in an attack against French strategic interests.

    The French President and the British Prime Minister decide to give an immediate and common response to this attack. The French Air Force Chief of Staff and his British counterpart ask the French Air Defence and Air Operations Commander and the British Air Command Deputy Commander in Chief Ops to plan and control this air raid, which is a very long distance conventional strike aimed at a strategic target in Southland.

    from http://www.southern-mistral.cdaoa.fr/GB/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57&Itemid=127

    And also …

    Due to the current international events, exercise Southern Mistral has been suspended. The demonstration day hosting the French and the British Ministers of Defence on March 24th was cancelled.

    I don’t think “suspended” is quite the right word.

  42. Brendon

    PatrickB @39

    Did Bush march into Iraq with no exit strategy?

    I recall a US senator before the Iraq invasion saying he had read all the details of the administration’s proposed Iraq plans, but there was nothing there about what happens after taking Baghdad. He was confused. He shouldn’t have been. He should have demanded to see the plans and agenda that were hidden from the people.

  43. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    You have been quoting and defending them from the very first time I have seen your comments on these threads – and you do so again above.
    Fair enough – you may not be quoting them directly, but oddly, you seem to be taking a similar position to them shortly after they say it – or at least as it is reported in the Western media. I have to assume you are then getting the information second hand, as we all are. Again, though – chase back your sources for most, if not all, of what you are saying and you will find it comes from the man you derided as an “idiot” or one of his lackeys.
    If, BTW, you don’t “…quote or defend much of what the Libyan government or news services has to say…” then why have you been saying things like “…talking about a city that is currently being bombed on a daily basis…”? The evidence I have seen is that the targets have been military bases and command and control centres. So far, and I have been watch closely, I have seen no evidence of civilians being attacked at all – except by the artillery barrages hitting (inter alia) Misrata.

  44. joe

    Another article from the guardian:

    We’ve avoided a Libyan Srebrenica, so when is the bombing going to stop?

    Put simply, how can the allies keep attacking Libya if the threat that brought them there is receding? The UN approved military action – with the backing of the Arab League and the pointed non-opposition of Russia and China – for a very specific reason: to “protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack”. That was the legal form of words, but the moral case was direct. Gaddafi had his “knife to the throat” of the civilians of Benghazi; if he were not stopped, he would stage a massacre.

    Yet on Monday Barack Obama was glad to tell the American people: “Tonight, I can report that we have stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance.” In similar mood, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, told Tuesday’s London conference that we “have averted a humanitarian crisis”. In which case, why are we still there? If the knife is no longer at the throat and if, thanks to coalition air strikes, the knife has now been severely blunted, isn’t the basis for this intervention melting away?

  45. Katz

    Katz, arming the rebels and enforcing a no fly zone (with a bit of bombing) was sufficient for the west to get Franco in.

    Nope. The two situations are quite different.

    1. The Condor Legion engaged in terror bombing, notably Guernica. NATO will never do this.

    2. The Condor Legion was stationed in Spain and was capable of giving close air support. It now is clear that the NATO Air Force is incapable of both flying long distances to and from foreign bases and mounting credible attacks against small, mobile units of Gaddafi’s forces. Moreover, the rebel armed forces appear to be little more than phantoms, whereas Franco had real military grunt on the ground.

    If NATO want to avoid embarrassment they will have to do much more than they are doing now. However, doing more will simply expose them to still deeper embarrassment.

    At this stage, as I suggested in an earlier thread, the reasons for the decision of the Chinese and Russians not to veto UNSC 1973 becomes clearer.

    How embarrassment!

  46. joe

    President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces
    … seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

    Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

    Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.

    This is starting to take on grotesque proportions.

  47. joe

    And Katz deserves the golden-telescope-award for most far-sighted international political view!!

  48. Brendon

    Andrew @43

    I have read mainly the state sponsored propaganda from the west. I don’t read dispatches from the Libyan media. The only times I’ve read anything from them is second hand.

    BTW the US, which I’m sure has agents on the ground in Tripoli will not confirm the aerial bombing of protesters. Amnesty International won’t confirm it, and they meticulously report and record exactly such crimes. Human Rights Watch which was recording hospital records in Tripoli in the aftermath of the protests and government attacks won’t confirm it.

    Why do you keep saying I’m quoting Libyan sources, and when will you admit it was a propaganda feed? Which it obviously was.

  49. Brendon

    Joe @47

    War is a racket. Start from that premise and these things are easy to predict.

    Trying to hide the Jihad element amongst the rebels is going to be tricky as time goes by.

  50. Brendon

    Katz, I cannot agree with you in the quaqmire reason for Russia and China abstaining.

    The West will finish off Gadaffi soon enough, one way or the other. That is now clear, if it wasn’t before. Mission creep at a hundred miles an hour. China and Russia have financial interests in Libya which of course they lose out on if there is a war. Russia, under Saddam was looking at the entire Qrna oil field for itself. After the invasion and the contracts were let, they ended up as a partner in the lesser half of Qrna.

    Also a quagmire with no result also means financial benefits from Libya sits there with no return for anybody.

    I look at it this way: Neither side has the the power to stand up to NATO with the US behind it. They see a use for the UNSC consenus, and they don’t want to jeopardize it by forcing the major western powers to go it alone. They know that the Western powers will parley for some settlement after the dust settles, and they will make the best of it and not completely lose out.

    I think a quagmire would only be a poor consolation prize for them.

    Keep in mind it was ex-President Jacques Chirac and Mr de Villepin declared that they would veto a UN Security Council resolution authorising intervention in Iraq, and not the Chinese and Russians, AFAIK. I’ll stand corrected. The French company Total didn’t get much out of Iraq.

  51. Katz

    I’ve never doubted that Gaddafi will be removed, one way or another.

    My guess is that NATO, or some patsy of NATO, will be compelled to garrison Tripoli, which is tantamount to a strategic defeat.

    Why should Russian care about turmoil in world oil markets? The more turmoil, the better, for Russian oil interests.

    Keep in mind it was ex-President Jacques Chirac and Mr de Villepin declared that they would veto a UN Security Council resolution authorising intervention in Iraq, and not the Chinese and Russians, AFAIK. I’ll stand corrected. The French company Total didn’t get much out of Iraq.

    You are correct about this, except the vote was never taken. Russia and China were in the luxurious position of having France take all the heat.

    The problem with your characterisation of Russian interests in Qurna is that Saddam himself tore up the deal in 2002. As it stood, when the COW blundered into Iraq in 2003, Russian oil interests had nothing to lose.

    I think that you have not refuted my analysis of event.

  52. Brendon

    Katz,

    I agree that Russia has no problems with oil prices going up. There is never one reason.

    If the reason that Saddam tore up the contract with Russia was that early on in 2002 he saw Russia’s manouverings, then its the same difference really, and consistent with what I said in my previous post. I would believe Russia would have expected the US to invade and occupy Iraq by that time, and Saddam would have realized (or been suspicious) that that a deal has been done with the major powers. The carve up.

    Maybe thats it, Katz. Maybe Russia did a deal with the US and China did a deal with the US back in 2002. Because they were the main threats. There was nothing left for the French, and the French got all uppity. I never did understand why all of sudden France played the role of peacenik in the lead up to the war.

    There is a good explanation here (that I hardly read) under the heading OTHER IMPERIALIST FEAR US MONOPOLY ON OIL . If its right, than this guy is 7 years smarter than I am:

    http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg02435.html

  53. Katz

    Maybe thats it, Katz. Maybe Russia did a deal with the US and China did a deal with the US back in 2002.

    Possibly, Brandon, but until I see the Zapruder Film of this deal, I’ll stay clear of this conspiracy theory.

  54. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    Your bias is clearly showing. The “…state sponsored propaganda from the west…” you contrast with “…dispatches from the Libyan media…”.
    QED.

  55. Lefty E

    Gaddafi’ foreign minister defects: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/31/3178400.htm

  56. Brendon

    Katz @54

    Yes. The link I gave that was written in 2003; had I read it in 2003, then immediately time travelled to see the contracts handed out at the end of 2009, I would have been impressed with the writer’s predictive analysis. I usually give the benefit of the doubt to those whose analysis eventually reflects future events accurately.

  57. Brendon

    Andrew, it doesn’t matter my bias. I already stated I have a distaste for this current bout of aggressive western imperialism based on phoney humanitarian motives. I have already said that once the Gadaffi regime fires into protesters its a good sign they should go.

    But this foreign intervention is based on a carve up of a country ready for the plucking under the guise of a caring sharing enlightened group that is nothing of the sort. Its pirating, like it always is.

    And btw, why do you keep accusing me of having a bias when I put it out there for all to see anyway? lol

    I have read a lot of the interviews about the protests. Plenty of them harrowing about the street fighting and government forces shooting at protesters. All very bad.

    But the major reason for a foreign attack on Libya was aerial attacks on civilians, and there is no credible evidence, when there should be a mountain of it. There were 300 killed during the late Feb protests and that is bad enough. But if they were dropping bombs on civilian protesters in a city of one million, clearly casualties would run into thousands and that would be a reason for a military intervention. But that never happened.

    Its a point you refuse to say “Yeah, OK. There is no credible evidence for it.”

    Deal with your own bias. I much prefer to discuss the facts and any analysis. I’m happy to reply to any of that you have to offer.

  58. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    I am biased – I have made no secret of the fact. I am biased in favour of allowing people to have a good chance to make their own choices in life. I believe that with Gaddafi gone the people of Libya will have a better chance of that happening.
    I know that is by no means certain, but the situation in Egypt and Tunisia is, I believe, better than it was. I also believe that the situation in Syria will improve once Assad is gone. His family have been ruling that country (and Lebanon) for too long. The situations in Bahrain and Yemen also have a chance.
    I would like to see the regime in Saudi change as well.
    What I see the international community’s duty as being is to support these changes – if necessary with military action.
    To me, this happens too little – giving clear (and correct) way for accusations of selectivity in how this principle is enforced. Personally, though, I do not see that as a reason to do nothing at all, but to do more.
    .
    You OTOH, have claimed several times that you are not supporting a side – i.e. that you are neutral. Given what you say, who you choose to quote and the way that you use them it is clear that you are supporting a side – and that side is not the ones rising up against a dictatorship.

  59. Brendon

    Andrew,

    what do you think of the claims that are put out by the western press that Obama has sent the CIA to see who the rebels are – are they Al Qaeda, etc – and if not, then he will decide to give the rebel heavy weapons to beat back the Libyan army and take Tripoli.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-libya-cia-is-gathering-intelligence-on-rebels/2011/03/30/AFLyb25B_story.html

  60. Brendon

    Lefty @55

    Kussa worked as a security specialist for Libyan embassies in Europe before being appointed as Libya’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1980. He was expelled from the United Kingdom in 1980, after stating in an interview with The Times newspaper that his government intented to eliminate two political opponents of the Libyan government, who were living in the UK.[5]

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

    I’m sure he meant every word of his concern for civilians.

  61. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    If I were considering sending weapons to someone I would be looking to make sure they were not my enemy.
    But then, I have no weapons.
    What would you do?

  62. Lefty E

    My point was simply about rats and ships Brendon.

    Im sure he’s a nasty piece of work.

  63. Andrew Reynolds

    Lefty E,
    He apparently a sociologist. Not sure what that says. Mark may have a comment 🙂

  64. Brendon

    This is where you and I think differently, Andrew. I believe this is a publicity ploy by the Obama admin to justify to the world what they already know they have to do: arm the rebels.

    I have no doubt over the past 2+ months secret services from France, Britain, and the US have enough information and already know the make up of the rebels and the leaders.

    Given the past association with Libyan extremist militants and Al Qaeda (already discussed), it a monty they will be represented, along with militant extremists from Egypt etc. Militant extremists from Egypt set up Hamas. I have never believed the American government has a problem with such things, as long as they get their way.

    I bet you 1 million internets dollars they come back with a disarming report that they are all really nice locals who have just had enough with Gadaffi. There maybe one or two ex Al Qaeda people, but they have renounced their association with that group, etc. Hell, I can write the report if you want. lol

    Oh, and please don’t ask me to prove this. I got no evidence. Except the near future, when the report gets “leaked” out just about as I said. I can also predict your response then, and isn’t going to be “Gosh Brendon, that was pretty accurate. I have a new found respect for you.” lol

  65. Brendon

    They sure are, Lefty E.

    Politicians are a rum lot. I don’t know who first said that.

  66. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    I would expect you are correct – that report (if it is being produced) I do expect to come back saying what you expect. That may not be for the reasons you think, though.
    I would hazard a guess that veterans from Afghanistan would be doing a better job than a bunch of civilians from Benghazi.
    The way the rebels keep going back and forth up the road does not make me think “grizzled veterans under a central, strong command and control infrastructure”.
    They may well be what they claim to be.

  67. sg

    The Guardian reported this morning that

    a) Gaddafi is still attacking Misrata – the French sank 4 ships that had been blockading the harbour, he has been shelling the area and using blackouts and cutting off supplies (this is considered quite bad when done to Gaza)

    b) NATO have determined that most of the rebels have never been in a firefight before, and are completely untrained – which speaks volumes about how much of this is an organized attempt at a coup and how much is just a response to violence. My god, even the Beer Hall Putsch had a couple of ex-soldiers involved

    c) there is no credible evidence of al qaeda involvement with the rebels

    d) both sides are running out of ammunition, because Gaddafi’s supply lines are very stretched and keep being blown up, while the rebels have “no logistics experience” and no equipment. It appears that they just drive their car to the front, park, get out, go for a stroll, shoot in the direction of some Libyan soldiers, then get the crap blown out of them.

    I find points b to d reassuring in terms of the type of “regime change” that these rebels are pursuing, and very depressing in that if Gaddafi wins these guys are prime candidates for “reeducation.” So arming them might be a good idea. As might sending in a few “trainers” (and we all know that that always ends well…)

  68. Katz

    “Mission Creep”

    And they called it mission creep
    Oh i guess they’ll never know
    How a freedom fighter feels
    That’s why we have to go

    And they called it mission creep
    We don’t know what it means
    Tell them all oh please tell it isn’t fair
    Libya’s splitting at the seams

    I fly each night my jets for you
    My bombs are all in vain
    I hope and I’ll pray that Libyans some day
    You’ll give back my arms once again

    Someone help them, help them please
    Our mission’s fallen in a heap
    How can i oh how can i tell them
    This is not dread mission creep

    Someone help them, help them please
    Our mission’s fallen in a heap
    How can i oh how can i tell them
    This is not dread mission creep

    This is not dread mission creep
    This is not dread mission creep
    This is not dread mission creep
    This is not dread mission creep

  69. joe

    Here’s an interesting talk with Wesley Clark, a retired general in the U.S. army. For all the skeptics, this isn’t Michael Moore or some crazy Marxist – this is a U.S. General.

    The Libyan War was planned 10 years ago.

  70. joe

    You can all imagine the limitless enthusiasm that many Europeans have for this new development on their door step.

    The prospect of training and arming an unaligned and uncontrollable political organisation just across the Mediterranean. Wow, that sounds fun.

    The French must be completely insane. What the hell are they playing at?

  71. Brendon

    sg @67

    Abu Yahya al-Libi will be disappointed to hear that.

    Seriously sg, what protestors turn up to a demonstration with AK47s?

    What protesters try to break into army barracks to get weapons?

    Even Gadaffi’s enemies are worried about Islamic terrorists being given succor and support by the West

    Al Qaeda snatched missiles in Libya: Chad president

    PARIS: Al Qaeda’s offshoot in North Africa has snatched surface-to-air missiles from an arsenal in Libya during the civil strife there, Chad’s president said in an interview to be published Monday. Idriss Deby Itno did not say how many were stolen, but told the African weekly Jeune Afrique that he was “100 percent sure” of his assertion. “The militants of al Qaeda took advantage of the pillaging of arsenals in the rebel zone to acquire arms, including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries in Tenere,” a desert region of the Sahara that stretches from northeast Niger to western Chad, Deby said in the interview. “This is very serious. AQIM is becoming a genuine army, the best equipped in the region,” he said. Elsewhere in the interview, Chad’s president backed the assertion by his neighbour and erstwhile enemy Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi that the protests in Libya have been driven in part by al Qaeda. “There is a partial truth in what he says,” Deby said. “Up to what point? I don’t know. But I am certain that AQIM took an active part in the uprising.” afp

  72. sg

    Seriously sg, what protestors turn up to a demonstration with AK47s?

    What protesters try to break into army barracks to get weapons?

    Well, whatever your mates in the Libyan press might be telling you Brendon, the former never happened and the latter had something to do with being under attack.

  73. GregM

    But the major reason for a foreign attack on Libya was aerial attacks on civilians, and there is no credible evidence, when there should be a mountain of it. There were 300 killed during the late Feb protests and that is bad enough. But if they were dropping bombs on civilian protesters in a city of one million, clearly casualties would run into thousands and that would be a reason for a military intervention. But that never happened.

    Not true.

    UNSC Resolution 1973 mentions protecting Libyan civilians generally, mentions shelling of civilians and the use of mercenaries specifically and mentions aerial and naval attacks in passing.

    You should read it: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10200.doc.htm

  74. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    The answer is “sensible protesters if they are being fired upon”.

  75. Patrickb

    @42
    Sorry, I was a bit obtuse. Of course there was no realistic exit strategy for Iraq. In fact I’d say that most conflicts, while have “motherhood” goals rarely have a clear implementation plan that covers the entire engagement. Thus leaders of Obama’s calibre are wary of long term commitments. Bush was more than happy to sign a blank cheque.

  76. joe

    The problem is quite simple: How is the current Western strategy encouraging a diplomatic solution to this conflict?

    We’re supposed to be the developed civilisation but all we can come up with is to bomb Gadaffi until he’s gone?! It doesn’t bode well for the future.

  77. Andrew Reynolds

    joe,
    Did you actually listen to what Clark said? It does not even get close to what has happened.

  78. GregM

    The Libyan War was planned 10 years ago.

    Joe from watching Wesley Clark and his list of seven countries that the US intended to go to war with in five(!)years, with Libya low on the list, it seems like he was handed a military contingency planning document while he was passing through catching up with friends in his retirement.

    If, and I would never want this to happen, Australia went to war with Indonesia you would find that the planning for that war was done ten years before, or even longer. That’s what we pay our military planners to do.

    You will have noted that while he says the US does not intervene (his word) in countries in Africa which have no oil on the list he claims to have read is Somalia, which is in Africa and which has no oil.

  79. joe

    I’m skeptical that you guys seem to know more about what the military does than a general of the U.S. army. You really surprise me. Thanks for taking the time to comment on this block!

    Somali Civil War

    Critics of US involvement argued that the US government was stepping in to gain control of oil concessions for American companies. While Somalia has no proven reserves of oil, there might be oil off of Puntland. They pointed out that “just before pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, nearly two-thirds of the country’s territory had been granted as oil concessions to Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips. Conoco even lent its Mogadishu corporate compound to the U.S. embassy a few days before the Marines landed, with the first Bush administration’s special envoy using it as his temporary headquarters.”[9][10][11] Oil exploration remains controversial and the Transitional Federal Government has warned investors to not make deals until stability is once again brought to the country.[12]

  80. GregM

    Joe, thanks for that extract from the authoritative Wikipedia.

    But who are these critics it refers to? And what evidence do they put for to support their claims?

    The article says that “While Somalia has no proven reserves of oil, there might be oil off of Puntland.”

    Of how many countries in Africa would it not be true that while they have no proven reserves there just might be some lurking somewhere in their territory?

    All ripe, by your reasoning, for American intervention according to Wesley Clark’s logic.

  81. Patrickb

    @45
    “It now is clear that the NATO Air Force is incapable of both flying long distances to and from foreign bases”
    What about aircraft carriers? I don’t think distance would be a showstopper. If the US wanted to blast the crap out of Libya it could do so, ’round the clock. I’m not advocating that, I’m just saying that the US military capability is limited by politics not hardware. Jesus, look what they were able to do in Afghanistan and it’s landlocked.

  82. sg

    To those of you claiming that the rebels are islamist, heavily infiltrated by foreign/al qaeda fighters, or set out with the intention to wage armed war against the state, I present this picture of their media headquarters.

    I think the evidence for them not being a particularly well-funded or organized is clear. So too is the obvious sense of spontaneity in the setup.

    If you can’t identify immediately from this picture the obvious, incontrovertible proof that no islamist has set foot within 100 miles of the rebel leadership, you aren’t qualified to comment on politics, culture, religion or islam.

  83. joe

    sg, but they spelled Gadaffi wrong. Those ‘imbeciles…

    [Anyway, looks like it’s just us hoary guys tackling the big international issues. Don’t worry girls, we’ve got this under control!]

  84. joe

    And now the Vatican says that the NATO bombing of Tripolis has caused a number of civilian deaths, quelle surprise!

    Those intelligent bombs, heh? Intelligent… precision… collateral… civilian… deaths.

    What’s the other thread for us rool men about– ah yes, nuclear reactors, engineered to survive 1 in 1000 year natural disasters.

    Remember financial regulation– ‘modern economics has solved the boom-bust cycle of capitalism.’ Well, from where I’m sitting, I’d say we’re looking pretty stoopid right about now.

    But don’t be critical or look for alternatives fellas, that’s tantamount to admitting defeat!

  85. Patrickb

    @82
    That Guardian photo gallery has some of the most beautiful images I’ve seen for years.

  86. Andrew Reynolds

    joe,
    That also gives the lie to the assertions about the power of Big Oil – Barre signs the contracts and then gets killed. That makes no sense unless the oil companies are not that powerful.
    .
    As for your other one – let’s see – government created problems, government created problems and, yes, government created problems.

  87. Brendon

    sg @ 72 says:

    “Well, whatever your mates in the Libyan press might be telling you Brendon, the former never happened and the latter had something to do with being under attack.”

    Never happened?

    Hopefully this link should work.

    http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Libyan-popular-defence-committee-member-holds-AK-47-he-flashes-V/photo//110223/481/urn_publicid_ap_org_aa25634be73a4c6c8bc0909fc66020f6//s:/ap/20110223/ap_on_re_af/af_libya_liberated_city

    Feel free to mission creep your position. I’m now sure its ok for “civilian protesters” to strut around with missiles and AK 47s.

    Gee, it sure doesn’t feel like Egypt.

    But sg, what about the regions and cities who don’t want your lovely rebels in their streets? How many bombs do you think they should receive? Give a number so that Barak should know. And give my regards to the Carlyle Group. Not.

  88. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    That photo was (according to the caption) taken on 23 Feb – days after the army was called in to offer battle and death flowers and brotherly solidarity to the protesters counter-revolutionary, Al-Qaeda-supporting bloodthirsty running dogs.

  89. Andrew Reynolds

    Perhaps you could have a chat with any of these people as well, discussing your concerns about Islamic terrorists being given succor and support by the West.

  90. Brett

    Chronology is great stuff, Brendon — easier to follow than statistics, too. Get into it!

  91. Andrew Reynolds

    Oops – stuffed up the link. If an admin could take pity on me and close it after “people” I would appreciate it.

  92. Katz

    This discussion is getting bizarre.

    What DOES an islamist look like?

    That photo was (according to the caption) taken on 23 Feb – days after the army was called in to offer battle and death flowers and brotherly solidarity to the protesters counter-revolutionary, Al-Qaeda-supporting bloodthirsty running dogs.

    Not relevant. The fact is that this person was in possession of an AK. The streets of Banghazi were bristling with AKs. How many middle class professionals — lawyers, engineers, etc. — had an AK in their broom closets on 21 Feb 2011?

    Here is a YouTube, dated 21 Feb 2011, bristling with AKs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNHvDEUbeLo

    Type in Benghazi and AK 47 and you get two dozen similar.

    SG and AR are doing superb performative tributes to Baghdad’s own Comical Ali!

  93. joe

    Some more background reading: GOODIES AND BADDIES
    — Adam Curtis

  94. Brendon

    Andrew, Brett,

    I have never said there weren’t real protests. Just that they were hijacked by extremist militant groups. I’m guessing they aren’t secular. Even if NATO says they are.

    you need to follow the argument. I have already said that the Islamists – who don’t exist now, thanks to a reassuring NATO report – broke into military posts to get their hands on weapons, and I said to sg what kind of “protesters” do that. sg disagreed and said no such thing happened. But there he is, as I linked. Be sure to tell him he doesn’t exist too.

    There were armed clashes earlier than feb 23. And they weren’t using garden hoses, either.

  95. tigtog

    I have already said that the Islamists – who don’t exist now, thanks to a reassuring NATO report – broke into military posts to get their hands on weapons

    Or else some of the soldiers who defected to join the protests raided the arsenal before they came over, exactly so that they could enable the protestors to defend themselves? Seeing as the reason they defected is that they didn’t want to follow orders to attack their fellow citizens?

    I don’t know which of these two competing hypotheses is correct, and there’s probably other plausible hypotheses out there as well to explain those weapons, but the point is that you don’t know which hypothesis is correct either.

  96. harleymc

    [email protected]
    “Since you are infavor of the bombing, do you have any idea of what is next? What do you see happening after the fighting and bombing has stopped.”

    1 The UN forces did not start the bombing, they responded to bombing and shelling. The conflict was 5 weeks old when the UN intervention commenced.
    2 It’s not our call. It’s up to the Libyan people. 2 months and you haven’t gotten that basic idea into your head?

    For all your blather about solidarity with the Libyans you still think like an imperialist.

  97. Brendon

    The following would have occurred between 17-19 Feb. As I said, genuine protests were hijacked by militant Islamists (who don’t exist now, thanks to NATO)and turned into an armed rebellion.

    Middle East Online
    First Published: 2011-02-20

    Al-Baida on fire

    TRIPOLI – Islamist gunmen have stormed a military arms depot in Libya and a nearby port and seized numerous weapons and army vehicles after killing four soldiers, a security official said on Sunday.

    The group also took several hostages, both soldiers and civilians, and is “threatening to execute them unless a siege by security forces is lifted” in Al-Baida, the official said, asking not to be named.

    “This criminal gang assaulted an army weapons depot and seized 250 weapons, killed four soldiers and wounded 16 others” in the Wednesday operation in Derna, which lies east of Al-Baida and 1,300 kilometres from Tripoli.

    “Army Colonel Adnan al-Nwisri joined them and provided them with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, three pieces of anti-aircraft artillery and 70 Kalashnikov” assault rifles, the source said.

    On Friday, he said they attacked the port in Derna and seized an assortment of 70 military vehicles.

    It was not immediately clear who the civilians were or where they had been taken hostage.

    The group calls itself the “Islamic Emirate of Barqa,” after the ancient name of a region of northwest Libya, and the official said its leadership is made up of former Al-Qaeda fighters previously released from jail.

    The official said the same group was responsible for the hanging of two policemen in Al-Baida on Friday that was reported in Oea newspaper.

    Justice Minister Mustafa Abdeljalil started negotiations late on Saturday for the hostage-takers to release their captives, he said. “But we will not negotiate over Libya’s integrity under any circumstances.”

    According to Human Rights Watch, at least 23 people have died in Al-Baida since Tuesday in clashes between security forces and protesters against the four-decade rule of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

    Over the past five years, Libya has freed around 850 prisoners from different Islamist groups, 360 of them since March…..

    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=44478

  98. Brendon

    Harleymc,

    re 1. Please to back this up. Had you read anything here you would note that even Andrew was willing to admit that your claim has not been verified by any authority including the US Department of Defence, Amnesty International, first hand reporting by any known established media, or Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    Like as in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen etc, government troops fired into the crowds. Unlike those countries armed extremists hijacked the the protests to begin and armed revolt. By pretending that the protests are what started this revolt you are spreading a lie. It was merely an excuse to start a civil war.

    The biggest fear in Egypt was that extremists would hijack the protests. That happened in Libya

  99. Brendon

    tigtog @95

    read post and link @97

  100. Brendon

    I have always enjoyed the crickets chirping interval just before they recover with “Yeah, but…”

    Propaganda is such a powerful drug and I know it won’t last.

  101. tigtog

    you mean the bit where it says –

    “Army Colonel Adnan al-Nwisri joined them and provided them with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, three pieces of anti-aircraft artillery and 70 Kalashnikov” assault rifles, the source said.

    i.e. a defecting member of the military got the guns for them, just like I suggested?

    It would be hard to tell exactly which gunmen in a crowd were ex-soldiers I would imagine. Who wouldn’t have had to do anything other than defect with their army issue AK in order to have one close to hand.

    I’ve looked at some of the information about Darnah/Derna and Benghazi and why it’s a hotbed of islamist activists – mainly because it has long been perceived as a place where the Gaddafi security apparatus was weaker than others, plus there’s particularly high unemployment and consequent disaffection with the State.

    Just like other places around the world with high unemployment and ineffective policing, there’s a youthful gang culture with lots of guns to emphasise their badassery. The gangs in Libya’s eastern ports just happen to have Islamic militant names. That doesn’t necessarily make them all committed jihadists, and it doesn’t mean that they’re not rightfully pissed off with the depradations of their own government, or that they can’t be legitimate contributors to a genuine grass-roots rebellion.

  102. Brendon

    tigtog,

    clutching for straws. The man obviously has strong ties to the Islamist groups.

    Gosh! He just join one.

    tigtog, what is the point of of not acknowledging new information?

  103. sg

    Oh Brendon, Brendon. Please go back and look at the picture I put up. The rebel media base has “Slayer” written on the wall in a very specific font. This means that the political movement that wants to ban music and abortion and swearing allowed fans of the band that wrote “South of Heaven” and “Seasons of the Abyss” to manage their media centre.

    Or it could mean that this is a movement of young lower-middle class urban men, who have about as much interest in religious repression as they do in stylish haircuts and baggy pants.

    Did I not mention that if you don’t get this you aren’t qualified to report on politics, culture, religion or war?

    From your report you’ll notice that it says

    According to Human Rights Watch, at least 23 people have died in Al-Baida since Tuesday in clashes between security forces and protesters against the four-decade rule of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

    Tuesday is the 15th February, that is 5 days before your incriminating article was written.

    Your article proves nothing.

    Might i add that a protestor turned up to a town hall meeting with a gun in the US last year, and funnily enough (and despite the worst fears of the tea party) nobody fired a bomb at him from orbit.

  104. murph the surf.

    SG at 82- the clue is behind the poster?
    Someone there loves Slayer?
    Iconic, thrash metal, satan worshipping californian band.
    Well love of Allah comes in many forms ….

  105. murph the surf.

    oh man I’m too slow – does this mean I don’t get the prize?

  106. sg

    murph the surf, unless they’re (socially) to the left of Tipper Gore, it’s unlikely that al qaeda in Libya (or shall we call them the Slatanic Wehrmacht) are great fans of the work of this classic band.

    It’s also pretty likely that (with notably rare exceptions) the fans don’t have a more coherent political philosophy than “this is fucked man, and I want to change it. Oh! I’m being shot at! Oh thanks man, an AK47…?”

    And no, no prize for you.

  107. murph the surf.

    Then again sg many fans of english language bands don’t have a clue what is being said in the lyrics of the songs they enjoy raging along to- raging while drinking , having a few bongs or just yahooing around in the back of the Hi-Lux while spraying a few bullets over the neighbourhood.
    Then again who truly understands how others approach their chosen god?

  108. sg

    In my (not inconsiderable) experience of metal fans, they may not have a coherent understanding of the political framework in which their bands operate (very few people of my acquaintance understood Sacred Reich’s Surf Nicaragua, for example, or realized that Sepultura are anarchists) but they take great pleasure in the most offensive and anti-religious lyrics. Here, for example, we have (from the universe-changing Reign in Blood):

    Waiting the hour destined to die
    Here on the table of hell
    A figure in white unknown by man
    Approaching the altar of death
    High priest awaiting dagger in hand
    Spilling the pure virgin blood
    Satan’s slaughter, ceremonial death
    Answer his every command

    What do you reckon, would al qaeda in Libya be happy to hear this being sung in arabic by disaffected young urban Libyans in their media centre?

  109. murph the surf.

    Maybe it would all just be a form of ‘tatemae’ – the ‘honne’ is the pure love after the slaughter?

  110. Brendon

    Like I said @100

    BTW, does anyone know a link to Albert Langer’s “May Day – it’s the festival of the distressed.”

  111. sg

    yes, love of SATAN!

    Of course, the love would come after the slaughter- they have another song called Necrophilia which I’m sure is being listened to right now in a cave in Afghanistan by the entire al Qaeda leadership. Or not.

    I don’t think metal fans are anything but tatemae. They wear their hearts on their sleeves (and their spare socks in their skintight jeans).

  112. tigtog

    P.S. @Brendon,

    I have always enjoyed the crickets chirping interval just before they recover with “Yeah, but…”

    Get over yourself. I’m in the middle of the morning organising the kids to catch the bus rush after 7:30am. That’s why I didn’t even see your follow-up comment as quoted above until now. You really are a PITA.

  113. paul walter

    #92. Green’n purple, three heads, funny hoofs and two tails.
    Btw, compliments on your poem, at last an answer to doggerel, at LP.
    Speaking of theocracies, NSW is a worry judging by what some of what Ive read; for whom the Pell tolls..

  114. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    You are right – you are only guessing. Let’s look at the evidence, shall we? Nowhere in the Middle East (other than Libya if you are correct) have these protests had a significant religious element. They have, AFAIK, just been ordinary people that are fed up with being told what to do and how to do it by over-powering governments. Similar protests break out in Libya, another mostly Arab state with an elderly dictator.
    Elderly dictator does not follow the path of Egypt or Tunisia and instead calls in the army and orders them to restore his version of order, come what may. This much is clear from elderly dictator’s public speeches.
    To excuse that action he calls the protesters drunks, drug addicts and members of Al-Qaeda.
    Several members of the army refuse the orders to fire on demonstrators – those who refuse in Tripoli are shot and those who refuse to do so in Benghazi are in a big enough majority to take over the city – and open the arsenals as well as the secret police interrogation centres.
    This much we know – and I assume you do not contest.
    .
    From here, you (and I see, Katz) believe that Islamist militants enter the country and take over the movement (nicely echoing the elderly dictator again I see) without any actual evidence other than a few claims from media organizations that they are and a few media releases from unknown people.
    What happens from there is that the (now) rebels advance from Benghazi heading west to try to take out the elderly dictator, but get beaten back with ease, by the army using heavy weapons against people armed (in the main) with AK47s and such.
    The UN then gets involved and NATO gives close air support and they then go back on the attack, but get beaten back again.
    .
    As I said before – there is no real evidence that they are Al-Qaeda. As you noted before, the CIA have probably been in there for days if not weeks and we know that the SAS was in there before. If they are seasoned veterans from Afghanistan then they are doing a great impression of being untrained civilians let loose with automatic weapons. It is a very good acting performance.
    The fact that NATO, presumably after having teams on the ground, is prepared to help them is, IMHO, telling – as is the defections of a number of army officers and other, mainly diplomatic, staff.
    The flag chosen was not the flag of the Islamic Caliphate, but the one of the only period in Libya’s history where they had anything close to a democratic choice of government.
    I can’t see these guys or the people with “Slayer” signs, or others trying to throw off a dictatorship thinking that an Islamic State would be better than what they have – and I see no evidence that this is what the protests were about.
    Sorry Brendon (and Katz) I just cannot see how you could possibly be right on this. They are not Islamic militants – they are civilians let lose with anger in their hearts for the regime that has tortured and killed them for a generation and were then able to get hold of automatic weapons when parts of the army that had been told to kill them refused to do so.

  115. Brendon

    tigtog

    I definitely am a PITA here. lol

    But thats not my doing. You could just as easily say that the information I provided is a clear sign of Islamic groups taking over almost from the start, and inconsistant with the narrative that is being presented in the MSM. You could also concede that the evidence I linked on the aerial bombing of civilians contradicts what is being claimed.

    You could still have your POV. But lets agree on reasonable evidence. But fighting a rearguard on the facts, and you become a PITA to me.

  116. Andrew Reynolds

    tigtog,
    …and not all of us live on the East Coast.
    As for the crickets, I think they may be being drowned out by the laughing.

  117. tigtog

    @Brendon, your hypothesis is only one of several competing hypotheses. They’re all somewhat plausible, but none of them are fully confirmed, including yours.

    Your line of argument is far from the lay-down misère that you want it to be.

  118. sg

    Brendon, this is not the sound of crickets; it’s the sound of me not taking your libyan propaganda seriously.

  119. Brett

    Brendon, this is not the sound of crickets; it’s the sound of me not taking your libyan propaganda seriously.

    And it’s not just Libyan propaganda; labelling Muslim popular movements as ‘Islamist radicals’ is a scare tactic I would have associated with the right rather the left. Strikes me as a touch orientalist and, er, imperialist.

  120. Katz

    and we know that the SAS was in there before

    Mmm, yes, a squad of chappies got sprung while sussing out the wog brigands. Fell face first into the mulligatawny. Made a frightful stink. Got some good intel on the heads of their chokey, though. Never know when that might come in handy.

  121. Andrew Reynolds

    Katz,
    Perhaps they, and any other teams that have gone in, would have a better idea about the guys that they spent a few days with (involuntarily perhaps) than you.
    Just a thought.

  122. Andrew Reynolds

    Are they crickets I can hear?
    🙂

  123. Katz

    Many things are possible AR.

    Are you going to list them all?

  124. Andrew Reynolds

    No – you and Brendon seem to be doing a wonderful job of imagining the possibilities in the absence of evidence.

  125. Katz

    What do you imagine that I am trying to prove, AR?

    And where, precisely, has my evidence been wanting?

  126. Andrew Reynolds

    Sorry, Katz – I thought you were agreeing with Brendon. Having looked back through, I am not sure what it is you are trying to say.

  127. Brendon Porter

    Andrew @.14,

    Interested to hear what you think about Obama handing heavy artillery to what you describe as “untrained civilians”.

  128. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    Is that a hypothetical or is there such a plan?
    As for any answers to any of the other points I, and many others here have raised towards you all I hear is **crickets**.

  129. Brendon

    Andrew,

    I hear Obama talking about it in the newspapers. So I guess its pretty serious if they leak it. The US generals aren’t too wild about it. Maybe other NATO countries will do it.

    This crickets chirping thing. You need to get over it. lol

    I will reply a bit more on your post tomorrow.

  130. Katz

    Gosh AR:

    Having looked back through, I am not sure what it is you are trying to say.

    Your comprehension skills deteriorate with rereading? That sounds worrying. Have you considered seeking remediation?

    No sensible person would like being known as the Uncomprehending AR.

  131. tigtog

    @Brendon,

    I hear Obama talking about it in the newspapers.

    Somehow, I really don’t think you do. You either hear Obama on the radio or the TV, or else you’re reading what somebody else says that Obama said.

    Which is it?

  132. Brendon

    Thats true, tigtog. Obama himself isn’t caught saying it, just suggesting it.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/libya-video/8415557/Barack-Obama-Libyan-rebels-could-be-supplied-with-weapons.html

    Also no official has officially said Obama has sent the CIA in, either. We tend to read between the lines, and take shortcuts.

    And “unnamed official in the Whitehouse” for years under Bush was in fact Dick Cheney. Look it up. They like to leak it out and see how it flies.

    That is how its done. Thats unless you are saying that the western media just makes stuff up out of thin air.

    I have changed on that. The Pentagon and the Congress seem to be putting the kybosh on this. Once again proving to me what a weak leader this Obama character is. He isn’t even Bush-lite. His first hunch (to stay out of it) was right, and now his political oppononents are making him look like a dill.

  133. GregM

    Brendon this is just in:

    http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/ghadafi-seizes-defector-musa-kusas-wife/story-e6frfku0-1226032436873

    If true it is simply nasty.

    But I’m sure that it’s not true and that you’ll be able to give us authorative information from the Libyan Ministry of Truth about the true facts, just as you did about that sad deluded woman who falsely claimed to have been raped by Gaddafi’s security forces.

  134. Brendon

    Don’t know anything about it Greg.

    I’ll wait until you confirm it with your Al Qaeda buddies at Adolf Hitler HQ.

    lol

  135. joe

    Isn’t it nasty what the Afghanis did to those U.N. workers in Masar-i-Scharif yesterday?

    Just give me a break from your shallow fake concern analysis GregM. It’s not even minimally serious.

  136. Andrew Reynolds

    Katz,
    Perhaps you could be clearer. Just a thought. I seem to be having a few of them.
    .
    Brendon,
    Gee – and you got they were thinking of supplying “heavy artillery” from a general discussion about weapons.
    Your reading between the lines skills are truly incredible. Incredible is the correct word, too.

  137. Brett

    We tend to read between the lines, and take shortcuts.

    Certainly you do, Brendon, and then you come back here and translate your vague understanding into certain statements (‘America now vowing it must literally bomb a path for the rebels right into’ Tripoli). That’s okay. Not everyone understands close reading, statistics and chronology.

  138. Brendon

    It has been reported that the big advantage the Libyan armed forces have is they have heavy artillery.

    Andrew, do you think the proponents within NATO of sending arms to the rebels were just thinking about more AK47s and and some bazookas?

    I will defer to your obviously superior military knowledge (I have none).

    True Andrew, I jump the gun a bit. But its obvious what was required to even up.

  139. Brendon

    Looks like the rest of NATO is following the cold feet of the Pentagon on supplying arms to the rebels:

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/rebel-leader-seeks-halt-to-fighting-after-allies-refuse-to-supply-arms/story-e6frf7lf-1226032318436

    The rebels are asking for a cease fire.

    Now, what is behind the cold feet? There is something. Care to tell me Brett? This wonderful coalition you support that wants to spread flowers on the ground and eschew Libya’s oil are suddenly not co-operating with the rebels.

    Lets hope they go across and support the rebels in Yemen.

    Hey Brett, the oppressive dictator in Yemen is telling lies saying that the brave rebels in Yemen are Al Qaeda. We know thats not true, don’t we.

  140. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    There are ways to deal with heavy artillery other than by using heavy artillery.
    Trying to give a lesson in military tactics, though, is not necessarily the function of a blog quote – and in any case there would be people better qualified than me to give that help.
    In short, though – you are attempting to guess at the weapons that may be supplied to people who you do not know what their motives are by a military whose weapons you do not understand to counter a threat you know little about.
    From that you are asking a hypothetical question of a person you do not really know.
    Would that be it?

  141. Brendon

    No idea Andrew. But untli recently NATO was bombing Libyan armed forces on a daily basis very efectively. The rebels were advancing and taking towns, and there was nothing the Libyan army could do. Now that has stopped. And I dare say it has more to do with NATO than the rebels.

  142. Brendon

    Meanwhile in oil poor Yemen, Syria, Bahrain etc civilians are not part of the R2P doctrine because….well, just because.

  143. Brett

    Brendon, do you want Western forces to intervene in those countries? (Especially Bahrain, with its higher HDI rating than idyllic Libya.) Would you not find some other reason than oil to cry ‘imperialists!’ if they did? Or do you only oppose military intervention in countries with oil?

  144. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    Because … they are not being fired on by tanks and artillery?
    Just a thought.
    On the Libya question – perhaps you really should learn a little about tactics. Strategy – well, perhaps we should start at tactics.
    Judging by your ability to ignore the obvious and fail to admit error I doubt it would be useful, though.
    Start answering any of the many points you have steadfastly ignored and I might think it worth my time. So far – no.

  145. joe

    Has anyone posted this from wikileaks, yet? (admittedly from 2008)

    1.(C) Summary: A U.S.-Libyan dual national who regularly visits family members in eastern Libya recently described for us social, political and economic factors that have contributed to and facilitated participation by a disproportionately large number of eastern Libya’s native sons in “martyrdom acts” and other insurgency operations in Libya and Iraq. A reportedly deliberate GOL policy to keep the east poor as a means by which to limit the potential political threat to Qadhafi’s regime has helped fuel the perception among many young eastern Libyan men that they have nothing to lose by participating in extremist violence at home and in Iraq. The prospect of financial compensation for their impoverished families motivates some, but local pride in eastern Libya’s historical role as a locus of opposition to occupying forces of various stripes is also an important factor. The fact that eastern Libyan mosques are more numerous and remote, together with tight local social networks, has reportedly circumscribed the ability of GOL security organizations to monitor and control the activities of radical imams as effectively as elsewhere in Libya. Unlike the rest of the country, sermons in eastern Libyan mosques are laced with phraseology urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere through direct participation or financial contributions. While senior regime figures, including Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, appear to have recognized that the east merits more attention and investment, the reported ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad despite GOL security organizations’ efforts suggests that claims by senior GOL officials that the east is under control may be overstated. End summary.

  146. Brendon

    Brett @143,

    Why you saying I my view may be shown to be wanting if the pirates did intervene in those countries – when its obvious they won’t?

    In that regard there is nothing hapening that cintradicts what I’m saying

    It is your narrative that is found to be lacking any consistency when applied to reality. Not mine.

  147. Brendon

    Andrew @144

    Points? Your 114 post mentions facts, but there a lot half facts.

    For instance, you say the difference between Libya and Egypt was that in Egypt that Gadaffi did not step aside but used security to restore order which of course resulted in scores of death all over the country. Wrong. Nearly 400 civilians killed in Egypt and 5500 wounded. Muburak did not step aside. After a month of bloodshed he was pushed aside. Without a single foreign bomb.

    The major difference you miss was there was an insurrection and militant reaction almost from the first shots fired from security guards Libya. But the protests reamained peaceful in the main in Egypt.

    Rebels almost from the first day also tried to break into military installations around Triploli as well. From the beginning Libya had the makings of a civil war. That was the major difference.

  148. Brendon

    Joe @145

    leaving aside the motives of France and Britain and the US, I can see that gadaffi is the master of his own disaster on so many levels, from his big mouth, to his strategy in the east that only divided his country and made it ripe for the picking. Also he treated the American companies like kings post 2003, and craps on everyone else, inc the Canadians, and French. Look who is dropping bombs on Libya now. Then to cap it off, he threatens to nationalize the oil industry.

  149. Andrew Reynolds

    You mean none of the other ones you have either ignored or just glossed over had any content? *guffaw*
    Look – you have consistently ignored comment after comment where they point out the several errors in your narrative (timeline anyone?). Where that fails you then try to belittle the comment, typically by taking issue (often incorrectly) with a single, tiny point while ignoring the many other points or comments before it and then try to raise red herrings (heavy artillery) that clearly demonstrate that you have no understanding of the situation.
    As an example – the point you are trying to take with my 114 (which you avoided touching for 34 comments) is not even correct – in Egypt the army refused to step in, leaving the attempts at repression to the ordinary and secret police. Yes – Mubarak did call them in, but they did not have the power or capacity of the army. As a protester it is a lot easier (not that i would belittle their efforts – they were magnificent) to stay non-violent if there is only sporadic shooting. Being fired upon by tanks, artillery and (possibly) aircraft is another story.
    When you might look like an honest interlocutor then you might be worth engaging with.
    To make it clear, though, that I answer every point – IMHO the major difference you miss is that in Egypt the army did not move in and start shooting. In Libya, they did.

  150. joe

    By merely bolstering the weaker side, we are prolonging Libya’s civil war

    The interventionists lack the courage of their convictions. If they really want Gaddafi gone, they should just get on with it

    […]
    The projection of massive military strength against weak foreign states is assumed by western powers with the same bland assurance they showed in the 19th century. The end of the cold war seemed to release an urge way beyond the relief of human suffering, an urge to use military might to reorder the world in the west’s own image.
    […]

    A somewhat confusing article, but worth reading. Fortune is changing again, I think…

  151. Katz

    Katz,
    Perhaps you could be clearer. Just a thought. I seem to be having a few of them.

    Let’s find out where your problem lies AR.

    1. Copy and paste one of my passages you are having trouble with. (I presume that you are able to copy and paste.)

    2. Explain what you think that passage may mean.

    3. In that way you and I, and anyone who cares to read, can assess the dimensions of your problems with comprehension.

    I hope this helps.

  152. Brendon

    Andrew,

    You pass off media headlines as facts. A prime example was the aerial bombing of civilian protesters claim.

    And I’m not your editor.

    You started off with implying that when they demonstrated in Egypt, Mubarak just looked on.

    “Elderly dictator does not follow the path of Egypt or Tunisia and instead calls in the army and orders them to restore his version of order, come what may. This much is clear from elderly dictator’s public speeches.”

    Mubarak did everything that Gadaffi did. And more. Only difference was that the Egyptian army refused his orders to shoot into the demonstrators. But his own security forces did. Mubarak opened up the prisons and let out thousands of prisoners to roam the streets and then took the police off the streets to terrorize the people. That was just one of his tactics.

    It wasn’t different because Mubarak was not as bad as Gadaffi. He was probably worse in some ways and even more cynical. It was different because the power structure was different, and Mubarak did not face a militant uprising. In Egypt they are all poor. The whole country was in an civil uprising.

    If you can’t get that right, then why move on to the next? You give inaccurate accounts as a reason for your opinions.

  153. sg

    So Brendon, where has your analysis led you? In Today’s Guardian we have those famous imperialists (or is it colonialists?) the Americans winding down their bombing runs, refusing to countenance troops on the ground, and describing the rebels as a “rabble” with no organization and no fighting skills.

    Where are Katz’s 1000 battle-hardened jihadists? Training and supporting the rebels as they run from battle? I don’t think so. They’re still largely firing AK47s in the air inside Katz’s imagination.

    Where are the British and French? The British are fielding their generals on the floor of parliament, warning of mission creep and refusing to land troops. The bombing campaign has been handed over to Canada and France, who are flying less missions now.

    Everyone is talking about a political settlement.

    It’s as if the whole thing were an action intended to prevent a humanitarian crisis…

    Here we see the slipperiness of claims of imperialism. Two threads ago Brendon, Joe, Chav et al were predicting US boots on the ground, a “permanent us presence,” “huge bases.” Now that it’s clear the US is not interested, people have switched to arguing it is the French and Canadians (oh, those Canadians, evil colonialists of the worst kind) who want payback for being left out of oil treaties that favoured the Americans (who previously somehow needed to invade to get to all that nationalist Libyan oil).

    Does anyone seriously envisage the Canadians occupying Libya? FFS. You know your logic is screwed six ways to sunday when you have to accuse the Canadians of wanting to invade to renegotiate oil rights in order to keep your imperialist boat floating.

    It’s looking like the most likely outcome of this scenario now is that Gaddafi retains power but doesn’t exact any major vengeance on the Eastern rebels; political repression will loosen a little; and his LSE-trained son will loosen things up more when he takes over the reins of power. The big question mark is whether Gaddafi will try his luck with a slaughter in Misrata, a town he’s laid siege to for 2 weeks and been shelling indiscriminately.

  154. Katz

    Where are Katz’s 1000 battle-hardened jihadists? Training and supporting the rebels as they run from battle? I don’t think so. They’re still largely firing AK47s in the air inside Katz’s imagination.

    “Largely” … Nice weasel-word SG. One thing … what does it mean?

    BTW, they aren’t my jihadists, as you would perceive if you had read the link. Just to help out, here it is again. As any sensible person can perceive from the report, the jihadists are Mr Benotman’s jihadists, with qualified support from Adm. James Stavridis. Though Adm. Stavridis deploys a few weasel words himself by talking only about “al Qaeda”. As I demonstrated in an earlier thread, the major islamist group in Eastern Libya has dissociated itself from al Qaeda. Now SG, pay particular attention to the following: it is possible to be an islamist without simultaneously belonging to al Qaeda. It would appear to me that Adm. Stravridis is playing word games to downplay the acutal islamist presence in Eastern Libya.

    Are the jihadists the only rebels running from battle?

  155. Brett

    Well, of course you’re consistent, Brendon. There’s not a single thing that West could do (or not do) that wouldn’t lead to charges of imperialism from you. That’s my point,

  156. Brendon

    sg @153,

    short version of the rabble claim: do you remember at the start of this I asked who exactly are the rebels and posters aligned to you (and prolly you) said stuff like “Whatever, as long as they aren’t Gadaffi.”

    Posters here like myself did predict boots on the ground and the supply of arms. Becaue the rebels could not win. And we thought the coalistion was serious.

    We didn’t realize what rabble they were, though. Not the rebels. I mean the British, French, and American governments. What rabble!

  157. Brendon

    Pirating, Brett, pirating. If you are going to tell me my opinions, at least use the same words as I do.

    Currently the British, French and American governments are acting like rabble.

    They have the same outlook and policy opinions as you. Anything but Gadaffi. Who cares, we will support them.

    OK. But a 10 days later they are calling the people they supported rabble. This is some of the worst opportunistic weak greedy policy on the run in history.

    Where is your R2P propaganda cover now?

  158. sg

    Katz, I read your link and I noted it was based entirely on an interview with a self-serving al Qaeda defector, who no doubt has a significant interest in talking up the importance of al Qaeda in the middle east. You didn’t establish anything in a previous thread; you argued a poor case from an unrepresentative document, and disappeared from the debate after much sneering and posturing when it was pointed out that your conclusions were completely false.

    I say “largely” because I have no doubt that some of your imaginary islamists have RPGs, not AK47s. I imagine a couple have quite wicked beheading swords – that’s the standard stereotype isn’t it?

    There is no evidence, nor has there ever been, for a significant islamist presence in the east of Libya. There is strong evidence of muslim rebels, but that’s a different thing altogether, isn’t it? And now you, Brendon, joe, et al have egg all over your faces for talking up the threat these hardened islamists face in classic right wing style, as we watch the “rabble” of rebels running away from every engagement.

    That’s the “threat” Gaddafi felt impelled to put down with tanks in cities, and that Brendon and you have been strenuously claiming is an islamic fundamentalist insurrection.

    And now Brendon the Canadians have dropped out of your calculations? The remainder have gone from imperialist bandits to a rabble? I suggest you revisit your analytical framework, it’s not holding up well here.

  159. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    Again you use a single point as an excuse to avoid actually answering anything. At least this time you are honest and admit that is the way you are attempting to argue.
    .
    Katz,
    The only thing I can tell that seems to have been a consistent theme is the “boots on the ground” bit. Given sg’s comment above that now looks wrong.

  160. Andrew Reynolds

    To summarise from the article you pointed to Katz – a former Al-Qaeda activist who has been participating in a deradicalisation campaign has guessed that there may be up to 1000 of his former mates there – amongst the very much larger group of civilians who are fighting. Many of these former mates he had helped to deradicalise before they were released.
    The same former activist is at pains to say that Al-Qaeda had lost the support of the people and was no longer strong in Libya – and this is your basis for saying they are strong and have some real support in Libya?
    And you are accusing me of not being able to comprehend someone’s writings?
    lol.

  161. Brett

    They have the same outlook and policy opinions as you. Anything but Gadaffi. Who cares, we will support them.

    What on Earth are you talking about? Where is your (dare I ask) evidence for this? Do you not think the Libyan people should have a say in who runs their country? Do you not think that Gaddafi is a brutal thug who has forfeited any respect and trust he might ever have earned from them? Do you not see that there’s still next to no evidence that Islamists have any influence over the rebellion?

    In all seriousness, how can you take Gaddafi’s side in all this?

  162. Brendon

    Brett,

    how can you take the rebels side when you don’t even know who they are.

    Why do you think I’m taking aither side.

    Tell me I think the the western governments in this are hypocritical, double-talking pirates after another slice of the Arab oil pie, and I will cheerfully go along with you. Tell me I think the R2P is a cover for just another grab, and you will be right.

    Evidence presented here and elsewhere points to a good fraction of the rebels being Islamist extremists. And Katz posted a very good link explaining why this is so. But your posts refuse to consider that, and everything you say seems designed to reduce the debate to Reductio ad Gadaffium

    You are so obssessed with Gadaffi you can’t see the big picture.

  163. Brendon

    Andrew @159

    Brendon,
    Again you use a single point as an excuse to avoid actually answering anything. At least this time you are honest and admit that is the way you are attempting to argue.

    You airbrush recent history, Andrew, to suit your narrative you made out almost as if Mubarak didn’t do much wrong compared to Gadaffi. I corrected you. If any rational person read it they could easily see that you were trying to point to a reason why it could be argued that an intervention was necessary in Libya, but not in Egypt. On that one point I corrected you.

    You on the other hand can’t accept that. So I explained it further.

    And then you can’t get over that. lol

    Andrew, you have to get your facts straight.

  164. Andrew Reynolds

    Brendon,
    Can you point to the evidence again? Every piece of evidence I can see either you or Katz having presented has been, AFAICS, refuted – but I may have missed one.
    .
    As for the other – I pointed out where I was correct and you were not, but you continue with your attempts to claim you have shown otherwise. Yes, Mubarak did try to use the police and secret police to restore “order”. Yes, they did not have the heavy weapons that Gaddafi used against the protesters. Yes, Mubarak left when light weapons proved useless.
    The “moral” of the story seems to be that if you use light weapons Brendon will oppose you, but use heavy weapons then Brendon will go on about how the demonstrators picked up light weapons to try to save their lives and how terrible this is.
    Is that correct?

  165. Andrew Reynolds

    As for Katz’s link, let’s look at what it actually says as I did earlier:

    Mr. Benotman told The Washington Times that al Qaeda’s North African affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb, has tried without success to co-opt the leadership of Col. Gadhafi’s opposition. But Mr. Benotman said the interim council leading Libya’s opposition is seeking democratic elections, not an Islamic republic.

    “I told bin Laden that our movement had failed, that the people no longer supported us,” Mr. Benotman told The Times.

    “Since 2007, the LIFG has participated in the deradicalization program,” he said. “Many of them are free today. We cannot ask them to not fight and stay at home, even if they have been attacked,” he said. “This is the picture. You will find some extremists among these, without a doubt. But there is no way you can label the revolution itself as motivated by al Qaeda or anything like this.”

    And this is your evidence of this revolution being an Al-Qaeda group?
    lol.

  166. Brett

    how can you take the rebels side when you don’t even know who they are.

    I do know, because I’ve been paying attention. But in any case, it’s not up to me: it should be up to the Libyans themselves to decide.

    Why do you think I’m taking aither side.

    Because you’re an orientalist who can’t imagine Arabs living in anything other than an autocracy? Because you buy into right-wing tropes about Islamists under the bed? Because you’re worried the oil might stop flowing? Because you’re just in favour of dictatorships generally? I really don’t know.

    Look, sure, there’s a chance that whoever comes after Gaddafi might be worse than him. But there is no evidence to suggest that this is at all likely. Better the devil you know? I reject that. So do the Libyans, it would seem.

  167. Katz

    The Uncomprehending AR remains unregenerate:

    And you are accusing me of not being able to comprehend someone’s writings?

    If the cap fits, old sport…

    Point to where I ever alleged that there are al Qaeda operatives in any numbers in Libya. Some of these Islamist characters were may have once been associated with al Qaeda, but not any more.

    I’ve already cited this al Jazeera article:

    http://feb17.info/news/one-family-against-gaddafi/

    But some ostriches on this thread have refused to acknowledge its contents, to wit:

    In the 1990s, Libyan mujahideen returned from battling the Soviets in Afghanistan and began a guerrilla campaign against the Gaddafi regime, based out of cities such as Derna and Baida along the north-east coast, in an area known as the Green Mountain.

    Calling themselves the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), the guerrillas struck at the regime’s military and police posts in rural eastern land and in 1996 reportedly attempted to assassinate Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte – though the rocket-propelled grenade they shot struck the wrong car.

    SG, this is for you. This is additional evidence, I have already adduced, to support the conclusion that islamists are one strand of the anti-Gaddafi uprising. The above is personal testimony. It specifically refers to the 1996 uprising. The interviewee is a proud islamist. The original report came from al Jazeera, certainly not a mouthpiece of the Gaddafi regime.

    The LIFG was only one slice of a broad opposition movement that has been plotting to bring down the regime for more than a decade, and its dismantling did not mean the end of armed clashes with security forces, which continued throughout the past decade.

    The Jidrans’ group of around 60 men were “well-behaved” Muslims, Ibrahim said, not radicals. Two or three once belonged to the LIFG, but more had been pushed toward armed resistance after spending years in Libya’s prisons, he said.

    They consider themselves aligned with the uprising, which has so far evinced only secular aims. They too want political freedom and democratic reform, Ibrahim said, and in their view, it is an obligation of observant Muslims to bring those freedoms to the people.

    This is proof positive of the involvement of Islamists in the Eastern Libyan uprising.

    The LIFG were once affiliated with al Qaeda, but not any more.

  168. Brendon

    Part1
    Andrew @164

    Brendon,
    Can you point to the evidence again? Every piece of evidence I can see either you or Katz having presented has been, AFAICS, refuted – but I may have missed one.

    What evidence that I have said that has been refuted?

    My prediction that there would be boots on the ground and/or they would have to give the rebels some heavy artillery was based on the assumption that the pirates were serious and Gadaffi was going down. Now that there is a falling out amongst thieves, that will not happen now. As previously posted, the Ameircans want to pull out of the bombing, the Pentagon had cold feet from day one – but that was not widely reported until recently. I’m sure Exxon was annoyed too as they got the best deal in Libya. OK, but I have alsready said this.

    So, my prediction was wrong there. Who knew the pirates were so unwilling to co-operate. But that is not evidence. What evidence are you talking about?

  169. Brendon

    Andrew Reynolds:

    As for the other – I pointed out where I was correct and you were not, but you continue with your attempts to claim you have shown otherwise. Yes, Mubarak did try to use the police and secret police to restore “order”. Yes, they did not have the heavy weapons that Gaddafi used against the protesters. Yes, Mubarak left when light weapons proved useless.
    The “moral” of the story seems to be that if you use light weapons Brendon will oppose you, but use heavy weapons then Brendon will go on about how the demonstrators picked up light weapons to try to save their lives and how terrible this is.
    Is that correct?

    Is that correct Andrew, that Mubarak left once he realized light weapons were useless. And because of that, he is different to Gadaffi?

    No. As per usual, you whitewash recent history for your narrative. Mubarak was desperate to slaughter Egyptian civilan protesters:

    “Reporting in the Independent on Friday, Robert Fisk tells us that Hosni Mubarak had ordered the massacre of the people in Tahrir Square:

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

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

    http://wlcentral.org/node/1298

    If anything, Mubarak’s attempts at trying to put down the protest were worse and more cynical that Gadaffi’s.

  170. Brendon

    And keep in mind Andrew, Mubarak oedered tanks on civilian protesters, not armed rebels who had taken over a city.

  171. sg

    Oh Katz, this is the same slippery slope you slid down before. You’ll use the same dodgy tactics to claim islamist fighters and then deny the claim when the facts bite you on the arse. Then you’ll go silent like you did before.

    I replied to your “evidence” from that al Jazeera piece before and I’ll reply again: the second blockquote in your previous comment is proof positive of nothing. It observes that the LIFG were “one slice” of a “broad” movement. You do understand that one slice of a broad piece of bread leaves a lot of bread, right? It goes on to say that they were radicalized not by islam but by time in prison. It talks of the obligations of muslims to bring freedom to the people; it doesn’t talk of any other program.

    You are as bad as your most hated foe, Bush, wriggling and worming to find evidence of islamic terrorism where none can be found. Give it up.

    Brendon, your predictive model ahs turned to farce. The allies were going to have permanent bases in Libya because they’re imperialists; now they’re not even going to pursue regime change because… they’re imperialists, and there’s no honour amongst thieves. Do you understand how this self-sustaining critical model is of no use to anyone?

    As to your point about Mubarak and tanks – you’ve just reinforced Brett’s original logic very nicely. Mubarak ordered the army to act and they refused, so no one needed to bomb him. Gaddafi ordered the army to act and they agreed, so they needed to be bombed.

  172. Andrew Reynolds

    Katz,
    And the other article you linked to had a lot to say on the LIFG. I suggest you actually read beyond the headline.
    .
    Brendon,

    [I]n Egypt the army refused to step in, leaving the attempts at repression to the ordinary and secret police.

    That’s what I said. Thanks for agreeing with me. Now – what is your problem?

  173. Andrew Reynolds

    Katz,
    So – because there were a few LIFG involved in the 1996 uprising in the same area that the 2011 uprising occurred then the 2011 uprising must be influenced by the LIFG.
    Of course – how stupid of me not to comprehend. Your logic is inescapable.
    Now – how do you add the testimony you linked to recently that the LIFG is no longer radical fit into this? I’m sure it must be a logical link.

  174. Brett
  175. Brendon

    No Andrew, you said:

    Yes, Mubarak left when light weapons proved useless.

    Misleading.

    His orders to slaughter civilians with heavy equipment was disobeyed by the tank commanders. And he did not immediately leave, either. He left 10 days after he ordered the slaughter of civilians with tanks.

  176. Brendon

    sg @171

    Brendon, your predictive model ahs turned to farce. The allies were going to have permanent bases in Libya because they’re imperialists;

    I never said anything about permanent bases. I said the oppposite, that modern day pirates try to eschew the concept of occupation as much as they can. Because of costs. They prefer to install a dictator and give him arms to pacify the people. Like they do in Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, etc.

    No sg, I predicted there would be boots on the ground because the anonymous rabble you support were getting their arses kicked. I also predicted they would be supplied more arms and they would need heavy artillery to take Tripoli.

    There was no other way to beat the Gadaffi government. And I was under the mistaken idea that the pirates were at least serious about that. I was wrong.

    Most of the Jihadists from Libya that went to Iraq were there as suicide bombers. Apparently suicide bombers don’t make great soldiers.

    Its not my doing that you pirates have scarpered…

  177. Brett

    No, really, Brendon, why are you taking the side of a dictator here?

  178. Brendon

    Brett,

    you support these type of interventions like this and Iraq and they cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Why, Brett?

  179. Brett

    I don’t support the invasion of Iraq because the Iraqi people didn’t want it. I do support Libya because the Libyan people do want it. Do you see the distinction?

  180. Brendon

    Oh, so you didn’t support the liberation of Iraq.

    Let me change my question to: Why did you support Saddam?

  181. Brett

    Did you not read what I just wrote?

  182. Andrew Reynolds

    As I said, Brendon:

    Mubarak left when light weapons proved useless.

    Perhaps I could have added that this was after the soldiers refused to co-operate and then discussed the entire geopolitical framework that led to their decision – but it is a blog comment, not a thesis.
    I was not wrong – and nothing you can say, other than introducing new information, will change that.
    Again – the reason for the UN action is clear. In Egypt, the army did not turn their weapons on the people. In Libya, they did. It is not a personality thing – i.e. it is not relevant if Mubarak was a nastier person than Gaddafi – what is relevant is what is actually happening.
    In Libya, the weapons of the army were turned on the people. This is a crime against humanity. In Egypt only light weapons were used, and then only sporadically. This is still a crime, but international law does not recognize it as a crime against humanity.
    Again – I am not wrong. You, in attempting to draw close parallels between the two are ignoring the law, the facts on the ground and (IMHO) common sense.
    It is good, though, to see you actually engaging on the issues. Keep it up.

  183. Brendon

    Brett @181

    Ys Brett, I read it. You decided the Iraq people wanted to keep Saddam. Right?

  184. Brendon

    Andrew @182

    In Egypt, the army did not turn their weapons on the people.

    Wrong. And once again you skim over the evidence to get to where you want instead of accepting the reality. The same army generals that are in charge today gave the orders to attack their own Egyptian civilians with heavy artillery. The tank commanders mutineered.

    So, shouldn’t R2P be applied to the military leadership in Egypt too?

    The UNSC placed one on Libya for ordering the attack on Benghazi

  185. Andrew Reynolds

    So – you know who gave what orders now, Brendon, and at what level they were disobeyed. Well done.
    .
    Seriously, though. R2P applies to actions that constitute crimes against humanity. An army not firing on the people is not a crime. An army that does is a crime, and if it is sustained it is a crime against humanity.
    Is that clear now?

  186. Brett

    Ys Brett, I read it. You decided the Iraq people wanted to keep Saddam. Right?

    Oh, sweet jeebus. You are all over the place. Remind me why we’re talking about Iraq again? Given that the situation in Libya is not remotely the same?

  187. Brendon

    You know the reason why, Brett.

    If I’m against the intervention in Libya, then I have to be for Gadaffi. According to you.

    So, I applied your logic to Iraq. And dammit if I didn’t discover that you were a Saddam Loyalist the whole time! lol

  188. Brett

    If I’m against the intervention in Libya, then I have to be for Gadaffi. According to you.

    So, I applied your logic to Iraq. And dammit if I didn’t discover that you were a Saddam Loyalist the whole time! lol

    You’re missing some key differences between Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011. Like that the people of one of those countries were fighting against their dictator and losing, and called urgently for a no-fly zone, which nobody really wanted to enforce; whereas in the other, a no-fly zone had long been in place, no uprising was taking place and instead the United States and Britain trumped up reasons to fight a war they already wanted to fight. But you know all that; you’re just trolling now.

    There are some more differences here:

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/03/top-ten-ways-that-libya-2011-is-not-iraq-2003.html

  189. Chav

    ‘The Arab League says it will ask the United Nations to impose a no-fly-zone over the Gaza Strip to stop Israeli warplanes carrying out air strikes inside the Palestinian territory.’

    Hehe…let’s see if the Western ‘Peace Powers’ extend their ‘R2P’ to Gaza…

  190. Katz

    It is becoming quite clear that NATO’s efforts so far to promote the interests of the Benghazi uprising are inadequate and are likely to fail.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/10/libya-rebel-defences-gaddafi-forces-benghazi

    Whocoodanode? (Apart from a few folks who have some sense of military reality and of the actual level of support in Libya for the Gaddafi regime, of course.)

    So, where to now for R2P?

  191. Chav

    ‘Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights watchdog, meanwhile, has accused forces loyal to Ouattara of killing hundreds of civilians, raping Gbagbo supporters and burning villages during an offensive in the country’s west.’

    Crumbs!

    People are being R2P’ed to death all over the shop!

  192. Old Yobbo

    You’re onto something there, Chav. WHY can’t we have a perfect world ?! WHY do intentions go wrong sometimes ?! How dare they ?!

    If only we could have everything running just right, a perfect Utopia, everything predictable and in its place. Never mind human rights, and human fallibilities, give us order ! Make the trains run on time !

    Yes, Outtara is a much a thug as Gbogbo, with as brutal a history. But how to shorten the inevitable butchery, how to somehow inject the tiniest smidgin of concern for human rights ?

    But maybe you’re right – let them butcher the shit out of each other, they’re only Black after all.

    So human rights in faraway places should be none of our business ?

  193. Chav

    Oh Yobbo, you loveable old rogue you!
    Appreciate the intimation of racism there, duly noted.

    I mean, a perfect world would be great, but I’ll settle for one in which the ‘Left’ doesn’t call on imperialist mass murderer’s to uphold human rights. particularly given they have proved themselves unable to do so countless times in the past.

  194. Katz

    Defenders of R2P?

    Anyone?

    Cue crickets.

  195. wbb

    I am a defender of R2P, Katz!

    Benghazi remains free. Gaddafi is trying to orchestrate a cease-fire on beneficial terms.

    United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 is a resounding success.

  196. Katz

    “Remains” is an interesting verb.

    You trust Gaddafi at his word?

    Touching.

  197. Brett

    Well, yes, it ‘remains’ an interesting verb. And a most useful one since most of us don’t know what is going to happen in the future. Tripoli remains unfree too, btw.

    Nobody (except Brendon) trusts Gaddafi. But his asking for a ceasefire is a sign that he’s not confident he can win by force of arms, isn’t it? And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

    And yes, I quite like the idea of a responsibility to protect. It may be inconsistently applied but it’s better than not applying it at all.

  198. wbb

    Nobody trusts him, Katz, so I’d be extremely touched if I were to afford him that benefit, wouldn’t I?

    Obviously he is trying to weasel his way out of a sticky situation. Brought upon him courtesy of UNSCR 1973.

    Rebel prospects in Ajdabiya remain good courtesy of a UN shellacking of Gaddafi’s 3rd unarmoured pickup brigade.

  199. Old Yobbo

    Katz,

    And what might remain of the people in Benghazi right now but for R2P ?

    And whatever happened to the internationalism of the socialist (and ex-socialist) [and pseudo-socialist] countries of the world, China, Russia, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, the ‘people’s democratic republic of Korea’ ? Why the dead silence ?

    Is it that they take (or took) the concept of ‘socialism in one country’ so far that they rejected any sense of internationalist obligations to the people of other countries – and effectively ended up supporting imperialist interference and authoritarian repression uncritically, under the pretext of ‘non-interference in the internal affairs yadayada’ ?

    I think I will turn and live with animals, they are so peaceful and self-contained ……

  200. Chav

    Has anyone actually stopped to think as to whether Gaddafi intended to and actually had the capacity to massacre the majority of the citizens of Benghazi?

    His warnings of violent retribution were aimed at the rebels, but were they actually a threat to the entire civilian population?

    Has he carried out massacres on this scale in the past, or even massacres on a smaller scale?

    Would his armed forces actually have been able to dominate and exterminate a city of over one million people, particularly is they had been actively (or even passively) resisting?

    While firmly on the side of the rebellion, that Gaddafi would have or could have carried out a massacre on the scale given as a reason for NATO intervention seems…slightly doubtful to me…

  201. Chav

    @199. Yobbo, I’m not sure as to why you are holding Katz account for the crimes of Stalinist dictatorships…

  202. Old Yobbo

    Chav,

    Authoritarian rule and terrorism go hand in hand – such rulers might even brag about how brutal and all-powerful they are, in order to terrorise their populations into quiescence. For example, Saddam. Sweetness and light are not their style.

    As to whether Ghaddafi is putting his bragging into practice, we’ll see when places like Az-Zawiyah and Tripoli are liberated. We’ll see what sort of damage can be done to the bodies of women and kids by machine-guns and tanks.

  203. Old Yobbo

    Chav @ 201,

    Certainly not ! I have great respect for Katz’s measured and well-informed contributions. Mine @ 199 was in two parts:

    * first sentence re Katz @ 196;

    * then off on an unrelated tangent.

    Pardon my neo-con bullet-points, Patrick.

  204. Chav

    @202. Yobbo, I’m not disputing that Gaddafi is a vile dictator who should be put against the wall. I’m just expressing doubts as to his claimed intentions and capacity in defeating the rebels in Benghazi and massacring the population.

    It would seem a strange thing for a dictator trying to cosy up to the West to do.

  205. Katz

    And whatever happened to the internationalism of the socialist (and ex-socialist) [and pseudo-socialist] countries of the world, China, Russia, Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, the ‘people’s democratic republic of Korea’ ? Why the dead silence ?

    Dunno, OY. Why don’t you ask them?

    I’m am not a citizen of any of those countries. I am an Australian citizen. Beyond making ritual statements of support for R2P, my government has done little. What they have done is IMHO counterproductive.

    I would have preferred that the Australian government used whatever influence it has to ask the supporters of R2P to think about the actual effectuality of their policy. I don’t particularly like the government that I helped to vote into offices and whose taxes I pay to support a counterproductive policy.

    The policy cannot achieve its stated aim, that is to protect civilians from attack. The policy has the effect of holding out false hope to the rebels, convincing more people to incriminate themselves in the eyes of the Gaddafi regime without providing a reasonable likelihood of success, or a reasonable opportunity to seek refuge from the depredations of the Gaddafi regime.

    The supporters of R2P, therefore, have exhibited cynical want of frankness about their methods. The opponents of R2P, Russia, China, etc., have exhibited cynical want of frankness about their aims, which are to encourage the transformation of Libya into a quagmire for the West.

    I wish Rudd had said publicly, “If you really want to protect Libyan civilians, at least be fair dinkum about it.” But Rudd said nothing of the sort.

  206. FDB

    “effectuality”

    As contrasted with ‘effectiveness’?

    Me gusta.

    Although our government’s actions haven’t been characterised by either (yet?), and others by only the latter, I still like the word.

  207. Brett

    Brendon said:

    Those cluster bombs are delivered by plane. Even the rebels said they were dropped from the sky.

    See if you can bell that cat.

    OK, I’ll make it simpler for you. Libya isn’t flying any planes as the US destroyed their airforce capabilities. To say I doubt very much that the Libyan military has any planes flying over anywhere is an understatement. No planes, no cluster bombs.

    If there are credible sightings, then it is NATO dropping them. It can only be NATO dropping them. Get it? You do understand basic logic, I hope.

    You need to read more closely. Yes, the cluster bombs ‘dropped from the sky’. But not from an aeroplane: the MAT-120 is not an air-dropped bomb. It’s a type of artillery round, fired from a mortar sitting firmly on the ground. The MAT-120 explodes in the air over the target and scatters its submunitions (small fragmentation bombs) over a wide area:

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/04/15/libya-cluster-munitions-strike-misrata

    As Gaddafi’s forces are shelling Misrata, they could be responsible for firing these cluster rounds into populated areas. As NATO is not shelling Misrata, they can’t be responsible. There’s your ‘basic logic’ for you.

  208. old yobbo

    Thanks, Brett, for a bit of level-headedness and common sense.

  209. Brendon

    Brett, @207

    Agreed. I misread the HRW link, and I’ve always known cluster bombs as used by the US and Britain to be dropped from planes.

    Nevertheless, it is an unverified report by HRW, that will pretty soon be a “fact”. And I don’t concede what I said before that the Pirates lie, and lie, and lie. Curveball, WMDs, Atta’s “meeting” with an Iraqi diplomar in Prague, Mobile Weapons Labs, Gadaffi using fighter planes on civilian protesters, the fighter plane that flew over Benghazi that turned out to be a rebel plane.

    And btw, Human Rights Watch have been accused more than once of trying to cook the books public opinion on its inaccurate and unsubstantiated reports that fall curiously aligned to American foriegn policy interests:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/cook11302006.html

    http://www.electricpolitics.com/2007/02/human_rights_watch_in_service.html

    So, I’ll wait for some more proof, if you don’t mind.

    Oh, and I know its put out as appeal by the War Party to up the killing.

    http://www.coha.org/taking-human-rights-watch-to-task/

  210. sg

    haha, apparently a group called “British Civilians for Peace” has been touring Libya decrying the evil Imperialist soldiers (and their running dog lackeys in the media, of course). A very brief web search reveals their spokesperson, Dave Roberts, has a patchy past (in that hilarious trotskyite way) and hails Libya as a triumph over Imperialism.

    So, vote 1 Scargill and this is the trash you get…

  211. Brett

    Well, of course I would never expect to you to change your mind, Brendon. Do feel free to wait as long as you like for more information to come out; hopefully by then it will be too late to do anything about anything.

  212. Brendon

    Too late, Brett? For what. Right now NATA is shelling the town of Sirte which is pro Gadaffi. Hardly R2P.

    The French have done exactly what was predicted and are putting troops on the ground.

    They are invading Libya.

    The private banking system is prowling around ready to steal, like they do on Wall Street every day. And of course the oil companies are salivating at the prospect of installing a corrupt government to get what they want. A nice little democracy like the Shell owned Nigeria. They had one of their phoney baloney elections recently.

    And lets not forget they got think tanks to dream up phoney slogans like R2P so the war monger liberals can say “Hey, it not like Iraq! Look! We are trying to protect the civilians!”

  213. Brendon

    Read this Brett:

    “Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.

    “The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being ‘locked out’ of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.

    “Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: ‘Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.’ The minister then promised to ‘report back to the companies before Christmas’ on her lobbying efforts.”

    http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/bp-colluded-with-blair-bush-before-gulf-war-ii/

    Wikileaks. Gosh, you must hate Assange. He is so anti WAR PARTY.

    Same governments, same people, same oil rich countries. Same pirates.

    But Brett, we must save the children! Won’t anyone save the children!

    I mean, do you really believe that?

    While the media demonizes the dictators and softens the gullible public to a war, the government and private companies are slicing up the loot. Thtas what it is all about. And its about nothing else.

    By Gosh, Man! Someone’s got to do something about that devil, Gadaffi! Protect the children, what-o!

    Ha ha, just read an American online journal, and one poster complained about the price of fuel. Said they promised them cheap fuel. Heh, so thats why they swallowed the lies. What is your excuse?

  214. sg

    let’s sing a little song… iraq is not libya, libya is not iraq.

    Keep it up Brendon…

  215. Katz

    Mission creep,
    And the excuses are sleazy
    Bombs are crumpin’
    But defeat is nigh

    Reality’s a bitch
    And our clients are sookin’
    So hush freedom fighters
    Don’t you cry

    One of these mornings
    We’re gunna come in swinging
    Strategic failure stings
    We can’t win it from the sky

  216. Brendon

    sg,

    why do you support the Libyan war?

    I mean, you know whats coming next, don’t you.

    But before this became the international community’s only goal, Mr. Bush was also attacking Mr. Hussein as a murdering tyrant. It was this accusation that led the Iraqi leader to virtually empty his prisons on Oct. 20, giving Western reporters, admitted that day to Abu Ghraib, a first-hand glimpse of the slaughterhouse the country has become.

    In the end, if an American-led invasion ousts Mr. Hussein, and especially if an attack is launched without convincing proof that Iraq is still harboring forbidden arms, history may judge that the stronger case was the one that needed no inspectors to confirm: that Saddam Hussein, in his 23 years in power, plunged this country into a bloodbath of medieval proportions, and exported some of that terror to his neighbors.

    http://www.iraqfoundation.org/news/2003/ajan/27_saddam.html

    Don’t tell me you didn’t support the Iraq oil theft?

    All you say sg, is Gadaffi, Gadaffi, Gadaffi. As if its a magic word to justify this war. Both you and Brett. Gadaffi, how can anyone support Gadaffi?

    So, you must have supported the Iraq war. Saddam, Saddam, Saddam.

  217. Katz

    Don’t tell me you didn’t support the Iraq oil theft?

    Yes Brendon, that snippet concerning Baroness Symons is a particularly damning insight into Bushite and Blairite imperialism.

    Certainly, Iraq was the victim of an attempted oil theft. The saner apologists for that war must now be blanching in embarrassment. There is no explaining the emotions of the insane.

    C’mon folks. Grow a spine and admit it. Shock’n’Awe was about the oil.

    However, this story had a mordant denouement. As in all matters to do with empire-building, George the Lesser proved to be a particularly incompetent thief.

    However, Libya is different, I believe. The oil majors and the national interests of several NATO members are already profitably engaged in Libya.

  218. sg

    God this is pathetic, Brendon. I opposed the Iraq war, because it was clearly either an imperialist or an insane adventure (or both). I don’t oppose this intervention because it’s not imperialist.

    We call this process of distinguishing between two different things “analysis.” You should try it.

    Katz, it’s not mission creep. The mission is to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, which is still happening in Misrata. This can’t be prevented by air power alone, so in go the soldiers.

    And regime change is not incompatible with preventing a humanitarian disaster. Depends on how the regime in question responds to the military action against it.

  219. Katz

    Katz, it’s not mission creep. The mission is to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe without putting “boots on the ground”.

    Fixed!

  220. Brendon

    Katz @217

    “However, Libya is different, I believe. The oil majors and the national interests of several NATO members are already profitably engaged in Libya.”

    Katz, they are not very profitably engaged at the moment. And if you read the reports from 2010 and prior, the oil companies were finding it difficult to deal with the Libyan government.Gadaffi threatened to nationalize oil. The Libyan government took oil fields off a Canadian firm and gave it to Chinese firms. Gadaffi told the oil companies to upfront pay for the Lockerbie victims payments. I doubt they thought they had a very reliable partner in the Libyan government.

    But this has been driven by opportunity. And doesn’t it look like it.

    This is driven by the French, who got bugger all from Iraq, and by the opportunity of the political upheavals in the region. I would think America is reluctant because they had good deals in place. Exxon is well in in Libya. But everyone else, no.

    Its not Iraq, exactly. But ther motive and prize is the same.

  221. Brendon

    sg, @218

    Show me where George Bush or Blair said their goals were of an imperialist nature for Iraq in the lead up to the Iraq war.

    It was all about freedom and liberation, and love and flowers. And getting rid of Saddam. It was in the newspapers at the time.

    How can you support the ousting of Gaddafi, but not Saddam?

  222. Katz

    Katz, they are not very profitably engaged at the moment.

    It is a truism that there is no limit to greed. And doubtless, when Gaddafi falls, as fall he must, by virtue of a NATO garrisoning of Tripoli, new oil contracts will be drawn up. Hopefully, the new regime may learn from the Iraqis and drive a hard bargain.

    But what are the chances that the West has learned from its Iraq fiasco and resolves to be more careful about the installation of a client regime in Tripoli very different from the tough-minded Maliki government in Baghdad.

    BTW, Maliki is making a real nuisance of himself ATM by giving support to the Shiite majority in Bahrain, much to the irritation of the US, whose fleet is at present stationed in bahrain.

  223. Fine

    Tim Hetherington, a fantastic independent filmmaker has been killed in Libya whilst filming there. It’s often these people who let us know what’s really going on, unencumbered as they are by a broadcaster employers. He’s a sad loss.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/restrepo-director-tim-hetherington-killed-in-fighting-in-libya/2011/04/20/AFio26CE_story.html?hpid=z1

  224. Brett

    This was Hetherington’s last tweet, from two days ago:

    In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.

  225. sg

    Brendon, Blair and Bush didn’t admit to imperialism, which is why we need to use this thing called “analysis.”

    Katz, I don’t think the original intention was ever to do this without “Boots on the ground.” And if it was, that was stupid. The original security council declaration said “all means necessary” (maybe it was penned by malcolm x?) That must include sending in soldiers.

  226. Katz

    I think that neither Russia nor China doubted it, either.

  227. Brett

    Actually, I think it’s pretty obvious that it was believed (or hoped) that airpower, combined with the rebel ground forces, would do the job. Despite what some here may think, no Western power wants to get into yet another quagmire in the Muslim world (oh yes, excluding France which I’m sure is just so cut up about missing out on all the fun in Iraq). Airpower has this allure about it, this promise of cleanly and quickly winning wars, and the proponents of that view point to the role of the NATO intervention in (or rather over) Kosovo and Serbia in 1999 in bringing down Milosevic. That’s exaggerated, and I don’t think airpower is a panacea. But in this case it was necessary.

    UNSC 1973 did say ‘all necessary measures’, but at the same time it ‘exclud[es] a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory’. What ‘occupation’ means here is unclear. Obviously the UNSC had in mind avoiding repeating the Iraq and Afghanistan experiences, while allowing some wiggle-room for special forces, intelligence teams, etc. But would sending in and then quickly taking out the Marines count as a ‘foreign occupation force’? If UNSC had been about removing Gadaffi, maybe, but it’s about protecting civilians, so there’ll probably be a need for a stabilisation force after he’s gone. But I suppose the UNSC can pass another resolution at that point.

  228. Katz

    But I suppose the UNSC can pass another resolution at that point.

    It could but I’m confident that Russia and China are perfectly happy with the results of the present resolution and would veto any attempt to change it in line with US, British or French interests.

    UNSC 1973 will have to do.

  229. Brett

    Katz, I’m not sure why you seem to think the US, Britain and France are itching to get boots on the ground (and why, given that you also seem to think all China and Russia care about here is making life difficult for the West, they would want to stop it from getting into another quagmire?) Everything so far suggests that they’re really, really not keen on that idea.

    If you say the West’s interest is about getting oil flowing again, well, China has an interest in seeing that happen too. Russia, not so much. But then there was a lot of doubt either country would refrain from using their veto on UNSC 1973 in the first place, so we can’t be sure what they’ll do before they do it.

  230. Katz

    Katz, I’m not sure why you seem to think the US, Britain and France are itching to get boots on the ground (and why, given that you also seem to think all China and Russia care about here is making life difficult for the West, they would want to stop it from getting into another quagmire?) Everything so far suggests that they’re really, really not keen on that idea.

    What on earth makes you think I believe that the US, Britain and France are itching to get boots on the ground in Libya? You clearly have not been following the argument.

    What on earth makes you think that I believe that “all” Russia and China want from this frolic is for the west to get into a quagmire. Nothing I have said can reasonably be construed to state or to imply that.

  231. Brett

    What on earth makes you think I believe that the US, Britain and France are itching to get boots on the ground in Libya?

    That would be because I was talking about a possible follow-on resolution to UNSC 1973 to authorise a ‘stabilisation’ (or occupation) force, to which you replied that you thought that China and Russia would ‘veto any attempt to change it [UNSC 1973] in line with US, British or French interests’.

    You clearly have not been following the argument.

    I admit that I can’t follow your argument here, to the extent that you’ve actually made one. That’s why I expressed puzzlement.

    What on earth makes you think that I believe that “all” Russia and China want from this frolic is for the west to get into a quagmire. Nothing I have said can reasonably be construed to state or to imply that.

    Fair enough. So why exactly would Russia and China veto any changes to UNSC 1973? What’s in it (or not in it) for them?

  232. Jeff65
  233. Katz

    I admit that I can’t follow your argument here, to the extent that you’ve actually made one. That’s why I expressed puzzlement.

    You didn’t express puzzlement. You expressed overconfident certainty. The crucial word in your #229 is “seem”. I’m quite happy to discuss our differences and mutual incomprehension in a civil tone, if I am given room to do so.

    I have made an argument. The argument goes this way:

    Through inattention and a lack of insight and diplomatic professionalism, Britain, France and the US have committed themselves to a course of action in Libya which is embarrassing and counter-productive. It threatens to be humiliating.

    I agree with your correction of SG’s argument that you made @227. Your discussion of the limitations of air power is intelligent. The foreign affairs professionals of France, Britain and the US should have as much insight into the limitations of their stated course of action as you do.

    Regrettably, they didn’t. Now they are embarrassed and reduced to twisting the words of UNSC 1973 or casting around for some other solution. Meanwhile, fragile coalitions splinters.

  234. sg

    Funny Katz, that argument doesn’t include anything about Russia and China, who you’ve mentioned several times up till now.

    Perhaps your argument isn’t as clear as you think it is.

  235. Brendon

    sg @225

    “Brendon, Blair and Bush didn’t admit to imperialism, which is why we need to use this thing called “analysis.” “

    What evidence and facts were there in the lead up to the Iraq war that you could base your analysis.

    In Jan 2003, we did not have the Wikileaks cables, there was as yet no refutation of WMDs, and none of the hundreds of claims coming out of the War Party media like the NYT and the WP had been clearly disproven at that time. Also Saddam was a bigger “monster” than Gadaffi any day of the week. And as I said before, Bush was talking about liberating the Iraqi people and giving them democracy and such.

    So what factual information did you have in early 2003 that provided you the basis of your analysis?

  236. sg

    Brendon, if you couldn’t tell in 2003 that Blair and Bush were lying through their teeth, you really have lost sight of what’s happening in the world. Every piece of evidence they produced was, contra your claim of no refutations, shot down the moment it appeared. Not by desperate defenders of Saddam Hussein, but by intelligence analysts and the like.

    Blair and Bush’s single-minded drive to destroy Iraq with no political reason was clear, so the only possible explanations are imperialism or madness.

    And contra your claim, at the time of the invasion, human rights was not presented as the reason.

  237. Brendon

    sg,

    Yeah, I’m still waiting for the evidence and facts that you say were there in the lead up to the Iraq war on which you could base your analysis.

    or was it just your opinion, and you could “tell” they were lying? As you said.

    The fact is there was not enough actual evidence or facts out there. And the western media was trumpeting the War Party’s lies so much you couldn’t keep up with it. One lie down, and 20 pop up the next day.

    We are told lies about Libya, sg.

    When the Generals start losing their commanders and the men under them, they quickly ditch their political leaders. Mubarak is a perfect example. You follow me? After a decade of sanctions, the people longer supported Saddam, and the Iraq army collapsed quite easily. The same army that fought the much larger Iran to a sandstill for 8 long years.

    The Afghanistan people had had enough of the Taliban, and refused to fight for them, thats why they were routed so quickly in early 2002.

    We were told everyone in Libya was against Gadaffi and his government. Yet the Libyan military is fighting both the rebels and NATO and winning. All the propaganda in the world cannot hide the fact that Gadaffi has a lot of support in Libya. Each soldier has a family.

    You are going to have to slaughter a lot of Libyan civilians to get what you want. Me, I would have preferred negotiations.

  238. GregM

    I would have preferred negotiations.

    As no doubt you would have in 1938 on the question of Czechoslovakia and the Sudeten Germans. And that worked out so well for everyone, didn’t it?

  239. Brendon

    GregM @237

    The media do a go job, I’ll give them that.

    No, you are right. We should stop Gadaffi before he takes over all Europe and then sets his eyes on Australia. But what can we do? His armaments rival all that of our allies combined. And I believe Japan, Italy and others will soon join him in his mad quest for world domination, slavery, and anal probes. Won’t someone please save the children!

    (Meanwhile, lets bomb Tripoli and Sirte, and take their oil.)

    Might I remind you that this is nothing more than a bit of western imperialism, taking advantage of an internal uprising, siding with a group of rebels too grotty to even be named by a loving Big Brother media.

    The same Big Brother media that has built someone like Gadaffi up to be the next Hitler. Like they did with Saddam. Like they will do with Chavez. Any place with oil.

    A bit of a segue. When countries get really pissed off with their esrtwhile allies, they do something very rare. They tell the truth about them:

    Italy accuses France of wanting to lead so it can secure oil contracts with a new Libya while Italy gets stuck with the wave of postwar refugees.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/the-coalition-of-the-conflicted-goes-to-war-in-libya/article1952331/

    Naughty, naughty Italians.

  240. Katz

    Funny Katz, that argument doesn’t include anything about Russia and China, who you’ve mentioned several times up till now.

    Perhaps your argument isn’t as clear as you think it is.

    Chinese and Russian tactics in relation to UNSC 1973 are only small parts of the much wider strategies of two increasingly influential world powers. Discussion of those wider strategies would constitute a major thread derail.

    I believe I have already said enough about the motives and methods of the Chinese in relation to UNSC 1973. I you wish to pursue this issue, perhaps you could refer specifically to comments that you acknowledge I have already made “several times”.

    And thanks for tacitly accepting Brett’s reproof for your misreading of UNSC 1973.

  241. sg

    I don’t think Brett reproved me, Katz. I consider it a correction. And if his correction is correct, then the “mission creep” you fear is impossible without some tricky wordplay. So, unless you want to take the Brendon approach of denying what’s happening in Misrata, perhaps you have some alternative approach in mind…?

    Your arguing tactics are quite entertaining at times, Katz. You gave the theories on how China and Russia were happy to use the resolution to undermine NATO, you disputed Brett’s interpretation of it, and now you refuse to discuss it further and argue that you have “said quite enough.” You clearly have a very supercilious way of admitting when you’re wrong.

    Brendon, I don’t think GregM thinks Gaddafi and Hitler are the same (do please offer me a “reproof” if I have underestimated your hyperbole, GregM). I think he’s using what’s called “analogy” as a form of “snarky aside.” This could be because your arguments descended into farce and fantasy about 150 comments ago, when you tried denying that anything bad is happening in Libya. It’s hard to engage with arguments based entirely on the foundations of “imperialism” and Gaddafi’s media statements.

    Once again for the record: the west already had access to oil from Libya, in a stable and reliable form. If they had wanted to invade him they would have done so after Lockerbie. You may be familiar with recent Imperialist adventures based on the shaky pretext of a terrorist attack. Why do you think they waited until the regime was stable and engaged with western markets before going to war? Your position is, frankly, ridiculous.

  242. Brendon

    sg @240

    “Once again for the record: the West already had access to oil from Libya, in a stable and reliable form.”

    sg, the West could – had they wanted – have got a steady supply from Iraq, too. So your comment explains nothing.

    But they refused and instead put heavy sanctions against Iraq. Sanctions based on lies.

    You might be interested to know that back in 1990 the oil field in Kuwait that Iraq accused Kuwait of crossdrilling into its reserves and stealing its oil was run by – BP. But it doesn’t end there! BP in the 2009 round of contracts eventually got control of the Basra oilfield it was once stealing from! Pirates afterall need to be rewarded.

    That 1990 war was a total setup.

    And once again, Gaddafi threatened to nationalize Libya’s oil, they asked for the oil companies to pay for the Lockerbie damages, and a Canadian oil company lost its claim when Libya decided they could get a better deal from the Chinese.

    So no, the western oil companies did not feel they had access to Libya “in a stable and reliable form”. And

    You are right about one thing, though: the west could always get a supply. Just like Venezuela. But we are talking about control and where the major profits come from. And the major profit in oil is in the oil field operations. Thats the huge mark up.

    The west could always get supply. But they could have always got supply from Iraq, too. But the US and Britain put strict santions on oil supplies in Iraq. Proving that they don’t care about oil supply. Only about who controls it.

    I think your biggest problem sg is you don’t get how big oil politics is, you don’t understand where the money comes from and where it goes, and you don’t understand the scope of the political power of controlling the major oil fields. If you understood that, you wouldn’t be so confused about what its really about.

    America’s control of the Middle East oil supply helped bring down the Soviet empire. There’s a clue.

  243. Brendon

    R2P in action:

    NATO forces launched an air strike early Thursday against the Tripoli suburb of Khellat al-Ferjan, and local media reports indicate that seven civilians were killed and 18 others were wounded in the strike.

    NATO officials were quick to deny the reports, saying there was “no indication” any of the people killed were civilians. At the same time, they ruled out conducting any sort of investigation into the identities of those slain.

    In spite of the denial, NATO Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard issued a statement in the wake of the attacks urging Libyan civilians to “distance themselves from Gadhafi regime forces and equipment whenever possible.”

    http://news.antiwar.com/2011/04/21/report-nato-kills-seven-civilians-in-tripoli-suburb-strike/

    Telling the world that if Libyan civilians get killed, its because they hang around tanks and munitions warehouses. Only complete idiots would not see through this.

    Can’t wait for ppl around here to support the bombing of television station buildings

    “they were warned! TV is military equipment! Those people shouldn’t have been there! Anyway, its exactly the same as when those reporters got killed by mortar in Mistra. You know, the ones who embedded themselves with the rebel soldiers in a gun battle.”

    All Libyan government buildings will now be military compounds.

  244. Katz

    So, unless you want to take the Brendon approach of denying what’s happening in Misrata, perhaps you have some alternative approach in mind…?

    I’ve already laid out my preferred course of action elsewhere. Since then, NATO and its Arab stooges have stuffed it all up. Fortunately, it isn’t my problem but now NATO may as well put enough boots on the ground to fight their way to Tripoli and to garrison the city, like I said they would have to ever since the passage of UNSC 1973.

    It’s like watching bathers entering a cold surf beach. NATO doesn’t want to get their tummies wet. But they are merely prolonging the agony now. Time to dive in.

    Your arguing tactics are quite entertaining at times, Katz. You gave the theories on how China and Russia were happy to use the resolution to undermine NATO, you disputed Brett’s interpretation of it, and now you refuse to discuss it further and argue that you have “said quite enough.” You clearly have a very supercilious way of admitting when you’re wrong.

    If Brett has a problem with what I said, I’m quite happy to address it. He is quite a civil chap.

    I’ll take “entertaining superciliousness” as a compliment. I’ve given up trying to convince you SG. I’m not talking to you, I’m talking through you.

  245. Brendon

    Katz,

    while Russia might like the price of oil to go up for its own short term profit reasons, I don’t see it liking additional control of energy supplies in the hands of its competitors. It would be a short term gain at best. Profits quickly evaporate.

    And I think China is now a net importer of energy, so I don’t think it would be too keen on having its competitors with so much control

    Even so, I’m sure between them all they have carved up Libya already. And the rest is just a Punch and Judy show. But I doubt where either country would be too happy.

    Remember when Putin got around to punching Georgia in the nose in 2008 over the Ossetia border confict. Of course it was really about the gas pipeline and a reminder to the Europeans who really controls that land. And a reminder to the Americans that the color revolutions were all fading to grey.

    The Georgian President called for his dear American friends to intervene to stop a genocide. And Bush refused. There was no genocide. Just a bit of muscle flexing.

    Now I’m sure that episode caused a spike in oil and gas prices too. But I’m pretty sure America and Europe weren’t all that happy about it. Still, Russia continues to supply gas to Europe.

  246. Katz

    Possibly, Brandon.

    I see Russia and China’s moves as part of a bigger game. Libya is a smallish player in world oil. Control of Libya’s oil isn’t critical. And in any case, that oil will be marketed on the world market. And look at how Chinese and Russian oil interests have engaged in the development of Iraq’s oil. That control came without the loss of a single Chinese or Russian soldier and without making a single enemy in the Middle East.

    Instead, I think it can be argued that China and Russia are using Libya as a way of embarrassing NATO in the eyes of the Arab Street. Putin’s use of the word “crusade” is a clue to that strategy. As you know, that word carries much symbolic weight in the Arab world.

    Back in the day of George the Imbecile, the Right tended to scoff at the notion of the Arab Street. Recent events have demonstrated just how potent it can be.

  247. Brendon

    Katz,

    The Russians and Chinese got cheap deals in Iraq. But they lost too. The Americans and British were completely locked out by Saddam, and he offered Russia very good terms prior to the invasion. Shell and Exxon have got the best fields. The best fields are the newest ones that require little energy to get the oil out. The dollar-a-barrel fields. Russia ended up with the more mature Qrna field.

    Hey, but can you imagine what the place would look like today with the insurgents being constantly backed and armed by Russia? While Russia denied they were doing any such thing.

    Maybe thats why they got a much bigger slice of Iraq than say, France. lol

    Libyan oil is popular with France and Europe because their refineries handle the sweet light crude and not the sour heavy crude from Saudi Arabia that the US use.

    Gosh, I wonder if that the reason the Yanks aren’t that interested?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/business/energy-environment/24oil.html

  248. Katz

    Brendon:

    Shell and Exxon have got the best fields

    This isn’t the first time you have been incorrect about this. Here is the detail on the giant Rumaila oil field in Iraq, potentially the second biggest in the world:

    [I]n June 2009. ExxonMobil which also bid on servicing this field at a price $4.80 walked away due to price cutting terms by the Iraqi Government leaving BP and CNPC as winners of the contract.

    Exxon is out in the cold and a BP/Chinese consortium are now developing it.

  249. Brendon

    Katz,

    I know. They sold that story good, didn’t they? But when you think about it, why do the US still have 50,000 troops there, and as many mercenaries again. What are they guarding? Crappy oil deals?! lol

    From 2003 on the Yanks were all over that country like flies on shit looking for the best deals. They knew when to fold when the contracts came around.

    Rumaila is big, but it is a mature oil field first pumped back in the 50’s. And that is the key to why the big American firms walked away. And it is starting to show the problems of its age.

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Rumaila+faces+challenges+ahead+as+output+drops.-a0251359824

    Production at Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oil field, developed by BP and China’s CNPC, has fallen from peaks hit in December and early January, official figures showed, in what could be a sign of challenges ahead.

    The field has a global profile with its over a million barrels per day (mbpd) output almost half of the Opec member’s output. BP said in January production had increased by more than 10 per cent above the 1.066 mbpd baseline rate agreed on in December 2009.

    But output has ebbed and flowed since. It has dropped as much as 280,000 barrels in a single day — or more than 10 per cent of Iraq’s total daily average output — from the 1.29 mbpd reached on January 11, according to state-run South Oil Company documents obtained by Reuters. Several wells were shut down in Rumaila last month, when output was slowing, due to back pressure at the wells, the official documents showed.

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Rumaila+faces+challenges+ahead+as+output+drops.-a0251359824

    But West Qurna is nearly completley untapped with a very shallow depth. Very cheap and easy.

    West Qrna 1 is the first to go and Shell/Exxon are doing better than good

    ExxonMobil Hits Target at West Qurna

    Posted on 28 March 2011.

    As predicted, ExxonMobil and its Iraqi partners have reached “a major milestone” for oil production at the West Qurna oil field in southern Iraq, according to a report from UPI.

    ExxonMobil announced field production at West Qurna-1 rose from 244,000 barrels of oil per day to 285,000 bpd under the terms of its technical services contract.

    http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2011/03/28/exxonmobil-hits-target-at-west-qurna/

    Here’s some info on the top oil fields in the world:

    http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/21/biggest-oil-fields-business-energy-oil-fields.html

  250. Brendon

    RESPOSIBILITY TO PROTECT, in all its majesty:

    RABAT, April 22 | Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:55am EDT

    (Reuters) – Nine people were killed overnight in NATO bombardment of the Libyan city of Sirte, Muammar Gaddafi’s home town, Libyan state television said on Friday.

    The news bulletin of al-Jamahiriya said some of those killed were employees of the state water utility who were working during the attack. (Reporting by Souhail Karam; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/22/libya-sirte-idUSLDE73L06Z20110422

    Oh, so the civilian water supply is now considered a military target. OK.

  251. Chav

    RIVAL militias have clashed on the outskirts of the Libyan capital for a fourth day in the deadliest and most sustained violence since the capture and killing of Muammar Gaddafi last month.

    Ah, and how’s that ‘humanitarian intervention’ working out for you now…Brett? Old Yobbo? Lefty E?

  252. Brendon

    More of the same:

    THREE months after the killing of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, concerns are mounting about the torture of prisoners held by Libyan militiamen who are operating beyond the control of the country’s transitional government, as well as by officially recognised security bodies.

    Medecins Sans Frontieres pulled its staff out of detention facilities in Misrata on Thursday after witnessing more than 100 cases of torture by the revolutionaries who overthrew Gaddafi.

    The aid group said it was withdrawing staff from the town because it was effectively keeping prisoners alive so authorities could continue to torture them.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/libyan-revolutionaries-accused-of-widespread-torture-20120127-1qlid.html#ixzz1l2fsKTK3

  253. Katz

    Thanks for reviving this thread, Brendon. A few Polyannas must be blushing about now.

    Above @ 51 I said this:

    My guess is that NATO, or some patsy of NATO, will be compelled to garrison Tripoli, which is tantamount to a strategic defeat.

    Bad guess, so far, on specifics.

    But instead of a garrison, Libya has something worse — a Somalia in the making. Libya is now a witches’ brew of tribalism and radical Islamism. Where are all those nice, westernised liberals we were assured we’re going to make Libya safe for Rotary International?

    NATO was the magician’s incompetent apprentice.

  254. Brendon

    Katz, I think your guess about NATO boots on the ground still has some time to run before it’s put to sleep for good. Things could get much worse. Bani Walid might be the beginning.

    We were accused of supporting Gaddafi because we opposed the war. I opposed the war because of exactly this. It will go on for years. You only have to look at Amnesty International’s reports on Iraq and Afghanistan. Absolute disasters.

    Where are all those nice, westernised liberals we were assured we’re going to make Libya safe for Rotary International?

    Probably developing amnesia about Libya so they can say its a Brave New World Order next time the west invades a resource rich country that cannot defend itself. That’s my guess.