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84 responses to “What now for Libya?”

  1. kellsy

    What now for Libya?

    Definitely:
    • massive PTSD and depression across the entire population (that will remain untreated and fester)
    • lots and lots and lots of crippled people
    • long-term starvation and malnutrition
    • widespread homelessness
    • large roaming street gangs, particularly of homeless children
    • soaring crime rate
    • major refugee exodus, with most ending up lingering in camp limbo
    • once-beautiful cities in ruins with no money to fix them (must pay NATO and IMF first)
    • desperate people trying to survive in uninhabitable and dangerous conditions
    • too many reprisal killings to bother counting
    • massive political repression

    Almost certainly:
    • long-term civil war
    • NATO trooops on the ground and/or UN occupation
    • loss of virtually all women’s rights to Islamic fundamentalism
    • massive drop in literacy levels
    • return to pre-Gaddafi poverty levels (4th poorest per capita nation on earth in 1969), with a corresponding rise of a small super-rich class
    • full elimination of Libya’s long-term free education, health care and subsidised housing
    • neo-liberal restructuring programs to sell off all the nation’s resources and assets to foreign interests
    • establishment of Western representative electoral process that favours ony rich, pro-Western candidates
    • (unlike Iraq and Afghanistan) ongoing indifference from ignorant Western progressives and anti-war types, who will remain totally clueless on how spectacularly they’ve been suckered into believing we were ridding the world of a tyrant.

  2. Link

    Geebs kellsy, so what’s the bad news? You base this grim scenario on . . .?

    Who knows how Libya is going to recover, but would suggest they implement John Howard’s guns buyback scheme for a good start. Other than that they now find themselves more or less in the same shit as the rest of us with regard to generating jobs and trying to function in a dysfunctional world economy. The oil companies will be gleeful, but for the rest of the population who do not directly benefit, it will be struggle as usual.

  3. Chav

    Are the pollies and pundits celebrating the death of Gaddafi be the same one’s who would consider the execution of the Romanov’s as one of the great crimes of the 20th century?

  4. Sam

    Kellsy’s post reminds me, nostalgically, of the last apologists for East Germany: “they have great child care”.

    Although, it must be said, there’s no reason at all to think that Libya will become Sweden on the Sahara. It’ll probably become a bog standard African dictatorship, characterised by the usual massive corruption by the rulers of the day, indifferent (at best) to the population, who if they are lucky will manage their escape to the Cote d’Azur when the coup comes.

    If Gaddafi had been smart he would have retired to the Negresco (http://www.hotel-negresco-nice.com/) 5 or 6 years ago when he was flavour of the month in the west. But he overstayed his welcome.

  5. tssk

    No self examination of why us on the left supported Gaddafi? (At least by proxy through Tony Blair.)

  6. sg

    Speak for yourself tssk. Tony Blair is a narcissistic vampire, and has always been obviously poisonous to the left and labour.

  7. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    No self examination of why us on the left supported Gaddafi? (At least by proxy through Tony Blair.)

    Huh?

  8. tssk

    My feeling too but I reckon the Tories and their supporters are going to hammer this point repeatedly. And so they should. We should be less tolerant of such leaders rather than shrugging our shoulders and saying “well at least they aren’t as bad as the Tories.”

    But yes, Libya is going to be a bit of a mess but at the very least Gadaffi’s death will make things simpler. I would have prefered him to face a court but the risk of leaving him alive would have been he risk of his supporters feeing him.

  9. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    One positive thing that could done: give the Berbers more autonomy. Gaddafi treated them like shit, and didn’t allow them to practice their own language.

  10. kellsy

    This goes for about 5 seconds, but it’s horror will be with me till my dying day.

    http://www.federaljack.com/?p=127425

  11. tssk

    Down and out check out http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/8787074/Tony-Blairs-six-secret-visits-to-Col-Gaddafi.html amongst others.

    Tony Blair’s close relationship to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has come under fresh scrutiny after it emerged he had six private meetings with the dictator in the three years after he left Downing Street.

    Much more at the link.

  12. kellsy

    [email protected] ‘Kellsy’s post reminds me, nostalgically, of the last apologists for East Germany: “they have great child care”.’

    On what basis do you assume that Gaddafi’s Libya was akin to East Germany? Oh, of course. The Western media. And we all know how reliable that is, don’t we?

    I can see from subsequent comments that this commentary thread is shaping rapidly into just another pseudo-progressive ‘bomb a village in order to save it’ trope, so I guess I’m outta here.

  13. Katz

    And doubtless hatred and fear of Gadhafi, when still alive and a threat, united diverse political, social and sectarian elements in Libya.

    Now he is dead the potential for division increases. Which groups will NATO support and which groups will NATO bomb?

  14. dylwah

    well. first up a plethora of different tendencies will claim that they are the real victors.

    On Sunday many Libyans will look west as Tunisia holds its election, the result and conduct of which could be fairly influential on the Libyan polity.

    I wish em all the best, well done.

  15. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    tssk: Tony Blair does not speak for or act for “the Left”, however one may define it.

    Strawmen are not your friends.

  16. Sam

    Re 10: Gee, Hillary has really stacked in on. I’m sure she is really busy, but she really ought to get to the gym more often.

    Re 12: I didn’t say that Libya was like East Germany. I said that apologists for Gaddafi (e.g., you), are just like the apologists for East Germany were.

  17. Occam's Blunt Razor

    As long as the Islamists or Socialists don’t cease power and they develop their own style of democracy that supports the rule of law and property rights then the long temr future of Libya is looking pretty good.

    All theyhave to overcome is the cultural tribalism/corruption and the inherent fatalism of Islam and they’ll be right.

    Kicking a few goals at the moment – keep it up Libya.

  18. Terangeree

    Re 16: Well, Mrs Clinton is 64 years old.

    To get back to the subject at hand, it appears that the Colonel was summarily executed whilst he was a prisoner.

    Not quite the best start for the new régime.

  19. teeganbard

    Another dictator will rise, its as sure as the nose on your face!

  20. tssk

    Mind you the world’s greatest democracy likes to dispose of dictators like that as well. With them as an example who can blame the Libyans?

  21. GregA

    NATO might be a more effective peacekeeping force than the UN has provided in recent memory, but either are unlikely to be invited any time soon, I suspect.

  22. Paul Norton

    I’ve linked to this article by Fred Halliday before, but in the light of some posts on this thread it bears repeating.

  23. sg

    wtf has Clinton’s weight got to do with anything?

    I’m not sure I understand a single point made on this comment thread so far, except maybe OBR’s.

  24. Occam's Blunt Razor

    Was that positive enough for you sg?

  25. Occam's Blunt Razor

    @17 cease = sieze

  26. sg

    It was, OBR, except that I would say I’m not sure any of the Arab countries will benefit from a purely secular administration – they are always going to need to incorporate an element of islamic political or legal theory in their development, I suspect. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. But the kind of moderate islamic leadership I’m imaging would be good for Libya wouldn’t really qualify as “islamist” in the sense I guess you mean it.

    Now we get to see how well-supported and serious the NTC really are…

  27. Tim Macknay

    Are the pollies and pundits celebrating the death of Gaddafi be the same one’s who would consider the execution of the Romanov’s as one of the great crimes of the 20th century?

    I suspect that the pollies and pundits who regarded the execution of the Romanovs as one of the “great crimes of the 20th century” are all dead, given that that event occurred 93 years ago.

  28. Fran Barlow

    Tim macknay said:

    I suspect that the pollies and pundits who regarded the execution of the Romanovs as one of the “great crimes of the 20th century” are all dead, given that that event occurred 93 years ago.

    Regrettably, the original challenge specified the conditional … {who would consider}

    I can’t imagine how one could test this claim in practice, but the objection isn’t plausible. Clearly, they might.

  29. Occam's Blunt Razor

    sg – completely agree on Islam contributing to their laws. While I strongly beleive in the seperationof Church and State and I am an Atheist, I expect Judeo-Christian values and traditions to be part of the process of our law making and I would expect no less in Islamic countries. The challenge is for modern/reformed Islam to over-ride Islamist extremists. Turkey was a wonderful role model until the current Islamicists got into power.

  30. Sam

    Well, Mrs Clinton is 64 years old.

    I know, but still. No wonder Bill plays away from home.

    It was bad form of Hillary to gloat over Gaddafi’s death. He was murdered by a mob, pure and simple. It wasn’t exactly the Nuremberg trials, much less modern justice at the Hague. I think the image is going to haunt the new Libyan regime.

  31. Katz

    The Turkish islamists got into power because almost 50% of the electorate voted for them. In the major population centres of the Middle East, since the Bush years, islamism has grown in popularity.

    Perhaps a secularist victory in Libya may reverse this trend, though in the short term I doubt it.

  32. Tim Macknay

    Fran @27, I’m not entirely sure what you’re on about. I don’t really see why you think Chav’s comment was a “challenge”, or my response an “objection”, or why you think it was implausible.

    OBR @28, yep. While freedom of worship is essential for an open society, a formal separation of church and state isn’t required. The famously secular Sweden actually has an established church, as does the UK. I disagree about Turkey, though. The current Islamic-based government has proven itself to be a modernising one (perhaps contrary to many Western expectations), and has moved Turkey in a democratic direction, not an Islamist one. To me, the fact that Turkey has elected an Islamic-based government and remained a largely secular society is proof that Islam and modern democracy can be compatible. The decline in Turkey’s relations with Israel doesn’t tell you anything significant about Turkish domestic policy.

  33. Fran Barlow

    Sam said of Gaddhafi’s demise:

    He was murdered by a mob, pure and simple. It wasn’t exactly the Nuremberg trials, much less modern justice at the Hague. I think the image is going to haunt the new Libyan regime.

    Ideally, he would have been captured alive, received something civilised folk could recognise as due process and been given the rest of his life in suitable and modest but humane confinement.

    That said, given the scale of his crimes and even the most recent reckless bloodletting against civilians by him and his descrption of his enemies as sub-human, the necessarily ad hoc and irregular nature of the forces arrayed on the ground against him, the somewhat loose nature of the governance arrangements that are likely to obtain for the foreseeable future, unless he’d fallen into the hands of NATO or some settled power, this was always the most likely outcome.

    I’m never going to call killing someone “justice”, but there is something to the claim that one makes one’s own fate in these matters. He ruled Libya uncontested for most of 42 years. He never allowed civil society to develop, and authored a culture based on murderous vindictive brutality and repression. He could have acted otherwise, allowing himself a non-lethal way of stepping back from being an autocrat. His megalomania, congnitive dissonance and self-delusion never permitted him to do that and in the end, he can be seen as a victim of his own choices. Just as man who builds a bomb to kill others is hoist by his own petard when it goes off before he is ready, Gaddhafi was really a victim of his own reckless disregard for the welfare of others. Indeed, one may see him as rather fortunate to have deferred suffering the consequences of his malicious conduct for as long as he did. Certainly, the people of Libya are going to continue to suffer the backwash of his quixotic and self-serving rule for some time to come — and that is a far greater tragedy in the grand scheme of things than this chap’s rough dealing at the end.

    If there is anything likely to constrain the behaviour of actual and putative megalomaniacs, it is the sense that they will not end their lives as heroes, battling with their arch enemies and pointing the finger at those unable to grasp their genius, but rather, at the hands of some nobody, away from the usages of celebrity, in some tawdry and banal act of vengeance, marked once and for all by humiliating images on youtube. If even one autocrat is chastened momentarily by that thought, then the murder of Gaddhafi may well be seen, if not as justice, then as about a good an end as any for which one could hope.

  34. Occam's Blunt Razor

    Well Fran, I think the killing of Gaddhafi was justice and a good thing, completely justified and I’ll be raising my first beer tonight to the people of Libya and the trigger puller/s. I would have done the same thing in their position.

  35. Fran Barlow

    Tim Macknay said:

    I don’t really see why you think Chav’s comment was a “challenge”, or my response an “objection”, or why you think it was implausible.

    Chav wondered out loud whether the pollies and pundits celebrating the death of Gaddafi be the same ones who would consider the execution of the Romanovs as one of the great crimes of the 20th century.

    Chav was clearly alleging that perceived boss class interest would trump the usual concern for the normal usages of civilised life. That’s a challenge, surely?

    You were clearly making, on the face of it, a temporal objection to the claim, oting the likelihood that those who held the view that those politicians who held that the execution of the Romanovs was one of the great crimes of the 20th century would surely have died by now. The mockery relied on Chav’s syntax. Yet you were careless.

    Chav had perhaps anticipated the objection and used “would” to get around it. The problem of course is that unless he shows someone meeting his specification, it’s not much of a point.

    Richard Pipes would probably endorse the view, but I don’t know what he thinks of events in Libya and I am not aware that he has ever been a politician. Tough gig. I suspect the class may well have many folks in it, but evidence would be lacking.

  36. tssk

    I don’t think Fran was disagreeing with you. I did wonder when I saw the footage this morning if Gaddafi realised that in effect he had authored his own death…it’s a pity so many others met theirs first.

    I think as Fran said that last footage of Gaddafi will make others pause before following his path. The summary execution of a small coward pulled from a sewer. there’s a certain rough poetry in his end.

  37. kellsy

    Sam, Occam’s Blunt Razor, Fran Barlow

    Your rhetoric is truly, deeply frightening. You are not only utterly clueless about the way that Western demonisation campaigns work, but you completely fail to understand how far the West has slid into a kind of sociopathic paranoia, in whose name any form of murder and/or mass slaughter are justifiable.

    And Sam

    If I am an ‘apologist’ for Gaddafi, then you, sir, are an apologist for bombing Libya’s beautiful cities back to the stone age, as well as the totally avoidable killing of tens of thousands of Libyan people. Frankly, I know which apologist I’d rather be.

    And by ‘avoidable’, I mean this (just for starters):
    http://www.medialens.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=11380#11380

  38. Fran Barlow

    Kellsy said:

    Your rhetoric is truly, deeply frightening. You are not only utterly clueless about the way that Western demonisation campaigns work …

    Hardly — at least not in my case. Just to be clear though, propoaganda aside, are you claiming that Gaddhafi was not a murderous despot? What was your assessment of his view of

    a) legitimate governance
    b) separation of the state and civil society
    c) separation of the executive and judicial branches of government
    d) the status of human rights in Libya
    e) accountability for public investment

    By what means, in your opinion, did he remain in effective control of Libya from 1969?

    Were these means consistent with the idea of popular sovereignty? If so, how should this be measured?

    Which (if any) of his approaches in practice to such matters would you defend in places such as Australia?

    Assuming you plan to avoid demonising him, I believe you should offer up an answer, so that those here who may be uncertain of the frontiers between western demonisation and the living reality of life in Libya between 1969-2011 can work out where they are.

  39. Katz

    I’m not sure the world will notice whether or not a few blog commenters in Australia deplore the manner of Gadhafi’s demise.

    The question is whether Libya’s prospects as a sustainable civil society might be influenced by the way Gadhafi was dealt with.

    Italy appears to have coped with Mussolini’s grisly end.

    On the other hand, the US dealt very circumspectly and leniently with leading Confederate figures, extending thereby a hand of reconciliation to the South.

    The path between justice/revenge and a sustainable civil society may take many courses.

  40. Occam's Blunt Razor

    What Fran said.

  41. dylwah

    Well he sure as heck wasn’t “an eagle in a dovecote.” tho he seems to have died in a similar manner

  42. Tim Macknay

    Fran @34, no doubt many commentators and politicans celebrating Gaddafi’s death (whoever they are – I haven’t been paying that much attention) are hypocrites, which is what I understand Chav’s point to have been.

    I just thought referring back to the killing of the Romanovs was rather obtuse, given that it is an event that barely even registers on the contemporary political scene. Your bringing Richard Pipes into it, who I understand is an academic whose career has been devoted to the study of 20th century Russian history, also seems obtuse, given that he appears utterly marginal to current events in Libya.

    Essentially, Chav speculated as to what some contemporary politicans and commentators might think about the deaths of the Romanovs. I also speculated, somewhat differently, and my speculation was no less plausible (and IMHO more plausible, since the deaths of the Romanovs are really of little interest to anyone except historians and obsessive Marxists and anti-Marxists who haven’t let go of the Cold War).

  43. Occam's Blunt Razor

    I can understand why they offed the parents but they shouldn’t have topped the kids.

  44. Joe

    I think it’s easy to underestimate the European desire for establishing an empire. The current “financial crisis” in Europe is turning out to be a very handy crisis for those people who wanted to see a more unified Europe– and if we look at who the EU has benefited the most, that would be German industry.

    We have also seen a rather incredible alignment of political opinion on the way to deal with the financial crisis here in Germany, during the last month. You now have to look to the edge to find any critical response regarding the importance of a more integrated EU. ( We’ve also seen the backsides of both Axel Weber and Juergen Stark. )

    How’s this related to Libya. Well, certainly not directly directly, but, I don’t think that Germany and probably many in Western Europe want to enter into a special relationship with Russia, wrt energy supply. Libya, from a European perspective is very nice strategically.

    I agree with Sam, we’ll probably see an “average” African potentate assume power in Libya.

  45. John D

    Libya has an educated population and oil income. So it starts well ahead of most African countries that have overthrown dictatorships. The money is there for rebuilding and this will create jobs.

    There are reasons to be a little optimistic. However, not sure how toxic the tribal divisions will be.

  46. Joe

    Fran said:

    Which (if any) of his approaches in practice to such matters would you defend in places such as Australia?

    Australia’s a fair way away from anywhere though, isn’t it?

    A more interesting question will be how far Gadaffi’s successor goes towards changing the way business is done in Libya.

  47. Brendon

    What happened to all of Libya rejoicing and a new beginning?

    And when will the supporters of the UN/NATO intervention that was supposed to protect civilians (R2P, anyone) explain the thousands of dead civilians? Thaerial bombing of civilian cities by the warmonger NATO gang.

    If you oppose this oil hungry adventure, you are pro Gaddafi, it seems. But those same accusers seem to want to sweep under the carpet the terrible suffering and death that this war caused. They seem to forget their bs about how the whole of Libya was against Gaddafi and he would fall in days if not a few weeks. Because like the media told us, and stuff. And Obama said, and isn’t he like left wing liberally, or something.

  48. Brendon

    I won’t post the youtube video showing the crazed mob as they tore Gadaffi to pieces. Barbaric.

    But anyone here lecturing on Gaddafi needs to look at what is now in charge of Libya. This is certainly happening to hundreds of the new regimes “enemies”.

    Hopefully the western media will continue to make sure not much of this gets through, like they have been doing.

  49. GregM

    Brendon, I look forward to your comments on the events which occurred in Abu Salim prison in Tripoli in 1996.

    I know that your concern is for the Libyan people generally, and I am sure that you have been vigilant in that concern and therefore easily able to demonstrate it, and it is not for Mr Gaddafi in particular, although you have made a valid point about his mistreatment, so that you will be readily able to provide us with links to the numerous posts you have made all across the internet over the last fifteen years deploring his criminal use of violence when, it is alleged, he had 1200 political prisoners of his in Abu Salim prison killed in one night.

    Or if this is a foul allegation against the government of Libya, such is your concern for the good name of the people and government of Libya, that you will be readily able to provide us with links to the numerous posts you have made rebutting that slur.

  50. patrickm

    Kellsy @1 on your 2nd set of dot points where you said ‘Almost certainly:’ I would say
    certainly not
    ‘• long-term civil war
    • NATO troops on the ground and/or UN occupation
    • loss of virtually all women’s rights to Islamic fundamentalism
    • massive drop in literacy levels
    • return to pre-Gaddafi poverty levels (4th poorest per capita nation on earth in 1969), with a corresponding rise of a small super-rich class
    • full elimination of Libya’s long-term free education, health care and subsidised housing
    • neo-liberal restructuring programs to sell off all the nation’s resources and assets to foreign interests’

    But I agree that a bourgeois democracy will be established as the next step forward for the Libyan people so therefore your next point is true but you forget that it will at least be an improvement on the Australian system as it will be PR.
    ‘• establishment of Western representative electoral process that favors only rich, pro-Western candidates’

    Moving beyond bourgeois democracy is not achieved by denouncing democracy as a bourgeois fraud as that is the position of the fascists like our now departed Libyan tyrant. Bourgeois democracy is a fraud, true enough, and the world is spinning into a capitalist crisis so the way forward is not clear anywhere. But if the bourgeois solutions are unworkable then proletarian forces will have to make some more revolution and establish same new law not retreat from this pathetic level of democracy.

    You have in this comment shown what the pseudo left is all about.

  51. kellsy

    Fran [email protected]

    Even if space allowed me the 10,000 words or so needed to answer all the questions you’ve thrown at me, I doubt if I could adequately answer those questions even about Australia, let alone Libya. Suffice to say that, among the few voices in the wilderness that do not sing from the mad-bad-Gaddafi hymnbook, there are some good summaries of the strengths of the Jamahiriya political system – one of the most comprehensive of these is:

    Michael Chussodovsky, ‘Destroying a Country’s Standard of Living: What Libya Had Achieved, What has been Destroyed:
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26686

    Also, this is one of the better accounts of how NATO suckered the Western progressive and anti-war movements into accepting its ‘right to slaughter in order to protect’ poppycock:

    Libya and the Big Lie: Using Human Rights Organizations to Launch Wars http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26848

    However, what really got me questioning my own brainwashed cluelessness on Gaddafi and Libya is this footage of the 1 July pro-Gaddafi/anti-TNC/anti-NATO rally footage. The crowds easily look to number around one million (especially at the 1:46 footage mark):

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

    In the US, with a population of 300 million, a march of this size would deem an issue as having ‘overwhelming’ support. Libya, with a population of 5.5 million … well, you do the maths.

    And if you believe they were all there at the point of a gun or some other form of coercion, then check out this photo essay on the day by one journalist who was there. Those faces do not reveal any sense of fear or oppression – more like a fun day out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wIStIQEuAw&feature

  52. Fran Barlow

    Kellsy said:

    if you believe they were all there at the point of a gun or some other form of coercion, then check out this photo essay on the day by one journalist who was there. Those faces do not reveal any sense of fear or oppression – more like a fun day out

    What are those people now up to? How many are expressing their grief over the demise of the regime? Has there been a single demonstration in solidarity with the ancien regime since the attack on Sirte?

    When do you anticipate the next public show of support for Gaddhafi in Libya? How many persons will attend, do you imagine?

  53. kellsy

    ‘Brendon, I look forward to your comments on the events which occurred in Abu Salim prison in Tripoli in 1996.’

    If I can jump in there … A few dubious points about Abu Salim that get regurgitated ad nauseum.

    The supposed Abu Salim mass grave recently found (very heavily reported by the media) turned out to a few animal bones (totally unreported by the media).

    A lot of people died at Abu Salim, but the figure of 1200 is ridiculous – more like about 400 – tops. The official registry, for which families of the Abu Salim missing were invited to provide details, totals 113 confirmed deaths (but not from injuries or execution) and 238 missing.

    The prisoners involved were part of the normal prison population – thieves, murderers, rapists etc, plus some Islamic militants – not all anti-Gaddafi political dissidents, as the MSM loves to claim. The alleged massacre was the result of a prison riot/escape over increased security measures that had temporarily suspended family visits. The deaths also included prison guards (Human Rights Watch claims two, the Libyan government claims 200) some of whom were taken as hostages.

    There have only ever been 2 witnesses produced – neither of whom saw anyone being killed. One reported to have seen prisoners taken away in buses and to have seen and heard shots being fired by what looked to be army personnel. The other, a cook in the kitchen, gave the figure of 1200 as an estimate of how many meals he was required to prepare before and after the riot!!

    The full Human Rights Watch report, dubious and one-sided as it is, can be found here:
    http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/libya2003.pdf

  54. kellsy

    Fran Barlow @52

    You’re kidding me, right? Anyone in the TNC-occupied areas who dares to show support for Gaddafi now will cop an instant bullet to the head.

    If that’s the best reply you can do, then I give up.

  55. kellsy

    patrickm

    Please spare me yet another righteous Marshall Plan scenario. It didn’t work in Iraq or Afghanistan – hell, it didn’t even work in Japan. (It took Japan almost 60 years to get rid of its right-wing pro-US oligarchy.)

    Even if Libya is transformed into the most perfect democracy that ever existed, nothing justifies the slaughter that NATO has inflicted on that country over the last 8 months, or its morally bankrupt eagerness to supported a bunch of callous thugs who thought nothing of having a vastly superior military power carpet bomb their own country to further their own vested interests.

  56. smssiva

    It would be good to look at Kenneth Kaunda who was a dictator in Zambia from 1964 to 1991. His slogan was ‘one nation one zambia one party’. He can be considered a benovelent dictator in that he merely jailed opponents. I also think a few beatings were involved. He also preached his brand of ‘humanism’. After 27 years he saw the righting on the wall and exited gracefully. He is a now a revered elder statesman and seen recently participating in dancing with the stars being a keen ball room dancer. If all dictators followed him!

  57. su

    There were reports a month ago that both Britain and France had sown up energy supply contracts with the Transitional Authority – France is said to have secured 35% of the crude oil production. You can bet there will be more horse trading over the release of frozen Libyan assets, and contracts for rebuilding infrastructure will be awarded accordingly. It’ll be interesting to see just how much Britain and France manage to extract in payment for their humanitarian intervention.

  58. patrickm

    Tim Macknay @ 31
    ‘The decline in Turkey’s relations with Israel doesn’t tell you anything significant about Turkish domestic policy.’

    Actually it tells you that this part of the ME swamp is draining very well. A bourgeois democracy responsive to the people now exists and is able to further develop. With a bit of luck they might find a new approach to the Kurdish question as this national issue may be resolvable without developing society beyond the levels of human association achieved in the western world. After all, solutions to Scottish, Welsh and Irish national questions unfold even now in a broad European context of globalized capitalism, rather than in conflict with a simple English imperialist tyranny, so it is possible.

    But despite this Kurdish national issue we all know the U.S. supported the fascist ‘secular’ Turkish military thugs for many decades as a vital link in their cold war realist policies, and ALL the people in Turkey got brutalized accordingly, with leftists and other democrats regularly murdered for even beginning to challenge this realist backed rat-baggery. The country was a typical ME disgrace (as bad as Gaddafi) and therefore a close U.S. ally. So the realists as they kept the swamp said ‘Turkey was a wonderful role model until the current Islamicists got into power.’ as OBR said above.

    For example, Turkish government’s almost always had good relations with Israel (just like Egypt under U.S. realist backed Mubarak) while the people of Turkey wanted diplomatic relations ended with the country that was conducting a vicious war of naked aggression for the conquest of greater Israel.

    Now all this is gone with the wind and it won’t be coming back. What’s next for Libya is the fulfillment of the demands that had people taking to the streets in the first place. The region wide revolution for bourgeois democracy will roll on with it’s region wide and relatively backward characteristics. Political struggle will develop as it has in Iraq, and is right now in Tunisia, and as it will in Bahrain, Syria and Iran etc..

    The first Tunisian democratic elections will be held next Sunday.

    3000 volunteers have been trained to man the polling stations.
    10,000 candidates.
    100 different political parties.
    Voting by proportional representation.
    Voters will dip their fingers into purple dye.

    Remember Iraq, January 2005? Those stained fingers shame the pseudo-left to this day and they will next week in Tunisia.

  59. Phil.

    “Even if Libya is transformed into the most perfect democracy that ever existed, nothing justifies the slaughter that NATO has inflicted on that country over the last 8 months, or its morally bankrupt eagerness to supported a bunch of callous thugs who thought nothing of having a vastly superior military power carpet bomb their own country to further their own vested interests.”

    Indeed, and when the dust settles it will be business as usual. It’s laughable here, that some people really think that Nato help depose Gaddafi for altruistic reasons. Is all they have done is replace the armed goons, the outcome will be the same. More sectarian violence, and a supply of oil to Europe/U.S at the right price.

  60. Fran Barlow

    Phil. said:

    It’s laughable here, that some people really think that Nato help depose Gaddafi for altruistic reasons.

    I’ve checked back through the comments section, and while it’s possible I missed them, I can’t find anyone making that claim. Please cite at least two posters (your specification: some people) adducing altruism as the rationale for NATO intervention.

    I agree though that it would indeed be laughable if anyone were to make such a claim. Perhaps you can explain the relevance of the absence of NATO/imperialist altruism to the development of events in Libya when you come to answer.

  61. GregM

    Fran, in fairness to Phil he may have been referring to earlier threads on Libya where commenters who are commenting on this thread referred to altruism as one of the motives for the NATO intervention.

  62. GregM

    Kellsy @53

    A lot of people died at Abu Salim, but the figure of 1200 is ridiculous – more like about 400 – tops.

    Well that’s alright then. I’m glad that you have explained that to me.

    Killing 1200 people in cold blood is unacceptable but killing 400 in cold blood is perfectly acceptable.

    I see where you are coming from. And I am totally reassured by it.

    I am glad we cleared that up.

  63. Phil.

    “I agree though that it would indeed be laughable if anyone were to make such a claim. Perhaps you can explain the relevance of the absence of NATO/imperialist altruism to the development of events in Libya when you come to answer.”

    Greg M that is exactly what I meant. Fran the intervention by NATO in the events of Libya means they must have an agenda, the reason given of protecting the people of Libya, (from themselves) is utter nonsense.The imperialists don’t intervene in anything unless there is something in it for them. Gadaffi wasn’t doing as he was told, maybe. To try and analyse this than anything else but more hegemony by the west, but WITH military force in this case, is laughable.

    Give it a few weeks and the members of NATO will be arguing over the spoils.

    Give it a few months and another Gadaffi will be running the show.

  64. kellsy

    [email protected]

    Nice bit of derailing there. I said nothing of the sort and you know that I know that you know that I didn’t say that. The official Pol Pot genocide figure has also been revised down, from 3 million to 2.2 million – Does that mean that those 2.2 million deaths are OK? Don’t be daft.

    If the Abu Salim death toll figures – based on the testimony of ONE witness, who didn’t see anyone killed – can be questioned, then so too can all other claims surrounding the incident.

    The Western media continues to portray the one-sided scenario that Abu Salim was a Gaddafi-directed massacre of anti-Gaddafi dissidents, when in reality it was a very violent prison riot that got out of control after attempts to negotiate with the rioters and to release their hostages broke down. No doubt there would have been convicted terrorists among the rioters, but overall they constituted the usual prison population of murderers, thieves and rapists.

    The final death toll may well have been the result of government forces cracking down violently on the rioters, and the Libyan government may well have tried to do a cover-up/justification – as all governments do, e.g. Attica, Waco, H-block. However, it did conduct a public investigation and co-operated with an independent Swiss organisation to create a registry of relatives’ demands to know what happened to their loved ones.

    There are a lot of unanswered questions and still a lot of allegedly missing bodies, but all this Western media Kosovo-revisited mass graves scenario is unsubstantiated propaganda.

  65. jusme

    i hope they learn from australia by not giving away their natural wealth to multinationals with tonka trucks, causing them to return cap in hand to beg for 30% to build hospitals etc.

  66. Fran Barlow

    Phil. said:

    the intervention by NATO in the events of Libya means they must have an agenda, the reason given of protecting the people of Libya, (from themselves) is utter nonsense. The imperialists don’t intervene in anything unless there is something in it for them.

    You don’t say? If only that had occurred to me earlier! I think you’ve finally helped me clear up something that I had found confusing in the politics of the left since the mid-1970s. That must also have been what Lenin was on about back in 1916 and in those debates with Kautsky. Imperialism is self-serving!!? Can I quote you on this?

    This stunning insight changes so much, really.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way … what was your point again? Can you explain the relevance of the absence of NATO/imperialist altruism to the development of events in Libya when you come to answer?

  67. Joe

    Well, the new Libya has got off to a splendid start: The caretaker government has said that in future Libya will be ruled by Sharia law. Where are we then in the Arab Spring metaphor– after a summer of discontent, the fall of the Dictator… Maybe, “the winter is coming,” Game of Thrones fans.

  68. Joe

    And the first reports of a revenge massacre are also coming through. ( There aren’t too many English news sources at the moment, it would seem. )

  69. patrickm

    As I said back in March

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/2011/03/22/libya-the-left-and-a-no-fly-zone-iii/#comment-270863

    ‘We should all note that there are as many progressive Libyans caught up on the currently pro Gaddafi side of the civil war as there are on the revolutionary side. However as soon as the issue is reduced to what demands can bring the fighting to an end one can see that the Gaddafi forces are the problem.

    Despite all the lies that our media and western governments are spewing out the fight is about the right to hold elections that mean something. Gaddafi must go to enable those free and fair elections.’

    The struggle now opens up and 1 divides into 2. The current leadership has lost its head. In Iraq ‘the’ source of law, lost out to ‘a’ source of law when it came to the faith issue. This struggle is now right up front in Libya (first cab off the rank followed by polygamy FFS) and though there are very good early indications that this struggle will in the short term be lost, one ought not be too sure. This prospect has the pseudo-left already scoffing that the pro war left has ‘once again’ got it wrong and that tyranny ought to have been left undisturbed as it ought to have been in Iraq while the human capital of the country developed to something like a current western standard. It is only then that the revolution can be launched goes the refrain. But when the silent masses go to the secret ballot don’t be so sure that issues of humanity’s shared modernity do not win out.

    ‘Dare to struggle dare to win’ is the old saying.

    IMV the current leader will not disarm this population and bring on a new Iran. As Lawrence of Arabia said (in the movie) nothing is written!

  70. sg

    Joe, I think sharia law has been the basis of Egyptian law for quite a while now. Moderate islamists just won power in Tunisia. You need to get over the boogeyman fears. It’s quite normal in the region, and it doesn’t say anything about the particular content of the law – yet. Just because someone says “sharia” doesn’t mean anyone’s coming to behead your girlfriend quite yet.

    And remember Gaddafi was quite happy to play the Islamic adherent when he needed to.

  71. Brendon

    sg,

    Joe’s girlfriend may be safe, but women under Sharia law aren’t doing too well:

    “The Iraqi women feel today, more than any other day, that democracy in Iraq has been slaughtered by discrimination, just as it was slaughtered by sectarianism before,” Talabani said, her voice quaking with emotion.

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/12/31/106043/new-iraqi-government-seen-as-setback.html#ixzz1bkSznOZd

  72. sg

    That’s right, Brendon, some Sharia regimes are terrible. But, once again to remind you: Libya is not Iraq.

    It seems to me that when this islamicism issue rears it’s (covered) head, we see that a lot of people who opposed the LIbya intervention from the left are not pissed about the Libyan people losing control of their affairs per se; they’re pissed that the Libyan people might not choose a left-wing political framework.

    The sad reality that the neo-cons should have dealt with 30 years ago, and supported Saddam Hussein in a desperate attempt to bury their heads in the sand about, is that the middle east and North Africa have their own distinct political traditions, and once we see the last remnants of colonialism shaken out we’ll see those political traditions take form. They are going to be influenced by Islam as much as the “great” western debates about stuff like social democracy and communism. You can’t have it both ways: if you want the people of that region to be free to pursue their own future (as I do), then you’re going to have to accept that Islam is going to figure prominently in it.

    Unless you think that decision about sharia law was something the western powers wanted to impose on Libya…?

  73. Katz

    As I said way back in March:

    I would be very reluctant to conclude from what we know already of the Eastern Rebels that Islamists predominate, or even that there is any evidence that they will predominate in the movement.

    My sole skin in this game is to demonstrate that Islamists did, have, and will play some part in the anti-Gaddafi movement, in exactly the same way as the Muslim Brotherhood played some role in the downfall of Mubarak.

    Both extremes in this argument go beyond the available evidence in asserting a very powerful Islamist presence or conversely a non-existent Islamist presence.

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/2011/03/22/libya-the-left-and-a-no-fly-zone-iii/#comment-271302

    Time has proven me correct, if a little conservative, about the influence of islamists in the anti-Gadhafi insurgency. Those who argued that this insurgency was strongly secularist have every reason to feel foolish.

  74. Sam

    Those who argued that this insurgency was strongly secularist

    Who argued this? (I’m not saying no one did. I just would like to know.)

    Anyways, it looks like Libya will not become Sweden on the Sahara. Oh, well.

  75. sg

    That thread makes amusing reading, Katz. Various claims being bandied about, and now history gets to judge them all. I think Old Yobbo’s statement about dictators hanging from lamp posts with (his words) “dicks in the wind” was probably most prescient.

    Various of the people now claiming Libya is to become an Islamic dictatorship were denying the role of islamism in Tunisia … but an islamic party won there.

    Your own claims about islamism were hardly conservative: you claimed Benghazi held an islamist uprising in 1996 and you and Brendon were confident that the rebels were islamists. You’re using today’s statement about sharia law to justify that claim, but there’s nothing in that. As I said above, Egyptian and Iraqi law are also based partly on sharia, as is Indonesian law, Malaysian law, some aspects of Jordanian law, etc. …

    It’s a feature of the region, and entirely to be expected; it says nothing about whether the uprising was “islamist” and there’s a cunning trick going on here, popular with the neo-cons, of pretending any Islamic influence on the politics of the region is somehow associated with the dread “islamists.”

    Interestingly, there are reports today that France has begun bombing militants in Somalia in support of Kenya’s invasion. Are we then to assume that they’re doing a resource grab there, too? Another Iraq on the way …?

  76. Joe

    sg is right about polygamy. For more information see the list on wiki.

    But, in any case, one of the main claims that was being made in relation to the arab spring, is that the movement was born from the desire of a more educated and modern youth, seeking to free themselves of the shackles of their tradition. In the end it is just turning out to be a power struggle by groups not at all interested in reform.

    There is good reason to think that the accepted intelligence analysis of the US and Israel were correct about the Arab Spring. We will end up hoping, pretty soon in the west, that the situation which develops in North Africa is not worse than what it was pre-2010.

    (sg, I don’t understand, why you keep harping on about the left. If the left exists anyway outside the minds of its imaginers, its got no stake in Libya at all.)

  77. su

    “Are we then to assume that they’re doing a resource grab there, too?”

    Grab implies theft and it isn’t that simple. As it happens, there is a plan to build an oil pipeline extension from Uganda through Kenya so Uganda can get its crude out, but the whole thing is in abeyance as a Libyan company was in charge of the work(until August). I think helping Kenya out is probably quite important to a number of International partners. Partners, I love these euphemisms. I don’t know what is so ridiculous about the suggestion that large nations don’t mobilize expensive bits of military hardware unless it furthers their interests in some way.

  78. GregM

    I don’t know what is so ridiculous about the suggestion that large nations don’t mobilize expensive bits of military hardware unless it furthers their interests in some way.

    I don’t think anyone is arguing against your proposition, su. In fact I think that most people would see it as perfectly obvious.

    The question though is what the large nations (those with economic and military clout, I think we will agree, at least in the European/ North African context) see as furthering their interests.

    Their interests are complex. They are both internal and external. For nations are complex things. Especially democratic nations.

    I am confident, for example that there will be a constituency in Italy, a NATO partner in the enforcement of the UN resolutions / bringer of liberation against 42 years of cruel dictatorship/ aggressor against a free and sovereign government and generally lovely model of government to all of us (as Brendon and kellsy would have), who will insist that the new Libyan constitution must include a GLBT provision without which they will strenuously oppose any Libyan settlement, but with which, conditionally, they will argue to be a good thing after all. Irrespective of kellsy’s and Brendon’s views on the matter, whatever they may be..

    And I am sure that there are those in Italy and elsewhere who will want to get their hands on the Libyan oil money and who will be very unhappy and annoyed if they don’t. And fairly vindicitive and nasty about it.

    But that’s life, isn’t it? And ain’t democracy grand?

  79. sg

    Nothing ridiculous about it at all, su. But blowing up some terrorists in somalia to enable a bit of stability for resource extraction is different to a resource grab, and I think this nuance is occasionally missed on these threads. It was a rhetorical question, if you will.

  80. su

    Yes it’s self-evident Greg M but as energy security is foremost amongst those interests for the net energy importers, and certainly the only one, apart from national security threats, for which they are prepared to use significant force, I was a little confused by what I took to be a general satirical attitude towards the idea that the motives of the US, Britain, France and the rest will continue to influence the course of events in Libya. It wasn’t just Sg’s comment. If Fran was simply indulging her passion for linguistic wonkery in her objections then I was lead astray!

  81. sg

    Well su, the other major reason that I can see is general political stability. I think Italy has concerns about refugees, and everybody in the region wants to see economic development proceed, and not just for Libya. Somalia is destabilizing neighbouring nations and hosting pirates, and it’s pretty close to countries like Oman that are doing well. I can see political stability as an end in itself when dealing with Somalia and Yemen. Also maybe the western powers see some benefit in picking sides in political transitions that may lead to the installation of far right islamists (as seems to happen when states in that part of the world fail).

    I suppose a good historical example is Vietnam, which wasn’t a resource grab so much as an attempt to prevent the spread of an ideology. Why not the same in North Africa? Isn’t that why everyone supported dictatorship in Egypt?

  82. su

    I was under the impression that supporting Mubarek was part of protecting Israel, a strategic asset for the US due to its proximity to the OPEC countries? Israelis themselves are exceptionally cynical about their function as a US ally in the ME. I recall reading an analysis of the military support Israel received from the US which concluded that it was really against their national security interests, that increased levels of financial support through the eighties and nineties, directed towards expanding the military, consistently preceeded a downturn in relations with their neighbours. I thought that was an interesting point of view.

    To some extent aren’t the ideological and pragmatic interests pretty much the same? Would Islamism be much of a foreign policy concern if it had no effect beyond the private lives of those nations’ citizens? The Soviet bloc was more than just an ideological entity and source of national security concerns, it was exclusionary and disruptive in other ways, including in trade, so there was more at stake than ideology in Vietnam, I think, including regional influence and access. Africa represents one non-Opec energy source that the US and others are very interested in, especially given the situation in Venezuela, trying to achieve some degree of independence from Opec has been a very important part of energy concerns in the US for a while now. I’d be interested in the opinions of people better acquainted with the situation, but that is my impression.

  83. sg

    I agree with all of that su, but I still think there’s a lot of ideological commitment underlying the processes we see, not just pragmatism. For example, I agree that

    trying to achieve some degree of independence from Opec has been a very important part of energy concerns in the US for a while now

    but the obvious option of moving away from fossil fuels has been off the table no matter what. This isn’t pragmatic – compare, for example, the US response to the oil shocks of the ’70s (increased meddling in the middle east) with Japan’s (increased domestic energy efficiency measures, and a switch to non-fossil fuel power sources). These are ideologically driven responses in both cases.

    So I think it’s important to look beyond just pragmatism or imperialism in these cases. Another example: the US is pretty wedded to Israel now, and if things go pear-shaped there – collapse, war, invasion, slaughter – the US is going to have to intervene (unless the stakes are waaaay too high) regardless of the economic or regional effects. China has openly made this point about Taiwan too. Imperialist states aren’t rational imperialist actors, and need to be seen in more nuanced terms. I don’t think therefore that “imperialism” is the best analytical response to what happened in Libya.

  84. Brendon

    sg @75:

    “Your own claims about islamism were hardly conservative: you claimed Benghazi held an islamist uprising in 1996 and you and Brendon were confident that the rebels were islamists. You’re using today’s statement about sharia law to justify that claim, but there’s nothing in that. As I said above, Egyptian and Iraqi law are also based partly on sharia, as is Indonesian law, Malaysian law, some aspects of Jordanian law, etc. …”

    I think we were confident NATO was supporting a dangerous brand of Islamists because of what was widely reported over the past decade. Even the US military did a report on Benghazi and Misrata being hotbeds of Muslim extremism well before the uprising.

    We have the the slaughter of at least hundreds of people in Sirte (lets ignore that), and the disgusting barbaric execution of Gaddafi (bashed, sodomized, and a bullet in the head to a cheering crowd).

    And now here is something else to pretend didn’t happen:

    Al Qaeda flag over Benghazi:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2055630/Nato-ends-Libya-mission-Al-Qaeda-flag-flies-Benghazi-bad-omen.html

    Flying high: The Al Qaeda flag, with Arabic writing and a moon design, can be seen flying alongside a Libyan national flag above Benghazi’s courthouse

    Its OK. If the new regime can pacify the people, and allow the western oil companies to suck the country dry, our media will massage the message.

    Once again, the colonials put in extremist dictators for their own purposes, and the people there get accused of having a brutal culture to have such leaders. Sick.