Libya: Rapidly Changing

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/20/libya-gunshots-screams-revolution

I think Libya is trending toward needing its own thread. The Arab League representative for Libya has resigned in protest, which is rather astounding given what that body tolerates. Unrest is now confirmed in Tripoli, and that is going to force Gaddafi's hand, if he has one to play.

The mercenaries are an issue, but if you rely on them to take your country, it's not your country any more. The USA is weighing in...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/20/libya-usa-travel-idUSN2016865320110220

Reuters said:
Feb 20 (Reuters) - The United States said on Sunday it was deeply concerned by credible reports of hundreds of deaths and injuries during protests in Libya, and urged the government to allow demonstrators to protest peacefully.

Protesters, inspired by uprisings in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, are demanding an end to the 41-year rule of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. His security forces have responded with a violent crackdown.

"The United States is gravely concerned with disturbing reports and images coming out of Libya," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "We have raised to a number of Libyan officials ... our strong objections to the use of lethal force against peaceful demonstrators."

The State Department said U.S. Embassy dependents were being encouraged to leave Libya and U.S. citizens were urged to defer nonessential travel to the country.
AP Video: some graphic content: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kJazzrrl_w&feature=player_embedded


In addition, CNN is reporting that Qaddafi's son will address the nation soon. I wouldn't have bet against Qaddafi's ruthlessness, but this is taking some very odd turns.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Reports from CNN now claim that it's believed Moamar Qaddaffi has left Libya, possibly for Italy. This is highly unconfirmed and security forces are still very much active.

Oh yes, and the protestors have taken Benghazi.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/20/libya.protests/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

CNN Highlights said:
NEW: Witnesses report protesters are aided by military who switched sides
NEW: Libya's ambassador to the Arab League resigns
Gadhafi's son will make a speech Sunday night
More than 200 people are reported killed
 
  • #4
That would make a lot of sense matching reports from western sources in Benghazi. It seems that the military is tired of slaughtering their own people, for now at least.

Remember a previous post: "I'm transcribing the following from a CNN interview with a Libyan woman in Benghazi, Libya."

Libyan Woman on CNN said:
Please help us we have no guns Obama please help us we do nothing! 'Cause I am afraid. We have not freedom here, no freedom... everything is sad. The soldiers, ah go from the camp, they say 'We are with you, we are with you,' we, uh we we believe them! Some people believe them, and after that *begins to cry* they start shooting the people! Why? *sobbing* Why?! Why they lie? We are afraid.
The military of Libya is not the monolith that Egypt's military is, and in many ways that could lead to a truly fragmented state of this goes badly.
 
  • #5
arildno
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Libya hasn't had the type of national identity that Egypt and Tunisia, for example have.
It's been a state-driven Ghadafi-cult, where Ghadafi has been a puppet master playing the old tribes out against each other in order to remain the top dog. Not unlike the rather artificial Iraq-construction under Saddam Hussein.

Liby is a vast country with a tiny population. If people there feel more at home within an extended clan system than in a unified state, then the fragmentation of Libya is not necessarily the worst that can happen.
 
  • #6
Libya hasn't had the type of national identity that Egypt and Tunisia, for example have.
It's been a state-driven Ghadafi-cult, where Ghadafi has been a puppet master playing the old tribes out against each other in order to remain the top dog. Not unlike the rather artificial Iraq-construction under Saddam Hussein.

Liby is a vast country with a tiny population. If people there feel more at home within an extended clan system than in a unified state, then the fragmentation of Libya is not necessarily the worst that can happen.
I would have agreed before they had access to a state's military.

Oh, and a government building in Tripoli is on fire.
One in Benghazi is looted and burned.
233+ dead.

I think whatever we believe, we're going to find out what happens without the need to guess or speculate.
 
  • #7
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this is going to turn into a warlord situation, isn't it?
 
  • #8
this is going to turn into a warlord situation, isn't it?
Well, tribal at least, but that's just a guess. I doubt that even the Libyan people know what happens next.
 
  • #9
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Fidel Castro says NATO plans invasion of Libya
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-02-22-castro-libya-invasion_N.htm

Nice to hear from our old friend.


Also Gaddafi has this chilling response to his departure.

"It is not possible that I leave this place," Gaddafi said. "I will be a martyr at the end." He described himself as "a fighter, a revolutionary from tents," but denied responsibility for the violence even as he issued a warning.

"I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired," he said. "When I do, everything will burn."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/22/AR2011022203488.html
 
  • #10
  • #11
Evo
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Nice to see that his South American dictator buddies are backing Gadhafi against the people of Libya. They seem to truly believe that they own these countries and the people are possesions.
 
  • #12
Nice to see that his South American dictator buddies are backing Gadhafi against the people of Libya. They seem to truly believe that they own these countries and the people are possesions.
"To reign over the kingdom of the world. To make its peace and write its laws. To be generous to the obedient and merciless to all those who would stand against you. Nothing ever changes. 2000 years and you still act as if the world is yours." (Alucard from Hellsing)
 
  • #13
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I don't think the "Leader and Guide of the Revolution" qualifies for martyrdom. The ugly butt of jokes, on the other hand...
 
  • #14
I don't think the "Leader and Guide of the Revolution" qualifies for martyrdom. The ugly butt of jokes, on the other hand...
That man should be a blood eagle in the Libyan desert... let the Gobli have him back.
 
  • #15
cobalt124
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This doesn't look good. Even if Gadaffi gracefully stepped down it doesn't look good.
 
  • #16
This doesn't look good. Even if Gadaffi gracefully stepped down it doesn't look good.
Agreed... for all intents and purposes this is a civil war already. All that remains to be seen is if "uncle Moamar" can muster air assets that won't defect to attack Benghazi. No... there's no happy ending for Libya here.
 
  • #17
cobalt124
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Agreed... for all intents and purposes this is a civil war already. All that remains to be seen is if "uncle Moamar" can muster air assets that won't defect to attack Benghazi. No... there's no happy ending for Libya here.
I have this feeling that problems will extend beyond Libya. After my initial optimism the whole Middle East now looks like it could blow up.
 
  • #18
I have this feeling that problems will extend beyond Libya. After my initial optimism the whole Middle East now looks like it could blow up.
I wish you had been right, and I take 0 joy in being one to say that this is going to end badly. Nobody is going to let that oil go...

... and what is Iran thinking... the people, the regime?
 
  • #19
cobalt124
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Yes, I always hope sense will prevail, especially when some is seen, but now I see things like Iran piling in (warships in Suez Canal), thats if their own people don't revolt, and someone taking the opportunity to try to get a muslim empire back. Its scary.
 
  • #20
turbo
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Yes, I always hope sense will prevail, especially when some is seen, but now I see things like Iran piling in (warships in Suez Canal), thats if their own people don't revolt, and someone taking the opportunity to try to get a muslim empire back. Its scary.
Iran can rattle sabers and create uncertainty, but does anybody here doubt the ability of the US-backed Israeli military's ability to take out their puny warships? I agree that it's scary, but the scariest part IMO is that radicals in Israel's government will take an opportunity to take military action and possibly fuel deadly reactions from their Arabic neighbor-states.

It is also possible that a provocation or conflict can be manufactured or exaggerated, giving Israel a "justification" for bombing all of Iran's nuclear sites into the dirt - a goal of Israel's hard-liners for years. This all could end very badly.
 
  • #21
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Do the people in Libya still have internet, phone international media? Or is that blocked? Does Iran have it?
 
  • #22
Do the people in Libya still have internet, phone international media? Or is that blocked? Does Iran have it?
No, and Highly filtered/monitored.
 
  • #23
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2
this is going to turn into a warlord situation, isn't it?
Well, tribal at least, but that's just a guess. I doubt that even the Libyan people know what happens next.
Under Gaddafi, Libya was seeing economic growth and international companies like BP were coming to Libya. However, I am pessimistic about Libya's future in the absence of a unified government. It is certain that Libya is traveling back in the time and undoing all little reforms that occurred under Gaddafi.


http://www.iai.it/pdf/mediterraneo/GMF-IAI/Mediterranean-paper_08.pdf [Broken]
This articles makes this conclusion among many others:
The emergence of Saif al-Islam and his reformist
project has provided Libyans with a faint sense of
hope in what has been an otherwise bleak landscape.
So much so that even some parts of the
opposition abroad are now giving their support to
the young Qadhafi and are viewing him as the best
option for the future.
There is also a BBC article that describes situation under Gaddafi
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12528996
Women in Libya are free to work and to dress as they like, subject to family constraints. Life expectancy is in the seventies. And per capita income - while not as high as could be expected given Libya's oil wealth and relatively small population of 6.5m - is estimated at $12,000 (£9,000), according to the World Bank.
 
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  • #24
378
2
Few more interesting quotes from the article I linked above:
#1
Like the
other countries of the Maghreb, Libya had experienced
a demographic explosion, and in 1995, 39
percent of the population was under the age of 15.1
The already bloated state sector was struggling to
absorb those of working age, and given the regime’s
ideological objections to privatization, there was no
private sector alternative.
Above provides answer to why Gaddafi referred to "young" people in his speech and might shed some light on kind of people who are involved in the anti-government protests

#2
Qadhafi confidently declared, “Libya
wants to encourage foreign capital investment and
partnership, not only for the benefit of this country
but for the entire African continent to which Libya
is the gateway for Europe…. We will create the right
atmosphere for the investor."3
 
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  • #25
cobalt124
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Looking at the BBC news website, Gadaffi is looking increasingly isolated. It was good to see the Arab Leauge suspend Libyas membership.

Iran can rattle sabers and create uncertainty, but does anybody here doubt the ability of the US-backed Israeli military's ability to take out their puny warships? I agree that it's scary, but the scariest part IMO is that radicals in Israel's government will take an opportunity to take military action and possibly fuel deadly reactions from their Arabic neighbor-states.
Not knowledgeable on Middle Eastern politics, but I fear Iran could do far more than sabre rattling and causing uncertainty. I don't think any amount of military might would stop them trying if they felt justified. Taken out they might be, but so were Iraq and Afghanistan and look at the mess there now. And the current situation has the potential to make the previous ones look like very small beer. Agree about Isreal, they may take advantage of the situation if they see a chance to. The other depressing point is I don't think they will necessarily see peace breaking out in the Middle East as in their interests, in their current entrenched mindset.

It is also possible that a provocation or conflict can be manufactured or exaggerated, giving Israel a "justification" for bombing all of Iran's nuclear sites into the dirt - a goal of Israel's hard-liners for years. This all could end very badly.
Yes, there is surely a lot of justified (in their own eyes) political gameplaying going on in the background which will probably just add fuel to the fire.
 
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