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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Libyan Open Thread: The Birth of a Nation

As free Libyans rise up the world finally reacts to the unforeseen and widely misunderstood events of the last ten days.  

Libya’s prospects rely on their solidarity with each other and the principles of social justice which, as Obama recently mentioned, are as universal as they have been inaccessible to many Libyans for more than a generation.  Libya must rise to the occasion and there is every evidence that they will.

Perhaps we must create the space and opportunity for this and put aside for a moment our geopolitical and cultural fears, not to mention our apprehensions over the price of fuel, and watch the wondrous, rare process of nationhood with respect while withholding our considerable judgement.

This new nation is largely composed of youth whose notions of democracy are as intangible as their understanding of the afterlife and who have earned their hard-won freedom through determination and courage by confronting and vanquishing their own parents’ most terrible fears.

While it makes sense for Western, Arab League and other nations to immediately evacuate their citizens, by whatever means, and NGOs, such as Médecins Sans Frontières, to provide medical relief as they always do it is probably time also to listen closely to the aspirations and needs of the Libyan people when determining what steps the world’s major powers should take to restore stability to the region, if any, and create a place for the nascent Libyan nation among its peers.

With that thought consider the dramatic scene of a few Libyan protesters protecting a beaten mercenary from an understandably angry and violent mob:

Every nation has its martyrs and heroes and Libya seems to have both in abundance at this moment in time.


  1. Shaun Appleby

    An AL Jazeera English live-blog entry:

    11:06pm The Guardian newspaper reports that UK officials have told Gaddafi loyalists to defect or face war crimes.  The article says that a draft resolution which circulating within the Security Council seeks to achieve the following: arms embargo on the government, travel bans and asset freezes of senior officials.The writers Patrick Wintour and Julian Borger say that the idea of a no-fly zone was removed from the Frano-British draft resolution and it was not discussed at a NATO meeting in Brussels. Meanwhile, more than 200 Arab organisations and around 30 Arab intellectuals appealed for a no-fly zone over Libya.

    Live Blog – Libya Feb 25 AJE 25 Feb 11

    Any thoughts on the no-fly zone idea?  Experience suggests it inevitably involves attacks on ground anti-aircraft installations and casualties to all concerned.

  2. Shaun Appleby

    A man moulded for decades by the West speaks:

    Standing on the ramparts of Assai al Hamra – the Red Castle – overlooking the square, Gadhafi pumped his fists and blew kisses to the crowd and told them to “get ready to fight for Libya, get ready to fight for dignity, get ready to fight for petroleum … Moammar Gadhafi is among you. I stand among the people and we will fight and we will kill them if they want.”

    Robert Sibley – Noose tightens around faltering Libyan leader Ottawa Citizen 25 Feb 11

    Inspiring stuff.  His nurse needs to give him another shot soon I’m guessing.

  3. Shaun Appleby

    This RAF crowd noted at NAS Sigonella/Malta in recent hours:

    Royal Air Force traffic is increasing in the NAS Sigonella/Malta region, currently tail nrs ZZ416 ZH868 ZH881 ZH877 ZH888 air borne

    If that isn’t a likely outfit for a desert rescue mission, well…

  4. Shaun Appleby

    @sultanalqassemi: Al Arabiya: Airplane carrying ten tons of medical aid to #Libya takes off from Kuwait

    Apparently MSF has been in-country for a while but has a convoy stalled at the Tunisian border and one of those cargo flights we saw was theirs but prohibited entry on landing at Tripoli.  I assume they are in on the Egypt side but not confirmed:

    Since the onset of violent clashes in Libya on February 17, MSF has been trying to position emergency personnel and supplies into the country by any means possible, including by land and air. Despite the urgent need for medical assistance in Libya, an MSF team carrying medical supplies, including kits for treating war-related injuries, has been blocked for two days at the Tunisian border. Another MSF team had reached Tripoli by airplane but was denied entery to the country and had to turn back.

    Libya: Urgent priority must be given to doctors and medical materials MSF

    These guys are the first responders to the world.  Respect.

  5. HappyinVT

    TRIPOLI — Poor neighbourhoods of the Libyan capital Tripoli openly defied Moammar Gadhafi on Saturday as his grip on power after 41 years of rule looked increasingly tenuous in the face of nationwide revolt.

    Security forces had abandoned the working-class Tajoura district after five days of anti-government demonstrations, residents told foreign correspondents who visited the area.

    Gaddafi looks like he’s going to wait until the last minute and go out in a blaze of “glory.”  Yeah, I know, duh!

  6. Shaun Appleby

    @LaraABCNews Security sources see protester forces launching an assault on Tripoli in coming days, to oust #Gaddafi. Roundly predict more violence #Libya

    Hmmm…  How would they know that?  SIGINT?

  7. Shaun Appleby

    Recent reports of Qaddafi loyalists withdrawing from low-income areas of Tripoli and another seven killed today.  Disturbing report filed from Bamako, Mali:

    Many young citizens of Mali and Niger who flocked to Libya in the 1970s and 1980s were ethnic Tuaregs and were recruited into an “Islamic Legion” modeled on the French Foreign Legion.

    A Tuareg politician in Mali said he believes 16,000 Tuareg remain in the Libyan security forces, based in Tripoli and Sabha but not in Benghazi, a major city that has broken away from Gadhafi’s rule.

    “We’ve been getting updates from some of them by phone,” Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh told The Associated Press. “They say their orders are to protect Gadhafi and they will defend him to the end.”

    African fighters vow to support Gadhafi to the end AP via CBS 26 Feb 11

    And it looks like the desert relief missions are ongoing, good on the RAF:

    “I can confirm that two RAF C130 Hercules aircraft have evacuated more than 150 civilians from desert locations south of Benghazi. The first aircraft has landed in Malta and the second will arrive shortly. HMS Cumberland is on her way back to Benghazi to evacuate any remaining entitled persons from there. HMS York has arrived in Valletta to take onboard stores in order that she can assist with the evacuation effort as required. A number of other military assets remain available to support the FCO-led efforts to return civilians from Libya.”

    HMS Cumberland docked in Valletta at 0230 Saturday morning. It carried 207 passengers including 68 British Nationals.

    Foreign Office update on situation in Libya UK Foreign Office 26 Feb 11

    A recently posted video of security forces fleeing from protesters, in Benghasi on the second day of protests:

  8. Shaun Appleby

    For now in the Tripoli area:

    With several thousand troops backed by heavy armour deployed around the capital, and pro-Gaddafi gunmen violently suppressing dissent inside it, Gaddafi may have enough firepower for now to stop any opposition gains in the city, said Jon Marks, chairman of Britain’s Cross Border Information consultancy.

    William Maclean – SCENARIOS-Gaddafi military options few, and getting fewer Reuters 26 Feb 11

    Interesting that the quality of information regarding loyalist forces from official sources seems to have improved significantly in last forty-eight hours.  From around the time the SIGINT assets showed up in Central Mediterranean, actually.  Tends to confirm also presence of SIGINT within Libya.

  9. Shaun Appleby

    A translation of a recently uploaded video soundtrack from Misurata:

    Our young brave rebels in Misurata have managed this morning to attack Hamza security Battalion and expelled them from its fortress place at the airbase … and the young brave rebels have managed to capture some of the mercenaries and some Libyan soldiers and with other officers they captured an officer with rank of Brigadier who is a close member of Col. Gaddafi…

    Translated: Misratah demonstrators capture a Brigadier and relative to Gaddafi Libya February 17

    Misurata is 210km east of Tripoli and apparently the airport has been the subject of much fighting in recent days.

  10. Shaun Appleby

    Fascinating account of military preparedness in Benghazi by rebel forces:

    Col. Abdel Salam al-Qamati cast doubts on the rebel army’s capabilities to confront pro-Gadhafi forces guarding Tripoli and other pro-Gadhafi strongholds. He said that under Mr. Gadhafi, regular army forces were only given limited number of guns, and those that did have guns were only given seven bullets.

    Col. al-Qamati said his fellow officers and men had sympathized with the people from the beginning, but couldn’t defect openly because they had been too weak to stand up to Mr. Gadhafi’s elite brigades, until those brigades had been driven back from eastern Benghazi by protesters.

    One of the colonels said the rebel air force had no serviceable planes ready to fly.

    Still, there were signs that the officers’ comments may be an attempt at misinformation aimed at Mr. Gadhafi’s forces in the west.

    A senior manager working on the civilian side of Benghazi’s airport said he knew for certain that fighter jets were docked in working order in bunkered hangars at the airport, though he refused to say how many.

    Charles Levinson – Pro-Rebel Officers Vow Defense of Eastern Libya WSJ 26 Feb 11

    Well worth a read as the situation is stable but complex.

  11. Shaun Appleby

    Important breaking news from AlArabiya that rebels have managed to get control over #Libya-#Tunisia border. Should ensure flow of aid.

    The noose seems to be tightening around Qaddafi’s remaining strongholds in Tripoli and Sabha, his only tenuous overland link to the outside now through Niger, days away through the Sahara desert.

  12. Shaun Appleby

    Everybody is concerned about the oil it seems:

    RABAT Feb 26 (Reuters) – A group of tribes in Libya’s Oases region have joined the revolt against leader Muammar Gaddafi and will defend the oil wells near the area, Quryna newspaper’s online edition reported on Saturday.

    A leader of one of those tribes last week threatened to cut off oil exports to Western countries if Libyan authorities continued to violently crush anti-Gaddafi protests.

    Souhail Karam – Defecting Libyan tribes to defend oilfields-Quryna Reuters 26 Feb 11

    Interestingly Qurnya is published online from Benghazi but was a Qaddifi family mouthpiece until recent days.

  13. Shaun Appleby

    Got a bit out of control:

    …correspondents for both Al Arabiya and the New York Times, two news outlets that took up [Seif al-Islam Qaddafi’s] invitation, managed to break away from their minders and report that all was not, in fact, under control.

    The Times‘ David Kirkpatrick “discovered blocks of the city in open revolt” and spoke with eyewitnesses who told of “snipers and antiaircraft guns firing at unarmed civilians, and security forces were removing the dead and wounded from streets and hospitals, apparently in an effort to hide the mounting toll.” Al Arabiya reported that Qaddafi’s security forces appeared to be abandoning Tripoli’s streets to the rebels. And the Associated Press relayed word that the Libyan regime “passed out guns to civilian supporters, set up checkpoints Saturday and sent armed patrols roving the terrorized capital.”

    Blake Hounshell – Libya’s information walls come tumbling down Foreign Policy 26 Feb 11

    Things seem to be going a bit pear-shaped for the Qaddafis.

  14. Shaun Appleby

    Qaddafi’s private nurse wants out:

    KIEV, Ukraine-Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is set to be deserted by another close ally after his Ukrainian nurse said she was heading home.

    Galyna Kolotnytska, described in a diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks as a “voluptuous blond” who “travel[s] everywhere” with Col. Gadhafi, called her family in Kiev on Friday to say she intends to return to Ukraine, her daughter told daily Segodnya.

    James Marson – Gadhafi’s Nurse Says She’s Going Home WSJ 26 Feb 11

    No more shots for him.  Bet she gets an interesting reception committee on arrival.

  15. Shaun Appleby

    Reaches Benghazi:

    Two trucks loaded with drugs and medical supplies, including surgical materials, have arrived in Benghazi. 12 additional tons of materials are ready to be sent to Libya through Egypt or Malta.

    The first MSF team reached Benghazi Friday evening. Three medical facilities were visited: Al Jalaa hospital, Al Hawari hospital and Benghazi Medical Centre (BMC). Each of them is well equipped and managed to deal with the wounded and medical needs. However, they are facing some shortages of medical material and drugs (consumables, dressing, sutures, anaesthesia drugs, external fixators).

    MSF will provide the needed materials to the Benghazi Medical Centre. They will also train the local teams in the management of mass casualties to be prepared in case of new clashes.

    First evaluation of medical facilities in Benghazi MSF 26 Feb 11

    Great to hear that relief is at hand, assuming there are still plenty of people requiring attention.

  16. HappyinVT

    The Guardian has an interesting piece on Saif al-Islam, including:

    Saif’s desire to act as a mouthpiece for his father has lent the tragic scenes unfolding in Libya a surreal, sometimes ridiculous dimension. His appearances in front of the television cameras suggest a man increasingly unhinged. Arms folded, jaw firmly out, Saif is a manifestation of defiance. It is clear he is very much his father’s son, albeit, as one Twitter user wryly observed, someone who seems to have styled himself sartorially on Stringer Bell, the drug lord in the US cop show The Wire.

    The similarities may not stop there. A man who reportedly likes to keep tigers and falcons, “Saif is urbane, charming and psychotic”, according to one person who has met him. This appraisal seemed to be confirmed last Sunday night when Saif appeared on domestic television to threaten a civil war in which his father’s regime “will fight to the last minute, until the last bullet”.

  17. HappyinVT

    President Obama told German Chancellor Angela Merkel today that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi should surrender power immediately because of the attacks he has made on his own people.

    “The President stated that when a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now,” said a White House readout of the Merkel call.

  18. Shaun Appleby

    Libyan friend says there are reports of panic in Bab Al Aziziyah, Qaddafi’s Tripoli bunker. Cars screeching away at high speed.

    Apparently Bab Al Aziziyah is still used, it was the site of the 1986 bombing of Qaddafi’s compound and is very close to the international airport.

  19. Shaun Appleby

    1:33am An Al Jazeera correspondent who has made it to Benghazi tells us the city’s court house has become “press/uprising central”, with a media centre, printing press, newspaper, medical clinics and satellite internet.

  20. HappyinVT


    All 15 members vote for SC resolution 1970, a unanimous decision.

    Gaddafi family members will have their assets frozen, and which administration members will be prevented from leaving Libya.

    Asset freeze: Aisha, Hannibal, Khamis Muammar, Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar, Mutassim and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.



    All 15 UN Security Council members are reportedly “on board” to pass a resolution referring Libyan officials to the International Criminal Court, says Kristen Saloomey, Al Jazeera’s correspondent at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

    It is the first time the council has referred a country’s leadership to the ICC, she says. Vote expected very soon – we’re watching the diplomats settling into their chairs now.

  21. Shaun Appleby

    In other news:

    Iran told atomic inspectors this week that it had run into a serious problem at a newly completed nuclear reactor that was supposed to start feeding electricity into the national grid this month, raising questions about whether the trouble was sabotage, a startup problem, or possibly the beginning of the project’s end.

    In a report on Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran told inspectors on Wednesday that it was planning to unload nuclear fuel from its Bushehr reactor – the sign of a major upset.

    William J Broad and David Sanger – Iran Reports a Major Setback at a Nuclear Power Plant NYT 26 Feb 11

    Ooops.  You don’t suppose…

  22. Shaun Appleby

    @sunnkaa: Contact tells me tanks &armoured vehicles line the streets from #Tajoura to downtown #Tripoli. #Mercenaries look tired. #Libya

  23. Shaun Appleby

    As any idiot can discern:

    Ben Ali has fled, Mubarak has been overthrown and Gadhafi is faltering, but al-Qaida is frustrated, because jihadists have played no role whatsoever in the great revolution in the Arab world. The terrorist organization has repeatedly tried to use propaganda to take credit for the revolts, but no one is listening.

    One of the side effects of the Arab revolt is that the jihad bubble has burst, at least for now. The popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have impressively demonstrated how little jihadists have to say in Arab societies. Contrary to the propaganda they have been spreading for decades, their mobilization potential is virtually nonexistent.

    Yassin Musharbash – Revolutions Mark Setback for Terror Group Der Speigel 27 Feb 11

    The Republicans and their jihadist compatriots elsewhere are struggling to come to terms with unexpected events their Medieval world-view has left them totally incapable of comprehending.

  24. HappyinVT

    A remix of a rambling 75-minute speech Gaddafi delivered on Tuesday, set to dance music and featuring the strongman alongside footage of two gyrating girls, has gone viral on the Internet….racked up almost half a million views on the video-sharing website YouTube since it was posted three days ago. Called “Zenga Zenga,” the music video mixes Gaddafi’s quotes with club beats, using lines in which he vows to fight “inch by inch, home by home, alley by alley” as the chorus for the song.

    I chose the non-girly version ~ they don’t do much for me.

  25. HappyinVT

    In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage US intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to “immediately” prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.


    In particular, it called for Washington to press NATO to “develop operational plans to urgently deploy warplanes to prevent the regime from using fighter jets and helicopter gunships against civilians and carry out other missions as required; (and) move naval assets into Libyan waters” to “aid evacuation efforts and prepare for possible contingencies;” as well as “(e)stablish the capability to disable Libyan naval vessels used to attack civilians.”

    The usual suspects

    Among the letter’s signers were former Bush deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Bush’s top global democracy and Middle East adviser; Elliott Abrams; former Bush speechwriters Marc Thiessen and Peter Wehner; Vice President Dick Cheney’s former deputy national security adviser, John Hannah, as well as FPI’s four directors: Weekly Standard editor William Kristol; Brookings Institution fellow Robert Kagan; former Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor; and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman.


    Two prominent senators whose foreign policy views often reflect neo-conservative thinking, Republican John McCain and Independent Democrat Joseph Lieberman, called Friday in Tel Aviv for Washington to supply Libyan rebels with arms, among other steps, including establishing a no-fly zone over the country.

    It’s hard to watch the videos and to look at the pictures of dead or wounded Libyans but, while I’m less likely to frown upon UN and/or NATO action, any unilateral military action seems to me to be a really bad idea.  Arming the protesters seems equally bad.  And maybe it’s a knee-jerk reaction on my part but any letter these folks write should hit the circular file posthaste.

  26. HappyinVT


    Reports coming in the UK has revoked Gaddafi’s diplomatic immunity, putting pressure on the Libyan leader to step down. Officials said the move was an unprecedented step by Britain against a serving head of state.

    Chances are Gaddafi isn’t leaving Libya; if he does I see him landing in a friendly country.

  27. Shaun Appleby

    A mere 50km from Tripoli:

    ZAWIYA, Libya – In this city 30 miles west of Tripoli, hundreds of people rejoiced in a central square on Sunday, waving the red, black and green flag that has come to signify a free Libya and shouting the chants that foretold the downfall of governments in Tunisia and Egypt: “The people want to bring down the regime.”

    Rebels, in control of the city, had reinforced its boundaries with informal barricades, and military units that had defected stood guard with rifles, six tanks and anti-aircraft guns mounted on the backs of trucks. In the central square here, a mosque was riddled with enormous holes, evidence of the government’s failed attempt to take back this city on Thursday. Nearby lay seven freshly dug graves belonging to protesters who had fallen in that siege, witnesses said.

    David D Kirkpatrick and Sharon Otterman – Libyan Rebels Tighten Ring of Armed Control Near Tripoli NYT 27 Feb 11


    Almanara Media has just published the following news item:

    News has reached us via email that a security battalion commander in az Zawiya was killed by a soldier in the battalion. Soldiers refused orders to shoot and the commander was determined on the implementation of the orders of Khoweildy. One of the solders stepped forwards and rendered him dead with a bullet to the head. The soldier then said: It’s better that you die rather than the victims be tens of youth.

    BREAKING: Soldier kills security battalion commander! Libya February 17 27 Feb 11

    In other news:

    Translation: Yesterday, the regime sent a plane carrying weapons, 18 million Libyan Dinars and 2000 Kalashnikov rifles. We have full control of the airport, we the revolutionaries of 17th February. The airplane landed and under our security, we found 2000 rifles and 18 million dinars. The money was spread amongst the banks so they can give people their salaries, while the 2000 rifles were distributed amongst the revolutionary youth and God Willing it will be pointed back towards their chests, by the will of God.

    Al Kufra rejects regime plane loaded with bribe money and weapons Libya February 17 27 Feb 11

    Whoops.  Seems the regime is losing track of things.

  28. Shaun Appleby

    Earlier this evening:

    Updated 8.50 p.m.

    Two British Royal Air Force Hercules transport aircraft has returned to Malta after a second rescue mission from Libya. The aircraft landed 90 minutes apart and were surrounded by buses on the tarmac. Sources told that 126 oil workers were rescued and a further 70 are on the way on a third Hercules.

    This was the second military/humanitarian operation held in as many days by the RAF to pick up foreign workers from the Libyan desert.

    The three Hercules took off from Malta in the afternoon.

    British Defence Secretary Liam Fox confirmed the operation and said workers of various nationalities had been picked up from multiple locations.


    It is not known where the Hercules in today’s mission landed.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed earlier today that there was no Libyan authorisation for yesterday’s mission.

    Media reports said that British special forces as well as tribesmen and oil workers were involved in securing the landing strips.

    RAF completes second Libya rescue mission Times of Malta 27 Feb 11

    A multi-national operation.  Heh.  Shades of Lawrence of Arabia.

  29. Shaun Appleby

    Reinforcing the siege of Tripoli:

    Groups of revolutionaries are starting to move towards western Libya in an attempt to link up with opposition militias near Tripoli, setting the stage for a final assault on the capital – perhaps within weeks.

    The groups are heavily armed with military weapons, which have been looted from every army base and police headquarters east of the central oil town of Ras Lusafa. They have fought skirmishes with pro-regime forces near the Gaddafi family stronghold of Sirte, but have so far avoided intensive clashes.

    Organisers in Benghazi said the groups were mostly youths and former security forces who defected during the battles that led to the fall of the city.

    Photo: Libyan rebel army officers teach the use of weapons to civilians who have volunteered for the rebel army in Benghazi. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters

    Martin Chulov – Libyan militias prepare to join forces before assault on Tripoli 27 Feb 11

    Interestingly haven’t seen those Gulf War vintage US uniforms before among the revolutionaries or Libyan forces, wonder if they got a care package.

  30. HappyinVT


    We hear that one of Libya’s two main mobile phone providers has been hacked – by it’s own employees. They’ve been topping up everyone’s credit to ensure no-one runs out, a contact tells our correspondent in Benghazi. Unfortunately, it doesn’ t help much – as network coverage is pretty poor and intermittent, he tells us.…  

    but it’s still seems like a win.

  31. Shaun Appleby

    Weighs in:

    “It’s over for them,” [former top CIA official Vince] Cannistraro said of Gaddafi and Kusa. “The opposition is closing in from all six entrances to Tripoli now.” Gaddafi, he said, is countering with African mercenaries “being flown directly into the airfield that used to be the American Wheelus Air Base.”

    Jeff Stein – CIA’s top Libyan contact Musa Kusa may go down with Gaddafi Washington Post 23 Feb 11

    That’s as concise a situation report as I have seen so far though several days old

  32. Shaun Appleby

    Pretty bloody shocking:

    London, Feb 28: A disturbing new evidence of the barbarity of Libyan despot Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in East Libya has emerged. Seven prisoners rescued by the opposition movement after they were found buried alive.

    Libyan revolutionaries in Benghazi said the group was found entombed in a small underground cell in the city’s dreaded government compound, forbidden territory for 40 years, now overrun by forces of the revolution.

    SKY News quoted the rescuers as saying that they heard voices underground and dug through earth and freshly laid concrete to discover the seven men, some of whom were barely alive.

    Seven men found buried alive in Gadaffi’s East Libya compound ANI via

    The lucky few.  Honestly, these guys are starting to rival the SS-Totenkopfverbände for imaginative brutality.

  33. Shaun Appleby

    Qaddafi is inevitably finished if this is any indication:

    Hassan Bulifa, who sits on the management committee of the Arabian Gulf Oil Company, the country’s largest oil producer, said that the rebels control at least 80 percent of the country’s oil assets, and that his company, based in Benghazi, was cooperating with them. The company resumed oil shipments on Sunday, loading two tankers at a port in Tobruk, Mr. Bulifa said. The ships – one bound for Austria and the other for China – represented the company’s first shipments since Feb. 10.

    David D Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim – Rebels in Libya Gain Power and Defectors NYT 28 Feb 11

    That tears it.  What did that crazy f*ck ever have but the oil?

  34. Shaun Appleby

    I’m guessing Muammar Qaddafi is either incapacitated or gone from Libya altogether.  If I had to take a punt I’d say he left last Friday for Belarus.

  35. HappyinVT

    Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said the government of Muammar Gaddafi must be held to account over atrocities committed in Libya as she reiterated calls for the leader to step down.

    Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, Clinton said Gaddafi must leave power “now, without further violence or delay”.

    “Gaddafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and

    common decency,” she said.

    Clinton also urged the international community to act with one voice against the Libyan administration, and said Washington was keeping “all options on the table” in terms of action against the government.…  

  36. HappyinVT

    David Cameron, the British prime minister, says that his country is not ruling out the use of military force in Libya.

    In a statement before parliament, he said:

    We do not in any way rule out the use of military assets.

    We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people. In that context I have asked the ministry of defence and the chief of the defence staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone.


    Bu Zaid Dorda, Libya’s foreign intelligence chief, has been commissioned by Muammar Gaddafi to hold a dialogue with opposition leaders in eastern Libya, Al Jazeera Arabic, our sister channel, has reported.


    White House press secretary Jay Carney has said that going into exile would be one option for Muammar Gaddafi, but refused to comment on any speculation that the US would facilitate said exile. He added that the US was still considering all options on Libya to be on the table, and that the matter of a possible no-fly zone was being discussed with allies.


    Speaking to Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, Abdul-Fatah Younis, the former head of Libyan Special Forces who renounced his post last week, said he was not ruling out calling in an Arab air force, a European air force or the United States Air Force for air support, in that order of preference.

  37. HappyinVT

    While the U.N. Security Council spent last week debating sanctions and the pursuit of an investigation into crimes against humanity in Libya, the U.S. delegation had another idea on its mind. U.S. diplomats sought to insert language into the U.N. resolution on Libya that would have raised the possibility of an international military intervention, two Security Council members familiar with the discussions told Turtle Bay.

    The U.S. amendment called for authorizing member states, working with the cooperation of the United Nations, to use “all means necessary to protect civilians and key installations.” In the diplomatic terminology of U.N. resolutions, the phrase “all means necessary” has traditionally served as a code for military action.


    One U.S. official, while declining to comment on confidential negotiations over the Security Council resolution, cautioned that the U.S. diplomatic effort in New York was purely humanitarian. “Our intention on any of the language that had to deal with this particular issue was humanitarian in nature. None of this has to do with putting U.S. boots on the ground.”  http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy

    Russia had serious issues with any “military force” dating back to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

  38. HappyinVT


    Libyans are happy to see the international condemnations of Gaddafi’s actions coming in from all over the world, bu they want more concrete action as well, reports Al Jazeera’s correspondent Hoda Abdel-Hamid from Benghazi.

    While they do not want to see foreign soldiers on the ground, she said, they certainly want to see the imposition of a no-fly zone, which would impede any attempts at aerial bombardment of the protesters, and would also stop the government from flying in mercenaries from other countries.…  

  39. Shaun Appleby

    Coming out of Libya on the subject of foreign intervention:

    In other words, no thanks.  While a ‘no-fly’ zone seems to be the flavour of the day among NATO partners it is hard to imagine how that would work in practice without ground attacks on Libyan SAM sites.  I wonder if it is really a good idea and hope energy issues aren’t at the bottom of it.

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