Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Libyan Open Thread ~ "Libyan People Can Manage Alone"

I‘m a bit obsessed with this story ~ this monumental story.  I honestly did not pay much attention to Tunisia and I watched cautiously during the early days in Egypt waiting for the people to give up or die trying.

This time, however, I have been quite glued to the multiple Internet sources available.  It truly is amazing how much information has managed to get out.

One message has been made quite clear, however.

h/t to Shaun and AJE for the picture.


  1. HappyinVT

    Under the plans, Britain, the U.S. and other Nato allies would police a no-fly zone with different air forces providing cover at different times. The flight ban may cover the whole of Libya, or areas under rebel control.


    It is impossible to say how many of Libya’s 76,000 troops have defected. But it is clear that the pro-democracy ranks have access to large stores of weapons from looted military stockpiles or smuggled across the border. Citizen groups say they will use them to stop Gaddafi’s forces retaking rebel territory. The ‘New Libyan Army’ is becoming more organised and steps have been taken to establish a unified military council in the east.

    Small groups of rebel soldiers have been dispatched to infiltrate the capital, according to commanders.

    They said hundreds of young men are volunteering to go there to bolster the pro-democracy groups. Judging by the show of strength in Zawiyah, they are a force to be reckoned with. Read more:…  

  2. HappyinVT

    The Italian government suspended its treaty of non-aggression with Libya Monday because it believes Moammar Gaddafi’s government has already failed.

    “We signed the friendship treaty with a state, but when the counterpart no longer exists – in this case the Libyan state – the treaty cannot be applied,” said Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini.

    The treaty included a clause that prevented Italy from using direct or indirect force against Libya.  The suspension of the treaty means that Italy — which is geographically due north of Libya on the opposite side of the Mediterranean — may serve as a staging ground for NATO forces wishing to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya or intervene militarily.…  

  3. Shaun Appleby

    Do you want me to edit the diary to put the picture on the main page alongside your text?

  4. Shaun Appleby

    From AJE:

    We, Brigadier Musa’ed Ghaidan Al Mansouri the Head Al Wahat Security Directorate, and Brigadier Hassan Ibrahim Al Qarawi, the former head of Al Jabel Al Akhadar Security Directorate, announce our loyalty and the joining to the Feb 17 revolution of the Libyan people that aims for freedom, dignity and social justice and to end the injustice and oppression.

    Live Blog – Libya March 1 AJE 1 Mar 11

    With each passing day the noose gets tighter on Qaddafi.

  5. HappyinVT

    Gov. Daniels was on with Chris Wallace to talk about vouchers for Medicare and this popped out:

    WALLACE: You even say the government should put limits on end- of-life care. Are you talking about what Sarah Palin called the death panels?

    DANIELS: No, I didn’t say government should put limits on this, but what I’m worried about is the government making these decisions. I just stated what I think is a simple fact. I wish it wasn’t, but I think it is. We cannot afford in an aging society to pay for the most expensive technology every — for every single person regardless of income to the very, very last day.

    WALLACE: Who makes that decision?

    DANIELS: I think it has — at least a part of it has to be the family and the patient himself or herself. I mean there —


    WALLACE: Does the government at some point say we can’t afford to give the 92-year-old the liver transplant?

    DANIELS: Chris, I’ve told you, I think with some specificity, what I think ought to happen in Social Security and Medicare. I just answered the question honestly. I think this problem will have to be addressed. I don’t pretend to have an exact answer to this one, except that autopilot won’t work.…  

    Okay, he didn’t say “death panels” but it seems pretty clear that once he realized he’d stepped in it Gov. Daniels felt the need to move on.

  6. Shaun Appleby

    From Western Libya:

    A reporter arriving in Nalut, a town of 66,000 people, 235 kilometers west of Tripoli, found Gadhafi loyalists had entirely disappeared.

    “The city has been liberated since Feb. 19,” said Shaban Abu Sitta, a local lawyer and member of a revolutionary committee.

    “The towns of Rhibat, Kabaw, Jado, Rogban, Zentan, Yefren, Kekla, Gherien and Hawamed have also been free for days. In all these towns, Gadhafi’s forces have gone and a revolutionary committee put in place.”

    Libyan rebs seize more towns; Tripoli roads deserted Philippine Daily Inquirer 1 Mar 11

    As reporters get some presence in Western Libya it becomes clear that things have been dicey for the loyalists for a while.

  7. Shaun Appleby

    Recently reported:

    The Gaddafi regime has continued to use its air force against the opposition. Libyan air force jets bombed the rebel-held city of Ajdabiya, 160 kilometres south of Benghazi this afternoon, the furthest east that loyalist forces have attacked since both cities were sacked nine days ago.

    Two army officers from Benghazi’s military committee confirmed jets that had taken off from Tripoli each dropped bombs on the city around 4pm. “We had several anti-aircraft positions, which fired at the planes and they left,” said Colonel Hamid Belkhair, who runs the rebel military in Benghazi. “Then they fled. They were not interested in hanging around.”

    Julian Borger, Patrick Wintour and Martin Chulov US tightens military grip on Gaddafi Guardian 28 Feb 11

    The threat of NATO action is probably a deterrent to some loyalists, you would imagine.  And it must be tempting to airlift a pallet or two of Stingers into Benghazi, along with an Arabic speaking instructor, at this point.  Don’t know where that fits into the diplomatic framework but still…  The Mujihadeen in Afghanistan took to them pretty quickly.

  8. Shaun Appleby

    Just in from AJE, statement from Abdel Fattah Younes, the former interior minister and head of Special Forces in Libya:

    “And it is out of question to receive any foreign troops or accept military bases to be set up on Libyan soil. When push comes to shove, launching airstrikes could be an alternative solution. If we found that no solution was reached on Gaddafi’s part or his aides to put an end to these massacres, then all our fellows here in Darna, Al Baida, Ghuba and Benghazi are firm and certain that air strikes must be launched, provided that no jetfighter will land on Libyan territories.”

    “They may land in the Italian Anderosa base or the aircraft carrier. Touching down in Libya is acceptable only in the case of an emergency, that’s only natural. For example if any pilot was forced to eject, he will be hosted and protected by us.”

    Gaddafi’s friend turns foe AJE 1 Mar 11

    So they have set the frame of reference.  Assume NATO is talking to this guy as we speak which probably explains the asset moves and rhetoric of last twenty-four hours.  Get ready for the air-show, I’m thinking.

  9. HappyinVT


    Latest from Libya, where military officers are defecting from Gaddafi’s side to join the growing opposition:

       I, Brigadier Dawood Issa Al Qafsi, declare that I join the Feb 17 revolution. With me are officers, non commissioned officers and soldiers in the Armed Forces units in Ajdabia, Braiga, Bisher, Ogaila, Sultan and Zwaitina … Glory to the martyrs of the revolution … We announce that we join the Libyan Military Council formed in Benghazi.…  

    Now I need to find a map and find out where this is.

  10. Shaun Appleby

    Don’t you just love international affairs?:

    Some 80% Libya’s developed petroleum fields are in rebel-held territory, and the Benghazi leadership is making plans to pump the oil and receive the proceeds.  If the standoff with Qaddafi goes on very long, the oil politics could prove decisive.  With Qaddafi’s own foreign funds increasingly frozen, and 3/4s of the country’s oil facilities idled (it ordinarily exports 1.7 million barrels a day), his cash on hand to pay mercenaries and bribe clients will rapidly decline, whereas the Benghazi rebels may reap a windfall.  Reports about the situation at the oil fields are chaotic and contradictory, but it seems clear that some oil workers are pumping the oil themselves as expatriate companies flee, and it is possible that the Benghazi leadership could export by tanker truck despite the closing of the Italian pipeline.

    The oil politics could also provoke NATO or other intervention.

    Juan Cole – The World Oil Politics of the Libyan Revolt Informed COmment 28 Feb 11

    Well worth a read, including Juan’s cautionary comments on the emerging leadership in Benhazi.

  11. Shaun Appleby

    Insightful tweet:

    @EnoughGaddafi: I’m not sure Wolfowitz McCain and Lieberman are best people to take advice about mideast from #libya #feb17

  12. Shaun Appleby

    Issues are highly problematic, legally and practically.  And they are unlikely to get Security Council support unless loyalist air activity, which has been relatively modest just recently, poses a clear humanitarian threat.  The decade-long Iraqi no-fly operation was of disputed legality and the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina required UN Security Council Resolution 816 to mandate, which is hard to imagine in the current context.

    So here’s the question, why have we created an expectation of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya if it is unlikely we, or any other NATO players, would be getting a UN mandate to do so?  Sounds like we are getting into a “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” dilemma.  

    Not sure if a mere demonstration of force is going to have the desired effect, although it will surely focus minds among loyalists and probably have a sobering impact.

    Having read a bit on the Bosnian and Iraqi experiences I’m wondering if all the sabre-jiggling recently isn’t merely a hedging of bets against future dreadfulness and perhaps a sop to domestic and international opinion in the short term.

  13. Shaun Appleby

    The provisional government of Benghazi is claiming a modest air capability:

    “We have one transport plane that can land almost anywhere, and 15 fighter planes,” says [professor Idris el-Sharif, chairman of the committee dealing with the military]. The possibility of using these to attack Tripoli is a reality. “Now we are watching. If he starts killing a lot of people and it looks like our forces in Tripoli are retreating, we will use them to support them and give them strength.”

    The committee also has the pilots to fly the planes.

    Ruth Sherlock – Libya: Pilots at the ready with 15 fighter planes Scotsman 28 Feb 11

    I remain a bit sceptical given the readiness difficulties even well funded professional air forces have as a matter of course, and especially considering the indifferent state of Libya’s aviation even before the revolution.  But it’s a start and a brave notion.

    And it is very refreshing to suppose that civilians actually control the nascent military forces.  We’ll see.

  14. Shaun Appleby

    @Libyan4Life I’m kindda starting to feel bad for AlQaeda, #Gaddafi is really messin’ with their rep.

  15. Shaun Appleby

    No clear indication US intends to deploy USS Enterprise to the Mediterranean, although the tabloid British press headlines would have you believe otherwise.  Clinton hosing down such speculation and stressing humanitarian aid.

    Cameron making more noises and discussing military options but probably a consequence of having to face the House of Representatives although questioning there notably lame.

    Berlusconi equivocating on the US ‘exile’ hint, saying situation is confused.  France soft-pedalling non-humanitarian intervention.  Tripoli remains in the hands of loyalist security forces and Western journalists add credence to ‘situation normal’ status just by being there.

    No major clashes, demonstrations or defections this morning and minor concerns in the Western press of leadership issues among the Benghazi councils.  Looks like we’ve hit a quiet spot which sadly tends to strengthen Qaddafi’s hand.

  16. HappyinVT

    okay, maybe not but still…


    If Gaddafi was hoping for a share of the record GBP 670million annual profit of Financial Times publisher Pearson, he’s going to be disappointed. Pearson has just annouced it is freezing dividend payments on the 26.5million shares held by the Libyan Investment Authority.

    The LIA holds a 3.3 per cent stake in the publisher and is its fourth largest shareholder.  While Pearson chief executive Marjorie Scardino said she had been “uncomfortable” with the Libyan investment, the company acted after the British government ordered a freeze on Libyan assets.…  

    US Treasury has also frozen $30 billion ~ that’s the largest amount ever.

  17. HappyinVT


    James Mattis, the US general in control of US Central Command, syas establishing a no-fly zone over Libya “would be challenging”. He said:

    You would have to remove the air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone – so no illusions here – it would be a military operation, it wouldn’t simply be telling people not to fly airplanes.…  

    Libya is also twice the size of France ~ we’re talking a decent amount of airspace.

  18. HappyinVT

    This is Saif al-Islam telling pro-Gaddafi supporters they will be amply armed to take on the protesters.  He also calls the protesters “brats” and “druggies.”

    Saif al-Islam Qaddafi had earlier given interviews in which he told Western reporters that there is nothing going on in Libya, everything is calm, everyone loves his father, and it is the media whipping up people and causing a potential civil war. Then later he accused the protesters of being al-Qaeda and terrorists. When Saif addressed the nation on t.v., his address was projected on a wall in Benghazi and people threw mounds of shoes at the image all the time he was speaking.  

    h/t to Prof. Cole for the video.

    On a vaguely related note, the London School of Economics is looking into allegations that Saif plagiarized large portions of his PhD thesis (wonder if he and the soon-to-be-former German Defense Minister worked together).

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