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Libya

Michael O'Hare, professor of public policy | February 24, 2011

I don’t have any special expertise about international diplomacy, the culture and history of the Maghreb, or revolutions in general, but something has to be said about what’s happening in Libya.

News is scarce but it now seems reasonably certain that the government has unleashed widespread death by air attack, and by invited foreign forces (the mercenaries), on its own people. Sort of like Spain in the ’30s, actually. The aircraft are French, Russian, and American, and Libyan special forces were trained by the British Special Air Service.

"Guernica" paintingEurope and the U.S. are in this up to our elbows, especially as Europe has happily been heavily addicted to Libyan oil, which of course nourishes Ghaddafi’s exchequer.The response of European governments, and ours, has been a truly awesome and concerted explosion of Regretting and Deploring; even Berlusconi has finally figured out that events in Libya are Very Bad Things and Should Stop.  Some have even used the words condemn, urgent and oppose! From the White House, Ghaddafi Jr.’s speech is Being Analyzed. Ban Ki-Moon is quoted as saying “the violence has to stop and stop now,” but obviously he was mistaken.

How Ghaddafi can stand up against this barrage of frowning, and the heartfelt desire of his customers that he desist forthwith, is hard to understand, but resist he does and the carnage continues. This is not a few thugs with whips on camels and horses, it’s a high-tech bloodbath. Admittedly, the Brits have canceled several export licenses for weapons, so the massacre of 2013 will be somewhat inhibited for want of hardware.

I don’t know whether this sort of thing bothers Putin or entertains him, but I cannot understand that we and the French need more than about an hour to inform Ghaddafi that all military air operations will stop at once, either by orders from him or by force from the Sixth Fleet: that we did not sell him these toys to kill his people with.  We have bombed Ghaddafi’s headquarters in the past, and it would not be out of order to light it up again if the killing doesn’t stop.

Of course, things like a no-fly zone over a sovereign state needs to be set up very carefully, with lots of bargaining and debate over who would actually enforce it, under what rules of engagement, with what ample warning. Otherwise it wouldn’t be legitimate. Days of diplomats doing their thing, I expect. Perhaps the foreign ministries are thinking about preserving their influence with the regime in the future, as though it had one; that seems to be a reflex in that community.

Maybe it’s time to revisit the rule that oil belongs to whoever happen, through no effort of their own, to live on top of it, and make possession and disposition of natural resources conditional on compliance with basic principles of humanity and decency.

Cross-posted from The Reality-Based Community (tag line: Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts).

Comments to “Libya

  1. Is life in this world different depending on where you live than Peter, Paul, & Mary said it so, so many years ago.

    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Long time ago

    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Long time ago

    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Gone for husbands everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the husbands gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the husbands gone?
    Long time ago

    Where have all the husbands gone?
    Gone for soldiers everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Long time ago

    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Gone to graveyards, everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    [ From: elyrics.net.]

  2. The USA, France, and England are 100% wrong in the attack on Libya. The UN has sanctioned this attack in direct contravention of their own laws. Russia, China, and many othe countries have continually voiced their opposition to this use of force. They also have the right to excercise their power of veto against this sanction, but remember when they used the veto power when the USA attacked IRAQ -fizzle, another UN law broken by the US. And they walked in and destroyed IRAQ. Their is no doubt they will do the same to Libya. The USA wants Libyan oil, simple as that and they do not give a rats ass how many people they kill- men, women, children. Or how many orphans they make, how many billions of dollars in structure destruction. As long as they get “Their” oil. The whole world is disgusted at this mockery with the pretense of protecting the innocent. In truth they are destroying a civillization for their own greed. Be ashamed Obama, be very ashamed!! Your day will come.

  3. Libya only produces 2 % of the world’s oil. America produces more, but President Hussein Obama stopped drilling so he could rely on Libya’s. Smart guy huh? I do not think so, I think he is dumb.

    Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a Saudi national and a legal resident of Texas, was arrested late Wednesday and faces charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

  4. Prof. O’Hare, I don’t have a PhD but I have experienced and learned much during my life of over seven decades. I also know that something not only has to be said, and done about what’s happening not only in Libya, but even more importantly in the rest of the world relative to oil and CO2 pollution, far too many Us/Them international relations and worldwide social, political and economic disasters that the U.N., governments, universities and religions around the world fail to prevent, as well as our failures to save humanity from out of control climate change tipping points, poverty, holocausts, etc. we are already experiencing.

    QUESTIONS:

    How come it is 2011 and there are still no political, academic, scientific, religious, etc. groups that are actually accomplishing anything that works to make “basic principles of humanity and decency” happen for the entire human race?

    What the heck is wrong with us, why do we fail so badly when the consequences of our failures are increasingly calamitous?

    Will we ever be able to cooperate, to save quality of life for future generations?

    • P.S. I request answers/solutions to questions I have asked from any Berkeley professors and scholars because the way things are going so badly wrong, seemingly at an accelerating pace of disasters with no long term improvements in sight, we desperately need help from our best institutions with influence to produce solutions we can implement now.

      I have been commenting on Berkeley Blog for over a year now because I believe Berkeley professors and scholars should know the best solutions, solutions that will guarantee quality of life for future generations, with influence to begin this process immediately.

      • Far too many climate-change experts have declared that the window of opportunity to avoid calamity is rapidly closing.

        We appear to have reached the point where failure to produce long-term solutions we can implement today threatens humanity more than anytime in history.

        A paramount reason for the accelerating decline of our civilization today is the fact that the Ivory Tower culture that dominates the world’s greatest academies is detached from the mundane needs of humanity.

        Thus we are experiencing the worst-case scenario example of history that keeps repeating itself because intellectuals who are best able to guarantee acceptable quality of life for future generations are failing to meet the
        challenges of change again.

  5. Ha! A “barrage of frowning”? Are you kidding me? Do you think he gives a rip if people frown and try to slap his wrist? If the United States had a president that anyone took seriously or one that was committed to action rather than talk maybe Islamic fundamentalism would be diminished…

  6. What is happening in Libya. I totally agree with Ghaddafi. People of that region are total donkeys. How can you just copy other nations and start a revolution and start all this bloodshed and destruction. Why is no one asking why the protesters have weapons or how they are using it to cause havoc.

    Their are elements to this that we on the outside do not understand. We want to be rightous and make comments that are politically correct. Protesters did not just go out on the streets to protest. This was well planned and implemented. The dogs that have been with Ghaddafi for the past thirty years and have enriched themselves are now all abandoning him to save themselves. The idea is not disgust at what is happening, but protecting the wealth that they have amassed. One cannot enjoy what one has stolen by being dead. They would rather disown him now and live to benefit from their evil deeds. How can Western powers and others in the world take in people like these. what they have started in their own country, they will transfer to wherever they settle. They are evill and will die evil.

    At least haddafi has the balls to stay and fight for what he beleives in, protectiing his people. However one wants to read that, in his mind he is fighting for what he beleives in. Human right, where are these human right organisations when isreal is bombing innocent palestininas. This world is corrupt and go Ghaddifi and teach these rats a lesson!

    And by the way non muslims, down the road in less than a years time, when we have no more freedom to move from one place to another because of the threat of being bombed or blown up by a radical, please remember how you thought these pwere innocent protesters! I have no sympathy for anyone that is not afraid of death. You challenge a bullet to die a martyr, then you have the capability to kill in an instant, becaue you do not value life.

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