Tag Archives: Libya

2011 in Review

As we’re quickly approaching the end of December, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look over the last year.

2011 was a hectic year. 2011 was a year of turmoil, from revolutions in the Middle East and fiery turbulence in London to milder outbursts against Netflix price increases or the Hershey warehouse’s student working conditions. Even Time Magazine selected ‘The protester’ as the Person of the Year. Much agitation and latent discontents which erupted, generating many questions and few answers, many uncertainties and few clarifications. And if I said few answers, I not means to the aggressive responses of law of enforcement against protesters, used from the United States to Russia, and from London to Damascus or even to Beijing.

This year 42 journalists, more or less known, have lost their lives while trying to do their job professionally. Among those who left shockingly and prematurely included the British-American photojournalist Tim Hetherington, renowned photographer and co-director with Sebastian Junger of the documentary Restrepo (2010). Tim Hetherington was killed near town Misrata, during the civil war between opponents of the Gaddafi regime and its supporters.

Year of political and economic crisis

The eurozone’s future hung in the balance, the US saw its credit rating downgraded, Japan’s earthquake rocked financial markets and fiscal failings forced out two prime ministers. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and his Greek counterpart received “read card”. Also, many political players from Middle East (Syria, Yemen, Jordan), Europe and Russia received “yellow card” for low efficiency of crisis management and it is possible that the debt maturity to come in 2012. In spring, with the world looking for firm financial leadership, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York on sexual assault allegations, forcing his resignation as the head of the International Monetary Fund (the charges are subsequently dropped). Later the charges were withdrawn. The episode remains controversial. In autumn, the tension between the US and China over international trade escalates when Beijing imposes additional duties on cars imported from the United States. In change, Russia was admitted into the World Trade Organisation on Friday after 18 years of negotiation, finally binding it into the global economy two decades after the Soviet Union collapsed. EU leaders agree a “fiscal compact” after David Cameron vetoed a revision of the Lisbon treaty. And the year ends with a happy new year message from the IMF: the world, warns Lagarde, is at serious risk of sliding into a 1930s-style slump. But I think that it will keep happening and each time it will get worse and worse, because there is no answer to this present crisis if we continue with the failed economics of Milton Friedman and the free market gang. More, everything we have seen from 2008 to present was just the socialization of financial risk, but not profits too, and the politicians are «shy» when it comes to discussion about the bankers, those that support their political adventure.

Some dictatorship breakdown – the global police stat rises

But 2011 was also a year when humanity has escaped to some dictators. True, it remains questionable the lack of principles and functional hypocrisy of the same countries that have contributed to the fall of Egypt – Mubarak and Libya – Gaddafi regimes, after decades when they accepted the two dictators because it suited their interests.

Unfortunately, the democratization of these countries started with the left and the first results prove to be disastrous. Will see, in 2012 and beyond, how will be build a democracy with representative government, a free press, and an independent judiciary? Unlikely. More, Libyan “soap-opera” has provided opportunity to the regime in Damascus to justify unspeakable abuses against Syrian protesters. It’s still hard to discern between the repression of a criminal regime and the «help» received to destabilize Syria and justification for external intervention. In addition, after  Libyan adventure more and more shadows seem to imply in relations between major political actors  U.S., Russia and China.

At the end of the year, North Korea finally escaped to Kim Jong-Il. Natural. But how appear the things in space of communist – monarchy in Pyongyang, only to replace one dictator with another.

Watching the images of the funeral of Kim Jong-Il, any Western citizen wondered how such a thing possible. The answer has several components: time, fear, limits of human and citizen rights, ideological indoctrination. Basic tools of any police and dictatorial state. And if you think that this can happen only in Korea or Iran, I say to you, think again. Let′s speak a little about police stat, first step of any authoritarian regime. In fact, Syria is the leading exponent of the police state. But the same type of reaction (it is true to a lower level) can be seen in all countries where the authorities are facing with the discontent of the population. Take a look to the authorities of your country ! When they are no solutions, they will hide their incompetence under various pretexts – all generating fear and insecurity: the fall of the euro, the nuclear threat, terrorists, national security (basically just the security of their own pockets), unemployment, austerity. Team Obama’s press briefing about the ongoing saga of the Nigerian underwear bomber. Obama’s is clearly trying to cultivate a fear of Al-Qaeda while simultaneously building blind trust in his government. After the President’s remarks, his Homeland Security Secretary and Deputy National Security Advisor took the stage to unveil a series of proposals to ‘improve security’. After the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq (in a lost battle, despite the official statements), President Obama needs a new enemy on which to focus the attention of his voters. It could be Iran, Al-Qaeda or whatever. All what it is important is to cultivate your fear and deflect you attention from the disaster produced by the fat cats on Wall Street. In the same times, according The Moscow Times, the top three individual words used by mass-media from Russia in 2011 are полиция (police), рокировка (castling, job swap at the top) and альфа-самец (alpha male). And Russia has a favorite enemy meant to scare and to justify the cost of weapons: American anti-missile shield. The examples could continue. Therefore, 2012 will be a year when many countries will have parliamentary and presidential elections and I think it is good to think seriously about who you give your vote. Perhaps it is time to remind politicians that we want to live in a world of normal, healthy principles and values​​. According FT, in politics field, “2012 will be driven by tactics and electoral timing. The great revolt will come later. Next year, tactically adept incumbents may survive by offering stability at a time of chaos. Their chances are particularly high if they can identify with the pain of their citizens more effectively than weak challengers”. I think that the chance of citizens is to think. It does not cost. Not yet !

Muammar Gaddafi’s death – celebration in Tripoli

According BBC, Libya’s transitional government forces have taken full control of Sirte, the last city where Gaddafi loyalists had remained holed up, fighters and reporters say. Soldiers hoisted the new NTC national flag on buildings in the centre of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown.

Unconfirmed reports quote officials as saying Col Gaddafi was captured there. But his supporters are still resisting government forces in the town of Bani

Photo Reuters: Anti-Gadhafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte in the town on Thursday.

Walid, south-east of Tripoli. Col Gaddafi is said to be wounded. There is no independent confirmation of the reports. “He’s captured. He’s wounded in both legs,” National Transitional Council (NTC) official Abdel Majid told Reuters news agency. “He’s been taken away by ambulance.”

AFP news agency quoted another NTC official, Mohamed Leith, as saying that Col Gaddafi had been captured in Sirte and was “seriously wounded” but still breathing. A soldier who says he captured Muammar Gaddafi tod the BBC the colonel had shouted: “Don’t shoot!”

The situation remains unclear. No officials can to confirm the rumours that Col Gaddafi has been captured or, as the Reuters news agency is reporting, that he is dead.

Immediately appeared also the first reactions of the international community. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Libyans should decide Col Gaddafi’s fate. “The fate of Gaddafi should be decided by the Libyan people,” Mr Medvedev was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies, AFP reports. Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the deposed Libya leader’s capture was great news if confirmed. The U.S. State Department on Thursday said it can’t confirm reports that former Libyan leader Col. Gadhafi has been killed. “I cannot confirm the reports about Gadhafi. I am very doubtful about these reports. According to our information Gadhafi was not even in Sirte during this time of fighting,” said Abdul Rahmin Al-Busin, a spokesman for the NTC military.

UPDATE: Libyan fighters say that Col. Muammar Gaddafi has died from wounds sustained during a final push to seize control of the strongman’s hometown of Sirte, claims that haven’t yet been confirmed by the country’s transitional authority or its Western allies that have been aiding the nine-month revolt. Members of the interim National Transitional Council, meanwhile, say that they cannot independently verify the news. The leaders of the NTC were expected to hold a separate press conference in the eastern city of Benghazi as well.

According WSJ: “The news of Col. Gaddafi’s death sparked widespread celebration in Tripoli. News readers on Libyan State Television repeated the earlier claim of his capture and announced the full liberation of the country.”

The official of NTC, Abdel Majid Mlegta, initially said Gaddafi suffered wounds to his legs, but later reported that the deposed Libyan leader was dead. “He was also hit in his head” Mlegta told Reuters. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.” Gaddafi’s body is being transported to a secret location in Misrata. Al – Arabyia Chanel said that received permission to records Gaddafi’s body.

Libya – Operations: Mermaid Dawn and the Morning of a new Iraq

A major international scandal could be brewing following the unofficial admission by NATO commanders that the allies deployed special forces units to help rebels fight Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya despite limitations set by a UN mandate. Plan to conquer the Libyan capital received the codename Operation “Mermaid Dawn” ( in Arabic – amaliyyat Bahr el-Arus Fajr). Perhaps the name is the metaphor that described the city of Tripoli – Bride or Fiancee of the Sea. It can say anything, but not that U.S. strategists are not very sensitive and creative when they have to give names of military operations. 😀

One aspect, however, was very clear from the beginning: the rebel forces could not beat Gaddafi’s troops without active support of Western allies at the ground, training, equipping and the all activities 3C (command, control and communications). When NATO took command of the air exclusion zone imposed (NFZ – no fly zone), those quasi-clandestine operations had to be turned parallel to NATO operations and in any case not have an active and visible tangent with NATO operational command.

The first news about the activities of land appeared in the press at the end of May, probably by Al-Jazeera footage and articles in the Guardian. Latest events in Tripoli and rapid conquest of most neighborhoods of the city, including Gaddafi’s fortified residence in Bab al-Aziz, revealed the participation in planning battles, and often involvement of allied ground forces. These forces included commando of British SAS, 2REP French (Groupe des commando parachutiste) and American Navy DELTA (according Politeia). Since from the beginning to set up the view that Gaddafi could be conquerable only if he loses Libyan capital, Tripoli, Western coordinators have developed the current plan, which is in the process of development in Tripoli. Prominent opposition members confirmed that the rebels had been shipping weapons into Tripoli for several weeks, in preparation for this uprising. After the British newspaper The Telegraph delivered an amazing headline: Libya: Colonel Gaddafi ‘flees’ to Venezuela as cities fall to protestersGaddafi delivered a speech via phone through Libyan media, announcing the date and time to prove his message wasn’t pre-recorded. One transcript of his remarks can be read here.

Operation Mermaid Dawn” has succeeded, after six months of civil war, but viewed from afar the joy rebels in Tripoli is sad and lack of support on long term. An ephemeral euphoria. Behind that are 20,000 dead in these six months of confrontation. Mermaid Dawn will soon be replaced by the Midday Heat of oil wells blown up. And the rebels, who were decapitated, a few days ago, a gold statue of Gaddafi and turned into ruins Gaddafi’s residential, not seem to understand that these days, more strikingly resembles Tripoli with Baghdad in 2003. Slowly but surely Libya is likely to sink into the same species of chaos as in Iraq. Perhaps a swift capture of Gaddafi would provide more or less stability in Libya. But the analysts believe that if we make a parallel with Iraq War, we see that the hanging of Saddam has not changed much for good things. But Gaddafi is not yet found. And the reward offered to catch not yet found willing betrayal. Between two reports of accident  from Fukushima, International Atomic Energy Agency issued a warning of some possible nuclear deposits that would have Gaddafi and that he could uses in the manufacture of “dirty” bombs. It is possible that information is correct. But who can believe it, after never found weapons of mass murder of Saddam Hussein ? Yes, I speak about those famous weapons of mass destruction mentioned in the counterfeit reports of special services that gave the Americans reasons and justification of the invasion of Iraq. The same justification could be base for hunt of Gaddafi by international forces – a justification which Prime Minister Putin seems to missed when recent he condemned again the events in Libya. In reply, Rupert Colville – UN human rights spokesman in Geneva – said: “Assassination is not within the rule of law. If he can be captured alive and the arrest warrants carried through, obviously that’s the best solution”, referring to the hunt for Gaddafi. On the other hand, even if it will catch on Gaddafi, Libya’s stability is not assured from the start. This country means too much fragmented tribes and clans which unlikely to listen to the Transitional Council who comes to power. And while barrels of oil will take the road of the West, will find many dissatisfied who will say that “Gaddafi’s time was better” or “Down the Council !” Then they will blow up a street in Tripoli…or in Benghazi; just only to show their power. Welcome in the morning of a new Iraq !