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Thread: The new Libya: various aspects

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graycap View Post
    IMHO the construction of a "solid" libyan future will depend very much from western and arab approach to what we call "support".

    For Europe it could be a very good test if we europeans are able to conceive a unitarian foreign policy. If Italy, France, GB, Germany will have their "man in Tripoli" (with his own gang of armed individuals, tribe etc...) the outcome is predictable: total caos.
    Everyone who knows the Libyan character knows that everyone will scramble to find a way to gain some power (and money) in the business of restarting the country. Corruption will be rampant and now we have a bunch of weapons to add tothe normal burocratic means to manage a power base and gain some backshish.

    When the NATO will exhaust his military role there will be no political steering with such a strong legitimacy. Then the EU should kick in but we sould find the Ashton ghost.... (Anyone where is she?)
    Italy seems topoint to Jalloud, France to Jalil, maybe Great Britain is in touch with someone in Bengazi. If European politician doesn' understand that only a unified approach could achieve something the future will be bleak.

    Italy has tried this strategy: it backfired at the first occasion because we could not offer any kind of political shield with this US administration.
    France (if Sarkozy could be called France) seems to have a better understanding of this strange "Obama doctrine" but without Italy is very difficult to stabilize Libya. The same for GB.

    Let's hope for a european awakening. It's the only real strategic way out.
    I saw part of an interview with her on BBC/Sky news. She spoke a lot but didn't really say anything if you get me. I won't get into an Ashton rant. It seems the EU are the best vehicle for the post conflict Libya, security sector reform, soft power policies etc. All about how long it takes to find Big G (Gaddafi) whether or not those around him will no defect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Interesting that democracy is equated here with economic liberalization, as if the two were synonymous. Interesting also that income inequality and the absence of "social justice" are seen as the principal problems facing a Libyan Democracy.

    I suspect that the problems facing an attempt to develop democracy in Libya are likely to be far more severe and immediate than income equality and "social justice" (whatever we take that to mean). Possibly a bit of projection in the picture there.
    Dayuhan,

    In an oil economy, "social justice" would mean that the large majority of the population, rather than a small elite benefits from the country's natural richness. A democracy functions according to the principle of "no taxation without representation." A dictatorship financed by oil revenues puts this principle on its head: "no taxation, therefore no representation". A dictator buys the acquiescence of the people with government jobs and subsidies on necessities like food, fuel and housing. The oil economy cannot provide jobs for everyone, but it can generate more than 90% of the national GDP. Claessen's article holds that it is difficult to reconcile this reality with democracy and economic liberalization, but that it is easy to reconcile this reality with a social contract based either on
    a patronizing system granting government jobs on the basis of subservience or a social security system based on the Islamic duty to help the poor. The former could evolve into a new autocracy. The latter would tend towards an Islamist state.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    In an oil economy, "social justice" would mean that the large majority of the population, rather than a small elite benefits from the country's natural richness. A democracy functions according to the principle of "no taxation without representation." A dictatorship financed by oil revenues puts this principle on its head: "no taxation, therefore no representation". A dictator buys the acquiescence of the people with government jobs and subsidies on necessities like food, fuel and housing. The oil economy cannot provide jobs for everyone, but it can generate more than 90% of the national GDP. Claessen's article holds that it is difficult to reconcile this reality with democracy and economic liberalization, but that it is easy to reconcile this reality with a social contract based either on
    The term "social justice" means lots of things to lots of people, which limits its utility. Certainly the presence of oil or other resource wealth poses certain complications for a transition out of dictatorship, as does the absence of resources.

    The challenge facing Libya now is to transform a loose coalition united only by opposition to the dictator into something resembling a government that is able to provide the basic rudiments of governance. Where it goes from there - if that can be achieved - can be managed after that is achieved.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Default war as source of national identity

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The challenge facing Libya now is to transform a loose coalition united only by opposition to the dictator into something resembling a government that is able to provide the basic rudiments of governance. Where it goes from there - if that can be achieved - can be managed after that is achieved.
    One refrain I heard quite often in Libya was that the prolonged struggle to overthrow Qaddafi may have helped to build a stronger sense of national identity and purpose. This isn't to say the challenges aren't serious--they are, given the factionalism that already exists. However it was striking to hear people say "perhaps its a good thing we didn't win in a week, and instead had to work together to achieve this outcome."
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post

    The challenge facing Libya now is to transform a loose coalition united only by opposition to the dictator into something resembling a government that is able to provide the basic rudiments of governance. Where it goes from there - if that can be achieved - can be managed after that is achieved.
    Dayuhan,

    Sorry, but that sounds like a recipe for yet another failure to get phase 4 right.

    Marc

  6. #26
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I don't think the Libyans used US phasing.

    Probably just as well, we also apparently do not...

    A rather chaotic and somewhat spontaneous lurch into an unexpected revolt was highly unlikely to have developed US-like mathematic and simplistic phaseology. That's a plus for them. They'll work it out and they have -- quite wisely IMO -- rejected offers of Western aid and advice (less money, of course...) and are apparently requesting military training assistance from the Kingdom of Jordan. Pretty smart of them...

    Events often do not cater for 'efficient' design and 'proper' planning; often one has to do what feels right and make it up as one goes along. Surprisingly, that generally yields results far better than those obtained using straitjackets, matrices and metrics...

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    Default Return home or leave?

    I am aware that Libya identified a large shortfall in management capacity approx. 18 months ago, for all sectors and were seeking externally validated training leading to a qualification (not MBA). It will be interesting to see if Libyan exiles and those who have been absent now return. There were numerous BBC TV news clips of families returning, even to Misrata during the siege. I concede some will now want to leave too. A number of Libyan families have sat out the war in Malta.
    davidbfpo

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graycap View Post
    For Europe it could be a very good test if we europeans are able to conceive a unitarian foreign policy. If Italy, France, GB, Germany will have their "man in Tripoli" (with his own gang of armed individuals, tribe etc...) the outcome is predictable: total caos.
    I guess we'll do something similar as we did with the Palestinian authorities, except with a bit more personal attention by the French president.




    Now some relevant humour...
    Last edited by Fuchs; 08-24-2011 at 04:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I guess we'll do something similar as we did with the Palestinian authorities, except with a bit more personal attention by the French president.




    Now some relevant humour...
    Gives new meaning to the phrase "the CNN effect"!

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    Lots of smileys and lots of jokes in this thread.

    After the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan the Taliban emerged.

    After the PLO defeat in Beirut, Hezbollah emerged in southern Lebanon and Hamas emerged in Gaza.

    After Saddam Hussein was ousted, Moqtada Al-Sadr emerged in Baghdad.

    Lots of smiles and lots of jokes in 1988, 1982 and 2003 respectively, lots of tears and gnashing of teeth afterwards.

    Are we to assume that democracy will emerge naturally in post-Gadhafi Libya?

  11. #31
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    You might want to check the timelines.

    There were multiple years, many events of relevance between your seeming cause-effect dates.

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    The conflict isn't over and the rebels are not united, so this can still play out in a number of ways.

    Posted by Rex,

    One refrain I heard quite often in Libya was that the prolonged struggle to overthrow Qaddafi may have helped to build a stronger sense of national identity and purpose. This isn't to say the challenges aren't serious--they are, given the factionalism that already exists. However it was striking to hear people say "perhaps its a good thing we didn't win in a week, and instead had to work together to achieve this outcome."
    Intentional or accidental I agree that the duration of the conflict (it is still going on) allowed elements of the resistance to form a quasi-government and hopefully plans for a future that will no doubt be challenged by others seeking power, but without this organization it most likely would have been pure chaos.

    I really can't imagine what would have happened if Qadafi fell in say two or three weeks, maybe a day or two of celebration and then a collective now what following by anarchy?

  13. #33
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Tears and gnashiung accomplish nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Lots of smileys and lots of jokes in this thread.
    Laughter OTOH is generally beneficial.
    ... the Taliban emerged...Hezbollah emerged in southern Lebanon and Hamas emerged in Gaza...Moqtada Al-Sadr emerged in Baghdad.
    And, lo, the world is still here.

    A world that survived the Romans, Sassanids, the Khans and World War II didn't even blink at any of the post 1980 stuff. Nor should it have; they were small things. Very small. Not terribly significant until we made them seem to be...
    Are we to assume that democracy will emerge naturally in post-Gadhafi Libya?
    I don't know who constitutes your "we" but I certainly do not assume that -- nor do I care whether it emerges or not. That's the Libyan's affair and no concern of mine. Nor should any American really be that concerned, none of our business and our foolish attempts to 'foster democracy' here and there over the past 60 or so years have done more harm to the world and people in it than have any of the post '80 events cited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Laughter OTOH is generally beneficial. And, lo, the world is still here.

    A world that survived the Romans, Sassanids, the Khans and World War II didn't even blink at any of the post 1980 stuff. Nor should it have; they were small things. Very small. Not terribly significant until we made them seem to be...I don't know who constitutes your "we" but I certainly do not assume that -- nor do I care whether it emerges or not. That's the Libyan's affair and no concern of mine. Nor should any American really be that concerned, none of our business and our foolish attempts to 'foster democracy' here and there over the past 60 or so years have done more harm to the world and people in it than have any of the post '80 events cited.
    Ken,

    I'm not sure how to read your post. In the "any of the post '80 events cited" I included the emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan in the late nineties (who later hosted AQ, who later conducted the attacks on the WTC). According to you, "A world that survived the Romans, Sassanids, the Khans and World War II didn't even blink at any of the post 1980 stuff. Nor should it have; they were small things. Very small. Not terribly significant until we made them seem to be." Does this mean you consider the AQ attacks on the WTC to be QUOTE "Very small. Not terribly significant until we made the seem to be"UNQUOTE? Could you clarify your position on all this?

    Best regards,

    Marc

  15. #35
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Relatively speaking, yes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Does this mean you consider the AQ attacks on the WTC to be QUOTE "Very small. Not terribly significant until we made the seem to be"UNQUOTE? Could you clarify your position on all this?
    Compared to the carnage of WW II for just the most recent, yes. Quite small.

    Bad, unforgivable and harmful no question but relatively minor to all except those involved in those attacks and their families with whom I can and do empathize. Still, the attack and its results really had comparatively small impact -- unlike the War which killed millions and affected many more millions of people worldwide. A response to those attacks in 2001 was required and was executed with initial good results. Results that we unfortunately squandered by the making of where we were as those results were obtained into a still ongoing campaign as well as a series of efforts in this country to 'enhance' security that give far more significance to the attacks and subsequent events than is or was IMO warranted. Every year more American are killed in automobile accidents OR medical misadventures than have been killed over the past ten years as a result of those attacks and our subsequent actions worldwide.

    Many for whom those attacks were a defining event will not agree and I understand that and respect their position. Fortunately or unfortunately, viewpoint dependent, my defining moment was the attack on Pearl Harbor; fewer total US casualties but vastly greater costs in the long term. My wars were long ago but I do have a son currently on his fifth tour in this one who also thinks we did and still are over reacting. Maybe he's just old before his time...

    To return to the thread and Libya, a democracy there would be nice but it is for many reasons really sort of unlikely and, as I said, it will in reality make little to no difference to most Americans. In the event, it is up to the Libyans and not to us. Hopefully, those in DC who are overly prone to 'do something' will realize that and not set out to do good and end up doing more harm as we too often do...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Compared to the carnage of WW II for just the most recent, yes. Quite small.

    ...
    Ok, Ken, I understand your position now, although I disagree with it. What I do not understand is why you want to post on a "small wars" website if you think that anything smaller than WWII is too small to be significant.

    Best regards,

    Marc

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    One refrain I heard quite often in Libya was that the prolonged struggle to overthrow Qaddafi may have helped to build a stronger sense of national identity and purpose. This isn't to say the challenges aren't serious--they are, given the factionalism that already exists. However it was striking to hear people say "perhaps its a good thing we didn't win in a week, and instead had to work together to achieve this outcome."
    I remember citing this possibility, back in the early days of the other thread, as a reason to avoid external regime change, on the grounds that the need to overthrow the regime themselves would force the opposition to develop some degree of organization and coordination. I think the opposition is certainly better equipped to govern now than it would have been if NATO had simply removed the dictator. Whether or not it's enough... time will tell. Forming a government will be difficult, actually governing far more so.

    The extent to which post-Daffy political groupings coalesce among tribal or individualist lines, and the ability of such groups to cooperate, or at least to compete without armed conflict, is something I'm not sure anyone can reliably predict at this stage. We'll see.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 08-24-2011 at 10:32 PM.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Ok, Ken, I understand your position now, although I disagree with it. What I do not understand is why you want to post on a "small wars" website if you think that anything smaller than WWII is too small to be significant.
    I think the question is not whether or not they are significant, but whether or not the response is proportional to the scale and significance of the events. I'm not convinced that it is, and I suspect that the overreaction is not doing us any good and may be doing us harm.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Default 24 August Evening Libya News Roundup

    24 August Evening Libya News Roundup

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  20. #40
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    Wink That's why they make Toyotas and Fords...

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Ok, Ken, I understand your position now, although I disagree with it.
    I'm sure many do and that's okay. OTOH, I do not disagree with your position -- but I do not share it. That's not quite the same thing...
    What I do not understand is why you want to post on a "small wars" website if you think that anything smaller than WWII is too small to be significant.
    That's not what I wrote. This is:

    ""A world that survived the Romans, Sassanids, the Khans and World War II didn't even blink at any of the post 1980 stuff. Nor should it have; they were small things. Very small. Not terribly significant until we made them seem to be...""

    That was an apparently poor attempt to say that all things are relative. Compared to the costs and violence of the things I mentioned, those more recent items were far smaller in costs and scale. To clarify a bit, Korea was significant, mostly because it still bumbles on due to our failures more than anything else. Viet Nam was significant due to its costs (in all respects and now as well as then...). The initial effort in Afghanistan was significant (the earlier rise of the Taliban was not particularly so) and Iraq was and is significant -- but not due to Sadr who is insignificant (which doesn't mean he isn't a bother, just that he isn't a major bother). Afghanistan and Iraq will always exist in one form or another, the Talibs and Mokey not so much, they're transients on the scene...

    In most of those latter cases, the events and characters rise to more prominence (as opposed to significance) because of OUR actions, not due to much they did or do. So, if those things have significance in the eyes of some -- or many -- it's due to our habit of making things into possibly more than they might have been. Dayuhan has that bit right...

    I post here because folks are civil, most are well informed and all facets of warfare and the politics thereunto pertaining are discussed without much effort being wasted on other political foolishness. Those are things that have been of interest (and employment) in a fairly long life.

    I can discuss small wars, been to a few. I can and do advise against US participation in them unless all other options fail because in my experience the American psyche does not and will not ever do them well; we aren't ruthless enough (I have no problem with violence -- but many, particularly politicians, seem to...)and don't have the patience for (or a governmental / election process and cycle that supports) the long term approach. We can do them, have done a bunch marginally well -- mostly smaller efforts without huge troop commitments -- but we do not do them really well, the bigger they are, the worse we do...

    Instead of seeking small wars, we should put the Intel folks and DoS to work and let Special Forces do their FID thing early and often while avoiding small wars, SFA and / or COIN support because the GPF will never do those things well.

    Nor should they...
    Last edited by Ken White; 08-25-2011 at 01:06 AM. Reason: Typos

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