Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Libya?

Libya rebels

Back in mid-March NATO forces — at that time, led by the United States — began air strikes on Libyan targets to “protect the civilian population”. Two months later, what was supposed to be a brief intervention is still dragging on.

From the very beginning it was clear that the “responsibility to protect” was really just a cover story for a blatant attempt to oust Colonel Muammar Qaddafi from power. The longer the war dragged on, the more obvious it became that the real goal was to unseat the Man of Many Spellings. Hitting Kheddafi’s compound in Tripoli repeatedly is billed as attempt to take out his command center, rather than as an attempt to knock off the strongman, but no one is fooled by the charade.

Up until now NATO has failed to nail the Colonel, but it just keeps on trying. Here’s the latest from The New York Times:

NATO Bombs Libyan Capital in Heaviest Strikes Yet

Tripoli, Libya — In the heaviest attack yet on the capital since the start of the two-month-old NATO bombing campaign, alliance aircraft struck at least 15 targets in central Tripoli early Tuesday, with most of the airstrikes concentrated on an area around Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s command compound.

The strikes, within a 30-minute period around 1 a.m., caused thunderous explosions and fireballs that leapt high into the night sky, causing people in neighborhoods a mile or more away to cry out in alarm.

Just as one strike ended, the sound of jet engines from low-flying aircraft in the stormy skies above the capital signaled the imminence of another. Huge plumes of black smoke rose and converged over the darkened cityscape.

“We thought it was the day of judgment,” one enraged Libyan said.

As long as Qhedafi’s hide remains intact, there will be no definitive conclusion, so the air war must continue. After six weeks or so reporters began invoking the Q-word — “quagmire” — even though this was a war launched by President Obama and approved by the U.N., which postponed the quagmire, but only for a while.

According to the Associated Press:

Analysis: No End in Sight for NATO in Libya

BRUSSELS (AP) — The military campaign in Libya began with what seemed a narrowly defined mission: to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians from attack.

Two months later, the campaign has evolved into a ferocious pounding of the country’s capital, Tripoli, in what appears an all-out effort to oust Moammar Gadhafi. But that goal remains elusive, raising the prospect of a quagmire in the desert. And the political will of the countries involved is being sorely tested.

Even if the NATO partners want to extend the action to a ground war — which would seem utter madness, but you never can tell — they’ve got a niggling little problem, namely that the U.N. didn’t give them permission for a ground offensive:
Part of the challenge lies in the original U.N. resolution: It authorized the use of air power but forbade ground troops, even as it authorized “all necessary means” to protect civilians following Gadhafi’s brutal suppression of the popular uprising against his rule.

A lot of civilians have died in the air attacks “protecting” them, but who’s counting?

The French are obviously feeling the pinch, and are adamant that this thing must end soon:

“I can assure you that our will is to ensure that the mission in Libya does not last longer than a few months,” Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said during a question-and-answer session at the French parliament Tuesday.

He said the action “may take days, weeks in my opinion (but) certainly not months.”

NATO may require a new U.N. resolution authorizing the use of “all means necessary” if they intend to reach their goals within that time frame.

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In contemplating the current war in North Africa, the obvious question is “Why Libya?” Of all the “Arab Spring” revolts, why pick on Col. Khadafi?

Syria, being an Iranian proxy, is out, even though Bashar al-Assad is at least as worthy a target as Ghadaffi. Yemen and Egypt have no significant amount of oil, so they can safely be ignored. The Gulf Emirates have both oil and uprisings, but they are our bulwark against Iranian ambitions, so that probably gives them a free pass.

That leaves Libya as a prime target.

France was the driving force behind the attempt to oust Gheddafi. The British have been enthusiastic junior partners — possibly motivated by a desire to keep a lid on further revelations from defectors about London’s complicity in the release of the Lockerbie bomber — but the French were the ones pushing most strongly for war. Mr. Obama rode into his new war on the coattails of the French.

What does France get out of it? The French are known to be cool calculators of their national interest, and not misty-eyed humanitarian idealists. So what was in it for France?

To get an idea what might have been at work, let’s look at the European power that was emphatically opposed to the Libyan adventure from the start: Italy.

The Italians had a number of reasons to be skittish about bearding Moamar Gadafi. The Colonel had warned the Italians in no uncertain terms that any interference with Libya would induce him to unleash a “Camp of the Saints” exodus of migrants — many of them non-Libyans — across the Mediterranean towards Italy. Thus the Italians refused involvement in the war when it began, but that made no difference to Col. Kadaffi — NATO started bombing him, Italy is a member of NATO, so the Colonel unleashed his hordes of refugees, exactly as promised.

The biggest reason for Italian opposition to the war, however, was probably commercial. The Italian state oil company ENI has long held the primary oil and natural gas concession in Libya. As soon as the rebellion got underway in earnest, ENI had to shut down its operations in Libya, and the flow of oil and gas to its terminals across the Med slowed to a trickle.

Could this have been what lured the French into the war? Did they see an opportunity to wrest the lucrative Libyan petroleum market from Italy? Since they were the primary supporters of a weak and inexperienced rebel alliance that they expected would eventually take power in Tripoli, they may have been counting on gaining contracts for French oil companies as part of their well-deserved reward.

This is all speculation on my part — I haven’t read anything that suggests this is what France was up to. However, take a look at the other major EU opponent of the Libyan adventure: Germany. Why has Germany been so adamantly opposed to the war in Libya from the very beginning? Do they see the French gaining a commercial advantage that would adversely affect German interests?

Then there’s Russia, which also expressed its stern disapproval of the war. The Russians are such sophisticated geopolitical chess players that it’s always hard to determine exactly what their moves signify. But one of their major long-term strategies is to exert control over Western Europe via a near-monopoly of natural gas through a pipeline that bypasses troublesome former Soviet satellites and runs supplies directly to Germany and points further west.

ENI is a sclerotic state-owned industry, and is reportedly out-of-date and inefficient in its production techniques. If the French wrested control of Libyan natural gas from Italy, and if they were able to exploit the supplies more effectively than the Italians, would that pose a competitive commercial threat to Russia?

This is also speculation. I have no idea whether there is any validity to these ideas.

But I can’t help but wonder: Why Libya? Why now?

Despite what the American press seems to think, this is not Obama’s war. It was obvious from the start that he was being dragged into it by the French, with the help of bleeding-heart journalists who focused relentlessly on the evils perpetrated on his own people by the Mad Bedouin Colonel.

And it’s not David Cameron’s war, either, no matter how whole-heartedly he has joined in. He has his reasons, but he is not the prime mover behind it.

This is a French operation. The French tail wagged the NATO dog.

So what’s really going on?

50 comments:

Malcolm Smith said...

My guess is that they blundered into it. They remembered the "no fly zone" over northern Iraq, which was successful, in that it largely protected the Kurds from Saddam's wrath. It seemed a good idea to extend the same protection to the rebels in the east of Libya. The alternative was to watch a bloodbath, and feel that they could have prevented it.
At least it has been half successful. The easteners are reasonably safe from Qaddafi's wrath. Any time he pushes eastwards, NATO can wallop him. This could go on indefinitely. His best hope is to reconcile himself to losing the eastern half of his country. That might provide an incentive for him to negotiate a withdrawal to a third country sanctuary.

Westward Ho said...

The idea of Obama taking this country to war puts in my mind a combination of the image of Dukakis's snoopy tank photo, and Czar Nicholas II invading Japan on kind of a thoughtless whim.

Ralph Lynn said...

It seems to me that the Lybian adventure sets a precedent for the 'muscular libralism ' of the EU suits to intervene wherever they need to in their pursuit of Eurabia.

And watch out those countries that stray from the EU script!

Papa Whiskey said...

I think the Frogs had less influence over BHO than the gaggle of "hen-hawks" in his administration who pushed for intervention: Samantha Power, an academic known in inner-party circles as "the genocide chick," Susan Rice, who is known to be suffused with angst about the Clinton regime's inaction in Rwanda, and Hillary ("At last ... a chance to really make my mark in the world!") Clinton. Having grown up taking direction from a strong-willed female intellectual, BHO was all too psychologically susceptible to their tutelage and pressure. As a result, he embraced the tar baby and is now becoming Lyndon B. Johnson in blackface.

p.revesz said...

Could it be oil?

http://www.oilandgaslibya.com/

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

The Stakes in the Libyan War.

Maps of the petroleum geology of Libya and the main concessions to foreign oil corporations.

Baron Bodissey said...

Ralph Lynn --

And watch out those countries that stray from the EU script!

That scenario is not tenable. Half of the "Big Four" in the EU were (and are) opposed to the Libyan escapade. Germany is still propagandizing against it, and Italy wants out as fast as possible.

There is no "EU script" for this war.

Yes, the issue is obviously oil and/or natural gas. But cui bono?

Clearly it must be the French, who are pushing by far the hardest. But why?

France generally uses humanitarian concerns as a fig leaf to cover its own interests. What is France expecting to gain that has induced it to push so hard and spend so much money on this war?

Henrik Ræder said...

Looks like the real interest is plain business. According to EUObserver:

American contractors are flooding into Benghazi, offering expertise, weapons, anything they need.

From the same article - the official EU recognition of the rebel regime:

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton visits the rebel capital Benghazi to officially inaugurate the new EU-flagged mission in the city and meet with TNC leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

Both the recent bombings and the diplomatic initiatives are way out of line with the so-called "UN mandate" that constitute the fig leaf here.

But then, what's the life of a few civilians and a total breakdown of international law in the face of business interest and prestige for the EU?

Worth remembering: NATO is no longer a defence alliance, merely an 'Alliance'. I have already been lectured personally about the dangers of going against the will of the Alliance when it comes to 'defence' operations like this one.

Baron Bodissey said...

But, Henrik -- the business interest in Libya is not uniform across the EU. The French are obviously pushing it, and the Germans are opposed.

The British are also keen, but not as keen as the French. And the Italians are not keen at all.

Why?

Ralph Lynn said...

Baron

Granted, it's the oil and Lybian oil is said to be the 'sweetest'. I've been reading Bat Ye'or and she has influenced my view of the Lybian adventure.
Were the thousands of 'refugees' landing on Europe's southern shores considered and are they part of the 'script' or they an unfortunate consequence..?

Also, in regard to this intervention I cannot help but think of the nascent Euro Army and the building of 'high readiness joint formations' between Britain and France. Will these forces be just for defence and foreign campaigns? Or might they be really about keeping a naysaying secessionist government from leaving the glorious post democratic non colonial empire of the EU?

Apart from my 'worried of Lancashire' musings and ramblings, this Lybian escapade throws up a lot of questions. What happenned to earnest and painstaking concensus seeking? The diplomatic to-ing and fro-ing? A plan? Clear objectives?

And in Britain not a peep from any 'statesman' pointing out the folly of this. Of aiding a side in a civil war who we know nothing of!

The solution to Gadafi may be worse than the problem of Gadafi.

Zenster said...

Ralph Lynn: Granted, it's the oil and Lybian oil is said to be the 'sweetest'.

Were that so, there might be some sense to all of this. However, this does not seem to be the case:

Libyan oil fields, like those in increasing distances from the Arabian Gulf, produce something called "Sour" Crude with a sulfur content higher than .5. Saudi Light Sweet Crude and Brent North Sea crude are the gold standard of world crude oil quality and Libya doesn't even come close. It doesn't even beat West Texas Intermedia­te grade which is pretty close to the top two.

Were Libyan oil truly "sweet", its ease of refinement and usefulness in "special purposes" production runs would lend some credibility of why this resource is being so hotly pursued.

Such is not the case and it seems more a matter of entrenched versus competitive (i.e., Italian vs French), interests combined with a pretense of finally kicking the terrorist arse they've all been nuzzling for so long that most European politicos now blow their noses with toilet paper.

Ralph Lynn said...

Zenster

Correction noted. I will remember that, next time al BBC wheels on an 'expert'.

I can see the Lybian Adventure in some future post-script to Ye'or's Eurabia treatise.

Henrik Ræder said...

Baron, I don't have a definitive answer. The situation is a mess, our objectives extremely unclear, and the exit strategy missing. If we pull out now, the 'rebels' (whoever they really are) will be crushed, and our leaders blamed for another Catastrophic Failure.

I see no other option than continuing spending our tax money on keeping the civil war in Libya alive - which the EU bureaucrats are obviously keen to do.

To me, this looks like bureaucracies gone whacky, like Skynet...

Robert said...

A: Sextortion.

Sarkozy's ex-wife (Cecilia) left him after being raped by Kaddafi as the price for the EU nurse hostage release.
http://www.newsweek.com/2007/07/31/the-politics-of-blackmail.html

...Sarkozy even finagled an image-enhancing jaunt for his whimsical wife, Cécilia, as ostensible liberator of the prisoners. “She is the last person to come interfere in that issue and she is the person who took the medics with her back home,” said Saif al-Islam. “She’s very lucky. Lots of people tried in the past and they failed.” The reason: “The French [understood] the requirements and they were very flexible.”

Baron Bodissey said...

Henrik et al. --

Let me just throw out a few facts here:

(1) Russia has very craftily maneuvered itself into a position where it has a near-stranglehold on natural gas supplies into Western Europe.

(2) Germany has become an energy client and sometime partner with Russia in business matters which mutually profit both countries.

(3) The Italian state oil company ENI is said to be inefficient at extracting distributing Libyan natural gas.

The above items are "facts" in the sense that I have read them multiple times at a variety of news outlets. On that basis I assume them to be valid premises.

To those three I add a fourth item, purely speculative:

(4) The French think they can break the Russian natural gas monopoly by using supplies from Libya, which means they must supplant ENI.

This hypothesis would satisfy Occam's razor by explaining all the elements satisfactorily except for one. It tells us why:

(1) France is so gung-ho for the rebels.

(2) Germany and Italy are opposed to the war.

(3) Russia is vigorously antagonistic to the NATO intervention.

It does not, however, explain why Britain is so enthusiastic.

Terp Mole said...

Why Britain? That's easy.

Libya’s Justice Minister confirmed Kaddafi (personally) ordered the Lockerbie bombing
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-12552587

Kaddafi publicly VOWED to RESUME targeting civilian airliners
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8389769/Libya-Ill-attack-passenger-jets-warns-Gaddafi-as-air-strikes-loom.html

Zenster said...

Henrik Ræder: To me, this looks like bureaucracies gone whacky, like Skynet...

I think Ralph Lynn now has gotten closer to the real issue.

Ralph Lynn: I can see the Lybian Adventure in some future post-script to Ye'or's Eurabia treatise.

This seems more to the point. European leaders, especially the French, have invested a lot of political and moral capital in their nascent "Mediterranean Union".

The ongoing effort to win North African hearts and minds is perfectly in keeping with this preposterous Mediterranean Union model. All that one must disregard is the glaringly obvious fact that Libyan Muslims will immediately turn around and bite whatever European hands that released them from Qadaffi Duck's chains.

Ralph Lynn: The solution to Gadafi may be worse than the problem of Gadafi.

Difficult as it may be to imagine, I predict we shall see this to be the case throughout the entirety of this "Arab Spring". The Ikwan will be a sole beneficiary of this regional upheaval and they can be trusted to bring the most ebon darkness wherever there may have been even a slight glimmer of light.

Zenster said...

As a postscript, I will say that with respect to a short term "follow the money" motivational schemata, the Baron's explanation makes the most sense of this erstwhile political mare's nest.

Terp Mole said...

The Lockerbie victims’ families have thought this through for decades.

How to rid Libya of its longtime leader is a tricky question. “My hope is that if we prevent the slaughter of civilians, the mercenaries he’s hired might become aware that their position is rather precarious — they’re not going to get paid, they’re probably going to get killed — and so maybe they’ll go home again,” Monetti reasons. He thinks ground forces should prove unnecessary: “The Libyans will take care of Qaddafi on their own.”

If we kill Kaddafi, he becomes a martyr; and his spawn are empowered.

If Libyans execute him, he’s just another Mussolini swinging from a meat-hook; and his spawn are castrati.

wolf said...

Article 23b of the Hague Regulations, adopted by the U.S. and other nations in 1907, prohibits “assassination, proscription, or outlawry of an enemy head of state. In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed an executive order banning assassination. Executive Order 12333 prohibits the act of state-sponsored killing.

Under international law the assassination of the head of state is illegal. This means that actively targeting Gaddafi for assassination, or even trying to kill him with a missile is controversial politically.

Apparently Libya’s Justice Minister confirmed Kaddafi (personally) ordered the Lockerbie bombing, but that is not justification to assassinate him. Based on sharia law Kaddafi paid for his crime. Under sharia law I believe if a moslem kills a non moslem and offers to pay the relatives of the victim and the relatives accept the money then the killer is free. I believe all the victims families accepted the millions Kaddafi offered. I have heard from various sources this non war- war is in part for revenge for those who died in Scotland, the Europeans had better learn sharia law (they will be ruled by it soon) and Kaddafi is an innocent man.

The Egyptian Brotherhood and al-Qaeda are apparently assisting the Libyan rebels. Obummer Ok'ed the killing of bin Laden, now he is assisting these 2 terrorists organizations in taking over Libya, quite ironic.

Terp Mole said...

@wolf: Kaddafi is not a "head of state". His title "The Leader" is unofficial and his role symobolic.

He's a civilian and a terrorist.

NATO: Fire when ready.

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

@Baron,

It does not, however, explain why Britain is so enthusiastic.

Cameron was so fast into Libya he did not even give himself time to make up a plausible lie his overeagerness both politically and militarily to remove Qaddafi is suspicious. Maybe he was looking for a muslim vote factor or plain old glory-hunting.

@Ralph Lynn:

Or might they be really about keeping a naysaying secessionist government from leaving the glorious post democratic non colonial empire of the EU?

The first test of NATOs willingness for internecine warfare maybe Scotland, a scenario they have long exercised for on the West Coast of Scotland including amphibious landings.

Terp Mole said...

[wolf sputtered: "Kaddafi paid for his crime."]

The Libyan state (not Kaddafi) compensated victims' families for Libyan state culpability.

Kaddafi's personal responsibility for masterminding the Lockerbie massacre has NOTHING to do with compensation or vengeance-- and everything to do with justice.

The disclosure of Kaddafi's personal role in mass murdering innocent Americans creates a duty to bring Kaddafi to justice; or justice to Kaddafi.

Personally, I don’t care whether Kaddafi meets a Predator drone or Mussolini’s fate on a meat-hook. But Kaddafi (personally) must answer for his actions.

Try harder to avoid conflating Libyan civil compensation with his personal comeuppance.

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

There are too many unanswered questions surrounding the Lockerbie massacre I want to hear Qaddafi answer those questions in Scotland I do not want him silenced by a cruise missile.

Terp Mole said...

@In_Hoc: There are many unanswered questions surrounding the 9/11 massacres. Rational folks don't need to hear UBL answer those questions anymore. We're satisfied the hagfish are choking on him.

The sober Scottish Lords (who patiently heard the Lockerbie evidence and convicted al-Megrahi) sat beneath the ancient Scottish motto “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit” which roughly translates as “Don’t cut at me and expect to get away with it.”

In a fit of delusional sentimentalism and alcoholic dementia, one stinking drunk and disorderly "Justice" Minister tossed centuries of Scottish principle down the filthiest toilet in Edinburgh.

No amount of magesterial posturing (or fallacious appeals to "questions") matters anymore.

Kaddafi delenda est

Zenster said...

Terp Mole: Kaddafi is not a "head of state". His title "The Leader" is unofficial and his role symbolic.

As Ayn Rand so patiently reminded us:

Tyrannies have no sovereign rights.

wolf said...

@ Terp Mole

state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5425.htm
Government
Official name: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Type: "Jamahiriya" is a term Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi coined and which he defines as a "state of the masses" governed by the populace through local councils. In practice, Libya is an authoritarian state.
(Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafiis the head of that authoritarian state if he is not than who is?) If he is a civilian or a member of the military is of no consequence. Is he a terrorist and does he facilitate terrorism - absolutely.

The Islamic principle of qisas, or retaliation, allows for blood money (diyya) to be paid by the perpetrator to the relatives of the deceased in cases of accidental death or even murder. This is not just an Islamic ritual; it is part of Islamic law and suffices as punishment for the murder if the relatives of the deceased agree. In any case, the amount of compensation required is higher if the victim was a Muslim than if he was a non-Muslim.
The fact that the state of Libya compensated the victims families in the "name of Kaddafi" the head of state, in islamic law is immaterial. We are looking at islamic justice and western justice two diametrically opposite justice systems. He lives under islamic law.
I can see your point of view that Kaddafi should hang (literally or figuratively) for his crime but in his part of the world he already has paid for his crime. As I said before at the rate their going Western Europe had better understand this and accept it because sharia law will be the law in Western Europe in the not to distant future.

Sean O'Brian said...

George W Bush phones Col Gadhafi to laud claims settlement deal

10:41PM GMT 17 Nov 2008

President George W Bush telephoned Libya's Moammar Gadhafi to express his satisfaction over a $1.5bn payment that Tripoli made to settle a long-standing dispute over terror attacks, including the bombing of a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, the White House has said.

In their conversation, the two "discussed that this agreement should help to bring a painful chapter in the history between our two countries closer to closure," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement.

Sean O'Brian said...

Since Kadafi has been consigned to Obamaite/Randian/neoconservative hell, who will replace him?

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited "around 25" men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are "today are on the front lines in Adjabiya".

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters "are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists," but added that the "members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader".


[...]

Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against "the foreign invasion" in Afghanistan, before being "captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan". He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.

Sean O'Brian said...

How democratic is Libya's opposition?

Other opposition groups, based in both the west and Libya, recognise the TNC and welcome its creation but remind that no one has elected them and that there is still no transparency.

So far, the TNC has released the names of only 13 of its 30-member leadership council, out of security concerns since some members represent areas under regime control. Five seats have been reserved for the young, February 17 revolutionary committee that instigated the protests against Gaddafi.


So it's out with Kadafi and in with Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi and Jihadists Anonymous.

Sean O'Brian said...

This comment got deleted by blogger so here it is again:

How democratic is Libya's opposition?

Other opposition groups, based in both the west and Libya, recognise the TNC and welcome its creation but remind that no one has elected them and that there is still no transparency.

So far, the TNC has released the names of only 13 of its 30-member leadership council, out of security concerns since some members represent areas under regime control. Five seats have been reserved for the young, February 17 revolutionary committee that instigated the protests against Gaddafi.


So it's out with Kadafi and in with Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi and Jihadists Anonymous.

Ralph Lynn said...

When the sand settles it'll be Sharia Street for Lybia (and Jihad Road for Egypt).

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

@Terp Mole:

"The sober Scottish Lords" you have the whole of Scotland laughing at that one.

Sober just long enough to have the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in Holland under a pseudo-Scots jurisdiction removed from Scottish sovereign territory that in eventuality would in some way preserve the integrity of the judiciary in Scotland.

Take it from me "The sober Scottish Lords" of the Scots judiciary you appluade would consider the contributers to this blog "a threat and danger to society" and would throw away the key.

Joao said...

Would Kaddafi or Mubarack atack Israel?

Hesperado said...

wolf:

You wrote:

Article 23b of the Hague Regulations, adopted by the U.S. and other nations in 1907, prohibits “assassination, proscription, or outlawry of an enemy head of state. In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed an executive order banning assassination.

Why would Ford have to sign an executive order in 1976 banning assassination if, as you say, the U.S. had already adopted a 1907 proscription against assassinations?

Hesperado said...

I think it's possible that Baron is making too much of this. Remember Occam's razor.

The simpler explanation would factor in the reasonable feeling on the part of Western leaders -- as they see the unfolding of this remarkable "Arab Spring" domino effect of one Middle Eastern government after another showing serious signs of collapse by popular rebellion -- that of course they can't interfere in all of them and invest military intervention to help all of the rebellions occurring. This by itself forces the logic of parsimony: they must, at best, pick only one (possibly two), to intervene in.

2) Once the logic of #1 is in play, the question becomes which country to intervene in: Egypt already seemed to be handling their problem, in that Mubarak was not standing his ground and fighting but eventually grudgingly conceded defeat (though in an ideal world we would be prepared and willing to have gone in and quashed the rebellion and protected Mubarak as the lesser evil). Similarly for Tunisia.

3) Jordan, meanwhile, has seemed to keep their rebellions under control -- or the rebellions themselves haven't had enough steam to present a sufficient threat.

4) The Syrian government has been the most ruthless, but then there is no notoriously symbolic figurehead like a Kaddafi at the helm (reminiscent of Saddam, but perhaps even more notorious). Also, it seems that in Syria, the situation has not devolved into an actual civil war as it has in Libya, but remains on the level of simply shooting demonstrators in the street.

So, the Western powers who want to intervene picked Libya as the one most suited.

In a similar calculation, I think after 911 Iraq (after Afghanistan) was in some ways the perfect Islamic country to invade: we couldn't invade Saudi Arabia for geopolitical-economic reasons (not that I agree with them), even though that was more logical, given the source of terrorist jihadism; on the other hand, we didn't want to invade a country that seemed too insignificant, either (like Mauritania; and Afghanistan by itself wasn't sufficient to satisfy our need for retribution): so Iraq, with its flagrantly evil and regionally dangerous dictator Saddam, was the perfect balance under the criteria of that calculation (though Bush seemed to feel that he needed to "pad his resume" with regard to inflating the importance of Iraq as a logical target vis-a-vis 911).

At any rate, I am optimistic that there will come a day when the parameters of that overall calculation will shift such that our none of our traditionally supposed "staunch allies" among Muslim countries will be exempt from our rational ruthlessness guided by an Islamo-literate Realislamik; even if that day, unfortunately, still seems rather distant.

wolf said...

@Hesperado

If you check your history book you will see that Pres. Kennedy and Pres. Johnson through various covert units, CIA with help from the mafia and Cuban exiles had attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro and possibly a few others. Most probably Pres. Fords executive order was to reaffirm article 23b of the Hague Regulations.

Hesperado said...

wolf,

That doesn't answer my question. If youare implying that Kennedy and Johnson were breaking our own law, then Ford didn't have to institute a Presidential Order. He merely had to remind our legal authorities to enforce existing law.

Terp Mole said...

In Hoc frets over "the integrity of the judiciary in Scotland."

"Justice Minister" Kenny (soccer yob) MacAskill flushed Scottish "integrity" down the toilet when he "compassionately" released al-Megrahi.

The world is finished with relying on Scotland to answer anything on Kaddafi.

You may return to your vomit wallow.

Terp Mole said...

[Wolf asks: Qadhafi is the head of that authoritarian state if he is not than who is?]

Currently, that's disputed.

Mohamed Abu Al-Quasim al-Zwai, Secretary-General of the General People's Congress

OR

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Chairman of the National Transitional Council

But Kaddafi has not been an official "head of state" since 1979-- his title "The Leader" is symbolic only.

He's better understood as an Islamoic mafia kingpin-- boss of a network of tribal extortionists.

In any case, Kaddafi remains a terrorist combatant and a legitimate target.

Anyone who pretends otherwise is making a mockery of "sovereign" immunity.

Terp Mole said...

The awful irony (clearly lost on MacAskill’s Scottish Nationalist toadies) is that Kaddafi was the IRA. The Libyan government financed, supported, directed, trained and armed the IRA for decades. They were among his favorite Marxist hired goons.

Up to 6,000 innocents were killed or injured with Libyan supplied guns and explosives. And many IRA bombs employed the same Semtex that sent what was left of Clipper Maid of the Seas crashing into Christmas dinner tables in tiny Lockerbie (incinerating 11 Scots on the ground). Kaddafi has accepted liability and responsibility for both IRA terrorism AND Lockerbie terrorism– along with many other mass murders of innocents orchestrated by his terror-state.

Kaddafi’s IRA proxies might still be in business if not for the tireless efforts of the Victims of Pan Am 103 to sanction and isolate Libya. But (apparently) no good deed goes unpunished– at least among the cheap Scotch-adled SNP brains of Kenny MacAskill fans.

IRA and Lockerbie bombing victims properly hold Kaddafi responsible for his bloody atrocities. They can no longer afford to ignore the kabuki theatre of Libyan state-sponsored terrorism.

Smug Scottish clergy can sneer all they wish about America’s (alleged) "culture of vengeance"– meanwhile the jihadists continue their demographic conquest of your quaint little islands.

Good luck with that, Quislings.

Terp Mole said...

The Scottish Justice Secretary’s position is untenable following new Lockerbie revelations

“...Not only should the Justice Secretary have the decency to finally step down, but he also also owes a huge apology to the families of the victims of the Lockerbie bomber. While Megrahi is a free man and feted as a hero by the Libyan regime, the fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters of those who died at his hands are still suffering. It is they who deserve compassion, and not the brutal killer who now enjoys his freedom. MacAskill’s appalling decision has shamed his nation, and he must take responsibility for it.

Sean O'Brian said...

The statement "Kadafi was the IRA" is misleading. Terp Mole makes it sound as if the Provisional IRA would not have existed or been able to operate without Kadafi's financial and military aid. This is untrue.

Kaddafi’s IRA proxies might still be in business if not for the tireless efforts of the Victims of Pan Am 103 to sanction and isolate Libya.

Splinter groups like the Real IRA and Continuity IRA are still in business and are not dependent on Colonel Kadafi's patronage for their continuing existence:

Irishman denies Lithuania weapons buy for Real IRA

Similarly, the IRA campaigns of 1939-40 and 1956-62 predate Kadafi's rise to power.

IRA and Lockerbie bombing victims properly hold Kaddafi responsible for his bloody atrocities.

IRA bombing victims hold more than just Kadafi responsible. Ask an Ulster Unionist or Londoner about Rep. Peter King (R-NY) or NORAID sometime. You'll get an earful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_Irish_Republican_Army_arms_importation
#American_arms

Note: No link for the second URL because that will only get my comment sent to the spam filter.

Terp Mole said...

Those are some truly weak (and refried) quibbles, Sean.

Everyone knows PIRA shriveled after Kaddafi was compelled (by multi-national sanctions) to stop funding terrorist proxies. Tiny splinter groups are also no longer state-sponsored. You're welcome.

Your strawman assertions (PIRA pre-dated Kaddafi; others supported PIRA) doesn't negate Kaddafi's role as chief financier of their modern terrorist rampages.

Grade: F-

/dismissed

Terp Mole said...

The British government was brokering a secret deal worth up to €12bn with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime before Libya descended into chaos.

"There is no question that numerous meetings with members of the Gaddafi regime were absolutely pointless. But actually what we have learned from the experience and the Libyan people will enable us to fast-track the initiative with any new Libyan government."

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

Trep Mole:

Your arguments are a calculating game of playing off terror (Gaddafi regime) against terror (IRA) in order to support terrorists in the shape of the Libyan opposition which has links to the Gaddafi regime, Al-Qaeda and the Muslim brotherhood.

Hesperado said...

In Hoc,

I tend to agree with you; but on the other hand, Khadaffi singularly puts quite a strain on the Realislamik dictum of "supporting the lesser evil".

In this particular case, I favor fomenting a civil war with the hope that both sides will largely destroy each other (Iraq would have been a good place to try that as well) -- even if it means, Milo Minderbinder-wise, arming both sides.

Henrik R Clausen said...

In a fit of delusional sentimentalism and alcoholic dementia, one stinking drunk and disorderly "Justice" Minister tossed centuries of Scottish principle down the filthiest toilet in Edinburgh.

By signing the Union Pact

That place is now a toilet in a burger joint in Edinburgh. As the Scottish story-teller said:

"What was signed in a toilet should be flushed into a toilet."

Terp Mole said...

In Hoc rebuttals are a hand-wringing exercise of appeasing appeasers in order to appease terrorists everywhere.

Good luck with that unbounded apathy.

Ralph Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.