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Author Topic: Libya  (Read 107309 times)
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« Reply #150 on: June 29, 2011, 09:50:18 AM »

I note that, as I have said here before, Harold Koh is IMHO an enemy of American sovereignty and is well positioned at the State Dept to do major damage-- but that is not the point here-- here he stands for an imperial presidency:
WASHINGTON — A resolution authorizing American intervention in Libya was approved on Tuesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hours after members skeptically grilled the administration’s legal adviser over his assertion that airstrikes and other military measures did not amount to hostilities.

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Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times
Harold H. Koh, a legal adviser to the State Department, testified on Tuesday.
Libyan Base Falls to a Rebel Ambush in the West (June 29, 2011)

The resolution, approved 14 to 5, would allow President Obama to continue for one year the involvement of United States military forces in the NATO-led operation in Libya; it now heads to the full Senate. A similar measure failed in the House last week, underscoring that even in a divided government, the Senate remains a more interventionist body while the House is increasingly dubious about foreign ventures and their cost.

For weeks, tensions have escalated between members of Congress and the Obama administration over the president’s decision not to seek Congressional authorization for the mission in Libya. The Vietnam-era War Powers Resolution stipulates that presidents must terminate unauthorized deployments into what the law calls hostilities 60 days after notifying Congress that they have begun.

In testimony before the committee Tuesday, Harold H. Koh, the legal adviser to the State Department, insisted that the resolution did not apply to Libya, a position that the administration has expressed repeatedly.

“From the outset, we noted that the situation in Libya does not constitute a war,” Mr. Koh said. He cited four factors — ground troops and significant non-air forces have not been involved, the lack of American casualties or a significant threat of them, a limited risk of escalation, and the limited use of military means — as the central points of logic in the administration’s decision to essentially ignore Congress beyond providing largely perfunctory information.

That logic was rejected by many members of the committee.

Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, a Democrat, said, “When you have an operation that goes on for months, costs billions of dollars, where the United States is providing two-thirds of the troops, even under the NATO fig leaf, where they’re dropping bombs that are killing people, where you’re paying your troops offshore combat pay and there are areas of prospective escalation — something I’ve been trying to get a clear answer from with this administration for several weeks now, and that is the possibility of a ground presence in some form or another, once the Qaddafi regime expires — I would say that’s hostilities.”

A Republican senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, went further, accusing the administration of “sticking a stick in the eye of Congress” and saying it had done “a great disservice to our country.”

Mr. Koh did concede that the administration could have handled the situation differently. “If we had to roll the tape back, I’m sure there are many places where some would have urged — and I would have been among them — coming up with, coming up earlier for more briefings and to lay out these legal positions,” he said. Officials from the Department of Defense and Department of Justice declined to provide witnesses for the hearing.

The resolution that the committee voted on was sponsored by Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the committee, and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. In arguing for its passage, Mr. Kerry pressed his colleagues to look beyond the issue of how the White House had conferred with Congress and to support the mission, which he said was largely aimed at saving Libyan civilians from massacre. “The rationale for being there is compelling,” he said.

Several amendments attached to the resolution were also adopted, including one offered by Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the committee, which explicitly prohibits the use of ground forces in Libya.

Other approved amendments included provisions stating that any war reconstruction costs in Libya should be borne by that government and the Arab League nations, which requested American assistance in the region, and another that would reopen an inquiry into the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The Libyan government took responsibility for the bombing in 2003 as part of a broader settlement in which Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi agreed to give up his nuclear and chemical weapons programs.

Another amendment offered by Mr. Lugar, which failed, would have further restricted the United States’ role in Libya, essentially ending airstrikes and the use of drones.

In the end, he voted against the entire resolution, as did Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, James Risch of Idaho and Mr. Corker.

Mr. DeMint said in an interview after the vote that he based his decision on the cost of the American operations in Libya, which are expected to reach $1 billion this fiscal year, and the lack of the administration’s earlier involvement with Congress.


As the intervention in Libya continues, the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. This may embolden NATO to continue using airstrikes in an attempt to assassinate Gadhafi quickly, especially as domestic considerations could cause coalition partners to begin to lose their will to carry out the mission. Should this short-term push fail, however, the inevitable track will be one that leads to a negotiated settlement, first dealing with Gadhafi’s inner circle and, failing that, eventually with the Libyan leader himself.

As the Libyan intervention exceeds 100 days, there is still no end in sight. A military stalemate persists in the east, while rebels from Misurata are struggling to push much farther west than Zlitan, and Nafusa Mountain guerrillas face a difficult task in advancing toward the coast. Moreover, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on June 27, rendering his prospects for exile all the more unlikely.

The warrant, however, provides added impetus to NATO’s current strategy of using airpower to try to assassinate the Libyan leader as a means of accomplishing the mission: regime change. The three countries currently leading the Libyan intervention — the United States, the United Kingdom and France — are also increasing their efforts to induce people close to Gadhafi to betray him. But the longer the operation continues, the higher the chance that the West will begin to grow weary of another drawn-out war, at which point NATO will find it increasingly difficult to effect regime change. At some point, reaching a negotiated settlement will become the best of a number of unattractive options. Negotiations have already begun in an unofficial capacity, but the fact that no country involved wants to deal with a side that includes the Libyan leader will only prolong the process.

The Coalition: Weary of War?

NATO jets continue to bomb targets across Libya. In doing so, however, the coalition has run into the inevitable problem of civilian casualties. This has yet to make any demonstrable impact on public opinion of the war in countries leading the campaign, which remains consistently in favor of regime change in Libya, though against an escalation that includes the use of ground troops. For example, a poll published June 20 regarding Western countries’ opinion of regime change in Libya showed a consistently high level of approval. The longer the conflict continues, however, the higher the chance for public opinion to turn against the war.

Notably, the country whose public is most opposed is Italy, which also happens to be the first NATO country on the verge of withdrawing from the operation. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini first intimated this June 22. In response to multiple reports of civilian casualties due to NATO airstrikes, he called for an immediate halt to the campaign so that humanitarian aid could be deployed. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reaffirmed the shift in the Italian position away from the airstrikes June 24, when he told an EU summit that Italy was “pushing for political mediation which will deliver a final solution.”

Rome’s true motivation has more to do with domestic political pressures placed upon the Berlusconi government by its main coalition partner, Lega Nord, over the cost of the intervention rather than the fear of civilian casualties. But the reason for Italy’s objections is less important than their potential consequence: The coalition of NATO countries that have signed up to participate in Operation Unified Protector is in danger of fracturing, albeit slowly, and the Italian exit could represent the first crack.

The United Kingdom’s discourse on Libya is emblematic of a deep-rooted debate over the proper level of funding its military should receive. Recent budget cuts to the armed forces have exacerbated the United Kingdom’s inability to spread its forces across multiple theaters, and the military is using the conflict in Libya — and more specifically, the argument that its forces are overstretched — as a political tool to justify its public criticism of the budget cuts. Several leading military officials have made public statements to this effect over the past three weeks, and Prime Minister David Cameron has been quick to quash any rumors that these statements reveal a faltering will to continue the mission. However, Defense Secretary Liam Fox on June 27 admitted that the United Kingdom may have to re-prioritize some of its armed forces to see the Libyan operation through. This indicates that the complaints from the military have substance.

In the United States, Congress rather than the military is showing its resistance to the operation in Libya. The U.S. House of Representatives made its stance known June 24 by voting down a bill that would have given U.S President Barack Obama authority to wage war in the North African country. Despite the fact that the House — paradoxically, perhaps — voted down a separate proposal on the same day to restrict funding for the operation, the fact that there is widespread opposition to the Libya intervention within both the Republican and Democratic parties sent a clear message: The indefinite deployment of U.S. troops will cost Obama political capital at home.

Another factor the White House may be contemplating concerns the June 23 U.S. announcement regarding the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and other International Energy Agency countries, which both cited the loss of oil output from Libya as the primary factor in their decision to pre-empt an anticipated price increase in the summer. Washington, as well as the other countries involved, thus has an interest in ending the conflict soon, but only in a way that would allow oil production to resume as soon as possible. (An anonymous British diplomat leaked to the media June 24 details of a British Foreign Office assessment that claimed that eastern Libyan oil infrastructure had not been that badly damaged and that it would take three to four weeks for oil exports to resume after Gadhafi’s fall. It is unclear whether this is true or whether it is simply intended to serve as an incentive for countries to keep pushing through until the end.)

France has the least domestic opposition toward regime change in Libya, and it is one of the leaders of the air campaign as well.  France was the first country to recognize the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council, and Paris would likely be the last country to abandon the mission that has become, among other things, a point of personal pride for President Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy wants to avoid being perceived as weak ahead of the 2012 presidential election, especially as the race is beginning to heat up. One of the main Socialist presidential nominee candidates, Martine Aubry, is set to announce her candidacy June 28, and the Socialists may decide to put the Libya intervention — and the way it is being conducted — at the forefront of their anti-Sarkozy campaign.

A Failing Trust in the Rebels

The once-touted option of arming the rebel opposition to fight the Libyan army on the ground has lost traction in NATO. The monthslong stalemate in the east shows no signs of changing, while Misurata remains an island of rebellion in the western coastal region — though some of the rebel fighters from the city have been trying to push westward toward Tripoli despite currently being blocked outside of the city of Zlitan. Nafusa Mountain guerrillas, meanwhile, are making slight progress in terms of advancing northward, with some fighters having descended from the mountains to battle Libyan forces, but their chances of ever taking the capital are slim.

The real problem continues to lie in the uncertainty that surrounds the rebel council, which is officially recognized by a handful of countries as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people — it is recognized by even more countries in the West and by Russia and China as the de facto government of eastern Libya. All of the countries that have begun to develop ties with the council realize they will need to maintain good relations with Benghazi if they want to conduct business in Libya in the future, namely in the oil sector. Yet the West has been hesitant to fully arm the rebels or deliver on the hundreds of millions of dollars of aid that has been promised them in various international conferences since April. This suggests a general lack of trust for the council that prevents full-scale Western support, a distrust perhaps stemming from prior connections many of its leaders held with the Gadhafi regime, the potential existence of jihadist elements within the council, or the disbelief that any one faction truly speaks for all of Libya’s rebels.

NATO thus has few good options. The most attractive option, from NATO’s perspective, is to fulfill the mission as quickly as possible, while there is still resolve in the West. This means it will either convince regime insiders to push Gadhafi out, or increase its attempts to assassinate Gadhafi from the air, dealing with the resulting power vacuum later. Whether this strategy will work is unknown. But the longer it takes, the higher the chance that a coterie of NATO countries will eventually be forced to fully support a negotiated settlement to end the conflict.

The council is opposed to any outcome that does not include Gadhafi’s ouster. For months, it was even opposed to any solution that did not involve Gadhafi’s being forced to leave the country. But as cracks within the NATO countries participating in the bombing began to emerge, the rebels’ negotiating position began to weaken because their leverage with countries such as Qatar does not provide them much help in a military conflict with Gadhafi. This has led to a slight easing of the council’s position. During a June 24 interview in French media, a rebel spokesman said the council would be satisfied with Gadhafi’s retiring to a “Libyan oasis under international control,” provided he and his family are barred from participating in any future government. The spokesman also said the council would be willing to discuss the formation of an interim government with “any technocrat or Libyan official who does not have any blood on their hands.”

The Beginning of Negotiations

It is under these circumstances that official negotiations will likely begin. Such a path will not immediately lead to talks between the rebels and Gadhafi himself, however. The first attempt will be to separate Gadhafi’s inner circle from the regime, offering those without “blood on their hands” a share of power in the new Libya in exchange for betraying their leader. (Deciding who does and does not fall in this category will most likely be subject to negotiation, not based upon a true examination of the personal records of various regime officials.) Best positioned to lead any future negotiations will be the Russians (via the African Union), who have deep-rooted relations with both the West and Gadhafi and who have balanced their support of Tripoli and Benghazi to ensure a future presence throughout Libya.

The rebel spokesman who broached the topic of negotiations said negotiations have, in fact, already begun through intermediaries in countries such as France and South Africa. No country, however, wants to negotiate with Gadhafi himself unless all other options have been exhausted. If NATO jets are unable to kill the Libyan leader, then the alliance will attempt to undermine him from within.

The problem with this approach is embodied in the ICC warrants. Though Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and his long-time intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sannousi have been the only specific targets of this round of ICC warrants, no one connected to the regime will enjoy a guarantee of continued immunity from prosecution. This makes it difficult, though not impossible, to incentivize a deal for them, especially when the rebel military threat is low, and the NATO countries participating in the operations in Libya — which are hesitant to deploy ground troops — have yet to show that their attempts at assassinating Gadhafi will prove successful.

Read more: NATO's Diminishing Options in Libya | STRATFOR
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 11:42:50 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #151 on: July 15, 2011, 01:32:48 PM »

Interesting development.

There has been much sneering around here (with good reason!) about Baraq's handling of all this, but it is not impossible that things turn out relatively well , , ,


ISTANBUL—The U.S. and some 30 other countries declared they were recognizing Libya's opposition National Transitional Council as the country's "legitimate governing authority" on Friday, opening the way for billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets to be released to them.

 Leaders from 30 nations and organizations convene in Istanbul to discuss a road-map to peace in Libya. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, talks to British Foreign Secretary William Hague during the fourth Libya Contact Group Meeting. Video and image courtesy of Reuters.

The upgrade came in the concluding statement of a meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Istanbul. Diplomats described the move as a significant boost for opposition forces that have been fighting to topple Col. Moammar Gadhafi, as well as a clear message to the Libyan strongman to step aside.

The U.S. and many of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies had previously treated the Benghazi-based council, known as the TNC, as their legitimate "interlocutor" in Libya, a lesser status that had significant legal implications.

"We still have to work through various legal issues, but we expect this step on recognition will enable the TNC to access additional sources of funding," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters. However, a senior U.S. official said that it would take time to work out the simplest legal way for the U.S. to disperse the funds.

More than $30 billion of Libyan assets are frozen in the U.S. U.S. officials have been looking at two options. The first involves issuing "directive licenses" to banks in the U.S that would authorize them to release the funds to the TNC. However, that could fall foul of provisions in two United Nations Security Council resolutions on Libya, according to people familiar with the matter.

The second option, using the frozen assets as collateral for loans to the TNC would be more complex to set up, but wouldn't run into hurdles at the U.N.

The U.S. appeared to be following, rather than leading, some of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies with Friday's announcement. Italy said it would immediately release €100 million ($141.4 million) in credit to the TNC, using frozen assets as collateral, and had already begun taking legal steps to make that possible.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said a contract for the €100 million would be signed "in the next few days," and that his country was in a position to offer up to €400 million in total.

France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, later told reporters that his country was in the process of unfreezing $250 million in Libyan assets, but added that this could take time due to legal complications. Turkey, meanwhile, has already pledged a $200 million to the TNC under a collateralization scheme.

"Our loan implementation will constitute an example to other countries...we should cover the needs of our Libyan brothers," said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, at a closing news press conference with the meeting's co-chairman, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayn.

The senior U.S. official said there was no immediate prospect of the U.S. releasing funds.

Mr. Davutoglu had opened Friday's conference with a call for the contact group members to loan the TNC "a percentage" of the funds frozen in their counties to meet humanitarian needs during the religious Ramadan holidays next month.

How to handle Ramadan also formed part of the discussions among diplomats, who said NATO would have to navigate between the twin dangers of granting Col. Gadhafi propaganda victories by continuing to bomb, and giving him time to regroup his forces by relenting.

Mahmoud Shamman, spokesman for the TNC, said there was "no chance" of a cease-fire before Ramadan, a position backed by France's Mr. Juppe. Mr. Shamman also said the TNC needs $3 billion over the next six months, but so far has been promised only $700 million to $800 million.

Mrs. Clinton said the decision to give full recognition to the TNC had come only after it provided "assurances regarding its intentions to pursue democratic reform that is inclusive geographically and politically, and to uphold Libya's international obligations and to disburse funds in a transparent manner, to address the humanitarian and other needs of the Libyan people."

Pressed as to why it had taken the U.S. so long to recognize the TNC, Mrs. Clinton said: "we really acted in warp time in diplomatic terms, but we took our time to make sure that we were doing so based on the best possible assessments."

Diplomats said Friday's contact group meeting, the fourth since it was formed in March, differed from previous ones in focusing on the post-Gadhafi transition, rather than on NATO's military campaign. Mr. Juppe said there was agreement that Col. Gadhafi would have to leave power ahead of any political transition, but that it was up to the Libyans to decide whether that meant his paving the country.

There were few answers, though, on how to achieve that Friday. Friday's joint statement reiterated support for actions by the International Criminal Court to bring Col. Gadhafi to justice, making any deal under which he might leave for exile difficult.

Write to Marc Champion at and Joe Parkinson at

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« Reply #152 on: July 15, 2011, 05:05:36 PM »

Interesting development.

There has been much sneering around here (with good reason!) about Baraq's handling of all this, but it is not impossible that things turn out relatively well , , ,

It ain't over until the lunatic in the man-dress sings. Or develops rigor mortis.
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« Reply #153 on: July 17, 2011, 07:13:26 AM »

Libyan Coalition Shifting Toward The Exits

The international contact group on Libya will meet for the fourth time Friday in Istanbul. It will be the contact group’s first meeting since the NATO bombing campaign entered a new phase this week.

The idea of pursuing a negotiated settlement to end the conflict — once an initiative only seriously championed by players not involved in the air campaign — is no longer a non-starter with the NATO members directing the military operations. Air strikes will continue for now, but the United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy are looking for other possible avenues to end the conflict. Regime change remains the goal, but after nearly four months, the tone of the operation has changed.

No one has dropped the demand that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi exit office. But the level of commitment to the use of force varies among the member states of the restricted NATO coalition. These countries probably did not think, when they agreed to begin bombing Libya months ago, that they would still be discussing in mid-July a Libya controlled mostly by Gadhafi. Thus, the search for alternative exit routes has begun.

“It is only a matter of time before the West seeks to begin a formal negotiation with members of the Gadhafi regime.”
After being the last of a coalition within NATO to join the air campaign, Italy was the first country to break ranks and signal in June that it wanted out. Although it has not withdrawn entirely from the NATO mission, Italy has cut funding by more than half in recent weeks. Rome also dispatched its foreign minister to Algeria, a known Gadhafi ally, where the Italian minister openly warned of the potential for Sahel-based militants to take advantage of Libyan instability to acquire weapons. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi himself recently said that had it been up to him, he would have followed Germany’s example and abstained from the air campaign altogether. With so much of its energy supply coming from Libya, Italy seems to be regretting its push for an indictment by the International Criminal Court, and has begun a gradual return to its hedging strategy, just in case it has to deal with Gadhafi again in the future.

France was Italy’s opposite from the start. It has been the country most dedicated to the mission of regime change, and it was the first to recognize the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC) as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Alongside the United Kingdom, France played an instrumental role in bringing the United States into the war — a critical step in helping the mission get off the ground. France also has energy interests in Libya (though not on the same scale as Italy) and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has used the Libyan war to demonstrate France’s strength among European militaries.

Paris still wants Gadhafi out, but its resolve has diminished. On the weekend of July 9-10, quite a few French officials issued the first open calls for a political settlement in Libya. French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet even went so far as to say that France had proven military force alone would not work in this situation. Longuet said the NTC needed to come to the table and drop its demand that Gadhafi first step down. His stance was later complemented by similar statements from the French foreign minister and prime minister. The collective message from Paris represented a stark reminder that the resolve to bomb Gadhafi into submission is not limitless among the NATO states participating in the Libyan mission.

Although these same French officials shortly thereafter sought to reaffirm their dedication to the air campaign and to Gadhafi’s ouster, Paris has shown its hand. It is willing to accept that force alone may not complete the mission. It is only a matter of time before the West seeks to begin a formal negotiation with members of the Gadhafi regime.

The question is, what triggered France’s change of heart?

This is where Russia’s role in the matter becomes interesting. France is in the midst of developing a greater relationship with Moscow as a means of balancing the warming ties between Russia and Germany — a country with which the Kremlin is actively pursuing a relationship. France and Russia have found common interests in Libya. Russia has been trying to position itself as a mediator ever since it became clear that the conflict in Libya represented more than just an opportunity to create distractions for the Americans. If France senses a growing possibility that the bombing campaign may fail, it only makes sense for Paris to use the moment as an opportunity to work with Russia, giving Moscow a chance to wield its influence in Libya. The timing of France’s public shift gives credence to this possibility: it occurred just days before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to the United States on July 11-12 to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Obama used Lavrov’s visit to voice the first public U.S. support for Russia’s role as a mediator in Libya with Clinton delivering statements along the same lines. At the same meeting, Lavrov stated that Russia has unambiguously entered the camp advocating for Gadhafi to step down (it’s unclear whether or not his words reflect what Moscow actually wants). Although the United States has allowed the NATO operation to be labeled as “Europe’s war,” Washington has played a critical function in the logistics of the conflict, and like everyone else, Washington is trying to secure an alternative exit strategy should air power not suffice. Whether anyone can convince members of the Gadhafi regime (to say nothing of the leader himself) that giving up power won’t simply land them in The Hague, of course, is another matter.

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« Reply #154 on: July 18, 2011, 04:23:56 PM »

Libyan rebel forces claimed Monday that they had taken the eastern town of [Marsa el] Brega, a lucrative port town home to key oil-related infrastructure. The rebel spokesman who made the claim said that rebels are currently trying to clear the city of landmines while the Libyan army continues to attack their positions with missile fire from the west. Even if the rebel claims are true, there is no evidence that they’ll be able to hold Brega, much less push further west along the coast towards Tripoli. Meanwhile, the push towards a political solution to end the Libyan war continues. The longer this goes, the more likely the NATO countries leading the campaign — France, the U.S. and the U.K. — are to seek a negotiated settlement, something to which Gadhafi will be reticent to agree.

This is not the first time that rebels have taken the town of Brega. It actually happened last April as well, shortly after the NATO air campaign began. Rebel forces made it all the way to the eastern outskirts of Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte in April before being pushed back in April, and Gadhafi’s forces may very well push them back this time as well. There has yet to be a true military shift on the ground in Libya. NATO jets have been bombing the country for four months but the fundamental problem remains, and that is that the rebel forces are not able to make any meaningful advance on Tripoli.

There are three fronts in the Libyan war. The main one is in the east, where Brega is located. Then there is the pocket of rebellion in the western coastal town of Misurata, and finally there are the Berber guerillas in the Nafusa Mountains southwest of the capital. Rebel forces have made advances on all three fronts in the last month, but on none of these fronts do they stand any good chance of pushing through in the near future.

Problems of proper arms and equipment, sufficient military training and, perhaps most importantly, good leadership continue to create problems for the rebels. The terrain on the approaches to Tripoli also creates problems for any invasion of the capital: flat ground that is devoid of any natural defenses gives the advantage to the heavily fortified Libyan army. It’s true that Gadhafi’s forces have been degraded as well by the months-long NATO campaign, but nothing short of a complete implosion of the regime will open up the door to Tripoli.

The rebels’ military deficiencies will play a big role in the path towards finding a solution to the war in Libya. NATO has displayed a commitment to maintaining the bombing campaign for the next few months at least, but its member states are not willing to send in ground troops. And so the coalition seems to be hoping for one of two things: that an airstrike can assassinate Gadhafi, which is an unlikely scenario, or that continuous military pressure will lead to the implosion of the Gadhafi regime. This is why the western powers currently bombing Libya are simultaneously laying the groundwork for a political solution, just in case the military option doesn’t work. All of these countries are still in agreement that Gadhafi must go but the question is how to enforce this.

Certainly the issuance of an ICC warrant for Gadhafi’s arrest will only decrease his willingness to step down in any sort of negotiated settlement. And the talks that will inevitably begin, should things continue to follow the current trajectory, will most likely involve other members of the Gadhafi regime rather than the Brother Leader himself. But where it goes from there will be dictated in large part by the force the Libyan rebels are able to bring to bear.

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« Reply #155 on: July 18, 2011, 04:28:01 PM »

What happened to "Days, not weeks"?
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« Reply #156 on: August 01, 2011, 12:23:17 AM »

NATO has had many impressive moments in its history, but its misadventure in Libya isn't one of them. Moammar Gadhafi and his mercenaries may be no military match for NATO's jets and cruise missiles, but at every turn the alliance has acted in a way that has given the dictator hope of surviving.

In the latest example, the French and British last week floated a unilateral concession: Gadhafi can stay in Libya, as long as he renounces any claim on holding power. This is a major retreat from NATO's earlier position that Gadhafi had to leave Libya.
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« Reply #157 on: August 01, 2011, 12:28:34 AM »

NATO has had many impressive moments in its history, but its misadventure in Libya isn't one of them. Moammar Gadhafi and his mercenaries may be no military match for NATO's jets and cruise missiles, but at every turn the alliance has acted in a way that has given the dictator hope of surviving.

In the latest example, the French and British last week floated a unilateral concession: Gadhafi can stay in Libya, as long as he renounces any claim on holding power. This is a major retreat from NATO's earlier position that Gadhafi had to leave Libya.

Methinks someone around here called this outcome from the jump.   grin
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« Reply #158 on: August 03, 2011, 12:35:16 AM »

August 3, 2011


Four days after the announcement of the mysterious death of Libyan rebel military
leader Abdel Fattah Younis, several stories have emerged seeking to explain how he
and two of his aides were killed. Of these numerous tales, two narratives persist.
One holds that he was killed by elements of a fifth column loyal to Libyan leader
Moammar Gadhafi; the other maintains that Younis was executed by an eastern militia
acting outside the control of the National Transitional Council (NTC). What exactly
transpired may never be known, but the effect of Younis' killing on how the National
Transitional Council is perceived is the same regardless. The rebels that the West
has been counting on to replace the Gadhafi regime apparently cannot even control
their base territory in eastern Libya, let alone govern the entire country.

"The decision to frame the National Transitional Council as an optimal replacement
to the Gadhafi regime was made in haste, when policymakers had very little
information on the identity of the rebel forces."

It is known that Younis was recalled from the front line near the eastern coastal
town of Marsa el Brega sometime in the middle of last week. It is also known that on
July 28, NTC leader Mustafa Abdel-Jalil officially announced that Younis had been
killed. Since then, Abdel-Jalil has changed the details of the official story. First
he claimed that Younis was killed by an “armed gang” while en route to Benghazi to
be questioned regarding “military matters.” Abdel-Jalil then stated July 30 that
Younis had actually been ambushed after he met with NTC officials in Benghazi.
Abdel-Jalil, who like Younis is a former minister in Gadhafi’s government, has said
he does not know the exact reasons Younis was recalled in the first place. However,
it has been widely speculated that Younis, the former interior minister who defected
in the early days of the rebellion, was suspected of playing a double game and was
in contact with the Tripoli regime.

Three days after Younis’ death was announced, an NTC official stated that rebel
forces in Benghazi had engaged in a five-hour firefight with members of a fifth
column which had heretofore been feigning loyalty to the National Transitional
Council. Though NTC official Mahmoud Shammam said the event had nothing to do with
Younis’ death, it lends credence to the fifth column theory. However, allegations by
several other NTC officials create another possibility. If Younis really was killed
by one of two armed militias known to work autonomously of the rebel council, then
the notion that the National Transitional Council is the sole legitimate
representative of the Libyan people -- or even just the eastern Libyan people --
immediately comes into question. To make matters worse, evidence that these militias
are composed of Islamists (namely, former members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting
Group) who had reason to seek revenge on Younis for his actions as interior
minister, generates an entirely new set of worries for those that had placed so much
faith in the rebels.

The decision to frame the National Transitional Council as an optimal replacement to
the Gadhafi regime was made in haste, when policymakers had very little information
on the identity of the rebel forces. Not everyone rushed to formally recognize the
body -- France was the notable exception -- but a de facto recognition effectively
occurred the moment NATO began bombing the country in the unspoken name of regime

There were early expressions of doubt about the nature of the opposition --
especially the “flickers of intelligence" statement by NATO Supreme Allied Commander
in Europe U.S. Adm. James Stavridis, who said in March that elements of al Qaeda and
Hezbollah were perhaps present among the rebel ranks . Nevertheless, the countries
that pushed for the air campaign felt that anything was better than Gadhafi. This,
after all, was a war ostensibly motivated by a desire to protect civilians. It was a
humanitarian war that eventually assumed an overt policy designed to force the
Libyan leader from power.

NATO planes have now bombed Libya for more than four months, and Gadhafi remains in
power despite all the claims that he is on the verge of defeat. It is always
possible that his regime may collapse, but the confidence among those that have led
the air campaign is waning, regardless of what their public statements may claim.
Countries that really think a military victory is at hand do not openly talk about
seeking a negotiated settlement with the enemy, nor do they budge on their demand
that the target be required to exit the country as part of any agreement. France,
the United States and the United Kingdom have all done so.

With London's recognition July 27 of the National Transitional Council as the sole
legitimate representative of the Libyan people, there are few Western countries left
that have not yet recognized the rebel council. The Czechs represent a rare case of
open skepticism. While Prague has appointed a “flying ambassador” to Benghazi,
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarenzberg said July 29, “I may find them nice, but I will
not officially recognize [the rebels] until they get control of the whole country."

This sentiment may end up being the historical lesson of the Libyan war, which ranks
high on the list of countries in the region where the Arab Spring has failed to
bring about a true revolution. It would be untrue to say that no changes have
occurred in the Middle East and North Africa since the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben
Ali in Tunisia. The Yemeni president is lucky to be alive and living in Saudi
Arabia, and he may not return to Yemen at all. Egypt may still be run by the
military, but Mubarak is gone thanks in part to the actions of the protesters,
(although, they have since lost momentum). The Khalifas in Bahrain weathered the
storm quite well, but the unrest in the Persian Gulf island kingdom (and the manner
in which the United States responded) has led indirectly to a potential
rapprochement between age old rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Alawites in Syria
have maintained power but could very well have laid the foundation for their demise
in the long term.

Libya, though, is the only country in which there was an armed intervention by the
West. There were many reasons Libya was the one place in which the protection of
civilians was officially deemed worthy of such a measure. Three outposts of rebel
control have been created in Cyrenaica, Misurata and the Nafusa Mountains, and one
wonders what the West will do next. The idea that rebel fighters could take Tripoli
on their own was dismissed as unrealistic long ago. The strategy of bombing, waiting
for the regime to implode and pushing for a negotiated settlement (just in case) has
been adopted in its stead. But Younis’ death has created a whole new set of
questions, the most fundamental of which is this: who exactly will govern Libya if
Gadhafi is forced to step down?
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« Reply #159 on: August 14, 2011, 09:09:15 AM »

Saddled with infighting and undermined by the occasionally ruthless and undisciplined behavior of its fighters, the six-month-old rebel uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is showing signs of sliding from a struggle to overthrow an autocrat into a murkier contest between factions and tribes.

In a tribal dispute, rebels set fire to a home in Yafran, Libya, last month after they seized the town from pro-Qaddafi loyalists.

The increase in discord and factionalism is undermining the effort to overthrow Colonel Qaddafi, and it comes immediately after recognition of the rebel government by the Western powers, including the United States, potentially giving the rebels access to billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets, and the chance to purchase more modern weaponry.

The infighting could also erode support for the rebels among members of the NATO alliance, which faces a September deadline for renewing its air campaign amid growing unease about the war’s costs and direction. That air support has been a factor in every significant rebel military goal, including fighting on Saturday in which rebel forces were challenging pro-Qaddafi forces in or near three critical towns: Brega, an oil port in the east, Zawiya, on the outskirts of Tripoli, and Gharyan, an important gateway to southern Libya. There were also clashes a few miles from the main border crossing into neighboring Tunisia, residents told Reuters.

While the rebels have sought to maintain a clean image and to portray themselves as fighting to establish a secular democracy, several recent acts of revenge have cast their ranks in a less favorable light. They have also raised the possibility that any rebel victory over Colonel Qaddafi could disintegrate into the sort of tribal tensions that have plagued Libya for centuries.

In recent weeks, rebel fighters in Libya’s western mountains and around the coastal city of Misurata have lashed out at civilians because their tribes supported Colonel Qaddafi, looting mountain villages and emptying a civilian neighborhood. In the rebels’ provisional capital, Benghazi, renegade fighters assassinated their top military commander, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, apparently in revenge for his previous role as Colonel Qaddafi’s security chief.

In response, the chief of General Younes’s powerful tribe threatened to retaliate against those responsible, setting off a crisis in the rebels’ governing council, whose members were dismissed en masse last week.

The rebels’ Western backers have become alarmed at the growing rift between supporters of a group of rebels who have coalesced into a relatively unified army and the others who effectively remain a civilian band of militia fighters.

In the short term, the retaliation can serve to fortify Colonel Qaddafi’s power by reinforcing the fear that a rebel victory would bring reprisals against the many who participated in the colonel’s political machine and enjoyed his patronage. More broadly, the moral clarity of six months ago, when Colonel Qaddafi’s forces were bearing down on Benghazi and he was threatening to wipe out anyone who dared oppose him there, has been muddied.

In an interview, Jeffrey D. Feltman, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, said that concerns about the rebels might be overblown. He acknowledged that there were some “disturbing reports” from Benghazi and the rebel front lines but credited the rebels’ governing Transitional National Council with swift steps to address the concerns. He noted that the rebel leadership — itself a heterodox mix of recent defectors and their former longtime foes — had ordered an end to abuses against loyalist tribes in the mountains, and he characterized the shake-up of the council as a move to establish a level of transparency and accountability without precedent in Libya.

After some initial gunfire by fighters from the family of General Younes, the council appeared to have persuaded his tribe, the Obeidi, to put their faith in an investigation by the rebel authorities, Mr. Feltman said. “They were able to avert a real cycle of violence,” he said. “I would give them a passing grade, given where they are starting from.” He added, “They have made commitments to us that you would never get out of Qaddafi.”

Still, questions remain about the rebel leadership’s control over its fighters. “I think that is a question they are asking themselves,” Mr. Feltman said, noting recent moves by the council to rein in various freewheeling rebel militias, which often are formed along town, neighborhood or tribal lines.

But an Obama administration official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject, acknowledged some doubts. “I think the jury is out on how unified the command will be,” the official said.

Just two weeks before the mysterious assassination of General Younes raised those questions, the United States formally recognized the rebels’ Transitional National Council as Libya’s legitimate government, potentially allowing it to tap about $3.5 billion in liquid assets and, over the long term, the rest of the $30 billion of the Qaddafi government’s frozen investments.

United States officials say that rebel leaders have pledged to allocate the money in a way that is “transparent” and “inclusive,” and that the United States is encouraging its use for health care, electricity and other services in rebel-held territory. But some funds could also be used to buy weapons for the poorly trained and equipped rebel forces.

Libya before the revolt was in many ways a social tinderbox. The country, a former Italian colony long dominated by rural Bedouin tribes, had little experience of national unity before Colonel Qaddafi came to power 42 years ago. Many Libyans relied on tribal connections more than civil law for justice and security.

Colonel Qaddafi’s centralized state and oil economy deepened many divisions, rewarding or punishing both individuals and tribes primarily on the basis of their loyalty to the government.

The uprising initially broke out across the country, even driving the police from the streets of the capital, Tripoli. But Colonel Qaddafi and one of his sons, Seif al-Islam, immediately vowed to stamp out the “rats” they held responsible, predicting from the first nights that the rebellion would become “a civil war.” Then militias commanded by two other Qaddafi sons, Muatassim and Khamis, re-established control of the capital by firing live ammunition into unarmed crowds, as the International Criminal Court attested, the first steps toward fulfilling the Qaddafis’ prophecy of a civil war pitting east against west.

Many supporters of the rebels now speak of exacting their own revenge against Colonel Qaddafi’s clan.

Outside Tripoli, the Qaddafi stronghold, about 500 civilian refugees from the rebel advance have gathered in a makeshift camp that formerly housed Chinese construction workers. “If you love Qaddafi in Yafran, they will kill you,” said Abdel Kareem Omar, 25, a dental student from a village of the Mashaashia tribe near that rebel city in the western mountains.

“The rebels stole our furniture, our food, our animals and burned our homes,” he said, vowing that he, too, would take up arms. “To protect my people,” he said.

In a recent conversation with two journalists, one man in the western mountains said his neighbors often spoke of capturing Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi alive, so they could chop off his fingers. And low-level rebel leaders talk openly of forbidding Colonel Qaddafi’s supporters from returning to their homes in rebel-held ground.

Bands of rebel fighters hunted people suspected of being Qaddafi loyalists around Benghazi for months before the killing of General Younes. And on the front lines, rebels in the coastal city of Misurata have vowed to take revenge on the black-skinned Libyans from Tawergha, accusing them of committing atrocities and driving them out of their neighborhood.

In the mountains in western Libya, local men have ransacked and burned homes in at least five villages or cities where residents had supported Colonel Qaddafi or his troops. Many of the victims were members of the pro-Qaddafi Mashaashia tribe, which the rebels openly loathe.

The fear holding together the pro-Qaddafi side is palpable. Asked in an unguarded moment about his plans, Musa Ibrahim, a member of Colonel Qaddafi’s tribe and a spokesman for his government, blurted out, “If I am alive, you mean?”

The rebel leadership in Benghazi continues to insist that it can reconcile the differences among Libyan factions and tribes. The governing council calls itself “transitional,” and it has pledged to form a new broadly representative unity government based in Tripoli if Colonel Qaddafi leaves power.

Part of the challenge facing the rebels is the pervasive reach of the Qaddafi political machine.

“In a dictatorship that lasts 42 years, it is almost inevitable that almost everyone to some extent needed to participate in the ‘revolution’ — how else could you raise a family, have a job, etc.?” Diederik Vandewalle, a Libya expert at Dartmouth College wrote in an e-mail. “That in a sense is the real tragedy of the way the Qaddafi system implicated everyone. And so it leaves virtually everyone open to retribution.”

Members of the tribes close to Colonel Qaddafi — like his own tribe, the Qaddafa, or the larger Maghraha, and small tribes associated with them — may face the greatest danger from “tribal revenge,” George Joffe, a Libya expert at the University of Cambridge, wrote in another e-mail. “And, of course, the longer this struggle continues, the more likely and bitter that will become.”

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« Reply #160 on: August 14, 2011, 09:17:02 AM »

"Days, not weeks".

Pretty impressive seeing what the europeans can do without America.  rolleyes
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« Reply #161 on: August 21, 2011, 09:25:03 PM »

Reports are that Son #1 has been captured and many reports suggest Tripoli is under severe pressure.

As I have previously commented, it is not impossible that this end well.
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« Reply #162 on: August 22, 2011, 01:45:11 AM »

No, it's not. However, O-barry won't be getting a "gutsy-call" bump from this either.
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« Reply #163 on: August 22, 2011, 08:34:56 AM »

I can picture something like this:

He courageously led from behind to let the Euros carry a load of the sort that they normally shirk; this exercise of "smart power" is now proven smart (and contrasts nicely with the Bush team); it wins us points in the Arab world; the nattering negativism of the Reps is now proven wrong and Baraq's cool steady hand proven right; we have accomplished the overthrow of a real bad actor; blah blah.
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« Reply #164 on: August 22, 2011, 04:44:52 PM »

Analyst Bayless Parsley examines the success of the Libyan rebel forces in Tripoli but foresees problems for the rebel National Transitional Council once they begin governing Libya.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Related Links
Libyan Rebels’ Immediate Security Concerns
Libyan Rebels Closing in on Tripoli
One day after Libyan rebel forces entered the capital of Tripoli, fighting continues with remnants of the Gadhafi regime that are entrenched in Tripoli. Though several of Gadhafi sons have reportedly been arrested, the whereabouts of the Libyan leader himself remain unknown. Gadhafi also maintains strongholds in the cities of Sirte and Sabha, indications that the Libyan war is far from over. Assuming that the Libyan rebels prevail, however, the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council will face a whole new set of problems in trying to relocate its political authority to Tripoli.

The main problem of the National Transitional Council is that it’s an umbrella group that brings together several different groups of people, who really only have two things in common. They’re collectively referred to as the Libyan rebels, and they all share a desire to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power. The second you take that common mission away from them, you immediately open the door to in-fighting.

The Council has been based in Benghazi since February and has, for the entire time, professed a desire to relocate its political capital to Tripoli. This won’t be as easy as simply packing up their car and making a 12-hour drive west. When its leaders, almost all of whom have heavy ties to eastern Libya, which is historically distinct from other parts of the country, try to assert their power in the west, it will be met with resistance.

There are a lot of different fronts in the Libyan war manned by different groups from different parts the country. Each of these groups is now going to feel as if it is entitled to a certain share of political authority, economic reward and share of power in the new Libya. Those who manned the front lines of Brega are the closest geographically to both Benghazi and the bulk of Libya’s oil fields. They will feel as if they were the vanguard of Libyan revolution. Those who staved off the Libyan army in Misurata for so many months feel as if they are the most hardened fighters and therefore worthy of a reward.

The Berbers in the Nafusa Mountains played a critical role in the final push to enter Tripoli, while the Arab rebels who joined them in Zawiya and Zabrata will argue that they actually entered the capital first and therefore drove the dagger into Gadhafi’s heart. Finally there are the people of Tripoli itself, a city which makes up about a quarter of Libya’s overall population, who may not be very receptive to the idea of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council taking the place of the previous regime for very long.

There are also known Islamist militias who’ve been participating in the fighting in the east and who have also been providing security in Benghazi itself. The presence of these militias has caused the National Transitional Council to worry that they may attempt to fill any potential power vacuum that is left by Gadhafi’s departure. When you add all these factors together, it’s clear that the Council has a potential problem on its hand, and that, while the Libyan war seems to be nearing an end, it’s possible that the real battle has only just begun.

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« Reply #165 on: August 23, 2011, 12:52:52 AM »

The fighting continues in Tripoli, and Moammar Gadhafi still hasn't been captured, but the triumph of the U.S.-backed Libyan rebels seems to be only a matter of time. Though you wouldn't know it from the reaction at the Council on Foreign Relations or among some GOP Presidential candidates, this is a victory for freedom and U.S. national interests.

A dictator with American blood on his hands is about to be overthrown by a popular revolt invoking democratic principles. Not a single American has died in the effort, and the victory would not have been possible without U.S. air power, intelligence and targeting as part of NATO. A long-oppressed people now has a chance to chart a freer future, a fact that is clear from the rejoicing in Benghazi.

What would we prefer: That Gadhafi stay in power?

Rather than wring our hands about the dangers ahead, now is the time to applaud the bravery of the Libyan people and help them build a better country. One way to start would be to respect what the rebels have accomplished and respond to their requests for assistance, rather than trying to dictate how they should act.

Yet some of the same people who said we shouldn't help the rebels now want the U.N. to send "boots on the ground," including U.S. troops. It's not clear that the Libyans want or even need such help, especially from Americans, which could complicate their own nascent attempts at self-government.

The danger of tribal reprisals in Tripoli is real, and President Obama was right yesterday to urge the rebels to pursue "reconciliation." But America's foreign policy elites have also so far misjudged the rebels, who have shown impressive persistence and coordination in maintaining a six-month military campaign. They didn't turn on each other and they didn't turn out to be a stalking horse for al Qaeda, despite the claims of many on the American political right.

The statement yesterday from the chairman of the opposition Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, was impressive in calling for "a nation in which all citizens are equal" and "in which minorities have rights and can practice their culture and their way of life."

Related Video
 In an Opinion Journal video, Columnist Bret Stephens gives an update on the Libyan war and columnist Bill McGurn ponders the ethics in collegiate athletics. Also, editorial writer Joe Rago on Jon Huntsman's latest campaign strategy.
..The U.S. and especially NATO can help with military training and equipment for the Libyan security forces, if requested. The allies will also find it easier to collect the dangerous weapons on the ground, especially surface to air missiles, if we promise new, more appropriate arms in return. U.N. sanctions should be lifted immediately, so a new government can begin to tap the country's oil and financial assets.

Medical assistance should be an easy call, including opening hospital beds on NATO ships. This makes sense on humanitarian grounds, but it also builds goodwill for other issues.

One risk is if Gadhafi or his sons have been making plans to run an insurgency, as Saddam Hussein did in Iraq. This seems less likely given that Gadhafi's security apparatus is less extensive than Saddam's, and there probably wouldn't be an influx of foreign fighters. Most of the Arab world hates Gadhafi as much as most Libyans do. But the U.S. should be prepared to help the new government with counterinsurgency if it comes to that.

One disappointment is the reluctance among Republicans to praise the rebel success, perhaps for fear it will somehow help Mr. Obama. It's true the President had to be embarrassed into the fight by the French, British and even Qatar. But however belated and badly managed, the U.S. intervention has succeeded in preventing a bloodbath in Benghazi and soon in deposing a long-time U.S. enemy who could have re-emerged as a terrorist sponsor.

Michele Bachmann, who played the al Qaeda tune, now looks partisan to a fault. The Republicans who look best are Presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty (who has since dropped out) and House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, who urged more forceful U.S. leadership.

The U.S. military is stretched at the current moment and we can't take sides in every civil war. But the Libyan intervention shows that when the cause is just and the means are available, the U.S. can make a moral and strategic difference.

U.S. support for the rebels won't be lost on a Middle East still undergoing its own upheavals, not least on the people and governments of Syria and Iran. NATO showed it will finish a military task it started, and soon Gadhafi will take his place with Saddam in the ranks of Arab despots who will terrorize their people no more.

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« Reply #166 on: August 23, 2011, 09:36:02 AM »

"A dictator with American blood on his hands is about to be overthrown by a popular revolt invoking democratic principles. Not a single American has died in the effort"

No but thousands of Libyans have died.  All the US or one of the European countries had to do was assasinate Khaddafi.

Oh but "assasination" is against international law! rolleyes

So intead we give them weapons, throw in a few bombs missles and let them kill each other for some crazy legal argument?

The logic is all twisted and pathetic in my view.

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« Reply #167 on: August 23, 2011, 11:19:20 AM »

But then they would have that which comes from knowing that they did it for themselves.  Yes, yes I know without NATO support they would have been wiped the F out, nor would they have won, but the simple fact is that normal people took up arms and fought and won.

Much remains undone and undetermined (of interest to us is the location and control of Libyan chem, bio, and shoulder fired missiles-- with lots of Islamo-fascists amongst the rebels this could turn into a VERY serious problem) and there is much to criticize in how Baraq handled things, but we need to remember that, unlike progressives, liberals, and much of the Dem party, our perspective is the good of America.

That Kadaffy falls, that the America (possibly after Italy, France, and GB) is seen in a good light , , , well these are good things.
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« Reply #168 on: August 23, 2011, 11:41:59 AM »

Following up on the last line in my previous post:

Libya’s National Transitional Council is eager to restart oil production after addressing security and political issues. When it does, Italy’s ENI will benefit because of its experience in Libya and its existing network of contacts. However, France, the United Kingdom and Qatar also stand to gain from their support of Libya’s rebels during the war.


Italian state-owned energy firm ENI immediately sent a technical team to Libya to assist the country in restarting oil production after the rebel advance on Tripoli. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in an Aug. 22 television interview that “the facilities had been made by Italians, by [Italian oil and gas contractor] Saipem, and therefore it is clear that ENI will play the No. 1 role in the future.”

Italy pioneered Libya’s oil industry, and it was ENI’s role in Libya — and Rome’s heavy reliance on Libya for its oil and natural gas supplies — that motivated Rome to abandon its hedging strategy in April. Though Italy had scaled back its funding for military operations in the NATO bombing campaign, it never fully abandoned it. Rome was careful to separate any appearance of concern for the plight of Libyan civilians from any support for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi once the NATO campaign began. Politically, Italy will not command nearly as much gratitude from Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) as France, the United Kingdom, Qatar, the United States and others. However, its prior relationship with Libyan oil industry officials — as well as other members of the Gadhafi regime who will be playing large roles in Libya’s future — will give Rome an advantage in re-establishing a foothold in Libya. This means ENI likely will be able to resume oil production faster than any other foreign actor.

France was the first country to recognize the NTC and has been viewed as the  rebels’ primary political protector since before the bombing campaign even began. It also participated in a weapons air drop program for Nafusa Mountain guerrillas that showed its support was not relegated to politics. The first foreign leader reported to have spoken with NTC foreign affairs chief Mahmoud Jibril following the rebel entry into Tripoli was French President Nicolas Sarkozy. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe announced that Sarkozy had spoken with Jibril and said that Jibril, who has already made multiple visits to Paris, is expected to return to the French capital in the coming days. Juppe also said that Paris would host a meeting of the contact group on Libya as soon as next week to discuss the next steps. France has consistently sought to organize the international effort in Libya and is not changing its behavior now. Though its state owned oil company Total did not have the same sort of presence in Libya as ENI, Total stands to emerge as a winner in the Libyan war as well.

The United Kingdom also stands to gain, as it was one of the NTC’s most ardent defenders from the beginning. When the United States scaled back its participation in the bombing campaign, France and the United Kingdom took the lead. Though London did not officially recognize the NTC as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people until July 27, it did not waver as much as Italy did as the NATO campaign began to appear as if it was not making much headway in June and July. London was also one of the driving forces that led to the passage of the U.N. resolution that allowed the bombing campaign to begin.

There will also be rewards for Qatar, the Muslim country that provided more support for the rebels than any other. Doha’s support included gasoline shipments to eastern Libya, weapons shipments to all regions for the Libyan opposition, financial support and help with propaganda through the broadcasts of the Qatari-based Al Jazeera network and the hosting of a Libyan opposition satellite television station. Qatar is a major natural gas producer but does not have much crude oil and could see an opportunity now in Libya.

The NTC wants to restart production as soon as possible, but there is no way to reliably estimate a time frame. First, the war in Libya is not over; Gadhafi’s forces are still fighting and could hold out longer than most anticipate. Second, there is no clear picture of how much damage has been done to the oil facilities (this is what the ENI team is in the country investigating). Whenever oil production resumes, it will be easiest to do in the  eastern oil fields, where most production occurred before the war, though these fields were taken offline by attacks carried out by pro-Gadhafi forces. Officials with the Libyan oil firm Arabian Gulf Oil Company said Aug. 22 that the firm is “technically ready” to restart oil output immediately, but this is unlikely.

Security is the main issue regarding the resumption of oil production. Abdeljalil Mayouf, Arabian Gulf Oil Company’s information manager, said Aug. 22 that security forces hired from the former Libyan army were already at the fields and that the company was awaiting clearance to restart production. The looming political problems the NTC will face in trying to take over governance in Tripoli will delay this process.

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« Reply #169 on: August 24, 2011, 09:29:47 AM »

Libya: The First Regime Change of the Arab Spring

Conflicting reports emerged from Libya Monday regarding the position of the rebel forces that had entered Tripoli on Sunday. A key development occurred when Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, held a press conference with several foreign journalists at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli, essentially disproving widespread reports that rebel forces had captured him. A great deal of fog of war appears to be in play, but the fact that rebel forces are in the capital means that the situation for the Gadhafi regime does not look good.

“The fall of the Gadhafi regime, however, will likely leave the process of regime change incomplete. The regime will collapse, but that does not mean it will be replaced by a new state any time soon.”
At the moment, the issue is not if but when the Gadhafi regime will fall from power. When it does happen, Libya will become the first case of regime change since the start of the popular unrest that broke out in the Arab world this past January and February. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the ousting of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak did not result in regime change.

The regimes in Tunisia and Egypt were led by the military, which survived by distancing itself from the ruling parties and heads of state dominated by presidential friends and family. The civilian political elite in both cases did not govern for decades due to any intrinsic power; instead both Mubarak and Ben Ali governed at the pleasure of the army-led security establishment. Both men ceased to be in power once the military withdrew its support.

In sharp contrast, Libya’s regime has been led by the Gadhafi family. Despite the fact that Gadhafi took power via a military coup, he did not allow a robust and autonomous military institution that could pose a threat to his authority to develop. This practice, however, seems to have resulted in sizeable defections from the Libyan army, sparking a civil war that now appears close to consuming the regime.

The fall of the Gadhafi regime, however, will likely leave the process of regime change incomplete. The regime will collapse, but that does not mean it will be replaced by a new state any time soon. Once Gadhafi’s forces are fully defeated, the rebels — being as fragmented as they are — will likely not be able to establish a new republic. A fractious rebel community obviously complicates any efforts at arriving at a power-sharing agreement.

In all likelihood though, not only will the rebels face serious obstacles in establishing a new state, the Gadhafi state will be reduced to a non-state actor, one that will likely retain a lot of firepower. This arrangement will aggravate the various rebel factions, which will already be struggling with one another for power. Therefore, it is only reasonable to consider the possibility that a new state will not be established in the foreseeable future, and that Libya should brace itself for long-term instability.

The crisis in Libya will likely play itself out over a long period of time The country’s geopolitical reality is one where the crisis within the country can continue to evolve without seriously impacting the region or beyond. Given that Libya’s small population is spread across a large country located in the center of the North African desert, its conflict is more or less a self-contained crisis. This isolation is especially true when compared to other Arab countries in similar situations such as Syria, Yemen and Bahrain where the geopolitical stakes are much higher.

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« Reply #170 on: August 24, 2011, 10:18:05 AM »

Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton explains why the current chaos in Libya is a perfect opportunity to apprehend al-Megrahi, one of the bombers of flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Related Special Topics Page
The Libyan War: Full Coverage
While the world is focusing on the chaos in Libya surrounding the Gadhafi regime, counterterrorism agents could take advantage of this window of opportunity to capture the Pan Am 103 bomber al-Megrahi.

On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am flight 103 outbound from Heathrow Airport in London blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. The bombing was carried out by intelligence agents working for the Gadhafi regime. One of the perpetrators in the attack spent many years in jail and in 2009 he was released due to humanitarian purposes. The suspect was suffering from terminal cancer and flown back to Libya where he was given a hero’s welcome. Due to all the chaos in Tripoli at the moment, this affords U.S. intelligence the opportunity to attempt to locate the suspect for a rendition.

Tactically, you would need very granular data as to a specific location for his whereabouts and usually you’re going to glean that through human assets or perhaps defectors within the Libyan intelligence and security services that would walk in or you could recruit to lead you to his specific location. The logistics challenge would be getting a team in to ferry the individual out once you captured him. You could also utilize Libyan rebels to assist you in identifying and capturing him and bringing him to a location where you could ferry him out of the country.

Operationally, what you would need from a counterterrorism perspective is proof of life, and we have that in a videotape from July 26 where the suspect was seen at an event with Gadhafi. The challenge would be whether or not our granular intelligence is good enough to locate him at this moment in time and that’s always an issue when you’re looking at terrorism renditions. The Above The Tearline aspect with his video is: the Pan Am 103 case was personal. I worked on that case, I know many others have lost friends and colleagues and fellow agents on that flight. There is a vested interest to bring the perpetrators to justice. The symbolism of reaching out inside of Libya and grabbing this individual and bringing him back to stand trial in a U.S. court for the bombing of Pan Am 103 would resonate around the world.

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« Reply #171 on: August 25, 2011, 12:36:37 AM »

Tuesday, August 23, 2011   STRATFOR.COM  Diary Archives 

The Intelligence War in Libya

The International Criminal Court (ICC) had some explaining to do Tuesday after Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the second-eldest son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, blatantly disproved a rebel claim, confirmed by the ICC, that he had been captured by rebel forces. Seif al-Islam appeared early Tuesday morning local time at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli and gave a brief press conference to a group of foreign journalists. Within a matter of minutes, he singlehandedly discredited claims that the rebels had seized the capital while also confirming widespread fears, particularly those felt by NATO and the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council (NTC), that the war is by no means over.

“In the Libya case, NATO needed to transform an illusion — that Libya’s National Transitional Council was fit to govern and that Gadhafi was ready to capitulate — into a reality.”
The most interesting aspect of this whole episode is the earlier ICC claim — forwarded both by spokesman Fadi El Abdallah and Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo — that the surrender and detainment of Seif al-Islam by rebel special forces had been confirmed. Both officials stated publicly that the International Criminal Court was discussing when and how the young Libyan leader would be transferred to The Hague in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolution 1970. After Seif al-Islam appeared before the cameras, El Abdallah retreated from his earlier statement, saying that “the [ICC] prosecutor said he had received information about the arrest of Seif al-Islam, which is true, but we did not receive an official confirmation of this information.” Moreno-Ocampo also issued a brief written statement from his office that reiterated his commitment to helping the Libyan rebels bring justice to the country, but he did not address his earlier, inaccurate statement on Seif al-Islam.

The question of how the ICC, an ostensibly neutral international organization, could commit such a major blunder cannot be easily answered. This incident was not simply the product of the Libyan rebel propaganda machine. Instead, it was likely one piece of a broader disinformation campaign currently being run by Western intelligence agencies operating in Libya.

When the military campaign in Libya began in mid-March, STRATFOR emphasized two main points: that air power alone would not produce regime change in Libya; and that the duration of the conflict would extend far beyond most expectations. An ideological narrative on the need for humanitarian intervention to further the cause of liberal democracy created the foundation for the NATO campaign. However, none of the allies were prepared to commit significant resources, particularly conventional ground forces, to increase the likelihood of regime collapse. Political constraints, the murkiness of the rebel movement and the simple fact that countries were not willing to expend blood and treasure on a conflict that did not directly impact them are all factors that contributed to this military reality. Thus, NATO has been fighting the war on the cheap — a circumstance that requires a great deal of creativity. In short, NATO needed to find a way to reshape the political reality on the ground without significantly increasing its military burden.

As military strategist Sun Tzu once said, “to win a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence; the highest excellence is to subdue the enemy’s army without fighting at all.” All warfare, as the Chinese military general said, is based on deception. In the Libya case, NATO needed to transform an illusion — that Libya’s National Transitional Council was fit to govern and that Gadhafi was ready to capitulate — into a reality. An elaborate disinformation campaign is the method for achieving these aims.

Elements of this intelligence operation could be seen in the early days of the war. Profiles of emerging rebel leaders appeared in the Western press, portraying them as liberal and benign and thus, fit to govern. The news coverage posited that these rebels were immune from ICC prosecution, despite their previous careers as leading members of the Gadhafi regime. What was more difficult to hide was the ragtag nature of the rebel forces. For that, leading NATO participants in the war decided to insert special operations forces to arm and train the rebels. These special operation forces propelled the Tripoli-bound offensive forward by eliminating key targets of Gadhafi resistance (while allowing the rebels to take credit). Key to this operation was NATO’s ability to create the perception throughout Libya, and especially within Tripoli, that Gadhafi was backed into a corner and the war was effectively over. The thought of Seif al-Islam being captured and held by rebel forces just hours into the battle for Tripoli theoretically had the power to drive people into the streets and, most importantly, compel Gadhafi’s remaining forces to abandon the fight. What better way to reinforce this thought than by feeding information through the system and having the ICC make a rare, yet potent statement, confirming Seif al-Islam’s capture?

That was the plan, at least, until Seif al-Islam showed up, discrediting not only the rebel camp (which was already taking a major credibility hit) but also the ICC. The oft-repeated demand by the West for Gadhafi and his allies to be sent to The Hague is exactly what compels them to resist capitulation — Gadhafi and his friends have everything to lose if they surrender. The events of the past 24 hours have shown that the war is clearly not over. Gadhafi’s forces are showing no signs of yielding just yet. The Seif al-Islam blunder in the intelligence war is bound to create friction within the NATO alliance, as the momentum of the Tripoli campaign wears thin over time.

At this point, Gadhafi likely understands that his forces are no match for NATO. He can choose to decline combat, rely on his existing strongholds in the central regions of Sirte and Sabha for support and wait for the war to drag on. Gadhafi’s definition for victory is simple — to survive. As long as he can hold out (and as long as NATO continues to face major challenges in obtaining intelligence on his movements), he has a chance of wearing down NATO and driving the conflict toward negotiation. This tactic may be a tall order for Gadhafi, but his staying power cannot be discounted simply by a series of rebel claims of success. The longer he can prolong the war, the more Gadhafi can erode NATO’s patience, creating the space and time needed to allow the fissures of the rebel camp to come to the fore.

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« Reply #172 on: August 25, 2011, 01:08:54 PM »

second post

Director of Analysis Reva Bhalla examines the challenges ahead for the Libyan oil sector.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Related Special Topics Page
The Libyan War: Full Coverage
Ever since the Libyan rebels stepped foot into Tripoli, investors and energy traders all over have been trying to come up with estimates on when Libyan energy production can come back online. Those estimates range from a few days to several months up to a year. The eagerness to see Libyan oil come back online is understandable. Before the conflict started, Libya was producing roughly 1.6 million barrels per day of light, sweet crude, which is highly prized in the market. During the conflict, much of Libya’s energy production, if not all, has been taken off-line. The problem is that it’s nearly impossible to come up with a reliable estimate on when Libya can actually make a return to the energy markets. A number of traders are basing their estimates on technical criteria, when in fact the primary factors determining the future of Libyan oil production are related to the security and political climate of the country primarily.

The biggest criteria anyone will want to look at in the immediate term are the damage assessments on the fields, pipelines and ports. Any quick recovery will require well-managed fields and, before the conflict, it looked like those fields were in pretty good shape as they were handled by Libya’s national oil company and their foreign affiliates, but it’s not clear how well those shutdowns were handled when the conflict began.

It’s also going to be important to assess the internal stability and capacity of Libya’s state oil company, as these are the primary workers that are going to be relied on to bring Libyan oil production online first. We’ve seen that remaining Libyan oil workers have encountered a great deal of difficulty in trying to repair damaged facilities thus far. They are going to require a lot of foreign help, but a large number of foreign workers are not going to be able to come back into the country until the security climate improves and that remains a great uncertainty.

The problem is that no company really has solid information to come up with these damage assessments in the first place. The security situation is extremely dynamic, so a damage assessment one day can change within a matter of hours days or weeks. The good news is that there have not been reports of serious damage inflicted on Libyan energy facilities, although when eastern Libya fell into rebel hands, Gadhafi’s forces did mount sabotage operations against fields in the East.

Foreign companies haven’t really been able to venture into the East since that conflict began, but it’s estimated that production in the Far East and Marsa al Hariga region would be among the first to resume production. Since the oil fields in western Libya never really fell into rebel hands, there wouldn’t be much damage the infrastructure there, aside from damage to the pipeline that runs through the Nafusa Mountains and through Zawiya, which was the site of the rebel offensive before the advance into Tripoli.

Given that NATO forces are unwilling to increase their military burden by committing conventional ground forces to this fight, they’re having to rely a great deal on intelligence assets on the ground, special operations forces and an elaborate disinformation campaign to try and create the perception that Gadhafi’s forces are on the verge of capitulating. The events of the past days have revealed, however, that this war is far from over.

There’s a great deal of rivalry within the rebel camp and a lot of people are trying now to stake their claim in this conflict. Particularly, you have rebels in the western region who led the offensive into Tripoli, and therefore feel entitled to the spoils of this war, while you have at political establishment based in the eastern stronghold of Benghazi trying to lay their claim to this conflict and arguing that the offensive would not even have been waged had they not laid the political grounds for this fight. These are the kinds of splits we expect to emerge amongst the different ideologies, factions, tribes and religious groups within this very fractious rebel movement.

The point is that a single faction or coalition does not control the country and, until you have a single coalition or faction that controls the country, you cannot have the government. And until you have a government, you cannot have a foreign policy. Until you have a foreign policy, you cannot have an energy policy. Until you have an energy policy, you cannot have a contractual model for foreign energy firms to work with. I would look at players like Italian energy from ENI, which is the most heavily vested in this country, has been up Libya since ‘59 and has the most energy investment in the country. They have a lot at stake and are very familiar with the security climate there and are most likely to be the first to put their people on the ground to come up with these assessments.

Likewise, I would also look at Russia, which has intelligence links that go way back with the Gadhafi regime and likely have a better read on the situation than most. It is also important to note that Russia has a very close relationship with Italian energy firm ENI. Most importantly, one needs to bear in mind that a massive disinformation campaign is in play and that rebel claims of success need to be met with a high degree of suspicion. So long as the possibility of protracted conflict in Libya remains high, and we believe this is the case, the resumption of oil production in Libya will remain a significant unknown.

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« Reply #173 on: August 25, 2011, 02:35:55 PM »

Well naturally Brock is going to take credit for Lybia.  He turned it mostly over to Nato and it was a no brainer that Ghaddafi, a brute with a third rate military force could be defeated at any time.  Yet now he wants credit for it. 

The truth is none of this "Arab spring" or whatever one wants to call it would have ever happened if not for W getting rid of Saddam.  So if one wants to give credit for this than give W and the neocons credit.

That all said I don't buy any of it myself.
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« Reply #174 on: August 29, 2011, 11:20:59 AM »

Following months of stalemate between the Libyan rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, the speed of the rebel advance that breached Tripoli in a matter of days surprised nearly all observers. With airstrikes by Western powers and the fighting capabilities of rebel forces having proved insufficient to dislodge Gadhafi from power, it is unlikely that their effect was enough to cause Gadhafi’s forces to seemingly crumble so dramatically. Special operations forces have been on the ground since before the air campaign began — some have even been officially acknowledged by NATO member states by this point — while information operations to shape perceptions both inside and outside the regime have been undertaken. These efforts, however, rapidly lose their effectiveness when their targets are able to endure the initial assault, and with Gadhafi loyalists continuing to put up resistance in parts of Tripoli and hold entire cities elsewhere in Libya, victory may not be as close as it would appear for NATO and the rebels.

Related Special Topic Page
The Libyan War: Full Coverage
Related Links
Immaculate Intervention: The Wars of Humanitarianism
Libya’s Oil Production Future
Will Libya Again Become the Arsenal of Terrorism?
Rebels based in Libya’s western Nafusa Mountains region entered Tripoli on Aug. 21, pushing through what was widely anticipated to be stiff resistance by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces in the Libyan capital. The speed with which the rebels were able to enter the city was unexpected, given the months of relatively stalemated fighting between loyalist forces and the rebels, even with the aid of NATO airstrikes following the U.N. resolution authorizing the use of force in March.

Neither the cumulative effect of the Western bombing campaign nor a spontaneous improvement in the various rebel factions’ tactical capabilities — much less their ability to plan and coordinate — can sufficiently account for the rapid advance. A more compelling rationale for the apparent breakthrough by rebel forces is an aggressive clandestine campaign by NATO member states’ special operations forces, accompanied by deliberate information operations — efforts to shape perceptions of the conflict. Both of these strategies, however, have significant drawbacks, which could be exploited if Gadhafi and his loyalist forces are able to survive for an extended period.

The use of clandestine special operations teams in these circumstances is consistent with basic doctrine and operational concepts of both the United States and many of its key NATO allies. However, these special operations efforts have one significant potential shortcoming: Unless significant conventional ground combat forces are committed — forces NATO is unlikely to provide and the rebels are likely too divided and uncoordinated to provide themselves — the ability to secure their gains can be jeopardized by an opposition force able to survive the initial push. Small, elite special operations teams have little capacity for sustained, manpower-intensive security and stability operations — particularly on the scale necessary to adequately secure a city. It is not a role for which they are trained, equipped or intended.

The effectiveness of information operations also can be eroded when the carefully crafted narrative they built up — for example, that of a competent rebel army winning the universal support of the Libyan public, defeating Gadhafi and taking Tripoli with little resistance — begins to disintegrate in the face of reality. Gadhafi had likely prepared for these efforts by the West. With pockets of loyalist resistance persisting in Tripoli and pro-Gadhafi forces holding entire cities elsewhere in the country, the end of the Libyan conflict may not be as close as NATO and the rebels hope or expect.

Rebel Abilities and Airstrike Limitations

From the outset of the uprising, the rebels in the east, based out of Benghazi, never demonstrated the kind of tactical or logistical sophistication that would allow them to project and sustain combat forces across the long, open expanse of central coastal Libya (Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, situated in the middle of this expanse, remains in loyalist hands). Seizing a well-defended urban area from an opposition force presents enormous materiel and personnel challenges to even the best-trained and best-equipped military force. Rebels in the western city of Misurata proved to be more capable than their eastern counterparts, holding the city since April while withstanding a severe battering by Gadhafi’s forces. However, it was not until the Nafusa Mountain guerrillas farther southwest took the key city of Zawiya and joined with ethnic Arab fighters from along the coast that the march into Tripoli made any progress. (Rebels from Misurata were unable to reach Tripoli by land, but a small contingent reportedly arrived by sea during the assault from Zawiya.)

(click here to enlarge image)
The rebels were assisted by NATO air power (which served as the de facto rebel air force) during this push into Tripoli, but air power alone has a poor record of forcing capitulation by an entrenched enemy. Moreover, none of the members of the NATO alliance that participated in the air campaign against Libya were willing to match the political rhetoric of removing Gadhafi from power with the allocation of sufficient military force and resources to the country (likely meaning contingents of ground troops). Supplemented by sufficient ground combat strength, air power can be an impressive force multiplier. NATO airstrikes did destroy most of Gadhafi’s armor, artillery and command-and-control infrastructure. But by itself, air power cannot be decisive in this sort of scenario — as was shown by months of its application against Gadhafi. Meanwhile, even with an enormous influx of training and supplies, the rebel force was incapable of imposing a military reality, and with the inherent inability of air power to do so, the war was destined to — and did — quickly stall.

Gadhafi was well prepared to sustain attacks from Western air power, having survived the air campaign of Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986. Airstrikes have long been a mainstay of U.S. strategy, and if Gadhafi did not know this before El Dorado Canyon, he certainly understood it after.

Special Operations Forces and Information Operations

Though the accuracy of precision-guided munitions has advanced significantly in recent years, target designation has long been the purview of forward air controllers. Particularly in circumstances where hostile targets are to be found in built-up urban areas close to civilian and friendly forces and remain indistinct from them, teams on the ground remain essential to striking the intended targets and minimizing civilian and friendly casualties and collateral damage.

The clandestine insertion of special operations teams trained for this task is thus in keeping with U.S. strategy (and by extension, the strategy of NATO’s most powerful military members, which share a common doctrinal legacy from the Cold War). But these covert operatives have capabilities far beyond identifying ideal targets for airstrikes that have a decapitating role, such as the command, control and communications nodes that any dictator knows may be taken out the moment hostilities break out (and likely assume to be compromised anyway). These teams also establish situational awareness and serve in an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance role. They can identify and make contact with elements of the population hostile to the adversary, establish relationships with these groups and prepare them to play an appropriate role as the tactical situation dictates. They can also attack critical targets at decisive moments to throw the adversary further off balance. At the same time, when they determine the decisive moment has arrived, these operatives can also bring the opposition forces they have cultivated to bear against the enemy.

But special operations forces by their very nature are elite, small and extraordinarily limited in how much they can take on at once. They cannot seize, much less hold, a major target of any size — certainly not an urban center. Just as break-contact procedures dictate that a special operations team make so much noise and commotion that the adversary that happened upon it assumes it stumbled into a company of 200 men and not a 12-man team, information operations are initiated to maximize the perception and psychological impact of special operations. They do not defeat the enemy directly, but they are intended to convince the adversary that he has lost. (Feedback from this effort can often reverberate into the global media as actual effects.)

Only then are rebel fighters from outside the city introduced. These outsiders are guided to the resistance movements within the city with the intent of creating a force of sufficient size to consolidate the gains achieved by the special operations forces and information operation efforts and to reinforce the adversary’s perceptions already cultivated by previous efforts. The goal is to prepare the ground in a given location, use highly trained Western forces and the air power directed by them to smash into the city, and then occupy it with rebel forces covertly directed by teams already in the city.

With the exception of special cases like the early phases of operations in Afghanistan in late 2001 (where the United States desperately needed to demonstrate it was executing a strong and decisive response to the 9/11 attacks) and the killing of Osama bin Laden (a highly symbolic act), Western military doctrine is not to discuss or claim victory for special operations forces. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it is often politically important that domestic forces appear to have achieved victory; allowing other perceptions could politically delegitimize the group Western powers intended to assist. The second is that the special operations forces have to be withdrawn quietly and safely — as the political explanation of results on the battlefield often begins while those forces are still in harm’s way. Meanwhile, the manner of their deployment and extraction, the sources on the ground on which they relied and their tactics, techniques and practices in the field are valuable information to be protected both in the event they have to re-enter the city and for operations elsewhere in the world.

These forces, by their nature and by their training, are unknown and unseen. They choose areas of operation carefully, away from observers that might report what they see to entities capable of interpreting them for what they are. This is the art of special operations and is essential for operational security in an inherently perilous environment. This is not only an American phenomenon (though U.S. special operations forces are said to be operating in nearly a third of the countries in the world) but also a defining characteristic of French operatives (particularly in Africa) and British teams. Multiple countries, including the United Kingdom and Italy, have openly admitted at this point that they have special operations teams on the ground in Libya, though they have gone out of their way to emphasize their small size and downplay their accomplishments — seeking to emphasize that they played at most a small role in victory.

All military organizations have training and doctrines. It is very difficult to do things that you are not trained to do and to abandon doctrines that are successful. As rebel efforts in eastern Libya proved, wars are not won by untrained enthusiasts. NATO’s goal, and the goal of the resistance it supports in Libya, is to crush loyalist opposition before it becomes apparent that Gadhafi’s capitulation is not inevitable —sufficient military force has not been allocated to impose defeat. Also, as there are limits on the patience of the domestic populations of the NATO allies participating in the campaign, these loyalists must be defeated before a crisis emerges within the NATO command that makes negotiations with Gadhafi necessary.

Gadhafi’s Response

As demonstrated by the perseverance of loyalist forces in the months following the NATO air campaign, Gadhafi’s forces retained considerable freedom of action, unit cohesion and will to fight. This is merely further evidence of the fact that Gadhafi understood and planned for the Western way of war laid out above. After all, one can anticipate how to respond to a known potential adversary with a known doctrine. Whether he anticipated the beginning of the air campaign in March, it was exactly the sort of attack Gadhafi had already experienced in 1986 and had no doubt prepared for in the years since (though this round has been far longer and more intense and eventually came to include the explicit goal of regime change). Intelligence and counterintelligence efforts of his own — no doubt already focused on opposition groups — would entail continuing to monitor centers of resistance while trying to track down foreign covert operatives.

Gadhafi could have pushed for a crisis within NATO by attempting a bloody, drawn-out fight for Tripoli, but in doing so he would also run the risk of being pinned down, trapped and ultimately forced to capitulate or fight to the death. Though the status of Gadhafi, his remaining relatives and the strength and unity of his remaining forces is unknown, his alternative would be to leave Tripoli before that force is able to mass, declining combat (much as the Taliban declined combat on American terms in Kabul in 2001) and conserving his remaining strength, even as fighting continues in Tripoli and some cities remain in loyalist hands. Meanwhile, Gadhafi will likely initiate counterinformation operations to combat and reverse the perceptions NATO and the rebels have tried to create to undermine the regime. At the same time, the tactics of Gadhafi’s forces will likely shift to falling back to prepared positions in order to continue the resistance.

Searching for an Endgame

The question moving forward will be the nature and strength of loyalist resistance. A negotiated settlement will be difficult while fighting continues. Meanwhile, the persistence of active fighting and Gadhafi continuing to hold out and remain at large prevent NATO from ending the conflict. And with the rebel seizure of many parts of Tripoli, the potential exists for Gadhafi and his forces to fall back and initiate a more sustained, decentralized guerrilla resistance from prepared positions.

Perhaps more important, Gadhafi has freed himself of the costs and challenges of securing and controlling Tripoli, which are now the responsibility of NATO and the rebels. The logistical and security challenges of feeding and controlling a metropolitan area are enormous and without a sizable contingent of conventional foreign troops, the city will remain poorly secured and vulnerable to loyalist cells conducting raids and other attacks inside the city. Gadhafi may indeed be on the run, but that hardly necessarily means that victory is at hand for NATO and the rebels.

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« Reply #175 on: August 29, 2011, 10:37:39 PM »

The Wall Street Journal
One of countless files from Libya's internet surveillance center.
.TRIPOLI—On the ground floor of a six-story building here, agents working for Moammar Gadhafi sat in an open room, spying on emails and chat messages with the help of technology Libya acquired from the West.

The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: "Help keep our classified business secret. Don't discuss classified information out of the HQ."

The room, explored Monday by The Wall Street Journal, provides clear new evidence of foreign companies' cooperation in the repression of Libyans under Col. Gadhafi's almost 42-year rule. The surveillance files found here include emails written as recently as February, after the Libyan uprising had begun.

More on Libya
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.One file, logged on Feb. 26, includes a 16-minute Yahoo chat between a man and a young woman. He sometimes flirts, declaring that her soul is meant for him, but also worries that his opposition to Col. Gadhafi has made him a target.

"I'm wanted," he says. "The Gadhafi forces ... are writing lists of names." He says he's going into hiding and will call her from a new phone number—and urges her to keep his plans secret.

"Don't forget me," she says.

This kind of spying became a top priority for Libya as the region's Arab Spring revolutions blossomed in recent months. Earlier this year, Libyan officials held talks with Amesys and several other companies including Boeing Co.'s Narus, a maker of high-tech Internet traffic-monitoring products, as they looked to add sophisticated Internet-filtering capabilities to Libya's existing monitoring operation, people familiar with the matter said.

 .Cisco Poised to Help China Keep an Eye on Its Citizens 7/5/2011
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.Libya sought advanced tools to control the encrypted online-phone service Skype, censor YouTube videos and block Libyans from disguising their online activities by using "proxy" servers, according to documents reviewed by the Journal and people familiar with the matter. Libya's civil war stalled the talks.

"Narus does not comment on potential business ventures," a Narus spokeswoman said in a statement. "There have been no sales or deployments of Narus technology in Libya." A Bull official declined to comment.

The sale of technology used to intercept communications is generally permissible by law, although manufacturers in some countries, including the U.S., must first obtain special approval to export high-tech interception devices.

Libya is one of several Middle Eastern and North African states to use sophisticated technologies acquired abroad to crack down on dissidents. Tech firms from the U.S., Canada, Europe, China and elsewhere have, in the pursuit of profits, helped regimes block websites, intercept emails and eavesdrop on conversations.

The Tripoli Internet monitoring center was a major part of a broad surveillance apparatus built by Col. Gadhafi to keep tabs on his enemies. Amesys in 2009 equipped the center with "deep packet inspection" technology, one of the most intrusive techniques for snooping on people's online activities, according to people familiar with the matter.

Chinese telecom company ZTE Corp. also provided technology for Libya's monitoring operation, people familiar with the matter said. Amesys and ZTE had deals with different arms of Col. Gadhafi's security service, the people said. A ZTE spokeswoman declined to comment.

.Journal Community
..VASTech SA Pty Ltd, a small South African firm, provided the regime with tools to tap and log all the international phone calls going in and out of the country, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the matter. VASTech declined to discuss its business in Libya due to confidentiality agreements.

Libya went on a surveillance-gear shopping spree after the international community lifted trade sanctions in exchange for Col. Gadhafi handing over the suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and ending his weapons of mass destruction program. For global makers of everything from snooping technology to passenger jets and oil equipment , ending the trade sanctions transformed Col. Gadhafi's regime from pariah state to coveted client.

The Tripoli spying center reveals some of the secrets of how Col. Gadhafi's regime censored the populace. The surveillance room, which people familiar with the matter said Amesys equipped with its Eagle system in late 2009, shows how Col. Gadhafi's regime had become more attuned to the dangers posed by Internet activism, even though the nation had only about 100,000 Internet subscriptions in a population of 6.6 million.

The Eagle system allows agents to observe network traffic and peer into people's emails, among other things. In the room, one English-language poster says: "Whereas many Internet interception systems carry out basic filtering on IP address and extract only those communications from the global flow (Lawful Interception), EAGLE Interception system analyses and stores all the communications from the monitored link (Massive interception)."

On its website, Amesys says its "strategic nationwide interception" system can detect email from Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail and see chat conversations on MSN instant messaging and AIM. It says investigators can "request the entire database" of Internet traffic "in real time" by entering keywords, email addresses or the names of file attachments as search queries.

It is unclear how many people worked for the monitoring unit or how long it was operational.

In a basement storage room, dossiers of Libyans' online activities are lined up in floor-to-ceiling filing shelves. From the shelves, the Journal reviewed dozens of surveillance files, including those for two anti-Gadhafi activists—one in Libya, the other in the U.K.—well known for their opposition websites. Libyan intelligence operators were monitoring email discussions between the two men concerning what topics they planned to discuss on their websites.

In an email, dated Sept. 16, 2010, the men argue over whether to trust the reform credentials of Col. Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, who at the time was widely expected to succeed his father as Libya's leader. One man warns the other that the younger Gadhafi is trouble. "I know that you hope that Seif will be a good solution," he writes. "But … he is not the proper solution. I'm warning you."

Computer surveillance occupied only the ground floor of the intelligence center. Deeper in the maze-like layout is a windowless detention center, its walls covered in dingy granite tile and smelling of mildew.

Human Rights Watch
Activist Heba Morayef's emails turned up at Libya's internet surveillance center.
.Caught in the snare of Libya's surveillance web was Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef, who handles Libya reporting for the activist group. Files monitoring at least two Libyan opposition activists included emails written by her, as well as messages to her from them.

In one email, dated Aug. 12, 2010, a Libyan activist implores Ms. Morayef to help him and his colleagues fight a court case brought against them. "The law is on our side in this case, but we are scared," he wrote. "We need someone to help." The email goes into specific detail about the plaintiff, who was a high-ranking member of a shadowy group of political commissars defending the Gadhafi regime.

Ms. Morayef, reached Monday in Cairo, where she is based, said she was last in contact with the Benghazi-based activist on Feb. 16. She said she believes he went into hiding when civil war broke out a week later.

Another file, dated Jan. 6, 2011, monitors two people, one named Ramadan, as they struggle to share an anti-Gadhafi video and upload it to the Web. One message reads: "Dear Ramadan : Salam : this is a trial to see if it is possible to email videos. If it succeeds tell me what you think."

Across town from the Internet monitoring center at Libya's international phone switch, where telephone calls exit and enter the country, a separate group of Col. Gadhafi's security agents staffed a room equipped with VASTech devices, people familiar with the matter said. There they captured roughly 30 to 40 million minutes of mobile and landline conversations a month and archived them for years, one of the people said.

Andre Scholtz, sales and marketing director for VASTech, declined to comment on the Libya installation, citing confidentiality agreements. The firm sells only "to governments that are internationally recognized by the U.N. and are not subject to international sanctions," Mr. Scholtz said in a statement. "The relevant U.N., U.S. and EU rules are complied with."

The precise details of VASTech's setup in Libya are unclear. VASTech says its interception technology is used to fight crimes like terrorism and weapons smuggling.

The Fight for Tripoli
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.On Edge in Libya
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.Map: Regional Upheaval
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.A description of the company's Zebra brand surveillance product, prepared for a trade show, says it "captures and stores massive volumes of traffic" and offers filters that agents can use to "access specific communications of interest from mountains of data." Zebra also features "link analysis," the description says, a tool to help agents identify relationships between individuals based on analysis of their calling patterns.

Capabilities such as these helped Libya sow fear as the country erupted in civil war earlier this year. Anti-Gadhafi street demonstrators were paranoid of being spied on or picked up by the security forces, as it was common knowledge that the regime tapped phones. Much of the early civil unrest was organized via Skype, which activists considered safer than Internet chatting. But even then they were scared.

"We're likely to disappear if you aren't careful," a 22-year-old student who helped organize some of the biggest protests near Tripoli said in a Skype chat with a foreign journalist before fleeing to Egypt. Then, on March 1, two of his friends were arrested four hours after calling a foreign correspondent from a Tripoli-based cellphone, according to a relative. It is unclear what division of the security service picked them up or whether they are still in jail.

The uprising heightened the regime's efforts to obtain more intursive surveillance technology. On Feb. 15 of this year, as anti-government demonstrations kicked off in Benghazi, Libyan telecom official Bashir Ejlabu convened a meeting in Barcelona with officials from Narus, the Boeing unit that makes Internet monitoring products, according to a person familiar with the meeting. "The urgency was high to get a comprehensive system put in place," the person said.

In the meeting, Mr. Eljabu told the Narus officials he would fast-track visas for them to go to Libya the next day, this person said. Narus officials declined to travel to Tripoli, fearing damage to the company's reputation.

But it was too late for the regime. One week later, Libyan rebels seized control of Benghazi, the country's second largest city, and the capital of Tripoli was convulsing in antiregime protests. In early March, Col. Gadhafi shut down Libya's Internet entirely. The country remained offline until last week, when rebels won control of Tripoli.

Write to Paul Sonne at and Margaret Coker at

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« Reply #176 on: August 30, 2011, 08:36:13 AM »

I would have liked to have seen Friedman address the idea of the benefits of having the Libyans fight for themselves and having NATO to do something with the US in the rear guard-- maybe now the countries of NATO will realize how weak they have allowed themselves to become.

Libya: A Premature Victory Celebration
August 30, 2011

By George Friedman

The war in Libya is over. More precisely, governments and media have decided that the war is over, despite the fact that fighting continues. The unfulfilled expectation of this war has consistently been that Moammar Gadhafi would capitulate when faced with the forces arrayed against him, and that his own forces would abandon him as soon as they saw that the war was lost. What was being celebrated last week, with presidents, prime ministers and the media proclaiming the defeat of Gadhafi, will likely be true in due course. The fact that it is not yet true does not detract from the self-congratulations.

For example, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini reported that only 5 percent of Libya is still under Gadhafi’s control. That seems like a trivial amount, save for this news from Italian newspaper La Stampa, which reported that “Tripoli is being cleaned up” neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street and home by home. Meanwhile, bombs from above are pounding Sirte, where, according to the French, Gadhafi has managed to arrive, although it is not known how. The strategically important town of Bali Walid — another possible hiding place and one of only two remaining exit routes to another Gadhafi stronghold in Sabha — is being encircled.

To put it differently, Gadhafi’s forces still retain military control of substantial areas. There is house-to-house fighting going on in Tripoli. There are multiple strongholds with sufficient defensive strength that forces cannot enter them without significant military preparation. Although Gadhafi’s actual location is unknown, his capture is the object of substantial military preparations, including NATO airstrikes, around Bali Walid, Sirte and Sabha. When Saddam Hussein was captured, he was hiding in a hole in the ground, alone and without an army. Gadhafi is still fighting and posing challenges. The war is not over.

It could be argued that while Gadhafi retains a coherent military force and significant territory, he no longer governs Libya. That is certainly true and significant, but it will become more significant when his enemies do take control of the levers of power. It is unreasonable to expect that they should be in a position to do so a few days after entering Tripoli and while fighting continues. But it does raise a critical question: whether the rebels have sufficient coherence to form an effective government or whether new rounds of fighting among Libyans can be expected even after Gadhafi’s forces cease functioning. To put it simply, Gadhafi appears to be on his way to defeat but he is not there yet, and the ability of his enemies to govern Libya is doubtful.

Immaculate Intervention

Given that the dying is far from over, it is interesting to consider why Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, the major players in this war, all declared last week that Gadhafi had fallen, implying an end to war, and why the media proclaimed the war’s end. To understand this, it is important to understand how surprising the course of the war was to these leaders. From the beginning, there was an expectation that NATO intervention, first with a no-fly zone, then with direct airstrikes on Gadhafi’s position, would lead to a rapid collapse of his government and its replacement with a democratic coalition in the east.

Two forces combined to lead to this conclusion. The first consisted of human-rights groups outside governments and factions in foreign ministries and the State Department who felt an intervention was necessary to stop the pending slaughter in Benghazi. This faction had a serious problem. The most effective way to quickly end a brutal regime was military intervention. However, having condemned the American invasion of Iraq, which was designed, at least in part, to get rid of a brutal regime, this faction found it difficult to justify rapid military intervention on the ground in Libya. Moral arguments require a degree of consistency.

In Europe, the doctrine of “soft power” has become a central doctrine. In the case of Libya, finding a path to soft power was difficult. Sanctions and lectures would probably not stop Gadhafi, but military action ran counter to soft power. What emerged was a doctrine of soft military power. Instituting a no-fly zone was a way to engage in military action without actually hurting anyone, except those Libyan pilots who took off. It satisfied the need to distinguish Libya from Iraq by not invading and occupying Libya but still putting crushing pressure on Gadhafi.

Of course, a no-fly zone proved ineffective and irrelevant, and the French began bombing Gadhafi’s forces the same day. Libyans on the ground were dying, but not British, French or American soldiers. While the no-fly zone was officially announced, this segue to an air campaign sort of emerged over time without a clear decision point. For human-rights activists, this kept them from addressing the concern that airstrikes always cause unintended deaths because they are never as accurate as one might like. For the governments, it allowed them to be seen as embarking upon what I have called an “immaculate intervention.”

The second force that liked this strategy was the various air forces involved. There is no question of the importance of air power in modern war, but there is a constant argument over whether the application of air power by itself can achieve desired political ends without the commitment of ground forces. For the air community, Libya was going to be the place where it could demonstrate its effectiveness in achieving such ends.

So the human-rights advocates could focus on the ends — protecting Libyan civilians in Benghazi — and pretend that they had not just advocated the commencement of a war that would itself leave many people dead. Political leaders could feel that they were not getting into a quagmire but simply undertaking a clean intervention. The air forces could demonstrate their utility in delivering desired political outcomes.

Why and How

The question of the underlying reason for the war should be addressed because stories are circulating that oil companies are competing for vast sums of money in Libya. These stories are all reasonable, in the sense that the real story remains difficult to fathom, and I sympathize with those who are trying to find a deep conspiracy to explain all of this. I would like to find one, too. The problem is that going to war for oil in Libya was unnecessary. Gadhafi loved selling oil, and if the governments involved told him quietly that they were going to blow him up if he didn’t make different arrangements on who got the oil revenues and what royalties he got to keep, Gadhafi would have made those arrangements. He was as cynical as they come, and he understood the subtle idea that shifting oil partners and giving up a lot of revenue was better than being blown up.

Indeed, there is no theory out there that explains this war by way of oil, simply because it was not necessary to actually to go war to get whatever concessions were wanted. So the story — protecting people in Benghazi from slaughter — is the only rational explanation for what followed, however hard it is to believe.

It must also be understood that given the nature of modern air warfare, NATO forces in small numbers had to be inserted on the ground from the beginning — actually, at least a few days before the beginning of the air campaign. Accurately identifying targets and taking them out with sufficient precision involves highly skilled special-operations teams guiding munitions to those targets. The fact that there have been relatively few friendly-fire accidents indicates that standard operational procedures have been in place.

These teams were probably joined by other special operators who trained — and in most cases informally led — indigenous forces in battle. There were ample reports in the early days of the war that special operations teams were on the ground conducting weapons training and organizing the fighters who opposed Gadhafi.

But there proved to be two problems with this approach. First, Gadhafi did not fold his tent and capitulate. He seemed singularly unimpressed by the force he was facing. Second, his troops turned out to be highly motivated and capable, at least compared to their opponents. Proof of this can be found in the fact that they did not surrender en masse, they did maintain a sufficient degree of unit coherence and — the final proof — they held out for six months and are still holding out. The view of human-rights groups that an isolated tyrant would break in the face of the international community, the view of political leaders that an isolated tyrant facing the might of NATO’s air forces would collapse in days, and the view of the air forces that air strikes would shatter resistance, all turned out to be false.

A War Prolonged

Part of this was due to a misunderstanding of the nature of Libyan politics. Gadhafi was a tyrant, but he was not completely isolated. He had enemies but he also had many supporters who benefitted from him or at least believed in his doctrines. There was also a general belief among ordinary government soldiers (some of whom are mercenaries from the south) that capitulation would lead to their slaughter, and the belief among government leaders that surrender meant trials in The Hague and terms in prison. The belief of the human-rights community in an International Criminal Court (ICC) trying Gadhafi and the men around him gives them no room for retreat, and men without room for retreat fight hard and to the end. There was no way to negotiate capitulation unless the U.N. Security Council itself publicly approved the deal. The winks and nods that got dictators to leave in the old days aren’t enough anymore. All countries that are party to the Rome Statute are required to turn a leader like Gadhafi over to the ICC for trial.

Therefore, unless the U.N. Security Council publicly strikes a deal with Gadhafi, which would be opposed by the human-rights community and would become ugly, Gadhafi will not give up — and neither will his troops. There were reports last week that some government soldiers had been executed. True or not, fair or not, that would not be a great motivator for surrender.

The war began with the public mission of protecting the people of Benghazi. This quickly morphed into a war to unseat Gadhafi. The problem was that between the ideological and the military aims, the forces dedicated to the war were insufficient to execute the mission. We do not know how many people were killed in the fighting in the past six months, but pursuing the war using soft military power in this way certainly prolonged the war and likely caused many deaths, both military and civilian.

After six months, NATO got tired, and we wound up with the assault on Tripoli. The assault appears to have consisted of three parts. The first was the insertion of NATO special operations troops (in the low hundreds, not thousands) who, guided by intelligence operatives in Tripoli, attacked and destabilized the government forces in the city. The second part was an information operation in which NATO made it appear that the battle was over. The bizarre incident in which Gadhafi’s son, Saif al Islam, announced as being captured only to show up in an SUV looking very un-captured, was part of this game. NATO wanted it to appear that the leadership had been reduced and Gadhafi’s forces broken to convince those same forces to capitulate. Saif al Islam’s appearance was designed to signal his troops that the war was still on.

Following the special operations strikes and the information operations, western rebels entered the city to great fanfare, including celebratory gunfire into the air. The world’s media chronicled the end of the war as the special operations teams melted away and the victorious rebels took the bows. It had taken six months, but it was over.

And then it became obvious that it wasn’t over. Five percent of Libya — an interesting calculation — was not liberated. Street fighting in Tripoli continued. Areas of the country were still under Gadhafi’s control. And Gadhafi himself was not where his enemies wanted him to be. The war went on.

A number of lessons emerge from all this. First, it is important to remember that Libya in itself may not be important to the world, but it matters to Libyans a great deal. Second, do not assume that tyrants lack support. Gadhafi didn’t govern Libya for 42 years without support. Third, do not assume that the amount of force you are prepared to provide is the amount of force needed. Fourth, eliminating the option of a negotiated end to the war by the means of international courts may be morally satisfying, but it causes wars to go on and casualties to mount. It is important to decide what is more important — to alleviate the suffering of people or to punish the guilty. Sometimes it is one or the other. Fifth, and most important, do not kid the world about wars being over. After George W. Bush flew onto an aircraft carrier that was emblazoned with a “mission accomplished” banner, the Iraq war became even more violent, and the damage to him was massive. Information operations may be useful in persuading opposing troops to surrender, but political credibility bleeds away when the war is declared over and the fighting goes on.

Gadhafi will likely fall in the end. NATO is more powerful then he is, and enough force will be bought to bear to bring him down. The question, of course, is whether there was another way to accomplish that with less cost and more yield. Leaving aside the war-for-oil theory, if the goal was to protect Benghazi and bring down Gadhafi, greater force or a negotiated exit with guarantees against trials in The Hague would likely have worked faster with less loss of life than the application of soft military power.

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« Reply #177 on: August 31, 2011, 11:38:33 AM »

New Guidance

Islamist Opportunities in Libya’s Chaos

We need to be watching for an emerging Islamist threat in Libya. Specifically, drill down into the factions of the Libyan opposition and anticipate where fissures are likely to reveal themselves. Remember that the Islamist landscape in Libya has changed significantly in the past years, as Moammar Gadhafi spent considerable resources cracking down on Libyan militants and in trying to prevent blowback from Libyan fighters returning home from the Iraq war. Identify the Islamist factions emerging out of the Libyan power vacuum. Which are involved with the National Transitional Council (NTC) and which are operating with a greater degree of autonomy? Put yourself in the shoes of a former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group member aligned with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). What are you calculating at this stage of the war? Does civil war serve your interests more than continuing your support for the NTC?

Algeria’s primary concern is the rise of Islamists in Libya. We have already seen a steady rise in AQIM activity since the start of the Libyan conflict. How is the Libya situation affecting Algeria’s ongoing political struggle with Islamist militants? What will, or rather, what can Algeria and Egypt do to contain this growing threat?

Follow the standing guidance on Libya in evaluating Gadhafi’s survival strategy. In addition, determine whether Gadhafi is able to limit the water supply into Tripoli from his strongholds in Sirte or Sabha, and if so, to what degree. As this conflict drags out and the rebel movement becomes more visible, watch for emerging disagreements among participating NATO member states — disagreements that could reveal themselves in a post-Gadhafi scenario.

Read more: Intelligence Guidance: The Islamist Opening in Libya | STRATFOR
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« Reply #178 on: September 02, 2011, 10:56:40 AM »

Note that the piece is written by Pravda on the Hudson, so caveat lector.  That said, ironies abound , , ,
TRIPOLI, Libya — Abdel Hakim Belhaj had a wry smile about the oddity of his situation.

Yes, he said, he was detained by Malaysian officials in 2004 on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur airport, where he was subjected to extraordinary rendition on behalf of the United States, and sent to Thailand. His pregnant wife, traveling with him, was taken away, and his child would be 6 before he saw him.
In Bangkok, Mr. Belhaj said, he was tortured for a few days by two people he said were C.I.A. agents, and then, worse, they repatriated him to Libya, where he was thrown into solitary confinement for six years, three of them without a shower, one without a glimpse of the sun.

Now this man is in charge of the military committee responsible for keeping order in Tripoli, and, he says, is a grateful ally of the United States and NATO.

And while Mr. Belhaj concedes that he was the emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was deemed by the United States to be a terrorist group allied with Al Qaeda, he says he has no Islamic agenda. He says he will disband the fighters under his command, merging them into the formal military or police, once the Libyan revolution is over.

He says there are no hard feelings over his past treatment by the United States.

“Definitely it was very hard, very difficult,” he said. “Now we are in Libya, and we want to look forward to a peaceful future. I do not want revenge.”

As the United States and other Western powers embrace and help finance the new government taking shape in Libya, they could face a particularly awkward relationship with Islamists like Mr. Belhaj. Once considered enemies in the war on terror, they suddenly have been thrust into positions of authority — with American and NATO blessing.

In Washington, the Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment on Mr. Belhaj or his new role. A State Department official said the Obama administration was aware of Islamist backgrounds among the rebel fighters in Libya and had expressed concern to the Transitional National Council, the new rebel government, and that it had received assurances.

“The last few months, we’ve had the T.N.C. saying all the right things, and making the right moves,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s delicacy.

Mr. Belhaj, 45, a short and serious man with a close-cropped beard, burst onto the scene in the mountains west of Tripoli only in the last few weeks before the fall of the capital, as the leader of a brigade of rebel fighters.

“He wasn’t even in the military council in the western mountains,” said Othman Ben Sassi, a member of the Transitional National Council from Zuwarah in the west. “He was nothing, nothing. He arrived at the last moment, organized some people but was not responsible for the military council in the mountains.”

Then came the push on Tripoli, which fell with unexpected speed, and Mr. Belhaj and his fighters focused on the fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, where they distinguished themselves as relatively disciplined fighters.

A veteran of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets, Mr. Belhaj has what most rebel fighters have lacked — actual military experience. Yet he has still not adopted a military rank (unlike many rebels who quickly became self-appointed colonels and generals), which he said should go only to members of the army.

Dressed in new military fatigues, with a pistol strapped backward to his belt, Mr. Belhaj was interviewed at his offices in the Mitiga Military Airbase in Tripoli, the site of what had been the United States Air Force’s Wheelus Air Base until 1970.

Last weekend, Mr. Belhaj was voted commander of the Tripoli Military Council, a grouping of several brigades of rebels involved in taking the capital, by the other brigades, a move that aroused some criticism among liberal members of the council.

However, his appointment was strongly supported by Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, the chairman of the council, who said that as Colonel Qaddafi’s former minister of justice he got to know Mr. Belhaj well during negotiations leading to his release from prison in 2010. Mr. Belhaj and other Islamist radicals made a historic compromise with the Qaddafi government, one that was brokered by Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the Qaddafi son seen then as a moderating influence.


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The Islamists agreed to disband the Islamic Fighting Group, replacing it with the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change, and renounced violent struggle. “We kept that promise,” Mr. Belhaj said. “The revolution started peacefully, but the regime’s crackdown forced it to become violent.”


Mr. Belhaj conceded that Islamists had no role in creating the revolution against Colonel Qaddafi’s rule; it was instead a popular uprising. “The February 17th revolution is the Libyan people’s revolution and no one can claim it, neither secularists nor Islamists,” he said. “The Libyan people have different views, and all those views have to be involved and respected.”
Forty-two years of Qaddafi rule in Libya had, he said, taught him an important lesson: “No one can make Libya suffer any more under any one ideology or any one regime.” His pledge to disband fighters under his command once Libya has a new government was repeated to NATO officials at a meeting in Qatar this week.

Some council members said privately that allowing Mr. Belhaj to become chairman of the military council in Tripoli was done partly to take advantage of his military expertise, but also to make sure the rebels’ political leaders had him under their direct control.

Many also say that Mr. Belhaj’s history as an Islamist is understandable because until this year, Islamist groups were the only ones able to struggle against Colonel Qaddafi’s particularly repressive rule.

After Mr. Belhaj and a small group of Libyan comrades returned from the jihad against the Soviets, they formed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and had a secret base in the Green Mountain area of eastern Libya, until it was discovered and bombed, and many of its followers rounded up.

Mr. Belhaj escaped Libya in the late 1990s and, like many antigovernment exiles, was forced to move frequently as Libya used its oil resources as a way to pressure host countries.

“We focused on Libya and Libya only,” he said. “Our goal was to help our people. We didn’t participate in or support any action outside of Libya. We never had any link with Al Qaeda, and that could never be. We had a different agenda; global fighting was not our goal.”

He said that America’s reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks led to his group’s classification as terrorist.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, the rapprochement between Libya and Western countries led to the apprehension of several anti-Qaddafi activists, who were returned to Libya by the United States.

While Mr. Belhaj insisted that he was not interested in revenge, it is not a period of his life that he has altogether forgotten. “If one day there is a legal way, I would like to see my torturers brought to court,” he said.
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« Reply #179 on: September 02, 2011, 01:07:57 PM »

Water shortages began in the Libyan capital the day after rebel forces entered the city. The shortages have been attributed to a cutoff in supplies from the Great Man-Made River (GMR) in an area near one of the last strongholds of Moammar Gadhafi’s power. Technicians have not been able to visit the infrastructure to make repairs due to the security situation in the area. Thus, it seems the water supply from the GMR will not begin flowing to Tripoli again until the rebels have cleared out the remaining Gadhafi loyalists.

Because of a supply cutoff, water shortages began in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, the day after rebel forces entered the city Aug. 21. So far, there have not been signs of any unrest in the affected areas of Tripoli as a direct result; most people seem willing to tolerate the inconvenience of water shortages as long as the situation is not life threatening.

Humanitarian aid and a decrease in water use are helping to keep the situation from becoming hazardous, but the National Transitional Council (NTC) still has two concerns about the water shortage: first, that it will not be able to restore the flow of water to Tripoli quickly, and second, that even if water is restored soon it will not be able to prevent supply cuts from becoming a perpetual problem. The NTC is already facing several challenges as it tries to establish its political authority in Tripoli, and it does not want to add another problem to its list.

Multiple explanations have been offered for the water shortages, which are affecting more than 3 million people in Libya’s western coastal region. The cause appears to be a cutoff of the flows from the western system of the Great Man-Made River (GMR), a huge subsurface water pumping and transport system that taps aquifers deep in the Sahara and transports the water to Libya’s coast. Approximately three-fourths of Tripoli’s municipal water resources come from the GMR, with the rest coming from seawater desalinization plants, local wells and sewage treatment plants. The system has changed the face of modern Libya; since the first phase of the GMR’s construction in 1991, Libya’s population has increased by almost 50 percent, from around 4.5 million to approximately 6.5 million. Without this source of water, the population would be pressured to return to earlier levels.

The GMR is a vital piece of infrastructure for any administration trying to govern Tripoli and has many vulnerable points along its nearly 600-kilometer (370-mile) path. The GMR has an eastern system and a western system that draw water from different well fields. In the western system, water originates in 580 wells, only around 30 of which currently are online, according to reports. NTC officials and the European Commission’s humanitarian organization ECHO claim that pro-Gadhafi forces have sabotaged the system, creating the water cutoff. There are also reports of empty storage tanks and pipeline damage on the GMR between 40 and 100 kilometers from Tripoli, and the International Committee of the Red Cross has reported that the primary regional reservoir at Gharyan (the easternmost point of the Nafusa Mountains, connected to the GMR western system) has dried up.

An Aug. 30 Reuters report citing a report prepared by ECHO claimed the water cutoff had occurred in the coastal city of Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown and a remaining stronghold for his forces. An interconnector between the GMR’s eastern and western systems runs through the city; if Gadhafi loyalists had cut off the water flow via the GMR to Tripoli, it would only increase the impetus for NTC forces to seize the city, which is situated between the NTC’s zones of control in western and eastern Libya.

However, ECHO claims that its report was misquoted and denies that activity in Sirte has anything to do with the shortages in Tripoli, insisting instead that the disruption in flow is from an area known as the Jebel Hassouna. This area is deep in the Sahara, south of Tripoli, and close to another Gadhafi stronghold: Sabha.

Securing Water Amid ‘Uncertain’ Conditions
NTC forces firmly control the territory ranging from the Nafusa Mountains northward to Tripoli but have yet to extend a strong presence into the desert regions to the south (as evidenced by the ability of several members of Gadhafi’s family to safely reach the Algerian border Aug. 29). ECHO, however, says rebel forces have been in control of the wellheads and flow stations in the Jebel Hassouna area since Aug. 24. This is unconfirmed, but even if it is true, forces loyal to Gadhafi are still a threat near Sabha. That no technical teams have been able to travel to the area to bring the wells back online — which ECHO admits is because of the “uncertain” security situation — indicates how vulnerable Tripoli’s GMR water supplies are. Linear infrastructure like this is difficult for even coherent governments to defend. Gadhafi loyalists currently retain immense freedom of action and possess both the capability and incentive to attack targets affiliated with the GMR. This will not change so long as the NTC lacks the ability to drive them out.

(click here to enlarge image)
The military situation in both the northern population centers and the desert areas to the south therefore directly affects the water shortages in the capital. As of Aug. 31, four key Gadhafi strongholds remain in Libya. Tarhouna, Bani Walid and Sirte are all to the east of Tripoli along the coastal region. Sabha is hundreds of kilometers south, in the heart of the Sahara, and connects to Sirte via a single paved road. NTC forces still do not control the area in between, and control of such an open space is never easy to maintain.

There are two main routes for NTC forces to get to Sabha: From the Nafusa Mountains or through Sirte. If ECHO’s claims about rebel forces controlling the wellfields at Jebel Hassouna are true, they likely reached the area from the mountains. NATO planes, meanwhile, have bombed Sirte continuously for the past week while the NTC keeps negotiating with the city’s remaining holdouts until a recently imposed Sept. 3 deadline passes. Meanwhile, the NTC allegedly is considering launching a military assault on Sabha in response to the reports that Gadhafi-ordered sabotage is causing the water shortages. An NTC official said the only reason for a delay in the attack is a concern over the potential to seriously damage the GMR infrastructure in the process. In reality, there is every indication that the NTC continues to lack the logistical capability to reach Sabha from its current zones of control, so an attack on Sabha is highly unlikely while Sirte remains beyond NTC forces’ grasp.

The Humanitarian Situation in Tripoli
Meanwhile, the water shortages have not yet created a crisis in Tripoli. Area residents have ramped up withdrawals from local wells, which can supply roughly one-quarter of Libya’s municipal water needs. Much of this water is being trucked in and distributed from surrounding areas, though the potability of this water is questionable, as heavy use over decades has made many wells brackish and the water suitable only for washing. In addition, freshwater wells in such close proximity to the sea are more prone to this phenomenon, which could create problems for Libya — the majority of its population resides in the coastal regions.

International organizations are scrambling to mitigate a looming humanitarian crisis, with groups such as the European Union, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) sending water rations and mobilizing experts to assess and repair the damage. Supplementing Tripoli’s water supply is the most pressing issue. UNICEF and the World Food Program have so far delivered 213,000 liters (56,300 gallons) of water and are in the process of procuring a total of 5 million liters. The World Food Program reported on Aug. 30 that a vessel was en route from Malta to Tripoli carrying 500,000 liters of water. Greece and Turkey are also being tapped for emergency deliveries of potable water. But these deliveries, while significant, provide only a fraction of a single day’s drinking water consumption for Tripoli.

Distributing water supplies large enough to begin alleviating the shortages poses a significant logistical hurdle for the NTC. Simply loading water onto a major oil tanker would not work; Tripoli’s port is limited in the size of ships it can receive, and those tankers are too large. So far, the limited amounts of water arriving have been moved in more modular containment — such as water bottles — and distributed by truck and by hand.

The residents of Tripoli have exhibited resilience in the face of the shortages, however. Part of the solution has been a mass tactical shift in the allocation of potable water. The GMR allowed pre-war daily water use to average more than 200 liters per capita. The amount of water needed per capita for survival is much lower — humanitarian agencies have been placing the figure at 3-4 liters (assuming low activity levels) — meaning that even a massive decrease in the flow of water to Tripoli does not automatically create the danger of large numbers of deaths, so long as the situation does not deteriorate further.

None of this is to say that the situation in Tripoli is sustainable should it last for too long — at least in the eyes of the NTC. There will be a limit to the amount of goodwill the people of Tripoli hold toward the NTC, whose fight against Gadhafi has led to the current situation. At a certain point, continued water shortages in Tripoli will create rising anger toward the rebel council, and toward NATO as well, as people will begin to point fingers at those who led them into their current plight. Governing is often harder than rebellion, and the logistical challenges of bringing order to Tripoli while continuing to fight Gadhafi’s remaining forces have the potential to become a major burden. The NTC will thus seek to ensure that the GMR is brought back online as soon as possible. Experts estimate repair time to be anywhere from three days to more than a week, but this assumes technicians can reach the area without coming under attack, which will depend on the NTC’s ability to minimize the strength of the last vestiges of Gadhafi’s forces.

Read more: Libya: Water Cutoffs to Tripoli Tied to Security Situation | STRATFOR
prentice crawford
« Reply #180 on: September 05, 2011, 03:58:53 AM »

  Devastating secret files reveal Labour lies over Gaddafi: Dictator warned of holy war if Lockerbie bomber Megrahi died in ScotlandDevastating stash of documents left in British Ambassador's residence
Britain gave Libyan secret police questions to interrogate dissidents
We even informed Gaddafi how Cobra works and MI6 budget
By Ian Birrell

Last updated at 9:49 AM on 4th September 2011

The startling extent to which Labour misled the world over the controversial release of the Lockerbie bomber is exposed today in top-secret documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday.
In public, senior Ministers from the last Labour Government and the Scottish First Minister have repeatedly insisted that terminally ill Abdelbaset Al Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds in a decision taken by Scottish Ministers alone.
But the confidential papers show that Westminster buckled under pressure from Colonel Gaddafi, who threatened to ignite a 'holy war' if Megrahi died in his Scottish cell.
  Friendship: Letters from Gordon Brown to Gaddafi sent in July 2007 (left) and September 2007 (right)

And despite repeated denials, the Labour Government worked frantically behind the scenes to appease Gaddafi's 'unpredictable nature'.
As recently as last month, a spokesman for Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond was insisting: 'The decision was taken on the basis of Scots law and was not influenced by economic, political or diplomatic factors.'

 More...WPC Yvonne Fletcher murder suspect claimed British benefits during two years as a student
MI6 and British Government worked closely with Gaddafi's regime (and even helped him write his speeches)
Gaddafi wanted to get him back at all costs: How Britain paved way for release of man who brought down Pan Am 103

Equally damaging, the documents also suggest that as well as sharing intelligence-gathering techniques, Britain gave Libya hundreds of suggested questions for Islamic militants detained in Libya in 2004.
This will inevitably cause widespread dismay because of the regime’s systematic use of torture during interrogation.
 Friends: Former Prime MinisterTony Blair greets Muammar Gaddafi at his desert base outside Tripoli in 2007
  Education: A letter from Downing Street reveals how Tony Blair was 'stimulated' by Said Gaddafi's PHD (left), while a second document reveals Tony Blair's New Year wishes to Gaddafi and his family (right)

The revelations come in documents – some marked ‘UK secret: UK/Libya Eyes Only’ – found strewn on the floor of the British Ambassador’s abandoned residence in Tripoli.
Many of the papers demonstrate the warmth of the relationship between Britain and Libya and, in particular, the extraordinarily close links between the Blair Government and the Gaddafi regime.
The notes show how:
Tony Blair helped Colonel Gaddafi’s playboy son Saif with his ‘dodgy’ PhD thesis while he was Prime Minister.
British Special Forces were offered to train the Khamis Brigade, Gaddafi’s most vicious military unit.
MI6 was apparently willing to trace phone numbers for Libyan intelligence.
Gordon Brown wrote warmly to Gaddafi in 2007 expressing the hope that the dictator would be able to meet Prince Andrew when he visited Tripoli.
MI6’s budget (£150 million in 2002) was readily disclosed to Libyan officials, along with details of how Britain’s Downing Street emergency committee Cobra operates.
Britain’s intelligence services forged close links with Gaddafi’s brutal security units.
Megrahi was released two years ago and transferred back to Libya, where he received a hero’s welcome from Gaddafi. Last week, it emerged he is still alive – although very ill – after he was tracked down to his home in Tripoli.
A series of documents marked ‘confidential’ and ‘restricted’ reveal that Gaddafi threatened Britain with ‘dire consequences’ if Megrahi died in Scotland.
Diplomats feared the harassment – ‘or worse’ – of British nationals; the cancellation of lucrative contracts with firms such as BP, Shell and BG; and the end of defence deals and counter-terrorism co-operation.
 Devastating: The stash of documents were left in the British Ambassador's residence
  As a result, the British Government ignored the anger of both America and the families of victims of Britain’s biggest terrorist outrage to push for the fastest release through the signing of a Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya.
Set against Britain’s role in the military intervention in Libya, and David Cameron’s description of Gaddafi last week as a ‘monster’, the revelations in the papers are bitterly ironic.

Yet during the concerted appeasement campaign, Britain was under no illusion about the nature of Gaddafi’s security forces or of what they were capable.
Another thick briefing paper points out that their primary objective was the protection of the Libyan leader, his family and their friends and to ‘defend the regime’s repressive politics inside and outside the country’.
Despite this, Simon McDonald, Gordon Brown’s foreign policy adviser, told the dictator’s son Saif in June 2008 how glad he was to hear of the first meeting between MI6’s head of station and the feared Libyan Internal Security Organisation.

‘I understand that this preliminary meeting focused on training,’ he wrote. ‘I look forward to hearing of progress.’
From the police to prisons, from the health service to the high court, the documents detail links and co-operation between the two countries at every level.

What appears to underpin them all is Tony Blair’s plan to bring Gaddafi in from the cold while winning rich contracts for British businesses.
Even the Department for International Development got in on the act, drawing up plans to work with Libya in Africa.
Among the most enthusiastic participants were the police, despite the shadow cast by the shooting in London of WPC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984.

In November 2005 the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke met the Libyan security minister in London to agree a series of ‘security and co-operation talks’.
Six months later, at a meeting in Tripoli, Libyan officials asked for assistance on riot control,  which they stressed was one of their ‘priorities’.
Despite the horrific reputation of Gaddafi’s jails, there was also collaboration with Libya’s prison services.
This included a trip to Libya by the former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham, another in July 2009 by a team of British prison officials and the funding of visits to Libya by academics from King’s College, London, who were each paid £630 a day to run a two-week course in Tripoli.
Libya was notorious for corruption under the Gaddafi regime, with the dictator’s family dominating commerce and demanding a cut of most big deals.

Rivals who crossed them could have their businesses – or lives – destroyed.

But the Law Society spent 18 months working with Libyan officials to review laws on banking and the creation of a more ‘enabling’ business environment.
There were also exchange visits between British and Libyan health ministers and proposals for joint work from the Health Protection Agency.
Even former Labour leader Neil Kinnock became involved, holding discussions on education with Saif Gaddafi.
‘I am pleased that you had a successful meeting with Lord Kinnock,’ Tony Blair’s then foreign policy adviser, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, told the dictator’s son in an April 2007 letter.
The letter, updating Gaddafi on progress on several fronts, ran to four pages.

It concluded with the Prime Minister sending ‘his warm wishes to the Leader and to yourself’.
A separate cache of secret files found in Tripoli show that MI6 gave the Gaddafi regime information on Libyan dissidents living in the UK.
The documents, discovered in the Tripoli offices of former Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa, include a personal Christmas greeting signed by a senior spy as ‘your friend’.  
They also reveal that MI6 and the CIA had a regular contact with their counterparts in Libya, in particular Mr Kusa, who became foreign minister and earlier this year defected to the UK.
HEADER HEREBritish Special Forces have warned Libyan commanders hunting Colonel Gaddafi that he could be wearing a suicide vest – choosing to kill himself rather than be captured.

A senior security source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The intelligence suggests it will be packed with enough explosives to take out anyone around him.’
 The incriminating documents were found in the wreckage of the British ambassador’s home in Tripoli, a three-storey house vandalised in April by Gaddafi loyalists.

There were several booklets filled with the faces of suspected terrorists, scores of personally signed letters sent from Downing Street and detailed intelligence data on the Gaddafi regime.

Incredibly, all this had lain amid the debris for four months, with no attempt made to secure the papers even in
the week after the rebels ousted the dictator from the city.

Mountains of shredded paper showed British diplomats tried to destroy many documents before fleeing.

 One of the more intriguing proposals in the papers is the idea of founding a Centre for the Study of Meteors and Shooting Stars in the middle of the Saharan desert.
Hundreds of meteorites have been found in the Libyan desert, including rocks from the Moon and Mars.
  Incriminating: The documents reveal the close ties between Gordon Brown and Gaddafi (pictured toegether on the left in 2009), and how the Libyan leader warned of a holy war if Megrahi (right) was not released

Tony Blair helped Colonel Gaddafi’s playboy son Saif with his ‘dodgy’ philosophy PhD thesis while he was Prime Minister.

The extraordinary revelation, confirmed by a leaked letter sent by Mr Blair to the tyrant’s son, demonstrates just how close the links were between the Blair Government and the Gaddafi regime.

Saif, 39, has called Mr Blair ‘a close, personal friend’ of his family. Mr Blair also had a close personal relationship with dictator Muammar, exchanging friendly notes even after he left No 10.

Typical was one sent from Downing Street on December 28, 2006. ‘Eid Mubarak!’ it begins, acknowledging a Muslim festival. ‘At this sacred time of harmony and reconciliation, recalling how our passionate God has mercy on mankind, I would like to express my personal wishes to you, to your family and to the Libyan people.’

The documents show Mr Blair’s surprising level of involvement with Saif’s 2008 London School of Economics thesis. Mr Blair sent Saif a personally signed letter on No 10 paper, addressing him as ‘Engineer Saif’ and thanking him for sending the 429-page thesis for him to read.

The PM also offered three examples of co-operation between governments, people and business ‘that might help with your studies’, including Make Poverty History, which he said worked because ‘it bought together an unusual coalition of players from Bono to the Pope .  .  . with a simple but inspiring message of hope.’

Mr Blair then discusses how to prevent corruption in oil-rich nations – even though the Gaddafis were notorious for stealing billions – and his ‘personal interest and commitment’ to the topics Saif studied.

He signed off: ‘I wish you well for your PhD and send my warm good wishes.’ Saif – who donated £1.5 million to the LSE – is said to have plagiarised much of his thesis.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said: ‘Neither Tony Blair or Downing Street officials saw Saif Gaddafi’s thesis in advance. A letter was drafted by officials giving examples of good practice which was sent in the Prime Minister’s name. It was perfectly proper to do so.’

WE HELPED TRAIN BRIGADE BEHIND REGIME'S WORST ATROCITIES Who Dares Wins: The SAS spent six months training Libyan elite troops two years ago
Britain developed astonishingly close ties with the Libyan military following Tony Blair’s 2007 deal in the desert with Colonel Gaddafi, despite its history of brutal internal repression and bloody foreign adventurism.

Among the deals revealed this weekend are the use of UK Special Forces to train the feared Khamis Brigade, run by one of Gaddafi’s sons and thought to have been behind some of the worst atrocities in the recent conflict.

The SAS spent six months training Libyan elite troops two years ago as part of what was described by the Foreign Office as ‘ongoing co-operation in the field of defence’ between the two countries. A troop of four to 14 SAS men are understood to have trained the Libyans in counter-terrorism techniques, including covert surveillance.

The training was agreed under Tony Blair in 2004 but ‘signed off’ by Gordon Brown in 2009. British officials also proposed further military collaborations including:

Training Libyan officers at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
Dispatching a Royal Navy vessel to visit Tripoli.
Paying for high-ranking Libyans to visit the European Union and Nato headquarters in Brussels.
Sending 100 officers a year on English language courses.
The sale of naval ships to Libya.

It is now clear that British support for Gaddafi’s military machine went considerably further than training – and that much of it was based on ideas proposed by the deposed Libyan regime.  

In April 2007, a month before the desert accord was signed, Mr Blair’s foreign policy adviser Sir Nigel Sheinwald told Saif Gaddafi that Britain was ready to develop a partnership with Libya ‘starting with some of the ideas you set out’.

Sir Nigel said he was ‘extremely pleased’ agreement had been reached on the sale of the Iskander missile system – although it was delayed by international pressure.

In February 2008, Gordon Brown wrote to the Libyan leader: ‘I am confident that our defence co-operation can grow, building on the accord signed in Sirte last May.’

Mr Brown hoped they could conclude negotiations on two arms deals: a £147 million anti-tank missile system and related £112 million communication system, plus an £85 million deal to supply radios.

In a letter to Saif in June 2008, Mr McDonald outlined the deal to train up to 90 members of the Khamis Brigade by Arturus, a UK-based private military security company. He added: ‘The MoD would then be willing to have serving personnel from UK SF [Special Forces] visit and provide quality assurance.’

Last night, Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army commander, said: ‘Today’s friends are tomorrow’s enemies as these deals show.’

« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 09:05:12 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #181 on: September 05, 2011, 09:06:29 AM »

When the Lockerbie bomber was released this forum questioned the move vigorously.  It appears now that the truth was far worse than even we imagined.

« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 10:11:11 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #182 on: September 06, 2011, 07:47:09 AM »

The Central Intelligence Agency and Libyan intelligence services developed such a tight relationship during the George W. Bush administration that the U.S. shipped terror suspects to Libya for interrogation and suggested the questions they should be asked, according to documents found in Libya's External Security agency headquarters.

The Regime's Inner Workings
Reams of confidential documents reveal in vivid detail the desperation and disarray at the highest reaches of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's regime this spring as power slipped through their fingers.

The relationship was close enough that the CIA moved to establish "a permanent presence" in Libya in 2004, according to a note from Stephen Kappes, at the time the No. 2 in the CIA's clandestine service, to Libya's then-intelligence chief, Moussa Koussa.

Libya's Revolution
View Slideshow

Alexandre Meneghini/Associated Press
People in the rebel-held town of Benghazi celebrated the news Aug. 22 of the capture of Moammar Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam.
.On Edge in Libya
Track fighting and city control around the country.

View Interactive
.Map: Regional Upheaval
Track events day by day in the region.

View Interactive
.More photos and interactive graphics
. Secret documents unearthed by human rights activists indicate the CIA and MI6 had very close relations with Libya's 2004 Gadhafi regime. Video courtesy of Reuters.
.The memo began "Dear Musa," and was signed by hand, "Steve." Mr. Kappes was a critical player in the secret negotiations that led to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi's 2003 decision to give up his nuclear program. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Kappes, who has retired from the agency, declined to comment.

A U.S. official said Libya had showed progress at the time. "Let's keep in mind the context here: By 2004, the U.S. had successfully convinced the Libyan government to renounce its nuclear-weapons program and to help stop terrorists who were actively targeting Americans in the U.S. and abroad," the official said.

The files documenting the renewal of ties between the CIA and Libyan intelligence were reviewed and copied by researchers from Human Rights Watch during a tour of Libya's External Security agency headquarters in downtown Tripoli. Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert said he was touring the building on Friday as part of the group's effort to help the Libyan transitional authority secure sensitive documents left by the Gadhafi regime, which collapsed in August after a five-month rebellion.

Mr. Bouckaert said he discovered the files inside the complex in a room that guards described as the former office of Mr. Koussa, who became foreign minister in 2009. Mr. Bouckaert photographed the documents, leaving the originals in their place, and gave copies to The Wall Street Journal.

Human Rights Watch has been critical of the U.S. policy of sending terror suspects to third countries for interrogation, a practice known as rendition. The practice dates at least to 1995, when Egypt began aiding the U.S. with rendition.

U.S. officials say they obtained assurances from the recipient countries that the rendered detainees would be treated humanely. "There are lots of countries willing to take terrorists off the street who want to kill Americans," the U.S. official said. "That doesn't mean U.S. concerns about human rights are ignored in the process."

In an April 15, 2004 letter to Libyan intelligence, the CIA proposed the rendition of another man, saying, "We respectfully request an expression of interest from your service regarding taking custody."

Citing "recently developed agreements," the CIA asked the Libyans to "agree to take our requirements for debriefings of [the suspect], as well as a guarantee that [his] human rights will be protected."

The files also show the close relationship that some British intelligence officials had with Mr. Koussa.

With Libya's NTC in Place, Little Sign of Leading
Washington Says It Knew of Ex-Diplomat's Libya Meet

.Mr. Koussa, who defected from Col. Gadhafi's government in March, was credited with helping negotiate Libya's rapprochement with the international community and bartering an end to sanctions in return for Libya renouncing its weapons-of-mass-destruction program.

Yet he was also one of the stalwarts of the Gadhafi regime and headed the foreign intelligence service during a time when many Western officials believed Col. Gadhafi was funding and supporting international terrorist groups. In 1980, he was expelled from his diplomatic post in the U.K. after calling in a newspaper interview for the killing of Libyan dissidents in Great Britain. Libya later claimed he had been misquoted.

By the early years of the George W. Bush administration, however, as seen in the 2004 memo, Mr. Kappes was writing to Mr. Koussa: "Libya's cooperation on WMD and other issues, as well as our nascent intelligence cooperation mean that now is the right moment to move ahead."

The intelligence services had discussed the move for "quite some time" Mr. Kappes wrote.

The files provide an extraordinary window into the highly secretive and controversial practice of rendition, whereby the agency would send detainees to other countries for interrogation, including ones known for harsh treatment of detainees. The program was ramped up for terror detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks.

When taking over the CIA at the outset of the Obama administration, then-director Leon Panetta said the agency would continue to use rendition, but would seek assurances that the detainee wouldn't be tortured—which has been the standing U.S. policy. Mr. Panetta left the CIA two months ago to lead the Pentagon.

"We are eager to work with you in the questioning of the terrorist we recently rendered to your country," Mr. Kappes wrote in the memo, adding that he would like to send two more officers to Libya to question a suspect directly.

The documents show the logistical hurdles the rendition program experienced, such as Hong Kong's refusal to allow a Libyan aircraft to land, the requirements to show valid insurance documents, and certifications of airworthiness.

In some of the documents, the CIA provided Libyan intelligence with a long list of questions it wanted to have posed to one suspect in Tripoli's custody, a Libyan-Canadian who Western intelligence agencies accused of being a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a now-defunct group the U.S. suspected of links to al Qaeda. The Americans wanted to know, among other things, whether the man had relationships with named individuals in Cincinnati, Seattle and Los Angeles or with companies across the U.S. from a Colorado auto-sales firm to a global shipping company in California.

Many of the questions U.S. intelligence officials wanted posed to the suspect were about other alleged members of the organization.

Another document said the CIA was aware that Libyan intelligence was cooperating with the British to bring to Tripoli a suspected militant leader who was being held in detention in Hong Kong for immigration violations.

An April 6, 2004 memo titled "Iraqi Scientists," the CIA asked Libyan intelligence to let U.S. agents interview several Iraqi scientists who were living in Libya, part of a postwar scramble to determine the fate of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

In one memo with the subject line "ALLEGED TERRORIST CELL WITHIN LIBYA PLANNING FOR ATTACKS AGAINST U.S. INTERESTS," the CIA asked for help tracking down a suspected "operational cell" in Libya suspected of being in contact with al Qaeda operatives in Iraq. The CIA said it feared U.S. government officials and commercial interests in Libya would be attacked.

"Thank you very much for your speedy assistance," the memo concluded.

—Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes contributed to this article.
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« Reply #183 on: September 08, 2011, 08:40:52 AM »

TRIPOLI, Libya — The sign on the wall reads “Schoolbook Printing and Storage Warehouse,” but the fact that the double gates in the wall have been crudely ripped off suggests that something more interesting might be inside.

Workers loaded crates of mortar shells and ammunition on Wednesday from a large cache of weapons discovered in Tripoli.
It turns out that the only books to be found in any of the three large buildings in the walled compound are manuals — how to fire rocket launchers and wire-guided missiles, among others. The buildings are actually disguised warehouses full of munitions — mortar shells, artillery rounds, anti-tank missiles and more — thousands of pieces of military ordnance that are completely unguarded more than two weeks after the fall of the capital.

Perhaps most interesting of all is what is no longer there, but until recent days apparently was: shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles of the type that could be used by terrorists to shoot down civilian airliners. American authorities have long been concerned that Libyan missiles could easily find their way onto the black market.

These missiles, mostly SA-7b Grails, as NATO refers to them, have been spotted in Libya before and are well known to have been sold to the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi by former Eastern bloc countries. The evidence at the schoolbook warehouse confirms just how large those quantities were. It also raises questions about how many of them may have been purloined by rebels, criminals or smugglers.

Matthew Schroeder, who researches heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles and their proliferation for the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said the discovery of yet another looted arms depot in Libya was cause for concern, especially depots that contained what security specialists call Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems, or Manpads.

Western governments and nongovernment organizations have repeatedly asked and prodded the rebel government, the Transitional National Council, to take steps to secure the vast stockpiles of arms that it has inherited, apparently to little avail.

“Claims that depots holding Manpads and other dangerous weapons are still not being properly secured are very worrisome and should be thoroughly investigated,” Mr. Schroeder said. “In cases where stockpile security is found to be lacking, immediate steps should be taken to correct any deficiencies.”

In Washington, President Obama’s top counterterrorism official, John O. Brennan, said that the spread of shoulder-fired missiles and other weapons from Libya’s arsenal posed “a lot of concerns,” and that the United States had pressed the rebel government to secure weapons stockpiles. “Obviously, there are a lot of parts of that country right now that are ungoverned,” he said at a security conference.

A senior American military officer who follows Libya closely said it was puzzling that there had been so few documented instances in which Libyan loyalist troops launched shoulder-fired missiles at NATO aircraft.   “I’m not sure what that means,” the officer said.  “Fewer systems than we thought? Systems are inoperable? Few in Libya know how to operate them?”

The officer said it was also unclear whether Al Qaeda or other extremist groups had acquired the missiles, though he said intelligence analysts were assuming they had.   “But if they do, why haven’t they used or threatened to use?” the officer said.  “It’s all very murky right now.”

On Wednesday, a reporter for The New York Times, as well as a researcher for Human Rights Watch and other reporters who visited the scene, found 10 crates that had held two missiles each lying opened and empty. The crates were clearly labeled as coming from Russia.

“Other countries know these weapons are on the loose, and they will be trying to get their hands on them,” said a researcher for Human Rights Watch, Peter Bouckaert.

He was particularly concerned with one crate, labeled “9M342,” the Russian designation for the SA-24 heat-seeking missile.

“These were some of the most advanced weaponry the Russians made,” Mr. Bouckaert said. Referring to the rebels who have taken control of Tripoli and to the international community, he added, “They need to get people here to secure some of this.”


(Page 2 of 2)

The SA-24 can be mounted on vehicle-based launchers or fired from a person’s shoulder via a much smaller launcher known as a grip stock. The latter configuration, of the same class of weapon as the American-made Stinger, is considered the gravest potential danger to civilian aircraft because the weapon is readily portable and relatively simple to conceal and use.

No grip stocks for SA-24s have yet been found in Libya, and the Russian manufacturer of the SA-24 has previously said that it did not sell any grip stocks to Colonel Qaddafi’s military. The SA-24s, it said, were sold only with vehicle-mounted launchers.
The SA-7, however, is a shoulder-fired missile. A Soviet-era weapon dating to the 1960s that remains in wide use and circulation, it has been implicated in several attacks on airliners over the years, including a failed attack on an Israeli charter plane.

Former Eastern bloc nations call it a Strela, for the Russian word for arrow. Nine of the freshly emptied crates found Wednesday were marked with the Eastern bloc designation for the Strela: 9M32M.

Libyan rebels have occasionally been spotted carrying SA-7s, though the weapon has no evident practical use to them, given that the Qaddafi air force was grounded by NATO months ago and that the only military aircraft confirmed in the Libyan skies have been the NATO planes supporting the rebels’ advances.

Although only nine crates holding two SA-7s each were found in the schoolbook warehouse, those crates were a part of what evidently were nine different consignments.

In all, those consignments added up to a total of 2,445 crates delivered from Russia to Tripoli, containing 4,890 missiles, according to markings on the crates. But there was no way to ascertain whether the other crates in those consignments had previously been in this warehouse, or in some other part of the country. Many of the other missiles may have been issued to the Qaddafi forces in the field, which for months had a need to defend against aerial attack.

The Times has previously documented that 5,270 SA-7b missiles had been delivered to Libya. Some of those shipments were part of the same consignments found Wednesday. But according to the stenciled markings on the newly found crates, at least 2,322 of the missiles appear to be from previously undiscovered consignments, meaning that at least 7,592 of the missiles had been sent to Libya. Estimates of the true total run as high as 20,000 such missiles.

A spokesman for the Libyan rebel military, Abdulrahman Busin, said the rebel authorities were aware of the schoolbook warehouse, which is only about a quarter-mile from the headquarters of the Khamis Brigade, an elite loyalist military unit headed by a son of Colonel Qaddafi. Mr. Busin said the rebel “military police” had probably removed the missiles.

“The military police were aware of this and they took charge of it; they’re the ones who secured it,” Mr. Busin said.

But if that was the case, he was unable to explain why the facility remained unguarded on Wednesday. And efforts were unsuccessful in contacting the head of the military police to confirm if his forces indeed had the missing missiles.
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« Reply #184 on: October 17, 2011, 08:33:00 AM »

Three weeks after rebel fighters drove Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi from power in Tripoli, military leaders gathered on the leafy grounds of an Islamic institute to hash out a way to unite the capital's disparate fighting groups. The Tripoli chiefs were nearing a deal on a unified command when two visitors stepped in.
One was Abdel Hakim Belhaj—a former Islamic fighter briefly held in 2004 by the Central Intelligence Agency, who had led one of the militias that marched triumphantly into Tripoli. Now the city's most visible military commander, he accused the local militia leaders of sidelining him, say people briefed on the Sept. 11 meeting.
"You will never do this without me," he said.
Standing wordlessly behind him, these people say, was Maj. Gen. Hamad Ben Ali al-Attiyah—the chief of staff of the tiny Arab Gulf nation of Qatar. Mr. Belhaj won a tactical victory: The meeting broke up without a deal, and efforts to unite disparate Tripoli militias, including Belhaj's Tripoli Military Council, remain stalled to this day.
The foreign military commander's appearance in Tripoli, which one person familiar with the visit said caught Libya's interim leaders by surprise, is testament to Qatar's key role in helping to bring down Libya's strongman. Qatar provided anti-Gadhafi rebels with what Libyan officials now estimate are tens of millions of dollars in aid, military training and more than 20,000 tons of weapons. Qatar's involvement in the battle to oust Col. Gadhafi was supported by U.S. and Western allies, as well as many Libyans themselves.
Qatar flew at least 18 weapons shipments to anti-Gadhafi rebel forces this spring and summer.
But now, as this North African nation attempts to build a new government from scratch, some of these same figures worry that Qatar's new influence is putting stability in peril.
At issue, say Libyan officials and Western observers, are Qatar's deep ties to a clique of Libyan Islamists, whose backgrounds variously include fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s and spending years in jail under Col. Gadhafi. They later published a theological treatise condemning violent jihad. With Qatar's support, they have become central players in Libyan politics. As they face off with a transitional authority largely led by secular former regime officials and expatriate technocrats, their political rivals accuse Qatar of stacking the deck in the Islamists' favor.
With the blessing of Western intelligence agencies, Qatar flew at least 18 weapons shipments in all to anti-Gadhafi rebel forces this spring and summer, according to people familiar with the shipments. The majority of these National Transition shipments went not through the rebels' governing body, the National Transitional Council, but directly to militias run by Islamist leaders including Mr. Belhaj, say Libyan officials.
Separately, approximately a dozen other Qatari-funded shipments, mostly containing ammunition, came to Libyan rebels via Sudan, according to previously undisclosed Libyan intelligence documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal as well as officials.
Qatar Connection
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After fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, he from 1995 led the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, whose members say it is disbanded but remains on U.S. list of terrorist organizations. Captured in a CIA operation in Malaysia in 2004 and eventually handed over to Col. Gadhafi's regime after being interrogated in Thailand and Hong Kong.
Born in 1963 in Benghazi to a family with Islamist ties, he was jailed in Tripoli's Abu Salim prison among other Islamists for most of the 1980s. After studying theology in Saudi Arabia and Sudan, he joined fellow clerics hosted by Qatar.  A Libyan army veteran, he grew up in the same Benghazi neighborhood as the Sallabis. Became rebel defense minister in May with backing from the Sallabis, says a militia leader.
:His support among former army officers in the rebel ranks decreased because they felt he favored Islamist militia leaders.
Some Tripoli officials allege Qatari arms have continued to flow straight to these Islamist groups in September, after Tripoli's fall, to the open frustration of interim leaders.
"To any country, I repeat, please do not give any funds or weapons to any Libyan faction without the approval of the NTC," said Libyan Oil and Finance Minister Ali al-Tarhouni, when asked last week about reports that Qatar had sent weapons directly to Tripoli-based militias.
Qatari military and diplomatic officials deny they have played favorites or armed any rebel faction at the expense of any other. They declined to address whether they had made weapons shipments to the rebels. They say they support a democratic Libya in which all factions are represented.
Islamist leader Mr. Belhaj, in an interview, disputed the account of the Sept. 11 meeting. He said he had merely escorted Mr. Attiyah to provide security and wasn't present during the closed-door discussions. He and other Islamist leaders say they seek only their fair share of power and support a broad-based government.
Qatar's defense ministry didn't return calls seeking comment. Mr. Attiyah couldn't be reached.
Qatar's role in the Libyan uprising has been a heady diplomatic coming-out party for the emirate, located on a tiny thumb of land jutting off the Arabian Peninsula into the Persian Gulf. Fewer than 300,000 native Qataris control some of the world's largest natural-gas reserves. The country is the world's richest, per capita.
Qatar's ruler, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani, has dismissed some Libyans' fears that Qatar is angling for influence over Libya's gas reserves, Africa's fourth-largest.
Instead, one of Qatar's main goals in supporting popular uprisings in the region, say people familiar with its leaders' thinking, is to promote its political vision—that in a Muslim-majority region, Islamic political figures can help build modern, vibrant Arab nations by being included in new democracies.
Qatar sees itself as a showcase for marrying Islamic ideals with modernity—a counterpoint to the more unyielding doctrine of neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Qatar, though an absolute monarchy, has helped promote a freer media in the region through the al-Jazeera satellite network, which the ruling family funded and founded in 1996 in the capital, Doha. The al-Thanis have opened branches of U.S. political think tanks, liberal-arts universities and biotech research foundations.
Politically, Qatar maintains a seemingly contradictory set of alliances. U.S. officials consider Doha a close ally. Qatar hosts U.S. Central Command and has the Gulf's only Israeli Interests Section.
But for years, Doha has also openly fostered ties with some of the region's most controversial Islamic militant groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Sheikh Hamad, in a Sept. 7 interview with al-Jazeera, said he believed radical Islamists whose views were forged under tyrannical governments could embrace participatory politics if the promise of real democracy and justice of this year's Arab revolts is fulfilled.
If so, the Qatari ruler said, "I believe you will see this extremism transform into civilian life and civil society."
Libya presents the biggest test for the Qatar model. Whether Islamist political groups can be the guarantors of democracy in the Muslim world—and whether Qatar has hitched its fortunes to individuals who will make that happen—is being closely watched in Libya and beyond.
Qatar has played "a very influential role in helping this [Libyan] rebellion succeed," U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene A. Cretz said in an interview. Asked later about the Islamists Qatar has endorsed, he was more cautious: "We are going to have to take it step by step."

Forces loyal to Libya's new leaders began demolishing Muammar Gaddafi's former home and seat of power in the capital Tripoli. Courtesy of Reuters.
Much of Qatar's aid to the Libyan revolt has been guided by an influential Libyan cleric named Ali al-Sallabi.
Mr. al-Sallabi, the son of an eastern Libyan banker with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, was jailed at the age of 18 for nearly eight years on charges of knowing about an alleged plot to assassinate Col. Gadhafi. He left Libya in 1988 to study in Saudi Arabia and Sudan. His younger brother Ismail, who now commands a division of rebel fighters, was also arrested and imprisoned by the Gadhafi regime.
In 1999, already something of a spiritual leader for a segment of Libyans, Mr. al-Sallabi moved to Doha to join the roster of politically active Islamic theologians hosted by Qataris.
When international sanctions were lifted on Col. Gadhafi's regime in 2003, Qatar encouraged Ali al-Sallabi to accept a reconciliation offer guaranteed by the Gadhafi regime, Ismail al-Sallabi said in an interview.
Ali al-Sallabi returned to Libya and spearheaded a "de-radicalization program" for imprisoned Libyan militants and those on the run abroad. The effort, which used theological arguments to attempt to delegitimize armed opposition to the regime, culminated in a book co-authored by Mr. Sallabi, "Corrective Studies in Understanding Jihad, Enforcement of Morality and Judgment of People," which was published with Qatari funding and promoted on al-Jazeera.
Another author was Mr. Belhaj, who had fought the Soviets in Afghanistan alongside Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. From 1995, Mr. Belhaj became the emir of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which waged a bloody insurgency against Col. Gadhafi until it was defeated by the regime in 1998.
This spring, the Sallabis were among the first to take up the fight against Col. Gadhafi's regime, followed by Mr. Belhaj.
Qatar was the first Arab country to recognize the National Transitional Council. It backed a United Nations resolution imposing a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians and, later, North Atlantic Treaty Organization air strikes on Gadhafi regime military targets.
As violence escalated in Libya, Western diplomats said it soon became clear that without an armed ground effort by the rebels, the NATO strikes would only enforce a stalemate. But U.S. and European governments thought it too risky to directly arm a rebellion against a sitting leader.
Qatar volunteered to fill that role, according to people familiar with the situation, who say Doha sent weapons to rebel factions in Libya as far back as April with the consent of the U.S., U.K., France and the United Arab Emirates.
Throughout the conflict, representatives of the four nations met regularly with Qatari officials, who kept them apprised of Doha's aid, these people said. "Everyone was quite happy" with the Qatari arms shipments, said a Western observer in Libya with direct knowledge of the diplomacy. "It's what everyone wanted to do but wasn't allowed to."
A team of about 60 Qataris helped set up rebel command centers in Benghazi, the mountain city of Zintan and later in Tripoli, according to Qatari Staff Colonel Hamad Abdullah al-Marri, who later accompanied Mr. Belhaj on the march into Tripoli on Aug. 22, broadcast live on al-Jazeera. Mr. Marri said that during the rebel training, he interacted with about 30 Western liaison officers, including Britons, French and several Americans.
Between April and the fall of Tripoli, at least 18 cargo planes left Qatar for Libya, filled with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other small arms, as well as military uniforms and vehicles, say people familiar with the situation.
Qatar funneled much of its aid through Ali al-Sallabi, say NTC-allied officials. They say the cleric's aid network, manned with his associates, allowed affiliated militias to receive the lion's share of both guns and money.
Ali al-Sallabi helped to orchestrate more than a dozen of the shipments from Qatar, including 10 through Benghazi, these people say. At least three others went to the Western Mountains, where Mr. Belhaj was a top leader of rebels being trained by Qatari and Western advisers.
Ali al-Sallabi couldn't be reached for comment but has said he and his religious colleagues are working to give all Libyans fair representation. Last Wednesday, he agreed to join an organization working under NTC auspices to build bridges between political factions.
Ismail al-Sallabi said Qatari shipments came through the brothers not out of any ideological solidarity with Doha but because these militias were the most organized and effective forces on the ground.
People close to Mr. Belhaj emphasize they operated under the auspices of the NTC's Defense Ministry and that any weapons shipments were blessed by transitional Defense Minister Jalal al-Dugheily.
Qatari aid shipments soon appeared to be having unanticipated repercussions within the rebel ranks.
By May, rebel commanders outside of Mr. Sallabi's circle were openly complaining they lacked weapons and medical supplies. Defected army officers in particular said they felt they have been squeezed out of the rebel fight.
That month, an envoy from NTC Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril set up residence in Doha to lobby for weapons supplies to be sent through him. But of the 18 planeloads from Qatar, only five were sent through this NTC-approved channel, say people familiar with the situation.
By late summer, NTC and Western officials began raising concerns to the Qataris that their aid seemed to be empowering primarily Islamist leaders at the possible expense of the embryonic rebel government.
After Col. Gadhafi's fall, Libyans renamed a square in Tripoli in Qatar's honor. In Misrata's Baraka Hotel, framed portraits of Qatar's emir and crown prince are displayed where Col. Gadhafi's portrait once hung.
But some Libyans are souring. "Our Qatari brothers helped us liberate Libya," said Muktar al-Akhdar, a military leader from Zintan. "But it's now interfering in our internal affairs."

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« Reply #185 on: October 20, 2011, 09:04:39 AM »

Reports that Gadhafi is dead:
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« Reply #186 on: October 20, 2011, 10:44:31 AM »

Fotos of what definitely appears to be the anus's body on FOX.   Looks like a confirmed kill to me.
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« Reply #187 on: October 20, 2011, 11:30:00 AM »

Whatever happened to the policy articulated so well four years ago that we can sit and and talk to these people?

Oh, here it is:
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« Reply #188 on: October 20, 2011, 11:32:18 AM »

Whatever happened to the policy articulated so well four years ago that we can sit and and talk to these people?

Oh, here it is:

 grin grin grin grin grin grin
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« Reply #189 on: October 20, 2011, 12:08:56 PM »

GM, At least he was not caught in the picture bowing.  Ghadafy was a humble man, never appointing himself past the rank of Colonel.  Had he made it to King or even Prince, the photo would be most embarrassing.
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« Reply #190 on: October 20, 2011, 12:13:44 PM »

GM, At least he was not caught in the picture bowing.  Ghadafy was a humble man, never appointing himself past the rank of Colonel.  Had he made it to King or even Prince, the photo would be most embarrassing.

Yeah, you've got to give him props for that. Obama is actually treating him like a peer rather than shamelessly debasing himself and America.

For once.

I wonder if Ka-daffy got the "Fredo" kiss later?
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« Reply #191 on: October 20, 2011, 12:54:23 PM »

Analyst Kamran Bokhari gives an overview of the challenges facing Libya after the death of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
Related Links
•   Gadhafi Coverage
•   Libya: Gadhafi’s Death in Perspective
•   Libya’s Gadhafi Reportedly Killed in Sirte
Ousted Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi was killed Oct. 20 when rebel forces took his hometown of Sirte. Col. Gadhafi’s death is largely symbolic because it does not change the ground reality that he had ceased to be the ruler of his country when his forces left Tripoli and the capital was taken over by rebel forces. Therefore the ground realities have not changed with Col. Gadhafi’s death because the NTC, the National Transitional Council, and its other rebel allies still need to demonstrate — and now more than ever before — that they can actually effectively run the country.
The one thing that held all the rebels together was the presence of Moammar Gadhafi, even though the rebels had taken the capital and the focus was to essentially put down any form of pro-Gadhafi resistance wherever it may be, especially in his hometown, Sirte. And now that has been accomplished, and therefore the next question is whether these rebel forces will continue to be able to hold their unity and not descend into a situation of chaos and civil war.
There are two main forces that are centered in the two major cities of the country. The National Transitional Council, which was effectively a Benghazi-based entity and then relocated to the capital once the capital fell to the rebels. But in the capital there is another entity called the Tripoli Military Council that is also distinguishing itself from the NTC. And then there are ethnic differences between Arabs and Berbers, there are ideological differences between Islamists and non-Islamists.
So we have a very complex landscape that will somehow need to come together. And therefore the biggest concern right now is how to disarm all the militias that have been active in fighting the Gadhafi regime and turn them into, or integrate them into, a new military force representing the new government, if and when the new republic is formed.
Gadhafi’s death therefore moves the country into the next phase and which is the most difficult stage of this entire conflict, especially now that the country is awash with hundreds of thousands of fighters armed to the teeth and the goal of securing the country and forming a new state remains elusive.
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« Reply #192 on: October 20, 2011, 01:03:01 PM »

Oh, I'm sure it'll turn out to be another "Arab Spring" where everything is rainbows and unicorns. AQ won't have another base of operations and a stockpile of MANPADs or anything....
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« Reply #193 on: October 21, 2011, 05:42:37 PM »

The whole thing is just so bizarre.   Is this the new "politically correct" way to assasinate our enemies?  Why didn't we just kill him several months ago?  So Hill could "get to know them?"

I never thought Hillary possessed a particularly funny sense of humor.  Does anyone believe that he was killed by accidental crossfire? 

***Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sits down for six consecutive television interviews in Kabul, Afghanistan October 20, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed.

"We came, we saw, he died," she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi's death by an aide in between formal interviews.

Clinton was in Tripoli earlier this week for talks with leaders of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC).

The reporter asked if Qaddafi's death had anything to do with her surprise visit to show support for the Libyan people.

"No," she replied, before rolling her eyes and saying "I'm sure it did" with a chuckle.***
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« Reply #194 on: October 21, 2011, 09:06:35 PM »

There is some footage of Hillary, in Afg I think, where she is handed some small electronic device which apparently had the crude jerky footage of the still alive Kadaffy being captured and then a shot of him dead with a hole in his temple.  The look of bloodthirsty glee on her face (for the record, I did too) as she realized what is was was quite special.

Here is the clearest footage I have seen:
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 10:22:53 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #195 on: October 22, 2011, 10:22:27 AM »

BTW, amidst all the chatter on the fall of Kadaffy, IMHO it is worth noting that but for Bush's Iraq War intimidating him into giving his surprisingly developed nuke program, Kadaffy may have had or nearly had nukes.

Gadhafi's Death Brings Era of Uncertainty to Libya
Libya entered a new era on Thursday, not only with the death of Moammar Gadhafi, but more importantly with the fall of his hometown of Sirte. If Aug. 21 — the day rebel fighters entered Tripoli — marked the start of the first phase of  post-Gadhafi Libya, Oct. 20 will go down as the beginning of the second phase. The National Transitional Council (NTC) is expected to declare the official liberation of the country on Friday. With that, the NTC will be pressured to follow through on its pledge to push forward the process of forming a transitional government.
“Forming an interim government that satisfies everyone, however, will be impossible, and preventing those who feel slighted from resorting to violence will be almost as difficult.”
Since the presence of a common enemy was the main factor that kept unified the various armed groups around the country who have fought Gadhafi, the two-month period between the fall of Tripoli and the fall of Sirte actually helped the NTC. It allowed the Benghazi-based council to delay having to face its main challenge: trying to form a transitional government that will not leave groups feeling that they have been treated unfairly.
An increasing number of Libyans have begun to openly challenge the authority of NTC leaders in recent weeks, angry at the slow pace of transition since Gadhafi was stripped of power. The NTC repeatedly cited the ongoing war in explaining delays in the formation of a transitional government. It promised that once the country was entirely liberated, it would move forward. With the fall of Sirte, the council is now technically expected to move its headquarters from Benghazi to Tripoli and to form a transitional government within 30 days. A few months after that, elections are planned — and from these a prime minister will be selected and a Cabinet appointed. Forming an interim government that satisfies everyone, however, will be impossible, and preventing those who feel slighted from resorting to violence will be almost as difficult.
If the rebels that once identified as part of the the NTC begin fighting one another for power, it will bear significant consequences for Libya. Such a fight would have an impact abroad as well, especially in two ways: its effect on crude oil production and its negative effect on regional security.
Libya’s pre-war oil production was around 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd), much of it of the highly prized sweet, light variety — and most of that was exported to Europe. The war cut off Libya’s production almost entirely and completely halted its exports. This stoppage caused a significant spike in the price of oil across the world, the effects of which are still being felt today. International oil companies (IOCs) who worked in Libya before the conflict have mostly returned in some capacity to the country. Many of the oil fields worked before the conflict are now back in production, currently estimated at around 400,000 bpd. For such companies, trying to understand which Libyan authorities to deal with will be much more difficult if the NTC begins to lose the credibility it holds as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. However, those who control Tripoli may not control the oil fields, while those who control the oil fields may not control the export facilities.
Security conditions will impact the oil industry just as much as the political uncertainty. No IOC will feel comfortable investing large sums of money into a project when it cannot guarantee the safety of its employees.
Foreign governments, though, are also concerned about the potential for prolonged instability in Libya. European governments that would be affected by an influx of immigrants coming across the Mediterranean — most notably Italy — are especially concerned by the potential for instability. This concern was a major point of Italy’s initial opposition to NATO intervention. An unstable Libya could also become a hub of jihadist activity, which would adversely affect regional neighbors that already have to deal with the activities of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. An unknown number of weapons caches scattered across Libya have already led to a proliferation of high-powered weapons, which have since been smuggled across Libya’s borders. Most notable are the man-portable air defense systems (MANPADs), whose dispersal has already drawn U.S. security teams to the country. The fall of Gadhafi could bring about a far less secure country, even for many Libyans who have taken joy at his demise.
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« Reply #196 on: October 23, 2011, 12:03:17 PM »

Oh, I'm sure it'll turn out to be another "Arab Spring" where everything is rainbows and unicorns. AQ won't have another base of operations and a stockpile of MANPADs or anything....

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Libya's transitional leader says Islamic Sharia law will be the "basic source" of all law.

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« Reply #197 on: October 24, 2011, 03:18:47 PM »

Ka-daffy is pretty fcuking far from ok.....
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« Reply #198 on: November 04, 2011, 08:36:33 AM »

Those who opposed NATO action to liberate Libya from Moammar Gadhafi are mostly quiet now, but some seem eager to see trouble ahead. "Now comes the hard part," they warn—and they are half right. The Libyans face complex challenges. They need help and they need American leadership.

Dismissing what Libyans have accomplished as the easy part shows little regard for what they've achieved and against what odds. It seemed almost miraculous that Misrata, particularly, held out for months against greatly superior Gadhafi forces. According to the interim government's health minister, at least 30,000 Libyans died during the revolution, in a country of six million.

True, the Libyans didn't win by themselves. Without NATO's intervention they would probably have been crushed. But even George Washington and his heroic soldiers had help from the French.

The decision to support the Libyan revolution was right, and President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deserve great credit for it. Nor was it wrong to refuse to commit U.S. ground forces.

But the failure of the U.S. to support the opposition more strongly in other ways was a costly mistake. The delay in recognizing the National Transitional Council, the continuing delays in getting them access to frozen assets, and the refusal to provide arms made the conflict longer and bloodier, deprived the country of some of its bravest potential leaders, and reduced our ability to secure the Gadhafi regime's surface-to-air missiles, now a major concern for us. Worst of all, having ceded leadership to others, we are less able to support those who share our values.

Enlarge Image

CloseAssociated Press
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets Libyan soldiers in Tripoli.
.The U.S. missed a rare opportunity to play a leading role in support of a cause that was widely admired in Libya and throughout the Arab world. Mrs. Clinton deserved a hero's welcome when she visited Tripoli, like the one that British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy received. Instead she was asked why the U.S. hadn't done more. As one student said, "Many people feel that the United States has taken a back seat." That mistake should not be repeated now.

Forty-two years of despotism have left Libya with virtually no functioning institutions, a poorly educated population, and no civil society. The violence of the rebellion has created new motives for revenge and put weapons in the hands of thousands.

It was Gadhafi, not NATO, who broke Libya, and NATO doesn't own Libya. For the first time in 42 years, the courageous Libyan people own it. But they face formidable challenges.

Libya's most urgent need is to bring its many armed groups into an organized security force and to secure their enormous weapon supplies. This is a task best achieved not by force but with money, to pay the new security forces and to buy back weapons. And it could also provide jobs for dangerously unemployed armed men. The Libyans have money, but much of it is still frozen in accounts here and abroad. The U.S. should get them much more rapid access to their own funds, if necessary by advancing loans against still-frozen assets. We should also establish a security assistance program to help train and organize the new Libyan forces.

Another urgent need, given the estimated 50,000 wounded, is medical assistance. Even basic things like aspirin and antibiotics are in short supply. The U.S. has a program to fly some severely wounded Libyans to the U.S. and Germany for treatment. Much more could be done, perhaps comparable to the assistance given to Haiti after its 2010 earthquake.

That would also maintain the goodwill that Libyans feel toward the U.S. and help replace the distorted image of the West fed to them for so long by Gadhafi. The new authorities in Tripoli told Sen. John McCain last month that they would even be willing to reimburse the U.S. for the cost of this humanitarian assistance.

A third important initiative would be to encourage Libyans to manage their oil revenues so as to avoid the "oil curse" that has damaged so many countries, particularly Libya. The experience of Norway and Alaska, which have given their people a direct stake in their oil revenues, could show Libyans how the country's wealth can be shared more fairly among all the people. That would also provide a safeguard against a future ruler gaining too much power.

Finally, if Libyans want it, we should help them with basic constitutional, electoral and political issues. We may not always agree with their decisions. But we can urge that those issues be decided freely and democratically, taking into account the views of all Libyan men and women, including ethnic minorities. We should also encourage the development of civil society groups that support democratic and humane values.

Success for Libya will not come easily or quickly. But success doesn't require perfection. Even in Central Europe, where conditions are more favorable, many new democracies are still struggling 20 years after the end of Soviet rule. But the U.S. will gain much if the Libyans can create a stable, representative government that respects the rights of its people. And there are risks if Libya fails to do so.

There is much that we could have done to end the bloody fighting in Libya more quickly. Today there is much that we can do, without a costly military commitment, to help Libyans build a better future. This is leadership the U.S. can afford. In the end, we will pay a higher price if we do nothing.

Mr. Wolfowitz, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has served as deputy U.S. secretary of defense and U.S. ambassador to Indonesia.

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« Reply #199 on: November 04, 2011, 04:56:43 PM »

As far as I am concerned Wolfowitz should just go away.

I am sick of him.

The entire article is about what the US should do for Libyia.

I don't think I would give Brock or Hill too much credit for the Nato thing.  It is really a no brainer.  Everyone knows the last thing Europe wants is MORE arab refugees coming to an already overwhelmed continent.  Sorkosy and Merkel publically said this melting pot thing does NOT work.  So oF course it made sense to tell the Europeans to do it themselves. 

One could easily argue that Kaddafi should have been killed from day one.  We helped the Libyans just enough to get the job done while 30,000 died in the process.  Good job Brock and Hill.  What do you they want a medal for their bravery?  The glee on their faces (or at least Clintons) for something that was obviously inevitable.....

I say this, well how about lets NOT throw money to Libya for their security forces, their medicine their buying back weapons, to teach them to manage their oil, to build their infrastructure.

How about this, we SELL them our expertise!  They got plenty of money.  They pay us.  Lets stop being stupid.  If Donald Trump made some sense this is why.

And another thing Wolfowitz certainly has an ax to grind in trying to prove himself right doesn't he?  Can we please stop trying to buy the love of the world.  It doesn't work.  Enough already.

I nominate Wolfowitz to go to Libya and spend the rest of his days working for a greater Libyia.

That's my feelings.  I suspect most Americans agree with me.
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