The Civil War in Libya

Discussion in 'World Armed Forces' started by solarz, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Finn McCool
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    Finn McCool Captain
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    Do you have any evidence that a significant part of the Libyan population backs Qaddafi? The biggest protests against Qaddafi on Feb 17th were in Tripoli, a huge part of that city's population came out in protest before they were shot down with anti-aircraft guns and bombed by jet fighters. In fact the only major population center that hasn't seen major protests and continuing guerrilla revolutionary activity is Sirte, home to Qaddafi's tribe. I think you should familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of this conflict a bit more. If you did you'd realize that Qaddafi has lied and staged propaganda stunts (that have been exposed) at every stage of the way. In my opinion, any support that Qaddafi has exists because A) he's been able to cut access to outside news sources and B) he's paying people to fight for him and demonstrate in his favor.

    As for calling the conflict a "half hearted NATO war", I'm not sure where you got that from. There is combat everyday on all the battlefronts (Misrata, Jebel Nafusa/Wazin Crossing, Brega), and it's being fought by Libyans and Libyans alone. Even Tripoli isn't very safe at night for the forces of the regime. I've seen multiple videos of rebels in Tripoli attacking Qaddafi checkpoints at night. Even areas that are technically "quiet" and under regime control are full of guerrilla revolutionary activity.
     
  2. Mightypeon
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    Mightypeon Junior Member
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    He is rather likely to have significant support due to a large number of reasons:

    -First, his adminsitration was significantly less corrupt than the ones in neighbouring countries. A large part of the oil profits was invested in infrastructure, and Lybia had the 2nd highest standart of living in Africa after South Africa.
    -Second: Ghadaffis own clan/tribe is small. There are a lot of positions left for non Ghadaffi Clan members, and the other comparably small tribes/ the urbanized population likes that a lot.
    -Third: Repression in Lybia was going down prior to the protests.
    -Fourth: Lybia has both an East West and a North South divide. Please bear in mind that East Lybia (the current rebels) were sending the 2nd largest contigent of foreign insurgents into Iraq according to wikileaks. As a Nasserist, Ghadaffi himself is absolutly no friend of Al-Quaida, as a matter of fact, Al-Quadia stated goal is to kill people like Ghadaffi.
    -Fifth: If you are black, the rebels mean bad news. Ghadaffi was supporting a lot of other African countries, and Lybian universities etc. are quite good for African standarts. They also have a sizeable population of Host workers from Sub Saharan Africa (who either traveled directly to Lybia or didnt manage/didnt want to risk the risky sea transport to Malta). These imigrants were taking some "ethnic Lybian" Jobs, and the less well educated East gets hit more by it than the richer west.
    -Sixt, East and West Lybia dont have a history of getting along anyway.
    -Seventh: A way to (mid range) power for persons not of Ghadaffis Clan existed, and the traditional tribal leaders tend to be listened to by the regime.
    -Eigth: The best rebel troops are propably those with combat experience from Iraq. Do you want to throw in your lot with them if you are a comparably secular Lybian person? Would you like to "Surrender" to them?
     
  3. MwRYum
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    MwRYum Captain

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    Are you implying a good bulk of the rebels are AQ affiliated or in general, pro-Islamist elements? If so that'd be "interesting" for France and UK, I'd say.
     
  4. Mightypeon
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    Mightypeon Junior Member
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    Al_quaida? Excellent question, Al-Quaida is rather hard to define, and a lot of the insurgents in Iraq (even among foreign insurgents) are not exactly Al-Quaida... But well, there are compelling reasons to assume that Ghadaffis "The rebels are Al-Quaida" accusations have a certain grain of truth in them, depending on how you define Al-Quaida.
    I think the rebels have a large "We want our tribe to get the oil money, and we want to get back at Ghaddafi for some earlier stuff" (The Lybian king that Ghadaffi ousted was using the large eastern tribes as his base of power, one of the reasons why Ghadaffi invested more of his oil money in the western regions) component, a rather small "Western Democracy Yay!!!" (which does the PR stuff with the west) component and a sizeable "Death to Secular Ghadaffi, Sharia now!!!" (maybe the insurgents still in Lybia should make a deal with the US, "You Americans airlift us into Lybia, and we wont return into Iraq for 10 years") component.

    Keep in mind that those arent hard divides too.

    As to why certain western nations are interfering? Well, I think at least partly due to the lure of "a short victorious war", it could be that there is also the goal of cutting Iraqi insurgents off from East-Lybian support (which is now directed against Ghadaffi) and partly because some decision makers are believing their own "Arab Springg!!! Everyone democratic now!!!" Propaganda.

    I have to say though that Ghadaffis continued resilence is distinctivly above expectations, but then, he has by far more popular support then Mubarak of Ben Ali.
     
  5. Finn McCool
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    Finn McCool Captain
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    On the subject of corruption, I think it should be obvious to anyone who has followed the situation in Libya that Qaddafi has stolen massive amounts of wealth from his country over the years (look at the extent of assets seized, his lifestyle, the lifestyle of his family, allegations that Western oil companies had to "pay to play" in Libya, etc.) What you really mean is that low and mid level government bureaucrats stole less from citizens than they do in other African nations. That's less of an impressive accomplishment. Of course government was still incompetent, inefficient corrupt and unresponsive in Libya (isn't it everywhere though?). It was all one big patronage network. Wasta was the only way to get anything done or get a job. Ask any Libyan about it (have you talked to any Libyans about their country before reaching a verdict on it? I have). For an example of the institutional corruption that touched every area of Libya society, read this: Libya Moammar Kadafi soccer: In Libya, politics turned soccer into Kadafi's game - Los Angeles Times

    As for Qaddafi's attempts at "reform", yes, it is true, some political prisoners were being released before the rebellion. I'm not sure what else they were up to, but I do know that the reforms were being lead by Qaddafi's son Saif, and they didn't effect the supreme power of the Qaddafi family. In any case, the goodwill the earned somehow didn't mean so much when Qaddafi started ordering jet fighters to drop bombs on protesting crowds.

    Western Libya certainly supports the rebellion. Every major population center in the West saw protest on and before Feb 17 (except Sirte). I've already talked about Tripoli, but here's another link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110528/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_libya_waning_support. Guerrilla activities continue in Zuara. Zilten is half under the control of the rebels. The entire Western mountain region, the Jebel Nafusa, is in open rebellion. Zawiya was in open rebellion before it was retaken by the Khamis Brigade and several hundred to several thousand residents ended up in mass graves, and still occasional attacks happen on regime forces in the area. I don't need to tell you about Misrata, the second largest city in Western Libya. Bani Walid is from what I understand largely under rebel control. The Transitional National Council in Benghazi has representatives from every major city in Western Libya. The claim that Western Libya isn't in rebellion is just totally false. The only reason the East is totally free of Qaddafi forces and the West isn't is that it was easier for Qaddafi to clamp down in the West (closer to Tripoli, more men on hand, protests started in the East). As far as I can tell, Western Libya and Eastern Libya have different tribal identities and histories, but I don't think that's effecting the course of the conflict. It's a proven fact that plenty of fighters (I don't know an exact number but I'd guess a few hundred to 1000) from Benghazi in the East are now fighting in the West in Misrata, integrated in units with Western Libyans.

    You are correct that there have been an unknown number of instances in which black Libyans and African migrants have been assaulted, arrested and even killed by rebel forces and rebel sympathizing crowds. I don't know how many, but I've seen pictures. On the other hand, I've also seen pictures of black Libyans carrying guns on the front lines with the rebels. And thousands of African migrants relied on the citizens of Misrata to feed, house and protect them, while they waited to be evacuated from the port, dodging Qaddafi shells the whole time. In the meantime, Qaddafi has been letting his security forces rob African migrants and then shove them at gunpoint onto unseaworthy boats and launch them to sea. But don't take my word for that, take the UN refugee agency: Libya Migrants Seemingly Encouraged To Flee: U.N.

    As for the old trope that the rebels are "Al Qaeda in disguise", well that just doesn't add up. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which most of these claims revolve around, never numbered more than several hundred people. This group was based almost entirely in Eastern Libya, mainly in the town of Derna. One town. They sent probably about 200-250 men to Iraq (that's my guesstimate, based on proven facts from the AQI "Sinjar records", which say that 120 Libyans went to Iraq during the peak period of foreign infiltration and activity in '06/07). It's a proven fact from those records that most did not return. According to this article, the rebel militia in the town of Derna, home of the LIFG, has exactly 2 men that had contact with Al Qaeda in Iraq: Libya, Al Qaeda: Libyan rebels insist Al Qaeda holds no sway with them - Los Angeles Times
    No one in the TNC has links to radical Islam, nor does Abdul Fatah Younes, the rebel commander. So what can we conclude from all this? By my best estimate, there are a few dozen to a few hundred men who have some sort of affiliation with the LIFG fighting for the rebels, and they are totally located in the Eastern part of the country. Of these a handful (like 10-20 or so) have fought in Iraq. They are part of a force tens of thousands of men, and have hardly any leadership positions. Thus your claim that the "The best rebel troops are propably those with combat experience from Iraq" is obviously not true. Your claim that supporting the rebels equates to "throwing in your lot" with Al Qaeda does not ring true.

    I'd be very interested to read something that supports your claim that Qaddafi has popular support rather than ruthlessness, money and loyal thugs. I'd also be very interested to read anything that supports your claim that most anti-Qaddafi Libyans want sharia law. But right now it seems like you're making "educated guess" which are actually not sufficiently educated.
     
  6. delft
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    delft Brigadier

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    The commentator George F. Will writes in The Washington Post that Obama is violating the War Powers Act by continuing the war against Libya for more than sixty days without approval of Congress:

    Is Obama above the law? - The Washington Post

    He would no doubt have asked for approval if he had a good story to tell. When he informed Congress within 48 hours of starting hostilities, as stipulated by the Act, he talked about days, not weeks.

    This article ends with:
    "No president,” says Sen. John McCain, “has ever recognized the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, and neither do I. So I don’t feel bound by any deadline.” Oh? No law is actually a law if presidents and senators do not “recognize” it? Now, there is an interesting alternative to judicial review, and an indicator of how executive aggrandizement and legislative dereliction of duty degrade the rule of law.
     
    #286 delft, May 28, 2011
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  7. Red Moon
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    Red Moon Junior Member

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    @Finn, I haven't been around here much in the last few months, but I reviewed this whole thread, and it seems you're brimming with enthusiasm over this. You use the word "revolutionary" in several places, and you seem totally aghast that anyone could call this a "NATO war". I am quite skeptical about this "revolution".

    There has been a gradual evolution from the initial days of "Arab spring" type protests, to the time when it became a military struggle, still refusing foreing help, through to the period of suppressing the Libyan airforce and air defence and then to the current aerial bombardment in addition to coastal operation by NATO navies. The air and sea belong to NATO, even if "rebels" are the main forces involved on the ground. We all know how decisive air operations are in modern warfare, and in a country where most of the population is on the coast, and most of the inland area is desert... well, control of the seas is bound to be very important. You have higlighted the importance of NATO's "paving the way" yourself. But even on land, there appears to be growing involvement by SOF, "trainers", etc., and with helo's arriving on the scene, you might just get some ground action from NATO troops. There are increasing calls for this from various political forces.

    Most significant, I think, is the fact that the opposition, at the very top, is quite tied to NATO interests already. The prime minister got his post, essentially, by negotiating recognition from France, and NATO has been instrumental in coordinating among the various bands of rebels. Supplies are also coming from NATO. Well NATO should be proud of its achievements! Morally, I would say these are the achievements of the rebels, as they are the ones who have really spilled their blood. But morals count for little in these things.

    The question comes down to this: are the rebels utilizing foreign help to achieve their aims, or is NATO using this rag-tag army for its own ends? The most reasonable answer would be that both of these are true to an extent. There is a sort of "pragmatic" partnership. But which side do you think has the upper hand in this "partnership"??? Isn't the answer obvious? Not only that. There is an appearance of "unity" among the rebels, but, in fact, it may be difficult to even speak of the rebels having any sort of unified "aims". And it doesn't matter, because their new leadership and government have already been chosen by outside powers.

    From my recollection, in Afghanistan, in 2001, most of the fighting on the ground was done by the Northern Alliance, along with some American SOF. The US mainly provided air strikes and air cover for the Afghans fighting the Taliban. Yet, nobody I know has any trouble calling this an American or NATO intervention! The media, or others writing about events in 2001, don't refer to this as a "civil war". The case of Libya may be more complex than this, but it has certainly evolved quite far from the initial "Arab spring" scenario.
     
  8. delft
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    #288 delft, May 31, 2011
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  9. delft
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  10. delft
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    The NATO war against Libya will be prolonged because of lack of success, according to the Secretary-General of NATO.
     
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