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Stratfor On Libya, The West And The Narrative Of Democracy

Tyler Durden's picture


From George Friedman of Stratfor

Libya, The West And The Narrative Of Democracy

Forces from the United States and some European countries have intervened in Libya. Under U.N. authorization, they have imposed a no-fly zone in Libya, meaning they will shoot down any Libyan aircraft that attempts to fly within Libya. In addition, they have conducted attacks against aircraft on the ground, airfields, air defenses and the command, control and communication systems of the Libyan government, and French and U.S. aircraft have struck against Libyan armor and ground forces. There also are reports of European and Egyptian special operations forces deploying in eastern Libya, where the opposition to the government is centered, particularly around the city of Benghazi. In effect, the intervention of this alliance has been against the government of Moammar Gadhafi, and by extension, in favor of his opponents in the east.

The alliance’s full intention is not clear, nor is it clear that the allies are of one mind. The U.N. Security Council resolution clearly authorizes the imposition of a no-fly zone. By extension, this logically authorizes strikes against airfields and related targets. Very broadly, it also defines the mission of the intervention as protecting civilian lives. As such, it does not specifically prohibit the presence of ground forces, though it does clearly state that no “foreign occupation force” shall be permitted on Libyan soil. It can be assumed they intended that forces could intervene in Libya but could not remain in Libya after the intervention. What this means in practice is less than clear.

There is no question that the intervention is designed to protect Gadhafi’s enemies from his forces. Gadhafi had threatened to attack “without mercy” and had mounted a sustained eastward assault that the rebels proved incapable of slowing. Before the intervention, the vanguard of his forces was on the doorstep of Benghazi. The protection of the eastern rebels from Gadhafi’s vengeance coupled with attacks on facilities under Gadhafi’s control logically leads to the conclusion that the alliance wants regime change, that it wants to replace the Gadhafi government with one led by the rebels.

But that would be too much like the invasion of Iraq against Saddam Hussein, and the United Nations and the alliance haven’t gone that far in their rhetoric, regardless of the logic of their actions. Rather, the goal of the intervention is explicitly to stop Gadhafi’s threat to slaughter his enemies, support his enemies but leave the responsibility for the outcome in the hands of the eastern coalition. In other words — and this requires a lot of words to explain — they want to intervene to protect Gadhafi’s enemies, they are prepared to support those enemies (though it is not clear how far they are willing to go in providing that support), but they will not be responsible for the outcome of the civil war.

The Regional Context

To understand this logic, it is essential to begin by considering recent events in North Africa and the Arab world and the manner in which Western governments interpreted them. Beginning with Tunisia, spreading to Egypt and then to the Arabian Peninsula, the last two months have seen widespread unrest in the Arab world. Three assumptions have been made about this unrest. The first was that it represented broad-based popular opposition to existing governments, rather than representing the discontent of fragmented minorities — in other words, that they were popular revolutions. Second, it assumed that these revolutions had as a common goal the creation of a democratic society. Third, it assumed that the kind of democratic society they wanted was similar to European-American democracy, in other words, a constitutional system supporting Western democratic values.

Each of the countries experiencing unrest was very different. For example, in Egypt, while the cameras focused on demonstrators, they spent little time filming the vast majority of the country that did not rise up. Unlike 1979 in Iran, the shopkeepers and workers did not protest en masse. Whether they supported the demonstrators in Tahrir Square is a matter of conjecture. They might have, but the demonstrators were a tiny fraction of Egyptian society, and while they clearly wanted a democracy, it is less than clear that they wanted a liberal democracy. Recall that the Iranian Revolution created an Islamic Republic more democratic than its critics would like to admit, but radically illiberal and oppressive. In Egypt, it is clear that Mubarak was generally loathed but not clear that the regime in general was being rejected. It is not clear from the outcome what will happen now. Egypt may stay as it is, it may become an illiberal democracy or it may become a liberal democracy.

Consider also Bahrain. Clearly, the majority of the population is Shiite, and resentment toward the Sunni government is apparent. It should be assumed that the protesters want to dramatically increase Shiite power, and elections should do the trick. Whether they want to create a liberal democracy fully aligned with the U.N. doctrines on human rights is somewhat more problematic.

Egypt is a complicated country, and any simple statement about what is going on is going to be wrong. Bahrain is somewhat less complex, but the same holds there. The idea that opposition to the government means support for liberal democracy is a tremendous stretch in all cases — and the idea that what the demonstrators say they want on camera is what they actually want is problematic. Even more problematic in many cases is the idea that the demonstrators in the streets simply represent a universal popular will.

Nevertheless, a narrative on what has happened in the Arab world has emerged and has become the framework for thinking about the region. The narrative says that the region is being swept by democratic revolutions (in the Western sense) rising up against oppressive regimes. The West must support these uprisings gently. That means that they must not sponsor them but at the same time act to prevent the repressive regimes from crushing them.

This is a complex maneuver. The West supporting the rebels will turn it into another phase of Western imperialism, under this theory. But the failure to support the rising will be a betrayal of fundamental moral principles. Leaving aside whether the narrative is accurate, reconciling these two principles is not easy — but it particularly appeals to Europeans with their ideological preference for “soft power.”

The West has been walking a tightrope of these contradictory principles; Libya became the place where they fell off. According to the narrative, what happened in Libya was another in a series of democratic uprisings, but in this case suppressed with a brutality outside the bounds of what could be tolerated. Bahrain apparently was inside the bounds, and Egypt was a success, but Libya was a case in which the world could not stand aside while Gadhafi destroyed a democratic uprising. Now, the fact that the world had stood aside for more than 40 years while Gadhafi brutalized his own and other people was not the issue. In the narrative being told, Libya was no longer an isolated tyranny but part of a widespread rising — and the one in which the West’s moral integrity was being tested in the extreme. Now was different from before.

Of course, as with other countries, there was a massive divergence between the narrative and what actually happened. Certainly, that there was unrest in Tunisia and Egypt caused opponents of Gadhafi to think about opportunities, and the apparent ease of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings gave them some degree of confidence. But it would be an enormous mistake to see what has happened in Libya as a mass, liberal democratic uprising. The narrative has to be strained to work in most countries, but in Libya, it breaks down completely.

The Libyan Uprising

As we have pointed out, the Libyan uprising consisted of a cluster of tribes and personalities, some within the Libyan government, some within the army and many others longtime opponents of the regime, all of whom saw an opportunity at this particular moment. Though many in western portions of Libya, notably in the cities of Zawiya and Misurata, identify themselves with the opposition, they do not represent the heart of the historic opposition to Tripoli found in the east. It is this region, known in the pre-independence era as Cyrenaica, that is the core of the opposition movement. United perhaps only by their opposition to Gadhafi, these people hold no common ideology and certainly do not all advocate Western-style democracy. Rather, they saw an opportunity to take greater power, and they tried to seize it.

According to the narrative, Gadhafi should quickly have been overwhelmed — but he wasn’t. He actually had substantial support among some tribes and within the army. All of these supporters had a great deal to lose if he was overthrown. Therefore, they proved far stronger collectively than the opposition, even if they were taken aback by the initial opposition successes. To everyone’s surprise, Gadhafi not only didn’t flee, he counterattacked and repulsed his enemies.

This should not have surprised the world as much as it did. Gadhafi did not run Libya for the past 42 years because he was a fool, nor because he didn’t have support. He was very careful to reward his friends and hurt and weaken his enemies, and his supporters were substantial and motivated. One of the parts of the narrative is that the tyrant is surviving only by force and that the democratic rising readily routs him. The fact is that the tyrant had a lot of support in this case, the opposition wasn’t particularly democratic, much less organized or cohesive, and it was Gadhafi who routed them.

As Gadhafi closed in on Benghazi, the narrative shifted from the triumph of the democratic masses to the need to protect them from Gadhafi — hence the urgent calls for airstrikes. But this was tempered by reluctance to act decisively by landing troops, engaging the Libyan army and handing power to the rebels: Imperialism had to be avoided by doing the least possible to protect the rebels while arming them to defeat Gadhafi. Armed and trained by the West, provided with command of the air by the foreign air forces — this was the arbitrary line over which the new government keeps from being a Western puppet. It still seems a bit over the line, but that’s how the story goes.

In fact, the West is now supporting a very diverse and sometimes mutually hostile group of tribes and individuals, bound together by hostility to Gadhafi and not much else. It is possible that over time they could coalesce into a fighting force, but it is far more difficult imagining them defeating Gadhafi’s forces anytime soon, much less governing Libya together. There are simply too many issues between them. It is, in part, these divisions that allowed Gadhafi to stay in power as long as he did. The West’s ability to impose order on them without governing them, particularly in a short amount of time, is difficult to imagine. They remind me of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, anointed by the Americans, distrusted by much of the country and supported by a fractious coalition.

Other Factors

There are other factors involved, of course. Italy has an interest in Libyan oil, and the United Kingdom was looking for access to the same. But just as Gadhafi was happy to sell the oil, so would any successor regime be; this war was not necessary to guarantee access to oil. NATO politics also played a role. The Germans refused to go with this operation, and that drove the French closer to the Americans and British. There is the Arab League, which supported a no-fly zone (though it did an about-face when it found out that a no-fly zone included bombing things) and offered the opportunity to work with the Arab world.

But it would be a mistake to assume that these passing interests took precedence over the ideological narrative, the genuine belief that it was possible to thread the needle between humanitarianism and imperialism — that it was possible to intervene in Libya on humanitarian grounds without thereby interfering in the internal affairs of the country. The belief that one can take recourse to war to save the lives of the innocent without, in the course of that war, taking even more lives of innocents, also was in play.

The comparison to Iraq is obvious. Both countries had a monstrous dictator. Both were subjected to no-fly zones. The no-fly zones don’t deter the dictator. In due course, this evolves into a massive intervention in which the government is overthrown and the opposition goes into an internal civil war while simultaneously attacking the invaders. Of course, alternatively, this might play out like the Kosovo war, where a few months of bombing saw the government surrender the province. But in that case, only a province was in play. In this case, although focused ostensibly on the east, Gadhafi in effect is being asked to give up everything, and the same with his supporters — a harder business.

In my view, waging war to pursue the national interest is on rare occasion necessary. Waging war for ideological reasons requires a clear understanding of the ideology and an even clearer understanding of the reality on the ground. In this intervention, the ideology is not crystal clear, torn as it is between the concept of self-determination and the obligation to intervene to protect the favored faction. The reality on the ground is even less clear. The reality of democratic uprisings in the Arab world is much more complicated than the narrative makes it out to be, and the application of the narrative to Libya simply breaks down. There is unrest, but unrest comes in many sizes, democratic being only one.

Whenever you intervene in a country, whatever your intentions, you are intervening on someone’s side. In this case, the United States, France and Britain are intervening in favor of a poorly defined group of mutually hostile and suspicious tribes and factions that have failed to coalesce, at least so far, into a meaningful military force. The intervention may well succeed. The question is whether the outcome will create a morally superior nation. It is said that there can’t be anything worse than Gadhafi. But Gadhafi did not rule for 42 years because he was simply a dictator using force against innocents, but rather because he speaks to a real and powerful dimension of Libya.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR


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Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:19 | 1085957 AN0NYM0US
AN0NYM0US's picture

Gadhafi did not rule for 42 years because he was simply a dictator using force against innocents, but rather because he speaks to a real and powerful dimension of Libya.



because he had friends in high places both corporate and political from Europe and America that were his enablers.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:20 | 1085979 JollyRoger
JollyRoger's picture

The same could be said about Saddam Hussein before he fell out of favor.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:26 | 1086232 Threeggg
Threeggg's picture


Saddam would not accept fiatsco's for his oil or put in laymans term's, would not let them set up a central bank system (Petrol Dollar System) in Iraq

Sound Ironic.......................?

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:36 | 1086254 barkster
barkster's picture

Stratfor is an Illuminati shill who disseminates disinformation - read with caution...

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:39 | 1086467 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Yes, exactly. But they render a valuable service in that they articulate the disinformation very well so you know exactly what the explicit agenda is.

As for the implicit agenda, we have to work that out for ourselves. It is clear to me, however, that the implicit agenda is to create chaos in the middle east in order to promote much higher oil prices.

After all, hasn't that been just about the only thing we've accomplished in the middle east over the last 20 years? Create the maximum amount of disorder and confusion? Why would this Libyan adventure be any different?

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 15:08 | 1086952 Arch Duke Ferdinand
Arch Duke Ferdinand's picture

""Stratfor is an Illuminati shill who disseminates disinformation - read with caution""

Why "War is merely the continuation of politics by other means." ....

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 15:33 | 1087028 Lucius Corneliu...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

I don't know about Illuminati, but George Freidman is most definitely a neocon to the core.  He openly supports maintaining and expanding the American Empire.  I recently read an article of his where he laments American unwillingness to embrace their Imperialistic role in the world and derides those who oppose it as "fringe" elements who are radical and out of touch.

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:21 | 1090312 fx
fx's picture

yes, and his (and strafors's) mostly superficial kind of understanding of regional, social and political dynamics is typical for the neo-cons as well.

As for Libya, I wonder if France didn't already have enough trouble with its North-African immigrants. Oviously not, as Sarkozy seems determined (or simply stupid enough) to add more dynamite to the time bomb that is ticking in the suburbs of Paris and elsewhere. But perhaps it is not really his fault. Hasn't his glamorous wife, Carla Bruni, openly stated that she feels highly attracted by her husband's discretionary power over the nuclear bomb. maybe she just said, "Nicolas, can't you just bring me some other leader's head and bomb some place into pieces? It makes me so, well, hooorrrn...."

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 16:01 | 1087165 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

The main thing to understand about Libya is that it is a muslim country, and an arab one.   No representative republican form of government is on the minds of any of the locals.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:38 | 1086262 Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

" because he speaks to a real and powerful dimension of Libya."

That's true, and it's an indictment of the big chunk of Libyan thugs who support him and agree with him.  It could also be said of Benito Mussolini, with respect to Italy, or Adolf Hitler, with respect to 1930s Germans.

The fact that a Big Man can point to retainers doesn't legitimize him or his thuggery. It just tells you that too many people are No Damn Good.

Which we already knew, I think.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:41 | 1086505 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

You have to be kidding. Gaddafi is a bush-league hack compared to Hitler and Mussolini. He's been a dopey and compliant tool of the hidden elite's interests ever since they installed him 40 years ago.

Quoting Stratfor as if what they say represents reality is a foolish waste of time.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:55 | 1086562 lincolnsteffens
lincolnsteffens's picture

Anybody for Genghis Kahn's method? Insult or defy the great Khan and the entire population is slaughtered except for useful women and strong young men bound into slavery. Then you set the Hoard to leveling the city and destroying anything that could be used to re-inhabit the area.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:48 | 1086113 Moric
Moric's picture

No doubt, but I am also a fan of radiohead.

You do it to yourself, you do
And that's what really hurts
Is that you do it to yourself
Just you, you and no one else


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:52 | 1086122 rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

"Waging war for ideological reasons requires a clear understanding of the ideology...."

Well, where I live, when someone goes crazy and starts killing people they take them out quickly..."

During the uprising I saw video clips every day of his erratic speeches and

threats on Al Jazerra, words of a crazy and powerful dictator. I feel sickend by the hundreds of peoples who lost their lives during the uprising and the recent battles, but I think Gadaffy was asking for it by shooting his mouth off and threatening havoc. When my daughter asked me why the people of Libya are made at Gudaffy I gave her the short versioin..."Does it follow that just because a man is president of a country for 42 years that he should become the richest and most powerful man in the country with over 30 billion dollars of personal wealth? "Do you think he might have been accumulating wealth that didn't really belong to him?" "What did he to do to get it?"

I have heard threats against heads of Wall St. financial instuitions, on these pages, that are more hateful and graphic than any I have heard agains this deranged and deadly dictator Gadaffy.

He is another example of the destructive force of concentrated wealth, just an Eastern version of it.

...Junk away,



Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:19 | 1086210 Commander Cody
Commander Cody's picture

And so why do third parties get involved in a civil war, yeah - civil war?  They do it on the pretense of humanitarian assistance but the real reason is that they smell profit.  Plain and simple, as are the actions of the banksters, it is based on greed.  Money is what makes the world go round, not idealistic bullshit.  What was France's motivation for siding with the revolutionaries on our very shores so many years ago?  They saw a way to profit and share the wealth of a new world.  Same thing, different time.  I wasted too much time reading the Stratfor tripe.

And, no I did not junk you.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:28 | 1086229 falak pema
falak pema's picture

You're mixing apples and oranges comparing acrimony against US kleptocrats expressed on ZH with your ire against Q. This ZH steam is legit. in democracy, within the same political family/entity, especially as there is profound feeling of corruption and betrayal felt by Main street (ZH) towards Wall st. W/O any remedial policy/legal action in sight by subservient government.

Not so with Q-daffy who is not elected by US citizens, whose actions as dictator are no different from dozens of others, not in the media. Also, as legal head of nation-state he is inviolable by any action other than that by his own people, (whence the terms of current UN resolution respecting that). Whatever the outrage we may feel at seeing a foreign Mafia boss dressed up as country leader, it's for the people of Libya to decide in the end. The West, on paper, is just acting as temporary guardian of civil rights and eventual facilitator of regime change if the people want it. Apples stay with apples...Oil is not officially on the agenda...but is there in the back ground, as a parameter of the general ME unrest.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:02 | 1086604 rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

I see your point..."You're mixing apples and oranges comparing acrimony against US kleptocrats expressed on ZH with your ire against Q" But was Al Jazeera manipulaing the news by constant live coverage of the revolt in Libya? Are we all just pawns being manipulated by oil interests? to some extent I agree but not completely.

But you must admit that the lines tend to blur a bit considering the Billions that the money center banks have been investing and managing for Q and his Associates...consider the following two articles...can we totally seperate the bankers powers from the wealth they control? Could they have the undue control they have over our banking regulators and congress and our country without with this wealth? It cannot be totally seperated. there is no glass wall.  I doubt that Blankfein asked for the freeze. See the links for the numbers...

"Libya's Billions invested in US Private Equity, Big Banks..."

"US Banks freeze over 18 Billion Pound of Libyan Assets..."

"The US order comes after the British government announced it too was taking action to freeze Gaddafi's assets in the UK so they could not be used against the interests of the Libyan people.

"These blocking actions by the United States and the UN, UK and EU, serve two very important objectives: depriving Colonel Gaddafi and his government of access to these assets and simultaneously safeguarding them for the Libyan people," said Mr Cohen.


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:46 | 1086295 Abitdodgie
Abitdodgie's picture

You will not get junked you did not mention the Jews

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:51 | 1086314 msamour
msamour's picture

No need to junk you are correct.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:18 | 1086389 avd
avd's picture

Where did you take these 30 billions of Gaddafi's personal wealth?

The news say just that "United States froze $30 billion in Gaddafi and Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) assets" conveniently omitting the information about how much of these billions are Gaddafi's and how much are Libyan. I would assume the breakdown would be like 0 for Gaddafi and 30 for LIA, otherwise MSM would happilly report the details.

The Germany happen to be more honest with their reporting:


The German government ordered a freeze on Thursday on bank accounts in the country held by the Libyan central bank and the Libyan Investment Authority, aiming to cut off potential sources of funding for Muammar Gaddafi.

The economy ministry said the move responded to a European Union decision this week to clamp down on Libyan state banks controlled by Gaddafi and that it also covered the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio and the Libyan Foreign Bank.

"Access to money of the Libyan Central Bank, Libya Africa Investment Portfolio, Libyan Foreign Bank and Libyan Investment authority is forbidden until further notice," said the ministry, adding that the move was taken in coordination with the German foreign and finance ministries and the Bundesbank.



The Libyan Investment Authority manages $70bn of assets and is rated the 13th largest sovereign wealth fund globally by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

Neat, yeah? Looting Lybian Goverment money while pretending that it's just personal Gaddafi's money. 

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:25 | 1086731 rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

I really like your comment. I tried to find more news reporting on the subject. I don't think much of the US press. Even Hillary Clinton ranked on it in the short clip linked below. I will looking for more coverage on this issue as time passes. It will be very intersting to watch. Now I will be more focused and looking for it. How this asset situation turns out will speak volumes. I hope somebody with huge media exposure jumps on it.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:40 | 1086821 avd
avd's picture

Meanwhile, if you are interested a bit what Lybian Goverment spent money on you could google for a book "The Libyan economy: economic diversification and international repositioning". For instance, read the chapter on housing in Lybia.


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:48 | 1086859 Highrev
Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:50 | 1086862 rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

Thanks for the reference. I checked my library system and it is not available. The cheapest copy on Amazon is equal to my food budget for the next two months.

I will have to be content with any reviews I can find.


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 15:06 | 1086914 avd
avd's picture

it's available online on google books (partially)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 15:22 | 1087000 rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

Found it. Very interesting. Lots on Agriculture, but not the housing. Still a good link...

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 16:46 | 1087359 avd
avd's picture


The Great Man-Made River (GMR????? ??????? ??????) is a network of pipes that supplies water to theSahara Desert in Libya, from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System fossil aquifer. It is the world's largest irrigation project.[1]

According to its website, it is the largest underground network of pipes and aqueducts in the world. It consists of more than 1,300 wells, most more than 500 m deep, and supplies 6,500,000 m³ of fresh water per day to the cities of TripoliBenghaziSirt and elsewhere. Muammar al-Gaddafi has described it as the "Eighth Wonder of the World."[2]

The project is owned by the Great Man-Made River Project Authority and funded by the Libyan government. Brown & Rootand Price Brothers were responsible for the original design, and the primary contractor for the first phases was Dong AhConsortium (a South Korean construction company) and present main contractor is Al Nahr Company Ltd. This company was registered in England and Wales as a foreign company FC017848 until July 31, 2003.

The imported goods from several worldwide countries (such as Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, etc.) destined to the construction of the GMR arrived by sea via the entry port of Marsa al-Brega(Gulf of Sirte).

The total cost of the project is projected at more than US$25 billion. Libya claims to have completed the work to date without the financial support of major countries or loans from world banks. Since 1990 UNESCO has provided training to engineers and technicians involved with the project.


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 16:48 | 1087375 avd
avd's picture

4.3 Housing in Lybia page 111

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:21 | 1085975 ZackAttack
ZackAttack's picture

If only there was some kind of document that outlined an agreement between the government and the people about when war could be declared, and then maybe even added some mechanism of checks and balances so that one person couldn't commit us unilaterally based on his personal bullshit worldview... if only.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:04 | 1086364 Henry Chinaski
Henry Chinaski's picture

Return to the gold standard of coined money.  It is nearly impossible for people to pay for war if the government can't print unlimited money.  Much more effective than separation of powers, check, balances, etc. 

I think the military brass put Obama up to this Libya operation to guarantee a one-term presidency.  Probably found him coked up and drunk in Rio... "Here ya go Mr. President, just sign off on this little OpOrder and you can get back to the party."



Tue, 03/22/2011 - 15:20 | 1086989 BigJim
BigJim's picture

That would be just incredible!

It's amazing no one's thought of that before. Top marks ;-)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:19 | 1085976 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

And we have now added "the four tribes" called the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.  To that all I have to say is "release the hounds!"  Of course we yet again could be on "the path to discovering" what "grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory" feels like. 

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:22 | 1085983 alien-IQ
alien-IQ's picture

When US and French bombing runs start killing innocent will see a shift in the tide in Libya as the nation unites against the invading forces.

This has all the makings of yet another endless US military clusterfuck...because, obviously, two is just not enough.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:51 | 1086120 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

When innocent lives get lost? Already happening Alien. Left right and center. One side uses them as human shields and the other as expendable collateral damage.

We need to understand, that in the pathology of power, the serf is a number. Nothing more. A worker, farmer, fighter, producer, payer.....nothing more.

WOmen, children...none of this enters the equation. Else Iraq/Afghanistan/Serbia etc. etc. would never have happened. All rhetoric all the time. Seen th elatest Agghan Trophy photos? Those are the guys that got caught. Enough horror already, the muslim world is seething,a s it should against the senselessly cruel white invader.

The blowback will be equally humongous and just. And it will reach every corner of White society, who has sat in mute approval or complicit omission (sinfully speaking).

Albert Pike's prognostication is coming to fruit and it's a bitter one.

Tragic, heartless and totally un-necessary.

Midas's addiction to the new gold. Black and liquid.


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:28 | 1086424 Green Leader
Green Leader's picture

"...the muslim world is seething,a s it should against the senselessly cruel white invader."



I see it another way, a cover-up of the Ashkenazi-Edomite Zionists against the Aryans:

These impostor Jews want to stay on the planet as the 'supreme race', however twisted and whatever that means. Rev. 3:9.

Yours truly, 



Environmentalist of the Torah.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:24 | 1086705 Day_Of_The_Tentacle
Day_Of_The_Tentacle's picture

The blowback will be equally humongous and just. And it will reach every corner of White society, who has sat in mute approval or complicit omission (sinfully speaking).


Enough horror already, the muslim world is seething,a s it should against the senselessly cruel white invader


Dear ORI - That was a bit too slick, if you ask me. Simplify "western" to "white" and add a subtle dimension of racial discrimination. Top it up with "muslim world is seething" and "cruel white invader" - you could have refined your statement further with "crusader" instead of "invader", and more clearly drawn a religious front-line, than what you already did. Both of which is there, but only part of the truth.

I absolutely follow your resentment of past and present violations carried out by those who are so intoxicated with power and the mere possibility of exercising coecion towards other human beings. And I agree that among those imperialistic butt-heads you will find many western governments. I hate it, and I am literally grieving that they have initiated another round of meddling with Libya. 

I am really worried that it will prove to be another disaster, that will continue to divide the people in this world, who try to take each other at face value and build from there, without listening to the dispute sowing pawns shouting from the lamp posts.

You say the blow-back will be just. I say - undestandable maybe - but it be just as unjust as the reasons for building the tensions in the first place.

You say the blow-back will come to every corner of "White society, who has sat in mute approval or complicit omission".

Well sadly, I fear that you may be proven right some day, but by adding an undercurrent of rightful justification, because of the "mute approval and complicit omission", you commit the same injustice as western ignoramuses do, when they blame every muslim man and woman for the crimes committed by islamist imperialists.

Focus the anger on those, who are actually calling the sick shots and misusing their mandates, instead of insinuating that the every day people in the west has anymore real day to day power than the every day people in the rest of the world. We can be sure that they will apply enough "divide and conquer" rubbish for everyone to navigate safely through.

I have liked you posts previously, and I think that you are better than this.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 17:21 | 1087493 Green Leader
Green Leader's picture

"I have liked you posts previously, and I think that you are better than this."

Raíces de amargura...and a healing job for the Ruaj ha Kodesh.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:46 | 1086302 Abitdodgie
Abitdodgie's picture

It's all about spending lot's of money

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:23 | 1085996 Doctor sahab
Doctor sahab's picture

Re establish the Caliphate bitchez!

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:26 | 1086010 Cocomaan
Cocomaan's picture

Wow, usually I am pretty critical of Stratfor, but that was excellently written and very compelling.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:30 | 1086032 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Stratfor is great.

The nuttiest thing out of the Libyan mess is the UN authority for military intervention. Since when? Is the UN running NATO now? I know it's just cover, but it's a very bad precedent.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:41 | 1086087 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Didn't you get the memo?

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:03 | 1086167 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Oops. Anything tagged "UN" goes to spam. My bad.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:31 | 1086246 jesse livermoore
jesse livermoore's picture

USA  runs   ...>>>   UN  .....USA runs ...>>>NATO.....USA runs  ...>>>IMF

Any Questions?

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:50 | 1086309 Abitdodgie
Abitdodgie's picture

I think you got those the wrong way round

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 20:40 | 1088087 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

It's one big circle-jerk anyways AbitD, round and round.


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:34 | 1086058 InconvenientCou...
InconvenientCounterParty's picture

the "narrative of democracy" is neither.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:46 | 1086106 Doode
Doode's picture

The report is right on the money. Great article!

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 11:55 | 1086138 Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture

Friedman's assumptions are, as usual, largely flawed especially when he assumes quite wrongly that the "uprisings" throughout the Middle East and North Africa are spontaneous expressions of democratic movements. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good antidote to his type of conventional and banal analysis is Webster Tarpley's which provides a much more penetrating exposé of an infinitely more complex and original historical context revealing the geopolitical maneuverings which underlie the mainstream propaganda which Friedman's dependence on military and government intelligence faithfully and constantly echoes while pretending objectivity.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:06 | 1086174 Doode
Doode's picture

Definitly CIA was involved. Assuming their operation was worldwide it might actually explain the North Korean seemingly crazy attack on South Korea AND a subsequent lack of any response from South Korea except for loud speakers broadcast over the border. North is a very close society so any new antagonists would be picked up right away unlike the everpresent chaos in Middle East. Maybe North discovered subversive forces sent by the South and gave the response back. The timeframe certainly makes sense. Just a theory.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:21 | 1086224 zaknick
zaknick's picture

Don't move. I said don't move, motherfucker! I'm gonna brand your forehead with "666 bankster troll".

If anybody really wants to understand Amerika, read Dr Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin's unauthorized biography of George hw bush online, free:

and for a one two punch to really cut through the bullshit:

google: "origins of the overclass" "steve kangas"

They murdered him (Kangas)

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:14 | 1086199 zaknick
zaknick's picture

Massive dosage of kool-aid! Had to stop reading it's so bad!

I need some Endgahl and Tarpley to get rid of this cognitive dissonance spreading motherfucker.

Does anybody really believe the 666 bankster are for democracy? Like the Washington/WallSt/FED cabal destroying citizens quality of life (fuck their GDP figs, it's about people) and real wealth production capacity here?

Why would they support it overseas (hint: KOOL AID

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:30 | 1086239 JR
JR's picture

PLEASE, Tyler. If we needed a pro-war neoconservative slant on Libya we can check with Sean Hannity everyday for our updates rather than the nearly identical viewpoint coming from STRATFOR, namely anti-Muslim, pro-U.S. empire, and pro-Israel.

If is George Friedman who's called for Obama to bomb Iran.

And STRATFOR is the probable source for a 2010 article, The War Recovery, by David Broder in The Washington Post advocating that President Obama bomb Iran to shore up the economy – to ensure he’s re-elected in 2012.

Here are the startling paragraphs in Friedman’s analysis.

If Obama were to use foreign policy to enhance his political standing through decisive action, and achieve some positive results in relations with foreign governments, the one place he could do it would be Iran. The issue is what he might have to do and what the risks would be. Nothing could, after all, hurt him more than an aggressive stance against Iran that failed to achieve its goals or turned into a military disaster for the United States.


So far, Obama’s policy toward Iran has been toincrementallly increase sanctions  by building a weak coalition and allow the sanctions to create shifts in Iran’s domestic political situation. The idea is to weaken President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and strengthen his enemies, who are assumed to be more moderate and less inclined to pursue nuclear weapons. Obama has avoided overt military action against Iran, so a confrontation with Iran would require a deliberate shift in the U.S. stance, which would require a justification.


The most obvious justification would be to claim that Iran is about to construct a nuclear device. Whether or not this is true would be immaterial. First, no one would be in a position to challenge the claim, and, second, Obama’s credibility in making the assertion would be much greater than George W. Bush’s, given that Obama does not have the 2003 weapons-of-mass-destruction debacle to deal with and has the advantage of not having made such a claim before. Coming from Obama, the claim would confirm the views of the Republicans, while the Democrats would be hard-pressed to challenge him. In the face of this assertion, Obama would be forced to take action. He could appear reluctant to his base, decisive to the rest. The Republicans could not easily attack him. Nor would the claim be a lie. Defining what it means to almost possess nuclear weapons is nearly a metaphysical discussion. It requires merely a shift in definitions and assumptions. This is a cynical scenario, but it can be aligned with reasonable concerns.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:36 | 1086804 Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture

@ JR-great sourcing and in depth analysis as usual from one of ZH's more informed constituents

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 12:51 | 1086313 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

George Friedman's creds ought to be enough for anyone to discern his bias. Professor of Poly Sci at a mediocre little rich-kids-who-can't-qualify-for-Ivy-League university in central Pennsylvania for 20 years ( Dickinson) that is conveniently located right next to the US Army War College (Carlisle Barracks). Any bets who Friedman was schmoozing all those 20 years in Carlisle? Now he's got his very own 'think tank', and his mission is clearly to act as disinformation proxy for US military/corporate/government interests, all tied up in neat little rationale-sounding packages until you start untying the thread of his assumptions, which like any good professor pushing an agenda he keeps carefully ( he thinks) hidden. Think again George. As for Tyler hosting this guy's propaganda, cavaet emptor. It is always helpful to know what the opposition is thinking - here it is, all neatly laid out. As always, Tyler is doing all his adult readers a favor, but not holding their hands or spoon-feeding them. He assumes that we have minds and can use them.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:54 | 1086553 JR
JR's picture

And for those who aren't aware, the War College is primarily to teach war methods to military officers of foreign countries.  And that’s why antiwar demonstrators have vigorously protested the college to have it disbanded and suffered arrest for years.

Many well-known Latin American dictators have been trained at the college to learn how to conduct war…

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:02 | 1086361 Bansters-in-my-...
Bansters-in-my- feces's picture


Thats that stuff the USA is always dishing out,right ?

The old "two wolfs and a sheep deciding whats for lunch." story eh.!

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:15 | 1086399 DC
DC's picture

Thanks for your insightful article. It filled in many blanks regarding this intervention for me.

It also points out some basic principles that apply to any endeavor... Any action undertaken without clear goals or mandates will manifest unclarity and confusion.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:29 | 1086444 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

Well, this time the "coalition" did not even last a week:


Gus Lubin
Business Insider
March 22, 2011

Support for Operation Odyssey Dawn is withering.

China, which abstained from voting for the UN resolution to bomb Libya, is now calling for an immediate cease-fire, according to the AP.

Yesterday, it emerged that Russia, which also abstained from voting, resisted pressure from Vladimir Putin to veto the resolution. Anyway, Russia has also called for an end to the airstrikes.

Italy has threatened to withdraw authorization for the use of its air bases.

Norway said its jets would not take part in the operation until the ‘command and control structure’ and ‘rules of engagement’ were clear.

The only consolation is that Operation Odyssey Dawn has already accomplished its major goals, taking out Qaddafi’s air force and protecting Benghazi. Western forces will have no complaint with winding down airstrikes now.

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 00:32 | 1088825 JR
JR's picture

btw, good info.  thanks!

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:28 | 1086447 AN0NYM0US
AN0NYM0US's picture

Screaming Headline from HuffPuke



and buried in the fine print this headline

The Telegraph reports that the U.S. Joint Task Force Commander is refusing to comment on reports that six Libyan civilians were shot during the rescue of a crashed plane.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:41 | 1086491 Highrev
Highrev's picture

Nice article that clearly points out that reality is always more complicated than the narrative (and watch out, because in this case the narrative is going to turn out to be a mine field).

When will the simpletons learn that life is not a feel good movie?

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 13:42 | 1086504 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Doing a little research today. I'll share my findings.

Pg 8 UN Resolution


Libyan African Investment


I.e.  GLOBAL ENGINEERING EXCHANGE – Terminated? Lets double check shall we?


Lots of activity in February


Libya News & Views – Start at the bottom of page and scroll up.


Friday, 4 February, 2011: Al-Zahf Al-Akhdhar, in its editorial on Monday, urged African leaders to see to it that the dream of African populations of a United States of Africa materialises, as it is one of the important keys for Africa’s development and at all levels.


Thursday, 10 February, 2011: Feb 9 (Reuters) - A Libyan government document obtained by Reuters showed the oil exporter is owed over $3 billion dollars by foreign governments after handing out dozens of loans that underscore its wealth and its diplomatic clout. For the main story, click on [ID:nLDE7110QG] Below are details of the loans set out in the document, which was drafted by the Libyan General Peoples' Committee for International Cooperation, or foreign ministry: COUNTRY AMOUNT AMOUNT OUTSTANDING OF LOAN REPAID BALANCE (MLN USD)* (incl. interest) Central African Republic 11.32 mln euros** 0 Mali 66.26** 0 Tunisia 63 25.2 37.8 [Reuters] More


After that, it all goes downhill rapidly.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:13 | 1086577 Highrev
Highrev's picture

BTW, has anyone else wondered why the "coalition" hasn't presented us with one single piece of evidence showing the massacre of civilians?

Not one!

And remember, just a few weeks ago the rebels controlled almost 90% of the country, the western media was there, and where is the evidence of these bombings and attacks on civilians?

Who are we getting these accusations from? The rebels of course! And who are the rebels? No-one really knows!

Forget about witness credibility! Imagine being accused in a court of law by someone who remains to be identified!!!!

I'm not saying that Gaddafi isn't a ruthless dictator who shouldn't get his just dues. I'm only saying that the coalition hasn't provided us with any evidence to support their claims.

They haven't even bothered to fabricate it.

The "prosecution" is content to base its argument on a lie and leave it at that!

So much for western democratic values of liberty AND JUSTICE for all.


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:08 | 1086643 sbenard
sbenard's picture

ie., this is going to be another costly war doomed to quagmire and failure!

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:20 | 1086686 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

And meanwhile, the MIC has unveiled a replacement for the aging Hummer.

Meet the new combat vehicle:


And for a bizarre twist, is the winner of the design contest, Victor Garcia, an illegal alien?

Should that turn out to be tha case, it would be hardly any surprise....just remember who actually toiled under the scorching desert sun building the border fence between the US and Mexico:  yep, illegal aliens too.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:27 | 1086741 Vergeltung
Vergeltung's picture

good, reasoned article. comments are a joke, which lately is the status quo around here. they don't make enough tin foil for some of you nutters.....

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:33 | 1086783 Ras Bongo
Ras Bongo's picture


Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:43 | 1086839 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

Let's not think for even a second that Iran hasn't noticed how ineffectual the 'coalition' has been at inflicting any real damage on this tinhorn dictator. Any threats made against Iran from this point forward will be dismissed as the hollow words they obviously will be. Full steam ahead toward nuclear capability.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:52 | 1086879 tooppy
tooppy's picture

Read carefully the USA maneuver they initiated long ago. John Perkins know a thing or two on the subject, and the subject is ransacking commodities wherever they are, oil being the major one.

There is a lot of oil around the Caspian sea but the inhabitants aren’t that easy to lure with western ideologies and values. The US managed to kick out Saddam but the resulting mess isn’t what was expected from the brilliant US minds, the same in Afghanistan and troops can stay there forever nothing will smile to the raiders.

Iran was in the periscope but a mammoth is hard to swallow.

For few years now China stepped in Africa and did it the Chinese way very successfully. They sent a thick crowd of slaves, working like ants without any emotions for their surrounding, and bring everything back into the anthill.

The US couldn’t stand arms crossed watching.

The weak point was Maghreb countries; raise food’s prices for an extended period of time in Wall Street for these people to starve enough, ask Saudi to arm rebellions under any fallacy of freedom then you can step in with your big feet.

Decolonizing is now history, so by now these countries should have grown, if that was to be.

But they didn’t because they never will.

Democracy belongs to the propaganda, it is an utopia, it doesn’t exist, nowhere, and certainly not in the western world. These poor men in Libya sited on a wrecked tank can sing the word, the near future will show them the truth, not only what they had is destroyed but it will never be like before, they are now doom for life because John Perkins friends will look after it using World Bank, IMF, UN, NATO just to name a few tools of the arsenal shown on the open, some others are a lot gloomier.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:53 | 1086885 invention13
invention13's picture

First we blow up lots of shit with cruise missiles (at $1.5M ea), then after the conflict is over, we pay for the reconstruction of said shit.

Plenty of profit to be made on both ends.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 14:54 | 1086892 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

coupla things:

first, slewie boldly predicts, right here on zeroHedge, that moQ will be marching triumphantly down the champs elysees by cinco de mayo.

also, george clearly has no freaking idea what is going on anywhere, at this point, and says so clearly here, and quite succinctly too, i might add. 

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 15:37 | 1086964 Matte_Black
Matte_Black's picture

Italy has an interest in Libyan oil, and the United Kingdom was looking for access to the same. But just as Gadhafi was happy to sell the oil, so would any successor regime be; this war was not necessary to guarantee access to oil.

^^^^^^^ In that whole wall of text^^^^  this is the only mention of oil? Thats it?

How about at least a casual mention that 80% of Lybia's oil lies IN THE EAST precisely behind the backs of the rebels?

Stratfor did a good job in this insidious article of walking a 360 degree circle around the real point of our involvment in Lybia.

I call Dis-Info.... neocon masturbation... bullshit.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 15:32 | 1087024 spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

The US is perfecting the art of being both sides.

Tue, 03/22/2011 - 15:39 | 1087039 SilverFiend
SilverFiend's picture

Get the F out of Libya's civil war.  Where were these nations when Iran was mowing down protesters in 2009?

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yxhlhq's picture

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yxhlhq's picture

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