Saturday, March 26, 2011

Libya, News, and Change

Update (April 4, 2011)
This isn't - as I've written many times - a political blog. I don't think that one person, or party, or country, is always right. I don't say that everybody who dislikes my favorite person, or party, or country, is stupid.

I even think that politicos whose policies I have little praise for can be right now and again.

Which is, in part, why I think America should be involved in hindering Colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi's efforts to exterminate Libyans who won't say he's a great leader.

Even though it's happening during President Obama's administration.

Why Pick on Libya?

The Libyan colonel isn't the only north African/Middle Eastern leader who tries to maintain loyalty by killing folks who disagree: but he's the one who alienated enough of his neighbors to make the U. N. mandated coalition possible.

I've heard that Qadhafi has been playing his 'victim of the West' card. Never mind that the The Arab League supported the no-fly zone. Or didn't: it depends on who they're talking to, perhaps. (March 21, 2011)

'Victim of the West?' I think this article, from 2008, shows a somewhat more plausible view of America's efforts to accommodate the colonel's style of leadership:
"Libya pays $1.5 billion to settle terrorism claims"
CNN World (October 31, 2008)

"Libya has paid $1.5 billion to the families of terrorism victims, overcoming the final obstacle to full relations with the United States, the State Department said Friday.

"The payment ends Tripoli's legal liability in U.S. terror cases and paves the way for increased U.S. involvement in the oil-rich nation.

"President Bush signed an executive order Friday restoring Libyan immunity from terrorism-related lawsuits and dismissing pending cases over compensation as part of a deal reached this summer.

"David Welch, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, who negotiated the agreement, called Libya's rehabilitation from a terrorist nation to a U.S. ally 'historic.'

"The pact closes the book on a contentious period in U.S.-Libyan relations, which began in the 1980s with a series of attacks involving the two countries, including the bombings of Pan Am flight 103, a German disco and U.S. airstrikes over Libya....

"...Congress unanimously adopted the Libyan Claims Resolution Act, sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, which cleared the way to end the feud and created the victim compensation fund."
Okay: maybe that deal was some kind of plot by Big Oil. Or Big Cheese. Or something. (Apathetic Lemming of the North (February 22, 2011)) I don't think so: but I'm no conspiracy buff.

After all the effort that went into opening relations with Libya, why go after Qadhaffi now? There's U. N. Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011). (March 21, 2011) That's important, in my opinion.

I also think that it's wrong for a national leader to kill people who won't praise him.

No More 'Business as Usual'

Many folks who live in north Africa and the Middle East seem to have had enough of 'business as usual:' and have been swapping out old-style autocrats. This change of heart ended Tunisia's permanent presidency in January. Egypt's old-school leader was next, and now folks want something better in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and - Libya.

I don't think it's right for the Bahrainian boss to have his less-docile subjects killed: but he hasn't ticked off enough of his neighbors. The last I heard, he's even getting Saudi Arabia to help purge Bahrain of folks who disagree. (March 18, 2011)

There won't, I think, be an international coalition acting to protect Bahranian citizens from their boss. Not any time soon.

It is possible, however, to protect Libyans - and give the folks there who give a rip about turning their country around a chance to do so.

Libya: Risky? Of Course

Do I think that, with Qadhaffi gone, Al Qaeda or a similar group could take over? Yes. That's possible.

I also think that with Qadhaffi still in power, Al Qaeda or a similar group could find a safe haven in Libya. He's not, in my opinion, a particularly reliable, responsible, national leader.

Do I think that the folks who oppose Qadhaffi are 100-percent pro-American supporters of constitutional rights, equality under law, and vehicle emission standards?


I do think there's a good chance that the folks who oppose the colonel will not replace him with another autocrat. They might: but I prefer to believe that they want a serious change.

News May be Biased: and Still be True

I've discussed my view of old-school journalism before. Briefly, I think that very few journalists and editors deliberately lie. I do, however, think that they have their own assumptions about what the world is like:
Still, I seriously doubt that many stories are, essentially, fiction. Which ones are published, and which aren't - I've discussed that before.

All this is to introduce an article appearing on CNN today. It's possible that CNN decided to publish this because their editors believe that America's involvement in the efforts to frustrate Qadhaffi needs support. I also think that what's described actually happened: and shows what the colonel and his enforcers have been up to in Libya.
"Libyan woman bursts into hotel to tell her story of rape"
CNN (March 26, 2011)

"Breakfast at a Tripoli hotel housing international journalists took a decidedly grim turn Saturday when a desperate Libyan woman burst into the building frantic to let the world know she had been raped and beaten by Moammar Gadhafi's militia.

"Her face was heavily bruised. So were her legs. She displayed blood on her right inner thigh.

"She said her name was Eman al-Obeidy. She was well-dressed and appeared to be a well-to-do middle-aged woman. She spoke in English and said she was from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and had been picked up by Gadhafi's men at a checkpoint east of Tripoli.

"She sobbed and said she was held against her will for two days and raped by 15 men. She showed the journalists how she had been tied at her wrists and ankles. She had visible rope burns.

"CNN could not independently verify al-Obeidy's story but her injuries appeared consistent with what she said....

"...International journalists, including CNN's staff, are not allowed to move freely in the Libyan capital and are escorted out of the hotel only on organized outings by government minders. This was the first time a Libyan opposed to Gadhafi attempted to independently approach the journalists here.

"What followed was a disturbing scene of how Gadhafi's government operates.

"Security forces moved to subdue the woman. Even a member of the hotel's kitchen staff drew a knife. 'Traitor!' he shouted at her in contempt. Another staffer tried to put a dark tablecloth over her head.

"One government official, who was there to facilitate access for journalists, pulled a pistol from his belt. Others scuffled with the journalists, manhandling them to the ground in an attempt to wrestle away their equipment. Some journalists were beaten and kicked. CNN's camera was confiscated and deliberately smashed beyond repair.

"Security men said al-Obeidy was 'mentally ill' and was being taken to a 'hospital.' They dragged her unceremoniously to a waiting white car.

"She kicked and screamed. She insisted she was being carted off to prison....

"...Later, a government spokesman said al-Obeidy was 'safe' and 'doing well.' He said her case was a criminal one -- not political -- and that she has been offered legal aid.

"But his assurances did little to assure the journalists who had witnessed Gadhafi's firm and pervasive grip on Libyan society. A woman who dared to speak against him was quickly silenced. Journalists who dared to tell her story paid a price.

"It was one tale that perhaps went a long way in illuminating the need to protect Libya's people...."
Somewhat-related posts:
In the news, now and in 2008:
Background, how I form my views:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.