Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Despondent in Yaracuy

Let's see if I got this right:

We have a ferocious aggressor who has no qualms in sending his planes bombing his own people.

The people are revolting because the aggressor has been in power for 40+ years and as far as I know there has never been a free and fair election in that country.

The aggressor and his family have been shown, without a doubt, to plunder freely the revenues of that country.

The aggressor has a long story of repression, assassination and other miscellaneous terrorist acts.

And yet, after now weeks of violence, established genocide (there are tribal considerations that lead easily to a genocide charge if needed), already an investigation on the aggressor in The Hague international court, and nothing is done, nothing.

It is not that we do not know what is going to happen: we are going to have to land something in that country.  We have the precedents of Cambodia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Haiti, and other minor ones.  There is no doubt what the final outcome will have to be: Western blood will flow, there is no way out, no matter how hard we try to stay out of it.  Our only choice is to decide how much Western Blood will be spilled.

And yet we cannot even bring ourselves at the UN to vote a "no fly zone" because the fucking Russian and Chinese are blocking it because they do not want to establish a precedent for when they bomb their own minorities.

I am getting sick and tired of all that shit.  The West has it coming if it does not show up some spine and I really, really cannot think of a better situation than Libya for the West to tell fuck to the Chinese, intervene and send the Chinese oil companies packing.  I mean, can't they blackmail China with the future of Libya oil?  Do they think that China will start WW3 over Libya?  Are we going to let China force us to swallow Qaddafi while they already force us to swallow the Kim dynasty?

OK, so I admit, the case is not as obvious on forcing Russia to the negotiation table over Libya, but still, let's take on China, shall we?  Let's call for a no fly zone over Libya by the NATO and see what happens.  I know, I know, it is not that easy to enforce it, but at least let's call it and give a positive message to the rebels in Libya: whatever comes out from Benghazi is not going to be much worse than Qaddafi.

PS: this NYT article on Libya and Qaddafi is a must read.  You can also replace Libya by Venezuela and Qaddafi by Chavez and you will be surprised at how often it is uncomfortably close to home....


  1. If after declaring that Gadaffi must step down the Western governments just stand by and allow him to bomb his own people into submission, the West will lose credibility.

    Now that Gadaffi is getting his professional army and foreign mercenaries together and has consolidated his tribal support in the capital, the odds do not look well for the opposition.

    Some degree of Western support might make the difference in their survival.

    Whatever we do will be highly criticized , so better to do the right thing.

  2. Anonymous2:11 AM

    Now that Obama has decided to keep the Guantanamo base joint fully operational, there is no longer a good excuse for Qaddafi to stay in Lybia. That is, assuming that he is no longer welcome in Fuerte Tiuna.

  3. Anonymous3:02 AM

    Unfortuantely the US can not intervene directly as it would only serve as a rallying cry for radicals - that is what happens when you destroy all goodwill by lying to justify an unnecessary war (where are those WMD's?!?). A PBS interview today of ??? (reporter for a french newspaper) suggested that the UK has sent several covert groups into Libya to provide strategic aid and that the US is providing intelligence from satelites and AWACS to the rebels. Without Russia and China dropping their obstruction, there isn't much more that can be done.

  4. Anonymous3:37 AM

    This is at least a 90% Arab problem.
    If a no fly zone is required then the Saudi's (relatively adjacent - with NATO help/logistics) could provide a "grounding" of Libyan air power.
    As far as I know the Saudi's have a fairly good air force.
    Of course the Saudi's may require their national air support for their own problems.

  5. Anonymous4:00 AM

    (continued - I needed a "Santa Teresa refill).
    There is no need to go in and disable aircraft or anti-aircraft batteries on the ground, the Gadaffi pilots just need to be told "if you fly you WILL be shot down. Friendly fire aircraft could certainly orbit well beyond the range of anti-aircraft batteries in a country like Libya.
    Next point: What does Chavez really want all those new military aircraft for?

  6. Whatever the West does, they should do it quickly and decisively, and create a fait accompli on the ground. I oppose the no-fly zone concept, for that reason. If that is done, the West is committed, and yet not fully engaged. Do you want to create another Iraq?

    I would argue for a fully coordinated air campaign against Ghadaffi's combatant forces in coordination with the rebel forces that allows them to take the remaining territory and defeat Ghaddafi. It can be over with in less than a week. Simply putting the no-fly zone in place would probably spell a stalemate that will drag-out and become a political nightmare. By providing only the air campaign, the West should be able to avoid occupying, or even the appearance of occupying, Libya.

  7. I am confused, are you talking about Posada Capriles?

  8. As long as the west keeps being tied to the UN nothing good will get done in a timely fashion. It's long since time for the UN to be reformed or simply dissolved. In that sense McCain was right, maybe they need to build a new multilateral group of Western Democracies that can agree to take action in such circumstances, China and Russia far too often throw monkey wrenches, they are only after their own interests 100% of the time.

    At the least the western nations (France, UK, USA), from time to time, care enough to make a gesture, the other two countries won't even let them do that.

  9. FC

    Russia= inferiority complex

    China= superiority complex with narcissistic tendencies


  10. Yes, "we" could do a third war in the Arab world, "cratering" their airfields to help the revolutionary forces. It is inevitable that "we" would win a quick victory, as in Afghanistan, though "we" might be outraged that some of the other guys--and China too!--took offence and knocked down a twin tower or fifty as a payback.

    Luckily, "we" don't have a deficit, (wilful blindness is best here, look away!) and our economy keeps delivering to everybody.

    So it would be the height of responsibility to get involved to stop the bloodshed in Darfur, Sudan, and Libya, as well as the
    Congo, where mass atrocities occur far too often.

    But if "we are going to do this, at least step up take the right step.


  11. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Some are calling Obama weak, but it is clear why the US cannot act on it's own. To gain a "coalition" to take real action takes time. Subversive support by the West is ongoing. The Saudi's cannot provide active support for a rebeling population, it would embolden the same in Saudia Arabia.

    The opposition announced this morning it refused to negotiate with Qaddafi, who is trying to avoid prosecution. It is a matter of time, and Libyan blood. Possibly all the more for waiting so long (is Venezuela paying attention?).

    On the other hand, one cruise missle (ala Reagan), strategically targeted to land in the sand near the palace might provide the incentive for both sides to resolve this now.


  12. Why the U.S.? No matter what we do we'll be perceived as empire building.

  13. Why should the Empire do anything? This isn't our problem and we'd only be perceived as ebil cowboys from Haliburton (Country Killing Division). Let the Nations sans Infantry handle this. It should not take more than a week. The Foreign Legion still has maps of the region, Italy still retains a vague interest and Cyprus is a sweet airfield. Hell bring in the Turks to provide a green cloak.

    Count the US out, we've seen the error of our ways.

    tl;dr No, your turn.

  14. I see a lot of US readers screaming loud.

    Please, read my post which even as a rant is written carefully enough: nowhere do you read US, USA, US of A etc... but you can read the West and NATO.

  15. Daniel,

    Even if NATO does something, the US will be singled out for blame, so it is natural that US readers would express concern.

    I for one would 'brincar en una pata' if other countries were to step up to the plate and allow us to take a pass this time.May I suggest Canada?

  16. Charly6:51 PM

    So Daniel, let's see if you got it right. Partly. You identified several villains but there are more. For example the Brits who are stirring the sh*t in Eastern Libya for the last few weeks and, surprise, surprise see one of their SAS unit led by a MI6 undercover agent get captured by the rebels. To classify under the Keystone Cops villains label.

    Or the U.S.A who votes for a UN resolution on the condition that Kadafi's mercenaries citizens of non ICC countries will not be included in those accused of war crimes by the ICC. This to prevent their own marines to stand accused of the war crimes they committed and most likely still commit in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. To classify under the hyphocritical bastard villains label. At least Kadafi is killing is own who are replying in kind. Todos caimanes de un mismo pozo. And as a convinced libertarian, I say: F*CK THEM ALL and Vive l'anarchie

  17. Charly,

    Your inability to see differences where there are important ones naturally leads you to the conclusion where the expression"F*CK THEM ALL" is a natural outcome, and I suppose that " ALL" includes yourself as well :)

  18. Charly8:20 PM

    firepiguete, wrong on all accounts, the elector has no say in what the anointed ones decide. So my rant refers to politicians (and those who keep voting for them). Another example? The USA would have saved itself a lot of misery by not invading Iraq in 2003. It bankrupted the nation and got a lot of innocents killed along the way. By now Saddam Hussein would be in a lot of trouble, same as Kadafi.

  19. Daniel: I totally share your sense of impotent rage that this madman is being allowed to prevail. If he finally succeeds it will mean the end of all credibility for the West, the virtual lifetime enablement of all existing anti-Western dictatorships - Iran, Assad, Mugabe, Castro, Chavez, etc - and the encouragement and attraction of more. It is the ultimate test, not for the US or the UN, but for for NATO, perhaps the only real test it has had since its inception. NATO does not require the UN to act. It can move to swiftly enable the removal of Qaddafi. Or it can stand by and let him prevail (and slaughter many more innocent people besides). This, then, is 'our' choice.

  20. Martin,

    Please explain why this is a NATO problem and why NATO does not require the UN to act.

    The last time I looked, Libya was not a NATO member.

  21. pete and martin

    the nato has nothing to do with the un although it certainly tries to work with the UN whenever possible

    but regardless, and for memory, remember when a no fly zone was put over iraq to protect kurds and shii from saddam bombing. was that a nato 'problem' then?

  22. Pete:

    Neither was the Soviet Union a NATO member. NATO was created to protect the interests of its members. It is the military wing of the Europe and American alliance. this has been argued to extend as far as Afghanistan, and certainly takes in Libya, which is of far greater significance to Europe, and thus presents a more fundamental challenge to its interests and credibility.

  23. Daniel,

    The no-fly zone over Iraq at the end of the Gulf War of 1991 was imposed by the US, the UK and France acting unilaterally - not by NATO as an organization. The no-fly zone had no UN authorization.

    I should know - I was there.

  24. Pete

    and who decides inside NATO? UK, USA and France (and Germany and Italy too, but the three you mention first).

  25. As I said above, the no-fly zone in Iraq was not led by NATO but by 3 participants in the Allied Coalition Forces.

    If it had been NATO-led, then there would have been the support of all NATO members and a NATO resolution would have been issued.

    This did not happen. Indeed, many NATO members criticized the actions of the 3 participating countries and indeed France herself withdrew her support in 1998.

  26. Pete

    I am sorry but I still do not see in which way what you specify detracts from the point I made: namely that someone has to support a no fly zone over a given area. Today in Libya, yesterday in Iraq, tomorrow over X.

  27. 1979 Boat People5:53 AM


    We only have WATER BOMBERS for FOREST FIRES.

    They are only good to put out the fires in the NO FLY ZONEs. :)

  28. Daniel,

    What Pete said about the US/UK-fly zone is very pertinent: you don't want to repeat that, that will not just "displease" other governments but radicalize a lot of Muslims all over the place, specially as they saw how the US/UK proceded with Iraq's occupation, something you won't read about in US papers but you can read about in full detail in the book I recommended previously by Fisk, things you can find out about if you do happen to talk to a lot of Iraqi nationals.

    Now the US, Britain and France want to avoid giving the impression they will do an Iraq-2, an impression that could very well become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Such action requires general support and China/Russia are not giving it.

    What they could do already they are doing right now but very badly and that is what needs to be corrected: support the insurgents with weapons and REAL intelligence.

    As Charly mentioned, here we see how "good" UK intelligence and SAS are. Apparently, we are also seeing how good the Dutch MIVD is.
    Let's hope we don't see again how good US intelligence is by watching on TV how CIA agents are paraded through Tripolis.

  29. Hilary Clinton declared that neither the US nor NATO should impose a NO Fly Zone on Libya, and that it should only be done by the UN.

    On one hand this protects the US from being blamed in the future for the Libyan mess but it effectively puts the power to impose a NO Fly Zone in the hands of Russia and China.

    The only way these 2 countries might come aboard is if the West negotiates a batch of concessions and incentives to make it worthwhile for them and doing this will take quite a long time.

  30. One alternate theory that is worth considering:

    The US might be calculating that even with a NO Fly Zone the rebels are doomed to failure because of their lack of weapons and expertise.Rather than backing a lost cause and taking the flack for it by going in without UN approval, they could be opting for behaving as a good global citizen and play by the international rules.

    Calculating that China and Russian are not going to give their approval , it allows them to offer the possibility of participating in a no fly zone without actually having to do it.

  31. 1979 Boat People7:13 PM


    It will take along time for the Middle East societies to have equal rights.

    extracted from the article.

    In clashes unrelated to the political demonstrations, 13 people were killed Tuesday in skirmishes between Coptic Christians and Muslims in the capital, state-run television said. About 90 were wounded in the clashes, Egypt's health minister, Dr. Ashraf Hatem, said.

    Also Tuesday, several hundred people showed up for a pro-women demonstration in Cairo -- including some men who chanted anti-feminist slogans.

    Egyptian activists had called for a Million Woman March Tuesday, demanding "fair and equal opportunity for all Egyptian citizens -- beyond gender, religion or class."

    The march started in Tahrir Square Tuesday afternoon, on International Women's Day.

    The turnout appeared to be no more than 1,000, and the event quickly degenerated into shouting matches between the two sides.



  32. Agree with Kepler that weapons and good intelligence are vital, but I doubt if that will be enough at this point. The rebels are getting devastated by air attacks. The point is to stop Qaddafi from using his airforce to bomb his won people. I think a No Fly Zone is very feasible and needs to be done, right away.

  33. Anonymous11:14 PM

    This just shows how not ready for prime time Obama, Hillary, and Cameroon all are. They all said Gadafi must leave when a rebel victory appeared imminent. I guess they thought they could catch a free ride on the rebels coatails. Now that that is proving not so easy they are exposed as the BSers there were right from the beginning and they have no plan B.
    Worse, for Libya and the world as a whole, is that Gadafi probably will fall eventually but now that it will have to be done via extreme and bloody fighting it is much more likely that he will be replaced by others who are extremists. That is who tends to come out of bloody fights.
    It's a real shame nothing could have been done to help the "people power" movement that this clearly was two weeks ago suceed. I for one can't help but think a couple of dozen well placed cruise missiles would have tipped the scales enough for this to be over already and with less bloodshed.


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