Tripoli Falls; Gadhafi Too?

Updates Below

There is growing evidence that the rebellion in Libya is succeeding. Tripoli is partly in rebel hands and one of Gadhafi’s sons is captured. Updates as events warrant.

Glenn Greenwald this morning made a big deal about our government’s attempts to be measured in its response to the “Arab spring”, taking the usual route of denouncing us for supporting a variety of dictators in the region (and slamming Israel for hitting Egypt … leaving out that Israel was responding to terror attacks from Gaza). But our government has it exactly right. No one knows which way this is going to go and anyone who says they know is lying. Yes, it would be nice if these Arab revolts ended with wonderful democracies. But the mullah-ocracy in Iran was the result of a popular revolution against a US-backed dictator. It’s fashionable for Lefties to blame the US for this — as if radical Islam was the only way for Iran to go. I think it more illustrates why the occasional use of the “devil you know” strategy is defensible.

We’ll see what happens, not just in Libya but everywhere. Maybe it will all go the way we all hope it goes; I fear that it won’t. In times like these, it is really easy for an ideology that claims to have all the answers to take hold.

Update: Another Ghadafi son is caught. Rumors about the dictator himself are flying. For once, I agree with Charles Johnson: Ghadafi had a chance to live in luxury by going into exile. Instead, he killed a bunch of people and will likely now be killed himself.

Comments are closed.

  1. West Virginia Rebel

    I think we should just stay out of it unless the soon to be former rebel leadership specifically asks for our help. As for Gaddafi, he seems to be MIA at the moment. If this ends well, it could be a big win for NATO.

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  2. Mississippi Yankee

    If this ends well, it could be a big win for NATO.

    Why on earth would you consider this a big win for NATO? Other than
    Britain and France’s need for oil coming from west of the Suez what dog did NATO have in this fight?

    Obviously I reside in the :devil you know camp: but still…

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  3. hist_ed

    The most powerful alliance in history, representing the majority of the advanced industrial nations, took months to knock of a tin pot dictator within flying range of Italy.

    No, this shows how NATO, absent U.S. muscle and will, sucks ass.

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  4. CM

    I think one of the key points is that this can be claimed to be an internal uprising, with outside assistance. They weren’t simply liberated by outsiders. The uprising is in their name. No invasion, no occupation. Hopefully this will provide a greater legitimacy to whatever happens next. Hopefully it will enable a pluralistic evolving democracy.

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  5. West Virginia Rebel

    I’m still in the “Win for the good guys” camp, if only because Gaddafi was one of the world’s true scumbags and a major supporter of terrorism. Egypt could be seen as an example of what happens when you don’t support an ally and his government; Libya may be how you get a new one.

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  6. HARLEY

    Gaddafi, should have been shot a long time ago, PAN AM 103, was pretty much a act of war.
    At least this way, as CM noted, we do not have to have a army occupying the ground sparking unrest and giving someone a inviting target.
    I expect the fighting to continue on a lower scale between the factions in the rebel forces. Its not over yet, by far.

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  7. CzarChasm

    Not all on the ground in Tripoli agree that NATO has nothing to do with this. This guy is reporting for Russia Today, so certainly consider the source. However, he’s right there and it is an eye-witness account to much of what is happening. He is also interviewed by CNN and other major news outlets in the “related to” list of suggestions to the right and below the YouTube video. He doesn’t seem to think that Gaddafi is going anywhere. Guess we’ll see, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find NATO’s or the CIA’s fingerprints all over the Arab Spring collectively. Or maybe not. Anyway, it’s an alternative take that I found interesting.

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  8. AlexInCT

    The Sharia guys will take care of them just like the Iranians did with their gays. After all Mad Ajad told us there where no gays left in Iran…..

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  9. AlexInCT

    My thoughts exactly: see it to believe it. After 3 years of the LSM telling us all is well when it is obvious things are not, this smacks of more of the same. We’ll see.

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  10. AlexInCT

    What the hell are you talking about? This isn’t a war! It’s a kinetic action….

    /sarcasm off

    As I constantly pointed out back in the day, the left’s biggest problem with Iraq was Bush. Nothing else.

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  11. blameme

    One of the key points is this had damn little to do with an uprising and more to do with Europe needing Libyan oil.

    I guess that makes it all alright. Because, there would have been NO outside help without the Euros needing that oil. They would have told the Libyan people, just like they did the peoples of Africa who had no oil, “You’re on your own.”

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  12. CM

    The oil thing is just nonsense.

    10. This was a war for Libya’s oil. That is daft. Libya was already integrated into the international oil markets, and had done billions of deals with BP, ENI, etc., etc. None of those companies would have wanted to endanger their contracts by getting rid of the ruler who had signed them. They had often already had the trauma of having to compete for post-war Iraqi contracts, a process in which many did less well than they would have liked. ENI’s profits were hurt by the Libyan revolution, as were those of Total SA. and Repsol. Moreover, taking Libyan oil off the market through a NATO military intervention could have been foreseen to put up oil prices, which no Western elected leader would have wanted to see, especially Barack Obama, with the danger that a spike in energy prices could prolong the economic doldrums. An economic argument for imperialism is fine if it makes sense, but this one does not, and there is no good evidence for it (that Qaddafi was erratic is not enough), and is therefore just a conspiracy theory.

    http://www.juancole.com/2011/08/top-ten-myths-about-the-libya-war.html

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  13. Section8

    See Alex, CM doesn’t subscribe to narratives. You need to post facts, which “facts” apparently means posting a link to someone else’s narratives. See how that works?

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  14. AlexInCT

    Don’t bother Section8. He will just ignore you just like he ignores everyone else saying the same things he dismisses when I say them. I seem to be the only one stupid enough to not to simply let it go, but I just can’t give up.

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  15. blameme

    Really? So letting the Lockerbie bomber out of jail for killing all those people was done in the kindness of Britain’s hearts?

    I know how the oil market works. To think that this had no influence on caring about Libya means turning a blind eye to the obvious.

    Just because an opinion piece disagrees does not make it so.

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  16. CM

    It’s only a narrative that Libya was already integrated into the international oil markets, and had done billions of deals with BP, ENI, etc?
    How does the narrative go that they weren’t already integrated?

    As Poosh (and Cole) says, what benefit would be gained from assisting a disruptive internal war that could jeopardise existing contracts?

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  17. Section8

    It was your “proof” that the oil connection is was nonsense isn’t it? In the end it’s nothing more than his opinion, which is fine, just don’t complain when other people use their opinion to make a point. Did his narrative take into account the most important variable in this thing? The start of a civil war regardless of NATO involvement?

    Nothing is worse for business than instability, which was going to happen with or without NATO. Dictators don’t matter obviously, as pretty much all of the civilized world has no problem setting up shop in the most vile of states if allowed to. That’s not new. What would be new in Libya is forces battling it out without a clear winner, the likelihood of sabotage on these oil fields, a long drawn out battle destroying infrastructure, and likely hostage taking, which all of those would cause far more losses to the oil companies. You bet a having a more regulated war at the hands of a stronger power would be welcomed by these companies.

    As far as a smoke filled room full of secrets, I don’t care much to jump on that band wagon, but my point was your narrative was not based on fact, and left out other elements to be considered.

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  18. CM

    As the ‘oil’ motive is a narrative it’s impossible to prove one way or the other (just like with Iraq). But for the narrative to have a chance it has to make sense. I share the opinion of many others that the oil motive narrative was (and is) nonsense. The Euros already had the oil.

    Nothing is worse for business than instability, which was going to happen with or without NATO.

    I don’t necessarily think so. Without NATO assistance he would probably have been able to keep sufficient stability, particularly after crushing (killing) the rebellion for a sustained period. We don’t know how long they would have lasted (to any meaningful degree) without outside assistance.

    You bet a having a more regulated war at the hands of a stronger power would be welcomed by these companies.

    I’m not so sure. The resulting new govt could just void all existing contracts as they were signed by the previous (corrupt) govt. Big risk. Much better to keep the existing corrupt govt in power and hope they crush the uprising (by whatever means). That wouldn’t have been anything new.

    As far as a smoke filled room full of secrets, I don’t care much to jump on that band wagon, but my point was your narrative was not based on fact, and left out other elements to be considered.

    Fine, but I haven’t set out a narrative other than to put forward my opinion that there are good reasons why the oil motive doesn’t make sense. NATO had good enough reason to get in there (stop an obvious and growing war crime). It’s not like claiming 10 years later that it’s urgent to get in there because he’s evil.
    In the end I think this can only be great PR for NATO. Providing just enough assistance to let the Libyans liberate themselves is about the best option/outcome possible. The Libyans can start again with a large degree of ‘goodwill’ towards the West, and they don’t have the huge invasion and occupation issues that continue to dog Iraq.
    If only Syria were so (relatively) simple.

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  19. HARLEY

    of course OIL is the reason, just as in the Pacific War..
    denying it does not change anything, it just make you look foolish.

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  20. CM

    I wouldn’t deny that strategic interests like energy resources always play some part in these sorts of equations, but some people are trying to claim that NATO got involved for the express purpose of stealing Libya’s oil. Which doesn’t make sense. And, importantly, there were sufficient (legitimate) reasons without needing to incorporate oil.

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  21. Poosh

    I can’t speak for any other country other than UK, but it is truly spasticated to claim the Brits were doing this for oil. We have, stemming from work via Tony Blair good relations with the Libyan dictatorship and had promising trade relations. The release of the Lockerbie bomber was more than likely part of this. We had already achieved our goals with Libya, and overthrowing him for ‘oil’ or whatever certainly does not suit the purposes of the UK. It is just as fucking idiotic as saying the US invaded Iraq to steal its oil.

    However

    Unless of course your argument is, we projected the Libyan government was done for, in which case it suited our purposes to side with the side we projected as winning, to secure or attempt to secure agreements made to us by the previous regime. Which is a different claim but one which is dubious when you take into account the sheer uselessness of the libyan rebels if not for NATO support and arms plus training.

    The current UK goverment is a weak right-wing government who were not responsible for the past trade agreements with Libya. However, it’s not a stretch to say that payback and revenge had a part to play with the new UK government who were not pleased that Libya got away with their terrorism on British soil. I don’t know what the French or American angle is.

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  22. CM

    It is just as fucking idiotic as saying the US invaded Iraq to steal its oil.

    Yeah I was strongly against that war but I never bought into the simplistic oil rationale.

    Unless of course your argument is, we projected the Libyan government was done for, in which case it suited our purposes to side with the side we projected as winning, to secure or attempt to secure agreements made to us by the previous regime. Which is a different claim but one which is dubious when you take into account the sheer uselessness of the libyan rebels if not for NATO support and arms plus training.

    Yeah (as I said above) not sure how anyone thought the best way to retain or expand contracts was to assist in the overthrow of the regime who signed your contracts. Particularly, as you say, the rebels could have fallen over. Then you’re left with facing the regime you signed your contracts with, but having tried to oust them. Not exactly a sign of good faith in an ongoing relationship.

    The Brits certainly have the Lockerbie motive angle. But, again, surely that’s only going to be a small consideration. Not enough to tip a scale in terms of making a decision.

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  23. Mississippi Yankee

    Poosh,
    peasants like us won’t have the answer to this for years but exactly why did GB… or France ever get into this shooting rebellion thing to begin with?
    As you said your government already had an oil deal with Gaddafi, and supporting ‘freedom fighters’ wasn’t anything either European government was stoked about in Tunisia or Egypt or Jordan and now Syria. So just WTF changed all that?

    I can only look at these facts and wonder why two, not particularly courageous governments, would want to expend blood and/or treasure. Another glaring fact is that NO FUCKING OIL FIELDS were put to the torch. By either side. Do you think they were afraid of the public outcry? Really? Or do you suppose OIL was a pretty important fucking deal?

    Gaddafi was/is a shrewd, perhaps very shrewd wheeler-dealer all of his life (he’s still alive right?)

    Would you even entertain the thought that ” the new boss” might have undercut the old boss in price? In fact I believe that’s how business is done in many parts of the world.

    And as I stated at the top of this post none of this Libyan oil has to pass through the Suez nor travel past Somalia and go around the Horn.
    And I do not, for asecond, want to think about why Obumbler drug US into this mess.

    Poosh your a good and honest sort, I hope you ask yourself some of these questions.

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  24. Mook

    but some people are trying to claim that NATO got involved for the express purpose of stealing Libya’s oil.

    Did anyone on this forum, or any link posted here suggest that NATO got involved for the express purpose of “stealing” Libya’s oil?

    European NATO countries needs Libyan oil, and it’s not in their best interest to have a prolonged war because a) no leader in charge to deal with for their oil contracts and b) the likelihood/occurance of oil field and pipeline sabotage increases over time.

    For that reason, NATO wants an end to this fight sooner rather than later.. but that’s quite a different situation as compared to “stealing” Libyan oil

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  25. AlexInCT

    brining this out:

    Poosh,
    peasants like us won’t have the answer to this for years but exactly why did GB… or France ever get into this shooting rebellion thing to begin with?
    As you said your government already had an oil deal with Gaddafi, and supporting ‘freedom fighters’ wasn’t anything either European government was stoked about in Tunisia or Egypt or Jordan and now Syria. So just WTF changed all that?

    Sure, there was a deal already for the oil, but Gadaffi was telling everyone that the deal was off because the Chinese where giving him one he liked better. I don’t know if the deal was better or not, but think the issue was that he figured the Chinese would be a lot more tollerant of whatever crazy shit he would do than the Europeans. The way the Chinese turn a blind eye to what other dictatorships in Africa where their ol comes from do, something they have to do considering their own policies at home, I think that’s not too farfetched of an assumption on Moammar’s part. Considering he likely was aware of the discontent and the likelyhood of a possible insurection – the current one – I would not be surprised that he figured going with the Chinese would let him be as brutal as he wanted while they defended him from all comers like they have done in Nigeria.

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  26. Poosh

    We also have the oil interests in Syria actually. You seem to forget that Libya, unlike Egypt and Tunisia, used extensive military force not just on rebels but on civilians also. A humanitarian crisis was starting to evolve – as is now the case in Syria. I find it hard to appreciate notions of “undercutting” costs of oil, as that is a pretty big claim which demands a lot of evidence, but, from the point of view of these hypothetical European governments, it is a staggering risk, to assume, to take sides with a rebel faction (with NO real leader, terrorist links, and a completely unknown future on the horizon that will perhaps just end up in tribal infighting) to say, ‘yeah, we’ll support you guys if you cut us a better oil deal” > who exactly are the Brits and French making these oil deals with? The rebel factions don’t have much of a command structure, let alone any real leaders, hell they might just go back on their word and give it to a Muslim country (Qutar has been arming them) – they are MUSLIMS after all, whose words means nothing to us non-believers, from their point of view. And there is no legal space for any deal to be fulfilled, anyway – did they pinky-swear? It’s an INSANE risk to take, from the european point of view, especially since we’ve spent the last decade getting our hands into Libya. You say “WTF changed?” shelling civilians changed. Unless I’m mistaken the UN signed up for this as well. And as for why we’re not attacking Syria (which also has oil and resources, I believe we have an British oil company set up shop there right now [Gulfsands Petroleum?]), yet we’re not flocking to secure better oil deals with the ‘rebels’ there, for some reason.

    A good reason why the oil fields have been left alone is the logical one. Oil is one of Libya’s best exports, both factions want the country to be sustained in the future, so only an idiot would burn the oil fields. Of course, once it looks bad, Gadaffi might well wish to, but I’d hope we’d have made sure this was impossible, as WE’D be idiots for letting him burn the oil fields, as Saddam did.

    More use of Occam’s Razor please. Pragmatics might suggest ‘oil’ as one factor among many, I wouldn’t deny, that’s what we pay our governments to do. You could say this will loosen China’s grip on Libya, as they did not support the rebels, but that’s a big ‘if’. Money will talk and China has a lot of money.

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  27. CM

    Did anyone on this forum, or any link posted here suggest that NATO got involved for the express purpose of “stealing” Libya’s oil?

    Alex has maintained Obama was only there to steal their oil.

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