Libya: Another American Foreign Policy Mistake

We are all watching developments in Libya.  Tunisia and Egypt have disappeared from the headlines.  It is rather odd to me that of all the movements in the Arab world to remove long-entrenched dictators, the one that has gathered the strongest response from America is that in Libya.  America has frozen 30 billion in Libyan assets, and is positioning naval forces in the Meditteranean.  We are going to regret this.

America should be concentrating its efforts on aiding Egypt and Tunisia.  These are the two countries with perhaps the best odds at achieving democracy, should they survive the revolutionary turmoil that they are currently in.  A few days ago demonstaters in Tunisia were fired upon as they were protesting the interim government.  There were several deaths.  This is not good.  There is a fragile transition underway, and it could easily be derailed by such developments.

Libya is in the early stages of civil war.  "The Resistance" is gathering strength and has recently begun consolidating control over the oil fields in the east to use against the regime.  These are estimated to be 80% of Libyan production.  Mark my words: whoever the leaders in this "resistence" are that have taken control of the country's oil will not simply hand that control over to any hypothetical interim government.  Get ready for the warlords, people.

Whatever nastiness happens in Libya is now going to be stamped with the ubiquitous damnation, "American-backed".  Here is a sample of a future news article that the next generation of Eurotards will never allow us to forget:

"A ferry full of undocumented refugees fleeing the civil strife in Libya was intercepted off the coast of Sardinia this morning.  The humanitarian crisis in Libya continues to spiral out of control as the American-backed junta in Libya  persists in killing babies with impunity..."

Why do we (Americans) involve ourselves in efforts that have little chance of success, and thus guarantee that we are associated with the inevitable failure?  The intelligent strategy would be to pour all available energy and resources into developing democracy in Tunisia and Egypt, and leave Libya to Europe.

Crap.  Been gone for two days

Crap.  Been gone for two days and gotta wade through over 100 posts to catch up.  I'll toss in my two cents before I have to be gone for another two days:

There was a justification to dclare war on Iraq in Gulf I because Saddam had left his own borders and attacked a sovereign country.  There was justification to attack Afghanistan because they gave material support and protection to those who attacked a sovereign foreign country.  And there was (although some may disagree) justification to attack Saddam in Gulf II because he violated the cease fire agreements (any violation, no matter how minor, nullifies a ceasfire, in my opinion).  However, there has been no invasion of any other country, no attack, no violence outside the borders of Lybia.  Malomar Gadfly has not left the boundaries of his own state.  This is an internal matter.  There is no justification for the UN to "take sides" in a civil war.  If "civil rights violations" and "protection of civilians" is sufficient reason to interfere in a civil war, the list or interventions is going to grow very long, very quickly.  I'm not saying that's not a good idea.  It's just a bit hypocritical to pick and choose.

If "civil rights violations"

If "civil rights violations" and "protection of civilians" is sufficient reason to interfere in a civil war, the list or interventions is going to grow very long, very quickly.  I'm not saying that's not a good idea.  It's just a bit hypocritical to pick and choose. alan peterson

There is no question of 'interfering in a civil war'. That's the Gaddafi line. The 'responsibility to protect' has been exercised by UN peacekeepers, member states and regional organizations in regard to many countries.

The 'responsibility to

The 'responsibility to protect' has been exercised by UN peacekeepers, member states and regional organizations in regard to many countries. (eric)

Boy, and I thought momo's was a slavish devotion to bureacracy ...

“There is no question of

“There is no question of 'interfering in a civil war'. That's the Gaddafi line.”

And it’s the Liam Fox line. And the Lieberman and McCain line.

Napoleon Bonsai wants the

Napoleon Bonsai wants the next UN resolution, this time against Ivory Coast:

"France has submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations. It is a scandal that heavy weapons are being fired in Abidjan. At a minimum there should be no heavy weapons in Abidjan," Sarkozy told a news conference after a meeting of European leaders in Brussels.

I wish he had told us too how these weapons got there!

I suppose the UN will find  a resolution against Ivory Coast using heavy weapons okay, but a resolution against countries exporting heavy weapons to dictators would be taking things too far.

a resolution against

a resolution against countries exporting heavy weapons to dictators would be taking things too far. momo

Wrong again.Ivory Coast has been under a UN arms embargo since 2004.

Yes, and not before. What we

Yes, and not before.

What we need is international legislation criminalising the export of weapons to all countries that violate human rights. It would be a far more efficient way to protect civilians than any intervention.

Isn’t it ironic to see how the Libya war is fought against weapons that the same countries delivered to Gaddafi until very recently? Incidentally it is a weapons test for the next round of exports.

See how Nato is supporting

See how Nato is supporting the good guys in Libya. Lovely.

 Momo, Why don't you read

 Momo,

Why don't you read Resolution 1973. (2011) which the Security Council, without a dissenting vote, passed on 17 March 2011 ?

Protection of civilians

  a ban on all flights (except humanitarian) in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians; the important role of the League of Arab States in matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security in the region, and bearing in mind Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, requests the Member States of the League of Arab States to cooperate with other Member State that the Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law and take all measures to protect civilians and meet their basic needs, and to ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance; 

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10200.doc.htm

No-fly zone

Enforcement of the arms embargo

Asset freeze

Two questions, Eric: Do you

Two questions, Eric:

Do you honestly believe that the “coalition” intervening in Libya has the aim to protect civilians according to this resolution, if necessary against both conflict parties?

Is the aim of the intervention support for the opposition or not?

 Fighter jets intimidating

 Fighter jets intimidating demonstrators in Bahrain

The west’s staunch support of freedom and democracy is demonstrated by the choice of its allies.

 

Momo,Did you link to the

Momo,

Did you link to the wrong article? No mention of jets. It actually says that the main opposition group stayed away from these protests.

Damn. Yes, that was the wrong

Damn. Yes, that was the wrong link. Try again:

A pair of fighter jets was flying over Bahrain Friday morning and police and military forces erected additional checkpoints on major highways, searching cars

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/9078408/bahrainis-set-for-day-of-rage-protest-despite-ban/

That's a little vague, Momo.

That's a little vague, Momo. Those jets may well have been on the way to Libya. You wish to compare that to pilots who defected because they refused to bomb civilians? Please.

Bahrain is under pressure as an ally to reform as Eric has pointed out. There is no doubt that the regime has murdered people and lost it's legitimacy, but the situation there can and hopefully will be negotiated peacefully.

If they had been on their way

If they had been on their way to Libya or elsewhere, they wouldn’t have had a reason to fly “over Bahrain”. They would have made their noise over the sea. And I said intimidating, not bombing.

You’ve been telling us for days that Bahrain is under pressure to reform. And here is the success of this pressure not to produce ugly headlines. This could work better. Small wonder that coverage of the events in Bahrain tends to be a bit vague.

  February 28 2011 at

 

February 28 2011 at 03:38am Reuters

United States President Barack Obama has urged the leaders of Bahrain to respect human rights after a cabinet reshuffle prompted by days of protests.

Washington - United States President Barack Obama on Sunday welcomed a move by Bahrain's government to reshuffle its cabinet and urged it to respect human rights.

"I welcome the announcement by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa about making important changes to the cabinet and restating his commitment to reform," Obama said in a statement.

http://tinyurl.com/6zhwtd9

Now Yemen. Gawd, at this rate

Now Yemen. Gawd, at this rate Iran will go democratic next week.

"Why do they hate us?"  

"Why do they hate us?"   JFT

You do have some strange ideas. Personally, I would claim to know and appreciate the USA rather well, from Key West to Boston, from Seattle to San Diego, from Chicago to San Antonio.

Personally, I would claim to

Personally, I would claim to know and appreciate the USA rather well, from Key West to Boston, from Seattle to San Diego, from Chicago to San Antonio.

That sounds like a lot of wandering.  Were you sent on a United Nations mission to the city of Ontario?

 

It was all well-planned, and

It was all well-planned, and all paid for by myself. My many visits to the United States, generally go very smoothly, except for New York where there are occasional surprises, such as the limousine not being at the airport on time, but I've learned to roll with the punches in that very international city.

Really?  I always thought

Really?  I always thought that you were the type of guy that lived in his mom's basement and watched "Mad Max" over and over again.

I am dicking around, waiting

I am dicking around, waiting for the NCAA basketball games to start.  For the hell of it, I am reading Pravda, enjoying the withering and relentless criticism of Russians who really don't seem to understand that the Cold War is over, and that Americans no longer consider them to be the adversaries that they once were.

Suddenly I find the most shockingly frank acknowledgement of the true nature of the war.  From an article called "Libyan War Damages Russia's Economic Interests", we see that the Russians really, I mean really, don't give a crap about any of this "humanitarian" nonsense:

The events in Libya are impacting the economic interests of Russia. While Russian raw materials companies working in this country may still cherish the hope to participate in some projects, the loss of Rosoboronexport's contract with the Jamahiriya will amount to over $4 billion. In the event of the victory of the Western coalition the country's weapons market will be closed for Russia.

With regard to the companies working directly on the territory of Libya, there are three most active Russian companies - Tatneft, Gazprom and the Russian Railways (RZD). Stroytransgaz has an office in the country as well.

Tatneft has been operating in the country for 6 years. The company received a concession to develop an oil block in the Ghadames (Unit 82-4) and won the rights to three oil blocks in the Sirte basin and Ghadames. The Russian company is involved in the projects under the production sharing agreement with Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC). In 2009 alone it has invested $43 million in the projects.

In 2007, following an exchange of assets with BASF company, Gazprom acquired 49% in oil concessions C96 and C97. According to the memorandum of cooperation with the National Oil Corporation of Libya (NOC) signed in 2008, Gazprom could take part in the tenders for the development of fields, mentions RBC Daily.

The company won the right to conduct exploration in the licensed areas #19 and #64. In mid-February, Russia's gas monopoly announced the purchase of the shares from Italy's Eni in the Libyan oil project Elephant (16.5%) for $163 million. The force majeure will likely prevent this deal from happening.

   

However, the fate of Iraq and Lukoil suggest that the raw materials companies may be welcomed back, albeit on much worse terms. The Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said that Russia was hoping to defend its economic interests in Libya, under any scenario in this country, The Moscow Post reports.

Since the opposition has failed to seize Libya right away, the forces behind the rebels have decided to legalize them and gave the rebels more or less official status. Post and telegraph are not very important in the current situation, so the Libyan oppositional National Transition Council has set up its own oil company (to replace the abovementioned NOC) and another nation's central bank, Bloomberg reports.

RZD has also contracted with Libya to build a 500-kilometer road Sirt - Benghazi, a modern high-speed (up to 250 mph) railway running along the Mediterranean coast and connecting major cities of the country. The project cost is 2.2 billion euros. To implement the project, a rail welding plant in Ras Lanuf has been launched.

With regard to the exports of the Russian arms, the head of Russian Technologies Chemezov estimated potential losses of $4 billion. However, Russia has only obtained this contract after it has cancelled the remaining Soviet-era state debt of Libya in the amount of $4.6 billion.

That is from the business pages of Pravda, not a classified government report!

http://english.pravda.ru/business/finance/24-03-2011/117309-libya_russia-0/

If there was ever an argument to liberalize all state-owned companies, there you have it.  Get rid of dictators that promote terrorism?  Hell no! 

Dictators make good for business--Russian style business.

looks like its time to bust

looks like its time to bust out the Bush doctrine.

The Netherlands have now

The Netherlands have now joined the coalition (6 fighters). Turkey's parliament has agreed to join the navel blockade (4 frigates and a sub). In addition, as soon as tomorrow, NATO will be taking over command and control of the mission now that Turkey has agreed.

Looks like Sweden is about to commit 6 blond nurses if NATO so requests. These brave nurses will endevour to coax Moammar out of the country by offering free check-ups to Supreme Leaders on the Tunisian Island of Djerba. [unverified]

Are you hoping for a world

Are you hoping for a world war?

I'm hoping for as broad a

I'm hoping for as broad a consensus as possible on the limits of dictatorial power. Also, I think the growing coalition will make "collateral damage" far less likely. I'd like the American pilots to sit this one out very soon. These Americans are a bit hair triggered if you had not noticed.

Yes, now that you remind me,

Yes, now that you remind me, I believe I have noticed. I believe it’s something they have in common with Gaddafi, who by the way, loved to go shopping for his armed forces. Nothing other forces need to be afraid of, but dangerous enough for civilian shipping and aircraft. Enough nations to pick of. And we can’t say it was he who escalated this into an international conflict of as broad a scale as possible.

If Gaddafi had had the bomb in time, he wouldn’t be in this trouble. I am sure that all tyrants on this planet are drawing the obvious conclusion just now and hurriedly doing something about it. Or at least a dirty bomb.  

I really wish I could share your optimism, but I think during the next years you will hear a few “told you so” from me. And I won’t enjoy it.

I think during the next years

I think during the next years you will hear a few “told you so” from me. And I won’t enjoy it.

Then don't say it. Nothing is more annoying. But really ... what are the odds you'll get the chance?

I am sure that all tyrants on

I am sure that all tyrants on this planet are drawing the obvious conclusion just now and hurriedly doing something about it.

I don't care about that. Honestly, I don't. Only non state actors can be a real threat to escalate violence in the way you are implying. I would prefer to be hopeful and also supportive of the collective actions of liberal democracies. The flaws in this thinking are tremendous, and I admit it. The flaw in thinking otherwise however, or the cynicism required to oppose a more muscular policy to support the amazing wave of anti-authoritarianism we have seen this spring, nauseates me.

We will see about the

We will see about the anti-authoritarionism of the Libyan counter-government fairly soon, I think.

The United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates has contributed 12 warplanes to the international no-fly zone over Libya, AFP news agency quotes a US official as saying.

They are doubtless being sent

They are doubtless being sent in order to defend anti-authoritarianism, democracy, and liberty. With that support nothing can go wrong.

Someone will suggest to repeat the experiment in Syria next, and then Iran, and then China, I imagine.

After the terrorist attacks

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Americans were bewildered, and the question that kept circulating was "Why?".  It was a national debate: "Why do they hate us?"  Perhaps the best answer came from Bill Maher, who responded, "They hate us because we don't know why they hate us".

Maybe it is because the Arabs can read, and when they do they see things like this:

Wendy Schiller, a Brown University political scientist, argued Obama may have eventually paid a political price, if he didn't intervene before Gadhafi's troops took control of the last rebel stronghold in Benghazi.

"Americans generally do not like to see protesters seeking political rights shot, wounded or killed," she said. "Standing by and watching that happen, especially after the U.N. authorized a no-fly zone, would have made Obama look weak and indifferent to their struggle."

Or this:

Today, by contrast, it all looks as if intervention may re-legitimate Sarkozy in the eyes of French citizens, whose votes he will need in next year's presidential election.

Or this:

Some Italian politicians sought to settle old colonial scores by cynically noting that if France was allowed to lead this mission, it would get all the Libyan oil contracts and Italy would get all the Libyan refugees.

Or this:

The EU gold rush began after the UN lifted its arms embargo in 2003, with senior British, French and Italian officials jetting in and out of Tripoli in delegations with arms and oil industry executives.

"You've seen a lot of major suppliers going for a chunk of the Libyan arms market due to its increase in resource [oil] revenues," he told EUobserver. "[Libyan leader] Moammar Gaddafi has been playing the suppliers off each other and he hasn't really signed for big ticket items [from EU companies] yet."

In the 2005 to 2009 period, the only 'big ticket' EU deals were Italy's sale of six helicopters and a French contract to refurbish Libya's Mirage combat jets.

Ottfried Nassauer from the German arms control NGO Bits, said: "Nominal [trade] standards are quite high, but in reality business interests and economic interests as well as political interests override the ethical standards in many cases." He added that Libya supplies a large fraction of German oil imports and can manipulate energy prices.

And this:

Start with the official figures: €343 million of weapons sold in 2009 alone. The EU Observer, Deutsche Welle and Der Spiegel summarize those numbers and examine what is behind them. They speculate, for example, that the €43m of German electrical exports includes jamming equipment used to block the mobile phone and GPS networks.

We have the power to intervene in Arab countries with devastating effect, but for all of our claims to be doing so for "humanitarian reasons", it doesn't look like our motivations or our actions match our words.

I strongly believe that this is happening for all the wrong reasons--i.e., domestic elections--and that we are doing so with a complete disregard for the future of Libyans.

I strongly believe that this

I strongly believe that this is happening for all the wrong reasons--i.e., domestic elections

I totally agree, except in the case of GB where I don't think that is the case. It's certainly the case here in Canuckistan.

Still, statements like this give me the warm fuzzies:

French foreign minister Alain Juppe said at a press conference today that he hopes the international military intervention in Libya serves as a warning to governments in Syria, Saudi Arabi and elsewhere.

Followed the same day by a story like this

Causal link? I can't prove it, but what effect does the intervention have on protesters losing their fear while regimes get a little more cautious?

No.  It's the same for the

No.  It's the same for the UK, Brendan.   We've got a government which is frantically trying to look as if it's in control of something as it (predictably) loses the plot on the economy.  The Foreign Secretary, Hague, is particularly desperate to stop looking like he'd rather be in Philadelphia.  It's pure diversion theatre.

Brendan,Still, statements

Brendan,

Still, statements like this give me the warm fuzzies:

Honestly, I enjoy reading them too.  I hope this works out for the best.  It is nice to see an international effort that is actually an international effort.

 

 

Debate is raging in America

Debate is raging in America over our participation in Libya.  The following is a letter sent from the US Speaker of the House (of Representatives) to President Obama:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letter dated March 21, 2011, outlining your Administration’s actions regarding Libya and Operation Odyssey Dawn.  The United States has long stood with those who seek freedom from oppression through self-government and an underlying structure of basic human rights.  The news yesterday that a U.S. fighter jet involved in this operation crashed is a reminder of the high stakes of any military action abroad and the high price our Nation has paid in blood and treasure to advance the cause of freedom through our history.

I respect your authority as Commander-in-Chief and support our troops as they carry out their mission.  But I and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s role is in achieving that mission.  In fact, the limited, sometimes contradictory, case made to the American people by members of your Administration has left some fundamental questions about our engagement unanswered.  At the same time, by contrast, it appears your Administration has consulted extensively on these same matters with foreign entities such as the United Nations and the Arab League. 

It is my hope that you will provide the American people and Congress a clear and robust assessment of the scope, objective, and purpose of our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved.  Here are some of the questions I believe must be answered:

  • A United Nations Security Council resolution does not substitute for a U.S. political and military strategy.  You have stated that Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi must go, consistent with U.S. policy goals.  But the U.N. resolution the U.S. helped develop and signed onto makes clear that regime change is not part of this mission.  In light of this contradiction, is it an acceptable outcome for Qadhafi to remain in power after the military effort concludes in Libya? If not, how will he be removed from power?  Why would the U.S. commit American resources to enforcing a U.N. resolution that is inconsistent with our stated policy goals and national interests?  
  • In announcing that our Armed Forces would lead the preliminary strikes in Libya, you said it was necessary to “enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners.”  Do we know which partners will be taking the lead?  Are there clear lines of authority and responsibility and a chain of command?  Operationally, does enforcement of a no-fly zone require U.S. forces to attack non-air or command and control operations for land-based battlefield activities, such as armored vehicles, tanks, and combatants?
  • You have said that the support of the international community was critical to your decision to strike Libya. But, like many Americans, it appears many of our coalition partners are themselves unclear on the policy goals of this mission.  If the coalition dissolves or partners continue to disengage, will the American military take on an increased role?  Will we disengage? 
  • Since the stated U.S. policy goal is removing Qadhafi from power, do you have an engagement strategy for the opposition forces?  If the strife in Libya becomes a protracted conflict, what are your Administration's objectives for engaging with opposition forces, and what standards must a new regime meet to be recognized by our government?
  • Your Administration has repeatedly said our engagement in this military action will be a matter of “days, not weeks.”  After four days of U.S. military action, how soon do you expect to hand control to these other nations?  After the transition to coalition forces is completed, how long will American military forces remain engaged in this action?  If Qadhafi remains in power, how long will a no-fly zone will be enforced?
  • We are currently in the process of setting priorities for the coming year in the budget.  Has the Department of Defense estimated the total cost, direct and indirect, associated with this mission?  While you said yesterday that the cost of this mission could be paid for out of already-appropriated funds, do you anticipate requesting any supplemental funds from Congress to pay for ongoing operations in Libya?
  • Because of the conflicting messages from the Administration and our coalition partners, there is a lack of clarity over the objectives of this mission, what our national security interests are, and how it fits into our overarching policy for the Middle East.  The American people deserve answers to these questions.  And all of these concerns point to a fundamental question: what is your benchmark for success in Libya?

The American people take the use of military action seriously, as does the House of Representatives.  It is regrettable that no opportunity was afforded to consult with Congressional leaders, as was the custom of your predecessors, before your decision as Commander-in-Chief to deploy into combat the men and women of our Armed Forces.  Understanding some information required to respond may be classified, I look forward to a complete response.

Sincerely,

John A. Boehner

JFT, Why are you bothering us

JFT,

Why are you bothering us with this American rubbish?

I think it highlights very

I think it highlights very well the criticisms by the legislative branch of the muddled actions of the executive branch.  Some of the issues raised by Boehner are issues that perhaps you should be asking of your own government.

To try and improve your

To try and improve your education. However that is a forlorn hope. 

Sixty per cent of Americans

Sixty per cent of Americans support the coalition military effort against Gaddafi, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released today. Around two-thirds of those surveyed had a positive reaction to president Barack Obama's decision-making, calling it either "cautious and consultative" or "strong and decisive". Thirty-six percent described it was "indecisive and dithering".

Brendan,Rule #7:#7  People

Brendan,

Rule #7:

#7  People who originally supported intervention (such as yourself) will later claim that it was a dumb idea all along, and the civil war will thus spread to your own country.

By doing the math on that poll, it looks like 100% of the respondents chose one of those 3 options, which leads me to believe those were the only 3 options.  That doesn't really sound like a guage of the support for intervention, but more of an "Obameter".  Can you provide a link to it?  I haven't seen it yet.

Reuters page

Excerpts from a French writer

Excerpts from a French writer in an opinion page in Al Jazeera:

"...Why does France seem to crave such prominence? In the eyes of the French, France’s international status remains a key ingredient in forming their own national identity. The way we French are perceived by others affects how we perceive ourselves, and nothing is more troubling for us than to be perceived with indifference or, worse, not to be noticed at all.

Suddenly, with the Libya issue, we can tell ourselves that we are catching up with Germany, whose pusillanimity is striking; we are showing the way to the United States; and the French (and British) flags are deployed in the streets of “liberated” Libya, together with that country's own new flag. And, just as suddenly, the French, according to early polls, are proud again to be French....

...Of course, domestic considerations are not absent from Sarkozy's thinking. In 2007, when he played a key role in the liberation of Bulgarian nurses imprisoned by Gaddafi, Libya's leader was rewarded with what looked like a legitimacy prize: an official visit to Paris. He was no longer a pariah, but an eccentric partner.

Today, by contrast, it all looks as if intervention may re-legitimate Sarkozy in the eyes of French citizens, whose votes he will need in next year's presidential election. An energetic and daring gambler, Sarkozy is taking a high but legitimate risk that he can retake the moral (and political) high ground...

...And today, with France taking the lead in an international effort to protect the Libyan people from their leader, they can feel simultaneously proud of being French and of their Arab roots. These positive identities constitute the best protection against the sirens of fundamentalist Islam.

Of course, an ideal scenario implies that the intervention "goes well", and that it does not incite confusion or chaos in Libya or the wider region.

France, together with Great Britain, and with the more distant support of the US, is undeniably risking much, for it is easier to start a war than it is to end one..."

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/03/2011322145133190578.html

I remember how during the

I remember how during the rise of the insurgency in the Iraq war, most of the American media ended every single story about bloodshed in Iraq with the words "It has been _____ days since president Bush declared an end to major military operations in Iraq".

I am going to start the new trend:

It has been 5 days since President Obama declared that American participation in Libya will be over in "days, not weeks".

It has been 5 days since

It has been 5 days since President Obama declared that American participation in Libya will be over in "days, not weeks".

Looks like "days, not weeks" is possible. Welcome aboard Turkey! Jay, see if you can find that banner, I'm guessing it's over at George's house. You're the closest.

I wonder if the white house

I wonder if the white house has that "Mission Accomplished" banner they can unfurl this Friday?

This looks as if the banner

This looks as if the banner will have to stay in the cellar for a while. 

http://www.dvidshub.net/news/67620/bataan-amphibious-ready-group-deploys

Momo,I expect that this

Momo,

I expect that this intervention will develop into a full occupation. Most likely the country will be split. It will be the source of conflict too. The protesters who started the thing have already been replaced by tribal leaders and former ministers who have changed sides. The interior minister who is responsible for the affair of the Bulgarian nurses is on the side you support, too …

What did you mean by the sentence in bold type?  It is on page 9, 23 March 2011 - 9:01pm.

Where have the protesters been replaced by "tribal leaders and former ministers"?

Where have the protesters

Where have the protesters been replaced by "tribal leaders and former ministers"?

The opposition movement is no longer carried by the same persons/groups that started it.

Originally the protests started after an arrest, which had to do with conflicts between two tribes. There was an element of top – down politics of tribal leaders from the beginning, but there was also a strong participation of young people opposed to the whole system, with an attitude of down – top politics. It’s the latter group I have sympathies for.

The tribal leaders (which includes Gaddafi, by the way) managed to militarise the conflict. This implies top – down politics, automatically. The people who want real change are marginalised by that. They have no military means, and military is the opposite of plurality anyway.

Compare that to Egypt: the strength of the real opposition is that they don’t have leaders (that can be arrested, murdered, or bribed). This guarantees a fair amount of plurality in the movement and it difficult to impossible to suppress. The military government is trying that brutally just now, but with little success.

The Libyan counter-government consists of tribal leaders (of tribes that have always had an issue with G) and former (defected) ministers of the regime. That guarantees stability. This is the opposition supported by the intervention.