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Total number of comments: 92 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:49)


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  • Muslim Brotherhood Rebukes Erdogan for Advocacy of Secularism
    • Arnold Evans says: "If you respect democracy, it is the same for Egypt. What the majority of Egyptians say is right is what is right for Egypt."

      LOL, where did you find this definition of democracy?

      Democracy stops where it infringes on the democratic or human rights of others, including minorities.

      For example, Egyptian democracy cannot remove the right to a free press, or the right to criticize religion, or move to establish a despotic police state (Iran, Gaza, Hezbollah, KSA, Syria).

      Democracy cannot terminate itself, or terminate universal human rights.

      "The problem you, Cole and Obama have with political Islam is that it is more reliably hostile to Israel."

      Some more one-dimensional reductionism of Arab/Muslim existence as favored by the increasingly unhinged "anti-imperialism" Left.

    • @Mohammad - I see, you wish an Islamic superstate to evolve so you can extort the globe through monopoly and hoarding practices on energy supplies. (BTW this will not work, as Canada has 1.8 trillion barrels of oil in the form of bitumen).

      Not only this will be ethically a lowpoint for Arabs & Muslims, but it will result in massive impoverishment of the 3rd world, and the fattening of coffers of already rich sheiks & despots to invest those resources in non-productive endeavors such as luxury items and munitions/weapons.

      I suppose in this case the West & Asia will be justified to retaliate by increasing the price of medicine, computers, automobile, machine tools, food, services, etc. by a hundred fold, JUST for Arabs/Muslims in this superstate.

      The fact that this ethical irony does not come to your attention just makes me so pessimistic and discouraged of the people you claim to represent.

      BTW, Hamas (Gaza) is already a Sunni Islamist state that you have conveniently ommitted. I suppose utopia can be discovered in Gaza.

    • @ Arnold Evans - You can't be serious, or are you??

      Democracy is NOT majoritarianism.

      A majority of 51% CANNOT take away my human rights, neither can 99%.

      My right to and from religion, my right as a kafar or apostate to be treated equally, my right to free expression including criticism of ideology & religion can NEVER be taken away.

      Pls. review the UN UDHR. It is NOT anti-democracy to ask Egypt to respect UDHR, even if a majority want to institute a religious theocracy. And this has NOTHING to do with colonialism, a red-scare tactic of the increasingly degenerate and unhinged "anti-imperialism" Left.

      Pls. review the Libyan Charter of Rights and Freedoms before so arrogantly telling Egyptians that they have to forfeit their rights: link to

  • Sadrists to Demonstrate in Baghdad against US Troops Remaining
    • That's what Qadafi thought. He tried firing his long range SCUDS and without exception, each one of them was successfully intercepted by NATO's anti-missile missile defenses.

      Iran doesn't even have the technology to produce something as simple as a PC motherboard, or secondary chips. There is no way Iran can compete with the US in military technology.

      Besides, neither Israel nor US want to or will attack the Iranian people or its infrastructure. An attack on an illegal weapons-grade uranium enrichment facility is not an attack on Iran. A decisive majority of Iranians actually will support that.

    • It's surprising the Sadr's #2 demand, that Iraqis receive a direct stipend from oil sales, which is the most significant by far of the 3 demands, did not elicit any discussions here.

      I wonder what Juan's take is on that.

      Ahmadinejad has instituted such royalty payment, which I believe amounts to $40/mo for each adult Iranian.

      Such a policy would have direct material impact on the lives of millions, as opposed to feel-good ideological or nationalist policies demanded by Sadr or other political players.

      If Iraq allocates 40% of its oil income (assumed to be $90/b based on a $100 oil price) to each adult Iraqi, that will amount to approx. $300/adult/mo for Iraqis. Or about $1,200 for each family.

      The impact of this policy in addressing issues of poverty, unemployment, and social assistance is earthshaking and positive.

      It will also transfer the decision making nexus for 40% of oil income from an overbloated underproductive and corruption ridden bureaucracy, to a democratic level where each Iraqi can decide how to best utilize that resource.

      I simply fail to see the down side of such a policy, as it will also prompt the movement of unproductive and graft laden government workers to more productive industrial or service activities.

      The remaining 60% of oil income would be more than sufficient for government infrastructure programs. Service fees can be instituted for those that put an inordinate demand on government services.

  • Top Ten Myths about the Libya War
    • @Dredd - do you have evidence that the rebel oil shipment was at below market prices ? If not, pls. explain what is wrong with selling oil at market prices ?

      Peak Oil is the #11 myth in this scenario. How do you explain 1,800 bbl of bitumen crude in Canada, 2,400 bbl of extra heavy oil in Venezuala, and 2,000 bbl of shale oil (extractable at $100 /b) in each of USA and Russia ?? And countless other oil sands and shale oil resources.

      This is about 27 times more oil than Saudi Arabia. Where is the Peak Oil?

    • #Phil D - sorry for the confusion. The Interim Constitution of the NTC sets up Sharia Law in Article 1.

      The Libya Charter of Rights and Freedoms link to is an ALTERNATE proposed Bill of Rights (and NOT a Constitution) for Libya.

      Bill of Rights would take precedence of the Constitution.

    • @Jeneey - what a vacuous counter-economic argument. Of course it does not cost the same to extract oil - but the end result is the same - $100 dollars a barrel at the market. That is what the buyer pays (a little more for sweet & light crude) and little less for bitumen crude.

      Do you really believe oil companies are pocketing the difference in oil price and oil cost in Libya? That Libya is not the sole benefactor of low Libyan oil costs?

      So the FACT that this is a viable business for the oil company to extract oil sand and sell to the market, shows that your argument is wrong. As long as the cost of oil sand extraction is less than lets say $75 /b, this oil will compete with Libyan oil and the world can be supplied with oil from this humongous Canadian resource.

    • @Janeey - the press essentially ignored Libya from May to July. Even though there were massive shelling and rocketing of civilians committed by Qadafi, and many battle fronts were active. Compared to Bahrain, the scale of Libya was twenty to a hundred times larger.

      If anything NPR & Amnesty International are biased that they report people "losing jobs" in Bahrain, but fail to report children being targetted by cluster bombs in Misrata Libya.

    • @Yusef - you are harking back to one 1400 year old parable (there is no record of the details of your parable) that has absolutely no relevance today.

      If what you say about Omar is true, then why did Omar destroy Persia's Zoroastrianism by banning it and killing dissidents?

      No, I don't wan't a 1400 year old questionable parable for assurance. What I want is assurance TODAY that you will not discriminate against unbelievers, atheists, and women, and that you will uphold freedom of speech, including criticism of Islam.

      Pls. take a look at the Libya Charter of Rights and Freedoms (link above) and tell me if you accept it. This provides me a lot more assurance than some 3rd hand idealistic parable from fourteen centuries ago.

    • @John - You don't prove anything. In actual business deals, especially non-market bilateral deals, it is very common for one side to stiffen or loosen the conditions depending on what they can fetch.

      To say that IOCs are plotting a Libyan takeover because their business deals becomes less favorable is utterly sophomoric.

      Furthermore, the cable is saying just the opposite. The cable says that since the Libyan deals are quite attractive, due to Libya's potentials & rising oil prices, the IOCs are accepting stiffer terms.

      So the cable is actually disproving your ideological thesis. It is saying the IOCs are just too happy to accept stiffer conditions.

    • @KFritz - then can you explain why Greenwald adamantly refuses to support the Libyan aspiration for liberation, or at least make his position clear? This is unrelated to anti-military sentiment.

    • @Yusuf - The gun barrel has not cooled yet, and we have examples of Islamist jingoism emerging.

      Before the UN/ NATO intervention, it was "we are all Libyans now".

      As soon as power is in hand, it becomes: "you are not Libyan, so remain quiet".

      Just to edify Yusuf - no it is not correct for Libyans to choose an Islamic Republic because it will discriminate against unbelievers, minorities, women, apostates, other religious sects, & other religions. Even if 99% of Libyans want a dictatorship, they will NOT get it, as it will terminate freedoms and the human rights of all Libyans, not to mention dissidents and minorities.

      Yusuf - maybe you can read the Libya Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and see there is no place for a religious state: link to

    • @Raphael - I quickly reviewed the Wikileaks link. It is about LIFG and not oil. The word "oil" is not even used in there. That link is irrelevant to the discussion.

      The other link is an opinion piece - dime a dozen in the oil conspiracy circles. Hardly evidence.

    • In agreement - Just Canada in the form of oil sands has 45 times more oil than Libya. Production cost is about $50 /b and production is expanding rapidly. The globe is awash in oil. Any oil-imperialism theory is immediately suspect when the economics is considered.

    • I share your skepticism.

      The NTC Interim Constitution Article 1 says: "Sharia law will be the principal source for legislation."

      Does not sound good. I wounder what Juan's interpretation of the Interim Constitution is, and if we can get an article on this topic.

      Also: You can see the new "Libya Charter of Rights and Freedoms" that is proposed here: link to

    • The big losers of the Libya imperialism debates: Greenwald, Cockburn, and other pro-Qadafi "postcolonial" leftists, and pro-fascism rightists.

      The big winners: Juan Cole & the people of Libya.

  • Qaddafi Explores Routes to Flee Libya as Rebels Advance
    • It should be noted that in Sabrata, the Qadafi base was surrounded by the rebels and the troops refused to surrender. NATO struck the base overnight and the troops pledged to surrender. Next day, the troops reneged and NATO struck them again overnight, until they finally surrendered on 8/17. There is obviously strong coordination happening between NATO and the rebels.

      It should also be noted that NATO makes a consistent and pronounced effort not to strike rank and file Qadafi soldiers, but just armor and equipment. In fact the rebels are not happy about this policy and have complained about it.

      For example, a supply column on the coast road to Brega is usually stopped by bombing ahead of the lead. This signals the soldiers to flee their vehicles and abandon the armor, and then NATO takes them out one at a time.

  • Rebels Advance, Surround Tripoli, as Qaddafi Totters
    • Heh - that gave me a good chuckle Juan and it made my day. The average rich-hating Leftist, for some inconceivable reason, assumes that whoever gets control of the oil will siphon the oil for his buddies and ultimately for the west. That only authoritarian socialists, no matter what their politics, are friends of the poor. That all of history can be reduced to the poor being exploited by the rich.

      As much I loath Ahmadinejad, he did one thing right. He is providing a monthly stipend of $40 to all adult Iranians. Of course this is not useful for controlling population growth - but allows the poor to decide what to do with this resource as opposed to idealistic and ideological self-installed and self-interested government bosses.

      I hope the new Libyan democracy writes something of this sort in its Constitution. That 50% or more of oil revenue to be evenly distributed for as long as it lasts.

      Would this answer the 70s Leftist's concerns? I doubt it. It is not the love of the poor that drives their agenda. It is the hatred of the rich.

    • The significance of the fall of Gharyan (actually south of Tripoli) should not be underestimated. Not only the supply road to Algeria and Chad has been cut but enough weapons and ammunition to arm 2000 fighters were captured. This is in addition to the armor & heavy weapons captured. Busloads of fresh Chadian merceneries-to-be were also captured.

      In the past 12 hours, the town of Mizdah 50km south of Gharyan has fallen. Not only this town was a military barrack and home to massive amounts of stored underground ammunition, but it controls the very last escape route from Tripoli (through Bani Walid).

      An hour ago the democracy fighters have launched an attack on Tiji, the last Qadafi military base in the Nafusa Mountains. Also reports are that the 2nd part (of three parts) to Brega has been captured. The Western part remains in Qadafi hands - but is the least defensible part.

      The amount of "softening" conducted by NATO prior to the capture of Zawiya/ Gharyan should not be underestimated. A UK heli carrier with 12 Apaches was stationed just outside of Zawiya. For six weeks NATO has been pounding Qadafi positions in the Zawiya region each and every night, sometimes with 3 shifts of strikes including daytime.

      Kudos to Human Rights Watch. But same cannot be said to the Marxist front Amnesty International who seems to concentrate on rebel infractions but shows little or no interest to tally Qadafi's systemic abuses, such as kidnapping up to 60,000 suspects and jailing them in cargo containers under the torching sun. Torture is routine at these camps.

      The Tewarga assault was closely coordinated with NATO and took the Qadafi forces by surprise.

      Your assessment that NATO wasted precious time early on bombarding Qadafi assets in Tripoli and chasing him in his bunkers is spot on. This was a major debate within the NATO ranks with the Qadafi-hunters dominating for a while (at the cost of many lives in Brega and Miserata) until the more rational experienced soldiers managed to convince that firepower should be used to soften the targets for the rebel advance. The first camp was adamant that the campaign should not be viewed as "an airforce for the rebels". Fortunately this faction lost the debate (due to non-performance) and NATO has been exactly an airforce for the rebels since, including French/ British/ Amazigh Legionnaires on the ground with laser pointers coordinating the attacks. There has been no discernable protest to this turn of events, except from the regime itself.

      The saga of Qadafi is over, relegated to the trash bin of history. The interesting questions though remain. What are the implications for regime change to Syria, Yemen, Algeria, and Iran. And then the 64K question: how will the liberation movement evolve upon the termination of the Qadafi regime. With the execution of Younis, this question has become quite more foggy. Would the revolutionaries take an ideological turn (to Islam) or would they defy common wisdom, rise to the challenge, shed the far too common middle eastern political baggage of revenge seeking and chaos until a strongman emerges, and arrive at a democratic half-way house where democratic forces and civil society has a chance to take root and pleasently surprise a very skeptical international community.

  • Jordan Plans Green Star Trek Theme Park
    • Agree with Juan's assessment of lack of interest in SF in the M.E. I attribute that to mainly a bloated ethos that looks at itself as the prime example of all there should be on earth and certainly the universe. Such an ethos can't imagine something so alien as Star Trek. It can't imagine, understand or accept an ethos that is so alien to the local one.

      I say it is some sort of social or cultural autism that has difficulty imagining other legitimate social systems in existence, and much less if it is so radically different.

  • Cheek: We have no Liberty without Energy Freedom
    • Cap & Trade is simply a recipe for corruption and influence peddling. There can't be a worse idea than this. Cap & Trade in Europe has proven disastrous.

      On the other hand Carbon Tax is the way to go.

      British Columbia has a $20/TCO2 tax increasing to $30/T.

      Australia just instituted a $23/T tax, which will also increase.

  • Al-Tamimi: The Norway Attacks and the Paranoid Mindset
  • 32 Nations Recognize Free Libya
    • @MOI - first off, one doesn't "believe" in evolution or a scientific theory. One either subscribes to it, or does not accept it.

      Of the 61% of Americans who do not accept evolution, I would propose that at least a half of them are non-religious people who believe in alternate forms of religion such as new ageism, or astrology, or simply have a humanities degree or bias, and bereft of a scientific mindset - which one needs in order to understand evolution. Not everyone disputing evolution is a church-going Christian fundy. Most people find the theory preposterous out of pure intuition.

    • This thread is about Libya.

      Do you have anything to say about Libya - no rendition, no secret prisons - just a simple massacre of 1,300 political prisoners by Qadafi.

      Do you really care about prisoners, or more likely just want to bash America?

    • @Janine - Could you explain what is so "sovereign" about Libya under Qadafi?

      Do Libyans have self-determination or the power to determine their foreign policy?

      If not, then Libya is NOT sovereign.

    • The freedom fighters have captured Brega Star University, 9 km east of Brega, but have met resistance elsewhere.

      Qadafi line of defense is about 4km out of town. There is a 2nd line of defense - it's main job being to shoot deserters. Qadafi is unwilling to resort to urban fighting because the desertion rate skyrockets.

      There are 3000 Qadafi troops, but 70% are logistics men who would rather escape. 800 troops have either defected, wounded, or dead in the past 36 hours.

  • Free Libya Forces Advance in Western Mountains
    • NATO has said that they have introduced a new air delivered weapon that is well suited for battle scenes where heavy armor is hiding in an urban surrounding.

      Gharyan has a history of an uprising - so there is already an anti-Qadafi force there.

    • I believe NATO (and Juan's) policy is a sensible one. If Tripoli gets drawn in an all-out war, the measure of recrimination and vengeance produced will take decades to settle.

      On the other hand, if the rebels advance ever so slightly every week, at some point the last straw will break Qadafi's back.

      So I would not consider it a stalemate. In the past 3 days, there has been actually quite significant progress on two of the 5 fronts. Brega is about to fall as well.

      When Qadafi's circle implodes, NATO is hoping that his replacment, i.e. a committee of generals will be happy to usher in democracy. This part I suspect may as a rule be problematic. But on the other hand, there is enough weapons among the population now, that the committee will have no choice but to cooperate with the UN in setting up a Constitutional Assembly.

      Will a secular state emerge, or will a Sharia state that gradually shuts down civil liberties emerge?

    • The NATO mandate is to protect civilians. The only manner in which to protect civilians from a bloody tyrant and his death squads is to remove the tyrant.

      NATO should drop the other shoe and supply mortars, RPG and machine guns to the rebels directly - as there is no other practical way to protect Libyans from the wrath of Qadafi, short of landing troops.

  • Top Ten Arab Spring Advances this Week
    • All good to hear about the Arab Spring. Now is there going to be an "Iranian Winter" of authoritarian forces descending after the old regimes are overthrown in a wave of poitical and social idealism and before even the celebrations stop?

      The left in particular needs to be vigilant about counter-democratic forces gaining mass support (and access to arms), as they will be its first victims.

  • Misrata Reprieved
    • @Yusuf - What about imposing religious law on society? What about terminating secularism in Libya? Ending separation of Mosque and State? Never accepting freedom of and from religion?

      Those Muslim activists who wish to do above politically and by force - what should they be called if not "Islamist"?

      How come Muslim activists never talk about Islamic law in the constitution or separation of Mosque and State?

    • After what the StopWar crowds did to NATO and the west in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is quite understandable why NATO is so gun shy.

      Even today the StopWar theory is that Libya is being bombed so west can syphon the oil - and they are not being countered on this. Why would NATO risk much under these circumstances?

    • @SDFS, Berbers dislike to be called "berber".

      Pls. use their proper term which is "Amazigh".

    • The rebels are getting stronger by the day, while Qadhafi is running out of resources by the day. There is no evidence of large number of civilians fighting for Qadhafi. He is not popular (to say the least).

  • The Tyrants Strike Back
    • Quid, Hezbollah is a rightwing extremist force that assassinates dissidents and does not tolerate any opposition to its rule by guns. It is a classic death squad militia in power because of guns as opposed to the democratic and liberal consent of the people.

      How do you know that Hezbollah represents the aspirations of Lebanese Shias, when they do not tolerate dissidents, dissension, and any debate on its sanctities? Where are the debates on the murderer Nasrollah in the Shia press of Lebanon? If you criticize Nasrollah, you will get killed, and that is an irrefutable condemnation of Nasrollah. There is no evidence that Hezbollah represents ANY Shia - until there are free and open and monitored elections in south Lebanon. The fact that this usurping party refuses to give up its tools of intimidation, killing and torture makes any election meaningless.

      Hezbollah will be booted because it is a criminal and anti-democratic organization of power seeking gun toting thugs.

      Ali ibn Abi Taleb was a mass murderer who executed POWs and took their wives for himself. Why should I care for any quotation from such a repugnant individual?

    • is a neo-fascist website. And Escobar makes no sense (never really did). To say that progressives (Escobar is a revisionist-progressive) should not align with the democracy aspirations because it MAY help KSA is silly to its core.

      And since Hezbolla is anti-democratic, anti-secular and sectarian, the sooner it gets booted, the better.

    • How about Latakia which is an Alewite community and Qamishli which is a Kurdish comnunity?

      After slaughtering about 100 people from Der'aa, do you really expect people not to arm themselves to defend their lives and rights?

      How many security forces have died in Der'aa and if any isn't that justice to someone who kills unarmed demonstrators?

      By killing unarmed demonstrators, Bashar is inviting the MB.

      And finally your "whataboutary" that since the west may support the sheikhs of Bahrain, then it is all OK for Bashar Assad to massacre defenseless people and disappear thousands of innocents - the moral depravity in this says it all.

    • More from "reformist" Assad's security manual:

      The use of snipers by both [black and plainclothed] battalions should be concealed in order to prevent any notice of the source of shots fired. In addition, it is acceptable to shoot some of the security agents or army officers in order to further deceive the enemy, which will further help the situation by provoking the animosity of the army against the protestors.

      Helena Cobban says we need more diplomats to establish dialogue and diplomacy with Assad. Now, that is such an informed and moral position to take by Helena (sarcasm).

      link to

    • Dave, the US has not engaged in Libya without UN sanction. US will not go into Syria, without a UN mandate.

      So as Joe from Lowell says, are you trying to damn if it does/damn if it don't the US, because of your so-called anti-imperialist hatred of America?

    • Assad's security manual - a must read:

      In case of confrontations between military units and the protestors, a clear order must be
      issued for the Army not to use live ammunition as that will be restricted for trained
      security agents along with the black [battalions] and the secret [plainclothed] battalions.

      link to

  • Fighting Rages in Misrata despite Withdrawal Pledge
    • Uninformed, here you see discarded military uniforms en masse.

      link to

      You are too honest with your name.

    • It is not just "rebel claims" that the forces of fascism wear civilian clothes. It is all over in videos captured both in Libya and Syria and posted on the net. Do you have a flash player? There are numerous captured PoWs in civilian clothing in such videos. What's your love of socialist Ghaddafi, in any case?

    • Now this is really disingenious - that you expect people who want to protect their hard won human rights and defend their homes to go and procure a uniform before they are allowed to do so?

      The hospital is not "closed". It is up for renovation.

  • Torpey: Support the Libyans but Don't Arm Them!
  • Women's Rallies in Libya Protest Rape
    • @Emma Martinez - well, I just assumed the only reason you support Ghaddafi's slaughter may be because you think the West depends on Libyan oil and wants to syphon the oil - which the west does not. My bad.

      Again you got it wrong - soldiers are naturally not rapists. They don't recruit rapists for an army. But you cannot deny that viagra may enhance the sexual drive and cause acts of rape against "the enemy" by otherwise men who would not think of committing rape under those circumstances.

      Libya has tens of billion dollars of oil income. Supplying 5,000 pills is a drop in the budget.

      "I was pointing out that the west relies heavily on this assumption in order to justify their own agenda, which is largely to paint ALL Muslim societies as evil,unjust, backward, and generally less worthy than the west in all respects."

      Any source to back this up? Or does it follow from your (anti) imperialist conspiracy theories?

      "Reports such as this one will be used to justify the west’s aims, just as the issue of women’s rights is used to justify military action in Afghanistan."

      And yes, reports such as Eman's claim to rape can be used to justify helping the rebels by democratic countries. What a reactionary thing to say and reactionary position to take. In fact you are legitimizing rape in Libya. Nobody can criticize the Ghaddafi regime because you claim that will let NATO intervene against Ghaddafi.

      The level of reaction in support of Ghaddafi's raping army is nauseating. The denial of rape by Emma, despite having no evidence, is infuriating: Ghaddafi's rapes of Eman and civilians, and his backward dictatorial regime, cannot even be disclosed and discussed as that may give ammunition to the west!!

      And no - the reason men (and animals) commit rape is due to the masculine sex drive - and not due to love of violence (whatever that is supposed to mean). Did you take any science while majoring in gender studies?

    • Uninformed - is this the flip side of "A tree in a forest will only fall if someone hears it?"

      Your constructionism makes no sense, as the above statement makes no sense as it breaks the laws of physics.

      Much of Ghadaffi's airforce is Serbian in origin. There are certainly serbs working for him, and getting paid. Maybe pilots too.

    • Guy Incognito says:
      03/30/2011 at 12:30 ... by bombing Sirte the bombing campaign is clearly outside the scope of UNSCR 1973 and therefore illegal. I also haven’t heard a response from Mr Cole regarding this development.

      The coalition is not bombing Sirte - it is bombing Ghaddafi's armor and troops who are killing civilians in Misrata, Zawiya, Zintan, Tripoli, Ajdabiya, Ras Lanuf and a dozen other places. Pls. read up on events in Libya.

    • The average soldier is not a rapist. The average soldier may not rape women in battle - but with viagra and condoms, the average soldier may indeed rape - which is a policy instrument of the anti-imperialist Ghaddafi.

      No, you are not a politician - rather an ideologue.

    • Phil Daniels writes: Libya’s oil reserves are about the same as Nigeria’s, they each have about 30% of the African total reserves.

      What a non-sequitur. FYI, Africa has very little oil to begin with. Libya's reserves is only 0.8% of world reserves (which is what is important, and not African reserves). That figure does not even include shale oil, whereby Libyan reserves falls to 0.3 (or a third of one percent) of world oil reserves. Indeed the reserves are minor.

    • Just because you (incoherently) believe that the West is after the small reserves of Libyan oil, does not mean that Eman AlObeidi was not raped. Viagra was not available at the time of the Rwanda genocide. The Freedom Fighters are not attacking civilians and they have no motivation to rape. The cities they capture are welcoming them.

      Can you provide source for your claims that Viagra distributed by Ghaddafi's death squads is propaganda by his victims?

      Your claim that women are not oppressed under traditional M.E. societies is hilarious and quite reactionary.

  • An Open Letter to the Left on Libya
    • dmbeaster - you are confusing a war of liberation to an invasion-occupation. Think Bosnia or Kosovo, and the errors of your analysis becomes apparent. And also - the Shah did not kill anywhere close to what Ghaddafi is killing today and the Shah never had his army shell the cities. Another incorrect equivalency.

      Saddam was deposed with minimal force. The issue with Iraq was the post-Saddam Baathist-Islamist uprising and the sectarian war that followed. Neither is the case here.

    • Steffan, there has been no such evidence since the demise of the S.U. (1989) - that western capitalists prefer that democracy be disposed.

      Fact is that there can't be liberal democracy without (small-scale) capitalism such as in social democracy, in the first place. Democratic socialism is an oxymoron.

    • "Economic"? Feeney you are disingenious. Libya has only 0.8% of world oil reserves. There is nothing economic about UN or western intervention in Libya as Prof. Cole has stated. Economics is a pretty exact science and no amount of anti-imperialist language games you play can make the sky green.

    • Well said - though the last paragraph was some bit of contortion and reduces the aggregate strength of your argument.

      On the other hand - there are good theories why democracy is limited to liberal-capitalist societies, and that democratic socialism is an oxymoron. Compare the Soviet Union to America - which of them has a stronger claim to democracy?

    • Thanks Helena Sheehan - very interesting articles. A voice from the Libyan ground.

    • There are at the minimum 50 killed a day as reported by the media - so that amounts to at least 2,000 killed in the past 40 days. At the start of the uprising and during the battles of Zawiya and Ajdabia and Benghazi - there were spikes in killings. Also at least 1,000 of Ghaddafi's security forces have been killed.

      Then there are the "disappeared" which can double or triple that number easily.

      The rebels now claim over 10,000 killed.

      Pls. check with the reporting agencies.

    • "Your discussion above of oil motivations misses the point that as oil prices rise, consumption drops and the global economy slows. This costs the elites. "

      Not really - what happens is that capital moves from the consumer to the treasuries of oil producing nations, or to the oil companies that have reserves.

      This will not induce global recession unless this capital is put to wasteful work. In fact it could be positive if it cuts wasteful consumption. And it has nothing to do with "hurting the elite". I am sure the Sheiks are very happy with rise in oil prices.

      More pseudo-economics.

    • "Mad Dog" is exactly what the Libyan revolutionaries call the despot. It is an apt characterization and connotes meaning.

      A historic discussion such as that raised by Prof. Cole is now no longer appropriate because the full-of-itself hard-left has been offended by an incorrect characterization of a war criminal. Please lend me a shoulder to weep.

    • Exactly. The problem is that the anti-democratic left, exemplified in the many comments here, puts socialism and anti-colonialism (whatever that is) way over and above democracy and human rights.

      In fact there is scant evidence that the hard left and the socialist care for democracy and freedoms, to start with.

    • @ Gurien - "If his humanitarian pretext was sincere, where’s our war criminal president’s similar concern about the killing of innocent civilians in IRAQ, PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, YEMEN, PALESTINE, BAHRAIN & SOMALIA, most of where he already has civilian blood on his hands?"

      What a bunch of lousy "whataboutary". If there is civil strife in Yemen, that does not mean we should turn a blind eye to the massacres in Libya. So much for the anti-democratic left's morals.

      7,500 people have been massacred in Libya in the past month. How many in Palestine and for what reason? Neither are these whatabout places suffering from a war of liberation which automatically imposes a moral responsibility on all of us.

      Nobody is getting killed in Iraq today by the state.

      Get your facts straight and drop this childish whataboutary and equivalency.

    • Of course it is. Misurata - the largest city (pop 670,000) is under siege by socialist nationalist Ghaddafi troops and hundreds are getting killed there due to shelling and sniping ny Ghaddafi's forces. The Pro-Democracy forces need to arrive and save Misurata civilians from the massacre by tanks and howitzers. Sirte is blocking their way to save Misurata.

    • I believe you are confusing Peter Hitchens with his brother Christopher. I have no doubts that Christopher Hitchens would agree with Prof. Cole's article in most respects.

    • There is little evidence that this is a tribal war. Libya's GDP per capita stood at $12,500 before the turmoil. At these rates, tribes lose their anachronistic meaning. Tribes have a presence but not more than what we saw in Iraq.

      This is a classic war of internal liberation, fueled by Islamist ideology, and some background tribal noise.

      It is funny how some leftists want to deny that this is a pro-democracy movement through mental contortions. Could it be that for these leftist democracy is just a piece of convenient rhetoric on the way to power? So far, the evidence points to democracy being a disposable construct for the socialist.

    • The West has forty (40) times more oil than Libya just in the form of oil sands in Canada, recoverable at $50 a barrell. Libya only has 0.8% of world oil reserves. I will not be so worried about "guaranteed" contracts to the West - after all there is such thing as an oil market and there is absolutely no reason for the LTNC to enter into below-market deals, and if it did - such contracts will come to surface. The LTNC is already selling its oil (300,000 bbl/d) to the market today (via Qatar).

      This is not a civil war as witnessed in Zawiya, Misrata, and Tripoli. It is a classic war of domestic liberation fueled with Islamist ideology.

    • Terrific article Juan - for a veteran like me, this article is pleasantly unbelievable. Some sense and decency in the ranks of the left.

  • Libyan Liberation Movement Strikes Back as NATO Comes to the Rescue
    • @Metcalf - obviously you are unbalanced. For 42 years Qaddafi has been a vassal of the Soviets and now any other anti-west dictatorship on the planet. His army is a Soviet supplied and trained army. But when the Brits send 14 counterintelligence specialists to Libya, probably in related to the war on terror, you claim that the dreaded security forces of Ghaddafi are trained in the West. And yes, the Japanese Tsunami was caused by that chaotic butterfly in China.

      And no - Moses did not part the sea. Obviously you have difficulty separating fact from fiction. What part of the Ghaddafi security apparatus is western supplied and trained? 14 men is not even a drop in the pool, and there is no evidence that that was related to his "bodyguards". I call shenanigan on this.

    • @Sunflower

      "the aiding and abetting of Shi’ia death squads, ..."

      US coalition in Iraq aided and abetted the Shia death squads? Any source for that or is that more StopWar anti-imperialist urban mythology? I am sure that is what made the Sunnis turn to the US coalition and that is why Moqtada loves the U.S. [sarcasm]! Get your facts straight pls.

    • @Barkell - exactly!

    • @Steffan - pure baseless speculation. In any case do not worry. Canada has 6 times more oil than Saudi Arabia. The west can afford to "lose" Saudi Arabia. Whoever runs S.A., will have to sell the oil to the markets anyways.

      Pls. set aside the myth that all world conflicts is about S.A. oil. It is not.

    • @Susan - no you are wrong about legitimacy. No legitimacy will be gained by having this assassin at the table and making him part of the solution. For heaven's sake the International Criminal Court is after him.

      What happened to lofty moral principles of right and wrong, justice and the rule of law that the Left espouses? Is that a charade? The convenience of a kumbaya solution is to jettison basic human principles out the window? How convenient.

    • More disingenious "whataboutary".

      If my neighbor beats his wife does that mean I should not be arrested for beating mine?

      There are some universal standards, you know.

      Saudi Arabia is not in the process of killing 10,000 civilians - as in Libya.

    • That is why Nato is dragging its foot on armor strikes. It is not sure what will emerge after the demise of Ghaddafi. Nato is heavily negotiating with the TNC - but the TNC doesn't even know what is happening with the Islamic forces. The front lines are greatly accelerating the Islamic radicalization of the fighters.

      Nato wants to make sure that the army remains intact, while Ghaddafi is deposed - similar to Egypt and Tunisia and not so similar to Iran.

      For Nato, the best scenario is a coup against Ghaddafi or his flight.

    • Civil war or tribal war is a misnomer. This is a war of liberation intermixed with a religious Jihad with elements of tribalism. Nothing makes you braver than knowing your seat in heaven is reserved.

    • @eCAHNOMICS - what a load of "whataboutary"

      15 people killed in Bahrain
      60 people killed in Yemen
      7500 people killed in Libya.

      Equating these numbers is immoral.

    • @Metcalf - what is your source that the US trained Ghaddafi's bodyguards - never heard of this.

      To diplomatically compel a 42 year dictator with monarchical ambitions to open up his totalitarian state is as credulous as Moses parting the waters of the Red Sea.

  • Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN No-Fly Zone
    • SOLO - what nonsense. This is a liberation movement.

      There is nothing "Washington Consensus" about Egypt. The Islamists are taking over. Get your facts straight.

      SOLO: “a revolution beholden to outside intervention is a revolution that will be subject to the dictates of same”

      So I guess Bosnia Herzegovina is now a vassal state of the UN or is it the US? Pls. edify.

    • Pepe Escobar indeed has a checkered record, and his article doesnt make it any better.

      This article by Escobar is just one huge "whataboutary". Instead of decrying Ghaddafi's atrocities and celebrating the liberation of Libya, Escobar is lamenting the house of Saud. Then he tries to discredit the UN coalition by another irrelevent whataboutary on UN being hypocritical on Saudi Arabia.

      He also commits an egrarious mistake claiming that the Saudis want to see Ghaddafi's regime destroyed. All indications are otherwise that the Saudis do not wish the Arab Spring domino effect to arrive at their shores. If anything, the Saudis would want Ghaddafi and Assad to remain in power.

    • The Egyptians and Tunisians, unlike the Libyans and Syrians and Bahrainis were not massacred by state forces and heavy armor when they resorted to peaceful demonstrations.

      Ghaddafi's friends cannot supply him with tanks and howitzers. So if it comes to man-to-man battles, guess who has the numbers and the upper hand?

    • There have been no credible claims of civilian casualties by the airstrikes, as of yet.

      However, between 50 to 100 civilians are killed by Ghaddafi forces every day. So that is 300 to 600 civilians killed by Ghaddafi in the past 6 days.

    • So what is wrong with a regime change operation?

      Libyan's deserve popular sovereignty - don't they?

    • And another 16,000 volunteers that are getting on-the-job training, as per the TNC spokesperson.

    • Well, the Left has split. You have the post-colonial, ideological, and reactionary Left who believe no leaf falls from a tree without the CIA being behind it (trying to syphon raw materials) and then you have the liberal-democratic (and pro-small capitalism) Left who put the principles of freedom and human rights ahead of ideology and discredited historical determinism.

      In other words, there is a split between the socialist-nationalist-pomo left and the non-socialist (or social democratic) left.

      It is about time this would happen, and for good historical reasons. I hope it brings some rationality and empiricism back to political discourse.

  • Top Ten Ways that Libya 2011 is Not Iraq 2003
    • I see Chris - you want to condemn the west simply because it has not been perfect as per your standards - at the same time turning a blind eye as to where Ghaddafi is receiving the bulk of its arms responsible for the slaughter of 5,000 to 10,000 people. Your ideological interest seems to only be to trash the west - no matter that western assistance was in relation to fighting Islamism - and certainly not to support Ghaddafi's dictatorship. And oh BTW, the west in return also got him to drop building nuclear weapons & chemical weapons - but no - you rather see a uranium bomb as opposed to help against Islamism - and obviously you dont care about the Russians loading Ghaddafi up to the ears ready for slaughter. The lack of decency and human compassion in your post is specific to the western imperialist conspiracy cults. And yes, that is a justified ad hominem.

      Selling non-repression arms to bad guys who in return don't build nuclear bombs is not so bad after all.

      Funny how Galloway and Chavez and Kirchner and every post-colonial leftwinger or socialist called Ghaddafi an "anti-imperialist" darling and then you have the gall to criticize folks who want to bring him down as "formerly friendly rightwingers"? Why would rightwingers want to line up with this guy who blows up 747s in the name of anti-imperialism and "death to the west"?

      Your case boils down to Bush at some time considering Ghaddafi as anti-Al Qaeda. That's all you have. The vacuity of your arguments is for all to see. And the lack of humanity and decency in supporting Ghaddafi - well that is another matter altogether.

      Finally when you equate 5,000 killed in Libya with 60 in Yemen or 15 in Bahrain, (but not 300 in leftwing Syria) - you need to get a sense of proportion.

    • You are wrong again Chris.

      First off, the statistic you quote is ONLY EU sales ! - It does not indlude sales from Russia, South Africa, China etc.

      2nd, the Guardian statistic you quote is only AFTER 2005 and purposefully omits sales from 1969 to 2004 (35 years of sale). An inventory of existing armament including naval and air weapons will most likely show that 95% of arms sale to Ghaddafi has been from the socialist block.

      But no - the clueless "anti-imperialist" left has to doctor the facts and play with out of context statistics to suit their incoherent ideology.

    • @Tartessos - What a non-sequitur - Oil can be $5 a barrell extraction cost in the Middle East - so what? You still have to buy it at $105 /bbl, and the profit is pocketed by the treasury (or sheikh) of that oil producing country.

      The Canadian oil producer does not have access to the M.E. oil. But can produce oil at $25 to $50 /bbl. Source: the report by the Alberta Provincial government on oil sands production costs.

      So what is your point? That because Saudi Arabians can produce oil at a lower cost, other countries should refrain from producing oil?

      The oil sand's llife cycle carbon emissions is not very different from that of conventional petroleum production - just marginally higher. Pls. provide source for your claim.

      It is a well known fact that the anti-colonial anti-democratic left has not even a basic understanding of economics or finance.

    • @CHRIS - Didnt know that Migs, SA-200s and T72 were manufactured by Americans. Where did you get that?

    • @Santo - Get your facts straight. You are wrong on both counts.

      1- Libyan oil was nationalized decades ago.

      2- Mossadegh was overthrown by Iranians as he was extremely unpopular bringing Stalinists into the army and government. CIA spent only $300K on a failed coup. The actual coup happened days later.

      3- Even under the Shah, the Iranian oil was nationalized. The objection was not to nationalization.

    • @Tartessos - obviously you have zilch business acumen and experience. First, do a google on Alberta oil sands and you will see the government of Alberta estimate (2006) to be $25 a barrel for recovering oil sands, including environmental remediation. Second, this industry is expanding rapidly, but takes 5 to 10 years to obtain its permits and arrange financing due to environmental oversight and permitting. Third, the billion dollar projects need to be financed and oil was $60 a barrell just last year and there is no guarantee it will stay at $105. There is market risk. Also technology is improving and reducing the cost of recovery.

      Sorry to shatter your simplistic theory that all global affairs can be reduced to the US syphoning Arab oil.

      When oil was back in the $30 to $40 range, the oil sands was a viable industry.

    • All or most oil companies are multinational, so what is the point? The Chinese are the biggest investors in the Alberta oil sands. I don't buy nationalism that each country must do its own oil, resource, etc. work. That makes absolutely no sense economically, and is silly. Unless you wish poverty.

      Libyan oil was heavily invested by the French, Italians, and Russians. It is only 0.8% of world oil reserves, and a small fish.

      Iraqi oil is in the hands of its national and elected government. So not sure what your gripe is.

    • HY says "Libya has the world's tenth largest oil reserves."

      This is not an accurate way of describing Libya's oil reserves and is misleading. It sort of makes it appear that Libya possesses 10% of world oil.

      In fact, Libya has only 0.8% of world oil reserves - a drop in the bucket. And I have not even counted shale oil which is phenomenally large, and mostly in the US and Russia.

      Also, it is not 9th - but 10th in ranking.

    • George - could you provide source for "Libya floating on sea of oil"? Saudi Arabia has about 8 times more oil than Libya, and Canada has 40 (yes, FORTY) times more oil than Libya in the form of bitumen that is recoverable at $50 or less per barrell.

      And the difference between light sweet oil and heavy crude is only $2 a barrell, a non-sequitur.

      How can you claim that the liberation of Libya is all about its few drops of oil, when Canada, next door to the US has 40 times more oil? Makes no sense.

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