2014 October 18 Saturday
Libya: Caliphate Cities, 2 Parliaments, Islamists

Back in March 2011 British, French, and American air strikes helped the rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. How is that working out? Tripoli houses the old Parliament at the west end of the Libyan coast. Whereas the most recently elected Parliament fled the militias who objected to the democratic outcome and the new Parliament is at the east end of the Libyan coast in Tobruk. It has international recognition but not much else. In between? Tribes, militias, Islamists, fighting.

Benghazi, the second city and headquarters of the 2011 Revolution, is largely in the hands of Islamist fighters, some with links to al-Qaeda. There are daily assassinations of officials, journalists and social activists.

Demra, near Tobruk, has declared itself an Islamic Caliphate.

The Obama Administration thinks it can reshape Syria and Iraq to be much more to its liking. I saw the historical record of failed US attempts to reshape Mid East countries is arguing against this hope.

Europe ought to build up big southern coast guards to stop the flow of illegal immigrants from the Arab Muslim countries. The US ought to scale back its ambitions for spreading liberal democracy. The West should get more realistic and protect the interests of Western people. But the insane people who set policy in Western capitals do not want to be constrained by what is possible.

Update: Here is a very funny article published in the March/April 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs by Ivo H. Daalder and James G. Stavridis. NATO's Victory in Libya: The Right Way to Run an Intervention.

NATO's operation in Libya has rightly been hailed as a model intervention. The alliance responded rapidly to a deteriorating situation that threatened hundreds of thousands of civilians rebelling against an oppressive regime. It succeeded in protecting those civilians and, ultimately, in providing the time and space necessary for local forces to overthrow Muammar al-Qaddafi. And it did so by involving partners in the region and sharing the burden among the alliance's members.

NATO's involvement in Libya demonstrated that the alliance remains an essential source of stability.

A model intervention? A source of stability? For what? Arms sales? Job security for NATO defense ministries?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 October 18 11:09 PM 

Stephen said at October 22, 2014 7:09 PM:

Hi Randall, this 20 minute podcast from the BBC might be of interest to you. It analyses the history of the caliphate as an Islamic concept and give a framework for comprehending the stuff happening in that part of the world.

Here's the blurb:

What is a caliphate? What ideals does such an Islamic state embody - and how could or should it be implemented? Analysis consults a range of voices to explore how the concept has evolved and has been expressed over the centuries. Edward Stourton talks to historians, religious scholars and political thinkers who offer their perspectives on caliphates of the past, the revivalist rhetoric of the present and the beliefs shared by many Muslims about its future return.

Prof HUGH KENNEDY, School of Oriental and African Studies
Sheikh RUZWAN MUHAMMAD, Sunni theologian and scholar
Dr REZA PANKHURST, author, "The Inevitable Caliphate?"
Dr CAROLINE FINKEL, author, "Osman's Dream: the History of the Ottoman Empire"
Dr SALMAN SAYYID, Leeds University, author, "Recalling the Caliphate"
Dr ABDOU FILALI ANSARY, Aga Khan University
Title Analysis: The Idea of the Caliphate 20 Oct 2014
Author BBC Radio 4
Published October 21, 2014, 7:00 AM
Genre News & Politics

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