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thoughts he offers in On the Line With Libya, after speaking with a highly connected Libyan family, a member of which is a senior military officer he tries not to too clearly identify.  The officer tells him that 3 naval vessels were ordered to go to Benghazi - now completely under the control of anti-Qaddafi forces - and attack, but which have not yet left.  While pro-Qaddafi officers staged a a rally on behalf of the dictator, they backed off when they realized they were heavily outnumbered by those opposing him, and so far the vessels have not left.  Officially there is not yet a mutiny - the officers "accepted their orders" but the ships have not sailed.  Those opposing Qaddafi operate in fear of summary execution should they openly oppose him.

It is in this context that Kristof offers a list of suggestions well worth considering.

There is something similar happening with the air force. several of whose officers have already defected to Malta with their planes.  One unit near Tripoli opposing Qaddafi has remained on its base.

As Kristof writes

Those are the people we need to send signals to: Libyan military officers who are wavering about which way to turn their guns.

Let me outline the key points, and then offer a few thoughts of my own.

Kristof offers 5 points, noting that John Kerry and others (including President Sarkozy of France) have advocated for much of this list.

Offer sanctuary for Libyan pilots who if ordered take their planes out of Libya rather than bomb their own people.  Remember those already fleeing to Malta.  

Impose financial and trade sanctions on Libya, especially by cancelling military transfers and freezing assets of Qaddafi and his family.  These will take some time to bite, unless the world also cuts off Libya from the global banking system, which would be immediate.  Such actions

would signal to those around Colonel Qaddafi that he is going down and they should not obey his orders.

Impose a no-fly zone as we did in Iraq after the first Gulf War.  We should warn Libya that if aircraft are used against their own people Libyan military assets will be destroyed (I will come back to this point anon).  This is something a defecting Libyan diplomat has urged.

Encourage continuing pressure by the Arab League and the African Union.

Seek a referral by the United Nations Security Council to the International Criminal Court for the prosecution of Colonel Qaddafi for crimes against humanity.

A few of my thoughts and observations.  Let's start with the no-fly zone.  Here I think we need to be cautious.  If at all possible, the forces actually used within Libyan airspace should not be American or even NATO.  Action by non-Muslim forces against yet another Muslim nation might be problematic.  We should provide the logistics, but perhaps work through the Arab League and have Egyptian and perhaps Algerian planes be the operational forces.  Further, we need to be very careful about the military assets we might destroy.  Go back to the three naval vessels that have not YET sailed to Bengazi - how do we avoid destroying assets under control of officers that are opposed to Qaddafi without actually strengthening his hand?

On the referral to the International Criminal Court -  it cannot be the United States involved in such an action -  under the Bush administration we refused to be subject to the ICC, and threatened nations that would not agree to waive taking US personnel before it.   Rather, it needs to be nations who are themselves subject, and again, if possible, Arab and/or other Muslim nations, to make clear this is not an effort of non-Muslim nations against a Muslim nation.  Perhaps Turkey or Jordan could be leaned on to act.

Kristof notes that Qaddafi has tried to argue that the pressure on Libya is a result of nations trying to recolonize Libya.  To undercut that argument the two nations that must not be seen to be in the lead are Italy, whose colony Libya was before WWII, and the United States, which in the period after WWII had a large military presence in the nation -  I believe at one point that Wheelus AFB was the largest such installation in the world.

What happens in Libya will have a huge impact on other nations.  Kristof reminds us of that.   There are risks to be sure.  But Kristof closes with two reason he thinks we need to move ahead.

The first is that many Libyans are wavering.  

That military family in Tripoli estimates that only 10 percent of those in the Libyan armed forces are behind Colonel Qaddafi — and the rest are wondering what to do next.

The second is that as this democracy uprising spreads, other despots may be encouraged to follow Colonel Qaddafi’s example. We need to make very sure that the international reaction is so strong — and the scorched-earth strategy so unsuccessful — that no other despot is tempted to declare war on his own people.

On this second point, we absolutely want to send that message.  But we need to do so in a way that is not seen as the US imposing its views, but rather supporting those in favor of democracy, while working in concert with international organizations, especially the Arab League and the African Union, and - yes, Republicans - under the auspices of the UN Security Council.

Kristof's final words are clear:  So let’s not sit on our hands.

I agree.  It is the only way to establish in Libya what I always hope for, which is not just an absence of military conflict, because that can be achieved by tyranny.

What I hope for is simple, it is one word, and I will here end with it:

PEACE

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 03:08:16 AM PST

  •  appreciate any comment you might offer (4+ / 0-)

    I have offered Kristof's thoughts and a few of my own.

    What do you think?

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 03:29:25 AM PST

  •  i think the world is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, RJDixon74135

    too damn slow to act.  

    this is a reasonable list, but none of it has been done.

    but hey, despite the fact that we want him out, it is okay to let others die to try to accomplish this with their lives while we wring our hands.

    I am awaiting delivery of my new DK4 signature

    by BlueDragon on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 03:39:55 AM PST

    •  I think the image of the US as imperialist (0+ / 0-)

      power could be helped by intervention here. I'm wary of no-fly zones unless there is a UN resolution. Announcing that officers who commit crimes against humanity will be held accountable would be a start.  The US could interfere with military communications and assist communications between defecting officers. Kristof is correct re the US and Italy, but sometimes you have to go there.

      The final question of what is the agenda is very important. Removal of father and son? Replaced by who and how?  The Spice must flow after all.

      Looks like nation building is back on the national agenda, even while ours is pulled apart.

      “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

      by the fan man on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 04:24:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very Complicated Situation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man, ferallike

    Right now, the New York Times is reporting that Gh/Kh/Qadaf(f)i is massing forces in Tripoli and using them against the civilian population.  The potential loss of life here is deeply worrisome.  I think that this is why the West seems to be moving slowly -- the potential for tragedy is huge and the potential for gain is uncertain.

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 04:04:25 AM PST

    •  People die in revolts... (0+ / 0-)

      They died in the French Revolution
      They died in the American Revolution

      Let's spend less time lamenting their deaths, especially since THEY seem to be less interested in their own deaths than gaining freedom.

      Let's just hope they win.

    •  I caught a couple of tweets last night alerting to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135

      a possible show down in Tripoli today. I posted this in Blue Dragon's Eyes on Egypt & Region Liveblog #124.

      Gaddafi digs in, but much of Libya is already out of his grasp

      Forces loyal to the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi were fighting last night to consolidate control over what appeared to be the rapidly diminishing parts of the country not yet overrun by protesters in rebellion against his 42-year rule.
      snip
      Cracks in the regime were underlined when the Quryna website reported that two air force pilots had baled out of their Russian-made Sukhoi jet and let it crash-land rather than carry out orders to bomb the country's second city of Benghazi, which is now in the hands of anti-Gaddafi protesters.
      snip
      One of the pilots who parachuted from the jet was identified as Ali Omar Gaddafi by a resident, who said he had seen the pilots and the wreckage of the jet outside the oil port of Breqa. That would make him a member of Muammar Gaddafi's own clan – a significant factor in Libya's heavily tribal society.
      snip

      The Associated Press, reporting from the eastern city of Tobruk, quoted an officer allied with the protesters, Lt Col Omar Hamza, saying: "There is now an operating room for the militaries of all the liberated cities. They are trying to help the people in Tripoli to capture Gaddafi." A defence committee of local residents was guarding an anti-aircraft missile base outside Tobruk.

      And a tweet also from last night saying the Battle for Tripoli starts today

      @BlogsofWar Blogs of War
      RT @weddady I am told the battle for Tripoli will start tomorrow.. #Libya
      11 hours ago via web Favorite Undo Retweet Reply

      The beatings will continue until morale improves. ********************************* -8.50, -6.92

      by ferallike on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 04:58:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another thing we need to do... (2+ / 0-)

    is to support medical aid. If we can support Doctors W/O Borders, or get US Gov to send medical supplies/team/$ to Egypt and/or Tunisia, it would be great --- Egyptian & Tunisian doctors are at borders and entering Libya, but they also need supplies. Here is a current list--http://www.tunisienumerique.com/... --

    The French are active in this, from what I can tell. I wonder if our best bet here on DK would be to do a fund drive for Drs W/O Borders?

    We can also help by using FB & Twitter, too. (disclaimer: I haven't taken the Twitter plunge yet but am seeing I'll have to...).

    As for Kristof's ideas -- I think I'm mostly in agreement. Too busy to add much but wanted to point out that the mercenaries are a BIG problem in Libya. If we could stop the flow of new mercenaries into the country, that would help a lot, IMO.

    Thanks, Ken for the diary.

    OT but interesting thing I read: There are reports of protests in North Korea. I don't know if they can be confirmed but it seems likely they have happened:

    The North Korean regime is on alert after signs of public unrest mainly in North Pyongyan Province, the chief conduit of information from the outside world into North Korea. On Feb. 14, dozens staged nighttime protests in Jongju and Yongchon in the province demanding electricity and food, while on Feb. 18, hundreds in Sinuiju clashed with security forces to protest a crackdown on open-air markets.

    http://english.chosun.com/...

    This is worth a diary but I don't have time to make one worthwhile. I've been waiting for an open thread to post that. Don't want to derail your diary tho, but wanted to put it out there and this seemed like a good place. Hope that's ok. Maybe someone will do a diary on it...?

  •  Private Mercenary Army (2+ / 0-)

    In my news skims this morning, I ran across this:

    Here's a big reason why the uprising in Libya has faced such brutal resistance.

    The Swedish newspaper Expressen (ht: @makro_trader) reports that Qaddafi's private mercenary army is 120,000-strong, making it far larger than the official Libyan army, which only totals about 50K.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/...


  •  Creating a no-fly zone over Libya is the hardest (2+ / 0-)

    thing to do. It's just an extremely touchy thing to do without it backfiring. Who declares it and who enforces it?

    Has anyone considered offering, in addition to sanctuary, fuel and ammunition to any Libyans that fight against the regime? There are Libyan police and military units that have refused to fight, joined the protests, stayed on their base, as well as just left the country. There are reports that at least some of the 'mercenaries' are not there of there own free will and the protesters have offered to let them get away after laying down their arms.

    Ms. Greyhound has been following this pretty much all day and night since it started from sources outside the U.S., and what's happening on the ground is far more complicated than what we are being fed, as usual.

    He has escalated this into a civil war between the vast majority and a tiny minority and that brings up all kinds of potential problems for anyone that steps into it.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 04:45:56 AM PST

  •  It won't be too long before someone kills him... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, ferallike

    Fahrid Zakaria said as much on Anderson Cooper last night.

    The man is a dangerous version of Micheal Jackson it seems.  Complete with a drugged out demeanor and a parasol.

    •  There has been a religious fatwa issued (3+ / 0-)

      against him for killing his own people.

      DOHA (AFP) – Influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa on Monday that any Libyan soldier who can shoot dead embattled leader Moamer Kadhafi should do so "to rid Libya of him."

      "Whoever in the Libyan army is able to shoot a bullet at Mr Kadhafi should do so," Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric who is usually based in Qatar, told Al-Jazeera television.

      He also told Libyan soldiers "not to obey orders to strike at your own people," and urged Libyan ambassadors around the world to dissociate themselves from Kadhafi's regime.

      The beatings will continue until morale improves. ********************************* -8.50, -6.92

      by ferallike on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 05:05:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, I have to hijack this (kind of) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RJDixon74135

    and acknowledge the new DK4 information that has teacherken ranked:

    Most Recommended:     #1
    Frequent this month:    #1 besides frontpagers
    Most prolific:     #2 besides frontpagers
    Most followed:    #5 after Keith O, bondad, Jerome a Paris, and Meteor Blades.

    Pretty freaking cool teacherken!  Congratulations!  I don't even think frontpagers should be on these lists.

    movin' to DK4 soon, gonna be a dental floss tycoon ...

    by alliedoc on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 05:01:24 AM PST

  •  There's are problems with ICC referral (3+ / 0-)

    The same problem as referring George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to the International Criminal Court.

    The US doesn't recognize the authority of the International Criminal Court; neither does Libya. (Nice club to be in, eh?)

    And nations that do are reluctant to upset diplomatic relations with those countries that don't recognize the court.  (For Libya however, this is no longer an issue.)

    Who is going to physically deliver Gaddafi and his generals to the Court?  They have already determined to die in battle first.  Those who haven't have already broken with Gaddafi.

    Finally, is this sort of plea bargaining really going to help the authority of the Court?

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 06:31:01 AM PST

  •  A few points. (0+ / 0-)

    A quick insertion of US forces---first, to demonstrate support for the People of Libya; second, to prop up those elements of the Libyan military who have already disassociated themselves from the tyrant, and to offer support for those who want to, but fear the aftermath of doing so; third, to let the pro-regime forces know that they're up against a lot more than a bynch of rock-throwing youth; and fourth, to change the quamtified mindset that America is in it for America only---would do wonders.

    Imagine this:  US forces go into Libya to kick the bum out---and then actually kept its promise to leave once the goal had been achieved, by LEAVING!  Remember "Iraq 1?"  Huge numbers of US forces---including tanks---sitting on a highway, less than a day's rumble away from Baghdad, and we kept our promise.  A really big chunk of the ME suddenly looked at America in a different light that day.

    Plus---imagine how much "talking point" that would take away from Al Quaeda's recruiting team....

    Another issue is going to be the ICC.  Obama can reverse the damage done by Bush with the stroke of a pen, by arguing that subjecting one's own nation to the ICC is a prerequisite of the treaty.  Believe it or not, it IS just that simple.  Start an investigation, and run it to the point that GWB flees US soil---then you freeze his assets.  We regain a semblance of credibility.  Once out, we give him "the Minuteman Treatment" by stripping his US citizenship and benefits package.  Sort of a "do unto others as they would have us do unto others."

    Now, let's revisit the no-fly zone issue.  Probably the best way to get that going is to put a US aerial contingent in Egypt, and do so only to support the Egyptian military.  This puts the Generals in cairo in a better light, and allows Tel Aviv to spend a little less time playing with that wicked little toggle-switch called "war."  Again---get in, do the job, and then get out right quick.

    Another knife in the back of ObL's PR campaign.

    Start to finish?  Maybe two months at most; maybe less---just long enough to push Mohammar over the edge and into the abyss.  By doing so, we start an avalanche against the remaining tinpots on the African continent, strip Al Quaeda of some big-time face, get a lot of Arabs to like us again, prop up Obama in his pre-election year, discredit the Right to no end by taking away their media-time, get the MSM back on our side of the discussion, and allow for Libya's "radical experiment with Democracy...."

    I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

    by Liberal Panzer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 06:41:50 AM PST

    •  I can see why you chose your nic. (0+ / 0-)

      Not a good idea at all.

      "you(sic) existence arose from a popcorn fart out of nobodies ass." - A Kossack who wishes to remain anonymous.

      by senilebiker on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 07:40:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  expand, please. (0+ / 0-)

        I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

        by Liberal Panzer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 08:04:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  From the diary (0+ / 0-)
          A few of my thoughts and observations.  Let's start with the no-fly zone.  Here I think we need to be cautious.  If at all possible, the forces actually used within Libyan airspace should not be American or even NATO.  Action by non-Muslim forces against yet another Muslim nation might be problematic.  We should provide the logistics, but perhaps work through the Arab League and have Egyptian and perhaps Algerian planes be the operational forces.

          My bold.

          "you(sic) existence arose from a popcorn fart out of nobodies ass." - A Kossack who wishes to remain anonymous.

          by senilebiker on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 08:39:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Might be" (0+ / 0-)

            does not suggest "must be."  The diary is, of course, an opinion, as is my reply to the diary.

            The regime is beginning to implode---but the head of that regime is a madman who, as a final gesture of his self-invoked superiority, will take as much of Libya down with him as is humanly possible.  If putting US air power in the skies over Libya prevents that---or even curtails it somewhat---the lives saved among the People of Libya are worth the cost.

            Let me repeat that:  The lives saved among the People of Libya are worth the cost.

            Or perhaps the color of their skin; their nationality; their culture; their politics; their religious beliefs suggest to you a depreciated worth?  How "Cheney-ish" of you....

            I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

            by Liberal Panzer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 10:29:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  And this sounds like Doanld Rumsfeld (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RJDixon74135
          Start to finish?  Maybe two months at most; maybe less---just long enough to push Mohammar over the edge and into the abyss.  By doing so, we start an avalanche against the remaining tinpots on the African continent, strip Al Quaeda of some big-time face, get a lot of Arabs to like us again, prop up Obama in his pre-election year, discredit the Right to no end by taking away their media-time, get the MSM back on our side of the discussion, and allow for Libya's "radical experiment with Democracy...."

          Except for the bit about Obama of course.

          "you(sic) existence arose from a popcorn fart out of nobodies ass." - A Kossack who wishes to remain anonymous.

          by senilebiker on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 08:43:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He's already at the edge. (0+ / 0-)

            He's lost the tribes and clans; most of the military have left him, as have most of the People.  This doesn't even require a ground-troops insertion now---but he is ramping up w/ his elite forces, and is likely to be preparing something not too dissimilar from Jim Jones or Dave Koresh.

            That's the kind of madness the world is dealing with here; the only difference being that Mohammar is not just willing to go out in a blaze of glory for his deity---Mohammar IS Mohammar's deity.  He'll feed the poisoned Koolaid and gather as many as possible into the burning compound because, in his twisted psyche, it is required to satiate the deity with a final sacrifice on the altar.

            Mohammar is both high priest and deity; Libya is the altar; everyone else is the required sacrifice.

            Aerial enforcement of an NFZ, coupled with a naval blockade, keeps the rat in the trap and suppresses his ability to wage those final atrocities upon the People.  That's "rummie" to you?

            I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

            by Liberal Panzer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 10:43:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Are you channeling Rumsfeld's new book? (0+ / 0-)

      No American troops in Libya. It's too hard to put that aligator back in the egg.

      And, no general blockade. It's only common sense that those don't work and, if needed, Iraq is the proof.  Qaddafi wouldn't miss a single Beduoin feast because of a blockade, but poor people would die because of it.

      Of course, freeze his assets everywhere AND those of his top henchmen.  Qaddafi could not do this by himself. Those around him, helping him, should be sent a strong message that accountability willl extend to them, too.

      Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 01:50:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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