Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some leading names on "Our Side" in the Libya War

Brian Brady, Matt Chorley and David Randall in a sort of FAQ article in The Independent, Will the no-fly zone stop Libya's dictator? 03/20/2011, give us the names of some of the potential leading figures in a replacement government for Muammar Qaddafi:

Contenders are already emerging to lead Libya in a post-Gaddafi regime. New research provided to The Independent on Sunday by risk consultants Exclusive Analysis profiles potential key players in Libya's future.

Zaineb Al-Assam of Exclusive Analysis said: "Gaddafi will not step down voluntarily, and his opponents will accept nothing less than the removal of him and his allies. Tribalism and the weakness of the armed forces indicate that prolonged civil war is the most likely scenario for Libya." [my emphasis]

Major General Abdul Fattah Younis al-Obaidi One of the army officers involved in the coup that saw Gaddafi seize power in 1969, the 67-year-old Interior Minister joined the rebels and ordered his troops to storm a security forces base in Benghazi last month. Major General Younis is a member of the powerful al-Obaidi tribe, and the interim government has described him as one of the "trustworthy" military persons who will lead the country for three months before elections are held.
Colonel Tarek Saad Hussein Not widely known until he defected and became one of seven former colonels to take charge of rebel forces in Benghazi. Colonel Hussein claims to be leading the operations against Gaddafi but maintains he is leading a popular uprising, not a military coup. In an interview last month, he said: "We hope to have a democratic state, not a military state. We are fed up with a military state. The military is only for protecting the nation — not for ruling."

General Abu Bakr Younis Jaber One of the original members of the Revolutionary Command Council and a long-time member of Gaddafi's inner circle. General Jaber's army experience makes him a likely candidate for leading a coup against Gaddafi. It is understood that he is under house arrest.

Abdul Salam Jalloud Another of the army officers in the 1969 coup and a friend of Gaddafi since school, he served as Libya's second in command until he was demoted in 1993 and ousted from the regime's elite inner circle two years later. Mr Jalloud has now publicly renounced Gaddafi.

Sheikh Akram el-Warfelli A senior member of the large Warfella tribe, which attempted a coup against Gaddafi in 1993. Once an ally of Gaddafi, he has now cut his ties with the Libyan leader. He said last month: "We tell the brother Gaddafi, well, he is no longer a brother. We tell him to leave the country."

Prince Mohammed El-Senussi The most likely candidate for heading a constitutional monarchy, which could emerge as a symbolic unifying force in post-Gaddafi Libya. He was seven when his great-uncle, King Idris, was overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969. The 48-year-old has lived in exile in Britain since 1988, and appeared on Arab media last month calling on Gaddafi to leave Libya and stop "massacring" his people.

Mustapha Abdul Jalil The former justice minister is now head of the Libyan interim government in Benghazi and likely to play a key role in the country's future.

Jamal Al-Hajji A human rights activist, writer, lawyer and long-standing opponent of Gaddafi who heads the 17 February Movement, named after the date of a heavy crackdown on opposition protests in Benghazi in 2006. Mr Al-Hajji holds dual Libyan and Danish nationality and has been imprisoned on various occasions; he is currently in jail on the pretext of a traffic offence.

Suleiman Abdul Qader The exiled chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, he fled to London after a crackdown by Gaddafi in 1998. Mr Qader has called for "a reform inspired by civil society under the umbrella of a law which respects human rights".

Abdelhakim Belhaj Led the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the 1990s in several terrorist plots in Libya. Likely to lead a more radical alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Presumably, some of these names will become more familiar to us all in the next 5-10 years, and others will remain as obscure to Americans as they are today.

I realize that our expected role as citizens in the global dominance foreign policy strategy is to loyally cheer the home team and not quibble about the potential problems. But I don't see this war being short. Nor one requiring few if any ground troops from the anti-Qaddaf coalition. Nor one in which the US will play a secondary role. Because, as The Independent also explains, the coalition's goal is clearly "regime change":

Is it designed to protect civilians or support the revolution?

Ostensibly humanitarian though the intent of the no-fly zone is, the real motive, as made clear by President Obama and David Cameron, is regime change. The immediate test for the UN's intervention is how quickly – or even if – it can contain Gaddafi's forces, and how swiftly it can get in large amounts of medical aid. The latter depends on getting access to Benghazi and opening up a route from the Egyptian border.
Our "coalition" is already showing fractures and the war is barely two days old! As Haaretz reports in Arab League chief condemns killing of Libya civilians by Western powers 03/20/2011.

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