Tag Archives: Libya

Libya, the West and the Narrative of Democracy

By George Friedman

Forces from the United States and some European countries have intervened in Libya. Under U.N. authorization, they have imposed a no-fly zone in Libya, meaning they will shoot down any Libyan aircraft that attempts to fly within Libya. In addition, they have conducted attacks against aircraft on the ground, airfields, air defenses and the command, control and communication systems of the Libyan government, and French and U.S. aircraft have struck against Libyan armor and ground forces. There also are reports of European and Egyptian special operations forces deploying in eastern Libya, where the opposition to the government is centered, particularly around the city of Benghazi. In effect, the intervention of this alliance has been against the government of Moammar Gadhafi, and by extension, in favor of his opponents in the east.

The alliance’s full intention is not clear, nor is it clear that the allies are of one mind. The U.N. Security Council resolution clearly authorizes the imposition of a no-fly zone. By extension, this logically authorizes strikes against airfields and related targets. Very broadly, it also defines the mission of the intervention as protecting civilian lives. As such, it does not specifically prohibit the presence of ground forces, though it does clearly state that no “foreign occupation force” shall be permitted on Libyan soil. It can be assumed they intended that forces could intervene in Libya but could not remain in Libya after the intervention. What this means in practice is less than clear.

There is no question that the intervention is designed to protect Gadhafi’s enemies from his forces. Gadhafi had threatened to attack “without mercy” and had mounted a sustained eastward assault that the rebels proved incapable of slowing. Before the intervention, the vanguard of his forces was on the doorstep of Benghazi. The protection of the eastern rebels from Gadhafi’s vengeance coupled with attacks on facilities under Gadhafi’s control logically leads to the conclusion that the alliance wants regime change, that it wants to replace the Gadhafi government with one led by the rebels.

But that would be too much like the invasion of Iraq against Saddam Hussein, and the United Nations and the alliance haven’t gone that far in their rhetoric, regardless of the logic of their actions. Rather, the goal of the intervention is explicitly to stop Gadhafi’s threat to slaughter his enemies, support his enemies but leave the responsibility for the outcome in the hands of the eastern coalition. In other words — and this requires a lot of words to explain — they want to intervene to protect Gadhafi’s enemies, they are prepared to support those enemies (though it is not clear how far they are willing to go in providing that support), but they will not be responsible for the outcome of the civil war.

 

The Regional Context

 

To understand this logic, it is essential to begin by considering recent events in North Africa and the Arab world and the manner in which Western governments interpreted them. Beginning with Tunisia, spreading to Egypt and then to the Arabian Peninsula, the last two months have seen widespread unrest in the Arab world. Three assumptions have been made about this unrest. The first was that it represented broad-based popular opposition to existing governments, rather than representing the discontent of fragmented minorities — in other words, that they were popular revolutions. Second, it assumed that these revolutions had as a common goal the creation of a democratic society. Third, it assumed that the kind of democratic society they wanted was similar to European-American democracy, in other words, a constitutional system supporting Western democratic values.

Each of the countries experiencing unrest was very different. For example, in Egypt, while the cameras focused on demonstrators, they spent little time filming the vast majority of the country that did not rise up. Unlike 1979 in Iran, the shopkeepers and workers did not protest en masse. Whether they supported the demonstrators in Tahrir Square is a matter of conjecture. They might have, but the demonstrators were a tiny fraction of Egyptian society, and while they clearly wanted a democracy, it is less than clear that they wanted a liberal democracy. Recall that the Iranian Revolution created an Islamic Republic more democratic than its critics would like to admit, but radically illiberal and oppressive. In Egypt, it is clear that Mubarak was generally loathed but not clear that the regime in general was being rejected. It is not clear from the outcome what will happen now. Egypt may stay as it is, it may become an illiberal democracy or it may become a liberal democracy.

Consider also Bahrain. Clearly, the majority of the population is Shiite, and resentment toward the Sunni government is apparent. It should be assumed that the protesters want to dramatically increase Shiite power, and elections should do the trick. Whether they want to create a liberal democracy fully aligned with the U.N. doctrines on human rights is somewhat more problematic.

Egypt is a complicated country, and any simple statement about what is going on is going to be wrong. Bahrain is somewhat less complex, but the same holds there. The idea that opposition to the government means support for liberal democracy is a tremendous stretch in all cases — and the idea that what the demonstrators say they want on camera is what they actually want is problematic. Even more problematic in many cases is the idea that the demonstrators in the streets simply represent a universal popular will.

Nevertheless, a narrative on what has happened in the Arab world has emerged and has become the framework for thinking about the region. The narrative says that the region is being swept by democratic revolutions (in the Western sense) rising up against oppressive regimes. The West must support these uprisings gently. That means that they must not sponsor them but at the same time act to prevent the repressive regimes from crushing them.

This is a complex maneuver. The West supporting the rebels will turn it into another phase of Western imperialism, under this theory. But the failure to support the rising will be a betrayal of fundamental moral principles. Leaving aside whether the narrative is accurate, reconciling these two principles is not easy — but it particularly appeals to Europeans with their ideological preference for “soft power.”

The West has been walking a tightrope of these contradictory principles; Libya became the place where they fell off. According to the narrative, what happened in Libya was another in a series of democratic uprisings, but in this case suppressed with a brutality outside the bounds of what could be tolerated. Bahrain apparently was inside the bounds, and Egypt was a success, but Libya was a case in which the world could not stand aside while Gadhafi destroyed a democratic uprising. Now, the fact that the world had stood aside for more than 40 years while Gadhafi brutalized his own and other people was not the issue. In the narrative being told, Libya was no longer an isolated tyranny but part of a widespread rising — and the one in which the West’s moral integrity was being tested in the extreme. Now was different from before.

Of course, as with other countries, there was a massive divergence between the narrative and what actually happened. Certainly, that there was unrest in Tunisia and Egypt caused opponents of Gadhafi to think about opportunities, and the apparent ease of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings gave them some degree of confidence. But it would be an enormous mistake to see what has happened in Libya as a mass, liberal democratic uprising. The narrative has to be strained to work in most countries, but in Libya, it breaks down completely.

 

The Libyan Uprising

 

As we have pointed out, the Libyan uprising consisted of a cluster of tribes and personalities, some within the Libyan government, some within the army and many others longtime opponents of the regime, all of whom saw an opportunity at this particular moment. Though many in western portions of Libya, notably in the cities of Zawiya and Misurata, identify themselves with the opposition, they do not represent the heart of the historic opposition to Tripoli found in the east. It is this region, known in the pre-independence era as Cyrenaica, that is the core of the opposition movement. United perhaps only by their opposition to Gadhafi, these people hold no common ideology and certainly do not all advocate Western-style democracy. Rather, they saw an opportunity to take greater power, and they tried to seize it.

According to the narrative, Gadhafi should quickly have been overwhelmed — but he wasn’t. He actually had substantial support among some tribes and within the army. All of these supporters had a great deal to lose if he was overthrown. Therefore, they proved far stronger collectively than the opposition, even if they were taken aback by the initial opposition successes. To everyone’s surprise, Gadhafi not only didn’t flee, he counterattacked and repulsed his enemies.

This should not have surprised the world as much as it did. Gadhafi did not run Libya for the past 42 years because he was a fool, nor because he didn’t have support. He was very careful to reward his friends and hurt and weaken his enemies, and his supporters were substantial and motivated. One of the parts of the narrative is that the tyrant is surviving only by force and that the democratic rising readily routs him. The fact is that the tyrant had a lot of support in this case, the opposition wasn’t particularly democratic, much less organized or cohesive, and it was Gadhafi who routed them.

As Gadhafi closed in on Benghazi, the narrative shifted from the triumph of the democratic masses to the need to protect them from Gadhafi — hence the urgent calls for airstrikes. But this was tempered by reluctance to act decisively by landing troops, engaging the Libyan army and handing power to the rebels: Imperialism had to be avoided by doing the least possible to protect the rebels while arming them to defeat Gadhafi. Armed and trained by the West, provided with command of the air by the foreign air forces — this was the arbitrary line over which the new government keeps from being a Western puppet. It still seems a bit over the line, but that’s how the story goes.

In fact, the West is now supporting a very diverse and sometimes mutually hostile group of tribes and individuals, bound together by hostility to Gadhafi and not much else. It is possible that over time they could coalesce into a fighting force, but it is far more difficult imagining them defeating Gadhafi’s forces anytime soon, much less governing Libya together. There are simply too many issues between them. It is, in part, these divisions that allowed Gadhafi to stay in power as long as he did. The West’s ability to impose order on them without governing them, particularly in a short amount of time, is difficult to imagine. They remind me of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, anointed by the Americans, distrusted by much of the country and supported by a fractious coalition.

 

Other Factors

 

There are other factors involved, of course. Italy has an interest in Libyan oil, and the United Kingdom was looking for access to the same. But just as Gadhafi was happy to sell the oil, so would any successor regime be; this war was not necessary to guarantee access to oil. NATO politics also played a role. The Germans refused to go with this operation, and that drove the French closer to the Americans and British. There is the Arab League, which supported a no-fly zone (though it did an about-face when it found out that a no-fly zone included bombing things) and offered the opportunity to work with the Arab world.

But it would be a mistake to assume that these passing interests took precedence over the ideological narrative, the genuine belief that it was possible to thread the needle between humanitarianism and imperialism — that it was possible to intervene in Libya on humanitarian grounds without thereby interfering in the internal affairs of the country. The belief that one can take recourse to war to save the lives of the innocent without, in the course of that war, taking even more lives of innocents, also was in play.

The comparison to Iraq is obvious. Both countries had a monstrous dictator. Both were subjected to no-fly zones. The no-fly zones don’t deter the dictator. In due course, this evolves into a massive intervention in which the government is overthrown and the opposition goes into an internal civil war while simultaneously attacking the invaders. Of course, alternatively, this might play out like the Kosovo war, where a few months of bombing saw the government surrender the province. But in that case, only a province was in play. In this case, although focused ostensibly on the east, Gadhafi in effect is being asked to give up everything, and the same with his supporters — a harder business.

In my view, waging war to pursue the national interest is on rare occasion necessary. Waging war for ideological reasons requires a clear understanding of the ideology and an even clearer understanding of the reality on the ground. In this intervention, the ideology is not crystal clear, torn as it is between the concept of self-determination and the obligation to intervene to protect the favored faction. The reality on the ground is even less clear. The reality of democratic uprisings in the Arab world is much more complicated than the narrative makes it out to be, and the application of the narrative to Libya simply breaks down. There is unrest, but unrest comes in many sizes, democratic being only one.

Whenever you intervene in a country, whatever your intentions, you are intervening on someone’s side. In this case, the United States, France and Britain are intervening in favor of a poorly defined group of mutually hostile and suspicious tribes and factions that have failed to coalesce, at least so far, into a meaningful military force. The intervention may well succeed. The question is whether the outcome will create a morally superior nation. It is said that there can’t be anything worse than Gadhafi. But Gadhafi did not rule for 42 years because he was simply a dictator using force against innocents, but rather because he speaks to a real and powerful dimension of Libya.

Libya, the West and the Narrative of Democracy is republished with permission of STRATFOR.”

Libya's opposition leadership comes into focus

Libya has descended to a situation tantamount to civil war, with forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the west pitted against rebels from the east. One of the biggest problems faced by Western governments has been identifying exactly who the rebels are. Many of them, including former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil and former Interior Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah Younis, defected early on from the Gadhafi regime and represent part of the leadership of the National Transitional Council, which lobbied Western governments for support soon after its formation. Challenges posed by geography and lack of military capabilities remain, however, meaning that even with the aid of foreign airstrikes against Gadhafi’s forces, the rebel council will struggle to achieve its stated goal of militarily toppling Gadhafi and unifying the country under its leadership.

Editor’s note:This analysis was originally published March 8 but has been significantly updated with current, accurate information.

Analysis

 

Identifying the Opposition

 

One of the biggest problems Western governments have faced throughout the Libyan crisis has been identifying who exactly the “eastern rebels” are. Until the uprising began in February, there was thought to be no legitimate opposition to speak of in the country, and thus no contacts between the United States, the United Kingdom, France or others. Many of those who now speak for the rebel movement are headquartered in Benghazi. There have been several defections, however, from the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to the eastern rebel leadership, and it is men like these with whom the West is now trying to engage as the possible next generation of leadership in Libya, should its unstated goal of regime change come to fruition.

The structure through which the Libyan opposition is represented is the National Transitional Council. The first man to announce its creation was former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who defected from the government Feb. 21 and declared the establishment of a “transitional government” Feb. 26. At the time, Abdel-Jalil claimed that it would give way to national elections within three months, though this was clearly never a realistic goal.

One day after Abdel-Jalil’s announcement, a Benghazi-based lawyer named Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga held a news conference to refute his claims. Ghoga pronounced himself to be the spokesman of the new council and denied that it resembled a transitional government, adding that even if it did, Abdel-Jalil would not be in charge. Ghoga derided the former justice minister as being more influential in the eastern Libyan city of Al Bayda than in Benghazi, which is the heart of the rebel movement.

The personality clash between Abdel-Jalil and Ghoga continued on for most of the next week, as each man portended to be running a council that spoke for the eastern rebel movement in its entirety. It was significant only insofar as it provided just a glimpse of the sort of internal rivalries that exist in eastern Libya, known historically as Cyrenaica. Though Cyrenaica has a distinct identity from the western Libyan region historically referred to as Tripolitania, that does not mean that it is completely unified. This will be a problem moving ahead for the coalition carrying out the bombing campaign of Libya, as tribal and personal rivalries in the east will compound with a simple lack of familiarity with who the rebels really are.

The National Transitional Council officially came into being March 6, and — for the moment, at least — has settled the personal and regional rivalry between Abdel-Jalil and Ghoga, with the former named the council’s head and the latter its spokesman. Despite the drama that preceded the formal establishment of the council, all members of the opposition have always been unified on a series of goals: They want to mount an armed offensive against the government-controlled areas in the west; they want to overthrow Gadhafi; they seek to unify the country with Tripoli as its capital; and they do not want foreign boots on Libyan soil. The unity of the rebels, in short, is based upon a common desire to oust the longtime Libyan leader.

The transitional council asserts that it derives its legitimacy from the series of city councils that have been running the affairs of the east since the February uprising that turned all of eastern Libya into rebel-held territory. This council is, in essence, a conglomeration of localized units of makeshift self-governance. And while it may be centered in the east, the rebel council has also gone out of its way to assert that all Libyans who are opposed to Gadhafi’s rule are a part of the movement. This is not a secessionist struggle. A military stalemate with Gadhafi that would lead to the establishment of two Libyas would not represent an outright success for the rebels, even though it would be preferential to outright defeat. Though it has only released the names of nine of its reported 31 members for security reasons, the National Transitional Council has claimed that it has members in several cities that lie beyond the rebel-held territory in the east (including Misurata, Zentan, Zawiya, Zouara, Nalut, Jabal Gharbi, Ghat and Kufra), it has promised membership to all Libyans who want to join, and it asserted that the council is the sole representative of the whole of Libya.

The council’s foremost priorities for the past several weeks have been garnering foreign support for airstrikes on Gadhafi’s forces and the establishment of a no-fly zone. Absent that, the rebels have long argued, none of their other military objectives stood a chance of being realized.

It was the lobbying for Western support in the establishment of a no-fly zone that led the transitional council’s “executive team,” also known as the crisis committee, to go on a tour of European capitals in mid-March designed to shore up support from various governments and international institutions. Mahmoud Jebril, an ally of Abdel-Jalil, and de facto Foreign Minister Ali al-Essawi, the former Libyan ambassador to India who quit in February when the uprising began, comprise the executive team. The result of this trip was the first recognition of the transitional council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, which was provided by France on March 10. France, as we were to see in the following days, was to become the most vociferous advocate of the international community coming to the aid of the rebel council through the use of airstrikes.

 

Challenges

 

Before the decision was made to implement a no-fly zone, the Libyan opposition forces collapsed in the face of Gadhafi’s onslaught, and they have shown little sign of coalescing into a meaningful military force. While the loyalist eastward thrust was against a disorganized rebel force, Gadhafi’s forces have demonstrated that they retain considerable strength and loyalty to the regime. That means that even with coalition airstrikes taking out armor and artillery, there will still be forces loyal to Gadhafi inside any urban center the rebels might encounter in a westward advance, meaning that the rebels would be forced to fight a dedicated force dug into built up areas while operating on extended lines, a difficult tactical and operational challenge for even a coherent and proficient military force. So even though the coalition airstrikes have since shifted the military balance, the fundamental challenges for the rebels to organize and orchestrate a coherent military offensive remain unchanged.

It is important to note that little of the territory that fell into rebel control in the early days of the insurrection was actually occupied through conquest. Many military and security forces in the east either deserted or defected to the opposition, which brought not only men and arms, but also the territory those troops ostensibly controlled. Most fighting that occurred once the situation transitioned into what is effectively a civil war, particularly in the main population centers along the coastal stretch between Benghazi and Sirte, consisted of relatively small, lightly armed formations conducting raids, rather than either side decisively defeating a major formation and pacifying a town.

Just as the executive team represents the National Transitional Council’s foreign affairs unit, the council also has a military division. This was originally headed by Omar El-Hariri, but the overall command of the Libyan rebels has since reportedly been passed to former Interior Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah Younis. Younis’ name arose early on as the man with whom the British government was engaging as it tried to get a grip on the situation unfolding in rebel-held territory. He was not included in the original transitional council membership, however, despite several indications that he did in fact retain widespread support among eastern rebels. This, like the clash between Abdel-Jalil and Ghoga, was another indication of the rivalries that exist in eastern Libya, which paint a picture of disunity among the rebels.

Younis, however, now appears to have been officially incorporated into the command structure and is presiding over a National Transitional Council “army” that, like the council itself, is the sum of its parts. Every population center in eastern Libya has since the uprising began created respective militias, all of which are now, theoretically, to report to Benghazi. Indeed, the most notable of these local militias, created Feb. 28, has been known at times as the Benghazi Military Council, which is linked to the Benghazi city council, the members of which form much of the political core of the new national council. There are other known militias in eastern Libya, however, operating training camps in places like Ajdabiya, Al Bayda and Tobruk, and undoubtedly several other locations as well.

Younis has perhaps the most challenging job of all in eastern Libya: organizing a coherent fighting force that can mount an invasion of the west — something that will be difficult even after an extensive foreign bombing campaign. More defections by the military and security forces in the west, like the earlier defections in Zawiya and Misurata, would perhaps benefit the transitional council even more than the bombing campaign under way. There is no sign of imminent defections from the west, however, which will only reinforce the military and geographic challenges with which the rebel council is faced.

Libyan society is by definition tribal and therefore prone to fractiousness. The Gadhafi era has done nothing to counter this historical legacy, as the Jamahiriya political system promoted local governance more than a truly national system of administration. Ironically, it was this legacy of Gadhafi’s regime that helped the individual eastern cities to rapidly establish local committees that took over administration of their respective areas, but it will create difficulties should they try to truly come together. Rhetoric is far different from tangible displays of unity.

Geography will also continue to be a challenge for the National Transitional Council. The Libyan opposition still does not have the basic military proficiencies or know-how to project and sustain an armored assault on Tripoli; if it tried, it would run a serious risk of being neutralized on arrival by prepared defenses. Even Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte — almost certainly a necessary intermediate position to control on any drive to Tripoli — looks to be a logistical stretch for the opposition. An inflow of weapons may help but would not be the complete solution. Just as the primary factor in eastern Libya’s breaking free of the government’s control lies in a series of military defections, the occurrence of the same scenario in significant numbers in the west is what would give the National Transitional Council its best chance of overthrowing Gadhafi.

Libya’s Opposition Leadership Comes into Focus” is republished with permission from STRATFOR.

 

UN Security Council votes No-Fly for Libya

The United Nations Security Council has adopted Resolution 1973 (2011) [Full text]. Ten votes in favor, 0 against, 5 abstentions. Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstained. Germany says, that it will not deploy troops to Libya, as it reservations on the resolution.  The resolution authorizes “all necessary measures,” to protect civilians from Qaddafi’s forces.

The terms of the resolution are clear.  It demands an immediate cease-fire and all abuse against civilians in Libya. It searches for an effort to find a solution to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people.  And the resolution demands that Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under International law.

Canada has revealed that it will send fighter aircraft to Libya to impose the no-fly.

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Full text of UN Security council resolution 1973 on Libya

The Security Council,

 

Recalling its resolution 1970 (2011) of 26 February 2011,

Deploring the failure of the Libyan authorities to comply with resolution 1970 (2011),

Expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence, and the heavy civilian casualties,

Reiterating the responsibility of the Libyan authorities to protect the Libyan population and reaffirming that parties to armed conflicts bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians,

Condemning the gross and systematic violation of human rights, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and summary executions,

Further condemning acts of violence and intimidation committed by the Libyan authorities against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel and urging these authorities to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law as outlined in resolution 1738 (2006),

Considering that the widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity,

Recalling paragraph 26 of resolution 1970 (2011) in which the Council expressed its readiness to consider taking additional appropriate measures, as necessary, to facilitate and support the return of humanitarian agencies and make available humanitarian and related assistance in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,

Expressing its determination to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian populated areas and the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance and the safety of humanitarian personnel,

Recalling the condemnation by the League of Arab States, the African Union, and the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference of the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that have been and are being committed in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,

Taking note of the final communiqué of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference of 8 March 2011, and the communiqué of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union of 10 March 2011 which established an ad hoc High Level Committee on Libya,

Taking note also of the decision of the Council of the League of Arab States of 12 March 2011 to call for the imposition of a no-fly zone on Libyan military aviation, and to establish safe areas in places exposed to shelling as a precautionary measure that allows the protection of the Libyan people and foreign nationals residing in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,

Taking note further of the Secretary-General’s call on 16 March 2011 for an immediate cease-fire,

Recalling its decision to refer the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya since 15 February 2011 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and stressing that those responsible for or complicit in attacks targeting the civilian population, including aerial and naval attacks, must be held to account,

Reiterating its concern at the plight of refugees and foreign workers forced to flee the violence in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, welcoming the response of neighbouring States, in particular Tunisia and Egypt, to address the needs of those refugees and foreign workers, and calling on the international community to support those efforts,

Deploring the continuing use of mercenaries by the Libyan authorities,

Considering that the establishment of a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya constitutes an important element for the protection of civilians as well as the safety of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and a decisive step for the cessation of hostilities in Libya,

Expressing concern also for the safety of foreign nationals and their rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,

Welcoming the appointment by the Secretary General of his Special Envoy to Libya, Mr Abdel-Elah Mohamed Al-Khatib and supporting his efforts to find a sustainable and peaceful solution to the crisis in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,

Determining that the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Demands the immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians;

2. Stresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and notes the decisions of the Secretary-General to send his Special Envoy to Libya and of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to send its ad hoc High Level Committee to Libya with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;

3. Demands 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;

 

Protection of civilians

 

4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;

5. Recognizes 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 States in the implementation of paragraph 4;

 

No fly zone

6. Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians;

7. Decides further that the ban imposed by paragraph 6 shall not apply to flights whose sole purpose is humanitarian, such as delivering or facilitating the delivery of assistance, including medical supplies, food, humanitarian workers and related assistance, or evacuating foreign nationals from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, nor shall it apply to flights authorised by paragraphs 4 or 8, nor other flights which are deemed necessary by States acting under the authorisation conferred in paragraph 8 to be for the benefit of the Libyan people, and that these flights shall be coordinated with any mechanism established under paragraph 8;

8. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights imposed by paragraph 6 above, as necessary, and requests the States concerned in cooperation with the League of Arab States to coordinate closely with the Secretary General on the measures they are taking to implement this ban, including by establishing an appropriate mechanism for implementing the provisions of paragraphs 6 and 7 above,

9. Calls upon all Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to provide assistance, including any necessary over-flight approvals, for the purposes of implementing paragraphs 4, 6, 7 and 8 above;

10. Requests the Member States concerned to coordinate closely with each other and the Secretary-General on the measures they are taking to implement paragraphs 4, 6, 7 and 8 above, including practical measures for the monitoring and approval of authorised humanitarian or evacuation flights;

11. Decides that the Member States concerned shall inform the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States immediately of measures taken in exercise of the authority conferred by paragraph 8 above, including to supply a concept of operations;

12. Requests the Secretary-General to inform the Council immediately of any actions taken by the Member States concerned in exercise of the authority conferred by paragraph 8 above and to report to the Council within 7 days and every month thereafter on the implementation of this resolution, including information on any violations of the flight ban imposed by paragraph 6 above;

 

Enforcement of the arms embargo

13. Decides that paragraph 11 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall be replaced by the following paragraph : “Calls upon all Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), to inspect in their territory, including seaports and airports, and on the high seas, vessels and aircraft bound to or from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 or 10 of resolution 1970 (2011) as modified by this resolution, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel, calls upon all flag States of such vessels and aircraft to cooperate with such inspections and authorises Member States to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections”;

14. Requests Member States which are taking action under paragraph 13 above on the high seas to coordinate closely with each other and the Secretary-General and further requests the States concerned to inform the Secretary-General and the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) (“the Committee”) immediately of measures taken in the exercise of the authority conferred by paragraph 13 above;

15. Requires any Member State whether acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, when it undertakes an inspection pursuant to paragraph 13 above, to submit promptly an initial written report to the Committee containing, in particular, explanation of the grounds for the inspection, the results of such inspection, and whether or not cooperation was provided, and, if prohibited items for transfer are found, further requires such Member States to submit to the Committee, at a later stage, a subsequent written report containing relevant details on the inspection, seizure, and disposal, and relevant details of the transfer, including a description of the items, their origin and intended destination, if this information is not in the initial report;

16. Deplores the continuing flows of mercenaries into the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and calls upon all Member States to comply strictly with their obligations under paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011) to prevent the provision of armed mercenary personnel to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;

 

Ban on flights

17. Decides that all States shall deny permission to any aircraft registered in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or owned or operated by Libyan nationals or companies to take off from, land in or overfly their territory unless the particular flight has been approved in advance by the Committee, or in the case of an emergency landing;

18. Decides that all States shall deny permission to any aircraft to take off from, land in or overfly their territory, if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the aircraft contains items the supply, sale, transfer, or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011) as modified by this resolution, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel, except in the case of an emergency landing;

 

Asset freeze

19. Decides that the asset freeze imposed by paragraph 17, 19, 20 and 21 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall apply to all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the Libyan authorities, as designated by the Committee, or by individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or by entities owned or controlled by them, as designated by the Committee, and decides further that all States shall ensure that any funds, financial assets or economic resources are prevented from being made available by their nationals or by any individuals or entities within their territories, to or for the benefit of the Libyan authorities, as designated by the Committee, or individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or entities owned or controlled by them, as designated by the Committee, and directs the Committee to designate such Libyan authorities, individuals or entities within 30 days of the date of the adoption of this resolution and as appropriate thereafter;

20. Affirms its determination to ensure that assets frozen pursuant to paragraph 17 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall, at a later stage, as soon as possible be made available to and for the benefit of the people of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;

21. Decides that all States shall require their nationals, persons subject to their jurisdiction and firms incorporated in their territory or subject to their jurisdiction to exercise vigilance when doing business with entities incorporated in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or subject to its jurisdiction, and any individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, and entities owned or controlled by them, if the States have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that such business could contribute to violence and use of force against civilians;

 

Designations

22. Decides that the individuals listed in Annex I shall be subject to the travel restrictions imposed in paragraphs 15 and 16 of resolution 1970 (2011), and decides further that the individuals and entities listed in Annex II shall be subject to the asset freeze imposed in paragraphs 17, 19, 20 and 21 of resolution 1970 (2011);

23. Decides that the measures specified in paragraphs 15, 16, 17, 19, 20 and 21 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall apply also to individuals and entities determined by the Council or the Committee to have violated the provisions of resolution 1970 (2011), particularly paragraphs 9 and 10 thereof, or to have assisted others in doing so;

 

Panel of experts

 

24. Requests the Secretary-General to create for an initial period of one year, in consultation with the Committee, a group of up to eight experts (“Panel of Experts”), under the direction of the Committee to carry out the following tasks:

(a) Assist the Committee in carrying out its mandate as specified in paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) and this resolution;

(b) Gather, examine and analyse information from States, relevant United Nations bodies, regional organisations and other interested parties regarding the implementation of the measures decided in resolution 1970 (2011) and this resolution, in particular incidents of non-compliance;

(c) Make recommendations on actions the Council, or the Committee or State, may consider to improve implementation of the relevant measures;

(d) Provide to the Council an interim report on its work no later than 90 days after the Panel’s appointment, and a final report to the Council no later than 30 days prior to the termination of its mandate with its findings and recommendations;

25. Urges all States, relevant United Nations bodies and other interested parties, to cooperate fully with the Committee and the Panel of Experts, in particular by supplying any information at their disposal on the implementation of the measures decided in resolution 1970 (2011) and this resolution, in particular incidents of non-compliance;

26. Decides that the mandate of the Committee as set out in paragraph 24 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall also apply to the measures decided in this resolution;

27. Decides that all States, including the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, shall take the necessary measures to ensure that no claim shall lie at the instance of the Libyan authorities, or of any person or body in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, or of any person claiming through or for the benefit of any such person or body, in connection with any contract or other transaction where its performance was affected by reason of the measures taken by the Security Council in resolution 1970 (2011), this resolution and related resolutions;

28. Reaffirms its intention to keep the actions of the Libyan authorities under continuous review and underlines its readiness to review at any time the measures imposed by this resolution and resolution 1970 (2011), including by strengthening, suspending or lifting those measures, as appropriate, based on compliance by the Libyan authorities with this resolution and resolution 1970 (2011).

29. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

 

Taming Chaos with a Personal Plan

By Scott Stewart

Over the past week we’ve seen a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan that caused a nuclear accident, the Saudis sending troops into Bahrain to quell civil unrest there and the government of Yemen taking measures to expel foreign media as protests have swelled against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

We have also recently seen large-scale evacuations of expatriates from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and it is not unreasonable to assume that we might see a similar exodus from Bahrain and Yemen if developments in those countries deteriorate. Moreover, in Japan, the risk of radiation and conditions that are not yet under control at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could force further evacuations there.

In light of this uncertain environment, STRATFOR thought it prudent to address once again the topic of personal contingency planning. Indeed, we also made this topic the subject of this week’s  Above the Tearline video. While we have often discussed this topic in relation to terrorist attacks, its principles are also readily applicable to crises caused by natural disaster, war and civil unrest. When a crisis erupts, having an established personal contingency plan provides people with a head start and a set of tools that can help them avoid, or at least mitigate, the effects of the chaos and panic that accompany crisis events.

 

When Chaos Reigns

When a crisis erupts due to civil unrest, natural disaster or a major terrorist attack, a number of things happen rapidly and sometimes simultaneously. First, panic ensues as people attempt to flee the immediate scene of the disaster, usually seeking safety using the same escape routes. At the same time, police, fire and emergency medical units all attempt to respond to the scene, so there can be terrible traffic and pedestrian crowd-control problems. In the event of large civil disturbances, roads can also be clogged with protesters, troops and panicked civilians. This can be magnified by smoke and fire, which can reduce visibility, affect breathing and increase panic.

In many instances, an attack or natural disaster will cause damage to electrical lines, or the electricity will be cut off as a precautionary measure. Natural gas, water and sewer lines can be damaged, causing leaks, and in the case of natural gas lines raising the threat of explosions and fire. Earthquakes and mudslides can cut roads and shut down mass transit. Often, people find themselves trapped in subway tunnels or in high-rise buildings, and they are sometimes forced to escape through smoke-filled tunnels or stairwells. Depending on the incident, bridges, tunnels, subway lines and airports can be closed or jammed to a standstill. Grocery stores are frequently inundated by people scrambling (and sometimes fighting) to obtain food and supplies.

In the midst of this confusion and panic, telephone and cell-phone usage soars. Even if the main trunk lines and cell towers are not damaged by the event or otherwise affected by the loss of electricity, this huge spike in activity quickly overloads the exchanges and cell networks. This means the ripples of chaos and disruption roll outward from the scene of the crisis as people outside the immediate vicinity of the crisis zone hear about the situation via the media and wonder what has become of loved ones who were in or near the crisis zone.

 

The Need to Plan

Those caught in close proximity to such a disaster site have the best chance of escaping and reconnecting with loved ones if they have a personal contingency plan. While such planning is critically important for people who live and work overseas in high-threat locations, recent events have demonstrated that even people residing in places considered safe, like Cairo and Tokyo, can be caught in the vortex of a crisis. Taking this one step farther, sudden disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, school shootings or the derailment of train cars carrying chlorine, can strike almost anywhere. This means that everyone should have a personal contingency plan.

Emergency plans are vital not only for corporations and for schools but also for families and individuals. Such plans should be in place for each regular location — home, work and school — that an individual frequents and should cover what that person will do and where he or she will go should an evacuation be necessary. This means establishing meeting points for family members who might be split up — and backup points in case the first or second point also is affected by the disaster.

When school-aged children are involved, parents need to take the time to coordinate with the school to learn what the school’s crisis plans are so any measures the school employs can be accounted for during the planning process. A crisis plan should also account for any pets a family may have.

The lack of ability to communicate with loved ones because of circuit overload or other phone-service problems can greatly enhance the sense of panic during a crisis — especially in this age, when people are so dependent on almost-constant communications via the ubiquitous smart phone. Perhaps one of the foremost benefits of having personal and family contingency plans in place is the reduction of stress that results from not being able to contact a loved one immediately. Knowing that everyone is following the plan frees each person to concentrate on the more pressing challenges presented by their personal evacuation. This is critical because someone who waits until he or she has contacted all loved ones before evacuating might not make it out.

It also is important to have a communications plan, which should include the contact information for the designated rallying site as well as an alternate communications hub outside of the area. It might be difficult to communicate from point A to point B, but someone at point A or B might be able to get through to a person at point C. For example, it may be impossible to call from Tripoli to New York, but both parties may be able to call through to Rome.

Alternative means of communication also should be included in the communications plan. If the phone lines and cell phones are clogged, many times text messages can still get through and Internet connections may work to send e-mail. Satellite telephones, though expensive, are also very useful in a communications blackout, as are two-way radios. Analog fax lines can also prove useful when other forms of communication are shut down.

People who are going to serve as communications hubs need to be briefed on the evacuation plan and have contact information (landline and cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc.) for each person who will be participating in the evacuation. The communications hub should also be provided with important personal data on each person, including full name, date of birth, passport numbers, etc. The communications plan also will be helpful in case one member of the family is unable to evacuate immediately or finds it unwise to evacuate at all. In that case, he or she will know where the rest of the family is going and how to contact them once communications are restored.

Planning is important because, when confronted with a dire situation, many people simply do not know what to do or where to start. It is not unusual to find people wandering aimlessly at the scene of a disaster. Not having determined their options in advance — and in state of shock over the events of the day — people quite often find themselves unable to think clearly enough to establish a logical plan, so they just drift around or collapse in helplessness. Having a plan in place gives even a person who is in shock or denial and unable to think clearly a framework to lean on and a path to follow.

 

Evacuating

One of the keys to surviving a catastrophe is situational awareness. Situational awareness allows people to recognizing a potential threat at an early stage and take measures to avoid it. Situational awareness also helps people know where to go when an unforeseen disaster strikes. For example, if the airport is closed by the crisis, situational awareness enables one to understand the alternate means of leaving the country, and if a bridge is damaged on an alternative land route, you can locate another way out. Being aware of the layouts of your residence and workplace is also critical. If an office building is hit by an incident of workplace violence or catches fire, people with a plan will know where the fire exits are and where they lead. Situational awareness will then help them realize when an exit could lead them out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Situational awareness also aids in reacting to a dangerous situation while on the move. If a subway tunnel is filling with smoke from a fire or bombing, situational awareness tells one to keep low in order to avoid being overcome by smoke. Better still, proper preparation can lead people to carry important items such as a smoke hood that can be worn to protect against smoke and a flashlight to help navigate a dark place like a tunnel.

For individuals who work in high-rise buildings, frequently travel or routinely take a commuter train or subway, these two items can greatly assist you if the need to evacuate arises. Smoke hoods are relatively inexpensive devices that can be carried in a briefcase or purse and quickly donned in case of emergency. They will usually provide around 20 to 30 minutes of breathing time, which could quite literally mean the difference between life and death in a smoke-filled hallway, stairway or subway tunnel. Likewise, a small flashlight could prove to be invaluable in a crisis situation at night or when the power goes out in a large building or subway. Some of the small aluminum flashlights can also double as a handy self-defense weapon.

Of course, in some situations, evacuation might not be the best idea. If there is no immediate threat at a specific location, it may be more dangerous to join a crowd of panicked people on the street. In some cases, it might be safest to just stay in place and wait for order to return — especially if the shelter is stocked with food, water and other basic necessities. Situational awareness will allow you to make the call on whether to stay or go.

As part of a contingency plan, it is also prudent to prepare a small “fly-away” kit containing clothes, water, a first-aid kit, nutritional bars, medications and toiletry items for each member of the family. It also is a good idea to include a battery-powered or crank-powered radio and other items such as appropriate maps, multi-tool knives and duct tape. An appropriate amount of cash can also prove quite useful. The kit should be kept in a convenient place, ready to grab on the way out. Even if it is impractical to keep all these items in constant readiness, keeping most of them together and using a prepared list to collect the other items quickly can help get one out the door in seconds. Maintaining important papers, such as vehicle titles, deeds, licenses, birth certificates, passports and credit card information, in a central file allows it to be quickly retrieved in case of an evacuation. Of course, passports are of vital importance in an overseas situation.

Another important part of situational awareness is having the means to receive instructions and information from the authorities. In addition to radio and television, many locations have emergency text and e-mail alert systems that can provide critical information. Overseas, embassies also maintain networks for disseminating information to expatriates such as the U.S. Department of State’s warden system. Individuals should register for such services and ensure they know how information is disseminated before the crisis hits and results in communication disruptions.

When it comes to information pertaining to emergency plans and fly-away kits, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration’s ready.gov site is an excellent resource. For people residing overseas, the U.S. Department of State’s travel information site and the Overseas Security Advisory Council are also valuable resources filled with helpful information.

Now, while it is important to listen to authorities in the case of an emergency, individuals cannot rely on the government to take care of them in every situation because the resources simply may not be available. This means that individuals must have a plan in place designed to take care of themselves and their families.

 

Flexibility Required

In order to be effective, an emergency plan must be fluid and flexible. It is important to recognize that even a good plan can be worthless if reactive measures taken by authorities during an emergency impede execution of the plan, or if the catastrophe itself closes down the airport or a section of a primary escape route. For these reasons, it is best to have several alternate contingency plans that account for multiple scenarios and include various routes and modes of evacuation. Once the emergency is announced, it likely is too late to start devising a back-up plan.

Plans must be also reviewed periodically, at least once a year. A plan made following 9/11 might no longer be valid. Bridges and roads included in the original plan might be closed for construction at the present time or could have been changed to a one-way traffic pattern. Communication plans may also need to be updated if family members move or change telephone numbers.

The contents of fly-away kits should be checked periodically to ensure the kits are functional. Flashlight and radio batteries can lose their charge and need to be replaced. Items such as smoke hoods can become damaged by being carried around in a purse or briefcase for too many years. Food can become stale and inedible. Medications can expire. Children can grow and require different sizes of clothing.

Finally, while having a contingency plan on paper is better than having nothing, those plans that are tested in the real world prove to be far superior to plans that are never tested. Running through an evacuation plan (especially during a high-traffic time such as rush hour) will help to identify weaknesses that will not appear on paper. It also will help ensure that all those involved know what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to go. A plan is of limited use if half of the people it is designed for do not understand their respective roles and responsibilities.

No plan is perfect, and chances are that individuals will find themselves “shifting on the fly” as conditions on the ground change in the event of an actual emergency. However, having a plan and being prepared allows a person to be more focused and less panicked and confused than those who have left their fate to chance.
Taming Chaos with a Personal Plan is republished with permission of STRATFOR.”

Will Libya again be arsenal of Terrorism?

By Scott Stewart

During the 1970s and 1980s, Libya served as the arsenal of terrorism. While this role may have received the most publicity when large shipments of weapons were intercepted that Libya was trying to send to the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Libyan involvement in arming terrorist groups was far more widespread. Traces conducted on the weapons used in terrorist attacks by groups such as the Abu Nidal Organization frequently showed that the weapons had come from Libya. In fact, there were specific lot numbers of Soviet-manufactured F1 hand grenades that became widely known in the counterterrorism community as signature items tied to Libyan support of terrorist groups.

As we have discussed, the conflict in Libya could provide jihadists in Libya more room to operate than they have enjoyed for many years. This operational freedom for the jihadists might have an impact not only in Libya but also in the broader region, and one significant way this impact could manifest itself is in the supply of arms. The looting of the arms depots in Libya is reminiscent of the looting in Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003. There are also reports that foreign governments are discussing providing arms to the Libyan rebels in the eastern part of the country. While it is far from clear if any of those discussions are serious or whether any potential patron would ever follow through, past operations to arm rebels have had long-lasting repercussions in places like Afghanistan and Central America.

In light of these developments, a tactical discussion of the various classes of weapons contained in Libyan supply depots and how they could be utilized by insurgents and terrorists is in order.

 

The Nature of Weapons

 

First of all, it is important to realize that weapons are durable and fungible goods that are easily converted to cash. By durable, we mean that while certain types of weapons and weapon components have a limited shelf life — such as battery-coolant units for the FIM-92A Stinger missile — many other weapons remain functional for many decades. It is not unusual to find a militant or a soldier carrying an AK-47 that was manufactured before he was born — and in many cases even before his father was born. Weapons provided to the anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s are still being used against coalition troops in Afghanistan and weapons provided by the United States and the Soviet Union to rebels and governments during Central America’s civil wars are still making their way into the arsenals of the Mexican drug cartels. Weapons are fungible in the sense that an AK-47-style rifle manufactured in Russia is essentially the same as one manufactured in China or Egypt, and an M16 manufactured in Israel can easily replace an M16 manufactured in the United States.

One good illustration of the durable and fungible nature of weapons is the fact that some of the weapons seized by the North Vietnamese following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Vietnam were traded to Cuba in the 1970s and 1980s in exchange for sugar. The Cubans then provided these weapons to Marxist militant groups in Central and South America. These weapons originally shipped to U.S. forces in Vietnam were then used by insurgents in Latin American civil wars and some of them were even used in terrorist attacks in the 1980s in places such as Chile, El Salvador and Guatemala. More recently, some of these Vietnam-era weapons have made their way from South and Central America to Mexico, where they have been used by the drug cartels. Another example are the Lee-Enfield rifles manufactured in the early 1900s that can still be found in arms markets in places like Yemen and Pakistan. These antiques are still being used by militants in many parts of the world, including Afghanistan, where they have proved to be more effective in longer-range engagements typical of the theater than the newer and more common AK-47s.

The arms depots in Libya have been looted by a number of different actors ranging in motivation from anti-Gadhafi freedom fighters to jihadists to outright thieves and thugs. While the weapons are now being used mostly to fight Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s remaining forces, they could later be diverted to other uses. Arms, ammunition and explosives looted from Libyan arms depots today will likely be serviceable for decades, and the thriving transnational black arms market will provide a mechanism for groups and individuals to sell looted weapons or those received from foreign governments. The bottom line is that weapons from Libya will be available on the black arms market for many years to come.

 

Types of Weapons

 

So far, the media discussion of Libyan weapons has focused on two classes of weapons: Libya’s chemical weapons stockpiles and its “man-portable air defense systems,” or MANPADS. These are important to consider in evaluating the threats posed by an uncontrolled military arsenal in Libya, but before discussing these weapons it is worthwhile to look at many other types of weapons that could prove useful to insurgents and terrorists.

One category is small arms, which includes rifles, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). A large number of weapons in this class have been looted from arms depots in Libya and widely distributed to rebel fighters. As noted above, such weapons tend to be highly durable and can remain functional for decades. From a militant perspective, such weapons are useful not only in irregular warfare operations but also in armed robberies and kidnappings that are conducted to raise funds for the group. From a terrorism perspective, small arms are useful for assassinations and armed assaults.

Yet another category of munitions of interest to militants is military-grade explosives. Militants in many parts of the world have learned to manufacture improvised explosive mixtures, but such compounds are simply not as compact, stable, reliable or potent as military-grade explosives. Because of this, military-grade explosives have an obvious application for terrorist attacks and are highly sought after on the black arms market.

Still another class is heavier, crew-served weapons, such as heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, recoilless rifles and mortars. Such weapons systems are powerful on the battlefield and can be very useful for insurgents if properly employed, although they are difficult to conceal and transport. Crew-served weapons also use heavier ammunition than small arms and in some cases rapidly consume ammunition, so employing them can also present a significant logistical strain. Because of these factors, they are somewhat difficult to use for terrorist applications. Mortars have been heavily used by insurgents in Iraq, and to a lesser extent by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, but these groups have not demonstrated the ability to adjust their mortar fire to effectively engage targets.

Perhaps the biggest worry right now in terms of Libya’s uncontrolled military arsenal is the looting of MANPADS, which is quite possibly the biggest blow to worldwide MANPADS counterproliferation efforts since Iraq in 2003. Historically, MANPADS have been very appealing to insurgents and terrorists. Libya is estimated to have at least 400 SA-7 Grail (9K32 Strela-2) surface-to-air missiles in its military inventory. With Libya’s largest perceived regional air threat coming from Egypt, it is likely that a substantial portion of its MANPADS stocks were positioned in the eastern part of the country when the current civil war started. We have seen open-source photos of Libyan rebels carrying SA-7 missiles (not always with gripstocks), and one photo even depicted a rebel launching an SA-7 at a pro-Gadhafi warplane. While the airstrikes by pro-Gadhafi aircraft have been largely ineffective, the attention these attacks have been receiving in the press could lead some countries to supply additional, and perhaps even more advanced, MANPADS to the Libyan rebels.

As noted in STRATFOR’s previous coverage of MANPADS, at least 30 civilian aircraft have been brought down and approximately 920 civilians killed by MANPADS attacks since 1973. These attacks brought about the concerted international effort to remove these weapons from the black and gray arms markets. While MANPADS attacks against civilian aircraft have declined in the last decade, sting operations and seizures of illicit arms shipments clearly demonstrate that militant groups continue to work hard to get their hands on the weapons. This means that any MANPADS not used against pro-Gadhafi aircraft in the current conflict will be sought out by militant groups in the region and by arms dealers, who will seek to sell them elsewhere for a profit.

The next class of military ordnance to consider — and this is where the chemical threat comes in — is artillery ammunition. A recent video of Libyan arms depots shows that most of the small arms and smaller crew-served weapons have been taken and what is left behind are large stockpiles of artillery ammunition. In Iraq and Afghanistan, insurgents have been able to use artillery rockets to attack large targets like military bases or the Green Zone in Baghdad. This fire does not amount to much more than harassment, since the insurgents do not have the skill to deliver the accurate, massed fire required to use such weapons in a militarily effective manner.

That said, artillery ammunition is filled with military-grade high explosives, and militants in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria have been able to remove the explosive filler from artillery shells, artillery rockets and mortar rounds in order to use it in improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Militants in Iraq also became quite proficient in using artillery rounds (sometimes several of them chained together) as the main charges in roadside IEDs and vehicle-borne IEDS. A 152 mm howitzer shell contains approximately 13 pounds of a high explosive such as TNT or composition B. The explosive fillers used in these rounds are very hardy and include stabilizers that give them virtually unlimited shelf life. Untold thousands of neglected artillery projectiles could very well be the most under-appreciated threat in the Libyan arms depots.

And one type of artillery ammunition that has been getting quite a bit of press is artillery ammunition capable of delivering chemical agents. Libya has admitted to producing tons of mustard gas, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is currently in the process of overseeing the destruction of Libya’s mustard-gas stockpile (a process no doubt disrupted by the current civil war). There is concern that if Gadhafi gets desperate, he could use mustard gas or some other chemical munitions he had not declared. However, while mustard gas can be deadly if used in high concentrations, it is very difficult to use in a militarily effective manner, which requires a heavy concentration of chemical munitions fire. In World War I, fewer than 5 percent of the troops exposed to mustard gas died. As far as terrorist application, as evidenced by the many chemical attacks conducted by Aum Shinrikyo in Tokyo and the few chemical shells employed in IED attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, it is also very difficult to effectively employ chemical weapons in a terrorist attack.

In Libya, as a result of the current strife, literally tons of weapons have recently entered into free circulation where there is little or no government control over them. If foreign powers decide to arm the Libyan rebels, more large shipments of arms may soon follow. Given the durable and fungible nature of arms, these weapons could have an impact on the region for many years to come, and Libya could once again become the arsenal of terrorism.

In the past, this role was an intentional policy of the Gadhafi regime, and it was possible to direct international policy against the regime to curtail such activity. In the near future there may not be a stable government with control over all of Libya. The weapons that have been looted from Libyan arms depots have been taken by a number of different actors, and the weapons will almost certainly proceed from Libya via a number of divergent channels. Because of this, controlling these arms may pose an even more difficult challenge than the arms intentionally proliferated by the Gadhafi regime.

Will Libya Again Become the Arsenal of Terrorism? is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

France recognizes Libyan rebels as legitimate government

France became the first country to recognize the Libyan Interim Governing Council as the legitimate government of Libya, Huffington Post writes.

“It breaks the ice,” said Mustafa Gheriani, an opposition spokesman. “We expect Italy to do it, and we expect England to do it.”

Germany said it froze billions in assets of the Libyan Central Bank and other state-run agencies. The U.S., UK, Switzerland, Austria and other countries have also frozen Gadhafi’s assets.”

Jihadist Opportunities in Libya

By Scott Stewart

As George Friedman noted in his geopolitical weekly “Revolution and the Muslim World,” one aspect of the recent wave of revolutions we have been carefully monitoring is the involvement of militant Islamists, and their reaction to these events.

Militant Islamists, and specifically the subset of militant Islamists we refer to as jihadists, have long sought to overthrow regimes in the Muslim world. With the sole exception of Afghanistan, they have failed, and even the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan was really more a matter of establishing a polity amid a power vacuum than the true overthrow of a coherent regime. The brief rule of the Supreme Islamic Courts Council in Somalia also occurred amid a similarly chaotic environment and a vacuum of authority.

However, even though jihadists have not been successful in overthrowing governments, they are still viewed as a threat by regimes in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. In response to this threat, these regimes have dealt quite harshly with the jihadists, and strong crackdowns combined with other programs have served to keep the jihadists largely in check.

As we watch the situation unfold in Libya, there are concerns that unlike Tunisia and Egypt, the uprising in Libya might result not only in a change of ruler but also in a change of regime and perhaps even a collapse of the state. In Egypt and Tunisia, strong military regimes were able to ensure stability after the departure of a long-reigning president. By contrast, in Libya, longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi has deliberately kept his military and security forces fractured and weak and thereby dependent on him. Consequently, there may not be an institution to step in and replace Gadhafi should he fall. This means energy-rich Libya could spiral into chaos, the ideal environment for jihadists to flourish, as demonstrated by Somalia and Afghanistan.

Because of this, it seems an appropriate time to once again examine the dynamic of jihadism in Libya.

Gadhafi responded with an iron fist, essentially imposing martial law in the Islamist militant strongholds of Darnah and Benghazi and the towns of Ras al-Helal and al-Qubbah in the Jabal al-Akhdar region. After a series of military crackdowns, Gadhafi gained the upper hand in dealing with his Islamist militant opponents, and the insurgency tapered off by the end of the 1990s. Many LIFG members fled the country in the face of the government crackdown and a number of them ended up finding refuge with groups like al Qaeda in places such as Afghanistan.

While the continued participation of Libyan men in fighting on far-flung battlefields was not expressly encouraged by the Libyan government, it was tacitly permitted. The Gadhafi regime, like other countries in the region, saw exporting jihadists as a way to rid itself of potential problems. Every jihadist who died overseas was one less the government had to worry about. This policy did not take into account the concept of “tactical Darwinism,” which means that while the United States and its coalition partners will kill many fighters, those who survive are apt to be strong and cunning. The weak and incompetent have been weeded out, leaving a core of hardened, competent militants. These survivors have learned tactics for survival in the face of superior firepower and have learned to manufacture and effectively employ new types of highly effective improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In a Nov. 3, 2007, audio message, al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri reported that the LIFG had formally joined the al Qaeda network. This statement came as no real surprise, given that members of the group have long been close to al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. Moreover, the core al Qaeda group has long had a large number of Libyan cadre in its senior ranks, including men such as Abu Yahya al-Libi, Anas al-Libi, Abu Faraj al-Libi (who reportedly is being held by U.S. forces at Guantanamo Bay) and Abu Laith al-Libi, who was killed in a January 2008 unmanned aerial vehicle strike in Pakistan.

The scope of Libyan participation in jihadist efforts in Iraq became readily apparent with the September 2007 seizure of a large batch of personnel files from an al Qaeda safe house in the Iraqi city of Sinjar. The Sinjar files were only a small cross-section of all the fighters traveling to Iraq to fight with the jihadists, but they did provide a very interesting snapshot. Of the 595 personnel files recovered, 112 of them were of Libyans. This number is smaller than the 244 Saudi citizens represented in the cache, but when one considers the overall size of the population of the two countries, the Libyan contingent represented a far larger percentage on a per capita basis. The Sinjar files suggested that a proportionally higher percentage of Libyans was engaged in the fighting in Iraq than their brethren from other countries in the region.

Another interesting difference was noted in the job-description section of the Sinjar files. Of those Libyan men who listed their intended occupation in Iraq, 85 percent of them listed it as suicide bomber and only 13 percent listed fighter. By way of comparison, only 50 percent of the Saudis listed their occupation as suicide bomber. This indicates that the Libyans tended to be more radical than their Saudi counterparts. Moroccans appeared to be the most radical, with more than 91 percent of them apparently desiring to become suicide bombers.

The Libyan government’s security apparatus carefully monitored those Libyans who passed through the crucible of fighting on the battlefield in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and then returned to Libya. Tripoli took a carrot-and-stick approach to the group similar to that implemented by the Saudi regime. As a result, the LIFG and other jihadists were unable to pose a serious threat to the Gadhafi regime, and have remained very quiet in recent years. In fact, they were for the most part demobilized and rehabilitated.

Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, oversaw the program to rehabilitate LIFG militants, which his personal charity managed. The regime’s continued concern over the LIFG was clearly demonstrated early on in the unrest when it announced that it would continue the scheduled release from custody of LIFG fighters.

The Sinjar reports also reflected that more than 60 percent of the Libyan fighters had listed their home city as Darnah and almost 24 percent had come from Benghazi. These two cities are in Libya’s east and happen to be places where some of the most intense anti-Gadhafi protests have occurred in recent days. Arms depots have been looted in both cities, and we have seen reports that at least some of those doing the looting appeared to have been organized Islamists.

A U.S. State Department cable drafted in Tripoli in June 2008 made available by WikiLeaks talked about this strain of radicalism in Libya’s east. The cable, titled “Die Hard in Derna,” was written several months after the release of the report on the Sinjar files. Derna is an alternative transliteration of Darnah, and “Die Hard” was a reference to the Bruce Willis character in the Die Hard movie series, who always proved hard for the villains to kill. The author of the cable, the U.S. Embassy’s political and economic officer, noted that many of the Libyan fighters who returned from fighting in transnational jihad battlefields liked to settle in places like Darnah due to the relative weakness of the security apparatus there. The author of the cable also noted his belief that the presence of these older fighters was having an influence on the younger men of the region who were becoming radicalized, and the result was that Darnah had become “a wellspring of foreign fighters in Iraq.” He also noted that some 60-70 percent of the young men in the region were unemployed or underemployed.

Finally, the author opined that many of these men were viewing the fight in Iraq as a way to attack the United States, which they saw as supporting the Libyan regime in recent years. This is a concept jihadists refer to as attacking the far enemy and seems to indicate an acceptance of the transnational version of jihadist ideology — as does the travel of men to Iraq to fight and the apparent willingness of Libyans to serve as suicide bombers.

 

Trouble on the Horizon?

This deep streak of radicalism in eastern Libya brings us back to the beginning. While it seems unlikely at this point that the jihadists could somehow gain control of Libya, if Gadhafi falls and there is a period of chaos in Libya, these militants may find themselves with far more operating space inside the country than they have experienced in decades. If the regime does not fall and there is civil war between the eastern and western parts of the country, they could likewise find a great deal of operational space amid the chaos. Even if Gadhafi, or an entity that replaces him, is able to restore order, due to the opportunity the jihadists have had to loot military arms depots, they have suddenly found themselves more heavily armed than they have ever been inside their home country. And these heavily armed jihadists could pose a substantial threat of the kind that Libya has avoided in recent years.

Given this window of opportunity, the LIFG could decide to become operational again, especially if the regime they have made their deal with unexpectedly disappears. However, even should the LIFG decide to remain out of the jihad business as an organization, there is a distinct possibility that it could splinter and that the more radical individuals could cluster together to create a new group or groups that would seek to take advantage of this suddenly more permissive operational environment. Of course, there are also jihadists in Libya unaffiliated with LIFG and not bound by the organization’s agreements with the regime.

The looting of the arms depots in Libya is also reminiscent of the looting witnessed in Iraq following the dissolution of the Iraqi army in the face of the U.S. invasion in 2003. That ordnance not only was used in thousands of armed assaults and indirect fire attacks with rockets and mortars, but many of the mortar and artillery rounds were used to fashion powerful IEDs. This concept of making and employing IEDs from military ordnance will not be foreign to the Libyans who have returned from Iraq (or Afghanistan, for that matter).

This bodes ill for foreign interests in Libya, where they have not had the same security concerns in recent years that they have had in Algeria or Yemen. If the Libyans truly buy into the concept of targeting the far enemy that supports the state, it would not be out of the realm of possibility for them to begin to attack multinational oil companies, foreign diplomatic facilities and even foreign companies and hotels.

While Seif al-Islam, who certainly has political motives to hype such a threat, has mentioned this possibility, so have the governments of Egypt and Italy. Should Libya become chaotic and the jihadists become able to establish an operational base amid the chaos, Egypt and Italy will have to be concerned about not only refugee problems but also the potential spillover of jihadists. Certainly, at the very least the weapons looted in Libya could easily be sold or given to jihadists in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, turning militancy in Libya into a larger regional problem. In a worst-case scenario, if Libya experiences a vacuum of power, it could become the next Iraq or Pakistan, a gathering place for jihadists from around the region and the world. The country did serve as such a base for a wide array of Marxist and rejectionist terrorists and militants in the 1970s and 1980s.

It will be very important to keep a focus on Libya in the coming days and weeks — not just to see what happens to the regime but also to look for indicators of the jihadists testing their wings.

 

 

A Long History

 

Libyans have long participated in militant operations in places like Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq. After leaving Afghanistan in the early 1990s, a sizable group of Libyan jihadists returned home and launched a militant campaign aimed at toppling Gadhafi, whom they considered an infidel. The group began calling itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 1995, and carried out a low-level insurgency that included assassination attempts against Gadhafi and attacks against military and police patrols.

Jihadist Opportunities in Libya is republished with permission of STRATFOR.”

Bahrain is more important than Libya

STRATFOR warns that Bahrain is far more important than the conditions in Libya:

“Libya is spiraling out of control and dominating the media. But there’s unrest in lesser-known places that is strategically more important.

Bahrain intersects Iranian-Saudi competition and the possibility for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. If the situation in Bahrain gets out of hand, the U.S. could lose a base for its 5th Fleet; Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority could follow suit with their own protests; the Iranian-Saudi balance in the region would teeter heavily toward Iran…does this small country have your attention now?”

CCTV news recap on demonstrations in the Middle East: