February 11, 2013
last update Feb. 12
As we draw quite near to the two-year anniversary of the engineered uprising in Libya, there have been concerns of a planned "correction" of the 2011 "revolution." Which way it goes remains to be seen. Will the operative people here pull things even further in the direction of militant Salafism, or towards a greater neo-liberalism and pro-West privatization of industry? Or will it aim to actually start a process, by the long-suppressed Green masses, of reclaiming what was lost in the last two years?
Whichever of these prevails, the direction is sure to be mixed, with things being pulled in different directions at once.
I did not conduct an in-depth search for information here, but a widely re-posted AFP report by Youssef Ba is adequate to create this starting pont.
Faced with growing rumblings in the street, the authorities have put security forces on high alert ahead of the protests as well as celebrations two days later marking the second anniversary of the “Feb 17 Revolution” that led to Qadhafi’s ouster and being killed in October 2011.No one can doubt that Libyans have much to protest, and the anniversary of the start of this awkward process can hardly be passed up as the best time to voice those concerns in whatever big way.
Demands by opposition groups range from a ban on officials of the former regime from holding public office to the disbandment of armed militias and a reform of the higher education system. Chants at protests are increasingly resembling those staged during the uprising against Qadhafi: “The people demand the fall of the (new) regime.” A leaflet circulated in Tripoli calls for a “popular revolt” and a civil disobedience movement to bring down the regime. It encourages Libyans to stock up with food and fuel in anticipation of what it says will be a complete shutdown of the country following the Feb 15 protests.
It is unclear who is behind the leaflet and the calls for protests but Libyan officials and several organisations, including Islamic groups, accuse remnants of the former regime of fomenting protests to “sow disorder and instability”.
However, the exact date for the “popular revolt” against “the regime” is significant. Libya’s opposition and rebel fighters always trumpet Feb. 17 as the signature date of their “revolution,” the planned start date, marking the anniversary of extremist protests the government suppressed in 2006. The choice two days earlier instead marks the date when treasonous violence masquerading as protest actually began, with the arrest of provocateur Fathi Terbil and a military armory raided by rebels in Dernah the following day. There are signs of scheming in the days even before that. Suggesting much broader plans, over the following days emerged possible French commandoes and high-level defectors, on-script and pulling tricks at the UN.
Different people from different factions might find reason to commemorate the 15th, but whoever it is, the attitude it implies is troubling to anyone wanting to preserve the post-rape status quo.
In Benghazi and Cyrenaica, where that rebellion first took hold, the recurring federalist issue is one of the cornerstones of protester concerns, according to Ba’s AFP report. Longtime rebel activist Mohamed al-Mufti evidenced no concern with militias and public safety (that’s more an issue for Tripoli and other areas “liberated” only with more force and policing). But he told Ba “the calls to demonstrate are justified,” citing economic issues alone as bolstering the “politically motivated” campaign with legitimate “demands for federalism.”
Libya’s grand mufti (not the activist Al-Mufti), as well as a wide sector of civil society activist types have stressed publicly that all protests must be peaceful and focused on “correcting the process of revolution” and not threatening “legitimate institutions,” which “there is no reason to dispute.”
One man at least spoke to challenged that: “Sixteen months after the fall of Qadhafi, there is no change and (the new) government has failed to establish security or restore the authority of the state,” He’s surely not alone in this feeling that the existing regime might lack legitimacy and be a more than fair target for a more thoroughgoing correction.
Unsolicited Advice / Potentially Useful Thoughts
I have advice to Libyans at this juncture. It may be nothing but clever-sounding delusion, and might even be a very bad suggestion. The people who live there will know the ground reality better, but I ask that they give this a moment’s thought anyway.
Don’t count on this particular day to really start anything continuous. Do make a strong, silent, and controlled showing. Shut the country down - for an afternoon - to the extent possible. Establish the choke-hold, then let go with only a few breaths missed. A green giant can be merciful, and in no big rush. It can even compromise its color to appeal to as many as possible, even among those who previously betrayed the nation. It can take advantage of the forced opportunity to reinvent something like the Jamahiriya but better, freed from any nagging flaws of the old system.
Do not start killing soldiers, or even militiamen, and calling them defectors. It won’t work for you like it did for the enabled regime-changers two years ago. Document and expose all false-flag provocations you quite likely will be saddled with and blamed for. The "authorities" and/or the real muscle of extremist militias will try to arrest and crush the movement away on any pretext, even invented. This is likely to happen, and it may be intensely unpleasant for some brave souls. But the green giant is no single person, and they cannot stop it by plucking off even a few thousand of its leaves.
Also, changing the plans at the last minute, to strike on the 14th instead, might throw the false-flaggers off and give them too little time to re-adjust. That might give you a cleaner day that actually inspires the world with the depth of humanity they just saw shine in this darkened place, and leave no green activity for them to tack it onto the following day. It's a thought.
Nails and Chaos: Related Big-Picture Thoughts
The US State Department is not convinced the demands for peace will hold; its diplomatic security bureau urges all citizens to avoid Libya at this time if possible. Somewhere they had learned “even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.” And of course the protests that start violent, like they did in Libya on February 15, 2011, can screw a country up for years – if they get enough air support and other outside help. As testament to that fact and its effects, the warning notes “because of ongoing instability and violence, the Department of State’s ability to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in these regions of Libya is extremely limited.”
Eastern Libya especially is marred now by “a general backdrop of political violence, assassinations, targeting former regime officials, lawlessness, and an overarching absence of central government authority.” This is according to a report by the Accountability Review Board investigating the Benghazi embassy attack of last September 11. That still-mysterious intelligence failure - around a CIA operation thinly disguised as a part of the State Dep’t – is explored in a recent article by Ronda Hauben: “The Benghazi Affair: Uncovering the Mystery of the Benghazi CIA Annex” That operation was closed down afterwards. As quoted there, a Wall Street Journal article decried the loss of “a critical intelligence unit” from “a hotbed of Islamism,” harming “U.S. standing in the region and the ability to fight terrorist groups” which the U.S. itself had enabled to create their hotbed there.
That acutely-symbolic event might be the nail holding one of the first-assembled corners on the framework of a massive and ominous new mythology. With the best of intentions, we may later decide, we (the civilized world) tried to free the Libyan people, only to unleash the worst aspects of their flawed Islamic culture. Sadly, the contagion ruled there, spread to Mali and metastasized across North Africa. It took root is Egypt’s upheaval and beyond, and was actively fostered by Arab/Sunni Muslim leaders in Syria, plunging that nation - and likely Lebanon with it - into years of sectarian chaos and awful bloodshed. Too late, we may finally recognize how blinded we were by our "own pure motives," and that the hated leaders overthrown were rational pragmatists who had carefully managed balance in their nations. It will seem a mistake that they and their brands of sanity were crushed under lies and replaced with the new global Islamic threat we'll know all too well by then. "Oops." World War will be upon us.
The nail of the Benghazi attack was driven into the wood of "post-Gaddafi Libya," as the invention is called. Hypothetically at least, that wood can reject the nail, and turn itself from stale plank back into a green and living tree again. This possibility should be encouraged to grow in likelihood in every way possible.