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Libya: Never Believe It Till It’s Officially Denied

British special forces are on the ground in Libya helping to spearhead the hunt for Col Muammar Gaddafi, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

As a £1 million bounty was placed on Gaddafi’s head, soldiers from 22 SAS Regiment began guiding rebel soldiers after being ordered in by David Cameron.

For the first time, defence sources have confirmed that the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in coordinating the fall of Tripoli.

With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have been dressed in Arab civilian clothing and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi, who has been on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured on Tuesday.

— The Telegraph, August 25, 2011, Libya: SAS leads hunt for Gaddafi

When rebels ransacked Moammar Gadhafi’s compound and paraded gleefully with his military hats and golf cart in Tripoli this week, the scenes sparked memories of the looting of Baghdad in 2003. It was a reminder that Libya could plunge into the same post-war anarchy that terrorized Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, when thousands of civilians were killed” is the opening paragraph of Geoffrey York’s Globe and Mail article Wednesday afternoon.

But Ghahafi, or Gaddafi, or Quaddafi, or whatever his name is, is gone and Freedom and Democracy has been delivered to Libyans by western humanitarian bombers, without “boots on the ground” – except CIA spook boots that aren’t really there, right? Hasn’t it?

Well, almost, but things are never quite as clearcut and simple as they’re made out to be.

York goes on to explain that, in order to assure that only true Humanitarian Brand(TM) Freedom and Democracy is delivered to Libyans, the coalition of opportunists, sorry I mean coalition of the willing, have decided that it ain’t over until the Libyan population is pacified happy and secure with their newfound ‘self-determination’, and the only way to accomplish self-determination for them since they aren’t really capable of self-determination themselves of course (but it sounded good when it was needed), is to is to send in the police to protect them from each other.

This is all part of the no-fly resolution of course – it’s just the baggage that wouldn’t fit in the luggage compartments of the bombers dropping freedom bombs – the fine print, as it were.

Call it “Mission Yet To Be Accomplished”, for short.
? ? ? ? ?

York continues:

So far, the Libyan rebels have managed to limit the disorder in most cities they have captured, including Tripoli. Aside from the ransacking of the Gadhafi compound and the homes of his sons and daughter, there are few reports of deliberate looting or revenge killings in the capital, and the captured cities in the rest of Libya have been surprisingly stable.

But analysts warn that there’s a high risk of violent chaos erupting if preventive action is not taken.

Limit disorder“? That must be working, since there are only “few reports of deliberate looting or revenge killings” and “the rest of Libya have been surprisingly stable“.

Well, again, almost, but things are never quite as clearcut and simple as they’re made out to be.

And since things are so “stable” now that true Humanitarian Brand(TM) Freedom and Democracy has been delivered to Libyans, there is only one thing for it, and that is of course that to ensure that things remain “stable”, unnamed anonymous “analysts” now say it’s time for – you guessed it – true Humanitarian Brand(TM) Boots on the Ground.

But only to protect Libyans from chaos, or from each other, or maybe from attacking their “liberators”? And only to “police” the action, of course, out of love and concern for Libyans.

York continues to continue (true Humanitarian Brand(TM) Freedom and Democracy just gets awesomer and awesomer doesn’t it?):

Because of this danger, there will be pressure to deploy foreign peacekeepers or police units across Libya under United Nations authority, despite the opposition of many Libyans to any foreign military presence on their soil.

Western leaders have promised “no boots on the ground” in Libya, but they might have to abandon their promise if the rebels are unable to stabilize the country. One U.S. expert, Daniel Serwer, has called for a 3,000-member paramilitary police force under European leadership to maintain public security in the post-war period.

The question of a peacekeeping force is just one of many urgent issues that confront the rebels and their Western allies as the Gadhafi regime disintegrates. Libya was never a modern political state – its institutions were crushed by the paranoid dictator, who feared any challenge to his rule – and his military collapse could create a dangerous vacuum of power.

“It is this twin challenge – replacing an autocratic regime and rebuilding a new state from the ground up – that will be so daunting for the new leadership,” the International Crisis Group, an independent Brussels-based group, said in a commentary this week. “Much hard work will need to be done very quickly to reduce the real risk of the country slipping into chaos.”

Sorry for the break there – I had to go whack my head against the door jamb for a minute – but let’s “move forward” here, shall we? Much hard work will need to be done very quickly to reduce the real risk of the country slipping into chaos, apparently.

Western leaders have vowed that they won’t repeat the mistakes of Iraq this time.

And never you mind that “Western leaders” have also vowed “no boots on the ground” in Libya – but that was a few paragraphs ago, in the past you know.

And we’re “moving forward” here now dealing with the present and the future, and there are serious issues at stake in Libya, so never you mind previous vows, we have new true Humanitarian Brand(TM) vows now to make.

And you go to war with the vows you have, not with the vows you wish you had. Of course.

York continues to continue to continue (gawd this guy is good at “moving forward” , ain’t he?):

The rebels, grouped together in the Transitional National Council, have pledged to prevent any violent revenge attacks. But their credibility was heavily damaged by the mysterious assassination of the rebel military chief, Abdel Fattah Younis, after he was taken into custody by the rebels last month. The killing is still unexplained.

There are also worries that the post-war political climate could be paralyzed by divisions within the rebel movement, including regional conflicts or clashes between secular and religious factions. The transitional council is based in eastern Libya, yet significantly it was western rebels who liberated Tripoli this week, and it is unclear if they are fully loyal to the rebel headquarters in the east.

The transitional council has been careful to say all of the right things. It has promised an emphasis on stability and security. It has committed itself to elections within the next year, a new constitution, a referendum on that constitution, and a stabilization force of up to 15,000 new “Tripoli Guards” who would prevent bloodshed in the post-war period.

But many analysts are skeptical of these promises. Even the head of the transitional council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, has admitted that the challenge of post-war governing “will not be a bed of roses.”

Ok, so now the rebels to whom we have delivered true Humanitarian Brand(TM) Freedom and Democracy have become, just in the nick of time, the enemy against whom we must now send in true Humanitarian Brand(TM) Boots on the Ground, but only to protect the rebels to whom we have delivered true Humanitarian Brand(TM) Freedom and Democracy from. And only because Libya is so “stable” now that true Humanitarian Brand(TM) Freedom and Democracy has been delivered to Libyans. And this is going to take some damn stern humanitarian parental resolve and it’s going to hurt us more than it hurts them, so I don’t want to hear any whining, eh?

You got that? Good. (scratches head) Otherwise the whole place could descend into chaos, and we sure as hell don’t want to be there for ten years, right? Or even fifteen.

York continues to continue to continue, and finally closes with the important stuff here:

One crucial issue is the flow of money. The rebels will need financing to stabilize the country and rebuild its shattered infrastructure, but an estimated $165-billion in Libyan assets are still frozen worldwide. And the country’s oil production has been crippled by the war, with many refineries and oil fields shut down by war damage. Libyan oil production today is barely 5 per cent of what it was before the war.

The rebels have acknowledged that it will take at least nine months to revive Libya’s oil production. In the meantime, they are pressing for the speedy release of billions of dollars of frozen assets, particularly in the United States and Britain, to kick-start their rebuilding efforts.

Keep on Iraq-in in the free world.

Crossposted from Antemedius

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