Notes From Libya

Daniel Larison and Jason Sorens have alerted me to the most recent updates on Libya’s situation.  In case you are wondering, it is not good.  In fact, things look a lot worse than they did under Ghaddafi.  From the BBC:

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay meanwhile raised concerns about detainees being held by revolutionary forces, saying there were some 8,500 prisoners in about 60 centres.

“The majority of detainees are accused of being Gaddafi loyalists and include a large number of sub-saharan, African nationals,” she said.

“The lack of oversight by the central authority creates an environment conducive to torture and ill treatment.”

No good can come from this.  Libya is an artificial state created by European colonialists, and the Libyan factions that managed to dupe the West into doing their dirty work for them will now be competing for the power structure left by the Ghaddafi regime.

Indeed, not to brag or boast or anything, but in a dialogue with co-blogger Jacques Delacroix I correctly predicted what would happen in post-Ghaddafi Libya:

I still think we’ll see bloodbaths because most naive factions see centralized power as THE way to achieve stability. The not-so-naive factions also see centralized power as an attractive option. As long as everyone is competing for power at the center of these states, we’ll continue to see bloodshed and instability. I have yet to see anything, unfortunately, to suggest otherwise. The mass graves may stop for a time, but without a game plan that involves smaller states and more trade/less aid, they’ll be back. No matter how many times we bomb a dictator from his palace.

Instead of trying to rebuild the Libyan state, as the UN human rights chief suggests (why am I not surprised?), the West should try to work with Russia and China and other North African polities to try and carve Libya up into smaller states that are loosely affiliated politically but tightly connected economically.

Now, being right all the time is one thing, but getting people to think more clearly is quite another.

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