28 Weeks Later: Free Libya?


When President Obama declared an unconstitutional military action in Libya, the ostensible reason for attacking was to prevent a civilian massacre. Now, nearly one year later (yes, my title was misleading, but I couldn’t think of anything catchier), has the US military action accomplished what it supposedly set out to accomplish?  In a word: NO.

The first thing that everyone in the world, not just Americans, must understand is that we rarely, if ever, go to war for the reasons stated on the six o’clock news.  The news media lies.  Frequently.  We have been lied to about Libya, and as a result of our increasingly invasive military policy, more people are dying.  In the words of Lew Rockwell, “These people are not pro-peace; they are pro-war.”  I take “these people” to mean pretty much everyone who supported military action in Libya.

However, I have covered the likely reasons why the US/NATO troops attacked Libya.  It has nothing to do with peace and everything to do with petrodollars and any outside threats to the longevity of our shaky financial system.  The fact of the matter, as I have mentioned and will continue to mention, is that the US monetary system survives through the settlement of international transactions in dollars.  The trend of dollar usage is changing, and our government, foolish though they may appear, is not blind to this fact.  They are doing everything in their power to forestall the inevitable.

But let’s lay the monetary issues aside for now.  I’ll have time to rail about those again, I’m certain.  Instead, let’s examine the action in Libya from the viewpoint that we actually went in there as peacekeepers.  Was the mission accomplished?  Is Libya a country at peace?  Hardly.

Recently, Amnesty International reported that armed militias and violent gangs are threatening the stability of Libya.  Thousands are living in refugee camps.  RT has reported that armed fighters have opened fire on those refugee camps, leaving people dead and wounded.  Sirte, once the stronghold of Colonel Qaddafi, is literally in ruins.  The city is mostly without power or water, and there are unexploded munitions in the rubble.  Hardly a place that most folks who have fled will be happy to call home again.

What is the most probable cause of all this in-fighting?  Easy.  There are a lot of different religious and ethnic groups present in Libya.  For all of the things he did wrong, and he did many things wrong, Colonel Qaddafi was not a religious extremist.  In fact, he feared religious extremism.  His government was a secular one – one of the few in the Middle East, aside from Syria, which is the last remaining secular government.  I think we all know how Syria is likely going to turn out, so I won’t belabor the point.

The new Libyan government has moved away from a secular system and is implementing Sharia law.  What is Sharia law, Lady?  Glad you asked.  Sharia law is based on the Q’ran and Sunnah, the major literary texts of Islam.  In a nutshell, it is the law according to the Muslim interpretation of God/Allah.  Many countries, such as Pakistan and Egypt, have legal systems with heavy Sharia influences but which could be considered blended.  Others, such as Saudi Arabia, have a classical Sharia system.  Iran is also Sharia, although it does have a parliament that legislates according to sharia, which makes it somewhat different from Saudi. Sharia is a tricky subject about which I am not well-versed by any stretch, and there are probably as many different forms of Sharia law as there are sects of Islamic or Christian belief.  And that brings me to the main thrust of the problem.

The majority of Muslims in Libya are Sunni.  However, there is a minority known as the Sufis, and they are being persecuted for the differences in their beliefs.  Apparently, another Islamic group known as the Salafis don’t care for the Sufis.  Salafi extremists have dug up Sufi saints and scholars, desecrated cemeteries, and plundered and wrecked schools, among other things.

Sufism dates back to the beginning of the Muslim faith and appears to be a bit “earthier” than stricter versions of Islam.  Sufis will sing hymns, dance, and recognize saints, none of which conform with the strictest versions of Islam.  Recognizing saints is considered tantamount to idolatry, which is a big no-no in the Muslim faith.  Sufis are generally considered to be peaceful and accepting, and they have long played a role in traditional Libyan Islamic beliefs.  However, many government officials now are leaning towards Salafism, which may be bad news indeed for the Sufi minority.

Aside from the religious differences, the black African guest workers have reportedly been rounded up by marauding gangs, tortured, raped and murdered.  These stories have come forth since the early days of the Libyan revolts.  Racism because of skin color was hardly a new feature in Libya, but latent tensions have now bubbled to the surface as deadly violence.

So this is what the money that we don’t have has bought and paid for in Libya.  We have not made Libya freer, and we have not made a better life for the people of that country.  Parts of Libya are in tatters.  The social fabric is unraveling, and authorities are unable to stop the waves of violence boiling up throughout the country.  If we ignore the constitutional and monetary issues at stake and work on the assumption that Libya was a peace mission, we must still conclude that our efforts have failed miserably.

Freedom does not come by force.  Force is, in fact, the antithesis of freedom.  We will never be able to force any country, no matter how much we may wish it or how much blood is spilled, to bring government by the people, for the people, to a country that is not ready for the message.  We might better focus our efforts on our own government and decide how truly free we are, as Americans.  Of course, if the only thing on offer is the brand of so-called aid and comfort that we have provided to Libya, I think I’ll take my chances in the desert wilderness.

The Reading

“Libya clashes kill scores in Al-Kufra” via the BBC
“Post-revolution Sirte a breeding ground for unrest” via the BBC
“Racist Refugee Camp Massacre in Libya: Thank You, Obama, for ‘Liberating’ the Libyans from the Evil Ghaddafi” by Nicholas Stix
“Freed from Gaddafi, Libyan Sufis face violent Islamists” via Reuters
“Out of Control Violence in Libya” via Steve Lendman Blog

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About The Lady Libertarian
I am American, currently expatriated but hopeful about getting back home one of these days. Besides reading and writing about politics, I enjoy camping, sailing, canoeing, making pie, and traveling. I hope you'll enjoy this blog and find it informative and accessible.

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