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Archnar analyzes the situation in Libya thoroughly through his article. He takes a closer look at the thoughts of the Transitional National Council (TNC), the Muammar Gaddafi’s government and the Western Powers. He goes ahead to compare past NATO operations that happened in different countries. He notices that in Libya, the operation happened differently and with a purpose.
NATO and Western Forces, “Achcar et al.” have not supported the insurgents fully. There were accusations that the insurgents only wanted to partition their country, but these claims got disputed since the rebels continued to fight for liberation of the whole country form Gaddafi’s dictatorship. They have done this even with poorly trained, poorly armed and amateurish insurgents’ forces. Civilians have also joined the fighters for their country’s liberation.
“Achcar et al.” points out that the Western countries do not want to work directly with the Libyan rebels. There is mutual mistrust between the rebels and NATO. The Libyan rebels barely trust NATO. They only wanted NATO to provide arms and fighting equipment.
The main points of this article are as follows:
- The two NATO’s Libyan paradoxes
- The mutual distrust that exists between Western powers and Libyan rebels
- Nato’s plans for Libya
- Dissension in opposition ranks
The two NATO’s Libyan paradoxes
The first paradox was that, in Iraq and Afghanistan, US-led fights put emphasis on ‘nationalization’ of the conflict. The rebels in Libya were not even armed so they had to seek NATO’s help in provision of weapons. They even assured NATO that, with the weaponry and adequate armament, they could finish the problem of liberating the country. NATO refused to arm them. The insurgents were willing to pay. This happened despite the fact that NATO used to make deals with Gaddafi.
The Mutual Distrust
The Western powers did not trust the Libyan rebels. Their attitude was different from the attitude they had towards the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) or the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. There was an emphasis on the role of ‘Islamists’ in the Libyan rebellion as a reason for not supplying the rebels with weapons.
There is a strong suspicion that echoes a feeling that was expressed by Libyan rebels themselves. One of the spokes person of Libyan rebels felt that NATO was performing slow military operations against Gaddafi’s brigades. This would maintain Gaddafi longer in service. This would then increase the price that the opposition would be requested to pay to the world powers.
There was a plan to shift location of NATO strikes in Libya. They sometimes ask the TNC to negotiate with Gaddafi, but the rebels stuck to their mission of removing Gaddafi and his sons from power. There was a plan on how post- Libyan country would be on issues of security and justice. They felt that, in Libya, there was a possibility there would be no post-Gaddafi ‘orderly transition’. It was designed in such a way as to satisfy the western powers. There was a mass defection by high-ranking Gaddafi officials.
Dissension in Opposition Ranks
NATO had no problem incorporating the past regime officials in the post- Gaddafi Libya. Many rebels resented taking orders from or working alongside those who held military security positions in Gaddafi’s regime and later shifted sides to join the rebellion. Some influential leaders of the Libyan rebel group had called for preventing regime loyalists from any future force. They wanted to give priority to those who fought against Gaddafi. This rebel’s strength of mind is the main means in understanding NATO’s paradoxical conduct explained above.
What I have learnt from the article
I have learnt about the possible plan of NATO and western powers to control Libya after the liberation. The author clearly explains how this plan had to be implemented. NATO does not fully support the Libyan rebels because of the hidden plans they have against Libya.
I have not learnt about the ways used by Gaddafi’s government in the fight against the insurgents. In addition, there is no clear indication of what would happen in case the rebels did not win.
Strengths and weaknesses of the article
The article clearly explains what has not been tackled by most authors. He is brave in his explanations on how there is a conspiracy by NATO against the Libyan rebels. He also backs up the claims using different materials, meaning that the author read widely. The weakness is that it shows only one side as defective other than explaining the issues for all the parties involved. Achcar should have written about the Gaddafi’s government’s take and the rebel’s plans. The article has dwelled so much on the negative aspect of NATO and western powers.
As compared to other countries, it has taken longer for NATO to back the Libyan rebels in the liberation of the country. It has taken longer for sorties to be sent over to Libya than the time taken for them to be sent to other countries. NATO is not competent in backing up Libyan rebels. All this has been a plan for NATO to take control over Libya after the liberation. Nato wants to work together with people involved in Gaddafi’s regime rather than working with rebels after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
Achcar, Gilbert. NATO’s “Conspiracy” against the Libyan Revolution. Jadaliyya, 2011.