27 August 2011

Letter from Lhasa, number 249. Libya, a textbook case about the impossibility of revolutions

Letter from Lhasa, number 249. Libya, a textbook case about the impossibility of revolutions
by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Those are called “revolutions” always are something else. People do not revolt if some power do not push or oblige them to do it. Spontaneous revolts or revolutions would contradict not only the rational choice theory but whatever sociological, psychological and politological law. “Revolutions” only are ex-post storytelling, “making sense”, propaganda.

The current Libyan events are a perfect textbook case, if there were textbooks on this subject.

Libya is a vast space (with the dimensions of Alaska, six times Italy) with a small population, of about 6’600’000 people. About 1.5 million are immigrants.

The current takeover was started on French initiative. Since France is a subordinate power, it got British and US authorization and co-participation. Without that, France could do nothing.

Key ethnic groups, overall in Cyrenaica, were bought, supported, armed and pushed to some initial revolt could justify the public intimation to Gaddafi to leave power and a UN Security Council resolution de facto authorised a Western military intervention.

Inefficient and ineffective gangs put their faces under the label of “rebels”, while the demolition of the Libyan government armed forces and structures was carried on by intensive French, British, “NATO” bombardments and by French and British Special Forces on the ground.  

Since even that was insufficient, Berber ethnic groups were bought, armed and mobilized for the assault on Tripoli. Again, they overall put their faces while the real work was made by “NATO” bombardments, and French and British Special Forces on the ground.

In Libya, there are at least 140 known clans and tribal networks. Mua'mmar al-Gaddafi belongs to the Al-Qaddafi tribe, one of the largest, which may be found from Sert in central-north Libya to Sabha in the south.

Actually, for recreating a Libyan State, a new Gaddafi would be necessary. Equally, for splitting Libya in two or more States, two or more Gaddafi would be indispensable. Differently, a fragmentation along ethnic lines would be inevitable.

A massive and open land intervention of French and British troops would not necessarily be a solution. It might even aggravate the present situation, from whatever point of view. However, since the current war against Libya is a war for stealing its oil and natural resources, it would be surely useful for making clear who the new Libyan owners are.

If different ethnic groups accepted to betray the Gaddafi leadership, they obviously expect advantages they had not during the Gaddafi era. In practice, they will now expect to be generously rewarded.

If an order capable to generously and stably reward at the same time a key majority of the Libyan ethnic groups and the foreign powers (UK, France, USA) led the destruction of the Gaddafi regime will not be rapidly established, the Gaddafi regime will be replaced by a failed State. In practice, collapsed the Gaddafi’s Libyan State, the Western powers will have replaced it by a no man's land.

Is a Somali-style no man’s land the next future of the ‘new’ Western-controlled Libyan space? Will it be possible to control a no man’s land?

Of course, there is always the possibility, overall if the Western intervention could not go on, that Gaddafi, or someone of his family or clan, could recreate the now destroyed regime. Abstractly, everybody else with sufficient military strength could. What is improbable is a simple restoration of the previous equilibrium represented from the ethnic democracy whose central representative institution was the General People's Congress. When a weak and unstable equilibrium is dissolved, it cannot be simply restored. Reality (or some “planner”) should invent something else.  

Until now and in the near future, with the costs of the military intervention and now of the subsidies for Libyan reconstruction (after the heavy destructions provoked from the “NATO” bombardments, the Western powers have had and are continuing to have only heavy costs, and with internal contexts of financial and fiscal crises.  

The new Western puppets designed to represent and lead Libya are claiming that they will honour the previous contracts as the ones with Italy, the main trade partner of the Gaddafi Libya. Actually, now, Italy, after its participation to a war against its own interests, is subsiding the “new” Libya. Will be France and the UK happy that a “new Libya” honour its contracts with Italy? It is improbable.  

 Rapidly predate the foreign aids, and the funds of the Gaddafi regime, from the “new” Western-designed leadership, what will happen? The revenues from the oil sector represent about 95% of export earnings, 25% of GDP, and 80% of government revenue, in Libya. If instability will disrupt the oil sector, it will affect only for 25% the Libyan GDP but for 80% the funding of the Libyan State/government.

Could an oligarchy founded on an Islamic democracy overcome ethnic divisions and create an Iran-style Islamic Republic of Libya? This will very probably be the near future of Egypt. In Libya there is not a dominant ethnic group. There is not a Libyan oligarchy. Consequently there is not a Libyan-“national” clergy.

The Western powers have exploited these ethnic fragmentations. It is improbable they will be able to control the ethnic rivalries they have triggered. Comically, they have immediately moved to Tripoli a “new” government does not exist. It was easy to immediately “move” it: by a press release.