inkyschwartz (inkyschwartz) wrote,

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Thoughts on the end of Qaddafi

-Firstly, like it or not, this is a definite win for what we can now call the Obama doctrine. What this means is that a joint effort with our allies in an equal and supportive role works well and is relatively low cost for the US.  In this case we mostly pulled out of the direct combat role after the first month or so, leaving it to NATO and Middle Eastern allies, and supported them with our very extensive Electronic Warfare (EW), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) among other support activities.  This resulted in a relatively low-cost military campaign that suppressed the majority of the Libyan military's advanced equipment within the first couple months.  To finish this it puts us in a place to have helped bring down a dictator without having Coalition powers commit many ground troops and lose none of them.  Additionally, this means we are not in a position to have an Iraq or Afghanistan like post-war situation, at this time.
-On the other hand, this campaign is also a reinforcement of the War Powers Act that has been in effect since the Johnson Administration allowing troops to be deployed and war engaged without asking Congress to approve it.  The success of the Libya endeavor has legitimized this use of power for US administrations in the 21st century much like it was for the last quarter of the 20th century.  In fact even before the events of yesterday, earlier this month the president deployed a small detachment of US forces to Uganda to help suppress the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in cooperation with local forces.  This is also being offered to neighboring Central-African countries to assist their efforts against the LRA as well.  The events of this year certainly seem to be setting the stage for small-scale involvements for humanitarian reasons as the ideal for the second decade of the 21st century.
-We do have here the third success of the "Arab Spring" movement which does show that this movement is alive and well at least in Libya. This victory may even promote other uprisings in the region reinvigorating the movements in countries not yet affected by this movement or bolster the revolutions in those countries where it is struggling or under assault.  Though it may not have a positive effect as well considering how the movement is progressing in Syria and Yemen and after the brutal end of the uprising in Bahrain and the seemingly co-opting of the revolution in Egypt.  This doesn't include the quiet end of the Arab Spring movement in Jordan and Morocco where there was activity for the first couple months but it seems to have faded away. 
-Additionally, there is the concern that the Transitional Council in Libya will successfully transform into a functional democracy over the next year or so.  In regards to the building of some form of democracy, the next several weeks will be as critical as the last six months.  There are many barriers that could stop that transition, not the least being the proliferation of informal militias and the remaining Qaddafi supporters.   This is part of the next step of the Arab Spring, which will be to see what happens in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt over the next couple years and to see how the region receives the results.
-Finally, it is the end of a leader who was probably one of the most disruptive forces in the world, and especially Africa, over the last 40+ years.  Probably even someone who should have been finished off decades ago, but the end fits with the popular nature of this recent round of overthrows in the region.  With that said, Africa has lost one of its most powerful voices and influences of recent years, take note how many southern African nations decided to oppose the intervention of NATO et al.
Thank you for reading this thumbnail sketch of some of the issues surrounding the end of the Era of Qaddafi, and feel free to comment.  
Tags: africa, libya, qaddafi

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