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Rebels Captured Key Towns; NATO to Expand Engagement



Libyan protesters
Image from flickr

After Successfully Making their way in Ajdabiya and regaining control over the city, Libyan rebels recaptured four more towns of Ras Lanuf, Brega, Uqayla and Bin Jawad as pro-Gaddafi forces withdrew under pressure from allied air strikes. Rebels now in high hope and passion are moving quickly towards Gaddafi’s heartland of Sirte.

In a move of expanding engagement in Libya, members of NATO met in Brussels on Sunday evening, also to discuss the engagement rules.

Mohammed Ali el-Atwish, a 42-year-old rebel fighter in Bin Jawad, told AFP news agency, “Gaddafi’s forces are now scared rats, they are dropping their weapons and uniforms and dressing as civilians.” He further said in confidence, “We are no longer concerned about Gaddafi’s forces at all.”

Roberts gates, US defence Secretary with Hilary Clinton said, “we have largely accomplished our goals in Col Gaddafi’s Libya.”

“We have taken out his armour,” Mr Gates said, “we would soon relinquishing our leading role in the coalition.”

Mrs Clinton said: “We’re beginning to see, because of the good work of the coalition, his troops begin to turn back toward the west – and to see the opposition begin to reclaim the ground they had lost.”

In another report, France said that its aircraft had destroyed at least five Libyan government jets and two helicopters on Saturday night at a government air base near rebel-held Misrata.

In an official statement by the Libyan government it says that coalition forces have been carrying out air strikes between Ajdabiya and the town of Sirte, as quoted by BBC.

Strikes have killed nearly 100 civilians

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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From Revolution to Rebellion: Libya and the Tuareg



Nomadic people that live across mainly 5 countries, Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, the Tuareg are also called the ‘blue men of the desert’. This has to do with the dark blue turbans that leave stains on their skins. Their number can be only estimated and it is allegedly close to 3 million with another 1 million exiles spread over many other countries.

Apart from a rich culture, tradition and history the Tuareg also provide us with a case study for unintended consequences of humanitarian intervention. More specifically, in this short piece of writing I will explore the results of the Libyan revolution and the Gadaffi regime-change in terms of Tuareg rebellion in Northern Mali.


Source: Emilia Tjernstrom@Flickr

In February 2011 the Arab Revolution touched Libya where Colonel Gaddafi was fighting the rebels with large support of his Tuareg brave Saharan friends for whom during the 1970s and 1980s he set up training camps. It is fascinating to see how the Colonel himself has been symbolically perpetuating a romantic view of the nomadic lifestyle through his clothing and by hosting international leaders in his everywhere-travelling famous Bedouin tent.

Much could be said about the ideological motivations behind the Tuareg support in Libya. However, the material aspect should not be downplayed. It is reported that the promised payment for the fighting was of about $10.000 to join up and of $1000 for each day of risking the life. Most of the time this can be the only source of income for the families making a living in the dry desert. The energy deposits that could spur development in this region are not well managed and the northern areas where the Tuareg are located are often marginalised by the central authorities.


Source: acquimat4@Flickr

After Gadaffi had been overthrown with NATO support and executed by the angry mob, his former Malian Tuareg allies found themselves armed and ready to reclaim their ancestral land. The creation of a new rebel group called the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) would also bring to life a competitor in the shape of an Islamist military rebel group, Ansar Dine which is aligned with Al-Qaeda. The MNLA rebellious attacks commenced in January 2012 with the aim of taking over Northern Mali.


Source: Magharebia@Flickr

An internationally condemned coup d’etat followed due to military dissatisfaction with President Touré’s handling of the crisis and eventually with renewed offences the MNLA got control over the three main cities in the north, Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu. Nonetheless, Ansar Dine had some military success of its own which ended up in claims over the same territory.

By the summer of 2012, Mali was being torn between three centres of power: the military junta which turned authority over to Interim President Traoré, the secular nationalist movement of MNLA which had raised the flag of Azawad over Gao ( a declaration of independence rejected by the EU and the African Union) and the Salafist Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)/ Ansar Dine who hold Timbuktu. In June 2012, the Tuareg rebels were force to flee Northern Mali while the Islamists took over their conquered lands.

The course of events surely did not end here but for our analysis this time frame is more than enough. It enables us to draw several lessons from this unfortunate situation. First, it confirms that intervention in another sovereign country ought to be of last resort. Regime-change tends to be a dangerous foreign policy since the power vacuum created allows for chaos and competing destructive interest to tear apart the social and economic order of the place in question. Some would argue that transition assistance could safely take the process to conclusion, but I think this is as risky because the local population will have a hard time accepting foreign meddling in their business.

Second, I think it would be wrong to blame entirely NATO for the aftermath. As we can observe throughout the historical record, separatist impulses and even attempts have been present in Tuareg regions. There is no certainty as to how stable and unshaken the status quo would have been in the Sahara desert had Gadaffi not been killed. The fact remains he was a strong supporter of the Tuareg cause. The honesty of his support would have ultimately been tested by the Azawad rebels. With which consequences? There could be two; one is that Gadaffi’s help would have been decisive in stabilizing the Azawad aspirations. Second, his distaste for Islamist movements could have kept the AQIM out of Mali at the expense of a more autonomous north.


Source: Magharebia@Flickr

Nevertheless, the alternative still remains that a deeper rupture in the Saharan countries could have appeared if Gadaffi had decided to get totally and directly involved in bringing about the goals of Tuareg self-determination in all the places where they are located. An all-out conflict in Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger under the lead of the Colonel would surely attract a stronger Islamist coalition force and NATO ‘boots on the ground’ with thousands of lives lost and another never-ending war between multiple centres of power.

In conclusion, it is difficult to say if NATO’s intervention in Libya was successful or not for the region. Only time will tell. What we can say for sure is that the unintended consequences are costly in human lives, political credibility and prestige, and for African security. It appears to the outside world as if one bad situation turned into a worse one. This lack of improvement is frustrating for any peaceful ideal.

Before we end our journey in the Tuareg land, I would suggest listening to some traditional music here. It is the sound of hope and it might put a smile on our faces despite the dramatic contemporary events surrounding this enigmatic people.

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Pro Gaddafi’s Forces Captured Bani Walid, 5 NTC Troops Killed, 30 Injured



In a new development from North Africa, Pro Gaddafi’s fighters re-emerged to take small revenge.
Pro Gaddafi Fighters loyal to late Libyan leader clashed with revolutionary forces in the former-regime stronghold of Bani Walid on Monday, after the arrest of one of the Gaddaffi Loyalist. With this, they have successfully gained the control over the city. According to few analysts the country is heading towards another civil war. The head of Libya’s National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, has said the country will find itself in civil war if NTC resigns.
The clashes reportedly came after mass protests in the city of Benghazi happened on the weekend, as well as  subsequent resignation of NTC (National Transitional Council) deputy chief, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, resulting into the death of at least five NTC troops and injury of 30 others.
Sabah al-Mukhtar, President of the Arab Lawyers Association, explained to Russia Today why another civil war is possible in the country.
“Reason number one is that the arms are still in the hands of the various militias in various areas,” in addition to competing tribes in those areas, explained.  
“At the same time, the political views of the people are in conflict. You have a situation when people want Islam to be a part of the constitution, while you have others, that are liberals, who do not.”
“So you have the conflict on policies as well as the availability of arms,” he concluded.
Sabah al-Mukhtar also says there are dramatic divergences in what the NTC says and what it actually does.
“Many of them are actually from the old regime – including the leader who was a Minister of Justice under Gaddafi – and there are many other people like his deputy, like many others, who were men of Gaddafi and at the same time now they say, ‘we will not allow those who benefited from Gaddafi`s regime to stand for elections.'”
The lawyer pointed out that the head of NTC himself served as a Minister of Justice under Gaddafi and turned blind eye to many injustices in the country, as told by RT.

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International Reaction on Gaddaffi’s Death



Libyan's celebrating Gaddaffi's death
Image from

The United Nations

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

“This day marks a historic transition for Libya. In the coming days, we will witness scenes of celebration as well as grief for those who lost so much. Now is the time for all Libyans to come together. Libyans can only realise the promise of the future for national unity and reconciliation. Combatants on all sides must lay down their arms in peace. This is the time for healing and rebuilding, for generosity of spirit, not for revenge.”

US Reaction

President Barack Obama
“For four decades, the Gaddafi regime ruled the Libyan people with an iron fist. Their human rights were denied. Innocent civilians were detained, beaten and killed. Libya’s wealth was squandered and enormous potential of Libyan people was held back and terror was used as a political weapon. Today we can definitively say that the Gaddafi regime has come to an end.”
US senator John McCain

“The United States, along with our European allies and Arab partners, must now deepen our support for the Libyan people, as they work to make the next phase of their democratic revolution as successful as the fight to free their country.”

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the US Congress

“Libyans are safer now after Gaddafi’s death and the Arab world is breaking free. But never celebrate death of anyone, even bad people.”

The European Union’s Reaction

“The death of Gaddafi marks the end of an era of despotism, said Herman Van Rompuy, the bloc’s president. That Gaddafi died in a raid in Sirte means an end also to the repression from which the Libyan people have suffered for too long.”

UK’s Reaction

Prime Minister David Cameron

“People in Libya today have an even greater chance after this news of building themselves a strong and democratic future.”

Russia’s Reaction

Reaction of Russia’s NATO envoy and the leader of the Congress of Russian Communities, Dmitry Rogozin, First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Communist Party’s Central Committee and Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov. Russia’s Reaction on Gaddaffi’s Death, Remarks from US.

Italy’s Reaction

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

“Now the war is over.”

French Reaction

President Nicolas Sarkozy

“The disappearance of Muammar Gaddafi is a major step forward in the battle fought for more than eight months by the Libyan people to liberate themselves from the dictatorial and violent regime imposed on them for more than 40 years.”

Germany’s Reaction

Chancellor Angela Merkel

“With this, a bloody war comes to an end, which Gaddafi led against his own people. Libya must now quickly take further resolute steps towards democracy and make the achievments so far of the Arab Spring irreversible.”

The African Union’s Reaction

“The African Union lifted its suspension of Libya’s membership and said in a statement it would authorise the current authorities in Libya to occupy the seat of Libya in the AU and its organs.”

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