Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maria’s Top Picks from the International Media Today

Now that we are all obsessively following Libya, four very different articles on Libya that I think are worth reading.

(1)Vijay Prashad, "The Libyan Labryinth, The Bang that Ends Qaddafi's Revolution", in CounterPunch.
(2) For a good history of Qaddafi's regime and the dynamics of the uprising.  "Gaddafi Defiant as the State Teeters" on Al Jazeera.  A good blow-by-blow account of the revolution and Gaddafi's loss of control of the country.

(3) Robert Fisk, "Q
addafi raved and cursed, but he faces forces he cannot control"

I always find a good rant from Fisk entertaining. And this is Fisk at his best. He explains why regimes that block media access have rocks in their head if they think this is going to stop the outward flow of information. 
(4) Scott Stewart, Jihadi Opportunities in Libya, Stratfor website. 
He talks about the risks of a power vacuum and the potential of islamists filling the void. He analyses the history of islamic militancy in Libya and how radicals could exploit current circumstances.
Finally,  the International Crisis Group has called on the international community to respond immediately. In a very direct communique, they bemoan the slow response of the international community to the democratic uprisings in the Middle East, going so far as to say that many States only fully backed the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings once the outcome hadbecome clear.  The press release states: "Libya presents a critical test. So far, the Libyan regime has offered its people no prospect beyond submission, civil war or a blood bath; its actions have condemned it in the eyes of its own people and of the world". 

I have copied the ICG media release recommendations below.

Immediate International Steps Needed to Stop Atrocities in Libya

Brussels  |   22 Feb 2011

The Crisis Group recommends the following urgent steps:
  • Imposing targeted sanctions against Muammar Qaddafi and family members as well as others involved in the repression, including an immediate assets freeze;
  • Offering safe haven to Libyan aircraft pilots and other security personnel who refuse to carry out illegal regime orders to attack civilians;
  •  Cancelling all ongoing contracts and cooperation for the supply of military equipment and training to Libyan security forces;
  •  Imposing an international embargo to prevent the sale and delivery of any military equipment or support to Libyan security forces while refraining from any commercial sanctions that could harm civilians;
  •  In light of the intensity of the violence and its likely regional effects, the United Nations Security Council should:
  • strongly condemn Libya's resort to state violence against civilians and call on the Libyan government and security forces to immediately halt all such attacks and restore access for humanitarian flights to Libyan air space;
  • call on member states to take the above-mentioned actions;
  •  establish an international commission of inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity in Libya since 1 February 2011, tasking it to investigate the conduct of the Libyan government and all its varied security forces, as well as allegations concerning the involvement of foreign mercenaries. The body should provide recommendations on steps to be taken by national and international authorities to ensure accountability for any crime;
  • plan the establishment of a no-fly zone under Chapter VII if aircraft attacks against civilians continue.
Individual nations, particularly those with close ties to Libya, and international actors -- such as the African Union, the Arab League, and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference -- should support these and other similar measures.

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