Monthly Archives: May 2011

I am of the personal persuasion that New England is a very special place nested close to the revolutionary heart of the American foundational spirit of ’76. It is without a doubt an essential part of the historical narrative of our national story of servitude to an English crown, to the birth of our beloved Republic washed in the light of Liberty no nation can match or preserve today.

Refining the historical lens, a handful of cities and individuals come to focus who persevered in the American cause when other colonies huddled together in fear of reprisal by a tyrant thousands of miles across the vast Atlantic. As the shot heard ‘round the world was fired, and as the brave men of Massachusetts were sent to defend their trampled colony from despots, a new and stronger wind started to blow.

Two hundred and thirty-three years later, as I make my frequent trips between Massachusetts and Connecticut, I cannot help but always glimpse at the “Independence State” written on the Massachusetts license plate, trying to put myself among the revolutionary fervor that spread like wildfire from begrudged citizen to citizen. The American founding fathers and the people who rallied behind their cries for political freedom and representation were people like you and I. They were sons and brothers, fathers and mothers, people of skills and trade, travel and adventures, of loving families and developed societies. They loved their country, their homes, and the life of opportunity they had been given in the New World; however there is another growing similarity between the colonial Americans of the revolution and that of the people of New England today, burdensome taxation.

“No taxation without representation” was the motto of the revolution; today we have political representation within a federal form of government that our honorable founding fathers gave unto us in order that we may demonstrate the capacity of a truly free and independent People amongst the darkness of the world. The phenomenon of burdensome taxation stems from a government that is littered with despotic forces that care not for the welfare of the People but of the survival and enhancement of that destructive system of government. Just as the English monarch King George III spoke on behalf of the People of England, so does the majority of government in New England today as they enact overbearing laws, increase taxes and drive away those People who are seeking to uphold and abide by the laws and spirit of the land and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

I have a great belief in New England and the place we hold among these States United. We are not a nation of social workers or clients of social workers; we are not, Please God, a People of deserving cases. We are a People with a strong and proud history attached by a common historical narrative of defending Liberty at all costs, to impose Freedom at will whether despots warrant it or not. The time is near that the population of New England realizes we can never uphold the value of Liberty our nation uniquely espouses toward the rest of the world by maintaining governments with a near one-party system. We can never bring forth meaningful Independence when government believes it necessary to tax further and spend wealth that does not yet exist. It is time that New England and the People who comprise it realize that our historical narrative of Independence is never fully complete, that the despotic energies of tyrants must be washed away from generation to generation.

The Founding Fathers understood that universal Truth is not measured in mass appeal. As Great Britain began to develop further into the industrious and vast empire upon which the Sun never set and attempt to conform the globe to its vision, the American colonies decided upon another course founded in Liberty. The reawakening of America is to come either now or let our vision die forever. Are we to be the generation that left our American successors to enter a world where our exceptionalism and unqiue form of Liberty has but vanished altogether? May, Please God, our People never falter to such wretched levels of those individals who wish to rid the world of our shining Beacon of Light upon the hill, and be consumed by darnkess.


A Telegraph posting today has stated British intelligence indicates that Ghaddafi no longer feels secure in his position in Libya, the once self-proclaimed Nasser successor and the keeper of Pan-Arabism. Ghaddafi rose to power through a bloodless coup in 1969 which, Dirk Vandewalle, author of A History of Modern Libya described as,

From the beginning of his take-over on 1 September 1969, Ghaddafi was eager to portray what had taken place that day as not simply an inqilab (military coup) but a genuine thawra (revolution) within Libya:

‘It is impossible to give the specific date for the beginning of the Libyan revolution… no one can determine the beginning of any revolution. This differs from a coup which is a casual event occurring at the pleasure of senior officers…. A revolution is the opposite, even if the practical application of the idea partakes of the same appearance as a military coup.’

Ignoring the fact that it had in reality been a putsch that owed its success more t the relative incompetence of the old regime than to an expression of popular sentiment, or to widespread support within the army, the new regime understood the value of ideologically situating the coup within ongoing events in Libya and in the region.

The idea that Ghaddafi had always attempted, without much regional success, to push upon his fellow Arab nations was that Libya was a revolution borne out of Pan-Arab values and that his reason for being was to take Nasser’s dream and make it into a reality. Many of the Arabs alive during the few years after his rise to power remember his speeches as naive and something of the old, and well understood past; Ghaddafi never grasped that. Ghaddafi most likely never grasped the reality and true nature of the Libyan and Arab activity within the region for no other reason than wanting to implement (without fighting any of the necessary battles) his revolutionary Third Universal Theory.

The Third Universal Theory was based on the ideas of Arab unity, independence, economic egalitarianism and cultural authenticity with Islam at its center. Ghaddafi rationalized that the two dominant and opposing socio-politico-economic ideologies- capitalism and communism- have demonstrated themselves to be ineffective and ultimately invalid. It rejected the class exploitation in capitalism and class warfare in communism, with the goal of creating a system with no class difference (so long as Ghaddafi remained ruler of this system to make sure it stayed that way).

Getting back to the Telegraph posting, it stated;

Diplomatic sources last night disclosed that recent intelligence suggested the Libyan dictator was “paranoid” and “on the run” from Nato’s escalating attacks on his regime.

Hadeiba Hadi, Libya’s ambassador to the European Union, said on Thursday he was defecting along with all his staff. The envoy said he and his colleagues wanted “to place ourselves at the service of the Libyan people in the struggle for democracy”.

In the latest move to step up the military pressure on Col Gaddafi, David Cameron gave the final authorisation for Apache attack helicopters to start flying into Libya.

Britain and France have intensified attacks on Tripoli this week and Col Gaddafi, who has not appeared in public for weeks, was said to be moving between different hospitals.

Nato publicly denies targeting Col Gaddafi, but at least one strike has been launched on a building where he was thought to be present.

Diplomats said the real risk of death was having a “psychological impact” on the colonel, whose officials signalled for the first time this week that he could be prepared to step down.

The diplomatic source said: “There’s a consensus that we need to be turning the screw now and that’s partly informed by our intelligence of what’s going on on the ground.

“One quite striking thing is the fact that Gaddafi appears to be moving from hospital to hospital.”

“What he is doing is moving from one place we won’t bomb to another place we won’t bomb.”

The Prime Minister said Nato wanted to “turn up the pressure on the regime so that people in Libya can choose their own future”.

At the G8 summit in Deauville, Normandy, Mr Cameron held talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the campaign in Libya.

What started out as the UN Security Council (UNSC) passing Resolution 1973 which authorizes the UNSC to,

to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory…

Has now turned into a civil war where the NATO allies are assisting the “rebel” forces to sustain their momentum on defeating pro-Ghaddafi forces. The NATO campaign has been successfully saving thousands of lives from further indiscriminate Ghaddafi attacks on the Eastern Libyan cities such as Benghazi and Ajdabiya. The current survival tactic that Ghaddafi has been utilizing is hauntingly reminiscent to that of Gaza terror militants during the 2008-2009 conflict with Israel, where their primary source of security from battle would be in hospitals and schools.

Ghaddafi has been in power since 1969, a total of almost 42 years, yet he refuses to give up his seat of power regardless of his Third Universal Theory and his wish to benefit the Libyan people. With the lack of humane treatment and the utter killing and violence Ghaddafi has put upon the Eastern Libyan people, as well as others across the nation, it begs the question whether Ghaddafi really cares about the Libyan people (which he failed to unify under a single concept) or solely those who ensure his power, mainly his own family and tribal allies in the province of Tripolitania.

The article indicates that Ghaddafi’s real risk of death is having a peculiar “psychological effect” on his ability to govern, let alone hold a normal conversation (this would probably be the normal case for anyone in his situation) yet the NATO and “rebel” forces should pay this item no mind. If Ghaddafi has been inconsiderate of the civilian lives he’s taken since the beginning of this conflict, and the lack of development (given the nation’s substantial income relative to its fellow Arab and African neighbors) and investment he has put into the well being of his own people.

This is a good sign for NATO and commend them for their diligent patience in assisting the Libyan “rebels” and promoting what the values of the West truly stand for, peace. Ghaddafi should at some point come to his senses and either respectfully bow out and take the necessary Justice that is to await his evil deeds, or to stop hiding behind the innocent and sick people of Libya; either way he should make room for what the Libyan people have to offer and demonstrate to the international community and Free world.

I came across a blogger who put the issue of BMD bluntly and therefore commend their attempt to demonstrate the nature of the BMD systems being pursued by NATO and the United States in Eastern Europe. The BMD is just that, defensive, and is sought after to intercept offensive ballistic missiles that have been launched toward our Homeland and/or Allies’ Homeland, therefore the bluster coming from Medvedev’s mouth needs to be collectively addressed by the international community,

Russia helps propel the threat that is causing the BMD systems to be sought after (by helping the Iranian ballistic missile defense industry) and therefore cries fowl prematurely and illegitimately in that, if it did not want the BMD to rest in Eastern Europe it should not have advanced the threat that made it a reality….

Here is a video that offers a visual demonstration on the nature of the BMD,

More to come later.

The following is just an “outloud” thought process and will be more neatly formulated at a later date (note, not all Iranian missiles are mentioned) ;


The statements of bluster seen on the Russian front against the ballistic missile defense programs prepared for Eastern Europe by the United States and its partners addresses the serious misinterpretation of Russian views of outside military activity in relation to its nation’s security. It also completely misses the fundamental reason why such missile defense programs are currently being pursued by American and European security apparatuses; not to counter the Russian Federation, but rather the Islamic Republic of Iran and its domestic programs related to ballistic missile development.

Regarding the Iranian Defense program there are five major areas of investment the regime heavily utilizes;

  1. Precision-Strike Munitions
  2. Naval Anti-Ship Weapons Development
  3. Ballistic Missile Development
  4. Development of a Space Program
  5. Military Nuclear Development
In addition, studying the design and current transactions/purchases of these weapons (something the Iranian regime attempts to hide in their export filings), makes the inevitable conclusion that much of the military technology they utilize and develop is from foreign sources and not a pure Iranian creation. The major players that cooperatively work to help develop and trade defensive as well as offensive weapons to the Iranian regime are the following;
  • Russia
  • China
  • North Korea
There are other countries that assist in the overall developmental process of Iranian defense technologies however, as mentioned these are the major players within the industry. For the purpose of this posting, I will restrict the rest of the analysis and information to ballistic missiles, however I want to reiterate that most of the weapons currently being pursued and developed by the Iranian regime are defensive in nature to counter an invasion to their territory, however, within the recent years there has been considerable activity related to military technology of an extreme offensive nature. Iran has relentlessly pursued defensive technology in order to achieve comfortable maneuvering ability to pursue (over the long term) offensive weapons that threaten the security of its distant neighbors such as Turkey, Central Europe and Eastern Europe, even the United States.
Iranian Ballistic Missiles:

The Iranian military apparatus has the current capacity to use the following missile types:
  • Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs)
  • Heavy Tactical Rockets
  • Continental-Range Ballistic Missiles (CRBMs)
The defensive ballistic missiles are the heavy tactical and SRBMs, while the CRBMs are the current items that pose a serious offensive threat to that of Central and Easter Europe as well as Russia and China, however due to their highly cooperative nature toward the Iranain missile program as well as Iran’s dependency upon their friendship to further their missile technology, the threat is most likely targeted toward the United States and its allies within the European region.
According to the Arms Control Association,


  • Ballistic Missiles: Iran is the only country not in possession of nuclear weapons to have produced or flight-tested ballistic missiles with ranges exceeding 1,000 kilometers. The Iranian missile program is largely based on North Korean and Russian designs and has benefited from Chinese technical assistance. Iran has one of the largest deployed ballistic missile forces in the Middle East, with some missiles capable of covering ranges up to 2,000 kilometers.
Iran’s most sophisticated operational ballistic missile is the liquid-fueled Shahab-3, which has a range of about 1,300 kilometers. Iran has made progress in developing and testing solid fueled missile technologies, which could significantly increase the mobility of Iran’s missile force. Since November of 2008, Iran has conducted a number of test-launches of a two-stage solid fuel-propelled missile, the Sajjil-2, which has a reported range of about 2,000 kilometers. Iran has also developed a two stage, liquid-fueled, space launch vehicle, the Safir and placed a small satellite in orbit using this system Feb. 2, 2009.
Heavy Tactical Rockets:

The Iranian regime has given the following missiles to the militant Lebanese group, Hezbollah (and were used against Israel in 2006);
  • Fajer 3
  • Fajer 5
  • Zalzal
The Fajer 3/5 are small tactical rockets that evade radar and strike troop concentration. These rockets are used predominantly to counter invading forces and are purely defensive in nature given their overall function and capacity. The Zalzal are unguided rockets and therefore their accuracy is rather limited as a result. In the recent term Iran has pursued the development of a Zalzal 2 rocket that is a guided missile and capable of being more accurate toward a specific grouping of personnel and has the overall range of 200 km. Another guided tactical rocket is the Fatah 110 and is of the same military nature as the Zalzal 1 and 2, defensive. These weapons have been rather successful and therefore pose a serious risk if the Iranian regime decides to increase its export of these missiles to what it deems, “friendly” nations. In fact, there has been recent announcement from Tehran that it plans to do just this, however Iranian promotion of ballistic missile proliferation has been understood and recognized for quite some time and is merely a public relations ploy to undermine the Western powers (Iran heavily utilizes psychological warfare techniques).
Continental-Range Ballistic Missiles:
The most heavily utilized and produced Iranian CRBM is the Shahab 2 and Shahab-3, and in recent developments the Shahab-3ER, an upgraded version of the Shahab-3. In addition to the Shahab-3, a prototype based on the North Korean No Dong and Huasong S missiles (to which North Korea also sold Iran the missile production line), the Iranian regime has come into possession (that is clearly not publicly understood as to how) of 18 BM25 land-mobile CRBMs based off the SSN6 Soviet design. The Shahab-3 has a range of 1,300 km (Turkey and Israel) while the new Shahab-3ER has an increased range by 700 km which will allow Iran to reach Central and Eastern Europe. These CRBMs are highly capable of reaching the allies of the United States and so therefore the United States and its European counterparts have responded in kind to counter the emerging Iranian ballistic missile threat.
Cruise Missiles:

According to the Arms Control Association:
Cruise Missiles: Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko confirmed in 2005 that Iran illegally procured six Kh-55 cruise missiles from Ukraine four years earlier. The Kh-55 is an air-launched nuclear-capable cruise missile with a range of up to 3,000 kilometers. Iran also has acquired a variety of Chinese anti-ship cruise missiles.
An interesting thing to note is that Western officials are perplexed as to how Iran was able to smuggle these designs and missiles outside Ukraine and into Iran without detection and therefore has resulted in heightened security concerns not just with Iran but also with Russia as well.
Concluding Thoughts:
The ballistic missile development of the Iranian regime is highly developed, and likely the most developed of any third world country pursuing ballistic missiles of any kind. What causes more concern for the United States and its allies is the disregard for global security concerns by Russia, North Korea and China who continue to supply Iran with technology and information to help advance the Iranian ballistic missile program, despite their “pursuit” of Western led UN-efforts to halt Iranian activities, most importantly with their nuclear development program.
As a result of the advanced nature of the Iranian ballistic missile program, the United States and its European counterparts have decided to pursue a strategy that would help alleviate the direct threat of their region by Iranian activity. The latest development within this process has been the revised ballistic missile defense system proposed by the Obama administration, called the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) plan. Iran poses a serious rising threat and has continued to defy cooperative measures to ensure the security of the international community. What’s more, its advanced ballistic missile program, capable of delivering missiles 2,000 km from its borders is worrisome due to the advanced and secretive nature of its nuclear weapons program that has been propelled by Sino-Russian intelligence and assistance.
So when you hear Russia claim the PAA is a direct threat to Russian security, its pure bluster, its objective is to take away attention from the true nature and activity of the ballistic missile threat of Europe and the United States stemming from the military activity within the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The current focus of the UNSC should be to find ways to curb Chinese relations with the Iranian regime, and enact measures that will convince China that not doing business in Iran is in their national as well as in the international interest. China is no longer a nation that can be rationally ignored or pushed to the periphery when contemplating an effective international policy or action. Their relatively rising economy and their subsequent need to maintain and continue the growth of their economy has resulted in China seeking business with any nation that can help them achieve this goal.[i] Not only is China present within the Iranian energy sector, but has established understandings and cooperative agreements that could lead to future Sino-Iranian energy partnerships that would completely undermine the entire international policy toward the Iranian regime. In order to fulfill the first requirement of an effective policy toward the Iranian nuclear program, reconciling Chinese relations and concerns with Iran must be sought after in order to create a unified organ to combat Iran’s apparent belligerence for international norms and security.

In a Reuters article of May 23 there seems to be a re-emergence of the Sino-Iranian issue to the forefront of international speculation and concern;

Speaking in English, Salehi also told an audience of researchers and diplomats that China could trust Iran as a stable supplier of oil to fuel its rapidly growing economy.

The Iranian foreign minister’s visit comes as Western governments continue to press his country over its disputed nuclear ambitions, highlighting China’s importance as an economic and diplomatic buffer for Tehran.

“We said we are ready to receive experts from China, nuclear experts, to come and visit our nuclear installations in Iran,” Salehi said, describing his meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

“Rarely any country in the world opens up its nuclear facilities and institutes to the outside world, but since we are certain of the peacefulness of our nuclear activity, we have extended this invitation to a friendly country like China,” said Salehi, who previously ran Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.

Salehi appeared to renew something like the offer that Iran made in January to open its nuclear sites to envoys from Russia, China, the European Union and other governments.

In June 2010, the UNSC condemned the Iranian regime for its continual commitment to enrich uranium.[i] European governments, as a response of publicly learning of the Iranian nuclear program in 2002, established a delegation the following year (EU-3), consisting of members from Great Britain, France, Germany and the European Union to initiate diplomatic engagement to Iran with the goal of halting the Iranian enrichment of uranium, it failed miserably.[ii] With the condemnation this past June, the international tone changed when the UNSC member states enacted a wide array of strict new sanctions, including an arms embargo and tough restrictions on Iranian banks and the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) [note that the IRGC’s sole purpose is to protect the values and continue the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and is not affiliated at all with the Iranian regular army].[iii] Further, UNSC Resolution 1929 also alleviated previous restrictions on individual nations to enact their own form of economic sanctions on Iran, therefore allowing a greater effect of the collective sanctions placed upon the Iranian economy.[iv] To name only a few states, Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea, and the European Union have implemented unprecedented measures upon the Iranian economy and limiting investment in Iran. Lastly, the United States Congress passed new sanctions against any company selling gasoline to Iran or investing in Iran’s refining capacity.[v]

Altogether, these measures have resulted in a tremendous and hard-felt burden on the Iranian regime and the state-run economy, which in turn affects the productive capacity of their un-reconciled nuclear development program. It must be duly noted that China is a signatory of this resolution and the measures enacted within it, therefore what is troublesome is their complete lack of regard for the measures they have helped pass and pledged to uphold.

As China’s economy continues to grow and to consume further, so will their need for oil and other energy alternatives to supply that growth (this therefore becomes the major source of contention when the UN attempts to reconcile the Sino-Iranian cooperative measures). Several Chinese national oil companies are currently located within Iran conducting relations with energy officials on potential trade agreements and investment initiatives, as well as selling gasoline to the Iran, which is punishable under current US policy.[vi] This Sino-Iranian relationship is the result of China’s need to expand into all potential energy reserves for its growing economy accompanied by the desperate need for the Iranian regime to find investment to tap into their underdeveloped oil and natural gas reserves, estimated to be one of the largest in the world. The unique relationship is not solely limited to energy agreements, but highly robust in the arms trade (another breach of the UNSC resolution)[vii], mining, transportation, power generation, and consumer goods market, making China Iran’s leading trade partner after that of Dubai.[viii] What Washington and its allies need to do is to attempt to maintain a harmonious relationship with China, a dire consequence of pushing China too far could result in increased Chinese activity and investment within Iran followed by European partners abandoning harsh economic sanctions and re-entering the Iranian economy to keep up with competitive commercial interests.

According to the most recent Reuters article, it states the following about China and its growing oil demand:


China is nonetheless a big purchaser of oil from Iran, which has been shunned by Western powers who say Tehran is seeking to develop the means to make nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, and China has repeatedly urged the Western powers to be more flexible in negotiations.

Salehi stressed Iran’s importance as an oil supplier in his comments at the China Institute of International Studies, a government-run think tank.

“It’s probably one of the few — I’m not saying the only — reliable sources of energy that China can depend on, so looking from this perspective, China and Iran they need each other,” he said, adding that his government did not come “under the influence” of other world powers.

The United States has lobbied China to turn more to Saudi Arabia and other more pro-Western states for its oil imports.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Tehran for refusing to freeze its uranium enrichment programme.

China has back those U.N. sanctions, but used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to resist demands for more expansive penalties that would cover oil and other major economic ties with Iran.

Trade between Iran and China grew to $29.4 billion in 2010, a rise of 38.5 percent on the previous year, reflecting the oil trade and growing Chinese exports to Iran.

Salehi said that trade could grow to $50 billion “in the next few years”.

To get full Chinese cooperation on these policy efforts, Washington and its allies should commit to the following; recognize that China has more of an economic, national security and harmonious interest in maintaining good US-Chinese relations and a lot to lose from continued Iranian ones. It should recognize that while Chinese oil companies are present and have committed to projects within Iran, the figure of commitment is considerably smaller than the $100-120 billion frequently cited; and further, Chinese crude oil imports from Iran dropped by 35 percent during the first half of 2010 alone, a considerable improvement[ix]. Yet the current present information outlined in the article indicates that this considerable decrease of Iranian oil imports may have been in vain after all. As mentioned  in other posts before on this blog, it would be more conducive for China to follow the lobby of the United States to purchase Saudi oil for the following reasons:

  • Saudi petroleum production levels would satisfy the current energy demands of the Chinese economy;
  • Saudi petroleum would be more readily available, of a better quality, from a trusted sourced;
  • Would be able to increase production capacity and export to meet Chinese demands if necessary, rather than invest in Iranian oil infrastructure, taking time, money and foreign resources (rather costly ), and most importantly;
  • Would be highly more economically advantageous for the Chinese to purchase from Saudi sources given the current Iranian production costs of $15-$17 compared to Saudi Arabia’s total $2-$3 production cost, in regards to the previous point made.

Washington should spend much of its efforts to convince Saudi Arabia, which produces 11% of the world’s crude oil supply[x], along with other Arab oil-producing states, to guarantee some agreements with China on its energy needs, thus resulting in less Iranian enticement for trade agreements. What’s more, the United States should then work ardently to ensure China understands that the Saudi Arabia option offers the best short-term as well as long-term economic and competitive advantage for their country’s current and continued progression, (the more it costs the Chinese to advance and power their economy, the more likely their overall economic growth would be considerably less if business is down with Iran regarding energy concerns).

The US and its partners should take advantage of Iranian rhetoric that has taken on a harsh tone against Chinese partnerships claiming the poor quality of Chinese products as well as disdain for any Chinese cooperation whatsoever on the latest UNSC sanctions.[xi] The United States would have to pursue this policy with caution in that it may harm Sino-American relations in trade and cooperation. Further, increasing the awareness that Iran has repeatedly claimed Chinese products to be of a damaging inferior quality would help China not to increase trade with Iran, thus potentially curbing the anticipated increase in Sino-Iranian trade announced in this article. China however, is solely looking to maximize exports, regardless the quality of their products and so may not respond so attentively to such a dialogue.

Lastly, in an attempt to further sever Iranian and Chinese relations a more concerted effort should be made for Arab states to uniformly denounce China’s treatment of the Muslim population in Xinjiang resulting in Iranian clerics having to follow suit or else look like “bad” Muslim brothers, thus forcing China to cooperate with Arab oil producers to receive their energy needs and to stop their denunciation of the Xinjiang phenomenon. If more Arab countries publicly demand that China resolve the Xinjiang situation where the Chinese are attempting to “Han-ize” the indigenous Muslim population (sometimes with force, and most certainly breaking several humanitarian values and laws) the following could potentially happen:

  • Force China to either solve the situation or figure out a “face-saving” measure that would halt Arab demands for “Muslim justice” by signing energy agreements with Saudi Arabia;
  • Force Iran to follow suit with the Arabs so as to not appear “poor” or “bad” Muslim brothers to the Xinjiang population (this would potentially damage with great effect, Sino-Iranian relations), and;
  • Make known to China and its friendly nations that seeking cooperative measures witht he West serves their interest more than to blatantly go against them.
China is a major issue that needs to be addressed when regarding the effectiveness of the latest UNSC Resolution 1929 in which China is a signatory. China poses the most able and immediate threat to undermine the current trend (that has taken on more support recently with Merkel getting “fully on board”) of sanctions and practices to lessen the economic health and capacity of the Iranian regime. There are several methods to curb Iranian behavior and convince the Chinese that there are more profitable, conducive and beneficial policies to pursue regarding this specific issue that would benefit the West and China simultaneously.
[i] Downs, Erica, and Suzanne Maloney. “Getting China to Sanction Iran.” Foreign Affairs. 21 Mar. 2011. Print.

[i] UNSC Resolution 1929. “S/RES/1929 (2010). 9 June 2010

[ii] Gold, Dore. The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Pub., 2009. Print.

[iii] Downs, Erica, and Suzanne Maloney. “Getting China to Sanction Iran.” Foreign Affairs. 21 Mar. 2011. Print.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] UNSC. S/RES/1929. 9 June 2010.

[viii] Downs, Erica, and Suzanne Maloney. “Getting China to Sanction Iran.” Foreign Affairs. 21 Mar. 2011. Print.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Cole, Juan Ricardo. Engaging the Muslim World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Print.

[xi] Downs, Erica, and Suzanne Maloney. “Getting China to Sanction Iran.” Foreign Affairs. 21 Mar. 2011. Print.

Give Angela Merkel credit. For all her rhetoric to the contrary, Germany’s Chancellor has not always been an ardent supporter of international pressure on Iran. In fact, over the past half-decade, her government has perpetuated Germany’s historic Janus-faced policy toward the Islamic Republic, supporting UN and European sanctions against Iran’s ayatollahs while simultaneously nurturing a thriving economic partnership with them. Of late, however, Merkel and her administration seem to have had a change of heart. In recent days, Germany has signaled its willingness to sign on to a European Union effort to sanction the European-Iranian Trade Bank, or EIH. (A formal designation by the EUis expected on Monday).

The move is deeply significant. The Iranian-controlled, Hamburg-based bank is widely known to be a key financial conduit for the Islamic Republic, facilitating billions of dollars in trade between Iran and Europe—and contributing substantially to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs in the process. According to U.S. and international intelligence assessments, EIH serves as a pass-through for arms deals involving Iran’s acquisition of WMD-related components; as a financial lifeline for Iran’s feared clerical army, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps; and as an economic conduit which has facilitated the transfer of millions of dollars in ballistic missile technology to the Islamic Republic in recent years. This role led the U.S. Treasury Department to formally blacklist EIH in September of 2010.

Until recently, however, Germany has been reluctant to follow America’s lead. For years, the Merkel government has dragged its feet on similarly proscribing EIH, citing its potential financial liability to investors that could be disadvantaged if the bank were shuttered. It has also nixed proposals to do so put forth by other nations; as recently as February, Berlin reportedly blocked a French bid to designate EIH as a potential target for future EU sanctions.

The hesitance is understandable. The partnership that has developed between Berlin and Tehran over the past three decades isn’t just politically expedient, it’s highly lucrative. Germany represents Iran’s top trade partner in the European Union. And, according to official data from the German Federal Statistics Office, bilateral trade between Berlin and Tehran last year actually rose by some five percent (to just over $4.17 billion), despite multilateral efforts to economically isolate the Islamic Republic. German firms have gotten the message; although some (like Siemens) have at least pledged to curtail their trade with Iran, a great many—including ThyussenKrupp and Daimler—still do a booming business with, and within, the Islamic Republic.

Germany is helping Iran in other ways as well. By some estimates, the country provides as much as 60 percent of the critical technology used by Iran to exploit its massive natural gas reserves. With U.S. sanctions now beginning to squeeze Iran’s oil industry, such assistance is nothing short of a lifeline for Iran’s beleaguered energy economy. It also puts Berlin very much on the wrong side of the widening international effort to derail Iran’s march toward the bomb.

Perhaps this realization has contributed to the Merkel government’s more critical stance. But timing likely plays a large role as well. Germany’s hardening of policy against EIH comes amid new movement within the European Union for sanctions aimed both at Iran’s atomic endeavor and its repressive domestic conduct. And it precedes Merkel’s early-June visit to Washington, where the global drive to frustrate Iran’s nuclear ambitions is sure to take center stage in her discussions with White House officials.

Still, the German-Iranian alliance is liable to prove resilient. The economic bonds between Berlin and Tehran run deep, and there is bound to be no shortage of German companies agitating for a return to “business as usual” in bilateral trade with the Islamic Republic in the months ahead. Indeed, Germany’s recent (and distinctly unhelpful) role in temporarily helping India circumvent international restrictions on oil trade with Iran suggests that its status as an enabler of the Iranian regime is far from a thing from the past.

Nevertheless, Germany’s support of sanctions against EIH should be seen for what it is: a significant evolution in Berlin’s Iran policy, and a major step forward for international efforts to cut off a critical conduit for Iran’s burgeoning strategic arsenal. When she comes to Washington, American policymakers should commend Chancellor Merkel for facilitating both. But they also should make clear that they expect these changes to be more than simply temporary.

This article by Forbes brings up many a good point. It identifies a Germany that falls in line with the most recent UNSC resolution provisions (1929) put toward the Iranian regime and their belligerent nuclear development activities, yet also a Germany that is still itching to do business with the country. The author strikes a chord when he comments,

It also puts Berlin very much on the wrong side of the widening international effort to derail Iran’s march toward the bomb.

Perhaps this realization has contributed to the Merkel government’s more critical stance. But timing likely plays a large role as well. Germany’s hardening of policy against EIH comes amid new movement within the European Union for sanctions aimed both at Iran’s atomic endeavor and its repressive domestic conduct.

The recent trend of increasing international isolation on the intolerable and damaging acts of the Iranian regime are not just from European nations but also South Korea, Australia, Canada and Japan, just to name to a few. The overall effect of these sanctions is to demonstrate that Iran can be a viable and respected player within the global market if it chooses to play by the rules all other civilized and developed nations adhere to. The international community wishes Iran to be the valuable and necessary international partner that it has the potential to be, yet it chooses a path of deception, and armament build ups.

Merkel I believe is finally capturing the true essence of the situation and falling in line with many of her European as well as international counterparts in pursuing what is the most non-lethal, yet aggressive and assertive policy toward the belligerent Iranian regime. Germany has helped the Iranian natural gas trade in years past however this is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, especially if Germany does not allow the Iranian natural gas extraction capabilities to exceed a dangerous amount that would put them at a more economic competitive edge.

As the article’s author suggests, this is a good move toward a more stable and secure international community of the future, and Merkel should be praised for her recent efforts in helping to rid the Iranian regime of all its belligerent and destructive habits.

Brief Overview of Iranian Energy Sector:

The UNSC resolution sanctions target their energy sector, which in turns effects their economy at large with the overall goal of not allow Iran the necessary revenue to advance their secretive nuclear development program further and faster than current levels. Their natural gas infrastructure is severely limited and all of the natural gas being extracted goes to powering the Iranian petroleum production. Due to the effectiveness of the sanctions, Iran uses a substantial portion of its extracted petroleum on powering its own country’s energy needs. Iran overall produces a mere 5 billion barrels of oil per day and the cost to produce each barrel is staggering compared to other nations like Saudi Arabia. For example, what costs the Wahhabis $2 to $3 per barrel costs the Iranians roughly $15 to $17 dollars. The Iranians then are left with no option but to sell whatever is left over for export at market prices, creating a severe loss and usually the reason why Iran always demands OPEC increase the price of oil.

This policy in the recent months has shown to work and has caused immense pressure on the Iranian regime to follow policies that are more conducive toward global economic and security cooperation and nothing to the contrary.

The Laydown

As the fires of revolution and insurrection were sparked by the desperate fruit vendor in Tunisia and pushed across the Middle East, the world witnessed Ben Ali being swept from power in Tunisia, Mubarak from Egypt, popular demand in Bahrain and Yemen calling for the resignation of their established elite while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia scrambled to manage stability; yet one contentious area of conflict protrudes from the chaos, Kaddafi’s Libya. Observations of the current unrest across the region of North Africa and the Middle East indicate a few noticeable trends, either that leaders and the governments they represent are being toppled, or a restless, disunited, underemployed and ill-treated citizenry demands for meaningful reform. A scenario that the Western powers and the Obama administration cautioned to pursue was any sort of intervention within these domestic upheavals, given the sensitive nature of Middle Eastern fears of Western imperial interference with the sovereignty of Arab nations. Therefore two questions emerge regarding the upheaval in the region; why has Kaddafi’s Libya been the only country to witness Western military intervention within its domestic affairs? And further, why has Kaddafi been able to maintain his hold on power amidst foreign military intervention, civil war and armed insurrection across the country?

To responsibly address these questions two major occurrences must come into focus for the Libyan picture to have meaning and for these answers to be potentially reconciled. First, the domestic affairs of Libya must be outlined and defined regarding the history of the nation’s governance; further, the domestic politics and the struggle for power over the broader region as well as the tribes and their structure that participate in the in Libyan domestic affairs are to be additionally addressed to answer these questions. To understand the domestic conflict there needs to be serious attention paid to how Kaddafi has been able to maintain power and control over the country even as the situation has plummeted into fighting and chaos. Tribal influence in Libya is extremely important today as it was in previous centuries, yet particularly since the 1970s.[i] For example, tribal affiliation is vital in regards to finding employment in Libya’s General People’s Committees, as well as in the country’s security apparatus.[ii] Secondly, the economic and foreign policies of the Kaddafi regime must be outlined in order to bring attention to the phenomenon as to why Libya is the only nation to be militarily addressed by European entities regarding their domestic unrest. Outlining the societal and tribal structure of Libya will offer a glimpse into the nature of Libyan domestic politics and Kaddafi’s unique hold to power, and establish a path to understand why the regime’s policies have created an environment a domestic and international environment which resulted in Western intervention.

Libyan Historiography, Society and Tribal Structure

For most of Libya’s classical, modern and contemporary history the nation has been dominated or influenced greatly by foreign powers, whether from local or distant lands. The ancient Carthaginian Empire, ruled by the city of Carthage in present day Tunisia[iii] once controlled the Libyan shores, the Phoenicians before them set up and controlled trading ports, the Ottomans established control of the region in 1511 and maintained their rule for four hundred years until the Italo-Turkish wars of 1911 resulting in the thirty-year colonization period by Italian Fascism[iv], and within recent history the monarch King Idris I put in place after World War II, was largely influenced by the persuasion of British politics[v]. Only until recently, with the coup d’état of Muammar Kaddafi in 1969, has Libya began to promote an ideology based upon ridding the country of direct foreign control over its internal affairs and sought to create a perception of national government for the benefit of the Libyan people. The various ethnic tribes and cultures located in Libya however, have never fully integrated into the various political constructs of a unified society. Without a historical record of a collective or class memory that could be transformed into a political energy, accompanied by the inability to define national interests with the lack of cohesion of a Libyan military force to defend those interests, a unified Libya has continued to be a vision of dreams.[vi] For example, Iran was able to unify their extremely diversified people of Persians, Azeris, Kurds (arguable), among many others under the flag of Shi’ism[vii], yet in Libya even with general conception of Sunni Islam as the widely accepted religion, it has not been a strong enough force to unify the people under the concept of “Libya”.[viii]

If the current nation of Libya were to be divided up according to tribes and political power structures, a very different picture than many other Middle Eastern and North African Arab countries would come to focus; and from here is where the difference between Libya and the rest of the nations in the Middle East are made visible in regards to the current domestic upheaval against the Kaddafi regime.

There are three main divisions within the country of Libya, to the Northwest is Tripolitania, to the Southwest is the area of Fezzan and all the land remaining to the East is traditionally called Cyrenaica.[ix] It is crucial to address the tribal structure, and their power centers within the domestic political structure in order to create an accurate picture of the current insurrection; this will offer insight into how Kaddafi managed to retain his hold on power against immense pressure that would have quickly toppled other regimes. In total there are about 140 different tribes within Libya, and yet only 30 of those tribes are viewed with having any significance to the political process and governance in general.[x] The central and southern areas of the country are less inhabited due to the harsh Saharan terrain and are comprised of various different tribal ethnicities; therefore Libyan tribes are usually defined into two major categories, the coastal mixed Arab-Berber tribes of northern Tripolitania and Cyrenaica regions and the southern Arab-African tribes of Fezzan.[xi] Regardless of the similarity present among the ethnicities of northern Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, there are variations of culture, language, historical narratives and tribal loyalties that divide the tribes within their regions creating two further categories based on political influence stemming from severe ideological differences between the rival tribes.[xii] The tribes in the region of Tripolitania identify mostly with the Western area of North African culture of the Islamic Maghreb, the tribes of Cyrenaica with that of the Islamic-Arab east toward Egypt, and the south consists of tribes in Fezzan that identify and look towards the south to black African nations such as Niger and Chad.[xiii]

The Banu Hilal and the Banu Salim Arabs settled around the 11th century in their respective East and Western regions of Libya, now Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, and have always struggled against one another for political power and domination, as well as cultural and tribal ideals.[xiv] For the intent of this paper, and in order to reasonably demonstrate the current separation and insurrection of Libyan society, I will focus on the most immediate examples of the Banu Hilal and Banu Salim groups; addressing King Idris I from the Sanussi group and region of Cyrenaica, as well as Kaddafi’s 1969 coup supported by the Maghreb oriented tribes of Tripolitania. In 1945, at the Potsdam Conference[1], the Allied powers of Word War II declared the Italian colonies, established in 1911 as a result of the Italo-Turkish wars, were to be seized and not returned to Italian control.[xv] After a very contentious deliberation among the Allied powers, the UN passed a resolution calling for the establishment of the United Kingdom of Libya as a sovereign state no later than 1 January 1952, and was enacted by forty-eight votes to one, with nine abstentions.[xvi]

Libya’s Independence, King Idris I and the Senussi

The country’s first general elections took place in February 1952, the previous Libyan federation of the three established provinces was weak, therefore the nation was faced with great difficulty in maintaining a unified grasp over the various people under the British-prescribed federal formula. Under the newly adopted constitution, a bicameral legislature was established but formulated in a manner that allowed it to be easily manipulated by the monarch.[xvii] Additionally, after the adoption of the constitution and the general elections, political parties were abolished, and the monarch selected individuals from the tribal groups of Cyrenaica, his home region to fill government positions. King Idris I, heavily reliant upon the British government, had the authority to appoint half the members of the upper house (the Senate) and also to dissolve the lower house (Chamber of Deputies), as well as to veto legislation; in other words, his power was relatively close to being absolute, regardless of the king’s continual condemnation of the favoritism and corruption his government would soon come to embody.[xviii]

The monarch came from the Senussi movement or school of thought created in the city of Mecca in 1837 by the Grand Senussi, thus reasserting its Eastern Arab Islamic tendencies to that of the Western Maghreb culture of the nation.[xix]  The members from this school of Islamic thought desired to bring about a revival of Islamic spirituality and were major components to the rebellions against the French and Italians in the early 20th century.[xx] Cyrenaica was greatly strengthened overall by Italian Fascist colonial policy that undermined Libyans in Tripolitania, fighting against each other for the idea of a Tripolitania Republic, which allowed Cyrenaica to grow in regional autonomy.[xxi] The government of the monarch was full of “Italian resistance fighters” which emerged during the upheaval against French and Italian forces such as Mohammad Fekini to name one.[xxii] Regardless of the school of Islamic thought the Senussi dynasty adhered to, it was vastly transformed upon the group’s control of the monarchy and essentially all matters related to the country’s governance. Given the weak and economically difficult terrain of the nation, the country’s monarchy was heavily reliant on nations with available capital and therefore created a twenty-year treaty of friendship and cooperation with Great Britain.[xxiii] This agreement allowed for an “opening” of relations to Western officials and resources that greatly affected the various peoples and tribes across the country, especially those in Tripolitania who did not benefit from the treaty in the same manner as those in Cyrenaica.[xxiv]

The provisions within the agreement allowed rights for Great Britain to construct military bases, and later in 1954 the monarch signed another treaty with the United States to construct the Wheelus Air Force base; a complex that Kaddafi would later cite to stir Pan-Arab sentiments.[xxv] What further exacerbated the tension between the rival tribal powers of the Northern parts of the country were the continued policies of the monarch that relied more upon Western aid to maintain the Libyan economy which usually was administered to favor the monarch’s loyal tribes.[xxvi] Since the overall terrain and climate of the country is arid, hot and consists mostly of the Sahara desert, it was difficult to produce enough crops and other needed goods to independently sustain the economy without substantial capital investments and subsidies (as was the case with Italian agriculture initiatives pre-WWII).[xxvii] Despite the agreements that allowed for a substantial influx of technical, agricultural, and educational services and goods provided by the UN, the United States and Great Britain, the nation remained relatively poor after the succeeding years from independence.[xxviii] Further, the manipulated bicameral legislatures of the king were filled with powerful tribal elites from his own tribe and its allies. In 1959, the American petroleum company Esso, later to become Exxon, discovered large oil reserves at Zaltan in the region of Cyrenaica.[xxix] As the years progressed and Libyan petroleum production expanded with the help of American and British companies, a major consequence was the relative increase in political freedom of the government as the nation became more able to independently sustain itself on petroleum revenue.[xxx] Meanwhile, throughout the Middle East the region began to witness the rise of Arab nationalism and therefore the monarch quickly sought to implement policies that would eradicate the Western military bases from the country altogether in fear such policies would greatly threaten the general stability of the nation.[xxxi]

The Senussi monarch meanwhile and his tribal allies began to take advantage of the newly established petroleum revenue and was accused of corruption and misuse of those funds by distributing and utilizing the wealth from the generated revenue more to the advantage of the king’s home region of Cyrenaica.[xxxii] Further, as a result of the increased revenue, the government began to expand its influence and hold on power by creating various new institutions (Petroleum Commission of 1955) to handle the influx in petroleum wealth and therefore resulted in a good deal of overlapping bureaucracy that upset the people who were not directly benefited from the government’s favoritism-type policies to its loyal tribes.[xxxiii] Needless to say, the king’s policy to eradicate Libya of Western military bases, a contributing factor to the discontent found within the overall population was by this point deeply rooted by his absolutist and political-favoritism and had been set in motion with great fervor.

As the rise of Arab nationalism grew during the fifties and early sixties with the emergence of the Egyptian leader Gamal Nasser, one of Kaddafi’s revolutionary heros, a substantial group of the Libyan people agreed that the pro-Western stance maintained by the monarch, especially during the 1956 Suez Canal crisis between Israel and Egypt was simply intolerable and an insult to the Arab people collectively.[xxxiv] Of the eighteen years as ruler, King Idris was able to create a marginal cohesive societal structure for six years, and yet the society continued to remain destitute, illiterate, and a traditional society with few interests that went beyond the ideals of family, the tribe or province; further, many of the political forces were dictated by influential ideological regional currents and not a national consensus which only resulted in persisting uncertainty and overall instability.[xxxv] As the king’s health began to deteriorate and the crown prince began to look as the new de facto ruler, senior members of the army, business professionals and even elements of the royal entourage began to put in motion a coup that would overthrow and exile the king and his family in 1969.[xxxvi]

Kaddafi’s Coup and Rise to Power

After the pro-Western and absolutist policies of the monarch, the national sentiment of the country was to bring about a more purist Arab form of culture and government. In fact, upon declaring the Libyan republic on September 1, 1969 Kaddafi announced that his new government’s objective was to undo the actions taken by the fallen monarch that had “shattered our honor.”[xxxvii] The major initiative that the former monarch had failed to achieve was the unification of the tribes and various ethnicities within the newly created state.[xxxviii]As Kaddafi began to cement his power over the nation he captured the emotion of the Libyan people and his tribal regions discontent with the former monarch when he stated, “How can a soldier remain passive and salute a king who has filled the country with foreign forces? How can you accept being stopped on the street by an American? That happened to me personally. When I wanted to enter Wheelus base, I was turned away.”[xxxix]It is important to keep in mind two things regarding Kaddafi and the personnel of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) established to maintain order and the rule of law after the revolution; first, they represented a dramatic change from the conservative generations of leaders before them and secondly, had few credentials of any kind, lacking political and economic skills which questioned their initial legitimacy of rule.[xl]

Regardless of the revolutionary shift in power, governmental structure, and the new hard-line pro-Arab nationalistic stance of the Kaddafi regime; one dominant political tribe in power (King Idris I of Senussi Cyrenaica) of the country was traded for another (the Kaddafi regime of Maghreb Tripolitania).[xli] In other words, while the rhetoric of national unification and pro-Arab policies was what propelled the Kaddafi regime into power, the personnel that comprised the RCC were from tribes that never identified with the cultural, religious and national vision of the former tribes that supported the monarchy.[xlii] This was noticeable by the RCC’s members being distinctly from middle class families and not from the more prosperous and elite tribal members of the Senussi people from Cyrenaica whom were mostly the beneficiaries of politic favoritism.[xliii] In addition, Kaddafi understood this fragile co-existence in regards to maintaining political balance between Libya’s two rival tribes and so therefore sought quickly to manipulate the overall population to ensure that his rule would go uncontested indefinitely; the two major differences however between Kaddafi and the former monarch were,

(a)   Kaddafi had the ability of hindsight to learn from the monarch’s political mistakes of his (Kaddafi’s) own coup, and,

(b)  Large oil reserves were already established upon taking power, helping to expedite political and economic activity of the nation.[xliv]

The Kaddafi regime sought domestic policies regarding the nationalization of the oil industries (nearly half of the oil companies were private and foreign at this time)[xlv], as well as initiatives to address regional redistricting for the country in which greatly reduced the tribal power structures within Cyrenaica in order to legitimize and ensure his regime’s power.[xlvi]

What is highly important is how the Kaddafi regime sought after initial policies that dismantled the former monarchy’s power base in the attempt to take decentralize as well as undermine all aspects of the once favored tribes of Cyrenaica; then followed with policies that in affect established the same favoritism-like initiatives of the former monarch, except this time toward the loyal tribes in the Tripolitania in support of the Kaddafi regime.[xlvii] Instead of the Arab nationalist rhetoric exploited by the Kaddafi regime bringing meaningful reform in this regard, it enacted fundamentally the same favoritism except this time for the previously underprivileged tribal groups.[xlviii] Lastly, and most importantly, Kaddafi began a series of military reforms to ensure no military coup could be used against debasing his power hold by maintaining a fractured Libyan military system. How the system was kept weak was by utilizing numerous battalions which then pledged allegiance to their respective generals (mostly people from Kaddafi’s own or allied tribes, or even mercenaries from black-African nations) then followed by the generals swearing allegiance to Kaddafi.[xlix]

When the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued their resolution 1973 to the Kaddafi regime in March 2011, the document specifically identified individuals of the Libyan military, there were eleven military/security personnel targeted whom mostly came either from Kaddafi’s own tribe or the other various tribes allied with his own, these people were: Dr. Abdulqader Mohammed Al-Baghdadi, Abu Zayd Umar Dorda, Major General Abu Bakr Yunis Jabir, Mutassim Gaddafi, Saadi Gaddafi, Abdulqader Yusef Dibri, Matuq Mohammed Matuq, Sayyid Mohammed Qadhaf Al-dam, Khamis Muammar Gaddafi, Colonel Abdullah Al-Senussi.[l] This command structure of the military allowed for it to remain relatively weak, decentralized and secure from either outside plots or ones from the various rival tribes within Cyrenaica.

There exist two additional visible components as to why Kaddafi’s RCC outlasted the former monarchy regardless of the lack of a meaningful shift in the pursuit of Arab and Libyan nationalist policies. First, Kaddafi’s policies were founded on pro-Arab rather than cooperative Western policies, in addition to his nationalization and diversification of Libyan natural resources such as the oil, natural gas and construction sectors of the economy. Second, his detailed oriented decentralization of the military command, and the placement of familiar individuals to positions such as his sons or loyal tribesmen from the local area. This therefore asserts that without these two major components Kaddafi would have succumb to the same level of domestic opposition as did the former monarch in 1969. Overall experts generally agree that part of Kaddafi’s strategy for retaining power has been to keep members of his tribe in important positions.[li] Noman Benotman, a former dissident familiar with official thinking of the Libyan elites stated, “Instead, power is largely vested in a series of paramilitary formations, bolstered by groups of foreign African mercenaries, that have largely remained loyal to the Gaddafi family.”[lii] Therefore, if this is to hold true why did the insurrection against the Kaddafi regime take flight, and why did it further result in Western military support against the personnel of the Kaddafi regime?

The Libyan Insurrection, Civil War and UNSC Resolution 1973

            From the very onset of the upheaval across the Middle East the events in Libya have been distinctly unique. There have been cases of Arab nations firing upon and sometimes killing peaceful and unarmed protestors however, in the case of Libya the dissidents are armed, and predominantly belong to the various tribes located in the region of Cyrenaica. In fact, most of the rebel forces that are fighting the Kaddafi regime are waving the former flag of the Libyan monarchy and therefore potentially demonstrate the underlying principle or vision of their cause.[liii] Further, due to the effective redistricting policies of the current Libyan government, the various tribes of Cyrenaica have had a difficult time in regaining an organized and cohesive foothold amongst their region’s tribes. In addition, due to the national policies of the Kaddafi government and the unequal wealth distribution between populations and regions from the structure of those policies, the tribes of Cyrenaica are in a similar position to the tribes of Tripolitania found themselves in the years preceding the 1969 coup. In Libya, it will be the tribal system that will hold the balance of power rather than the military.[liv]

The spark that initiated the insurrection between the two rival regions is speculated to have begun when peaceful protests cemented in Benghazi, a current rebel strong hold, which Kaddafi responded to with force, resulting in the first bloodshed of the ongoing conflict.[lv] As the tensions escalated and as the pro-Kaddafi forces raised the ante toward repressing and censoring the insurrection, the tribes of the East established the Transitional National Council based in Benghazi on the Eastern Libyan coast. As the Eastern tribal forces continued their attack upon pro-government forces and the deaths continued to mount, the International Criminal Court warned Kaddafi that his aggressive stance against the insurrection constituted as crimes against humanity due to the nature of his regime’s targeting policy which frequently resulted in civilian casualties.[lvi] The initial reaction from various Western nations was uncertainty in determining the potential outcome of the conflict. On the outside there was concern that the Kaddafi regime would remain in power by utilization of such horrific and illegitimate means of brute force, while the Transitional National Council forces were poorly organized and armed.[lvii] What’s more is that there were also concerns that the rebel forces were linked to Al Qaeda, however NATO has been unable to confirm such assertions and have been most likely circulated from the Kaddafi regime; however it is probable at this point that it has been the attempt of the regime to undermine the Eastern forces’ cause by claiming such actions.[lviii]

As the death total of rebel and civilian personnel reached close to 1,000 people the Western powers decided that proper action was needed on their part in order to ensure the safeguard of innocent lives during the conflict.[lix] The protection of innocent civilian life from the aggressive assault of the Kaddafi forces was the overarching policy goal of Resolution 1973 of the UNSC powers, plus Germany, however there is reason to speculate that there were potentially ulterior motives at work that most likely resulted in the action undertaken by NATO forces. There exist two major variables as to why the UNSC Resolution 1973 was simply a mechanism to oust Kaddafi from power; (1) the recent declaration of the three major NATO participants Mr. Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron and French President Sarkozy stated that their military forces will not stop bombing until Kaddafi is removed from power[lx]; and (2) the major European and American powers that called for military intervention have major financial and economic agreements and investments with the Libyan nation that were at risk of being jeopardized and so therefore intervened as necessary in order to ensure no losses from these major investments occurred.

Libyan Economic Policy and Europe

            The current economic policies of Libya are direct concerns for many European nations. For example, the top five trading partners with Libya are all European or Western countries, Italy (37.65%), Germany (10.11%), France (8.44%), Spain (7.94%), Switzerland (5.93%) and the US (5.27%) respectively.[lxi] Libya has been most heavily invested and economically involved with the Republic of Italy and sees two-way trade totaling around $12 billion annually.[lxii] In 2009, after Italy formally apologized for the Italian colonization period placed upon Libya, the two nations signed the Friendship and Cooperation Agreement.[lxiii] This agreement established further economic cooperation between the two countries clearing a path for more investment and economic growth for both Italy and Libya.[lxiv]

To outline a few of the provisions the agreement set forth are the following: Eni, an Italian oil company plans to invest a further $25 billion in Libya to upgrade and increase petroleum extraction, Impregilo Astaldi a major Italian construction company plans to build a highway within Libya estimated to cost around $7.29 billion, Finmeccanica has established a joint venture to assist and supply potential Libyan and Arab aerospace and defense initiatives; as well as companies such as Fiat, Unicredit Bank, the soccer team Juventus, and Olcese essentially all have Libyan investments, some which have helped ensure the continuance of these Italian commercial entities.[lxv] For example, a subsidiary bank of Unicredit, a leading Italian financial institution, has more than 65% of its assets propped up by Libyan investment as well as offers a total 5% share of the bank to the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Investment Authority.[lxvi] In addition to other European economic interests within the region are France and Britain’s need for more oil supplies, which Libya’s main exports consist of petroleum products.[lxvii] Further, British oil company BP as of 2007 signed an exploratory agreement worth $900 million with Libya to discover additional oil reserves that have recently been confirmed off the coast.[lxviii]

With all of the Libyan’s investment in various European commercial entities, the most crucial investments that Libya is allowing to be initiated are ones by European oil companies. The BP oil deal and the numerous contracts and pipelines with the Eni oil company are vital assets not only to European economic interests but also to the primary source of revenue for Libya. What should be the important focus of the oil production within Libya is to where exactly most of the oil is concentrated, and that would be within the areas of Cyrenaica, while some of the natural gas production occurs within the tribal regions of Tripolitania.[lxix] As figure 1.1 demonstrates, much of the petroleum offshore reserves are located in Eastern Libya as well as the necessary infrastructure to extract, refine, store and then potentially ship the oil,

Figure 1.1[lxx]

Therefore, after establishing a general, but clear picture of the level of Libyan financial involvement with various other European countries, most especially the ones currently involved in the NATO military operation against the Kaddafi regime; responsible speculation of motives and historical trends between the Libyan nation and its European partners must be addressed. First, as previously mentioned, if NATO’s sole motive was to assist in the protection of the Libyan civilian population affected by the aggressive Kaddafi regime’s assault of the Eastern tribal forces, then the Western powers would have committed to actions that ensure only that; however the coalition has currently altered their stated goal from UNSC resolution 1973 from protecting civilian life to a position of regime change (however Western powers still ensure limited civilian loss of life).[lxxi] From this altered position of the UNSC NATO member states currently conducting military operations on behalf of the Eastern tribal forces in Libya, it can be reasonable to suspect one of their main motivations in this military intervention is to seek a regime change.

To address the second point in regards to the highly evolved economic agreements and initiatives between Libya and NATO European nations, one must take into account two notions; (1) the historical trend of cooperation and economic compatibility between Eastern tribes from Cyrenaica within Libya’s past to that of European nations such as Britain as well as America, and (2) the location of most of the essential trading goods Europe and Libya depend on such as oil being found predominantly within the Eastern side of the nation.[lxxii] The Senussi monarchy was in a difficult initial decision to build a newly independent nation’s economy from scratch with a highly defined tribal division; yet what was true was that the Senussi tribal leaders were cooperative and willing to work with Western powers in regards to trade and construction of infrastructure post-Libyan independence.[lxxiii] What few people know is that the Transitional National Council of the tribes of Cyrenaica on 30 March 2011 established their own Central Bank and Oil Company that was given the nod by European and American powers to invest and sell without the expressed consent of the Kaddafi regime.[lxxiv] Additionally, while this new central bank and oil company was being established the Kaddafi governor of the regime’s state-owned central bank fled the country to Istanbul and was replaced by the Finance Minister; causing speculation that the regime and its once loyal adherents are starting to abandon the government.[lxxv]

The Current Conflict and Libya’s Future

Most of the struggle found within the newly independent state of Libya has been based upon extreme tribal division far more pronounced than many other Arab tribal societies. Addressing the tribal ideologies, culture, language and historical narratives offers a picture where three major regions all identify with different neighborly areas and peoples and cannot find a consensus on how to resolve the issue in regards to national unification. The tribes home to the Kaddafi regime from Tripolitania relate more towards the Islamic Maghreb North African peoples, while the tribes of Cyrenaica adhere to a culture and ideology closer to that of the Eastern Arab peoples from the Gulf of Arabia.

Kaddafi has managed to hold on to power to date because of his ability to initiate policies that undermine rival tribes, reduce their power and decentralize the military’s capabilities, utilizing family members and foreign mercenaries to control the various battalions. The former Senussi monarchy did not last long but utilized similar national policies as that of the current Kaddafi regime, yet did not have the luxury of an already established oil revenue that enabled the RCC to have a much stronger and influential command over the effectuation of their policies. As protests swept across the Middle East, Libyan citizens from Cyrenaica took to the streets in the city of Benghazi to peacefully protest the Kaddafi regime, but ended up lying in a pool of blood. As the Kaddafi regime escalated their assaults of Eastern cities and people, the tribes took to the streets to fight head on until the Western powers thought it appropriate to intervene on their behalf. As the NATO military operation took shape so did the objectives and stated goals of the European and American powers, ultimately demonstrating their commitment to a greater vision of Libya under the guidance of the traditional ruling tribes of Cyrenaica.

While the situation still unfolds, and as the military operations continue to rain down upon the Kaddafi regime only time will tell what the outcome of this civil war will be. Libya started out as the United Kingdom of Libya that was administered and overseen by a monarch, in 1969 Muammar Kaddafi replaced that government by a coup, ultimately demonstrating that the Eastern tribes that suffered from the loss of the Libyan monarchy view the current government as an entity that took something they fought hard for. What’s more is that the United States, Great Britain and France as well as other NATO participants all have placed themselves willingly into the middle of a strongly divided civil war that has yet to be meaningfully resolved amidst a the actions of a regime that commits little enthusiasm to the progress of the Libyan people.

[1] The Potsdam Conference was a meeting of Stalin, Churchill and Truman to discuss the establishment of post-war order, peace treaties issues, and countering the effects of war.

[i] Hatitah, Abdulsattar. “Libyan Tribal Map: Network of loyalties that will determine Gaddafi’s fate Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English).” Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English). N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <;.

[ii]  Ibid.

[iii] Lancel, Serge. Carthage: a history. Oxford: Blackwell, 19991997. Print.

[iv] Boca, Angelo. Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya . Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.

[v] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[vi] Vandewalle, Dirk J.. A history of modern Libya . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

[vii]  Crane, Keith, Rollie Lal, and Jeffrey Martini. Iran’s political, demographic, and economic vulnerabilities . Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp., 2008. Print.

[viii] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] ” Libya tribes: Who’s who? – .” The Christian Science Monitor – . N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <;.

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[xiii] Hatitah, Abdulsattar. “Libyan Tribal Map: Network of loyalties that will determine Gaddafi’s fate Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English).” Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English). N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <;.

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[xvi] Ibid.

[xvii] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] Vandewalle, Dirk J.. A history of modern Libya . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

[xx] Boca, Angelo. Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya . Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.

[xxi] Vandewalle, Dirk J.. A history of modern Libya . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

[xxii] Boca, Angelo. Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya . Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.

[xxiii] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[xxiv] Ibid.

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi] Vandewalle, Dirk J.. A history of modern Libya . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

[xxvii] Lawless, Richard I.. Libya . Oxford, England: Clio Press, 1987. Print.

[xxviii] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] Boca, Angelo. Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya . Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.

[xxxi] Ibid.

[xxxii] Ibid.

[xxxiii] Ibid.

[xxxiv] Vandewalle, Dirk J.. A history of modern Libya . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

[xxxv] Ibid.

[xxxvi] Ibid.

[xxxvii] Ibid.

[xxxviii] Ibid.

[xxxix] Ibid.

[xl] Ibid.

[xli] Ibid.

[xlii] Ibid.

[xliii] Ibid.

[xliv] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[xlv] Vandewalle, Dirk J.. A history of modern Libya . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

[xlvi] Ibid.

[xlvii] Ibid.

[xlviii] Ibid.

[xlix] Coker, Margaret. “Gadhafi Battles to Hang On –” Business News & Financial News – The Wall Street Journal – Web. 24 Mar. 2011. <;.

[l] Interpol Document

[li] “Tribal system holds balance of power in Libya.” National Post | Canadian News, Financial News and Opinion. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <

[lii] Ibid.


[liv] Ibid.

[lv] Barker, Middle East correspondent Anne, and wires. “Time running out for cornered Gaddafi – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).” N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <

[lvi] Kranjc, Svebor. ” Libyan attacks could be crime vs humanity: ICC | Top News | Reuters .” N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <

[lvii] Golovnina, Maria. ” Upbeat Gaddafi fires trademark blast at West and Qaeda | Reuters .” Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lviii] Ibid.

[lix] UNSC Resolution 1973, 16 March 2011.

[lx] “Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy on Libya: ‘We won’t stop bombing until Gaddafi’s gone’ | Mail Online.” Home | Mail Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lxii] “John Brown’s Notes and Essays: Europe and Libya.” John Brown’s Notes and Essays. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lxiv] ” Italy and Libya: investment ties under spotlight – Economy – Business – Ahram Online .” Ahram Online – News, Business, Culture, Sports & Multimedia from Egypt . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lxv] Ibid.

[lxvi] “Shareholding Structure – UniCredit.” UniCredit – Corporate Website. Web. 02 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lxviii] “Libya Announce $900 Million Oil Deal With BP” The Libyan Daily News, 18 April 2011. <;

[lxix] ” Libya’s Tribal Dyanmics.” Red Stomp Forums. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lxx] Ibid.

[lxxi] Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy on Libya: ‘We won’t stop bombing until Gaddafi’s gone’ | Mail Online.” Home | Mail Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lxxii] ” Libya’s Tribal Dyanmics.” Red Stomp Forums. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lxxii] Ibid.

[lxxiii] Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

[lxxiv] “Libyan Rebels” Create Central Bank, Oil Company.” The New American. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. <;.

[lxxv] ISTANBUL, MARC CHAMPION IN, and TAHANI KARRAR-LEWSLEY IN DUBAI. “Libyan Central-Bank Governor Is Replaced –” Business News & Financial News – The Wall Street Journal – N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. <;.




” Italy and Libya: investment ties under spotlight – Economy – Business – Ahram Online .” Ahram Online – News, Business, Culture, Sports & Multimedia from Egypt . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2011. <;.

” Libya tribes: Who’s who? – .” The Christian Science Monitor – . N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <;.

” Libya’s Tribal Dyanmics.” Red Stomp Forums. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <;

Boca, Angelo. Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya . Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.

“Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy on Libya: ‘We won’t stop bombing until Gaddafi’s gone’ | Mail Online.” Home | Mail Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. <;.

Boca, Angelo. Mohamed Fekini and the fight to free Libya . Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.

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Harris, Lillian Craig. Libya: Qadhafi’s revolution and the modern state. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press ;, 1986. Print.

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“John Brown’s Notes and Essays: Europe and Libya.” John Brown’s Notes and Essays. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. <;.

Kranjc, Svebor. ” Libyan attacks could be crime vs humanity: ICC | Top News | Reuters .” N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <;.

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““Libyan Rebels” Create Central Bank, Oil Company.” The New American. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2011. <;.