Monday, 14 March 2011

More thoughts on Libya

A phone call last Friday to Johnny L from the city of Sirte, Gaddafi's birthplace and tribal homeland situated part way between Tripoli and Benghazi, told of a well-armed public ready to fight the rebels should they try to invade. Sirte is an artificial city with well watered lawns from underground wells and concrete bus-stops and no buses; the Libyan population there, at least the males, don't like work and import labour from elsewhere in Africa to do the donkey work around town - it is a cushy corrupt lifestyle supported by the revenues from oil and the people there are seemingly determined to defend it. Our informant tells us that most of the ordinary population in Sirte receive media reports from Tripoli rather than from the international media. Johnny L writes:
 "If I was to give another talk on Libya I would concentrate more on the very visible social disparities between West and East and the disparities within the West. Back then (in 2009, when I gave my talk to the Northern Anarchist Network in Shropshire) rebellion seemed so unlikely, though I had heard about unrest and military action. Once we were diverted from using Benghazi airport and had to fly out 'diplomatic' from Al Beida because of trouble in Kufra in the deep south east. Sebha in the mid west desert and Kufra are possible untouchable air bases for G, but I don't know what the politics are there. When the tribes in Kufra rebelled a couple of years back there was fear that this would spread to Benghazi through family and I suppose tribal contacts, hence the quarantine in Benghazi.

"If Gadaffi cannot 'easily' take neighbouring towns it points up the problem of taking Benghazi and therefore a probable divide between East and West. I hope that the East might open up into a 'Free Libya' and trade under its own account, so completely isolating Gadaffi. That means holding onto oil fields and producing oil, and that requires neutralising Gadaffi's air strike capability. I think the left and libertarians should recognise the spontaneous nature of this rebellion and see it as an urge to basic freedom. So make common cause with Cameron... strange bed-fellow."
Johnny L

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